Crotona Midnight Run 2018... 2nd Chance
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Thread: Crotona Midnight Run 2018... 2nd Chance

  1. #1
    Senior Member stagewex's Avatar
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    Crotona Midnight Run 2018... 2nd Chance

    Last weekend was a bust for me and my grand riding plans. First was to do an off-road day ride on Saturday in the Jersey Pine Barrens with some Ural guys. It rained so hard on Friday I never got a chance to load the sidecar rig and its too far to get to from my home in the morning. They had some breakdowns, it was cold, cold, cold and they had a good time.

    Then I was going to do the 100th anniversary Crotona Midnight Run on Saturday night (12:00am) into Sunday. Weather and timings just weren't cooperating so I bailed out of that too.

    Well, it seems the weather for the Crotona itself didn't cooperate either. Temperature has never mattered on this ride (it was 9 degrees average BTW) but dangerously icy roads did so it was postponed till this coming weekend:

    http://www.ramapomc.org/RMC_Events_f...mc_crotona.pdf

    Looks like it may be in the high 20's and mid 30's this weekend so that is downright toasty.
    I've done this rally 3 times over the years and it is quite a challenge of man, machine and navigation. Points never mattered to me, just finishing was an accomplishment.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Fred's Avatar
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    That sounds impressive, memorable and fun. Part of embracing life is willingness to go do something few others are willing to try.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member stagewex's Avatar
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    So it’s been a week since the Crotona Midnight Run and after a full day of recovery and a full week of work I got a chance to look back at it all.
    Originally scheduled for Sunday 1/14 the RMC (Ramapo Motorcycle Club) decided to postpone because of dangerous icy conditions. This became a second chance opportunity for me because the 22 year old brain in my 62 year old body had fantasied about:
    a) riding the trails and mud of the Jersey Pine Barrens with a Ural group on Saturday and then:
    b) traveling 150 miles back northeast to participate in the Crotona at midnight.
    Yeah, right!

    Having done this endurance run three (3) previous times it wasn’t just a 2nd chance but also the opportunity to participate in the the 100th Anniversary of the longest running AMA sanctioned event in the country. The first was on New Years Eve in 1911 but there was a hiatus during World War I and World War II. At some point the date was changed from New Years to the last full-Moon of the month with conflicting reasons why, one being folks wanted to celebrate New Years with their families and second it was just too dangerous with celebratory New Years drunks on the road. Whatever the reason it’s still an endurance run in January in New York. Kinda insane.

    Did most of my preparation on Saturday of the usual stuff (oil, tire pressure, etc.) and a few Rube Goldberg tie-wrap set-ups of my heated gear thermostat and Map light. Fuel tank and 2 liter fuel canister were filled to capacity. I brought along a thermos of hot tea and one of soup. Never did this before but instinctively I thought about being stranded at 4:00am in the middle of nowhere and how keeping warm without power might be. I also brought along some really good cigars and really cheap brandy. Might as well enjoy being stranded if that happened.

    Left my home in New Rochelle around 10:30pm and got to the Veterans Memorial Association (also RMC Clubhouse) in the hamlet of Congers, New York at 11:35pm. About a 20 mile ride north and across the Hudson River for me.
    Barely had enough time to register, get my route sheet and perform a Houdini act getting the heated pants liner under my Carhart coveralls. Temperature was hovering a little plus or minus of 30 degrees but it was going to be getting much colder after a sustained ride throughout the night. And riding into the woods and mountains. I was the 26th registered entrant so my “Key Time” was 12:26am. Participants left every minute stating at 12:01am. Got to take some video on my phone before plugging my heating umbilical into my own bike and got in the ready-line.

    I did mention that this was my 3rd Crotona. I completed twice before and DQ’d once having missed a checkpoint. For the serious AMA rider points are important. For me just completing successfully without incident is the fun part. Navigating without the aid of GPS, computer mapping or smart phone apps (all not allowed) is a challenge and with this run being at night even more so. On top of that the Russian sidecar I was riding has a trip odometer in kilometers only so the turn-by-turn route sheet in miles makes it even more difficult unless you are a mathematician (which I am not). In addition the route-sheet font was kinda small for my eyes and I forgot my good reading glasses, ugh. So my plan “B” was to cut the one-minute distance between myself and the person in front of me (#25) or behind me (#27) and piggyback along with them. And pray they knew where they were going, ha.

    Took off at12:26am and memorized the first couple turns keeping my eye’s on the bikes about a mile (or less) in front of me. Within a few minutes of departure and a couple turns darkness enveloped all the riders as we left the glow of suburban civilization. The tiny glow of red taillights ahead was the only reminder that it was not a ride in solitude. It was also getting pretty cold as the ride kept a 55 to 60 mph regular speed into the country. The turns and smaller rural roads forced a sometimes 10-15-20MPH speed thus the 30 mph average for this ride. A few bikes passed me but later as the road got shiny with black ice I passed them. Not race, just an understanding of man and the limits of his machine. My face shield was constantly fogging up, the result of the heat traveling up my body from the heated gear to the frigid cold of my helmet so I had to open it every once and awhile to see clear. Wished I had a pin-lock shield.

