We were all quite pleased to see NoHandle flying the SSFT3 flag on his tailgate.
As we carefully chose which layers would best suit the evening's temps, a stealth figure rolled in on a white steed. Our Dear Ride Leader made a surprise appearance.
A pithy six pack plus canine, we swooped to the lake, climbed the first half of Chiquita (Larz cleaned it in his little spinny ring) dropped horse trail to Lake back towards the dams and cut into Fleming. It is important for this narrative to note that we didn't go around the gate like some saturday afternoon leisure riders, but climbed a hair further and dropped the rutted shortcut. For some reason Cappy was momentarily help up at this point and fell back in line. We made a quick right and dropped lower Palin's back up the road to the horse trail switchbacks and paused at the top to regroup. Everyone looked around, "was cappy in front?" "no, I thought he was back with you?" I cracked a can of trail refreshment as we chuckled at the most unusual of phenomena -a dropped Cappy. Larz was planning on short riding, and had to continue towards home. The only way to ever find Cappy meant going back to where we saw him last, so we deployed a pincer formation, with Xteric and I riding the dirt (and thus long riding everyone else) and B and Nohandle taking the road. Sure enough, the dutiful "Company Man" had returned to the point of lost contact and waited.
Now Cappy was veritably trembling, his desire to ride was so great. Before Nohandle could say "you can be ride leader now," he was already charging back to the Lake and the Horse Trail, then up the right lip, where we devoted a good deal of time attempting trail maintenance, only to be confronted with an enormous downed log some fifteen feet further. Along this climb, I was punished for claiming I wouldn't change gears since it was single speed night, and then proceeding to change gears with impunity. Sticks caught up in my wheel and drivetrain, torquing my derailleur out of line. The only rideable gear was a bit stiffer then I like. We flew down the left lip, turned back towards the dams and, at MET, Cappy turned towards Fleming. Well, this area had been something of a vortex for the evening's ride, and that strange force peeled another rider from our ranks. Nohandle declared he had ridden as much as his tapering schedule would allow and he pointed his bike towards tacos.
Cappy, not knowing of the defection, led us to the top of Palin's. A quick top of Palin's loop and we were just a few lengths behind THTH back to the Knott Lott. As we rolled the road up from the Jenkinson boat launch, we debated if the part of the ride that Cappy missed or the part of the ride that THTH missed was the best.
The best surprise of the evening was waiting at the bar. Not only did Mother Rye find a half bottle of Garlic Pain in the back corner of some cobwebbed closet, but she also found a fresh bottle of Jamaican. Tacos received thick pours of that sweet and spicy goodness. Our favorite taco bitty noted that she may become a blog follower, so say something flattering in the HCF and you may up your chances of getting an Ace cap. It was alleged that B may have been served a taco shell that touched the floor. This blog reporter is not able to confirm or deny the truthfulness of this allegation.
B and I packed with Cappy in his truck for the shuttle home. On the way he delivered a poignant study in the wasteful excesses of automobile operation, when he pointed out that the $10 of gas we put into the engine was insufficient to fuel the round trip. So we stopped at the Valero to properly cover costs, and provide me with an easy drop off.