Friday night we gathered at a friend’s house after dinner out with margaritas and food slathered in mole sauce. It turned out that both sets of friends were headed up to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin for a crazy little event called the Sno Fun Run.
Neither one of us was super convinced we should go. But when Saturday morning rolled around we had a good discussion about the need to Get Out of Dodge and it resulted in a few more phone calls to find out if the dog could be watched and one of the kids, too, and off we went.
The road to Lake Geneva is paved with memories for me. There have been many such trips to ski, run and ride up there over the years. One of our favorite summer jaunts is to ride from St. Charles up to Fontana for a 70-miler followed by some swimming in the lake and some excellent chow at Chucks, an open-faced bar right next to the water in Fontana.
This time we were headed to the Grand Geneva resort. The property once served as the domain of the Playboy Club in southeastern Wisconsin. There are even provocative sculptures out on the golf course that make some suggestion of wanton sex and yet, you can’t quite tell what they are.
That’s the general feeling of southern Wisconsin, where engaging in sex indoors and out and getting a little crazy is actually an official state sport. In fact if there weren’t laws against public nudity, it is a fairly sure bet there would be Wisconsinites and Flatlanders humping like badgers on every level piece of land and farm fence from Beloit to Eagle River. It’s just what they do up there.
So that means the rules shift slightly when you cross the border from Illinois to the Badger State. The supposedly staid state of Wisconsin is actually rife with swingers if you make a study of it. Take the Don Q Inn in Dodgeville, for example. Every room is a different “theme” in that extremely cheesy Wisconsin way in which veneer serves as a public art form. That’s the entire premise of the House On the Rock, which is basically a gigantic Love Shack for the crazy “architect” of it all. That place has carpeted walls and secret grottos where one of the state’s original swingers go laid by showing off his weird collections of artifacts. The women who fell for that must have had insane experiences and really bad dreams later on.
So you have to be ready for anything when you see the sign that says Welcome to Wisconsin. And sure enough, the Sno Fun race was a mix of odd costumes and pink bunny ears and Hugh Hefner shiny bedroom jackets. When it was all said and done and everyone had traipsed five miles on extremely snow roads the massive entourage of 1000 people wolfed down shots of this and that and convened in a big ballroom for an afternoon and evening of happy debauchery.
Of course this idiot was a bit slowed by the fact that during the run it was my very poor decision to pretend I was a steeplechaser again. I hurdled a tall orange traffic cone and wound up with an acute knee sprain. It didn’t stop me during the run, but I knew something stupid had just happened. It would hurt later.
Which is precisely why I downed four shots immediately after the race. Then it was time for some dark beer in multiple phases. We danced and dressed up and generally enjoyed being free of life’s routine.
In our midst roamed some women in black bikinis and tall Fuck Me shoes. Both girls were so comfortable in their skin they became part of the scenery. Of course runners rather admire such nakedness, especially for the sake of nakedness. Most of us willingly change clothes in front of others or drop our drawers to take action when nature calls. Even our daily clothing choices while on the run are basically skin over skin. There are no secrets out there. Your butt is your butt and everything after just goes with the flow. Tight is right because it is aerodynamic. That holds true whether you’re on the road or in the bedroom.
But the dude who stripped to his Speedos or black shorts for a photo with the “bunnies” did seem to breach some sort of social etiquette. Not sure what that means other than it looked like he was trying a little too hard. That’s the strange thing with an atmosphere of public drunkenness and happy celebrations of sex. You want to enjoy it with some form of discretion. That’s the American way, you see. It’s why sex is all over the airwaves and is used to sell products. We’re all voyeurs but it is still considered important not to be a wanton consumer. It’s one of the tarsnakes of partying. Have fun but not too much fun lest you crash into your own crazed self image. This is especially true in the age of social media.
Still the dance contest was an interesting little tour de force in twerking and jerking bodies. The women’s contest featured a graduated prize system in which larger and larger sausages were handed out to the women who were judged to have been the best dancers each round. Frankly the best dancer got eliminated because costumes also seemed to have played a role in the dance contest. The irresistibly coy girl in a black flouncy tutu, pink hair and a glimpse of ass in tights seemed to get a pass despite the fact that she could not dance for shit. One trick pony. But her trick worked fine. She made it to the final round.
The guy’s contest came down to a guy with a bald head and a fit stud that everyone in the room agreed was gay because he was TOO buff and TOO together in his black outfit with LED blinking lights and not a trace of fat on his body. The women screamed for him each time but the judges awarded the price to the slightly better dancer. Mr. LED won the Most Attractive consolation prize. He likely could have had his choice of spectators by the time it was all said and done. And that was all good.
As a former winner of many dance contests over the years it was tough to stand aside and watch all this. As with my running, it is now my contentment to mix with the crowd and be a happy observer. Still, the hilarity of life catches up with you somehow. Late in the evening my girlfriend checked the race results and discovered I’d gotten second place in my age group. Of course that is a very specific demarcation. Awards are given out for Every Single Age, not just in groups.
Still it was nice to string some bling over my neck and continue drinking. We moved to the bar and mixed drinks to whet our whistles. Somewhere along the line the Bunny Ears made it onto my head and some bar food made it into our stomachs. The poor girl waiting tables was in way over her head in only her second week of employment. The entire wait staff looked shocked and a bit overwhelmed by the partying crowd of runners.
Some poor fellow wound up down on his knees in the men’s bathroom. Too much drinking and a slip of the shoes caused injury of some sort. His wife hung around with a phalanx of cops keeping an eye on him until the medical team could arrive. It’s sad when life goes from frivolity to fear in such a quick moment.
But those are the lessons in having fun. We shared many stories about past running adventures. One of our party had once competed in the Olympic Trials Marathon. His PR of 2:18 seemed like a strange aberration in a world where most runners are simply happy to run and then get drunk and dance.
Yet very late in the evening we stumbled on the actual winner of the race with his girlfriend, who got second. They stood out like two jewels in a bucket of acorns. All fit and young and shiny-faced. He ran 27:30 on roads where going that fast should not have been possible. Probably equivalent to 24:50 on a normal day. The lead pack came flying back past the mulling masses on the out and back course and it made me nostalgic for being in the thick of the lead race. It just doesn’t happen once you age.
Which is why it pays to get a little bit crazy rather than sweat lost speed. It’s the speed of life that counts at some point. Even if you sprain your knee doing something stupid out there, you’re much the better for it. Bunny ears and all.