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
Note Greg’s CTA map necktie. See more photos from the event.
Tuesday night I dropped by a meet-up for Active Transportation Alliance’s Riders for Better Transit campaign featuring Chicago writers Greg Borzo and Tracy Swartz at the Blue Frog, 22 E. Hubbard. Greg wrote the book The Chicago “L,” a very thorough history with lots of great archival photos. Greg also wrote the book Where to Bike Chicago, and contributed a chapter to the new anthology On Bicycles by Momentum magazine cofounder Amy Walker. Tracy writes the CTA-centric weekly column “Going Public” for RedEye. Since April 2009 she’s been riding a different CTA bus line every week, and in December she completed the last route, an impressive accomplishment.
Continue reading Local transit authorities Tracy Swartz and Greg Borzo celebrate the CTA