RW24 was just an outstanding experience on so many levels. A trip like this is really the reason to start a bike racing team with friends and pile them into a school bus for the weekend.
It is readily described as a tour through the Riverwest neighborhood of Milwaukee. There is a loop of 4.5 miles bounded by 4 checkpoints that everyone needs to stop at in order to receive credit for a lap. Categories are split by gender into soloists, 1 team-1 bike, 1 team-multiple bikes and tandem. There are also bonus checkpoints that are set up in 2 hour time slots all throughout the 24 hours that showcase neighborhood businesses, community activities and characters. The beautiful thing about this is the random hours of the night these checkpoints would always be staffed and anxious to see you roll through.
As a group of people that have been racing alleycats and several variances of bike races for many years now, the prospect of nailing down as many laps as possible on a set course in another city for the sake of frivolous bragging rights was just too much to pass up. Of the 500 registrants we, and our like-minded competitors were in the minority. And that is still way cool by me (written by jeff, by the by).
One of my many great memories will undoubtedly be that stretch between 4:30 AM and 7:00 AM when the rain was pounding down for the 5th straight hour and I saw more CP workers than riders. The sun was starting to shine whilst the streets were practically empty and I was just really into chipping away at this wonderful task of riding to no conceivable end. It was a remarkable moment when it felt as though all of this organizing and persistent volunteering was done just for me. (real or not, you certainly don’t enjoy that feeling in the “sanctioned” racing world).
Eventually we all met the end of the time crunch and the bus occupants fared VERY well at the task of hitting the bonus checkpoints and the lap count. No one’s trip was gonna be sold short, that’s for sure. Incredible accomplishments all around. Callie completed 44 laps on what must have been an exhausting brakeless fixed gear ride. She got the most out of any female soloists. Nico, trippz, Blaze, Philly Jeff, and C Norris came on super strong at the end to seal a tie for 1st in the mixed bike category and 2nd overall with 74 laps. I spent the time sharing a bike with Bradley, the Augdog and Candles Nordyke. The lattermost man was the one going apeshit to ensure we collectively took the most laps out of everyone else. And we did. 79 laps and all the bonuses. 350+ miles of straight checkpoints alone. Not too shabby.
(thanks to fonscy)
There really are too many great things and feats within and without this team to highlight from the trip. Free lemonade, free champagne, fresh oatmeal cookies, free dinner, free breakfast, free couch, you name it. I could probably talk your ear off about it but I’d rather conclude with saying I had an absolute fucking blast and I’m very happy to know there is a place in the world like the Riverwest neighborhood of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.