When Aaron had said these words, I realized I had never been so emotionally torn in my life – do I break down and weep or do I wet myself laughing? We had just tried and failed the 2010 New Glarus Eleventy ride and, due to certain legalities, were now recovering from the angriest 30 mile finish to 100 miles of good riding south of the Wisconsin border. As the title states, the inglorious end to our day could be seen as “found wanting”, but in the end, it was fantastic.
This is Arik Gum. He’s a faithful Slender Fungus rider and perhaps the most loyal Saturday morning rider in DeKalb. He’s always happy to be riding and when he was drafted in get into the police car 40mi into the ride, he said “aw man, it was just starting to rain. This is my kind of weather…”
As you’ll remember, the New Glarus Eleventy is a 110 mile ride up to New Glarus, Wisconsin. To get everyone back, we have a wonderful bike bus courtesy of Corey and Team Blonde. (Author’s note: NCC does not condone the painting of women on school buses).
Corey’s team has had the bus for 10 years or so and for the last two NG110’s, when asked if you need a special license for it, replies “We’ve had this bus for 10 years and never been pulled over or had any problems at all.” So this year, I thought it would be cool to recruit my father to come along and drive the bus for us. All of the NCC Crew was stoked to hear he would be on board, as he is a great character to have around. Perfect guy for the job.
So when he first saw the bus, he looked at me and said, “Don’t I need a special license to drive that bus?” I confidently replied, “They’ve had this bus for 10 years and never been pulled over or had any problems at all. Plus, there are so many other potentially illegal things inside the bus that the license would be the last of your worries.”
I’ve said many, many times and I feel it is a statement of my worldview when I say “God’s middle name is Murphy.” Of course my dad got pulled over. The officer even said it was a random inspection and my dad was driving perfectly. The officer said the bus wouldn’t move an inch unless we found someone with a CDL to drive it.
Enter the aforementioned Arik Gum. Arik is a full-time Trucker. He hauls loads of pigs for a living (and would do the same today). He had decided to ride the NG110 the day before and we’re very glad he did. When my dad gave the officer the cue sheet for our ride, another officer drove out to find us. He was actually a really good guy and quite accommodating to let Arik throw his bike in the back of the squad car. We particularly enjoyed the little “piggy” on his antennae:
They drove back to the bus and after Corey was issued a fistful of warnings and my dad summoned to court in Rockford next month, they were on their way to meet us in Durand. The rest of us had ridden the 30 miles up and were enjoying our lunch half-naked while our clothing dried out from the rain.
The officers had told Arik his license would be enough to get us and get us home, but because it wasn’t a “passenger” CDL, he’d best not cross the state line and risk getting pulled over again. He could lose his license, which is his livelihood. So when we had all the details, we unanimously decided not to ride on to New Glarus. The majority of the riders opted to ride 3o miles back south to Rockford to knock out a century.
A few of us entertained the thought of riding all the way back to DeKalb, (140mi total) but that idea quickly dissipated when the pace ramped up on the way back. It had already been a hard ride. There were a few kicks in the first 30 miles and our legs were aching as we got back on our bikes. I’m not one to place blame, but, since he doesn’t live here anymore and came back just to tear our legs off, I will tell you that we were hammering because of this man:
Jay is ex-NCC, now WF. He’s down in Springfield riding uber-mileage and the kid’s just plain blessed with the giddyup. He posted a write-up for this ride on his blog, The Chrome Fork Chrown, but failed to admit that he was bringing the pain. I’m glad he did. It was fun. The 30mi back to Rockford was fought well. We had a stiff headwind and I think it is hillier going south. (joke). There were 15, then there were 8, and then there were 4 riders that toiled to keep the pace up. The Nevdal brothers and myself kept up with Jay, but it took everything I had.
We started to feel quite special when no other riders came in for 5 minutes. Then 10. Then 15. We thought we had just smeared them and then found out the next groups had made some wrong turns. Everyone made it back eventually and everyone was happy it was over. It was a balmy 88 degrees by the end of the ride.
So that’s what put us in the parking lot of the Road Ranger on the south side of Rockford drinking Miller High Life. A team of 20 thirsty riders can make quick work of 2 30packs, let me tell you. We pointed the bus towards Fatty’s and headed back to DeKalb.
Thanks to all the riders, drivers, officers, and Road Rangers that made the Non Glarus 100 possible. It was an all-star cast of players and I was glad for every person there.
Thanks to Joel and Ryan for a handful of pics. See all the photos here.