Night Bison 2013 is in the history books, and it was undoubtedly the best ~55 mile September night gravel ride named after an ungulate that we’ve ever conducted. Bar none.
We called ahead and scheduled some storms to come through late afternoon, so the roads were hard, moist and fast. Some of the gravel was better than area pavement. The temps were perfect for a night ride, whether you went fast or slow, and the flash of lightning in the distance made for a beautiful set of natural fireworks to decorate the ride.
There were well over 100 riders in attendance, and the mood was relaxed as we prepared for the departure.
The Night Bison is a ‘come as you are’ ride. It’s self-supported, but we riders ranging from the hard-charging lead group all the way down to those who stopped for fireworks, a responsible adult beverage, and a slow meander through the course.
With an orderly rollout at Civil Twilight, we hit the streets en-masse, headed southbound towards gravel and adventure.
The light of a hundred headlamps broke the darkness. Quite a few of those headlamps were demo models provided by our good friends at Gemini, and courtesy of the good folks at North Central Cyclery.
When we hit the gravel, things opened up. The fast guys went fast, the comfortable pace people moseyed, and everyone smiled.
See that hero gravel? It was perfection.
Some people even headed out with off-course detours…
Around 40ish miles in, we had an unexpected pitstop.
The guy in the Elmo shirt had a friend doing the ride, and he set up a wholly voluntary aid station.
We didn’t know it would be there, but we sure did appreciate it. (If anyone has contact info for that gent, let us know. We owe him a debt of gratitude).
After that stop, we hit the much-loved B-Roads.
The grass was slick and wet, and the ruts were well-concealed. Quite a few people experienced the joy of a wet-grass slip’n'slide while navigating this area, and everyone came out grinning.
With the route running backwards this year, the B-road led into the three gentle rollers of Harter Road, then up Lynch, and then a final blast of pavement into town. Everybody who rode was a winner. The winner who finished first was the unassuming guy with the beard, in the middle of this picture:
Thank God for grainy Instagram pics.
At the close, riders were rewarded with cold beverages and hot pizzas. One of the best parts of the night was the finish: as riders came in, no matter how fast or how slow they were going, the whole crowd would erupt into applause. That is the spirit we are trying to build with Axletree. Inclusivity. Awesomeness.
The event was perfect–challenging for those who wanted it, and fun for all. We owe a great thanks to our amazing sponsors including Gore Bike Wear and Gemini Lights…and of course the mothership of North Central Cyclery, where you can find Gore and Gemini to your heart’s content.
If you joined us this year, thanks for a great night. If you missed it, mark your calendar for next year!