The dust has finally settled from the craziest 72 hours in the history of Fyxation and our blog needs an update. From Friday to Sunday we competed in a 24 hour race named the Riverwest 24, manned the pedal powered stage at the Brady Street Festival here in Milwaukee, sold leather goods at the Milwaukee Brewfest and hosted the second annual Fyxation Open fixed gear street crit in sunny Chicago! All while keeping our new shop open and trying to run our business. What were we thinking?
The weekend started off with the Riverwest 24 hour race and man are we stoked to be in our new neighborhood. For those of you not from Milwaukee, Riverwest is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city and in addition to being our new home, Riverwest is a small and vibrant community that is home to a ton of cyclists! For the last 8 years, it's also been home to the Riverwest 24 Hour Bike Race.
Signage Complete at Fyxation HQ For Start of RW24
The Riverwest 24 is a 24 hour alleycat held in the Riverwest neighborhood and is unlike any other bike race in the country. Starting at 7PM on Friday, the race is held on a 4+ mile course that winds through the streets of Milwaukee. This year 368 teams and over 1000 riders competed in the race and over 500 volunteers signed up to help make things run smoothly. This was our first year in our new neighborhood and of course Fyxation had to have a team in this event. Team name: Fyxation Turbo Squirrel Crew.
Fyxation Tim Using The Projector To Outline Our Rider Mural
We've been in our new building in Riverwest since January but we used the Riverwest 24 as our final motivation to get our shop signs finished. We spent the whole week on ladders hanging signs and painting our new Rider Mural which is 12 feet tall and 22 feet wide and faces busy Humboldt Blvd, one of the main arteries for the Rivewest 24.
The race consists of 4 checkpoints that you have to visit each lap around in order for that lap to count. The checkpoints are manned by volunteers who work throughout the race to make sure you can get in and out of the checkpoint as fast as possible (Huge shout out to the bearded dude at checkpoint 2 for being fast, positive and working all day and night!). Fyxation HQ is located right between checkpoint 2 and 3 and offered a great vantage point for us to watch the riders go by and was how we switched riders for our team during the race.
In addition to the 4 main checkpoints, there are bonus checkpoints throughout the race that you can do while completing your laps. Each checkpoint gets you bonus laps so if your goal is to win the race, you NEED to hit those checkpoints. The RW24 checkpoints are as diverse as the neighborhood and while many are focused on doing things for the community you can also get your head shaved or get 5 bonus points for getting a permanent RW24 tattoo.
Turbo Squirrel Crew Rolling To Register
The Fyxation Turbo Squirrel Crew consisted of 6 members of our team including our 2 co-founders, their younger brother who also happens to be a doctor, 2 of our expert mechanics/shop staff and our graphic designer. 2 other members of the Fyxation crew also raced in 24 but on different teams. The race started at 7PM sharp but the crew had to roll over to the starting area to register all riders and to pick up the coveted manifest. The manifest gets stamped at every checkpoint and each one records up to 10 laps of the race. Once the card is complete you turn it in to get a new one and you start again. If you lose the manifest, all those laps are voided and in addition to getting your ass kicked by your team, the volunteers and crowd at the checkpoints will make you feel even worse. Don't lose the manifest!
Getting Final Instructions Before The Race
Our goal during the Riverwest 24 was to keep our shop open for the full 24 hours so we could offer race support, tubes, tires, derailleur adjustments... you name it. We didn't really have a race strategy but we did have a schedule set so we all knew when we were supposed to ride and when we could potentially get some sleep. The thing about the Riverwest 24 is that in addition to being a community event that brings people together, it's also a bike race. Even though our team didn't really discuss our strategy, we must have all been thinking the same thing. That we would all ride our asses off for 24 hours until the race was over.
In addition to keeping our shop open for the full 24 hours, we closed our parking lot earlier in the day to turn it into the race headquarters and party central for our team and 4 other teams racing in the 24. Lots of hot dogs and burgers were consumed. Beers were flowing and music was cranking out of the speakers courtesy of local DJ, DJ Pleasure (that's right, I said Pleasure).
Warehouse Camping During the RW24
I was the first rider out of the gate and my 16 minute first lap time pretty much set the stage for the whole race. By the time everything was said and done, our team had completed 67 laps and covered 308 miles. Full team results here. Our team had the second most number of laps of any team and we came in just 1 lap behind the first place team. It was never our goal to win so we blew it by missing most of the bonus checkpoints and finished in 48th place but for our team that wasn't really the point. It was all about having fun, riding fast and getting to know our new neighborhood. We are beyond pumped to be here in Riverwest and we can't wait until next year's race.
Finish Line Photo Courtesy of RW24 Facebook Page
Huge thanks to all the organizers for pulling off a great event and for our team for riding fast, fixing tubes at 4AM and setting a high bar for all future members of the Turbo Squirrel Crew.
*Unfortunately we were so focused on racing and helping people out that we have no real pictures during the entire 24. Next year we'll do a better job of documenting the race but if you have some pictures you'd like to share, please send them over to us.