Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Handmade Tacos or Handmade Bikes?

Amazing developments in the North State. It seems that winter is going to make a 2 day appearance, the Maloof's seemed to have reached a deal for an Kings arena in Sacramento and the Handmade bike show is in the great Capital City this weekend.

All exciting news, but I've got all the handmade bikes I can ride, don't make it out to NBA games much (err ever), and am not impressed w/the pending weather. More importantly tonight is all about single track, primo conditions and handmade TACOS!

Come prepared for any type of weather. Who will be in attendance to greet this wonderful weather.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Facing my demons

After weeks of little to no real exercise, laden with pasta and wine, I set out for a 2-wheeled tour of the backcountry. Ok, this is not RG's backcountry, the snow is gone, but with the omnipresent cinghiale (wild boars) roaming about, it's still an adventure. With foot long tusks and a nasty disposition, I began to see why I might be the only one on the local trail. Nevertheless, I was determined to do battle aboard my trusty loaner steed. It's a California Demon, and it goes like a.....well, not quite like a bat out of hell, but most of the gears work and the wheels are almost straight. Under threatening clouds, I found myself climbing towards the forest. Once above the olive orchard, I connected with reconnoitered single track. The rains came swiftly, and the wind was unrelenting. I had been asked earlier what possessed me to ride in inclement weather. The bike I borrowed has semi-slicks, and has likely never been ridden off road. I felt compelled to expand on the origin of the word "mountain bike", and to regale them with the folly that is FT3. Alas, our maintenance guy, Guiseppe, summed it up in a few words. "this bike, she will never be so happy".
So off we went, my little demon and I, in search of happiness and joy. I was met with a good deal of moisture, and lost sight of the trail at some points, but it was a splendid reminder of why I am a cyclist. Upon my speedy descent back towards the villa, I felt a momentary deja vu. I was back in my native Pollywood, frolicking in the forest, dropping the lips, visions of tacos dancing in my head. And then it happened, the unthinkable, I was airborne with no pilot. I thought of Lars, and tried to straight-arm the oncoming tree. It worked, and I careened off the tree and down a short hill to the terrace below. A few minutes of cursing, a mini-exam for injuries, and I limped aboard the Demon for the final drop to our apartment. Moments after my return, the sun burst through the clouds and you could here my cursing from Rome.

So, as our little Appian adventure draws to a close, I can honestly say, "there's no place like home". We'll be back next week, and until then, consider this your long distance call out.

Live well, ride long! Ci vediamo!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Phat Tuesday Slips Quietly Away

In spite of in depth discussions at recent FT3 rides that set in motion plans for an Epic celebration of the 2012 Mardi Gras event, last night's FT3 went down just like a typical FT3. Like every FT3 however, there were a few notable occurances and incidents, hence this ride report. Most notable was the second occurance of a phenomenon that may need it's own "sniglet." This sniglet would be definined as follows; "when an FT3 rider shows up to the Mosquito lot ready to ride, and then for some unforseen or uncontemplated circumstance, has to depart the Mosquito lot and not do the ride." To date this phenomenon has only occured on two occasions. This is not to be confused with the 'send off' which is where a rider knows and blatently states they are not going to ride, but shows up at the Mosquito parking lot to say "hello and have a good ride" to fellow FT3 members. This phenomenon is quite the opposite. In case you do not know what a "sniglet" is, I offer the following short.

Xteric and Golden Spoke Bike shop were extremely helpful in supporting the introduction of the new S/S 29 C-dale bike into the FT3 fold. There were some last minute problems with a bent crank arm and both Xteric and the Godfather came through in a pinch at 5:38p.m. However, the extra time afforded one rider just enough 'contemplation' to result in the above referenced phenomenon. Once Xteric and I arrived at the Knott Lot we were met by NoHandle, Rock God and Bambi. To our surprise, no B. It being Phat Tuesday and all, we thought there might be a hurricance brewing. Alas, we suited up, as usual, shared some excitement about the new S/S 29 C-Dale and Bambi's new super sweet Tang Niner S/S ....then off we went. We took the backdoor trail to roadkill and then dropped Bs chin where Rock God dropped himself off his bike for a bit of 'ground time.' Apparently, I, upon a new bike and designated ride leader, was riding too slow and careful for his super highly trained mad moto skillz. Bambi was bitching at me too, but, I managed too keep my cool and not retaliate. At the Knott table it was said that NoHandle was in front of me, but i didn't notice. Nor did I badger. Once Rock was upright, we headed for a Fleming counter-clockwise loop. There was much chatter as is typical when Bambi is present. We overheated in the 70 degree weather. The Fleming drop was extremely fun and, for those who weren't there, the trail conditions were primo. Best conditions ever. Really, never better. And that is why Rock God was riding on the edge. He hit an unexpected mudhole and took his second bit of 'ground time.' Fortunately he didn't fall on the stumpo we all thought he hit. He was shaken but not sturred and sprouted this huge lump on his leg.

