|Riverwest 24 2011|
If I played the lottery, I would choose the numbers 242. Picture this: My husband and I head over to Milwaukee to sign up for Riverwest 24 mid-day on May Day. We knew it would sell out since last year it filled it's 600 spots in a few hours. Registration was to open at 3pm. We made the grave mistake of eating a leisurely lunch and then spinning over to the Public House on Locust at 2:40. Here is was we showed up to:
241 people in front of us in a slinky shaped formation, winding everywhere through the park next door. "Where is the end of the line?" was the question asked over and over, followed by, "Oh my god, will we get in?"
The race organizers announced that they would up the entries to 750 participants this year...yet we still weren't sure we'd get in. Looking through the line I spotted several teams from Madison that were, gasp, ahead of us by a good margin. At 3pm the line began to creep into the Public House. An hour and a half later it was all over. We made it into the building and heard, "We're at 700. Start counting!" We knew we didn't stand a chance. There were about 20 people in front of us with team sizes up to 6 riders. As we inched closer and closer to the table, we heard rumors that they were upping the cut off number to 800. We held our breath. As the guy came by with the number counter, "click, click, 'How many people in your group?', click, click", we watched his facial expression. Was he smiling? Are we in? Out of sheer luck we made it. Team 242...second to the last team to get in (later we would find out that the team in front of us contained a good friend as well). I'm not religious even though our team name is Church of the Spoken Wheel (blessed by our Sunday ride leader, Michael Lemberger), but some form of bike god was looking over us. I wouldn't have to hang my head in shame and tell my team mates the reason we didn't get in was because I wanted to eat at a Middle Eastern restaurant. No, we were good to go for the last weekend in July.
What is Riverwest 24 you ask, and why did we drive from Madison to sign up? Here's a little excerpt taken from their website giving a brief explanation of what it's all about:
By encouraging bikers and spectators to come out for a full day we hope to show off Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood and encourage biking in an urban environment.
Through this exercise in stamina, team work and merriment we hope to build an event that all people in Milwaukee and beyond can enjoy by participating in, volunteering for or by cheering on the riders.
This is an event for anyone who wants to participate. You don't need to be a bike racer to join in. Check out the race route, call your neighbors, grab some lawn chairs and join us this July! This race is for people who enjoy biking, want to push themselves, or just want to participate in an event that is like nothing else you have encountered.
Imagine 800 riders and several hundred volunteers coming into your neighborhood to celebrate what makes your neighborhood so special. Then imagine them riding for 24 hours during the hottest part of the summer. All ages, all abilities, just coming together to play.
I will of course be blogging about our actual race, but until then, meet our team: Aaron Crandall (our net-worker extraordinaire and beer connoisseur), Nathan Vergin (our photographer and speed king), Dan Hobson (our medic and musician), my husband, Markham Dunn (our mechanic and map reader) and me (our fearless leader...other titles may be used by the team). We won't win, we won't even try. We will, however, have the best damn time not trying to win!
Although Riverwest 24 is full, you can still volunteer. Just go onto their website for information. Another amazing race in the Midwest that follows a similar format is Powderhorn 24 in Minneapolis. Can't make one of these races? You know the old saying, "Build it and they will come."