Good? Because if you want to, you know, spend a little more time admiring it – I completely understand.
I feel it’s only right that since I’ve been bestowed such an esteemed award that I honor it in the only way I know how; interpretive dance. But, since you can’t see me right now and I must confess I look like a hot mess – I’ll do the next best thing and make a speech. Only you can’t hear me either. Well, whatever. I’ve prepared a statement:
Thank you Ramapo Motorcycle Club, friends, fellow motorcyclists. I am honored to receive this testament to my ability to sit on a motorcycle and point it in the correct direction. Though I know you will be shocked to discover it, it isn’t EVERYday that I receive such accolades.
I would like to dedicate this trophy to my one man pit crew, the wind beneath my wings; Kenny. Though my darling boy does not himself have any fabulous trophies that smell of rich mahogany and gleam with the golden touch of Midas himself, I absolutely love him for making the winning of MY trophy possible.
I humbly thank you all.
I am really happy. With my score of 993 points, I placed in 7th in a field of 55 entrants. Not too shabby!
Did you notice they actually put Fuzzy Galore on the name plaque? Love it. 😆
Let’s Hear It For The Boys
In the box that my trophy came in was also the full roster of participants, their scores and rankings.
Do you know who kicked some serious ass by scoring 995 points – FIRMLY locking him in to a 5th place ranking? Yup. Soth – from Steady on the Humble. Make sure you mosey on over to his blog and give him a virtual high five.
Keith – reader of this here very blog – took home a trophy and a 3rd place finish. W00T!
Soth – Gave the Crotona Midnight Run the whatfor and scored a 5th place spot.
Bob – My wingman rounded out our little reader contingent with a 9th place spot.
Well done, gentlemen! Enjoy your trophies and highly coveted Crotona Midnight Run medallions. You deserve ’em.
Apparently my trophy, being a big vtwin and all, vibrated one of it’s bars off in the box. Parts falling off in transit? Must be a Harley.
I’d been bubbling with excitement over this year’s Crotona Midnight Run for the better part of a week. I could hardly wait to set off in to the cold dark night and get underway.
With the twists and turns of a daytime soap, the Crotona Midnight Run kicked off at midnight on Sunday February 20th. Sort of.
I had high hopes of sleeping late on Saturday morning. The only zzzz’s I would be catching though were in my daydreams of a nice lazy nap. Real sleep wasn’t to be. I milled around the house, ran errands and tried to make busy-work for my mind. With OCD-like precision I checked the weather and the clock 4,000 times before finally shoving off around 8:45pm.
Throughout the day the winds outside were positively howling. Gusts up to nearly 50mph were forecast for the night. I gave myself a little extra time to make it to the exit on the LIE where my friends were set to be meeting.
As I got my first taste of the wintery blast on the Expressway I was glad that I chose to ride the GS. The big bomber was probably a better match against the wind than the flimsy DRZ.
When I pulled in to the gas station, I saw only Robert and Quacka standing there. Though my instinct told me the contrary, I figured I was just early. I said my ‘hellos’ and gassed up the bike. The wind cut across my knuckles like a razor as I filled the tank. It was freezing.
As the 3 of us waited in the cold, a text message came through with bad news. Catfish’s Ural was crapped out on the highway, firing only on 1 cylinder. It was down for the night – he would not be making the ride. Quacka quickly dispatched himself to help as Robert and I waited for Bob.
Our numbers were dwindling, but my excitement wasn’t. As soon as Bob arrived, off we went to Yonkers.
To the Starting Line
With little fanfare, we made the hour long trek to Yonkers. The wind gave me a good shove here and there, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I imagined something that felt like the constant blowing winds we experienced crossing the prairie in South Dakota. I was glad to be wrong.
As we stood in the freezing parking lot awaiting the sign-up table, I heard what could only be the deep, throaty rumble of Soth’s RC51, heading down Central Park Ave. Bwaaaaaaaaaaa…. Bwaaaaaaaaaaa.
Hugs, handshakes and introductions all around – we signed in and got our route sheets. It was so cold my bare hands were kind of frozen in a claw like shape. I could barely sign my name to become rider number 9.
