Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The long and the short of it

With some folks out on family camping adventures, and others exploring vast sections of our national forest, it was a pleasant surprise to see a count of 5 yesterday. Sadly, NoCar spent a good part of the day exploring the contours of les toilette, and bowed out gracefully by day's end. That left us with Bambi, B, Safety and Me, your councilman. Given the uproar over local politicians of late, I may be soliciting for a new handle. More on that topic later.

After a timely arrival at the Knott, some from Mosquito, and yours truly from the Waldorf Retreat at Fallen Leaf Lake, we assembled and prepared for what NoCar suggested would be a short ride. A power sharing agreement was quickly formed, as no one wanted to lead said short ride. We negotiated and agreed to run a traditional loop incorporating back door, horsetrail drop, spillway, Fleming CCW, 8b (my favorite), Redneck, right lip drop and lake loop. Safety put the hammer down on an early climb, and a slightly hobbled Bambi pushed the descents, but the pace was generally relaxed. We still got in 18 miles, and a wee bit of climbing. Though admonished by Mother to get our taco orders in early (what is early, anyway?), we opted for a swim and rolled back into the lot just before 10.

Nearly denied tacos, and offered hot dogs instead, we pleaded our case and eventually tucked into some delightful fare. Gone was the mystery sweetener of last week. Apparently Even Keel, AKA "The Meat Man", had something to do with that. Ample sauce selection, minimal beers, and a timely departure followed.

A couple of us ventured into P'town for a "quick" visit to Powell's. Dr. Nate was in rare form, and this led to an extended stay. One of us slept in and, as such, offers this tardy but tidy RR for your consumption.

Housekeeping items:

Still looking for RR from the Marquis Ride of last weekend. 80+ miles of heaven and hell, with some exceptional planning, staging, and camping thrown in. Pics are in your inbox.

Run Reports from our Podophiles. Seems FT3 has some off the couch talent, and the results for all were impressive. Chick'd or not, that is a shite ton of mileage on foot. Most people wouldn't cover that distance in a summer. Chapeau!

Star Lake or other South Tahoe dirt ride going off tomorrow, 9am, for any takers. Call Cap'n for details.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Recovery Tuesday

"I am still working on walking, but I can ride." says Bambi after his powerful debut into the El Dorado jogging scene.
Plenty of long distance exercise went down this weekend. Tonight may be a good time to celebrate the short ride. Something in the piddly, twenty mile range, with no hiking.
Bambi: One
Nocar: Two

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

13 And a Half Weeks

Considering my recent attendance record and the latest by-law proposal, I've decided to come off the bench tonight and rejoin the fray.
Nothing exciting to report or call out. But there will be hills and dust.

Hope to see you out there tonight.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

better than hawaii

A buzz was palpable as we assembled in the Knott Lott. A new bylaw had been proposed and votes were being cast: if a rider is absent for more than thirteen weeks, then they must re-qualify and are subject to re-taco handling. As of this writing a decisive majority has not been determined.

Stirring things up a bit more, Larz drove in, already spandexed and helmeted, and unloaded his crosser.

Our dear ride leader, in no way compromised the route to suit his skinnier tires. He dexterously hammered through technical portions, and submitted to being passed when fat tires excelled. Needless to say, B frequently snuck to the front to drive a harder pace.

Our outing led me to realize why it took me so long to learn the trails. A classic LOtB route, we started up the qualifier, but cut over to something else, were back on the qualifier, rode through the boy scout camp, then went up 1A and across the Rock Garden and I stopped paying attention to where we were until, some time later, we were dropping, CW, from the top of Fleming. Bambi was behind me riding by braille because he was too lazy to connect his light. We plunged Palin, and aimed for the Knott. Past both dams, I saw a rider drop the earliest trail from the road towards the lake. Wanting to swim, but steer clear of the "day use area" I followed. Before I even knew who I was following, he pitched off his bike into a roll, tumbled down the hillside and thudded off a four foot drop. Fortunately, he landed on his feet, unscathed, and I watched B climb back onto the trail.

At the Knott Hole we were greeted by none other than the Spoke Godfather. He was happy to see that we had had another good night of pounding on our bicycles, guaranteeing him steady employment.
The tacos were quality.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Wanted: UnKWalified Riders

You know who you are. There are a few of you out there. The epic KWalifier route awaites you. As B so eliquently stated as he played a strategic game of 'trail knowledge poker' with a friendly and talkative hiker somewhere near Silver Fork - "We're riding all those trails." That being said, the KWalifier route is more of a collection of routes ammassed through challenging pre-rides both clockwise and counter clockwise, short rides, long rides and celebratory non-rides. Thanks to all our FT3 forfathers who have gone before us, B, droptail and I were able to set the world record time on that route. I followed through on my commitment to push the pace all day, and indeed, as requested by B, I brought my big boy bibs. It is notable here that the FT3 lass a.k.a. droptail brought her big girl bibs as well, as she was none too far off the back at any point during the ride.

The following segment is spoken in computerized extranormal language:
Will there be Hike-a-Bikes?
There may be hike a bikes. Maybe not. If you cannot ride it - you will have to hike it. If you are wondering why it takes 8 hours to complete this ride in world record time, then you might gather that there are hike a bikes. Dude, you are not a recreational rider. You are an FT3 rider. Do the jersey proud. I hope you brought your big boy bibs.

Back to normal language. It is a ride of epic porportions, complete with just the right amount of climbing, technical climbing, managable climbing, technical decending, regular decending, splendid views, fast decending, certifiably awesome decending and yes, hike-a-bikes (if you cannot ride it). All that being said, I highly recommend that those of you with foot and water fetishes get out there and get KWalified. Your footie fitness will push you through the more mentally challenging sections.

