Whiting Hammond After-Midnight Ride 2015
Man, I can’t believe it has already been an entire year since the 2014 WHAM ride! Last nights ride was just as epic as last years too.
I arrived with my friend Kool-Aid at about 10:45 this year, since we knew what to expect as far as entertainment is concerned. Sure enough, it was the same as last year, a DJ and not much else going on. I was looking forward to meeting up with a couple of folks from last year and as we make our way from the parking lot to the pavilion we run into “Sierra Nevada” from last years ride! I wasn’t expecting him to make it, so it was an awesome surprise. He was riding his 1975 Schwinn road bike, nearly all original if I remember correctly. Fun fact, someone had almost the exact same bike as him on the ride too!
I was a bit worried about getting a swag bag this year, as I forgot to sign up, and they have limited amounts. As I roll up to the tent I am told the have exactly one bag left. I ask the size and it’s my size too, woot! As I was heading back to the car to drop off a few things who do I come across? “Red” from last year. Though this year he was wearing a kit from a local bike shop Michigan City Bike Shop, and also riding a different bike. I forgot to mention that Kool-Aid was also riding another bike, as his main bikes frame cracked on him. That meant I was the only one of the 4 of us who was riding the same bike as last year. I also brought with me my kitty litter panniers, which have sort of become my signature/branding. Here we are before the ride:
I haven’t been out riding as much this year, and my average speed has typically been around 10-11 without the kids. I also haven’t even done a 30 mile ride this year, so I was a bit nervous about keeping up and finishing.
The weather outside was perfect again, not to hot or cold, and just a beautiful evening. Again, they separated the riders by 3 groups: Fast, Normal-Long, and Short. Last year we decided to ride the Normal-Long group but this year we figured it would be smarter to ride at the tail end of the fast group. This had me worried, would I really be able to keep up? As we took off, every peddle stroke felt like my feet were made of lead. I was keeping up, though sustaining it was getting iffy. Suddenly I realized , I was doing well. The real realization came to me when we hit the first “hill” (bridge); where instead of slowing down, I was actually passing people (on the up hill even). I soon found myself near the head of our portion of the faster riders (so the back half of the fast section). I was feeling like an animal, and just having a blast!
I was up near the front, feeling like a winner and Mr. Murphy comes to say hello. My chain came off, and after stopping to fix it, I was no longer near the front. I decided that was ok though, this ride is about fun, and I sink back into my groove. I look behind me a bit later and realize I wasn’t near anyone anymore. I could see the tail lights of others up ahead of me and I just keep on rolling. I was able to actually catch back up to where I was! What really made me feel amazing is when I heard “wow, he caught back up! You’re an animal man!”. So I am flying along and Mr. Murphy says hello again. This time it is my water bottle that goes flying off my bike. By the time I stop go back and find it, I figure I may as well grab a quick bite of my power bar as I still had a ways to go till Cabela’s ( which I was NOT going to miss this year). When I finally get back on, the rest of my friends had caught back up to me and so we ride along till we get to the sag stop. Would you believe we missed it again this year? Yup, well almost. The turn was so poorly marked that we actually had to turn around a bit and go over the curb to get to it. It was a welcomed break, and I was very appreciative that they had the bathrooms open. Here are some photos:
“What do you have in that bucket?”, everyone was wanting to know just what I was carrying. My first response was to joke and say “cocaine”, which I realized was not a good thing to joke about with all the cops around (they blocked the roads so we could ride through). Some of the guesses ranged from explosives to smuggling babies. I will say I am surprised no body put rocks or other heavy objects in it when I wasn’t looking. Sierra Nevada decided to make it his mission to try and touch my bucket while we were riding. It made for some interesting off-color banter back and forth for sure.
As I was leaving the sag stop, Mr. Murphy paid me one last visit. Again, my chain came off, and this time my rear break decided to start acting up again. I found myself in the back of our group again, but like last time I didn’t let it stop me. I dug in deep and was able to catch back up with everyone again. The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful, and I completed the ride in 2 hours 10 min. and an average speed of 14.5mph! It was a freaking awesome ride!
The food this year sucked though, went through the line received 2 small pancakes, 2 sausage links…that was it. I burned 3200 calories riding and I was starving. They also ran out of food for a bit and a few people just left rather than waited.
NOW for some “feed back” to the folks running it:
1. LIVE music, I am positive you could find some local bands willing to play.
2.The food this year sucked. It wasn’t near enough and Kool-Aid’s pancakes were crunchy.
3. Consider a beer tent.
4. Maybe have a bike mechanic at the Cabela stop.
5. More stuff going on, maybe add some vendors/food vendors.
Hung out with some good friends, made some new ones, and had a fantastic time.
Keep On Rolling,
Big Boned Biker