By SHANNON WATKINS
The Second Annual Little Compadres 5000+ bike ride will be held Saturday, March 16, with sign-in at 8:30 a.m., beginning and ending at Pulaski Bikes LLC on S. Washington Avenue.
For something that sounds dauntingly formal, Pulaski Bikes owner Mike McMillion is quick to note that it’s anything but.
“There’s nothing official about it,” said McMillion. “It started off as a joke. A bunch of us like to go eat at Compadres, and there’s a race from the movie ‘Breaking Away’ called the Little 500.”
The ride features over 6,000 feet of climbing, which is uphill biking at a grade of 24 percent or steeper, woven into about 50 miles’ worth of riding. “I thought about billing it as 6,700 feet of downhill riding,” said McMillion, “but then they’d figure out they have to go uphill first.”
Still, participants will never be further than five miles from the starting point; it’s the up and down and circuitous path that account for the length of the five segment ride.
Clearly everyone had fun getting geared up; the segments have names like “Short But Definitely Not Sweet,” and “This View Must Be Earned.” Notable points along the way are dubbed the Thaxton Road Lung Slayer, the Madison Mauler and the Draper Mountain Dreadnought, among many hilariously dismaying others. The jests may be light, but the ride is punishing.
McMillion says last year 30 people showed up and 11 finished. He’s hoping for about the same turnout this year, possibly more. There will be door prizes such as tickets to the Pulaski Theater, Mariners games, and Randolph Park water passes.
This, along with the very local nature of the race, has a purpose. “People will find all the cool stuff they can do here when they’re not suffering on their bikes,” he said.
McMillion also asks that motorists look out for extra cyclists on the road. He’s not too worried about problems, though. “Sometimes you get someone wanting to bully you if you’re on a bike, but I lived in D.C. and it was a hundred times worse up there.”
In addition to the Little Compadres 5,000+, McMillion says starting April 4, there will be a ride on the Dora Trail every Thursday through the summer, starting at around 6 p.m. from the bike shop and ending around 7 p.m.
“We ride at the pace of the slowest rider,” he said. “It’s a social ride with no training value whatsoever.”
For those craving the thrill and agony of hard biking, however, the Second Annual Little Compadres 5000+ is free and open to all levels, though climbing ability is strongly recommended. Pre-registration is not required, and the race will only be canceled if there is snow or ice on the ground. Helmets are mandatory. For more info and to RSVP, contact Mike McMillion at (540) 994-9119 or [email protected]