Monday, June 16, 2008

How a little R&R turned into alot of T&A

The plan for the weekend was to head up to Minneapolis and hang out with the bunch up there. After Eagleman, there was mandatory down time for recovery and I thought it would have been alot of fun to hang out with the friends and have no worries about any 4 1/2 hour bricks that needed to get done. These are my Ragbrai buddies and we had intended to get in some riding in Wisconsin, catch the bicycle racing in Stillwater, and then perhaps see how bad my tolerance for alcohol has become.

As I headed up there, I had a little worry about driving through Wisconsin, as I heard Baraboo was under water and I was pretty much passing through that town. With the Friday night traffic and construction, the going had been pretty much rough. I had hit Rockford, which was 60 miles away, in 2 hours and I was sort of fearing it was'nt going to get much prettier. I get a call from Marshall who tells me that I-90 (the route I'm going) from Madison to Mauston is pretty much under water and I might have to take side routes. Just then the traffic comes to a halt. Fantastic. I was about 10 miles to Madison and the expressway became a parking lot.

I remember Bill was coming down from the Twin Cities to Madison for the Horribly Hilly Hundred, which is just an awesome ride involving insane climbs and twisty decents. I quickly call him up and discover that he is just arriving in Madison after spending 6 hours to make what should have been a 3 hour drive. After some quick math of hours driving vs. hours not driving for the weekend, I decide I'm hanging out with Bill tonight and doing the HHH instead.

The HHH is awesome. It's a ride that starts in Blue Mound, Wisconsin and loops in and out of the Tyrol basin, covering some 10,700 feet of climbing over 124 miles and 5,700 over the 67 mile route. The riding is through fabulous countryside and the roads are like a roller coaster. Last time Liz and I tackled the Tyrol basin area, I had a deadly combination of a 12/23 and 95 degree heat that threatened to topple me over on some of the hills. The ride this year was a fortunate 70 degrees and it was beautiful when I discovered I had a 12/25 with me this time.

The ride started out crowded, giving Bill and I a preview of what is going to come in just a short number of weeks on Ragbrai. The first significant climb gave Bill a reminder that he needs to get in a few more miles in before Ragbrai and I had to leave him behind. The 12/25, while better than the 23, really didn't make the climbing gentler, it just gave me enough cadence room not to come to a complete stop and fear flopping over. The last climb is brutal, as it's about a 1,000 foot climb within less than 4 miles. I knew it was coming up, and was "restin' up" for it on the flats leading to it. I got passed by several people just hammering away because they thought they were near the end. I found most of them walking their bikes up about half-way through the climb. I don't blame them. I was grinding out a whopping 4mph with 37rpms at one point, and that was as fast as I could go.

Once I finished at the top, I got a call from Matt. He's leaving for a fellowship in Buffalo, New York next week and wanted to know if I could go to Chicago for his last weekend in town. I finally find Bill on his journey up the hill (he smartly had a set of compact cranks on his bike), wish him luck back to Minneapolis, then head off to see Matt. I luckily was able to carpool downtown with Bob and Brenda, having seen her and the baby bump for the first time. I've been in such a busy schedule with working/training/sleeping, I have not seen anybody for months. Going downtown was probably my first social outing for the year, which is kind of sad if you consider it's already mid-June.

The four of us are hanging out, having a good time, when the whole beer garden we are in pretty much goes silent. Everyone rushes to the sidewalk as this goes by:

(Images pulled from official website)

This continues for at least 5 minutes. It was just a solid stream of naked people riding by. I bet they were shouting "crack on the road" non-stop. I had forgotten it was time for the annual "Naked Ride" in Chicago. I always wondered what it was like, and I had no idea how large it was. Or how scary:

(Images pulled from official website)

Always got to give props to anyone willing to ride around down naked to make a statement against oil dependency. I've got my fair share of road rash scars on my butt to not want to go around showing off my derrier, but the next ride is June 13th of 2009.


Roo said...

HMMM- maybe my newest scar will disappear by the time next year rolls around!

Anonymous said...

how did that guy get that little green circle with the bike to stay put when he rode?


Brenda O said...

It was GREAT to see you Saturday, and wish Matt off proper with some Chicago pizza and outdoor beer drinking (since I have the Baby Bump, I enjoyed the "outdoor" part of that phrase, and you boys enjoyed the "beer drinking").