Speaking of alternate forms of fitness and fetishes. Last week, since I was unable to make the FT3 ride, I took a Thursday option and did the "Airport Ride" with our counterpart Greenfro. This is a ride on the flats with 40+ Cat. 1-2-3 road racing cyclists. It wasn't long before we were doing 30 miles an hour, against the wind, when something odd happened. The dudes up front stretched out into a thin 2x2 line and went to the wrong side of the road. The rest of the group followed, and there was a long, long, line of riders adjacent to the shoulder on the wrong side of the road. Me, being the MTB rider I am, was like... what the hell is going on here? My moment of confusion took long enough to allow for the elastic to break and for the group to ride swiftly away from me. Lucky me, I was not alone. I had a bit of conversation with another shelled rider, a Mad Cat guy who has done several MTB and cross races with me. I said "I am not that committed, I am just road curious." He responded "I am not committed enough to ride on the wrong side of the road." GreenFro called this phenomenon an "echelon." I guess the Airport ride roadies think they are in the Tour De France on an open road. Guess what guys. You're not.

Today is Tuesday and it is not likely I will be riding, in fact, this is the start of a long hiatus for me. I am enrolled in a class that will take the next 14 weeks of Tuesdays. The next time I participate in an FT3 it will be raining and I will be among a small group of pithy core riders. It will also be well into cross season. I hope I will have company out there. The Sac Cyclocross Series dates are posted. Make note of them.

For those of you can make it tonight and for the next 14 weeks, I bid you adieu. Just know this.... I am KWalified, I am still the Captain, and I am still riding.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A good night to be hungry

The call came from Bambi while Councilman and I were loading up at the Mosquito Lot, "Out." National nite "out" was successful in its mission to deter crime and FT3 participation. Down to just two confirmed riders, we entertained ideas for a casual outing. But, a text from NoSauce and a call from Xteric brought the count to a civilized four. Councilman eagerly took the charge of rideleader. In spite of his ramblings about how tired he was after the mind-alteringly epic ride last friday, he launched out the back at near race pace.

Out to the Forest gaurd station, where Xteric slipped out at the exact same spot I had two weeks earlier. Down the steep loose bit, across the little creek, below the dam and up the switchbacks, single track, second dam, and around Fleming CCW. The pace never relaxed through that stretch and I found myself frequently out of the saddle sprinting to catch the pack.

By the time we started Redneck, the pace had relaxed a bit, allowing Cman to further regale us with how the S-KW ride, for all its amazing magnificence, had made him a better person. Still, he was feeling the strain of rideleader, and it was starting to show. Rolling around the tank trap at the top of RNR, his tire slipped and down he plunged into the hole. Fortunately, a little fir caught him in a tangle of Councilman, Dean and tree. Once he was confirmed unhurt, Xteric choked back his laughter and helped him out. Still a bit shaken, he remounted, and, almost immediately, caught a stick in between his wheel and fork and was ejected over the bars. It wasn't a head-on collision with a motorized vehicle, though, and Councilman dusted himself off, straightened his handlebars, and we headed for the lip.

Dropping the lip to the lake for a CCW finish. Everyone was muttering for tacos. We stopped for a dip to get the dust off. Xteric forgot his waterwings, and had to remain ashore. The short roll back gave Councilman just enough time for one more unplanned dismount (something about a cleat, or a pedal malfunction) bringing Xteric more amusement.

Frustrated by a locked gate we left the bikes out front of the Knott and had the back to ourselves. After assembling a healthy choice of sauces the tacos appeared in short order. And they were delicious. Just a few spatters of grease on the wax paper, supple tortillas, onions in chunks so Xteric could easily remove them. NoSauce short tacoed, leaving after he finished his 2-0-0 order. The rest of us lingered over our second basket. The talk turned to the mega weekend ride of Aug 20 & 21 , if he can swing it, Xteric is IN.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fully KWalified Call Out

While the SB-KW loop is no longer a novel ride for FT3, it was new to this politician. Having achieved a lauded status, what with it's near 40 miles and 6000 ft. of elevation, the loop was calling out to me. When the stars aligned, and I was free of work, domestic or otherwise, I answered the call.

With threats of thunderstorms in the forecast, B, Drop, and I all met at the Strawberry lodge early Friday morning. After a brief backtrack to Track 42, we found a parking area and geared up for the all day event. Once properly attired, and hydrated, we set out to reverse B's last course. Theoretically, we would knock down about 2/3 of the work before lunch, and then enjoy a huge late afternoon descent to the car.

In lieu of giving a more redundant report, please refer to B's post last week, entitled "Open Season". Simply reverse the course, and you know how we proceeded. B will no doubt post a dizzying array of quality photographs.

Highlights included blooming flowers and abundant water in the meadows. We only sustained one mechanical, but a significant one at that. En route to the Inn, Drop broke a seatpost bolt. Without a saddle, and as any FT3 member would do, she HTFU'd and shouldered/rode her bike for at least 1000 vertical and then down to Hwy 88. From there, she hitched a ride to the KW bike shop, and a friendly mechanic loaned her a seat/post. We regrouped at the Inn for a much deserved respite, and then just about a quarter after 4, we headed back to SB.

8 hours to get to our lunch, and 2 hours to get back to Booker and our waiting cars. A final stop at Strawberry Lodge to parch our thirst, and I was officially KWalified. Or at least we discussed the notion of a new qualifier for FT3 members. As B has insisted, everyone should see that area at least once by bike. It just doesn't get much better. It has "just the right amount of climbing".

Thanks to my hosts, B (and might I suggest a new handle for her, No Saddle?) for an epic day in/out of the saddle. Look forward to knocking down an XP adventure soon.

Oh, and it's SSFT3. Ride gears or no gears, but DO ride. I'll be at the 'squito lot at 5:45.