Navigate / search

2012 Berkshire Big Adventure Ride

On Friday, we packed up the Ridgeline with our bikes, the kid and the dog and headed north to Massachusetts for a weekend of friends, food and riding.

Bikes loaded in the truck

Our home away from home was a cute little cabin in the woods. As soon as the captain turned on the weekend sign, we settled in to “hang” mode. You know – a little barbequeing, going for a nice lazy walk around the lake, just sitting on the front porch and enjoying the fire. We got busy doing a whole lotta nothin’.

our cabin in the woods

While a couple friends and their families trickled in to the campground on Friday, the rest of our motley crew came rolling in on Saturday.

We spent Saturday laughing, grilling, enjoying each others company and managed to make some new friends along the way, too. That is one of the best parts about these events. You’re surrounded by like-minded people so it is easy to meet new people.

Hanging at the campground

On Sunday morning, I awoke not long after dawn. When I walked to the cabin door I found a lovely green Luna Moth staring back at me. It seemed like it had to be some sort of auspicious sign that a good day was ahead.

Luna Moth on the screen door

By 7:30am our crew assembled like a ragtag Voltron and headed off the the start of the Berkshire Big Adventure ride. These friends of mine… they’re just the greatest <3

The gang at the Berkshire Ride 2012

The start point was 17 miles away from the campground on the tar. It was the first time I’d ever really got to try to stretch the legs of the Husky a little. That type of riding obviously isn’t it’s strong suit but it felt great nonetheless.

Sometimes the universe lines up the sunlight through the trees and the temperature jusssst so and everything feels right in your world. Sunday morning was just like that.

The little Husky that could

I don’t think I did more than 50mph on that stretch of road to the start but, it felt like the best 50mph ever. Hand on the throttle, I motored up along route 8 where all signs pointed to a great day ahead. The sound of the Husky thumped through the morning. Hell yeah.

Sundays ride would be my first event on the TE310. It is still a bike I don’t know very well. After the 2011 BBA ride, I came away feeling a bit discouraged by my riding on the DRZ. This year I was hoping a better tool might help me to find my confidence.

When we pulled up to the start of the ride, many bikes were already lined up. It never gets old seeing a large group of motorcycles.

Bikes lined up for the ride

The title of the 2012 ride was the Berkshire Big Adventure – Vince’s “I’m Not Dead Yet” Dual Sport/ Adventure Ride. Vince, who is a member of the Berkshire Trail Riders Association and trail boss for the ride was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

During the riders meeting, he delivered a poignant address that left us all with a deep admiration of his courage in the face of such adversity. Live life to the fullest, enjoy each day – those words pierce your heart when you are looking at a man with terminal cancer. But – they ring true for every person, every day. Take it to heart.

As the bikes began to roll out of the start in waves, that excited feeling of finally being on our way came over me. I was probably grinning like an idiot in my helmet. I’m kind of goofy like that.

As you might imagine when it comes to moving over 100 bikes around, there is some clustering and jockeying for position that happens until the groups of riders start to thin themselves out and gap naturally. The first clump came near the first hero section. It was a short stretch of loose mud. From that point on riders began to spread a little more.

Into the slop we go…

into the muck

The ride was mostly dirt roads with some tar connectors and a couple hero sections thrown in. Those parts were boney, wet and offered something more challenging.

During one of the hero sections a giant puddle swallowed Dan’s bike. The funny thing about muddy water is that you haven’t the slightest idea what’s under there or how deep it is until you’re in it. Ben and Dan managed to dislodge the drowned Husky and get it out of the puddle. After just a few minutes the bike started and on we went.

There are some pics by other riders on the ADV thread showing just how deep and gooey the water was.

stay to the right!

There was a really nice lady who lived close by who was on hand with a tow rope helping riders who got submarined there. She was kind of excited to see me (a woman rider) out in the muck. She even offered to let me use her bathroom, bless her heart!

There was a good handful of ladies on the ride :)

heavenly riding

About halfway through the ride, I realized that for the first time I didn’t feel like I’d been working hard, I wasn’t scared and I wasn’t even the caboose for the whole ride. I felt… normal great!

I can only attribute it to feeling so much more at home on the Husky. It is such a pleasure to ride. The weight difference over the DRZ alone is a huge change. But that combined with the suspension, the ergos and the responsiveness of the bike make it feel so. damned. good!

Love, love, LOVE this bike!

My Husky TE310 - I love it so!

Since this was the first time I’d taken the TE on an extended ride, I had no idea how much range I could squeeze out of my small fuel tank. When the route came to a close we still had the 17 miles of road ahead to get back to the campground. With only 50 miles on my tank since last fill up, I figured I’d be fine to make it back.

