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On Saturday, Sculptures Will Race Across Baltimore — And Mediocrity Is The Goal

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This weekend, this dog will be racing across Baltimore, powered by a group of people pedaling inside it.
WAMU/Armando Trull
This weekend, this dog will be racing across Baltimore, powered by a group of people pedaling inside it.

It's late on a Thursday night and about half a dozen people are working on a large metal structure inside the garage of a Takoma Park cottage. They're sawing, drilling and welding. There's a huge, very furry and hollow statue of a golden retriever called "Good Dog," and this weekend it will be racing across Baltimore.

"It's going to be part of a kinetic sculpture contraption," explains Les Lorenz. "It's a sculpture that moves."

It moves thanks to riders pedaling for their lives, and this weekend Lorenz and many others will be pedaling sculptures like Good Dog in the Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race. The race, which takes places on Saturday, weaves from Federal Hill past the Inner Harbor, ending in Canton.

Lorenz takes a break from his work to explain just how Good Dog will move.

"Two standard bikes and two tandems, and we attach them together in a frame. It's going to be six people driving, or riding in it, and straddled up on top here, the dog is," he explains.

Assembling the kinetic sculpture race contraption is a community effort, with a core group of about ten people who do the engineering and the artistic side and neighbors that drop in to lend a hand or offer moral support, says Kurt Lawson. He warns that the Takoma Park team won't be a pushover come Saturday.

"The race is not intended to be super competitive, but it ends up being competitive. Consistent with that theme, the top award is something called the 'Grand Mediocre East Coast Champion,' so for whatever it's worth we've won that twice," he says.

Team members are hoping that mediocrity can strike for a third time.

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