It is notable here that Peter Pissy Pants did not come on the scene and Rock HTFU'd in a big way and finished the ride without complaint. Good on 'ya mate.

We then went up Redneck rising and Bambi and I marvelled at our excellent S/S gear selection while discussing important topics about bikes. We dropped the Right lip and then did a counter clockwise lake loop. The 18 mile ride resulted in red lights and Bambi's even died.

We enjoyed our tacos, Habi Pepper Plant, a new Tiger Sauce and the Garlic pain. A tired and unenthused (but ever ready) B showed up for the taco part. I don't even think he had some rye.

We rolled quitely out of the Knott in a timely departure. Another awesome FT3 in the books.

Boeuf Gras!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Phat Tuesday

Time for the Krewe of The Fat Tire to launch its Mardi Gras Parade.
Our floats might not be pretty, but they're fast, and our lights may not dazzle, but they're bright. We have gaudy costumes and a count-off for a marching band. No celebrity royalty, no beads, and no throngs of drunken revelers lining our route. But it should be a hell of a party.
Let the good times roll.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Reunion in Camino

No doubt many FT3ers were out on Friday. Three of us took to the local roads. Departing from Zia's, Rideleader NoHandle wanted to see the proposed new Chez nocar. So, we pedaled what could be my new commute, up the trail to Camino Heights. The pace was conversational, and we savored the beautiful morning.

Arriving at the house, a plumber was staring dejectedly at an area of worked dirt. I told him that I was the prospective house buyer and he lit into a tirade about how the county had filled in the hole, before his company had a chance to complete their part of the project. He was mid sentence when Cap'n interrupted, "What's your name?" The plumber was a little startled, and said his name. Cap'n responded, "While I'm [insert Cap'n's non-taco handle]" and he opened his arms wide. The plumber dropped his tool and exclaimed and the two embraced. "I haven't seen this guy since my wedding in Reno." The plumber said, adding "That one didn't work out and I've had two wives since then."

Apparently we had just happened across one of Cap'n's partners in crime from his Navy days. We left the plumbers to complain about the hole they were going to have to re-dig, before we three had to bust out shovels and do the job in our cleats and kits. As we turned onto Fruitridge, Cappy regaled us with some classic Navy stories.

Time was slipping by more quickly than the miles, so we didn't drop Mosquito, but headed back to town. When new Rideleader Cap'n turn up Airport Rd., NoHandle made a small complaint. He had been experimenting with recreational jogging of late and overdosed a little the previous day. He powered that climb, but when the route was to continue up Texas Hill he kept on Cedar Ravine towards home. Cappy and I nudged each other into the pain cave as we red-lined all the way to the top. A photo finish left us sucking wind on the twisty descent. Up Ivy Knoll the KOM was contested again. We rolled down the bike path, hopping up Jaquier just to squeeze a little more riding out of the legs.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Icing on the Cupcake

"Give your buddies some big Valentine's smooches, because you won't be kissing me with your taco breath," Mrs. Nocar laughed as I rushed out the door.

Safety, B and I met NoHandle at the Knott Lott and surveyed the remnants of melting snow. The night was definitely colder than it has been, and the trails would definitely be wet, but still conditions were just too durn good for a proper turnout. My well worn shoe covers blew their zipper. Considering the foot numbing slush the night would surely produce, a quick repair was necessary.
After a moment reflecting on the absence of the natural rideleaders in our community, NoHandle steered us out the back to Road Kill where B found (or did Booker?) that the left side of the road allowed biking on dirt for most of the usual asphalt section. The ride quickly received the FT3 stamp of legitimacy when NoHandle recovered from a wrong turn by turning downhill and rolling cross country over a brushy, snowy slope. Dropped B's chin (A++ conditions), leading to a Fleming CCW loop. The climb was snow covered and brought a whole new level of excitement to the too-familiar trail.
It was all rideable, but some of the short steep punches were buried in enough snow to require some soul searching to pull it off. Per Safety's request in the HCF we maintained a "recovery ride" pace. As in "recover your race-ready fitness by hammering", of course. The forest had lit many of the BFPs and we stopped for some bonfire fun.
It was hard to tear away, but tacos were singing their Siren Song, so we finished Fleming dropped Palins, climbed the rocked road out, and picked up the last dirt enroute to the Knott.

Mother Rye and Even Keel had taken the night off. (Apparently, a boozy Mother Rye had stopped in earlier to announce that it was EK's 60th AND it was V-day, so they were going out.) We were again instructed to sit at the bar, where a wonderful sauce collection had been amassed. The stunner of the evening was the elusive Habanero Pepper Plant.