As I buzzed along the hilly pavement, the miles began to tick by. About 5 miles from the entrance to the campground while heading down hill, the bike began to lose power and… died. Out of gas.

I kept the bike rolling and as the ground leveled out, hit the starter and it came back to life. When the ground tipped back upward enough gas would drain back and I could hammer my way up the next hill and play the roller coaster game. I kept that up until the bike died about 300 feet from the entrance to the campground where I rolled into it’s gravel drive. With one last bit of luck, the bike started one more time and I was able to ride to our cabin. I made it by the skin of my teeth and a measly 67 miles on the odometer. WHEW!

As we packed up the truck and made the rounds to say goodbye to our friends who were doing the same, I felt a pang of melancholy. It was sad that our great weekend had come to a close. I loved every minute of our time there.

Great people, great fun, great riding.

hello from the fuzzmops

Until next year…

You Might Also Like:

File Under: Is This Thing On? GoPro Self Portrait at 30 MPH

While sorting through GoPro pictures that were snapped during the 2012 Berkshire Big Adventure over the weekend I found another “Is This Thing On” self-portrait:

is this thing on?

I have mastered the ability to not know whether my camera is running. It is always a bummer to find out that I missed capturing something good when I get back home. But all in all, having the GoPro shooting photos all day has been great. Love that little camera!

The 2012 Crotona Midnight Run Results Are In!

The top 3 finishers for this years Crotona Midnight Run in both the Expert and Novice categories have been posted online for the better part of a week. But today… today the results for the rest of us little people came in the mail :)

Along with the results came the coveted CMR finishers medallion.

2012 Crotona Midnight Run Medallion

Do you smell that? That my friends, is the smell of victory.

By the looks of things (unless i’m reading the scores wrong), I squeaked out a finish in the overall top 10. I didn’t do so great on points. I came away with only 972. But that was enough to put me in at the number 9 spot overall. Can’t complain about that.

Category Rider Points
High Point Overall Ken Creary 993
1st Place Expert Bob & Beverly Bendix 992
2nd Place Expert Pat Regan 991
3rd Place Expert Robert McCarthy 989
1st Place Novice Alan Dubbs 989
2nd Place Novice Michael Salese 989
3rd Place Novice Mike Dolan 988

 

Great Job, Guys!

Again, big thanks to Ramapo MC for a fun night out. Can’t wait for next year!

You can read my post on the nights events here: A Night Out On The Town – The 94th Crotona Midnight Run

A Night Out on the Town – The 94th Crotona Midnight Run

Will contestant 27 please come on down

There is an excitement that begins to simmer when you’re waiting for something to happen. And so it was this year for the Crotona Midnight Run. The day that the flyers were made public a low rumbling buzz began to circulate around local motorcycle circles.

The chit-chat about the Crotona seems to come in three basic flavors:

  • “Are you doing the Crotona?”
  • “Why would anyone want to do the Crotona?”
  • “Woohoo, I can’t wait for the Crotona!”

There have been some years where I have flatly dismissed the idea of doing the ride. And there have been others where I hemmed and hawed, committing nothing more than a ‘maybe’. But, this year was different. I was fully in the YES! camp right out of the gate.

The biggest obstacle for any motorcycle event here in the northeast during the winter would obviously be the weather. Who can know when they pick a date months in advance what the weather will be like? You could have roads covered in four feet of snow or… if the flying weather monkeys have the night off – clear skies and low temperatures in the 20’s.

The Day of the Big Dance

Daniel

During the afternoon, I wandered around the house anxiously awaiting to leave. I tried to relax, tried and failed to take a nap, watched tv – you know stuff to occupy my mind so that I didn’t gnaw my fingernails down to nubs prior to my 9pm departure.

The day dragged on until the last 45 minutes before I was set to leave. That of course went by in two shakes of a lambs tail as I tried to make sure that I had everything that I needed. Dressed and ready to go, I kissed Kenny goodbye and pointed my headlights west towards Yonkers. Part of me wished that he would be coming along, but it’s just not his thing.

This year I was heading to Yonkers solo, unsure if anyone I knew would actually be there. I spent the hour long slab ride wondering what the night would be like. I was glad to see Catfish and Carmine in the Ural and Daniel’s Ducati dry clutch clamoring away when I rode into the parking lot for registration.

Catfish and Carmine
Tiger  at Nathans for the Crotona Midnight Run

Not wanting to get a late key time, I quickly got on line to register. I received sticker number 27. Whew! I read somewhere that there were over 70 riders who checked in. Getting a post 1am key has to be a drag. That’s a lot of standing around for everyone involved.