Oh, the Humanity
I stood next to the bomber, about to swing my leg over and no dice. I couldn’t lift my leg to swing it. The liner in the pants shifted and for some reason was hindering the motion. What the…? I stood there, messing with my pants only to pull zipper off the track. Fantastic! I broke the zipper on my pants.
I finally got on the bike only to discover that the grade on the parking lot made getting the huge beast off it’s sidestand nearly impossible. Rather than me getting off again, putting it on it’s center stand and then riding it off the stand, Robert pulled up next to me and gave the handlebar a tug so I could right myself. Who says chivalry is dead?!
Now that I had feeling like a complete douche out of the way, we motored over to the neighboring Nathan’s to warm up and prepare our route sheets.
To the Maps – Let’s Go!
I love that you aren’t allowed to use a GPS for this ride.
When you first get the route sheets they look like an overwhelming jumble of number and letters. The idea of actually reading it while you’re in motion, in the dark, in the dead of winter can kind of feel like a shock to the system at first. But, if you just stop for a second and really look closely, its actually quite easy to follow.
Armed with my cutey skull lamp, the Rally Pack magnetic map pocket (which incidentally, I won in a raffle at the Ramapo 500 🙂 ) I was ready to roll. Gone was that nervous excitement about doing something unknown that I’d experienced during my go at the 2007 CMR.
Expect the Unexpected
When we pulled up to the staging area, we were notified that the first leg of the ride was… canceled. WHAT?! The high winds that the area had been experiencing all day managed to take some trees and power lines down. The whole first leg was scrapped. The ride would start from the layover point at the Carmel Diner at 3:00am.
Oh well, life happens. We were already there – might as well make the best of it. That’s just what we did. One of the riders stepped up to the plate and organized a really nice, hour long back road ride to the diner. Night time twisties!
We arrived at the diner, in good spirits and settled in for the layover with coffee and “breakfast.” Despite the setback, the overall mood of the riders coming in seemed to be upbeat. There was lots of laughing and chit-chat.
I was really happy to see Ben from Ramapo MC at the diner and then later on again at a checkpoint. Ben is always ready with a smile and a kind word. He introduced me to a writer/photographer whose name I have unfortunately forgotten. While we were talking he asked me, “Why do you do it?”
I’m not really sure I know the real answer to that question. Its riding motorcycles, what’s not to love? There is something to the idea that there might be a little hardship along the way that you have to overcome. I guess you could say the challenge is appealing. But, I just keep coming back to the same basic premise: because its fun!
Bob was my official wingman for the night. He rode along with me for the whole route. I was his surrogate eyes since he didn’t have his reading glasses and couldn’t read the route 🙂 He wasn’t there to win, he was there to finish the ride, so he wasn’t concerned about making the correct time. He didn’t fuss or complain and really had a good attitude about the whole thing. It was great having him at my mercy! Muhahahahaha! uh, I mean having him along.
My other unofficial wingman was of course Soth. He was rider number 10 and was riding for time so he wasn’t always in my mirror but we did rubberband now and then. As much as he might have outwardly said “why am I doing this?” I think deep down inside he loved it. 😉
And We’re Off
3:09 marked my departure time and off I went putt-putting in to the night. In one of many missteps, I second guessed myself based on someone else’s u-turn and doubled back to check a signless street. I should have just trusted my gut and my horribly inaccurate odometer. U-turning again and heading back in the correct direction, I had to find Soth, who was rider number 10 and pass him and get myself back into the correct time slot.
While Bob and Soth smartly topped off their tanks at the Carmel Diner, I foolishly did not. I was staring down at 7 bars on the gas gauge to go 60 miles. No problem. I could ride home on that, for crying out loud.
At 3:19 we passed a digital bank sign that said it was 13 degrees. I’m happy to say my Gerbings gloves and liner were kicking much ass. I stayed plenty warm thanks to their toasty goodness.
For the most part the rest of the route was pretty straight forward and easy to follow. The only problem I was having was watching my gas gauge eat it’s bars at an alarming rate. Putt-putting around at 30mph ate 6 bars of gas in less than 50 miles. What THE HELL??
Back at the Diner I was busy telling Soth to fill up if he had any indication that he *might* need gas. Like a huge dummy, I didn’t even follow my own advice. I truly did not expect such tragic mileage out of the Panzer.
This is the End?
