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Giving back to the Community

9th Annual San Francisco Supermarket Street Sweep

Start at Cupid’s Span on the Embarcadero.

From left to right: Zach (the defending champ), Jan, Jason & me.

Jan & I had a great time at the Supermarket Street Sweep on Saturday, finishing 1-2 & each buying & donating about 50 pounds of food to the SF & Marin food bank! (The total food collected by all 134 racers was over 12,000 pounds!!!)

The format was as follows:
At noon we were handed a manifest with 14 grocery stores on it.
5 were worth 10 pts each (downtown area)
5 were worth 20 pts each (further out)
2 were worth 30 pts each (Safeway by Ocean Beach & Trader Joe’s on Westlake) and
2 were worth 40 pts each (Mollie Stone’s in Sausalito & Grocery Outlet on Hickey in South San Francisco)

Each store had specific food items we had to buy (pasta, rice, beans, canned meat, peanut butter etc.) & the amount we had to buy corresponded to the point value at each store (2 pounds for 10 pt stores, 4 pounds for 20 pt stores, etc.).

The object was to get get as many points as possible & still finish before the 4PM cutoff.

The competition was tough & in the previous years this race had always been dominated by the bike messengers (Adam Shap & Zach Morvant had each won it twice I believe), & we knew they’d be tough to beat, but Jan & I had been focused on peaking for this race for many months.

After we were given our manifest, we spent a solid 10 minutes mapping out our route before setting out.  We knew that we wanted to hit both 40 pt & 30 pt stores, then they to stop at as many 10 & 20 pt stores along the way.  We set out with Jason Thorpe & in our enthusiasm went right by our 1st stop, the Whole Foods on 4th Street, but after a 2 minute detour we were back on track and saw many of the other racers leaving just as we arrived.  From there it was on to Trader Joe’s on 9th, then we started making our way to Sausalito with a stop at the Lucky on Fulton & Masonic.  We got pretty lucky that there weren’t too many tourists on the bridge and we made all the lights in Sausalito, so we were able to TTT pretty well for a good stretch.  At Mollie Stones we had to pick up 5 pounds of rice, 2 jars of peanut butter & 2 cans of meat. We were now up to 70 points and loaded down with 15 pounds of food which made the climb out of Sausalito a little tougher than normal.  Back in SF we made our 2nd mistake & went right by the Grocery Outlet on Geary on our way to the Safeway on LaPlaya, but didn’t lose to much time swinging by there on the way out to the Safeway at 17th & Taraval.
It was now a little after 2 PM and we were at 140 pts and carrying about 30 pounds of food on our backs which made Jan’s decision to use 19th Ave to get to Daly City even sketchier, but since it was mostly downhill, we had no problem keeping up with the auto traffic.  TJ’s added another 8 pounds of canned beans to each of our packs and the weight was beginning to take its toll on our speed.

From there it was a quick wiggle of a few miles down to South SF where we added another 10 pounds each and were up to 210 points & about 45 pounds of food with 30 minutes to go.  From there we headed north on El Camino up to the top of Mission in Daly City. I could barely pedal and just watched the addresses knowing that when we got to 6400 that was the top (“Matthews!!! 64 hundred Mission Street, top to the hill, Daly City” – those who grew up in the Bay Area will get it). Finally we crested and it was sweet downhill to Alemany for a final 20pt stop at Pacific Market.  We were now up to 230 points & 50 pounds of food each. The time was 3:45 and we were debating making a final stop at at 10 point street up a steep hill on Cortland in Potrero Hill, but wisely decided to just hightail it back to the finish line at the SF & Marin Food Bank & made it there with just 6 min to spare for Jan & 5 min for me (I flatted in the final couple miles and tire was getting real soft).  We had no idea how we did. Zach was already there when we arrived, but when he told us that he had 220 points I thought we had a great chance for the win.  Then Adam arrived 2 minutes after me, also with 220 points and we knew we had it!

I think that we were the only 2 to get both 40 point stores and that was key to our win.

Here’s my ride on Strava

Post race awards ceremony was in the garage at Sports Basement & included free beer from 21st Amendment.  Jan & I each ended up winning a Timbuck2 messenger bag stuffed with cool hipster prizes & bike parts & other stuff.

Hope to see a few more bears out there next year!

Here’s the event site.


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