Saturday, January 15, 2005

The Vampire Ride

All-night bike ride on one of the coldest nights of the year? Great idea! So spawned the Vampire Ride (creatures of the night). Back in November my friend Hui Hwa mentioned that she was thinking about planning an all night bike ride that stopped at several different places throughout the night. Last night was the night. The ride was staged at the CCM Happy Hour which Hui Hwa hosted and went roughly as followed:

11:00pm--ride begins and we head towards Lincoln Square Lanes
11:30ish-2:00am--dancing to a live band and bowling
2:00-2:30--ride to the Green Mill Jazz lounge
2:30-3:30--Green Mill
3:30-4:00--ride to a Korean restaurant (the coldest most unpleasant part of my night)
4:00-5:00--Korean food
5:00-5:30--ride to Xsports
5:30-7:10--hang out at the hottub & pool at Xsports Health club
7:10-7:45--ride to the lakeshore to catch the tail end of the sunrise, take pictures, play on the ice
7:45-8:30--ride to Heartland cafe (10 miles)
8:30-9:00--breakfast, coffee, starting to crash....
9:00-9:30--live radio interview of Lisa and Chris about Bike Winter
10:00ish--ride back home (8 miles)

1:00-6:00pm--sleep

Fun stuff. Great night. We stayed too long dancing at the bowling alley/bar because we were having a great time dancing. The ride started out with 30-40 people and about a dozen made it to daylight. We were a mobile party and made a scene every place we went. The people at the bowling alley and jazz club were perplexed by the mass bikers and then incredulous that we were riding in the cold and planned to do it until daylight. We initiated the dance floor at the bowling alley and constituted the bulk of the dancers for the rest of the performance. I had a great time and this was definitely the most purely fun part of the experience.

I think I sort of dozed off laying on the deck with my feet in the hottub and planned to go home. Then I figured I'd watch the sunrise and go home, but decided to head up to Heartland also. I expected that everyone would ride back down, but people started obviously crashing at breakfast and opted to take the Red Line home. I wanted to ride home to get some more miles in* and this announcement motivated three others to forgo the train ride back down with me. Cool.

My face feels really warm and pinkish, so I think I have a mild sunburn/windburn thing going on. Monday probably won't help this.


* The date has been set for the Frozen Snot Century: February 25-27. http://www.bikewinter.org/calendar/scheduleofevents.php?city_id=1 This is a crazy event that I plan to do that involves the Milwaukee and Chicago Bike Winters. On Friday 2/25 Milwaukee BW folks will make the 100 mile journey down to Chicago, ride in Critical Mass and then attend the CCM Art Show closing party before crashing on Chicago BW couches. Saturday morning these riders are escorted back to Milwaukee with Chicago BW riders, and the party/couch favors are returned. Sunday morning the Chicago riders go back home. Back-to-back winter centuries (dubbed Bikecentennials by roommate Isaac).

Assuming the weather isn't really horrific, I am going to do this. There are only three glitches: 1) since moving to WP I don't ride nearly as many miles as I used to and I (currently) feel unprepared for this ride, 2) I have never done a century--I think 70-80 miles is the most I have done in a single day, and 3) I should probably borrow a road bike for this occassion. To prepare, I am going to try getting in some longer rides on the weekends to prepare for the Frozen Snot Century. It will also be good to figure out what clothes do and don't work for long distance, cold riding.

Since I hope to spend many weekends this summer 'bike packing' this seems like the perfect event to get me in shape and ready to kick off the season. If I can do a bikecentennial in late February, then I should be in fine form for dealing with the hills of bikepacking and longer tours.

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