..well it wasn't enough to get me to pin a number on my jersey, but it was enough for me to throw a few cold ones in a back pack, charge my lights, and head out for a midnight bike ride with Rob to check out the scene. And oh what a scene it was.
Jim was marshaling the turn down by the boat ramp. We hung out there long enough to shepard a few dozen riders through the tricky turn. It was quiet, the air was thick with humidity, and approaching bikes were surrounded by a halo of white light. But the novelty soon wore off, so we headed to the start/finish line at the top of the park. It was a behive of activity. Bikers on trainers warming up for the next race (wtf?). The race was being professionally timed, so the start/finish was well lit and festooned with an array of banners and equipment to read the riders' RF tags. Registration booths. An ambulance idling nearby. Riders and spectators wandering about waiting for the next heat.
But we knew the real action would be over at The Eddie Trail. We bushwhacked through a field to the top of the Eddie Trail and then jumped onto the race course clipped in and descending quickly toward the ruins. It wasn't long before we heard the voices and the music. Next it was the Christmas tree lights lining the single track path through the woods. And then we were at the ruins which were illuminated in relief with a powerful halogen light (generator powered). About 30 supporters sitting on the ruins/coolers and cheering us the the top of their lungs. "Riders!! Goooo riders!!" It was like something out of Alice in Wonderland. We muttered that we were spectators, ditched our bikes next to the ruins, broke out a couple of beers, and joined in the festivities. Every few minutes a couple of racers would come screaming down the Eddie Trail through the dark, into the light of the party, over a small log drop, and around a small turn, and then back into the darkness. Each encounter lasted less than 5 seconds. Those on their first lap looked quizzical - like they were seeing some sort of mirage. Those who came through on their second or third lap were grinning ear to ear.
I will never cease to be amazed and the fun that can be had with a bicycle.