Jeramey Jannene

Riverwest 24 Live Blog – 2014

Updates from a team involved in the 24-hour bicycle race.

By - Jul 25th, 2014 08:06 pm

Welcome to the Riverwest 24 live blog. Almost up to the minute coverage of Milwaukee’s best bike race. The race runs from 7 p.m. on Friday until 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Newest updates on top. Photos on the bottom.

7:02 p.m. – It’s all over. Recently married John is walking around banging a drum.

6:49 p.m. – I’m sweating profusely on a single lap. There are people on cargo bikes coming in looking like they never pedaled, and they’re carrying other people.

6:45 p.m. – No new laps. This is it! Waiting for the speed demons to come flying in.

6:36 p.m. – Guy with smoke machine on bike crossing finish line.

6:22 p.m. – Both teams are at the finish line with the exception of two riders finishing out laps. Beer!

5:58 p.m. – My team has essentially given up. We beat the girls team and improved substantially over last year.

5:55 p.m. – Drunk guy, unaffiliated with the race, wandering down the alley our campsite is on. Tells us we don’t want any of him and continues to stumble into everything.

5:43 p.m. – My fiancé proclaims that she has completed a triathlon. She cycled, canoed for a checkpoint and drank Pabst Blue Ribbon.

5:33 p.m. – I finish what might be my last lap. I gave it my all.

5:20 p.m. – Watch a guy in front of me narrowly avoid hitting a car head on as he attempts to pass a group turning onto Garfield from Humboldt.

5:18 p.m. – City Engineer Jeff Polenske passes me again. At this point I assume that if DPW has a project delay it’s because Jeff was playing hooky to work out. That or he’s just actually in shape.

5:01 p.m. – Went to the Champagne Diet hangout on Humboldt. A chalkboard survey of passing riders reveals some people think soy is a cold cut. It’s not.

4:50 p.m. – I stop by the start/finish line to see that the ice carving for the trophies has begun. The only thing the winners can carry away from the 24 is pride.

4:31 p.m. – Things are definitely winding down. We are cleaning up and planning what to do with the extra beer. Consensus is to drink it.

4:00 p.m. – Back from a shower break. I am told while I was gone my teammates failed to throw their cans in the bin with alarming consistency. Thankfully this is a bicycle race, not a three-point contest.

2:33 p.m. – We have taken to reading lists of stupid tweets. Did you know America turned 2014 years old on July 4th?

2:12 p.m. – Attempting to fill recycle bin at campsite isn’t going as well as last year. Only one-third full.

2:01 p.m. – Finished my third shift. Sweating an insane amount. Couldn’t keep up with City Engineer Jeff Polenske.

1:09 p.m. – In line to play softball at the bonus checkpoint at Pumping Station Park. I have given myself the nickname “Lance Armstrong” because my hitting performance will show I’m on steroids.

12:31 p.m. – We wasted too much time on breakfast checkpoint. We still have a made a huge improvement, but we will have easy points to gain next year.

12:03 p.m. – Five bonus check points and we are done. We can do this!

11:38 a.m. – I wake up from a nap. Alison is back from her shift to tell me Zahner and John have renewed their vows five times.  I am so confused.

9:57 a.m. – Stopping at Truly Spoken Cycles, Alison is missing a screw to hold her fender in. Truly Spoken is open 24 hours for the race.

9:50 a.m. – Walking away from breakfast I learn Spike has to go to his house. He forgot the rings.

9:46 a.m. – The bell rings. John and Zahner are married. I am done with breakfast.

9:34 a.m. – Spike has arrived. The wedding can start.

9:27 a.m. – The wedding is between John Glabere and Sarah Zahner. They intended to ride off in a “just married” tandem, but are settling for a ride to the bonus checkpoint they are hosting. UPDATE: They did take the recumbent tandem, with a party following.

9:13 a.m. – The wedding is delayed waiting for the officiant, Spike. The ceremony might have to be cut short because of the newlyweds serving as part of the bonus checkpoint that comes up next.

8:52 a.m. – As the groom and a presumed groomsman hastily change clothes, a fellow line waiter remarks “someday anthropologists will study this wedding.”

8:47 a.m. – This rumored wedding is definitely happening. A guy is wearing a just married shirt. A lady is wearing a tutu. Someone is wearing a Batman costume.

8:44 a.m. – Alison, Dave, and I arrive at All Peoples Church to a long line for the Riverwest 24 breakfast in the middle of Clarke St.

8:24 a.m. – Teammate comes back from Planned Parenthood bonus checkpoint to announce “I have chlamydia, let’s get breakfast.”

8:21 a.m. – Learned we missed the annual underwear bike ride lap at 3 a.m. That’s probably in everyone’s interest. Guess I should have paid more attention to organizers Steve Roche‘s Facebook page.

8:06 a.m. – Andy unveils his tattoo. Five bonus points for our team. Unfortunately, the girls team got one too.

7:48 a.m. – Teammate Jay warns riders not to accept free watermelon or shots. He believes the watermelon is spiked, but disposed of the evidence in a hurry on the side of Holton and cut his lap short. Turns out he also had three free shots, one for every lap, at checkpoint 2.

7:46 a.m. – Urban Milwaukee contributor Young Kim rolls by on Humboldt, he’s competing for the first time.

7:40 a.m. – The conversation at Colectivo on Humboldt is around the disappointment, but not surprise that the Vulture Space party on the trestle stair part of the Marsupial Bridge was shut down and ticketed for noise. When I went by on my first shift it was really hopping complete with a DJ.

