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.