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Sunday, June 19, 2005


Riding the Midnight Sun Run in the rain

The 2005 Midnight Sun Run was a wet one this year.

It rained steadily leading up to the race and all the way through the race. I was the organizer for the FCC riders again this year. We're tasked with the job of pacing the lead runner(s) and we had fun doing it, as always.

There were six of us all told, and something like 3,000 entrants in the race.

There was me, Tom Clark, Richard Stolzberg, Doug Burnside (in his recumbent bike with the mp3 player from his car down behind his windshield), and a couple other guys.

I got over there to the Patty Center parking lot at UAF a bit early, as I always do, just to see the costume entrants. People can enter the race in the costume division (essentially noncompetitive) and every year, people come up with weird costumes.

There was a lady dressed up as the "Runaway Bride" (with a guy next to her dressed up as a Greyhound bus), a kid dressed up as a shark, people pretending to be a school of salmon, and the like.

We lined up over on Fairbanks Street bridge, and as soon as the Army guys set up by West Valley High School set off the blanks in their howitzer, the race was on.

We cruised along across Fairbanks Street into the subdivision, then up along Geist and over to the other side of University Avenue. The cops had partially closed off University on one lane (the eastbound lane) but traffic was still open through the intersection. Tom had to wave one motorist off from driving right through the intersection just as we were about to go across. It was raining all the way. We sometimes couldn't keep up with the motorcycle cop on the Harley he was riding (which bikes are donated by Harley every year, and returned in September to be sold) and he had to stop several times, sometime to help us keep the course clear.

There were people having solstice/garage parties all along the route (more about that in a moment) and we were riding along, enjoying ourselves in the rain.

Finally, we got over to the Riverview subdivision, and more of the same. The race wound and wended its circuitous route through the Riverview Country Club (as I like to call that subdivision) on its way over to the crossing under the bridge at Peger Road. Just before we got to the bridge, my friend Mike called out to me from his front yard, where he always has a party every year.

It was on that part of the course that I realized that Mike Kramer was the lone runner at the front of the pack, with the second runner (Kevin Brinegar) some hundreds of feet behind him. This was unusual. Usually it's Kevin who is up at the front.

We got under the bridge and had to pick up the pace to stay ahead of Mike. Then we had to get down First Avenue, loop up Moore Street, thence back over on Crosson (I think) to get over to Pioneer Park Alaskaland, where the race ended.

It ends inside the park, and we had to stay with Mike right up to the end, when we pulled off to the side. He won hands down, almost 30 seconds ahead of Kevin.

I bid my buds a farewell and headed back over to Mike's for the party.

There was still plenty of food left over, and I got a cheeseburger, potato salad, and some excellent marianated chicken. I hung out there for a while, watching the parade of runners come down the street. The Army guys came through en masse as they pushed their howitzer cannon (used at the beginning) to the finish line. I missed the "Runaway Bride" entrant as she came by.

Finally, it was gettin along to late in the evening, and I had a long(ish), cold, wet bike ride back to my cabin, in the rain. I bid everyone adieu and rode on home, in the rain, wearing my FCC jacket, with an FCC t-shirt under it.

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