This past Saturday was our third annual Nine to Five. We kept Seattle riders up all night long on a quest to find everything from temporary tattoos to photobooth photos and strengthen the bond between cyclists and their city. All said, 80 cyclists participated in what was to be our most-completed Nine to Five yet. With no unlimited items this yearm teams were encouraged to try to work their way through the full list, and – although no one completed the entire thing – several got closer than any had before. Not only that, but we had the highest start-to-finish turn out ever in spite of the skies threatening to open up at any moment, with less than ten registrants starting without finishing.
As in the past, the hunt started in Gas Works Park with riders in teams from one to five showing up to register just as the remains of the day’s Fremont Solstice festivities were being torn down. The skies were gray but the weather was warm as riders collected their points lists, spoke card, an a raw egg, stamped to be identifiable and worth points if you brought yours (or any other teams’) to the end. The teams were kept at the start for a group photo before being turned loose on the city at official sunset, just after nine o’clock.
This year, there were many points to be had on a “Dive School” run – a series of five dive bars with clues hidden outside that had to be found. Nearly every team covered the entire route, from the top of Dexter in Westlake all the way to Darrell’s in the deep north at 183rd and Aurora (my own neighborhood bar and Nine to Five sponsor). Reports from the streets seem to suggest two main strategies. The first was to send a team north immediately while the remainder collected all the items that required people out and businesses open (like a photograph of a stranger drawing you a picture of Mr. T or a bartender holding your spoke card). The second was to send all the team members to their respective homes to gather everything they could there while they were still awake enough to not be concerned they’d never return.
By the time the riders starting showing at the midnight meet-up at the I-5 Colonnade, many had already completed a straight shot to Shoreline and back, collecting dive bars and photos of neighborhood signs all along the way. In addition to getting some free caffeine and grub, the riders also had the opportunity to score some more eggs, with over a dozen hidden around the park (despite Team Egg’s spirited – and successful – go at taking the whole box earlier – only points for OTHER TEAMS’ eggs, pals!).
By the 3am stop at Ly’s Donuts in the U-District, folks were starting to show weariness. Many teams had folks out on the Northern run, while others had saved a stop at home for when the city had shut down. The rest basically followed us to Gasworks around 4am to help us set up for breakfast and count their points.
All point counts were due in by 5:11am, and breakfast of wraps and sweet bread (and more of the many, many mini Clif bars) was served. For awhile it was looking like a close race, with multiple teams coming in right around 360, following by a clear frontrunner in the 380’s, which seemed high until returning champs Team Egg (“The team formerly known as Old Tuna”) turned in a point count of over 500. On review, our official count was 496, but it was still enough that we didn’t have to verify the next place team to declare them winners of the Nine to Five Champions Stein:
We then raffled off the rest of the great prizes our wonderful sponsors provided, including awesome waterproof baggage from Seattle’s own SealLine, t-shirts and gift bags from Caffe Vita (which they provided in addition to the coffee that kept us going all night), to shirts and gift certificate from Darrell’s Tavern, to awesome goods from Planet Bike and Go Means Go. I thought about raffling off some of the spare bars provided by Clif, but the glazed over look on our riders’ faces told me it was time to pack up and call it day.
Thanks again to everyone that has supported the Nine to Five this year and past, from riders, to sponsors, to blogs and everyone else – we couldn’t do it without you! Special thanks to Jon Grover who jumped in to help me with the event every step of the way – I’m not sure he knew what he was getting himself into until it was too late, but he didn’t seem to regret it too much. Also thanks to Heather (breakfast) and Ly’s Donuts, for putting up with all our last minute requests. And a special shout out Ryan Go Means Go. The Nine to Five was his brainchild two years ago, and it was strange to not be working as closely (literally) with him on it this year while he’s working fish season in Alaska. Keep safe on the seas, we’re looking forward to seeing you back on our streets in a couple months! For the rest of you, hope to see you at the Tour de Watertower – check back for details this week!
SealLine | Caffe Vita | Planet Bike | Clif Bar | Darrell’s Tavern