We came rolling in to what was now the abrupt end of the ride near Bedford, NY. Due to more downed trees, the final checkpoint was at around the 35 mile mark.
A single, lonely bar remained on my gas gauge. The closest open gas station was a mile down the road… on the other side of the downed trees :-/ As other riders came rolling in to the parking lot, I was offered gas by not 1 but 2 well-prepared riders. Their kindness and willingness to help was awesome. Motorcycle people can be pretty great <3
So that was it. It was the abrupt end of the ride and we made it. Through cold, ice, wind, ripped pants and a nearly empty gas tank – we came out on the other side in one piece.
Bob, Soth & I set off towards the Hutchinson River Parkway. Bob and I stopped at the parkway Mobile for gas and Soth put the hammer down with a honk and wave heading for Brooklyn. And then we were two.
We grabbed a cup of coffee and a biological break after filling up. During that time, in what was a string of missteps for the night – I managed to unplug my heated liner segment from the Y connector on the Gerbings. Only, I did not realize that until I was already underway and not willing to pull over. I was getting tired and just wanted to get home. Though it was cold with no heated liner on the highway, my heated gloves were cooking so things could have been worse.
During the hour it took me to get home, I had time to mull over the ride, the people, and my feelings about the whole thing. In those sleepy moments, I felt blessed to have nice people in my life who share the same enthusiasm for enjoying their time on the big blue marble. I really enjoyed the ride, but most of all I enjoyed the time with my friends.
Living so far east, it isn’t often that I get the opportunity to ride in to the sunrise. On Sunday morning I got to do just that. I thought it was a very fitting and beautiful end to my great night of riding.
Mistakes I Made:
Broken Pants Zipper
Couldn’t get bike off side stand
Second guessed my gut instinct
Overestimated my fuel range
Unplugged my heated liner
What I did Right:
Steady on the Humble
My dear friend Soth posted his ride 2011 Crotona Midnight Run report on Steady On The Humble. Don’t forget to head over there and read about the ride from his point of view.
Thank You, Ramapo Motorcycle Club
The folks at Ramapo MC really deserve a huge round of applause. They put in a lot of hours and hard work organizing a safe and fun event. They stand outside at check-ins and checkpoints all night long, freezing their piggies off and still have a smile for you when you pull up. It doesn’t go unnoticed. Great bunch of folks.
As of 6:30pm here on Long Island, the winds outside are howling. The temperatures are holding steady at around 30° but the wind… oof. My ride to the starting line in Yonkers is about an hour on the highway. I’ll have a good feel for what I’m in for by the time I roll into the parking lot. …
I stopped by Borders last night and picked up a flexy LED book light to clip to the windshield of the Bomber. Now I should be able to read my route sheet with ease.
I walked out of Borders and put the light on my bike. In that short amount of time I also managed to “lose” my keys. I went through every one of my pockets five times. Nothing. I looked on the ground. I looked through my nearly empty tankbag. No dice. I was filled with a sense of dread at the thought of having to call Kenny at home to tell him I lost my keys in the span of 10 minutes.
The little helper elf that sits filing her nails with her feet up on the desk in the back of my brain hit the intercom button and said, “Check your glove…” Check my glove? What? That’s absurd. “Check your glove…”
Somehow my keys fell inside my left Gerbings glove which was plugged into my jacket and dangling like it was on mitten clips. Crisis averted. I had my light, my keys and Kenny was saved from spontaneous combustion. Thanks helper elf.
Testing My Light
I took my new light on a test ride buzzing down the 2 lane highway at about 60 for a few miles. It did just fine. The tractor-like vibes of the GS didn’t rattle it loose, unclip it or otherwise dislodge it. We’re in business!
I mentioned my new light to Soth on Twitter. He proceeded to tell me about his fancy Mighty Bright killer rollchart combo that he whipped up. Then he asked me what kind of light I got. I wonder if he could actually hear the crickets through the computer?
Why on EARTH would I pick something smart and you know, fancy? I picked my light because it had cute skulls on it. Priorities, people!
Here are some crap photos from my iPhone of how my light illuminates:
As it turns out, my cute skull light is sufficiently bright. Yay!
If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Another
Unfortunately, I came to realize that the backlight on the GS gauge cluster doesn’t really illuminate the odometer, so I’ll need a secondary light. Fantastic!