Sweep Category: Speed - Women
What was the race equipment you used?
I first did the Sweep in 2007 and I was trying to find a photo from then because I feel like I rode my track bike, which was so normal at the time but sounds so foreign to me now - definitely with a large-sized Freight bag though. I remember the scope being slightly smaller though - out to the Marina and up to Twin Peaks. In 2014, I rode all the way to Sausalito for the big points and last year it was down to South San Francisco. Both years I had my size large Mer Bag backpack but last year, that barely cut it. Any future years, I feel like I would need to use a front rack or some modified set up - riding back in on rainy Junipero Serra with 60-70lbs on my bag was pretty tough. For the two more recent years, I was riding my All-City Mr Pink road bike.
Why is the Sweep important to you?
The Sweep is important because it's a huge event with a whole bunch of friends throwing it for all the right reasons. Encouraging cyclists to do what they do best but channel that into donating a whole bunch of food to fill the SF Food Bank is pretty incredible. I have been so impressed at those organizing this event for the past 10 (!) years, because it obviously involves so much behind the scenes work. It is such a great twist to traditional alleycats too - there are a bunch of strategic moves in how to get in and out of stores quickly and how you route based on knowing you will be carrying a ton of weight towards the end.
Favorite Sweep moment/memory?
Favorite Sweep memory was probably 2014 riding across the Golden Gate to Sausalito. I'm usually kitted up and just starting a ride when on the bridge, but weaving through bike traffic with messenger bags felt so odd but so perfect in the moment. In 2007 I have this distinct memory of riding in a huge group of 7-8 and trying to round up receipts and pack bags at the Safeway out on Sloat. All the passerbys were so confused. While it was totally herding cats, it was so much fun.
You're a well renown courier both nationally and abroad. How do you approach the Sweep versus other alleycats?
I approach the Sweep pretty similarly as I would other alleycats - route smart and ride hard but be realistic about your timing and ability to carry that much weight without making it miserable for yourself.
Any tips for someone considering racing speed for the first time?
For speed: Have a good system for keeping track of your receipts! I got disqualified in 2011 for losing one receipt. Never again (I hope). For fundraising: start early! There are a few steps to setting up your donation page and approval can take a day or two, so don't wait til the last minute.