Monday, July 16, 2007

Lenexa Midnight Bike Ride, part 1

Temperature at departure = 75° F (24° C)

Sunday morning's Lenexa Midnight Bike Ride was an absolute blast! I am so glad my buddy John talked Peter and I into giving it a try. John has ridden a bunch of organized rides throughout the country and he says this one was organized and run better than any in the Midwest, and as well as the good ones he has ridden in California. The volunteers and the police were fantastic.

Peter and I met up with John at 10 p.m. and waited for the registration table to open up -- they'd closed it down and moved all their stuff under some awnings since a thunderstorm was threatening. They opened the tables, briefly and we got our selves checked it and went back to get our bikes and kit pulled together.

A half hour before launch I saw Noah; it was wonderful getting to meet him and ride along with him. We took pictures of each other taking pictures of each other...

Dude, sorry this one came out so blurry; cell phone camera...

There was a photographer that the city of Lenexa uses to take pictures of all their events. Cool idea.
From left to right, a shot of Noah, my buddy John, my son Peter and myself, waiting for the ride to begin.

Having maneuvered up towards the start of the pack, past most of the families with small children and the guy with the big dog in the kiddie trailer, we were in a good starting position and since the thunderstorm warning had been lifted we actually got to start at Midnight.

We rode for about a mile when John asked if we wanted to move past some of the people we were behind. Off we went! We never made it up to the breakaway, but we were in the front part of the peloton (I've been watching a lot of the TdF). I can't tell you how much fun I had riding straight through left turn lanes while running the red light with an officer standing there watching. The ride was fairly level until we got close to the turn-around point. There is a rather steep hill -- a half mile down and a half mile up -- we flew down the first time and John and Peter made it to the top well before I did. I was huffing and puffing a bit, but recovered by the time we had to do it again. This time I let everyone hammer away on the downhill part and I took it easy. This time I passed the others on the uphill side.

Lesson: always keep a little in reserve.

The ride through the industrial limestone caves was worth the whole entry fee and more. Very cool ... in more than one way; it was fascinating riding past all the limestone pillars and the temperature cooled down so that it felt like we were riding through a refrigerator. The cool temp.s were very welcome after the hills we'd just ridden. I'm borrowing one of Noah's pictures of the caves.

The photographer they had on hand got the following pictures of Peter, myself and John close to the end of the ~2 miles we spent underground.




Chris Cakes pancakes at the end were a nice touch. Great ride and I'm looking forward to doing it again next year. Sorry for the length of this post. I've got a few other things I want to mention, but will wait until tomorrow.


Fritz said...

Biking through a cave? Did I read that right? That is so cool!

Anonymous said...

We were also there, it was a fun ride - our first of the kind. We were two of the ones who had the valve stem lights. The cave was the best part by far.

- TG from DDRKC

Warren T said...

Those lights were very cool. Where did you get them? Once it turns dark after the Daylight Saving Time change I like to be as noticeable as possible...

Warren T said...

BTW Fritz, there is an interesting article on the caves here:

Anonymous said...

Turner's. We got them the day of the event, and they were the last 2 packs. With the 20% discount, they were about $9 per pair. What I wanted to have was a spoke pov going on, but the cost and time needed to assemble were just too much.

- TG from DDRKC