Sunday, July 12, 2009

July 12 L.A.T.E. Ride (Part Two)

Sunday Morning 1:05am
My WTF problem happened at that exact moment. After relaxing on the lake front, I stood up and my right thigh muscle cramped up. I mean it really cramped up. My first thought was I won't be able to ride. Luckily a few minutes of walking and stretching loosened it up. I rejoined the crowd at Buckingham Fountain, and then lined up with my group, the Green group, on Columbus Drive. We took off, very slowly due to the amount of people, south on Columbus. By the time we turned west on Roosevelt, you didn't have to walk your bike anymore. The police had the streets closed and the intersections blocked on Halsted through Greektown. The beautiful drunk people were leaving the bars, some cheered us on, others were pissed the road was closed. The riders spread out by the time I got to Milwaukee Avenue. The cops were still blocking some main intersections but once we got onto Elston Avenue we had to stop at red lights. Now that the streets weren't as crowded, I tried to take more pictures. Unfortunately, there wasn't much to see along this section. At first, it was just big box stores and corporate America mall stores lining both sides of the street. Then we passed the industrial area of the city. Further north on Elston we rode through neighborhoods. I did stop to get a picture of the crowded White Castle. It was tempting. Those little burgers sure smelled good. But I rode on. Some people were out enjoying the beautiful night on their stoops and cheering the riders on. We took Elston up to Pulaski, then Pulaski to Foster. There was a huge rest stop at River Park. I stopped for some of the free drinks and food from the sponsors of the ride. I had a laugh with two ladies who were having way too much fun teasing each other about how many nuts they could fit in their mouths. They were eating the free Blue Diamond almonds. All of the people I met and/or talked with were very friendly. Just out to enjoy a night ride through the city. As I headed east on Foster, I could see the sky was beginning to get lighter over the lake. As I headed south on the Lakefront Trail, the alpenglow was on the horizon across the lake. I stopped a few times to take pictures. So did many of the riders. A few took a swim in the lake. Even though it was only about 4:30am, the trail had a few people either finishing up their night or getting an early start on their day. It was very cool to watch the sun rise over the lake and see the city slowly wake up. My legs were sore by the time I made it back to Grant Park but I felt really good. It was a great night out. I'm looking forward to doing it next year; hopefully some of you will join me. You can still donate to the Friends of the Parks by clicking on my link on the left. I also want to thank those who already donated.

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