- MONDO LUCHA! celebrates fifth anniversary in high-flying style at Turner Hall
- David Sedaris goes off book, shines at Pabst Theater
- Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck offer glimpses of greatness at Riverside Theater
- John Hodgman, Kristen Schaal, Eugene Mirman give Pabst Theater three shows for price of one
- Top 5 musical moments from Kenosha’s 2013 Ride of the Living Dead
This weekend’s Riverwest 24 more than tested each bicyclist’s patience. Not only did the race last a leg-numbing 24 hours, but the city also offered other tempting festivities, such as WMSE’s Radio Summer Camp, Brady Street Festival, German Fest, and, oddly enough, another bike event, the Tour de Fat.
Looping around the neighborhood-spanning, 4.6-mile route, Riverwest 24 contestants competed in five different categories: men’s and women’s solo, tandem, and up to six-person teams using either the same or different bikes. One point was awarded for each lap, with bonus checkpoints offered hourly for two extra points. One A.V. Club writer competed alone and took in the 24’s many offerings, including the unbridled enthusiasm, the free food and beer, and, oh yeah, the bicycling.
6:45 p.m. Riders huddle around the starting line at Pierce and Center as the emcee compares the event to your grandmother’s traditional Thanksgiving dinner. There’s one difference: Her house hasn’t seen this many mustaches since the ’80s.
7:00 p.m. And we’re off!
9:02 p.m. I’m oblivious to the bonus checkpoint locations, but some dude says dancing to Michael Jackson will earn you two points at somewhere called Club LaLa. I’m convinced this establishment doesn’t exist, and my Smartphone agrees. Laps ridden: 5
10:50 p.m. In the race’s most controversial leg, some cyclists climb the stairs that ascend to Glover Avenue near the Marsupial Bridge, forgoing the suggested route’s inclining, zigzagging path. After eight laps, I succumb and take the stairs, and the obligatory heckling that comes with it.
11:39 p.m. After pestering fellow riders as to where the bonus checkpoints are located, I find a sheet with times and addresses. I’ve only missed two. (Club Lala was House of LaLa—apparently a house owned by someone named Lala.) My first checkpoint consists of stomping grapes at Cafe Centro. This isn’t selling me on its wine. Laps ridden: 10
1:59 a.m. Is there any other neighborhood that would still have spectators out at two in the morning, screaming whenever riders pass by? “Wooooooo!”s and high fives and are abundant. A “Wooo!” and high five to Riverwest, as well.
2:17 a.m. Was that local superhero Watchman walking down Humboldt, protecting Riverwest citizens from the perils of evil, one spritz of pepper spray and cell phone call at a time? Laps ridden: 14
3:35 a.m. Rest is necessary. Also, I’m quickly realizing that competing with a one-person team is similar to playing a game of Risk. It’s exhausting, and stopped being fun three hours ago. Laps ridden: 15.
7:31 a.m. New day, different mindset: one lap and rest, strategically hitting as many bonuses as possible.
7:50 a.m. The treks to the available bonus checkpoints—Reservoir Park’s peak and All People’s Church—are grueling but worth the trouble, especially the latter. Who can deny a free breakfast and two bonus laps?
9:50 a.m. The Bliffert Lumber And Hardware checkpoint squares five riders against each other to see which two can hammer a nail into a block of wood the fastest. The competition’s enforcer sternly won’t give a free pass to the broken-handed female rider whose safety goggles are welling with tears. The enforcer eventually hands over his mammoth hammer, and she wins. Laps ridden: 17
10:35 a.m. What else is Lakefront Brewery offering other than its best beer, the delicious Riverwest Stein? An abbreviated tour and the best bonus checkpoint in the race, that’s what.
1:35 p.m. While the jeering spectators have subsided, it’s uncommon to pass a couple blocks without being sprayed by a garden hose. Of all the free goodies disseminated—cookies, cupcakes, hot dogs, smoothies, tater tots—the water mist is the most refreshing. Laps ridden: 21
3:57 p.m. Outside the Riverwest Public House, the water balloon fight ends up being ineffective since we’re too tired to throw anything straight anymore. We are all Trevor Hoffman.
7:00 p.m. Some 24 hours later, a cheering crowd welcomes those strong enough to last the entire race, or those smart enough to save adequate energy to finish near the race’s end. Laps ridden: 24