Keri and I are both proud to say that we came, we saw, and we conquered Madtown Maidens 3! If you haven’t been keeping track, Madtown Maidens is an all women’s alleycat bike race. Our new friend Kierstin Kloeckner is the bike goddess behind the race and she sure does know how to host a good bike event!
Saturday’s forecast had called for rain, so Keri and I weren’t quite sure what we were in for. Luckily the rain ceased in the early afternoon and the rest of the evening was clear skies and nearly 70 degree weather. Madtown Maidens was to promptly start at 5pm, so we decided to roll out around 4. I had a few items I needed to purchase and it’s always nice to make sure we had time to get our bikes ready, etc.
After purchasing our goods, we grabbed some free coffee that Barrique’s donated. I had asked Kierstin if it was considered doping, she confirmed it was, but the good kind of doping 😉
The parking lot of Machinery Row started filling up with women and their bikes. The coolest thing about this race is that it brings women of all ages and walks of life. There were fixies , step thru bikes, mountain bikes, cross bikes, road bikes, touring bikes, and about everything in between. The same went for the riders themselves. I’m pretty sure the youngest rider was about 15 and the oldest was probably in their 60’s. There were women who were obviously seasoned messengers all the way to the seasoned tri-athlete.
At 5pm Kierstin had welcomed everyone for signing up and also gave a shout out to the sponsors. She also announced that we had to do one small task before receiving our race manifests aka check point sheets. We were to ride to 1230 Regent St., high five a staff member at Budget Bikes (there’s 4 different locations of Budget all on Regent St.!) and ride back to Machinery Row to get our sheets.
Once we got word, I booked it down the bike path. I knew if I was going to go all out, it had to be at the very start so I’d have time to map out the route to the various check points. Instead of taking the bike path the entire way to Budget, I decided to follow Regent St. and ride on the road. It worked out pretty well and I made good time. I was one of the first few riders back to Machinery Row. I also decided to try and avoid stoplights as much as I could on my route back to the Row, so I took West Wash to Bassett and then crossed John Nolen Dr.
Unfortunately I didn’t have time to tell Keri what my plan was, so she was left a little surprised when I took off without her. Once she got back to Machinery Row, I explained that I needed to plan out the route and she understood. We had both agreed to do the race as a team, TEAM FATTY! The fun thing about alleycats is that in most cases you can complete the checkpoints in any order as long as it’s within the set time parameters.
The checkpoints included the following locations:
-Redamte on State St.-Barrique’s on Park St.
-Ale Asylum on Pankratz (had no idea where the hell that was!)
-Tex Tubb’s on Atwood
-Machinery Row (the absolute last checkpoint for EVERYONE)
I had decided our best chance at doing well would be going East. We took a right out of the Row and followed Spaight and crossed over the Yahara River. We took Jennifer St. to Atwood as there was little traffic that route. Once we arrived at Tex Tubb’s we saw hula hoops and stuffed animals being wrangled.
Each rider had their choice of trying to rope wrangle or hula hoop wrangle either a stuffed horse on a hay bale or a stuffed pig on some sort of tripod contraption. Hula hoop on the pig was easiest. Each rider had 3 tries. Keri and I both got it on the second try. It’s hard tossing a hula hoop while riding a bike around a set target!
Once our manifests were signed we then decided to ride over to Ale Asylum. Neither of us had been there since they moved locations, so we did our best to navigate our way over. I used to go to MATC, so I had an idea of how to get there. Once we hit Aberg Ave. there was no real quick way to make it to the next checkpoint without it sucking up a lot of extra time. We decided to try and go to the end of Shopko Dr. and hope for the best. Great minds MUST think alike, because two of the Madison Team Luna Chix riders had that same idea. Unfortunately there was no nice gravel or path connector, but a muddy field. Luckily I had my cross bike so I only had to walk a small portion of it, but Keri was riding her road bike. Those skinny tires don’t like mud!
