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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.

Day 5: Motorcycles in the Cold Dark Night – #29in29

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:

Whoa, It’s Almost Crotona Midnight Run Time!

It just hit me that the Crotona Midnight Run is this weekend! I thought I had more time.

2012 Crotona Midnight Run

The good thing is that there really isn’t much that I need to do to prepare this year. I need to find where my cutey-skull light went – something tells me it has found a new home in my daughter’s room – and I need to stick on my map pocket. Other than that, I’m just winging it.

The weather forecast for Saturday in to Sunday is looking really good with a low temperature around 30. ::knocks wood::  That is perfectly fine by me! Last year we saw temps in the teens.

Weather forecast Crotona Midnight Run

Most of all I will be happy to not be riding that big flippin’ Panzer GS. I can openly hate that bike now and not feel guilty because it’s out of my life. I’ll be happy as a clam riding the Tiger. Meow Fft Fft!

I’ve had several people ask me that same old boring question, again… “Why?”

The answer is still the same. Because it’s fun.

94th Crotona Midnight Run

Start & Finish: Nathan’s/Kohl Parking Lot – Central Ave/Rte 100, Yonkers, NY
Sign-in: 10:30pm
Key Time: 12:00 Midnight
Entry Fee: $20
More Info: http://ramapomc.org

Save the Date: 2012 Crotona Midnight Run

This morning I received an email hot off the press. It was the announcement of the date of Ramapo Motorcycle Club’s 2012 Crotona Midnight Run.

Mark your calendars boys and girls~

2012 Crotona Midnight Run
February  4-5 2012
First key at Midnight
RamapoMC.org for details

Will you be there this year?

What Is the Crotona Midnight Run?

The Crotona is a timed road ride in which participants must sustain moving at 30 miles per hour over a course of 120 miles. The full course is broken in to 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 speed. You start the ride with a bank of 1,000 points. Points are then deducted from your score based on what time you arrive at the checkpoints along the route. Points are deducted at 2 points for every minute early, 1 point for every minute late. You must make all checkpoints.

Fuzzy at the 2007 Crotona Midnight Run

Blog Posts About the Crotona Midnight Run: