Saturday, August 23, 2008

Midnight Madness 2008

Similar to last year, I got all dressed up for the midnight ride in my business suit and pumps. I figure if I go to the office in bike clothes most every day, it's only natural for me to go to the bike ride in office clothes.

Changing only a couple things about my outfit and equipment from last year, I swap out to Crank Brothers pedals and cleats, using pontoon cleats to make walking easier, and carry a Timbuk2 messenger bag with a spare set of bike shoes just in case I find the pumps too painful.

Always a great time, Midnight Madness is the opportunity for San Diego cyclists to come out and ride bikes in the streets and generally be silly. It's like this ride was MADE for me.

My good buddy Steve was there too, all fuzzed up in the Cookie Monster outfit.

Popeye and Olive Oyl were there...
(those are spinach cans tied to the back of the bike) was this loving couple

Dan and Steve and I go to Elephant and Castle for some food before the ride. We know we won't be getting off the ride till after 1:00 am.

For what it's worth, I don't know if Steve has done a ride in his Cookie Monster costume when he was completely sober. Just for good measure, we have a libation before the ride.

Before the ride begins, we make one last stop at the car, and there in the parking lot a girl recognizes me.

"Hey! You're here again this year!" she says cheerfully.
"Yeah! Um, I'm sorry, tell me your name?" I ask her, not recognizing her face.
"Oh, you don't know me. I saw your picture online. It's the first one that comes up when you google image search 'Midnight Madness,'" she tells me.

I'm dumbstruck. "You're kidding me."

"No, really. Wow! This is so cool! Can I take your picture?" She goes on to mention that she hopes my feet won't be hurting like the year before, and then I realize she read my Midnight Madness 2007 writeup.

Wow. This is the first person that I have no connection to, who has known who I am before actually meeting me. I should have got HER picture. I think her name was Melissa or Natalie, or something with three syllables.
Quick shoutout: Wherever you are girl, you gave me a huge smile! Thank you. Please shoot me an email if you see this.

Just before we leave the car, Steve looks up to see a girl passing by us walking her bike.

"Hey! I know you!" he calls out to her.

She hesitates, not quite knowing if the large furry bule guy is harmless or not. He sees her hesitation and laughs, "I'm Steve from UC Cyclery. I work on your bike."

She laughs and then recognizes him. She introduces herself, and when we find out that Meredith has come to ride by herself, we invite her to join us. The four of us head to the staging area.

Back at the staging area, it's pretty packed, but it's not exactly madness. The madness will start after the ride begins.

This is probably one of my favorite photos of the night. This little girl has probably been on a bike in some manner since long before she could even speak. Cycling is so natural for her, it's even a natural thing for her to put her own "baby" on the back. I love it.

Waiting for the start of the ride, I see a rather colorful couple, complete with an automatic soap bubble generator that blows bubbles into the breeze and causes a random man to stop in his tracks, sway slightly, blink, and mutter, "Woah." Woah indeed. They even have their own little disco ball.

Where do people find these things? But I suppose that could be said of my clip-in pumps.

Suddenly from the darkness, I hear my name called. I look to the direction of the sound to see a petite green fairy and a Mexican wrestler. I look at the man in the mask who evidently knows me; the only visible amount of his person that is not covered by a costume is a small space right around his eyeballs.

"Hi!" I greet him cheerily, "I have no idea who you are."

It's Peter from my Velodrome class. Cool! I know people.

The clock ticks down, and the ride begins. People are allowed through the gates in waves, so that there are not too many people jockeying for position at any one given moment.

Dan, Steve, Meredith, and I line up at the start, wait for our wave to shuffle to the front and we take off.

As we ride down Harbor Drive, I see more people I know: Jason who races for DeWalt Big Ring Racing, and Roger from Performance Bike Bonita.

A little further, we see Alison, who also races for DeWalt. We ride together and chat, making the loop around the top of Harbor Island when Allison gets a flat. She calls for her buddies who are carrying a spare tube and CO2. They hand her the supplies and I jump in to change her flat.

Once Alison's flat is changed, we continue on the route. From here on out, it is pretty quiet, but we see plenty of interesting people. Like this girl, who gave new meaning to the term "tail light."

And the "Is-this-Midnight-Madness?-This-is-SPARTA!!" guy...

I thought this fixie guy looked cool with his attention to detail in the little monkey wrench hanging off his belt and his bowling shoes...

Who knew he was also a Mexican wrestler!!

We get to end of Rosecrans where the course turns onto San Diego Ave at Old Town. We only go a couple blocks before we come upon the favorite refreshment stop...

It was remarkable to me how many bikes were parked along the side of the street. It reminded me of the Saturday morning road ride near Solana Beach and the bikes parked outside the Java Depot!

We finish the ride, turning into downtown at about 1am, just as people are stumbling out of bars. It makes for something of an advanced obstacle course, as you never know when some random person will stagger into your path. A woman struggling to stay atop her stiletto heels calls out to us in a drunken bravado, "Hey! Bicyclers! Show us your boobs! And your junk! And your..." As she thinks about what else she'd like to see, I call to her, "Um, you should get out more!" as the crowd chuckles and we glide past her in a swirl of color.

It's moments like these my husband would remind me that smart alec-y comments often get people seriously killed, and I would do best just to ride, smile, and nod.

Before the end of the night, I see Ryan and Gilbert from my Velodrome class. It shouldn't surprise me that a lot of the Velodrome folks are out here. We should all plan to ride together next year, or at least take a headcount of who to look for.

So the twenty miles in pumps wasn't as painful as I remembered, perhaps because I didn't walk so much in the shoes earlier in the evening. All of us who rode had a great time and were glad we came. Before the end of the night, we're talking about costumes for next year!

Steve (Cookie Monster) admiring my fancy cleated pumps.

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