Thursday, October 06, 2005

Alumni Band Weekend

So Madison was a fun trip. Ducked out of work early enough to make Critical Mass, which consisted of 25-or-so riders, mostly early-mid twenties. Apparently many of them live in the Williamson St area, as we lost quite a few riders when we passed through that neighborhood. It was a small group, and it seemed like most of them knew one another - making it a little bit strange to show up as an out-of-towner. But everyone was super friendly and fun. Rode mostly streets w/heavy traffic, and I would say we had just enough mass to pull it off comfortably. Highlight for me was riding under the convention center on John Nolen drive - never thought I'd experience that stretch of road on a bicycle.

Madison Critical Mass ride report

Met some cool people on the ride - one guy lives in a co-op on Langdon St, and invited me and a few others back to his place for dinner. Fun.

Crashed at my friend Kristina's house in Monona. They have two kids that really did NOT want to be put to sleep that night. Much kicking, screaming, and crying. I really don't need any reinforcement to support my childfree attitude, but if I did, that bedtime episode would do it FOR SURE.

Hooked up w/brother Frick at Alumni Band practice the following morning. Under general circumstances, the level of organization at alumni band can best be categorized as a clusterfuck - a very fun clusterfuck - but today was the worst organized I've ever seen it. None of the field assistants had a chart for run-on, so they were unable to get us lined up correctly in the tunnel. They tried some half-assed line up, that we immediately realized wouldn't work. In the end the front couple of rows (including Frick and I) self-organized so at least our rows would get it right - I have no idea what happened to the rows behind us because I couldn't see them.

I usually leave Alumni Band after halftime, and spend the rest of the afternoon on State St or hanging out by the Lake Mendota, but I was having more fun than usual so I stuck around 'til the end. Even went out onto the field for 5th quarter, which it seems it MUCH shorter than it was when I was in school. They played probably 5 songs, then left. It was 2x as long back when I was in school, at least. I wonder if they're trying to clear the stadium faster for security reasons or something?

Memorial Union Terrace is undoubtedly the placed I miss most about Madison. Summer nights with live music, good friends, and beer, with Lake Mendota as a backdrop - it really cannot be beat. So we headed to the terrace after the game, meeting up with Bill's and Leslie's families for a few pitchers. Jojo and her boyfriend Paul had a fun weekend planned which included hanging out w/Frick and I, and we eventually joined up with them at the hotel.

Got cleaned up at the hotel, had big pillow fight, then met up with Bill and his parents for dinner.

Jojo and Paul had never explored Madison, so we ventured up State Street towards Capitol Square looking for a bar that wouldn't be overrun by drunk college kids. On the way, a game of Lava Rock Rock Revolution broke out on a street seating sculpture installment (much to the confusion/amusement of passersby). Kids, don't try this without health insurance. This is one thing I love about hanging out with my brother and sister - we're grown adults, but we still have fun playing like schoolkids.

Despite spending many a summer night there in college, I had totally forgotten about the great basement outdoor patio at the Great Dane brewpub. We ordered up a sampler platter of 9 different beers, enabling us to sample almost all of their house brews. The perfect place to chill and avoid the drunken college masses.

Rode out to Willy St Sunday morning looking for some brunch - found a great little cafe (wish I could remember the name), stopped at the Willy Co-op, then we decided we'd get a few fast miles in before we all had to depart. I thought I could plot a route a little further eastward, before heading back towards campus and the cars. But we somehow ended up way out by the airport, requiring some riding amongst fast traffic near the Oscar Meyer plant in order to get back into town. Oops. It was a fast invigorating ride though, just what Paul wanted :-)