Thursday, June 30, 2011

Birthday Bike Ride and a gift it was

What a night to be had.
While we were initially taken aback by the rain that fell on us during our pre-ride dressing routine, we were quickly treated to some superb conditions (and at least this guy was over dressed)
The night started out w/B, C-Man and me meeting on the Mosquito lot. We had a brief discussion about C-Man’s on-call status at work and decided that instead of taking two cars for 3 riders we would throw in “all for one and one for all” – this meant that if C-Man got a call, B and I would have to leave. The Riding Gods favored us and the only calls and texts to c-man were well wishers for his birthday. Happy B-Day Councilman!
I think some smart ass or two sent him a fake “help, our network just crashed” texts, but we were all quick to point out that such pranks were very sophomoric and belonged in some flat Landers riding group not up here where the air is thin and the egos are big.
So, upon arriving at the Knot Lot we were greeted by The New Scouts, yes, newly dubbed. Said scouts (No Sauce and fill in taco handle here), were ready and seemed unconcerned about the weather. Although T1 (fill in new taco handle here) realized quite quickly that clothing selection is better made trail side than at home and when it come to Tuesday weather, you are best throwing the kitchen sink into the Dodge and make your selection lot side.

We rolled out the back door, crossing Cappy’s Hiccup and headed down the horse trail “towards” the spillway bridge or so T1 (fill in new taco handle here) thought. I say towards, b/c that is where T1 (fill in new taco handle here) rolled off too. The other 4 of us took a hard left at the bottom towards the goat trail that runs across the damn embankment itself. B went in search our newest Scout. We collected ourselves and headed out over the spillway crossing after all and up to the switchers near the spill way ( does this section have a name, spill ride, spill thrill?) crossed the road and took the single track which was in primo conditions towards Fleming. No, Fleming was not in order, just past damn #2 we crossed the road an jumped on the lake loop in counter clock fashion – oh sweet single track. We were headed for the lips. We took them down. The trails were smok’n fast and as good as I can remember seeing them in any month of the year let alone June. What a treat. (although I did complain a fair bit about all the wet branches soaking me w/every turn – price you pay as ride leader I guess).
After the lips we continued counter clockwise around the lake. Conversations were plentiful and spirits were high. The temps were great and even if you were wet it did not matter, the trails were sweet. We took a new secret trail up to the bottom of the Wedding March/Rock Garden-RG1A split, then continued up the Wedding March to the Wedding March-Qualifier cut-off. Cruised over the cut-off and down the qualifier to the Knot lot. Bobby was never seen, but his handler was there to instruct him and protect us in spirit… “Don’t do it Bobby”, “We’ve talked about this Bobby”, “Come on, Bobby, wouldn’t do that”.

Peter, if you are reading this and have read this far, you know by now that the trail conditions were sweet, beyond sweet, they were epic. But still the same, good thing you stayed home b/c the pace was solid and we didn’t stop for mechanicals (real or faked) and we didn’t do a short ride, so you would have been dropped.

Conversations on the trail centered around boy bands, C3 (Classic California Climbs) and comparing Wolf Blitzer to Anderson Cooper and of course the ever present trail conditions. We discussed the merits of Wolf’s beard and name and how they contributed to his fame during the first Gulf War. I reviewed the more important or “classic” qualities of a C3 while we rolled up the newly made over lower half of the qualifier and B was intent on assigning a boy band to each “wave” of scouts. We didn’t put this later idea to vote.

Taco Time. The tacos were greasy, the sauce was plentiful and B revisited the Ghost pepper sauce w/out incident. We mused about our fetish friends and wondered how their endeavors were going and missed their presence. Someone made some comment that had heads spinning and can’t be repeated but we all had a hell of a laugh – straws were involved. C-Man was the man of the hour and was treated to his tacos and Rye, and was gifted an Ace (which whoever picked up his tab actually was the recipient of). He celebrated his 29th birthday and I learned that he edges me out by months, not years but is yet my senior, if only by a few months (I’m still 28). It was quite nice to see our double qualified, hard working and fun loving politician really enjoying what to me seems the best way to spend a birthday evening (leaving room for night time excitement still). As we wrapped up the evening and waited for someone to finish their pay beer, we learned a bit more about the secret live of the Taco Bitches (read: Red Hawk and no, they don’t go to Bird Church), had some great laughs and then rolled on down the hill – some to continue their celebratory efforts at other locals.

PS: This RR stuff is a lot of work, now I know why it takes so long to get one together. A nod to our founding father Lars and all the Wednesdays and Thursdays he did this work solo. You are much better writer than me.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Last Tuesday in Juneuary - Yep, check your forecast

Hey It is Tuesday right. So that means rain or snow right.

As is expected in Feb, March and April, it is forecast to rain tonight. NO surprises here, except that it is almost July and we never get rain in California in the summer except some wonderful thunderstorms. The forecast is calling for more of a real weather system today and tomorrow however. An excerpt is below.


Last nights National Weather Service forecast for Pollywood actually issued a Winter Weather advisory (which appears to have been downgraded to just a "Special Statement" now). In any case, since the weather is going to be perfect, should we expect more attendance tonight. Last week had us rolling 9 large. How will we shape up tonight. There seems to be a chance that the weather will hold off till late. Hope that doesn't keep people home. One thing is for sure, there will be no dust in next week's SSFT3 outing.

Pulling some winter gear out of the drawers (again) and gearing up.
I'm In.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

FT3 Grew, B Blew.

