Moonlight Classic; the big brother of Twilight Criterium. Night time bike riding on the same night sharing the same timezone. This is starting off like the previous blog comparing Denver and Boise. Does anyone know of any other cities with such similarities?
The Moonlight Classic is a non-competitive bike ride to benefit Seniors Inc. a non-profit agency helping the elderly in Denver, CO. There are two waves in the race which start at 10:30pm and the other is 11:30pm. Since this was a last minute activity we didn’t make it downtown soon enough for the first wave. We knew it may end up being a long night. I had no idea what to expect. I’ve never been to Denver before and the first time I was in the heart of downtown and I was on a borrowed cruiser bike(almost identical to my at home) riding in a race I’m sure I won’t get lost if I can keep up with everyone. My little nephew’s grandparents happen to be the family of a well-respected V.P. for Qwest and I shared the evening with on the bike ride. Before the race they started taking pictures and my habit of dodging the camera didn’t fail. I managed to pull myself through it and if I get any copies of the pictures in the future I will post them along with this blog. Thanks to the Thornton’s for the opportunity and letting me borrow their bike.
We started at the Capital building where hundreds of people gathered around the intersection below the starting line. In the back of my head I was thinking if these guys in the race are as serious as some of the hashers I may be finding my way around in new territory as an adventure. Nonetheless I had a bunch of adrenaline and happiness flowing in my bones, I was up for it all. Just another new adventure; my specialty. The countdown began and for about a quarter of a mile we walked our bikes because of the amount of people participating made it almost impossible for us all to start together on an uphill route.
As the crowd started to disburse, the smell of alcohol thickened the air. At one point a comment was made and a group of guys caught me laughing. They were eager to hand me a beer from their party bags. I wasnt interested in drinking since I was with a family. The guys were so diligent to catch up with me. I didn’t notice their efforts until at one point I hear “#$%^, I was trying to give the girl a beer and I dropped my own. Someone give her a beer!” I started laughing once again but never heard from them after the turn where the beer was dropped. The first pit stop of the ride was in the parking lot of Denver Botanic Gardens which included some food for fuel. Cliff bars were handed out along with orange slices, pretzels and crackers with peanut butter. Besides the free snacks, I thought the bike repair and tune-up station was a great idea to have available on the route. I was asked before the race if there needeed to be any adjustments to the bike I was borrowing for the evening, before we started the race and that was how I found out the service was available at the start and finish line. Since it was available at the two pit stops of the event it made it even better. Not too many people think of these kinds of things that can easily affect attendance in the future.
The last leg of the race was pretty much down hill; literally. I didn’t even use my brakes until the tight turn appeared. My experience in Whistler, B.C. downhill mountain biking kicked in. People always use the term “It’s just like riding a bike.” I would like to say “It was just like racing down the Olympic track”- like everyone does it right? Maybe not, but you get my point. The straightway portion after the hill I suddenly felt the chilly humid air. My familiarity with the Boise river and riding my bike on the green belt at night on occasion helped me recognize there was water somewhere close to our trail. As I asked around no one gave me an answer if or where there was a river nearby. I found later that I was correct. Just another similarity between the BOI and DEA. “A river runs thru it”.
At the end of the race we posed for about 5 or 6 pictures in front of the finish line with the press and cameras carried by the company I was with. If you see any promotional ads for the event next year look for me. I should be any easy find. Let’s just say I don’t look like I’m part of the family and I’m on a white cruiser.
Until next year Denver!- I told everyone I will be back for the next event.