The Waffle House Chronicles...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Little somethin'

Alas we are back from the Little 500. It was a wild & crazy weekend for sure!

We were going to leave Thursday at 3pm. Come 3pm the van had yet to be loaded and we had super-charged winds and rain. Loading the van totally blew but we got out by 3:30 and headed south. Of course the de-fog had to be on max as I was soaked from loading the van...finally by Rockford I had enough and had to change into dry clothes. We hit a Subway on the way down and pulled in after 11:30 local time. Quite the long work day! It pretty much poured the whole way down too so it was a really rough drive.

Friday I got up and headed to the Copper Cup, the world's best coffee shop. Got some brew and went back, got Jess and we headed to Armstrong Stadium, home of the Little 500. Friday was the women's race. We were able to drive right to the track to unload and set up. We left our two best bikes in the van as we went and got (arguably) the worlds best pizza and a bubble tea. We made it back to finish the set-up and were open for business. We gave out some stickers and catalogs. We even got invited to a frat party and I guess Yung Joc was going to be playing at it (and DMX played at a different frat.) Well the day was decent, upper 50's but it was super windy. So much so that while the crowds gathered our tent took off, right for the track where the riders were riding. By some miracle I was able to grab the tent before it was totally on the track, 3 legs were on the track and one was in my hand. It took 5 of us to get the tent back and then we were advised it would be best to take it down. The wind also had knocked down all of our bikes and blew over our solid wood table. So we packed it up and took over the Coke Zero tent (they didn't show up Friday) for our headquarters. Once we were ready again there was this huge buzz. Aparently Barack Obama is a big bike racing fan and he walked right by me...and I shook his hand. It was cool too because I was right next to Miss Indiana so Obama talked to her a bunch so I got lots of face time. The race was awesome. Here's a photo of the first row, the inside girl won the pole position and was the overwhelming favorite, the outside girl was the defending champion...of course the middle girl won! The conditions were brutal with a 20mph steady wind with 30+mph gusts. After the race we packed up in anticipation of Coke Zero showing up the next day. We got home and cleaned up and went out for supper. I then went out shopping to buy some things I forgot and to be ready for the next day. I got me a solid 9 hours of sleep.

Saturday we awoke to a rain/snow mixture and 25mph steady winds. What a great day for a bike race. Started with some coffee once again and then we checked out the campus and the union. Setting up tents was advised against so we took a new marketing approach and we combed the stands handing out shirts and stickers and I think we touched more people that way as the day before we were tucked away in a corner. We also went to the VIP BBQ and got some good eats quick before taking our post for the race. We got to watch most of the race while it rained, snowed and was just plain windy. In the end the Cutters (who dominated the whole race anyways) soloed away and gained over a half a lap on the 4 chasers.
After the race they gave out an official Schwinn bicycle as a prize, so that was awesome!!!

After that we got to tear down our post and load the van back up. All and all the event was fun but the promotions part could've went a little better. If I am asked to go again, I think I want to bring water bottles or hats or something a little more tangeable as even the t-shirts kind of got lost in the fray. We got back and warmed up and were about to leave when we noticed a table down in the ravine. Turns out it was Stacy's table.

It broke into two pieces that could be put together but hard to picture a 50lb table flying through the air. Of course there were construction supplies and street signs and branches down everywhere! Supper was good again and it was fun to spend some time with Stacy. I ended up watching three movies that night (Borat, Thank You for Smoking and the Lake House) and goign to bed after midnight. I am a party animal.

Jess and I left this morning but not before one last Copper Cup. We went home through Chicago and that was a nice change that seemed to be shorter. Got home and the weather got better so we went to the dog park. Overall it was a fun weekend despite the awful weather (it rained probably 50% of the time and was windy non-stop.) Good food, good family and good bike racing. The Little 500 is one of the most interesting and awesome events I've seen, to see that many people paying $20 a head to watch a bike race...that is what cycling is about.