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Games and guises - ‘Idiotarod’ returns to nabe

The past two years of the Idiotarod, the hipster-driven shopping cart marathon held every January in Williamsburg, have been dispersed by police officers before the race even began.

This year, with temperatures in the mid-20s, the starting line was moved to the Socrates Sculpture Park as hundreds of scantily costumed Idiotaroders made their way through checkpoints throughout Long Island City and Greenpoint. Teams dressed as synchronized swimmers with blue wetsuits, pink spandex-clad bull fighters, and British versions of the Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, skidded down the icy streets of Greenpoint Saturday afternoon.

Team Double Dare, who finished 60th, got off to a slow start after their cart was bolted with a lock and chain to another team’s cart.

“The team that sabotaged us actually left their business card,” Team Double Dare Captain Lacey Tauber said. “That’s pretty incredible.”

From 60th and York, the teams departed through Vernon Park on 43rd, and on over the Pulaski Bridge dodging eggs that smeared and froze onto people’s clothing after they broke.

Greenpoint resident Christine Holowacz, who was driving along Vernon Boulevard with her son, stared at the revelers in disbelief before asking her son what they were doing. When informed by her son that the participants were competing in the Idiotarod, her disbelief did not wane.

“The Idiotarod? Why would anyone do that? That doesn’t make any sense,” said Holowacz.

After a final checkpoint at Coco 66 (66 Greenpoint Ave.) with several dance routines in the middle of the bar, the teams raced to Right Triangle Playground (Commercial and Dupont streets) for the finish line and a rousing party. The Bermuda Love Triangles broke into a well rehearsed dance routine while three men in black and silver costumes pushed their arachnid-shaped shopping cart down the playground slide before following after it.

Greg Vanhoesen, engineering artillery specialist with Team Swat, was still pretty pumped up, despite his team finishing in the bottom 50 percent of the race.

“Let me tell you what it’s all about,” Vanhoesen said. “It’s about getting serious. We came in 44th overall. That’s exactly where we wanted to be. You’re either SWAT or you’re not.”

While rumors of some team members getting citations from the NYPD for violating open container laws circulated throughout the day, many members were in good spirits, drenched in sweat and frozen through the bone. At the playground’s finish line, several racers did repeated double takes at police officers wandering through the crowd, but it turned out that they happened to belong to another team, too.

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