It was quite the adventure, but got us to Ale Asylum a lot quicker than riding all the way around the long way. The checkpoint for Ale Asylum was to name a beer, should you own your own brewery. I went with BIG FATTY ALE and Keri wrote “drunken clam”, which also seemed appropriate for the occasion.
Woodward Dr. was our next stop. We knew it was somewhere near Troy Dr. as we’ve ridden a lot in that area, but couldn’t quite remember how to get there from where we were. Luckily we vaguely figured it out on the map and followed another pack of riders as that would give us the general direction of where we needed to be. It turns out those riders didn’t quite know where they were headed, so we eventually figured out where we were supposed to be and got on Woodward.
From Woodward we headed to Tenney Locks. Of course the checkpoint was all the way at the END of the pier. A number of riders coming from that stop had told us not to go with a certain name. It turns out if you chose that one person out of the 4-5 options, you had to do burpees and the running man. I chose Mark (?) and had to grab a U lock out of the lake. Keri chose Perfecto and had to dance with a silly hipster. All the people working the checkpoint were super fun and it was tempting to not just stop our race there and drink some PBR’s with them, but we were making great time so we decided to keep on going.
Redamte was next on our radar. We cruised down Fordem and connected to Gorham, where we met our first major hill climb of the ride. I tend to forget there’s a couple of hills on Gorham, but the adrenaline was pumping so it wasn’t anything too terrible. Once we turned onto to State St. it was a madhouse! This was the same weekend of the Mifflin St. block party, so instead of drunk college kids just wandering one street, they in turn wandered the entire downtown area.
New Madison Bike Fed director, Tom Klein, and friends were manning the Redamte checkpoint. We had to complete a quiz on city cycling rules. My brain was farting all over the place, so I’m pretty sure I got an F+. Good thing is, that we got to grab some ice water before rolling out to the last checkpoint before Machinery Row!
Keri and I decided to keep going down State St. to Lake St. then onto Dayton, then onto Park. Once we got to Barrique’s, we got our manifests signed and had to try and spit coffee beans into coffee cups. Both Keri and I were successful and we rolled on out back to Machinery Row via Brittingham Park.
Back at the Row we had to do mini cyclocross. There were a selection of terribly heavy, tiny kids bikes that we had to ride around flags, a cone, and then dismount to do a cross style carry over a picnic table. I think I chose the smallest bike out of the bunch as I felt like I was riding a damn tricycle! It got the job done though and it was hilarious watching other ladies doing it after it was all said and done.
The total mileage we ended up doing was 21.6 ish. I haven’t uploaded the data off of my cycling computer yet to confirm that or the average speed/time, but we seemed to do fairly well. We weren’t the first people to arrive, but we sure weren’t the last either. I could see how some people could have gotten lost in the Woodward area or near Ale Asylum.
Once we put the bikes back on the car rack, we decided to head in for beer and the after party. That beer from the delicious Ale Asylum keg was one of the best beers I had ever tasted. I think it was due to us pushing so hard the entire ride and just being so hot and sweaty. That in itself was worth the $6 entry fee and the few hours of my life I dedicated to doing the ride.
The after party was pretty fun. We chatted with some of the Luna Chix and stuck around to get our names announced for the raffle prizes. One of the Luna Chix won the race overall and received a bike fit as well as the Saris Bones rack we donated. The fixed gear first rider won a beautiful white track frame from Fyxation.
Every other rider got to pick something from the prize table as there were a ton of items donated. Each rider also got a free massage gift card! Pretty sweet for participating in such a rad event. The only downside of the entire thing was that Keri was the very last person to be called, as they chose riders at random. Still, if that’s the only downside, that’s pretty good.
Overall we had a blast and we’d do it again in a heartbeat! A huge thanks goes out to Kierstin, the volunteers, the sponsors, and all the wonderful ladies who participated in the race. Word is that the race will go on hiatus for a year or two as Kierstin has some bucket list items to check off, but she plans on bringing it back, bigger and better!
Check out the photos & the video below and be sure to keep an eye out for when Madtown Maidens returns!
Photos are mixed property of Madtown Maidens and Spoke Haven LLC. Please do not use without permission!