Monday, January 16, 2006

Three Floyds Brewery Tour da ABC 7

Friday night was pretty mellow. CBF had its open house party for its new offices. I had negotiated the lease for this building and recently volunteered by helping to build its new storage lofts, so I was excited for this event. It was fun, but mostly uneventful.

Towards the end I spoke with Super-Racing-Susan and she gave me some tips on alleycat racing. Very cool. When we left she asked to see what bike I was riding now. I presented her with the Julep, and she exclaimed, "Of course no one will want to let you pass them riding that!" She said that it was emasculating enough for men to get passed by any woman, much less a woman on an old bike with "fucking streamers on it." My wounded ego flared on behalf of my beloved Julep, ready to argue her many merits, before Susan added, "that fucking rocks!" OK, All forgiven. She also told me to just hold my ground and not let anyone 'nose' me out, explaining that if their bike's front wheel contacts my bike, more often they are the one who will go down. This was foreshadowing for the following morning.

After the Open House I went to Chris's place for dinner and drinks, but kept it early because I had to wake up early the next day. I had agreed to represent Bike Winter on a short segment about biking in the winter on Channel 7 news. I had to be at the studio at 6:00AM on Saturday. Blech. I set and woke up to my alarm clock for the first time in several years and made it there on time. Unfortunately, I don't think any of my friends taped/Tivoed it, so I probably won't get to see it. This is at least the third time I have been on TV (commercial; Bike the Drive promotional clip) and I have yet to see it myself. Dammnit. Anyway, it was pretty fun, went by really quickly and I don't think I made too much of a fool out of myself.

This was just the beginning of the day, however. A group of us went for a ride out to the Three Floyds Brewery in Munster, Indiana, later in the day. Round-trip the ride was 65 miles. Paul and I left earlier to have breakfast and then met the group in Hyde Park. Lately riding with Paul has pissed me off, because he has been blowing more lights/stop signs than usual and forcing me to either: 1) enter an intersection that I don't feel comfortable about in order to keep up with him, or 2) slowing/stopping for traffic and then sprinting to catch back up. Normally I choose the second option, and I end up doing more of a sprint-stop-sprint type of riding than my preferred continuous pace. Grrrr.....

I was getting really grumpy about this when he dropped back so I could pick the route. About two blocks later, I signalled for us to cut left across Des Plaines to take a left turn on Washington. He apparently wasn't paying attention, because shortly after I started to make the move, I felt a bump from behind, heard him curse and then the sound of a bike falling. Crap.
Before I had time to turn around I heard him angrily yell, "You have to signal!"

I must admit, this comment pissed me off. Several times when something hasn't gone the way he wants, the first comment Paul makes sounds like, "you have to be more............" Obviously, sometimes I am the cause of the problem, but more often Paul has been at fault. I really hate hearing him immediately blame me when something goes wrong.

Anyway, Paul was basically fine -- his elbow was a bit scraped. Later he admitted that he wasn't paying attention when I signaled, wasn't used to riding his Bianchi and didn't reach for the brake levers (normally he rides his fixed gear) and couldn't get his feet out of the toe straps to keep the bike upright. He's good about being reasonable after the fact, but in the heat of the moment, he tends to abdicate responsbility. grrrrr.

We flew down to Hyde Park and had breakfast before waiting for the rest of the group. It was a good-sized crowd that arrived. We numbered 26 people. The weather was great and we had a strong tail wind to push us to the brewery.

Once there, bike parking was somewhat limited, so creativity was needed (picture 8--the Juleps hanging from the fence with another bike locked to her in the rear). I'm at the bar in pigtails with Karen and Paul (picture 16): Brewery . Also notice the picture of T.C. eating a deep-fried bratwurst -- although it is labeled "the Sheboygan," when I lived there, I never heard of such an artery-clogging concoction.

We ate and drank for a long time before the 3:00pm tour -- which lasted forever. Our group made up nearly half of the audience/restaurant patrons and we were pretty rowdy.

We didn't leave until well after 4:00pm, so we knew that riding in the dark would occur. Against all odds, the wind had died down to basically nothing -- unprecedented in my experience. More often than not, I ride against the wind coming and going -- so this was a delightful surprise. At first we stayed mostly together, but soon a small group of us dropped the rest. For some reason Paul wasn't consistently staying with us and kept dropping back. Luckily, we had to stop and figure out another route when a park/path was gated closed, and Paul and Jan caught up with us.

There was one crazy intersection where the railroad gates were down and the lights were flashing. The cars just completely ignored it and whipped around the gates without bothering to slow down. We were flabbergasted. However we joined them when we noticed that there wasn't a train in sight. At least we looked first though!!!!

Around the point where we got on the lakeshore trail, Paul disappeared again. Later I found out that he stopped to help fix a flat tire. My group at this point was Grant, T.C., Josh, Jonathon, myself and a guy on a green fixie. Mr. green fixie and I were leading the group leading into Hyde Park and the pace was pretty quick. For some reason, he decided to bolt ahead and I stepped up the pace to follow him. When I caught up with him he declared that "he had given it his all and was satisfied with just a meandering pace for the remainder of the ride." I still don't quite understand what he was doing. Anyway, the hill at 47th street loomed ahead and I raced up it. Since the Julep is geared so high, I am forced to go up hills relatively fast, or else have a horrible time climbing them.

I dawdled at the bottom for the other riders to catch up -- and all of a sudden the whole group bolted past me. I squealed in pleasure when I realized that Grant and Josh seemed to be racing and jumped ahead to join them. The next several miles were ridden at a damn fast pace. I was getting overheated because I was dressed warmly for a slower group ride. When we hit McCormick Place the pace increased again and a race was on. People yelled to 'catch' the leader and gave a few play-by-play announcements. My sheepskin mits were soaked with sweat and my clothes became sodden as we continued our impromptu race.

Once downtown we evaluated our options and decided to return to the Hbar. Josh announced that we he felt like puking from the fast riding. Grant raced home to meet his wife Anne. At the Hbar, I was completely gross with sweat and questioned why we started racing. T.C. acted confused and denied that he was aware of a race. Will the bullshit never cease? Sorry, but I don't buy his quizical look, because we were damn well racing and he damn well knew it. Plus his drenched clothing betrayed his words. Stupid boy ego. My g-damned jacket was sweaty--through the clothes underneath.

Despite the sweat, the race at the end was damned fun. Plus, this was probably super-good conditioning, since not only was it several miles of hard sprinting, but it was also following over 60 miles of normal/fast riding. My ass muscles definitely felt the effort and were a little sore the next day. Overall -- a very good ride!

Kitten Update: There has been no unauthorized pissing or crapping since her first week -- whew. She is noticeably bigger than when she arrived here -- I can't wait until she can't wiggle herself under the couch anymore. I am putting a lot of effort into playing with her and she is slowly getting over her skittishness. Today she was brave enough to explore the rest of the apartment. It appears that her skittishness is quickly changing into naughtiness as she manically jumps up everywhere in an apparent attempt to knock over as many things as possible.

Job Search: It's official -- I am on the job market. I spent my day off on MLK day working on my resume. So if anyone hears of a job opening with a pay increase/hour decrease for a slacker attorney, please think of me.


At 6:31 PM, Blogger Tom said...

I saw you there on Saturday I stopped by for Black Sun Stout and sausage pizza.


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