As I sat idling in line waiting to be released, the lady timekeeper leaned to me and said - “I think you’re our only lady rider this year.” There were definitely other women there – some passengers and sidecar monkeys but I don’t know yet if there were any other pilots. I found that surprising. I kind of thought each year there would be a few more.

While her stopwatch counted down the seconds, I went through my standard procedure of thinking that I’d be terrible at navigating and will probably miss the first turn in my anxiety. It was a relief to successfully make the first left and put that craziness to bed. With each subsequent turn that came up, I began to relax a little bit more.

Captain America at the Crotona

For a while I was mixed in with a group of about 5 other riders. Based on what I thought my correct time was – they had to have been off their marks. We moved through the route together for quite a while. And then… and I’m not really sure how it happened, they were all gone. I was alone following the route under the stars. Before I knew it, I’d reach the end of my sheet and pulled in to the diner lot.

How two hours had just passed – I had no idea. The layover went by in a blink, too. It was like I was in a time-sucking wormhole.

Bikes at the Carmel Diner

If you happened to read my 2011 CMR post you might want to pat me on the back. Unlike then when I stupidly decided I had enough gas to finish the ride on that P.o.S GS, I topped off the Tiger prior to leaving for the second leg. Please, hold your applause.

Heading off into the dark at 4:27, my first turn was set to be 3.1 miles from the start. The first road I came to had no street sign. So, I decided to take my own advice and trust my gut (and my odometer) and make the left anyway. Riding along alone in the dark, doubt began to sneak up on me. Do I double back and take a look at the next road or keep going? I opted to go with my initial instinct and keep moving forward. As it turned out, I’d made the right choice. That same exercise in trust was repeated a few more times throughout the leg.

I clocked in at the final check point 2 minutes late on my time. I know I lost points on the other checkpoints as well but I have no idea how many, yet. I really admire the folks who can get a perfect score. Amazing.

Crotona Midnight Run 2012 Complete

It was nearly 7am when I started my hour long trek back home. With the nights events now complete, the universe let out a big sigh and the adrenaline wore off. It was no longer time to do math and watch the speedo and read roadsigns and watch for deer and hope I did that right and… and… and… It was time to burn the familiar miles on the Long Island Expressway.

All the way home even with my heated liner and gloves I felt cold, chilled through. I started to realize just how tired I was. The little devil on my shoulder started that horrible game of whispering, “you know you want to close your eyes, just for a second. What could happen?” in my ear. Hate that guy.

I played little games with myself to stay alert and not be lulled into a relaxed state. I worked at remembering pieces of the night, I focused hard on my surroundings, I thought about how much it would suck to be plastered on the back of a coach bus.  When my exit sign appeared in the distance, I may or may not have said “Thank God,” out loud in my helmet.

A little after 8am, I fumbled with my keys and walked in to our empty house. My gear came off of me in an explosion and I just left it where it fell and went to lay down. I sent a text to Kenny to let them know I’d made it home safe and sound and then sleep came calling as I shivered under the blankets.

Sleepy face

When I awoke 3 hours later my monkeys were back home and we sat and talked about the ride. My eyes were puffy and red – my face windburned. My thoughts weren’t sharp or clear. They were more like a watercolor, a loose interpretation of what I wanted to say washed over everything because of the general haze hung over my mind. I tried hard not to nap all day and completely screw up my sleep for the following night.  For someone who rarely sees the stroke of midnight – starting my ride at that time is really difficult and I felt the effects of it all day.

Now with some sleep under my belt, I am able to relish all of the twists and turns, the challenge and the fun of the ride. I had a great time. And yes, I can’t wait for next year.

So, What Did I Learn?

  • Trust your instincts
  • Fill up at the halfway point!

 Big Thanks

A huge thanks has to go out again to road-captain Dick Roberts and the whole gang over Ramapo MC for hosting the Crotona Midnight Run. It’s a lot of work and takes a lot of good will and dedication to prepare the route and then stand out there in the cold dark night. Thank you, all.

It’s the Night of the Big Dance – The 94th Crotona Midnight Run

Crotona Midnight Run Flyer

This morning I am buzzing around with my hair on fire because I’m excited about tonights Crotona Midnight Run.

I’ve got the usual jitters about making the wrong turn right out of the gate, not being able to follow the route and cocking up royally. But as soon as I pull in to the lot and sign my name on the entry form – I’m hoping that will all go away.

It will be good to see some the other riders and the nice folks at Ramapo Motorcycle Club who stand outside freezing all night checking the riders in.

I’ve got my gear laid out, double checked that my warm long socks are clean, I have a spare fleece ready to tuck into my sidebag. I just need to affix my reading light and I’m ready to roll!

Can’t wait!

Blog Posts About the Crotona Midnight Run: