Monday, January 7, 2013

#CCCNYR Roadtrip: It’s not about the Bikes

Podium Girls?  No.  Snowmen in Chicago
The fire alarm went off just past 3am on Saturday night at the Hilton Indian Lakes Resort, host of the Chicago Cyclocross Cup New Years Resolution UCI races.  Sunday morning, the race announcer would remark, “I’ve never seen so many pro’s in their underwear!”  You learn neat little revealing tidbits about people on bike road trips, things that could make or break a fun trip.  Choose your room/car mates wisely.  Ask yourself, what would you do if you were in your boxer-briefs, in a post-race deep coma and the place caught fire when it’s 19 degrees outside?  Would you put on pants and boots?  Grab your car keys?  Make your teammate get his skinny butt out of bed?  

Despite knowing that fire can sweep through a house in like 4 minutes, we assumed a false alarm.  BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP.  It went off again!  I could hear the alarms start in the south part of the building and, like a wave, reach our room.  “Oh, this must be real.” I jumped out of bed, slipped on my pants and Crocs, donned a baseball cap, grabbed the room key off the coffee bar and headed out the door.  In a muffled southern drawl, Gers muttered a joke about a smoker jonesin’ for a grit and gathered more pillows around his ears.  I left him to die.

J-Pow! Leads Sand on Saturday
Out in the lobby were about 100 guests in various states of readiness, like my buddy Peter and his family.  His wife clutched her purse and car keys, kids clinging to her legs.  Others, like me, had exposed toes and a two day old t-shirt, no wallet, coat or car keys.  Still no one was stepping into the frigid night until smoke reached our eyebrows and the pajamas started to feel warmer than normal.  Remarkably with a hotel full of racers and $5000 rigs, not one person in view opted to save their bike.  The ladder truck rolled up.  A fireman put a key to the alarm console at the concierge desk.  It shut off.  We sighed.  Then, it blared again starting from the far south of the building.  Uh-oh time.  The firemen returned with axes and more gear.  Something was on fire.  It must have been minimal.  Within a few minutes, the all clear sounded.  I returned to the room.  Gers grumbled something.  We never heard the cause.  The next day he admitted he had a plan to escape certain death.  He would break our 1st floor window with my trainer. 

Gers Couldn't Resist the Instagram Allure
“They should have windmill powered cars,” Gers said as our 4 and a half hour road trip conversation turned to inventions.  On our way up, we were passing the giant wind farm between Chicago and Indianapolis along I-65.  Gers googled, “Did you know there are 87 windmills?  Looks like a shit-ton more to me.  I mean look at ‘em.”  I nodded and filled the pause, “You know, a windmill powered car would be the perfect closed circle of propulsion.  The faster you go, the more energy you create.”  Gers agreed, both of us completely neglecting the physics of friction and aerodynamics.  We still had 200 miles to go, conversation was imperative.  Gers would invent the modular trailer 20 miles later, like Legos with stackable and removable compartments depending on how big or small the load.  It seemed brilliant at the time.  You could put your bikes in one, gear in another.  Now I’m struggling with how they’d latch together.  The corn fields and miles whizzed by.

Saturday Chicago Cross Cup Elite Men Podium
South of Chicago we flipped on the famous radio station Chicago’s Finest Rock, 93 WXRT.  It was Gers first time listening.   With my background in radio, I explained what a rarity this station was, surviving with an odd mix of eclectic classic rock, new alternative hits, authentic Chicago blues artists and Grammy worthy nuggets in between.  Segueing from the Rolling Stones to Peter Gabriel to Mumford and Sons, I was digging it.  Growing up in nearby Milwaukee and having lived in the northern Chicago suburbs for a few years, I appreciated every song that dripped out of the speakers.  Then the true test came.  I turned up the volume for The Velvet Underground’s “I’m Waiting For The Man.”  Gers started singing it, “26 dollars…in my hand.”  “Yeah,” I thought, “he’s cool.”  This is a guy I can share a hotel room with.

1 comment:

Azzi Shah said...

This would be really adventures.
new bike prices