We told the Taco Bitty that we did not have sufficient FTFT3 commitment levels to pre-order breakfast, but she did invite us to bring some food and she would heat it up for us. And she offered to serve some not-to-be-missed drink specials that may incline a rider to pack bedding and crash out in the Knott Lott. Suffice to say, NoHandle is in charge of the bonfire.

Peter's mom stopped by and delivered some cupcakes. We each enjoyed a couple while NoHandle regaled us, again, about the summer days of yore when he hung out with the cute neighborhood girl and her mom and learned about the intricacies of icing. Or something like that.
Special thanks to Safety First! for photo documentation.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I Heart FT3

With the weather finally perfect for riding combined with this Tuesday being a special day to spend with loved ones, I can't think of any better reason to ride FT3 this week.

Looking forward to stories and plans for FTFT3.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Eye Witness Report

Our hopes of a large crew faded as the light rain reduced to a fine mist, and temperatures remained well above freezing. B, Xteric, Keds, and I, clearly lacking any self-respect, still went out on a night when conditions good only be described as ideal. Hopefully we will get a report of the conditions of the couch and network television from one of those absent last night.

Xteric wore the rideleader mantle. After the same start as last week, we headed for Fleming, dropping the trail that starts just past the lower Fleming access road. A new trail for me, its an exciting descent with a sudden big drop that is quite disconcerting when encountered in the dark. Then, up Palin, Fleming CCW, 8B, and finish Fleming.

Near the bottom of Fleming, we caught up with B (who had sped off the front) sitting on the side of the trail looking uncomfortable. His front tire had kicked a bunch of mud and wood bits into his eye. Drawing on his EMT training, Keds took charge of first aid. He used his Camelback for an eyewash, spurting the stream onto B's dirty ball. After exhausting the water supply, chunks of debris were still plainly visible, so with a surgeon's hand, Keds wiped it out from under B's eyelids with a tissue. The violating matter removed, B was bike on his bike and we beat a path towards tacos.

Once again the Knott was empty and we received some tongue lashing from the taco bitty. We explained that it takes a long time to ride to Kyburz and back. Mother Rye explained that new taco meat degreasing QA/QC procedures were in place, and was quite proud of the evenings fare. The tacos were delicious and Keds put down nine of them.

After the tacos were served The Fat Tuesday FT3 steering committee meeting was called to order. Taking advantage of our seats at the bar, we confirmed with Mother Rye that:
  • On the evening of 21 Feb - morning of 22 Feb., the Knott Lott will be made available for our exclusive use.
  • We are allowed to have a camp fire.
  • Sanitation facilities will be provided by Rock God's RV.
  • A fully catered breakfast will be provided in the morning, served by our favorite TB.

So, mark your calendars. And don't forget the second sacrament on the FT3 Religious Holiday Calendar, the Wednesday Morning Penance Ride.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Lady's Night

We rode tuesday.

Conditions were superior. So good, that the majority of FT3 decided to hold off and wait for the next freezing rain storm before venturing up to Pollywood.

Three riders indulged in the pleasure of mountain biking on a balmy night with ideal soil conditions. Xteric acknowledged that he had a route planned, so B in I fell in behind him and we headed out the back to MET, dropped the horse trail below the dam then up Chiquita Banana (cleaned it), dropped the left lip (at lake level, while we paused to reflect on the excellent trail quality, we encountered a mountain biking couple -dubbed Hansel and Gretel), turned around and climbed (do you call the left lip the right lip when you are going up it?) the trail we had just descended. At this point we had several options to cut over to Fleming. In keeping with hallowed FT3 tradition we chose the route that forced us into thickly overgrown brush. Having found MET we dropped to the Fleming trailhead at Blue gouge mine road, and started a CW loop. Somewhere in between 8A and 8B our venerable ride leader turned right onto a quad track used to service a utility line. The "Catenary Trail" is a whoop inducer with short steep drops followed immediately by short steep climbs. In consideration of last week's scolding from the Mother, we skipped the climb to the apex of Fleming, Plunged Palin and Bristol, took the road out and finished the last bit of Lake loop to the Knott lott.

The bar was busy and we were allowed to take a table. The tacos were the greasiest I've seen. They saturated the shells so thoroughly that I had multiple complete taco failures. I tried to lift the taco from the basket and ended up with just two halves of shell. Safety First made a roll up just in time for the second batch of Mother Rye's famous nachos (no doubt she was trying to make up for the tallow cakes). The fun really got started when Xteric tried to help Mother Rye bus some of the trash off the table and spilled his basket of two tacos onto the floor. She got a broom and swept the mess into the basket and he went to put it on the table and dropped it to the floor again. I'd laugh, but he is handicapped now, so that would be rude. Clearly the staff wanted us to leave as the table was wiped and most of the lights shut off. The last customer, a Knott Hole regular, made a last, desperate request to take home a male companion, was met with silence and left. We stood at the bar for a bit, lingering, reluctant to let the night end.