Bay to Breakers 2007

In San Francisco’s annual salute to everything that is just incredibly right about the city, the Bay to Breakers rolled across town yesterday. While it can be an intolerable mess of drunken fools to anyone who lives along the route, it’s still a lot of fun to go and have a look.
Having attended last year for the first time (yeah, I know, pathetic), I knew what to expect. The salmon running upstream were there. Also present were the Elvi. Then you had some storm troopers, which are always one of my favorites. Naturally, there were all the folks with various implementations of the beer keg and some way to wheel it for 7.5 miles (12km). These ranged from shopping carts, to luggage racks, to wheel barrows. The creativity was pretty boundless. Then of course there were the Bare to Breakers. This group did their standard race day nudity bit. This is actually prohibited, but no one ever gets arrested or ticketed, so they hang and sway with the best of them. Unfortunately it’s not as much fun as you’d think, unless you’re an old gay man, because that’s mostly who is going sans clothes; old men who are mostly gay. The selections of piercings (NSFW) that I got to see this year, will scar me for some time to come. Thankfully, I’ll be prancing on the beaches of the Mediterranean in two days, yet sunburned Germans in thongs seems all the more terrifying. But, I digress.
One of the things about the race is that it’s a pretty good mirror of popular culture. Case in point, Reno 911: Miami came out in theaters this year and thusly, there were many groups that decided to go as the posse from that show. The only downside to this is that it’s funny the first time, but as the race gets longer and drunker, you realize you got the idea some time ago and if they’d kindly stop kicking you in the face with it, you’d be thrilled. But, once again, I digress.
The only really weird thing about the race was that at Hayes Street Hill (which, oddly enough in San Francisco, is the only hill on the race) ING, whom sponsored the event, ran these crowd barriers along the path up to the hill. I assume that this must have been to try and stop the throngs of people who would step out to take photos or what have you and block the race path. I’m not sure how well it did in blocking that, but it did make one poor woman completely eat it when she tripped on one of the low-lying feet of the barrier. I felt really bad for her, since she hit the ground damned hard. Upon seeing this, a guy across the street who had made it known his deep preference for no barrier started up his chant of “Tear down the wall! Tear down the wall!” again. I’m rather amazed that the crowd didn’t start in, but this wasn’t the truly drunken group, just yet.
But, overall, a mighty good time and who knows, I might even run it next year.
Bay to Breakers 2007