Moment of triumph: Garrett Sorrels and Chris Aubin (holding smart phone.) All photos taken on CTA property courtesy of Chris.
For those of you who haven’t been following Chicago’s ‘L’ racing saga, here’s a quick summary of all the competitors we’re aware of who have held the record for visiting every CTA station in one day, solely by transit and shoe leather:
– March 2011: UK native Adham Fisher visits all 143 stations in 9:36:33.
– February 2012: Danny Resner and John Greenfield complete the course in 9:30:59.
– Early April 2012: Scott Presslak and Kevin Olsta set a new record, 9:24:05.
– Mid-April 2012: Rob Bielaski and Ben Downey clock a time of 9:08:56.
– Late April 2012: Adham returns to town and goes head-to-head against Danny and John. Our time is 9:08:03; The Englishman wins the race and sets a new record with a time of 8:56:33.
– Summer 2012: CTA opens two new stations: Yellow Oakton and Green Morgan. Since the new station count is 145, Adham’s record for 143 stops is frozen.
– August 2012: RedEye CTA reporter Tracy Swartz visits all 145 stations in 9:17:00, becoming the new overall champ and smashing the ‘L’ racing gender barrier.
– October 19, 2012: Chris Aubin and Garrett Sorrels, co-workers at the ad firm Starcom Worldwide, set the new overall record at 9:12:39.
Chris and Garrett recently met up with Scott, Kevin, Danny and John for the third-ever CTA racer summit at the Skyride Tap, a dive bar below the Loop elevated tracks at 105 West Van Buren. After toasting the new winners’ triumph, we discussed the fact that there are only a few months left to break their record before the south Red Line closes for repairs this spring, putting ‘L’ racing on hold for five months. Here’s Chris’ account of his historic ride.
Continue reading Ad Men on the ‘L’ train: Aubin and Sorrels Win the CTA Racing Crown
As you can see from this picture of most of the ex-champs (Scott Presslak, Danny Resner, John, and Adham Fisher via Skype) competitive CTA riding has historically been a male-dominated field. Photo by Tracy Swartz.
It’s official: Tracy Swartz is the new ‘L’ Challenge champ, and the first woman to wear the crown. No longer will competitive CTA riding be a boys club.
Back in March 2011, UK native Adham Fisher first popularized transit racing in Chicago when he came to town and visited all 143 CTA rail stations by train in 9:36:33. In February 2012, Danny Resner and I captured the title, completing the course in 9:30:59. That April Scott Presslak and Kevin Olsta set a new record, 9:24:05; a few days later they were beaten by Rob Bielaski and Ben Downey with a time of 9:08:56. Adham returned to town at the end of April and went head-to-head with Danny and me in a friendly ‘L’ race. Our time was 9:08:03; The Englishman smashed the nine-hour mark, clocking in at 8:56:33.
Soon afterwards the CTA opened two new stations: the Yellow Line’s Oakton stop and the Green Line’s Morgan stop. Since the new station count was 145, it seemed to me that Adham’s record for 143 stops was frozen, and the next person to visit all 145 stations would be the new overall ‘L’ Challenge victor. In August Tracy Swartz, who writes the “Going Public” transit column for RedEye, did just that, touring the entire train system in 9:17:00.
Continue reading Elle train: RedEye’s Tracy Swartz shatters the CTA racing gender barrier
Kelsey Peterson, left, as Adham Fisher. Photo courtesy of Waltzing Mechanics.
Last Saturday my ‘L’ racing partner Danny Resner and I caught a performance of the current incarnation of the show “EL Stories,” which uses the CTA race we lost against Leicester, England, native Adham Fisher as a framing device. Created by the Waltzing Mechanics theater troupe, the performance piece features a series of vignettes based on stories recorded from actual transit riders. Here’s a write-up I did of a previous version of the show.
Grid Chicago readers will recall that Adham returned to Chicago in April to reclaim his record for visiting all 143 stations (at the time; two new ones have opened since then) in the shortest possible time, which Danny I beat last winter. Scott Presslak and Kevin Olsta beat our time in early April, and were in turn bested by Rob Bielaski and Ben Downey later that month.
Continue reading An ‘L’ of a portrayal: Waltzing Mechanics takes on Adham Fisher
Forrest Claypool and Adham Fisher at the Linden station centennial.
It was supposed to be just a friendly CTA riding race, but it wound up being another record-breaking event. Leicester, England, native Adham Fisher was in Chicago last week for the last leg of his North American tour, after making record attempts in NYC and Toronto. On Thursday he set accomplished his goal of reclaiming the Chicago ‘L’ racing title, visiting all 143 stations in 9:06:48. Saturday Danny Resner and I, who held the record at 9:30:59 until two other teams broke it this month, squared off against the Brit in a head-to-head competition. Since it was the weekend, we assumed that the system would be running slowly so stakes would be low. We were wrong.
Continue reading Adham Fisher smashes the nine-hour barrier for riding the entire ‘L’ system
A CTA racer’s summit: Fisher (wearing a t-shirt based on the honorary station sign the CTA sent him), minutes after setting the new record, meets up with Bielaski, Greenfield and Resner to toast his triumph.
Adham Fisher has done it again. In March 2011 the globetrotting Leicester, England, native set the world record for visiting all 143 CTA stations by train, only to have the title stripped from him by Chicago residents Danny Resner and yours truly last February 3. On April 6 Chicagoans Kevin Olsta and Scott Presslak beat our time, but were bested five days later by locals Rob Bielaski and Ben Downey, who brought the winning time down to 9:08:56.
Continue reading Fisher sets new CTA record; ‘L’ race this Saturday at Linden centennial
Outside the Loop Radio recently interviewed my CTA ‘L’ riding record-setting partner-in-crime Danny Resner about the nuts and bolts of our trip. Listen to the interview here (press the play button at the bottom of the post; Danny is featured in the last third of the segment), or download the MP3 directly.
The broadcast also includes a short interview with former record holder Adham Fisher of Leicester, England. Earlier in the segment there’s an interview with Jeff Kidder, the author of Urban Flow: Bike Messengers and the City, who was quoted in Alex Weaver’s recentguest post on Grid Chicago about Chicago couriers.