Monday, January 28, 2008

Rachel Dow Memorial Skirt Ride

I overcame an ebb in energy to head over to Chiang Mai Thai Saturday night for Rachel's memorial ride. When I pulled up at 9:40 Mark was waiting out front. He and I were among the first there. I was quickly to discover this group would be bigger than I had expected and wasn't going anywhere fast. We didn't leave Chiang Mai until around 11 -- right on time for our 10pm departure. All photos here.

Bike piles abounded around Calhoun square. Nothing like a big group of cyclists assembled on a winter's night to freak out the trendies driving around in daddy's SUV with all their painted friends. Here, Wrex's Karate Monkey displays a very innovative, low-cost front fender option.

Carl and Mark chat it up while the group hydrates in the back room of Chiang Mai. Our group eventually DID motivate -- just enough to ride the six blocks over to Bryant Lake Bowl for a pint or two more.

Rolling down the Midtown Greenway. Our route took us over the swanky new Hiawatha bridge. Here Matt shows the cheater Vulcan greeting -- cheating because it's much easier when wearing lobster mitts.

From here we proceeded to Pi, a high-energy lesbian bar in Seward. The vibe in this place was nice -- club music, dancing. And they had unisex bathrooms. It's pretty cool to walk in the bathroom, see a line of women but notice the urinals are completely free! (No offense ladies.)

Arriving at Rachel's impromptu memorial site along West River Parkway, near where her bike was found. Folks tended the little shrine, while others hiked down a short trail to the ghost bike placed in her honor.

This is perhaps the most elaborate ghost bike you might ever see -- lovingly crafted by BRose and Rollin and painted by Kelly. All parts have been welded to prevent theft and it has a cut plaque with Rachel's name, birth and death dates. It is beautiful. I rode back the next day just to see it in the light.

After a half hour or so at the memorial site, people were starting to speak longingly of the promised bonfire. We set out to warm up and ride to the river. A snowy trail descent plunged us into the peaceful depths of the river gorge. There we stoked a huge blaze. The night wasn't getting any warmer and although we had all tasted sub-zero weather earlier in the week, even hanging out in 15 degree temps was a chilling affair.

A shot of the blaze and the happy crowd soaking in the warmth. I didn't notice it at first, but the crowd, like our supply of firewood, indeed dwindled. I'd lost all sense of time. I don't think we arrived at the fire site until after 3am. A call from April around 3:30 reminded me it had already been a long night, but there was frivolity yet to be had. The handful of us left who were privy to the lightening eastern horizon began to talk about food. Colossal Cafe was decided to be our final destination. Brauer and I were the last two standing by the fire. As the embers burned down we shared a Two Hearted Ale.

There were only two ways out of the gorge. I'm not going to say Brauer and I chose the wrong one, but we did choose the more adventurous (and shorter) one for sure -- several hundred feet up a few flights of ice-packed stairs. The advantage of course was once we were partway up there was really no going back, except involuntarily from the consequences of a misstep.

The scene at Colossal -- Carla, Erika, Brauer, Zito, Mark, Kelly and Hurl in attendance. We overran the poor three-table establishment and its "respectable" early Sunday morning clientelle. (Gettin' breakfast before church, eh? Well, pay no mind to a bunch of half-drunk, skirt-wearin' fools ...)

Sustenance -- Zito models his breakfast for me. Colossal means good food. They even put slabs of brie on their pancakes. We left Colossal amidst cries from a few that we ought to stop for one more beer. I got separated from the group however and enjoyed a peaceful jaunt the rest of the way home.

Creeping quietly into the house I checked the clock -- 7:45am. Here I am sporting a mischievous grin before crashing hard and dreading the moment Sylvia would be up and shouting. I slept the sleep of the dead, however. I awoke to an empty apartment at 11:45, too wired to go back to sleep. There was too much energy, too many memories already floating through my head.


mark said...

good recap - glad to see you made it home in one piece. Peace.

Anonymous said...

7:45am. Damn ham, that's late/early. Looked like a good time and I'm sorry I missed it.
peace out!