2015 Windy 500… you had to be there.

Alright folks, here it is – the one and only Windy 500 has once again shocked and amazed.  Old friends got reacquainted, new friends were made, beers were consumed and miles were ridden.  If you weren’t there, here’s a little glimpse of what you missed.  If you WERE there, consider yourself down, and take a minute to sop it up…

Roll out – Friday, July 31, late (as usual)…

No mailboxes were hurt during the roll-out.

No mailboxes or 8 year-olds were hurt during the roll-out.

Out on the open road, and within about 1/2 a mile we lost our sag.  We went right and the van went left.  (Note from Al Krueger 10 miles later, Jason’s bike that he cobbled together the night before, unsurprisingly and finally, gave out. So, we sat on the side of the road for 35 minutes in the lovely Holy Hill area while we waited to get re-grouped with the sag, get his bike that actually worked and then we continued on.)  10 miles later we re-grouped and continued on.  The winds whipped up, making it impossible to communicate but we hammered on.  Eventually we fell into a rhythm, but not before stopping to all yell at each other a little.  The 5th Windy 500 was off to a very predictable start.

Contrary to popular belief, we actually did ride our bikes from time to time.

Further up the road (Oshkosh) we made the first of many mandatory stops for Mexican food and hydration.

Lampe doing his best Windy mascot impression.

Lampe doing his best Windy mascot impression.

These are some tiny water glasses Señor!

These are some tiny water glasses Señor!

Back on the road, and back to the brutal head and crosswinds.  This year the Windy finally lived up to its name.  The was very little shelter from the wind, but having 21 riders sharing the work certainly helped a ton.

Duwayne making driving 500 miles at 22mph look like cake.

Duwayne making driving 500 miles at 22mph look like cake.

Friday evening I was treated to a fantastic birthday celebration.  It’s easy to have fun when you “know SO many people…”

Say fellas, you know what would make this evenings celebration a real hoot? A giant boot full of beer!

Say fellas, you know what would make this evenings celebration a real hoot? A giant boot full of beer!

On my way to gaining 8 pounds over the weekend...

On my way to gaining 8 pounds over the weekend…

A great time was had by all, or so I’ve heard.  Back on the road on Saturday, a spectacular day all around.

A rare shot of Al not punching me in the balls.

A rare shot of Al not punching me in the balls.

It wasn’t long before we checked off one of the few Windy requirements: cross a state line.

Here's a nice picture before Jeremy was assaulted by a homeless lady because his bike was in her way...

Here’s a nice picture before Jeremy was assaulted by a homeless lady because his bike was in her way…

The best part of rolling into the U.P. has become a stop at the legendary La Cabaña.

Did I mention that I gained 8 pounds?

Did I mention that I gained 8 pounds?

PBR may just be the perfect  fuel for this event.

PBR – the perfect fuel for this event.

Sharing is caring.  This year bc introduced the all-new

Sharing is caring. This year bc introduced the all-new “Beach-canical” and a few guys took advantage with a quick dip in Lake Michigan.

After a relatively long but uneventful day in the saddle, we finally reached our turn-around.

There are a LOT more dudes in this picture than last year.

There are a LOT more dudes in this picture than last year.  We might need a bigger sign in 2016.

And then there was Sunday.  A very long day on tap, 152 miles, and the forecast looked absolutely beautiful… a week ago.  By that morning the forecasters were predicting severe thunderstorms, hail and we even heard 60 mph winds at one point.

You can't not smile on the Windy.  I see you trying Mauck, it's not working.

You can’t not smile on the Windy. I see you trying Mauck, it’s not working.

The weather started off OK, but shortly into the ride there was a millisecond of lost focus and a couple of guys went down hard.  Road rash, bruised parts and egos, and a completely shredded derailleur hangar on Jeremy’s bike.  Then, to add insult to injury, the first storm hit.  Al made quick work of repairing the bike damage, and we found a temporary haven with the Briguglios in their Lake house.

The work shed became just that during the storm, as Al made quick work of turning Jeremy's bike into a single speed to complete the next 250 miles.  Rule #5.

The work shed became just that during the storm, as Al made quick work of turning Jeremy’s bike into a single speed to complete the next 250 miles. Rule #5.

While Al was hard at work fixing bikes in a musty shed, the rest of us got to work screwing around.

Mile after mile, Volm never seemed to get tired...

Mile after mile, Volm never seemed to get tired…

Just kidding.  We all shared the work.

Just kidding. We all shared the work.

Just as we’d fall into a groove, the storms would whip up out of nowhere.  A quick stop for fuel at a gas station would turn into shelter from the hail and driving wind and rain within 5 minutes.

12:05 -

12:05 – “Well guys, looks like smooth sailing today!”

12:10 -

12:10 – “Is that hail??”

Although this day was the second longest in Windy history, and definitely the worst weather ever, it was epic.  Everyone will remember it, and it made for some awesome riding.

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Although no one really likes Al, we all seem to love him after he's had 1 beer.

Although no one really likes Al, we all seem to love him after he’s had 1 beer.

Here's Sarver looking for a bay window to relieve himself in front of.  He now holds the Guinness record for exposure to the locals.

Here’s Sarver looking for a bay window to relieve himself in front of. He now holds the Guinness record for exposure to the locals.

Sunday evening we enjoyed pizzas by the pool and hot tub, along with Jameson and “guess my age” with strangers.  I’m not sure who won, but Finn definitely lost.  Monday morning we cashed in the points we earned on Sunday and were treated to the best weather we could have asked for.

The hotel showers served as bike wash stations. After Sunday's storms it was hard to see what color each bike was.

The hotel showers served as bike wash stations. After Sunday’s storms it was hard to see what color each bike was.

We didn't have too many mechanicals, but almost all flats seemed to happen within a mile of the previous stop.  Now THAT'S how you flat!

We didn’t have too many mechanicals, but almost all flats seemed to happen within a mile of the previous stop. Now THAT’S how you flat!

McArdle getting his angry face ready for some yelling.

McArdle getting his angry face ready for some yelling.

Nothing I could say here would explain this.

Nothing I could say here would explain this.

Who would have thought that this little rolling birthday party that started with 4 guys and a stupid idea would morph into the most celebrated weekend of every year?

Who would have thought that this little rolling birthday party that started with 4 guys and a stupid idea would morph into the most celebrated weekend of every year?

Ready for more, but the road ends here.

Ready for more, but the road ends here.

502 miles – done.  Definitely one for the books.  At this point, it’s hard to have a favorite year.  What’s not hard to do, is start thinking about next year’s trip already.

This year’s ride is dedicated to Sugs who lost a week-long battle for his life after a serious accident last week.  They don’t make many like him, and the world will miss you Rob.  WORS, the Rampage, and countless other places and events where friends gather to ride bikes together will never be the same.

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2 thoughts on “2015 Windy 500… you had to be there.

  1. Hi Jason, it was our pleasure to meet you all! I posted a couple pictures on my Instagram account queeenmcb and I used the #2015windy500. Mary Ann Briguglio

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