I was down in Portland this past Sunday doing Portlandy things (getting an asymmetrical haircut, unlearning how to corner in the mud, etc.) when I received the following text with the caption “Look in the upper left hand corner.”
Wait, what the fuck?!
The grail had been spotted for the first time in 2 years! Immediately (after a couple more beers) we flew into action to formulate a plan to bring the grail back to Seattle lest it disappear again.
A quick history:
If you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, here is a very old post about the beginnings of the grail.
Forged in the fires of someone’s garage, the Grail represents a rivalry between Seattle and Portland that has become spiritless. Apathy has replaced the sort of jovial feuding that once spread across the PNW every fall. There hasn’t been a grail race in 3 years. The last I remember the grail was won by Portland at a ‘cross race in Rainier, stolen back by Seattle, then maybe stolen again at the 2009 SSCXWC. Honestly, I barely remember how it ended up in Chris DiStefano’s hands (allegedly for only one day). And the Grail wasn’t seen until Sunday when it appeared above the bar at VeloCult.
I can’t say enough nice things about VeloCult and Sky. The shop is great, they sell Raleighs, they serve beer and coffee, and they host events for films and live music. Sky gave us a tour and showed us his amazing mountain bike collection. If I wasn’t so busy thinking about how I was going to rob him, then I would’ve taken a bunch of photos and dedicated an entire post to his shop. He was incredibly nice and knowledgeable even after I told him that I was going to be taking the Grail home with me.
After 7pm, Sky dimmed the lights and a bunch of teachers came in to watch a documentary on the pull down projection screen. This felt like our best chance at the grail. It had been placed atop their back bar – 8 feet in the air and 5-6 feet away from the barstools. To get it we needed to stand on top of the bar, step over to the cooler, jump to the ledge on the backbar, grab the Grail, jump back over the bar and get out of the shop. Which is exactly what Ken did when Sky took the rest of us downstairs to hang out in the lounge and drink our beers away from the teachers. I wasn’t there to see it, and apparently none of the teachers even blinked an eye while it was happening, but it sounds like some ninja shit to me.
After I got confirmation that the grail had left the building, Sky and I talked about the grail and how it’d ended up on top of his bar. Apparently it was in someone’s basement for the last two years and they’d given it to Sky with the condition that he not tell anywhere where he got it and only told him “This thing is a big deal.” He’d had it in his office for nearly a month and had only put it up in his shop less than 12 hours before we took it back.
There are a few clues as to where this thing has been for the last couple of years, but I’m no Hercule Poirot. It now has a Cthulhu sticker, an Evil sticker, and inside there is an empty Guldendraak bottle and a Playboy with Kim Kardashian on the cover.
There are already some early comments on facebook from Portlanders who are too cool to have fun, but we’d like to put the grail back into circulation.
We’ll figure out a grail race this year and bring it down to Portland at least once. It’ll probably also be at all of the MFG races this year. Within the next couple of days the grail will be on display around Seattle, per the rules:
1. No defacing of the grail. The Grail is bigger than all of us. Respect her. This includes stickers, she’s not a billboard for your pathetic political causes.
2. The Grail must be on public display during normal business hours. Not locked away with the gimp you keep in your basement.
3. The Grail must be present at all official Grail events held in the Northwest, no matter who is in possession. This includes StarCrossed, Grail weekend, USGP weekend, SSCXWC, Nationals.
4. There has been a lifetime restraining order placed on Johnny Sundt and Geoff Kabush. Neither are allowed within 100 feet of the grail. This also goes for their mechanics, girlfriends, boyfriends, and all Canadians.
I don’t know who wrote those rules, but I’m on board with keeping EL Gato the hell away from this thing.
C’mon, Portland – Grail de la Grunge Cup 2013. Let’s do this. In the meantime I’m going to start making up for lost time and take a bubble bath with it.
See you all at RandyCross in a couple of weeks.