August 16th 1000 bikes built
Forecast: Mostly Sunny, High of 80o
You didn't think I would take off for Thanksgiving without giving you the conclusion did you? That just wouldn't be right. I now humbly submit to you the final chapter of the Project M series.
I woke up this morning feeling good. That's not necessarily a good thing; I've felt great on mornings that turned into horrible days. Mornings are great for their simple ignorance as to the nature of the outcome of the events of the day. I knew that I wouldn't be able to truly gauge how the day was until I got to the Terrace and started moving the metal. After a bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats (bite size because my fiancee won't let me buy the regulation size), a cup of coffee, and a couple "you can do this'" to my reflection in the bathroom mirror, it was go time.
The good sign was that the parking lot I was using as a staging area was completely devoid of cars. I was sure that several Monona Terrace employees hated me for commandeering their spots but those eggs would have to go broken if this omelet was going to rock. The first truck rolled in right as scheduled and I thought to myself "I'm going to open this thing and it's going to be empty". Nope. 103 new Limes looked back at me as if to say "there's 897 left of us, if you want this to happen you better find some help." Help arrived in the form of several fellow blurry-eyed Trekkies who seemed as stunned as I was that this might actually go off.
The Big Guys came out around noon to check on the progress and declared that the bikes were too in the open. Didn't want people catching on too early that there was 1000 bikes waiting for them outside. When we couldn't find a big enough tarp to throw over them we decided to surround the parking lot with the empty semi trailers in the greatest game of oversized Tetris I have ever competed in. Nothing could have stopped me, not even when you really need that "L" shaped piece but all you're getting is the stupid square ones and they're falling really fast and the music is fast and all "doot doot be doop". That's why I like Minesweeper, no added musical pressure. It took the better part of the day and the better halves of some of my fellow Trek homies but we got the bikes set and as JB released the crowd from his environmental presentation, we moved the semis and were off.
It took about an hour for every last person to get to the venue but it could not have been more worth it. The cops were less than thrilled with the amount of time we screwed with traffic but could not have been cooler. We staged the bikes in a field across the street from kickball and armed the interns with sniper rifles with night vision to guard the product. The best part of the whole night (besides the Lemond Lions taking the Trek Kickball Championship) was the return ride as 1000 people turned the lights that had caused me to lose feeling in three of the five fingers on my right hand on the bikes and took off into the Madison night. Lights blinking, people laughing, horns blaring, local residents shouting encouragement, dogs barking. It was the most satisfyingly magnficicent chaos I have ever been a part of.
Final Statistics: 1000 bikes ridden, 971 recovered, 5 found at the Essen Haus, 2 found outside the Great Dane Pub, 1 broken finger (next time don't ride down an up ramp in a parking structure), 0 arrests. Overall, a total success. The second night when we repeated the whole charade it rained buckets and myself along with a few people that I will forever hold most dear in the truest part of my heart dug Limes out of the mud for a full day. I won't get into it suffice to say it was not pleasant. The video is a time-lapse of the actual set-up from day 1 shot from the roof of the Monona Terrace. Hope you enjoyed this tale of triumph and tribulation. If you hated it, I promise I will move onto something else very soon.