Last night saw many firsts, not the least of which was our newest rider Trevor 1 or T1 (insert taco handle here). He slaughtered the qualifier, and managed to avoid getting lost or hit by any moving objects. Chapeau. But I should back up a bit, so you get the full and somewhat messy details.

The mosquito gathering was light, with only Safety, RG, and Councilman present. Cap'n made a late call stating he had a pre-ride, pre-rollup, mechanical. He misplaced some odd brake part for the 9er, and was frantically swapping pedals around. The Kish got the nod, and after a late retrieval, we made haste for the Knott. In attendance were a slew of familiar faces; Xteric, B (after a P'town rollup on a loaner Wilier), No Sauce, No Handle, and our newest No Name, T1. After a "shut up and get ready" mandate was laid out, Cap'n and I quickly assembled our gear and joined our comrades.

Cap'n took the reins as ride leader, and with newby T1 (insert taco handle here) in attendance we headed for the qualifier. A quick check of the bylaws confirmed B's suspicion that, as a survivor of a "lights out" incident in pursuit of our craft, yours truly had to re-qualify. Soooo, off we went in our usual ascent to the qualifer from the park entrance. Not 20 yards up the first bit of singletrack and this politician busted his chain, shearing off a cleat bolt in the process. T1 was at the ready with a spare master link, and after straightening out the cleat, and regrouping, we were off again.

It just so happens this is the same stretch of road where we first met our good friend Bobby. It would prove cathartic and somewhat creepy with No Handle's spot on impersonation of the bossman. After some dispute, the actual scene of the crime was identified, and we paused for a moment of reflection. To be honest, it didn't look very familiar to me, but then again I got my bell rung, and I've managed to repress the rest of it.

At the top, we veered right and headed down for the XP drop to the river. It was a lightening fast descent, with top speed records shattered by many. After a short break at the old bridge, we started what would be a long and steady climb out. We looped under the freeway, over to Freshpond, and on up to Park Creek. From there, we attempted to find the wedding march, but it was Fugly. B led the bushwacking charge, and eventually we found our trail. We followed it down, ducking the headaches, stayed right at the switchback and made our way back to the Knott lot on buffed trails.

Tacos were busy but efficient affair. The bar was crowded, and some Frenchies took over our usual bike parking area (aka horseshoe pit). After orders were placed, and mood lighting set, we were treated to a top shelf, boutique sauce offering from Mother. Replete with it's own decorative wooden storage box, and explicit instructions for safe use, it definitely peaked our interest. Cappy was the first to sauce his tacos, and with a healthy dose of both courage and Jolokia pepper, he dove in. The usual hickups ensued, but we were assured it was no where near as hot as Possible Side Effects. Your truly dropped a few tears of terror on one taco, after neatly staging the rest with Vidalia, Pepper Plant and others. Our resident hot sauce hedonist, B, took the next plunge. Despite the package's warning of "only apply by small drops", B pounded on the bottom of the bottle and emptied a catchup like amount of sauce on his taco. As usual, he expressed little concern and proceeded to devour the entire taco (and a 3rd of the bottle of sauce) in 1 or 2 bites. Some slight gasping was detected, maybe a drop or 2 of sweat, but nothing unusual. We went about our discussions, and after several minutes B simply disappeared.

RG, in search of an It's It, soon found B in front of the Knott, doubled over and voiding himself of all stomach contents. Shortly thereafter, Mother, who had to convince a family who was fueling up the minivan that "it's not alcohol, it's hot sauce!", promptly handed B a mop and a bucket of water.

After a thorough cleanup, and inspection by the Knott Health Dept, we were dismissed. We went in different directions, back to our respective homes, all warmed by the glow on B's forehead and the knowledge that we wouldn't suffer as much in the next 6 months as he did with one taco.

As long nights go, SS*FT3 was stellar. Our ranks grew by one, and our reputations were cemented with B's resurfacing of the Knott front driveway. Can't wait till the next Solstice!!

*legal disclaimer - author has mild brain trauma and an otherwise poor sense of direction. Not responsible for any misquotes, or other errors in geographical reference.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Who needs Springtime, anyway....?

April showers bring May flowers. That is the old addage. So what do June showers bring? I'm sure at some elevation, B will enjoy another run of 12 consecutive months of sliding. For the rest of us, it will be time to weedwhack the yard (again), and scrub the pollen from our windows.

Not sure what happened, but Summer has arrived and the temps are climbing. I must have been asleep, or in a medically induced fog, but I don't remember Spring. If this is the pattern going forward (enter your own theories on climate change here), what will become of our pasttimes and habits? When will we clean out the closets and our overly stuffed garages/shops/man caves? When will our beloved baseball heroes begin their pre-season training? What of the cycling classics leading up to the big events in Europe? When, for god's sake, am I supposed to plant my garden?

Spring is a time of renewal/rebirth and a preparation for the long months of Summer and Fall. New critters crawl out from their winter dens, and get their first taste of a much larger world. Hope springs eternal in the Spring. For those who missed it, I've provided a few images as a reminder of what once was.

However, even as we lament the loss of our good friend Spring, we all know it will only serve to harden the members of FT3. If Old Man Winter is a little longer in the tooth, it won't prevent Tuesdays, Sundays, and racing. In fact, a longer 'cross season will probably suit Team 1 just fine. If the Summer kicks in full blast, then we will shed our accoutrements, and brave the elements as always.

Tonight will be much warmer than usual. Perhaps, as the mercury soars, and the conditions become intolerable, we'll see the turn-out of old. What will we be tonight, 6, 7, 8 strong? Leave your arm warmers at home and bring some extra water. I'll see ya at Mosquito at 5:45.