Monday, July 14, 2008

Feel the Burn!!

So this past Saturday was the annual "Midnight Bike Ride"--an event that my father-in-law and I (and usually brother-in-law as well) participate in. We generally sign up for it way in advance but, this time, pretty much forgot about it until, oh, mid last week. So, on short notice, I got my bike prepared and we headed to the in-laws' Saturday afternoon (the ride was that night).

We could not have asked for more beautiful weather. Typically, in July, it is 80-85° and humid as a swamp (yes, even at Midnight). This time, however, it was 65° and relatively "unsticky". In fact, I was just a bit chilly before the ride started.

So the Midnight Ride, for anyone who doesn't know (read: anyone reading this) is not a race. You basically pay $15 to ride around a predetermined course starting at Midnight. It takes us about an hour. Really, you could probably just go out at Midnight and ride your bike for an hour and get the same thing. Okay, probably not. Police officers block off the entire course and, well, it's just fun to ride around the streets at night with about 2-3,000 other people.

The event has gotten larger every year. This year was no different. Unfortunately, this draws anyone and everyone, including those who may not even really know how to ride a bike, may not know what a bicycle is, or may try to eat said bike. Before the ride even began, some nimrod in front of us (who was simply inching forward) forgot how to stop and nearly caused three or four people to fall over. Once the ride got started he was no better. He wobbled and weaved all over the place. Some might think he was drunk. I simply think he was stupid.

Later on there were two young boys (probably 9 or 10) who kept mouthing off at each other while their mother kept telling them to shut up. At one point, one of them swerved in front of my father-in-law, cutting him off and causing him to go through the cones and outside the course. At the same time his brother cut me off and nearly became roadkill himself. Luckily I avoided said twerp and moved on.

The best part of the ride is, after a rather dark and steep descent, THE UNDERGROUND!! Now, I like to call this place Subtropolis (you have to say that in a deep voice with an echo) but, well, Subtropolis is an entirely different place. So I guess we'll call it "The really cool underground place where they have offices and stuff" or, simply "The Undergound" for short. Anyway, yeah, you're basically riding your bike through caverns carved out of rock. There are offices and warehouses (most of which have picnic tables in front of them) down there. It's usually about 15 degrees cooler and really dry down there so it's a nice break from the rest of the ride. This time, however, it was actuall hotter and more humid down there. I constantly have to resist the urge to ride off into one of the dark, uncivilized tunnels and seek out the Lost World. But the threat of dinosaurs and savages always steers me back.

I did really well throughout the ride. I even tackled the hills pretty well. That's not to say they weren't exhausting, but merely that I made it up them all while still passing people.

After the ride we stopped at an iHop and ate lots of greasy, nasty food. Nothing better after a good workout than to pollute your body again with some iHop! Of course, iHop at 1:30 am is a bit dicey. The clientele is certainly not businessmen and socialites. One guy had tiger stripes tattooed up and down both arms. He must have had some sort of plastic surgery done to his face because he totally looked like a cat but in a subtle way. Also, the iHop has a cop who stands by the register and gives the evil eye to everyone who passes. But you know he's really thinking "What did I do to deserve this beat??"

Got in around 3:00 and crashed. I didn't wake up until 11:00 or so and probably could've slept for another few hours. I got chided for snoring but since I didn't hear it, it didn't happen. Yes. To that, I says: "Pics or it didn't happen!!" :)

I want to ride my bicycle,
I want to ride my bike.
I want to ride my bicycle,
I want to ride it where I like.

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