The 2013 Crotona Midnight Run is scheduled for Saturday – February 23rd. For the last 48 hours I have been rapt by the yearly ritual of watching the weather as that day draws closer.
By the look of the forecast for Saturday into Sunday – things aren’t shaping up so good. The temperatures are fine but a 70% chance of snow/rain? Eh, not so much.
Tiger – Patrol
The other thing that I’ve been wrestling with is what to ride. I really, really (really) want to ride the Tiger. But, if I were to take the Ural weather wouldn’t be as much of a concern.
Why the dilemma? It is entirely because of ride to and from the event start/finish in Yonkers. That is about a 75 mile slab ride from where I live.
Knowing how I tired I’ve felt in years past when the ride is over at 6:00 am, I just want to get home as fast as I can. With the Ural, as fast as I can… isn’t very fast.
But, then again the idea of riding home on the slab in a wintry mix after being up all night on any bike doesn’t sounds so good. Not to mention it might snow all through the actual event.
I wonder if Ramapo MC will reschedule or cancel on account of the weather? They have done that in the past. I guess we’ll know soon enough.
In the meantime ~ my dear friend Bill has been encouraging Kenny to put a boot on my bike to keep me from doing something stupid. How laughable. Clearly they both underestimates the power of my stupidity!
How exciting! The date for the 95th Crotona Midnight Run was announced early this year by the Ramapo Motorcycle Club.
Pray for a heatwave!
What Is the Crotona Midnight Run?
The Crotona is a timed road ride in which participants must sustain moving at 30mph over a course of 120 miles, without the aid of GPS. Sounds easy enough, right? But the cold of February and the dark of the middle of the night keeps things interesting.
The full course is divided into two 60 mile legs, with a 2 hour layover at the halfway mark. The ride starts at midnight, with riders being released 1 every minute.
Throughout the course are random checkpoints, logging your arrival time. You start the ride with a bank of 1,000 points. Points are then deducted from your score (or not) based on what time you arrive at the checkpoints along the route. You must make all checkpoints or you will be a DNF.
I completely nicked this picture of me at the 2012 Crotona from the Ramapo MC Facebook page. I really like how it highlights how dorky I am. I realized later on that the writing on the front of my hat, which says “AMSTERDAM” proudly displayed “TERD” across my forehead.
You might want to “like” the gang at Ramapo on the ole Facebook. They have some pretty nice events throughout the year.
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.
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.
High Point Overall
1st Place Expert
Bob & Beverly Bendix
2nd Place Expert
3rd Place Expert
1st Place Novice
2nd Place Novice
3rd Place Novice
Great Job, Guys!
Again, big thanks to Ramapo MC for a fun night out. Can’t wait for next year!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.