Awe yeah, the Night Bison! It's almost become the unofficial start of "fall cycling" here in the outskirts of Chicago. Blasting through the gravel grind of the Illinois farm-scape, at night, in the dark, with the blinking lights of modern windmills in the horizon.
Having left my house later than I wanted, I arrived, parked, and started to put my gear on. Riffling through my back pack, "GOD DAMN IT. I FORGOT MY SHOES"!
Looks of "awe shit" came across the faces those near me getting their own gear on. There was a small collective effort to try and get me riding. Shoes too big, wrong cleats, road shoes, and plat form (yuck) pedals were offered. I was over it and ready to just spend the next 40 minutes driving home. Matt Wagner wasn't going to have that, he made sure to let me know he would NEVER let me live that down. UGH.
A couple of texts to my girlfriend, thanks Sue, I was on my way to meet her with my shoes and head back.
6:45pm I was on the road...going the wrong direction. After trying to navigate the Blackriver app to try and figure out what the right direction was and a phone call later I was headed full gas in the right direction, alone.
Not long after hitting gravel I was already encountering cyclists heading back due to mechanicals and flats. This happened a few times within the 1st seven miles! Yikes guys.
After awhile of singing DMX and Billy Idol at the top of my lungs, I brought my jam box, I finally started to catch people. I would fly up behind groups, hang for a second, and leap frog to the next group for the whole night. If you saw a blur of pink, purple, green, and teal, that was me. I caught the Alexanders and Wagners at the stop. Even after the that, I soon dropped my Metal friends and kept pushing. Less than 20 miles ain't shit, I thought. I just kept hammer away, blasting Lana Del Ray.
Eventually I caught another Stay Radder, Graeme. He was pumped to see me, he also looked beat from trying to hang with some of the other groups. Without saying "good bye" I just kept pushing on, with a brief hello to my Half Acre buds. With a final sprint down the pavement I made it to the finish, just missing my crew by 10 or so minutes. Nuts. Still, what a fantastic night after such a rough start.
I basically did the whole thing on my own. No taking pulls with anyone else, just me, myself, and I. The way I like it. Really, being alone for so long let me really appreciate a wonderful sunset, bright stars, and the Milky Way in the sky.
Thank you every one at Axletree for all that you do. I could take or leave the Gravel Metric, the other ride they put on. However, the Night Bison is really something special. Always a great way to close out the summer.