6:58 a.m. – Shift over, not my best shift speed wise.

6:35 a.m. – Clean Sweep bonus checkpoint at Kern Park. Cleaned the streets between Pierce, Auer, Humboldt and Burleigh with City Hauler and DPW Commissioner Ghassan Korban and three others.

6:02 a.m. – Awoken, back on the saddle.

1:42 a.m. – I finished my first shift. I am not in good enough shape for this.

12:14 a.m. – People are repenting for their sexual sins at the bonus checkpoint at the Riverwest Filling Station. RW24 never disappoints.

11:27 p.m. – Alison got a stranger to carry her bike up the Booth Street Staircase.

11:14 p.m. – Word on Twitter is there is some public fornication going on near the marsupial bridge.

11:03 p.m. – Friends keep stopping by. This is why we have to all bring so much beer.

10:43 p.m. – Fireworks, lots of them. No idea where or why.

10:05 p.m. – I forgot to pack a sweatshirt. It’s getting cold out. These two things are related.

9:36 p.m. – The stolen bicycle belonged to Bunkie Miller of DCD. People are advised to bring locks to bonus checkpoints.

9:09 p.m. – Darkness is upon us, and boom a firework goes off somewhere near Center St.

8:42 p.m. – A wedding is happening at the breakfast bonus checkpoint at 9 a.m., or at least that’s the rumor.

8:41 p.m. – A bike was stolen from Treats tavern on Humboldt Ave, the site of the first bonus checkpoint. No good.

8:25 p.m. – Two drunk people stumbling down Humboldt. The party gets started early in Riverwest.

8:19 p.m. – Free shots of espresso at Colectivo on Humboldt.

8:12 p.m. – Riders cruising by on the recently resurfaced Humboldt Ave. Nice work DPW.

8:05 p.m. – First teammate is in. We are beating the girls’ team.

7:48 p.m. – Adam proclaims he had to go grab the Gardettos. Someone has had too much to drink before they’ve completed a lap. We’re in trouble. It bears mention that yes, it’s a 24-hour bicycle race, but with 6 people on a team you ride all of 4 hours. Like a bullpen pitcher in baseball, you’ve got to find something to keep yourself occupied. We choose cooking out and drinking beer. Other teams wear spandex and choose legitimate hydration solutions.

7:13 p.m. – Alison and I stop by Mish Mash, a festival that closes Burleigh in front of Art Bar. Strangely no bicycles to be seen.

7:07 p.m. – Jay is doing our first shift, so most of the team bails at the first check point to head for the campsite (that may also be someone’s backyard).

7:02 p.m. – Bicycles everywhere. People everywhere waving from the sides of Pierce St.

7:00 p.m. – Loud noises, bag pipes, whistles. We’re off!

6:48 p.m. – We line up to go in the order the teams registered on May Day (the chaotic registration that has people lining up before the sun comes up). People that are sleeping in the park by the start/finish line get to go first.

6:46 p.m. – We’re reminded that the race has no first aid, no medic on staff. Riverwest is a safe place to be any time of day, but if you get hurt call 911.

6:45 p.m. – The organizers note that you don’t see Mountain Dew or Power Bar ads anywhere. They’ve had offers to sell the race, and they won’t. The race is about showing that Riverwest is a safe place to be any time of day.

6:40 p.m. – Dave Reid and I trash talk the guys in Champagne Diet. There is no way we’ll beat them, but we’re both in first place until the race starts.

6:31 p.m. – Both teams head out from our secret backyard campsite to the start/finish at Pierce St. just south of Center St.

6:12 p.m. – We have a team #82 (Slangin’ BM’s) meeting to discuss strategy. We’ve going to trade off at bonus checkpoints this year, in addition to actually doing the bonus checkpoints. Last year we focused on laps, which led us to 89th place. We crushed the teams in front of us in the standings by 10+ laps, but got dominated on the bonus checkpoints (they’re worth two points to a lap’s one).

6:05 p.m. – Alison and I join our respective teammates at the home of Andy Tillman andd Julie Ferris. It’s boys versus girls as it was last year as well, except this year the guys will prevail. We have a strategy, sort-of.

5:45 p.m. – I enjoy the free pre-meal from the Riverwest Co-op with Alison.

5:37 p.m. – Line out the door to check-in Club 99. I turn in the waiver that says if I crash I’m an idiot.

Photo Gallery


4 thoughts on “Riverwest 24 Live Blog – 2014”

  1. Your 6:45 p.m. observation is right on. There is a serenity of sorts about the course thanks to the lack of advertising and promotional distractions. Turns the event into art in a placemaking way.

  2. JoeW says:

    Excellent recounting Jeramey. Nice meeting you at dinner.

  3. steve says:

    “12:14 a.m. – People are repenting for their sexual sins at the bonus checkpoint at the Riverwest Filling Station. RW24 never disappoints.”

    Riverwest Public House. If you are going to do penance, you’re going to do it at a co-op. #riverwest

  4. Paul Miller says:

    So, why isn’t there a first aid station? Seems like a natural and prudent thing to have, and surely they could have found nurses, EMTs, and whatnot to staff it as volunteers.

    Is it some kind of hipster/DIY obsession with being “hardcore,” or is there some legal reason (like it paradoxically creates greater liability if they offer it)?

    My other concern about this event is the blithe and frankly, in my view, irresponsible mix of alcohol and cycling. This city and this state already have enough problems with non-sober operation of vehicles. Bicycles aren’t immune from that.

    I know I sound like a buzzkill, but you can still have a quirky and non-corporate event while promoting responsible and neighborly behavior.

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