Sunday, June 5, 2011

The UPAF Ride for the Arts - Success!

Before I get into the ride review... I want to thank all of my wonderful supporters, your support for the arts in Milwaukee is extremely appreciated. The arts don't pay well or make a lot of money as a profession, but they round out our lives and fire our synapses. Also thanks to everyone for listening to me as I ran my mouth (daily) about the ride. My temperament is an anxious one, and that's when I run my mouth the most. Anticipation of an event is always worse than the event.

First and foremost, I was against a bike path on the Hoan before I was for it. Other cities provide this access but in most cases, the bridges were designed to accommodate bikes and pedestrians. The Hoan bridge was not. We'd be hard-pressed to widen the bridge at this point for many reasons. First is that the steel used in the bridge is not a pure alloy and it was heated to a very high temperature to create the curves of the bridge. It's more brittle than that of a train trestle, for example. Widening the bridge just isn't going to happen.

I support the idea of bike and pedestrian access on the bridge, but I don't think there is room for it.

Either way, riding that bridge was damned fun. I'd do it over and over again if I could. The grade is gradual and is a blast when the wind is coming out of the northeast. Now, turning around and riding the other way would be another story. Riding into the wind with the grade would be incredibly challenging in a good way. It's realistic to actually bike the Hoan.

An event like this ride reminds me that I'm a closet Type A. I'm a quiet person but incredibly competitive. I won't be outdone, unless it's by someone who is clearly elite in their training. That's when I give the thumbs up, and pick up my pace and try in vain to stick with them. I'm very motivated by competition and get ultra impatient when someone is in front of me - that goes for driving, too.

We rode south along the lake through Bay View, St. Francis, down to the turnaround at Grant Park. The roads in Grant Park were atrocious and I worried about my tires and I worried about my assbones. My seat has next to no padding. It's all about clearance, Clarence.

Riding north for the last half of the race became tiring because we were facing a strong headwind off the lake. I kept the bike in high gears for much of the ride, which made it easier to hit the hills and grades as well as generally kick ass. It wasn't a race, but I wanted to make good time. Plus I firmly believe that if you don't keep the right speed, you'll tire out faster and enjoy less of the ride. My riding style isn't to get out of the saddle either, I prefer to become more compact and use the leverage of my short legs.

There are bikes for all sizes of people... I saw some very tall people on some very tall bikes. It was like getting passed by a giraffe.

I got everyone's name on my person, so you all went over the bridge with me :) Some pictures I took in the daylight and unfortunately they did not turn out. If you don't see your name, please know that you were there!

More rides are in my future, and maybe a race or two. If today's ride taught me anything, it's that I most definitely have a need to let'r snap. And compete. And generally, kick ass.

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