    Around 2:00am I saw the tail-light of one of the two motorcycles in front of me suddenly disappear. I slowly made a right turn to find the rider on the side of the road desperately trying to kick over his vintage Triumph without success.. All electrical power was lost. The buddy he was riding circled back to see what happened. He was piloting a 1926 Henderson… Holy Cow!!!
    I stayed with these guys for a bit as they tried to start the forlorn Triumph. Eventually I convinced Tim, the owner of the Triumph to push his bike to the side of the road and jump in the sidecar. Better to get to the half-way point and go back with the sweep vehicle than just leave him there in the cold and dark. Truthfully we really didn’t know where the heck we were anyway.
    The journey continued with my now added passenger (welcome ballast) and being tailed by the Henderson. We went through a couple more roadside check-points and skirted along the road by Stewart Airport/Air Force Base. This is the home of the 105th Air Wing and I usually enjoy seeing the hulking giant C-5 Galaxy’s parked on the runways. Couldn’t see anything in the darkness this night. At 2:55am we finally pulled into the parking lot of the Ikaros Diner in New Windsor for final half-way check-in and much welcomed warmth. About 29 degrees, not bad.


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    Incredible and very impressed that someone had the you-know-what...
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    IMG_3752.JPG
    littletommy and Commandog like this.

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  5. #4
    Senior Member stagewex's Avatar
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    I inhaled a big breakfast of hash, eggs, juice & coffee at the diner. Then I took the time to empty all the fuel from the auxiliary canister in my tank. I had to tape the 2nd half route sheet onto the tank and didn’t want to get involved in doing this later on at a gas station. The blue painters tape was barely sticking to the freezing metal of the gas tank anyway.
    The Henderson’s owner had run an extension-cord into the diner to recharge his battery. When we had arrived there his headlamp was barely working. I guess that’s what a real “total-loss system” is? In the end he had the bike flat-bedded onto the back of the sweep-truck and along with buddy Tim traveled a back route to try and find the broke-down Triumph. There was also another Ural with both pilot and monkey. They learned at the diner that they had missed a check-point and DQ’d so decided not to continue, choosing to double back to Congers and their trailer. I think they were from Long Island? I was sorry to see the only other hack go.

    4:26am I’m back on the road again. Second half of the run was uneventful except for one very, very bad wrong turn that I wasn’t alone in making. Six other bikes had pulled to the side of the road someplace in or near Montgomery, New York. That’s where West Point is located. Apparently we had all read CR9 as 9W on the route sheet. This was a 10 mile out of the way mistake which took us up and over Storm King Mountain twice when we doubled back becoming a 20 mile mistake. The Harleys and Suzuki I was tailing were going as fast as they could to make-up the lost time and it was really a struggle to keep up with them. At one point they got off the road and I could barely see their lights in the distance. I don’t know how I was able to exit and find them again other than the fact that the slippery roads kept them going a little slower than I was able to ride on 3 wheels. Good that we went back too as we would have missed at least three (3) more check-points and all DQ’d.

    The Sun finally started to rise around 6:30am. We were all clipping along fast now past the snow, woods, frozen lakes and reservoirs. Yeah, it was cold but I had my face-shield fully opened taking in the beauty of it all. Passing little villages and towns I imagined folks still tucked in their warm beds or getting ready to for church. But despite the cold and with the engine humming along happily there was no better place to be in the world than the road at that moment. I gave a thought to the 100 years of Crotona Runs that happened before.

    Finally pulled back into the staging point/clubhouse at 7:36am for final check-in.
    I have not seen the results posted yet but keeping my fingers posted that I did complete and hit all the check-points? If I did I’m pretty sure I came in dead-last. And if I didn’t, it was about the ride.

    On the ride home I decided this will be the last one of these for me. Next time I think participate as a volunteer with the Ramapo MC if they need any. They really put a lot of effort and work into keeping this event (and all their rides) going and promoting motorcycling as a sport. So maybe I’ll be at the 101st anyway?


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    Emergency Tools.
    IMG_3765.jpg
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  6. #5
    Senior Member stagewex's Avatar
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    Video:


  7. #6
    Super Moderator littletommy's Avatar
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    Most excellent Brotha!!
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    Member Commandog's Avatar
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    Awesome stuff. Thanks for taking the time to write it up!

    Mike
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    Senior Member Fred's Avatar
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    Moonlight is getting brighter every day, getting ready to head out again?
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  10. #9
    Senior Member admiral's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred View Post
    Moonlight is getting brighter every day, getting ready to head out again?
    Blue moon, blood moon, super blue moon, looks like January has it all.
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    Hidden Content A ride in the woods helps me relax and release tension. The fact I'm dragging a body should be entirely irrelevant?

  11. #10
    Senior Member stagewex's Avatar
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    Always like to give credit to my references especially when it has to do with history. Great vintage pictures too of past Crotona's and the Jack Pine Run:


    Article from 1967 about the 50th Crotona.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=Nv...istory&f=false

    Some more Crotona history including an article about motorcycle racer Reggie Pink.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=bv...istory&f=false


    Some great sidecar pictures and stuff about the Jack Pine Endurance Run.

    Jack Pine History By Larry Lawrence ? NEPG
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