Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Adventures in Chicago

Returning to Chicago was pretty difficult because it meant things had not gone the way we had imagined them. We put everything into storage thinking we would not see it again for a year or so. This included keys to our tandem in Chicago, keys to my friends' apartment in Chicago, and our CTA cards. Luckily, when I called my friend Eric, he was still around and happy to have us stay at his place. He even made a new set of keys for his apartment so that it would feel more like home.

(This is Eric and Stacy in their cozy apartment.)

Unfortunately, we weren't so lucky with the tandem...

...the lock had to be cut because we didn't have an extra key. Eric, being the bike guru he is, happened to have an angle grinder in his apartment that made short work of the U-Lock. After a little oiling and air, we were on our way to a great week in Chicago.

First up, dinner and a movie. Despite the cliche nature of this pairing, I can't think of a much better way to spend an evening. And afterwards, we stopped by Binny's Beverage Depot with their instant wine chiller and we did a little relaxing by the lake...

Sunday was the inaugural race in the Chi Cross Cup, a cyclocross racing series in the Chicago area. The sport of cyclocross was designed as a way to take advantage of terrible off-season conditions of northern Europe, and so it goes until February. We went to watch the races at Jackson Park near the University of Chicago and we relaxed as people biked and ran and jumped, and sometimes fell down. This racer (below) came out of this incident "okay", meaning bloodied, dazed, and with a few nasty cuts to the forehead, but (most importantly) with no damage to his bike.

The best part of cyclocross is the short, closed course which provides for a great spectator sport. It is easy to move around the course from a hairpin turn, to a barricade that racers must carry their bike over, to a high speed straightaway. Of course, spectating is only half the fun. Usually, words of encouragement or derision are close at hand for heroic performances or costly mistakes.

Eric and Aaron are alternately heckling (bad) and cowbelling (good) some of the cyclists as Jeff looks on.

After the racing was over, we (Jeff and Eric) decided to try for ourselves. No wonder they don't have a tandem category. Coordinating dismounts, barrier jumping, and remounts quickly proved to be VERY difficult.

No comments: