Monday, June 25, 2012

Indy N.I.T.E Ride

Me and 3,500 of my closest friends.
 Morgan, Renee & Mike Westbrook, Echo Edne, Sue & Bob Shappell
Greg & Lynnell, John & "Mary-Honey," Mike & Renee, dork, 
Linda & CB, George, Echo, Bob, Suzanne, Sue

We came, we saw, we road 18 miles on the streets of Indianapolis from IUPUI to the Butler Campus and more! This was my first Indy NITE (Navigate Indy This Evening) Ride and it was a great experience.

The fact that I was excited to ride 18 miles on my bike, in many ways, is a testament to the year that has been: starting a health plan with Dr. Haendigas, surviving Haitian gunmen, working out at the YMCA with trainer Nicole Peel & friends--all these things have guided me to a place where I was physically and mentally able to do this. I never would have considered this ride a year ago.

The event really was kicked-off by tail-gate-maestro, Greg Taylor. Within minutes of arriving, he pulled a grill out of my van and cooked up totally yummy marinated chicken breast pieces. Accompanied by: Lynnell's 2 kinds of made-that-day salsa, sweet potato fries, cookie bars; Suzanne's large vegetable tray, various fruits and other noshy treats by the Herrs & Shappells. It was a symphony of healthy treats--great healthy fuel before the trek.

The picture at the top of this post is the melee of thousands of cyclists staged for the dark ride. Small sections of the hoard were released at a time, staggering our collective start. It took about 45 minutes to start all cyclists. The first group started at 11:00 pm.

While we waited and nudged forward we were serenaded with motivational and fun tunes through a great P.A. system: Stars & Stripes Forever - Sousa, Bicycle -Queen, Theme to Rocky, In the Mood -Glenn Miller, Star Wars Theme, Rockin' Down the Highway -Doobies, and the like.

It was great to ride through the heart of downtown and around the Circle as people gawked, waived, and cheered. The police cleared the streets for us, sometimes completely, other times just our side of the street.

Shortly after getting out of downtown I heard some faint music. I came upon two cool dudes in recumbent bikes. They had jams--Lowrider by War! Made me totally laugh out loud!
 (example of recumbent trikes.)

The unofficial vibe of the event is anything goes. All types, ages and shapes of people. Every kind of bike imaginable. I will say this; it seemed like a pretty docile bunch. Out of the 3,500+ people in and around the event I never saw the need for an officer of the law.

The only requirements for the ride are a headlight, helmet, the ability to finish within two hours and an entry fee of $23-$29. Some people take a leisurely pace, talking the whole time; some going for their best time and everything in between.

I was somewhere in the middle; sometimes talking with my mates and other times pushing it. The Taylors and I finished somewhere in the 1:40 time frame, mostly because we were trying to keep up with Lynnell, heretofore known as "The Pacesetter." There is a break available halfway through. We stopped for only a minute or two and decided to carry on.

In the midst of the ride I could definitely appreciate the cumulative effects of my Y workouts since January. Having never ridden more than ten miles up to this point I was curious how I'd fare. I'm proud to say I was confidently churning along, even pushing it pretty hard on the second half of the ride; several times whizzing by clusters of leisurely riders.

By the end, I was ready for the finish line, but nothing close to painfully so. I was tired but still had fuel left in the tank (must have been that great tail gate). The only annoyance by the end was a slight discomfort in the posterior region, perhaps remedied by a different sent and/or pants.

I have to say that I was really impressed with my Specialized (brand) Crossroads (model) bike, for the simple fact that I never thought about it the entire ride. That meant it was performing the way I expected it to and to a degree that never brought it into question. I recently swapped out the stock bars for some nondescript flat bars which has made a world of difference. Very comfortable and not one back nag over the 18 mile trek!

Plug: Dave and the crew at Kokomo's Victory Bike Shop are stellar. Great products and they're bringing back meaning to the fading term, customer service.

The only thing that was missing was my girl, Sammy Jo! She couldn't make it due to schedule conflicts. But there's always next year! Saturday June 22, 2013, in fact.

Great time and great friends who made the experience meaningful:

Greg & Lynnell Taylor
George & Suzanne Roberts
John & "Mary Honey" Roberts
Chris & Linda Herr
Echo Edne
Bob & Sue Shappell
Mike & Renee Westbrook