Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Loss of Paul Functioning

Adhering to the dictates of Cappy's Quit Dawdling! Campaign, the shuttle appeared in Camino, once again, before 6. And when Our Dear Rideleader arrived at the Knott Lott on steed, everyone rushed to finish their final ride preparations. Lars announced some breaking news: an FT3-kitted rider was captured on camera by TV news reporters covering the Placerville Courthouse. The identity of the rider has not been determined, though it was alleged that he blew a stop sign.

We rolled past the EID entry gate without stating our names or intended route. Up past the Qualifier single track mini descent to the trail that parallels Sly Park Road to Park Creek Road, where (and now my memory gets hazy) we dropped the latest new trail the Fire Line to the Qualifier, back up and over the knob above Park Creek Road and somewhere in there we encountered an active log landing.
 Then down the Chopping Block (which was a big crowd pleaser), along the flume and up the steep road back to Park Creek.
Down the Power Line trail, kicking the merest cloud of dust.  As we rolled towards Sly Park Road, a few lights began to shine.
  And we reached a cross roads. Our Dear Rideleader had to depart. Subsequently, Bambi announced that he was sick and had to short ride. Xteric took hold of the rideleader reigns and took the qualifier downhill to give Bambi an expedited route to his car. When we turned up the short piece of singletrack to get to the entrance station, NoHandle's hub crunched a final protest and then failed. He turned his pedals, but the wheel didn't spin. Whether it was the fault of grime from riding through winter rains:
or some other mechanical stress on the pawls:
we now had an official mechanical on our hands, and lacking a spare wheel we concluded the night's outing. Nobody felt shortrided, nor was anyone near their exercise threshold.
The taco staff was delighted by our early arrival. The top shelf sauces were handed down, rye pours were extra fat, the taco meat and shells above average and the bouffant reached new levels of artistic expression. To end the dinner, Mother Rye announced that one taco was left. Citing relevant by-laws, B said that he would like to eat that taco, but was forbidden from ordering only one. Like the miracle of the loaves and fishes, Mother Rye managed to transform the single taco into two.  

Many important matters were discussed at the taco table. The report from the recent Long Ride Productions meeting determined that a Kwalifier ride will be knocked out within weeks. Most importantly, throw out available dates if you want to be a part of this season's marquee ride: Mt. Rose to Kyburz with a planted camp site. 

Given the early hour, a small contingency continued to Powells, causing this ride reporter to undertake the Camino climb twice in one day (although it is open for debate if it was twice on Tuesday or twice on wednesday).

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Revenge of the Millipede

Making good on his declaration for improved punctuality, Cappy was at the Mosq Lot at 5:30, sending out texts to whip everyone out the door. NoHandle was kitted and waiting in the Knott Lott, and Xteric was right on our heels. Ever the pioneer of the next trend, Xteric rolled up in his new fuel sipping economy car. Soon all of El Dorado will be trading in their trucks.
We wasted no time preparing for the mild evening, and as soon as everyone was nearly ready THTH called Rideleader. He did acknowledge that if Our Dear Rideleader were to show up then he would defer. However, chances are better that Peter himself would want to be Rideleader, so it was a moot point.
Note the summery kits at roll out.
Out the backdoor to the first dam horse trail, then on to Fleming
NoHandle settled into his distinct Rideleader style: keeping tabs on the followers and announcing the next few turns ahead of time. This allowed Cappy to f'ing charge off the front. While everyone savored riding the conditions, Cappy was lapping it up like a dog with a can of bacon grease.
When we turned down 8A, a fat stick wrenched Xteric's derailleur out of line. Fortunately, derailleurs aren't finicky little bitties like chain tensioners, and he was quickly back on track. By the time we started the climb out, it was lights on.
And with the darkness a curious phenomenon. Millipedes began shuffling out of the duff in droves. Perhaps they are a sensitive indicator. On the first perfect spring night, when trail conditions are tacky enough to rip a tire from a rim, out come the millipedes, filled with their dark intentions.
Eager to bag all the classics, we climbed Redneck and headed for the Lip. Now Cappy was railing off the front on the climbs and descents. He sped down the lip and I pushed the envelope trying to keep up. As we whipped through the switchbacks I heard a guttural howl and saw his lights flip about and stop. Cappy had taken a corner hot and slipped on a millipede. We found him clutching his knee and rocking in pain. After a time, he managed to get back on his bike and we rolled back to the Knott Lott. The whole way back Cappy grimly noted the millipedes that dotted the road.
Given the early return we had enjoyed post-BRs. Inside, four of us dug into quality tacos complimented by Top Shelf sauce offerings from Cappy, while he made his way to the bathroom. His golden boy halo was tarnished, as Mother Rye didn't offer him carte blanche use of the first aid kit like she had for B. Instead she selected individual items for him, like the scissors.

Monday, April 16, 2012

I think baskeball season is over now

This call out has a not so subtle hidden message.

I said enough on that topic, except to clarify that I'm not talking about March Madness.

Well, maybe this will help if anyone is unclear of the meaning (sorry not much of a poet like my FT3 brethren).

I once knew chap who road bikes
Then traded up for a pair of Nike's
He was full of new trails
Sometimes road off the rails
I wish he’d come back on Tuesday nights

I am fully anticipating a large pack of FT3ers tomorrow. Looking forward to a great ride with limited nightlight support, a clear sky and premium traction.

If you have not read NoCar's recap of last weeks events you should drop in on that last post, it left me regretting my absence on the night.

On a final note, and topic for taco table. Anyone up for getting back to a more punctual start time and enjoying a long ride without getting chided by the taco bitches for tardiness.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

One singe, one Spot, and one gear

For full disclosure: B rode out to Shingle Springs to pick up his car before driving up to the Knott Lott and thus earned the longrider laurels.

A dour mood prevailed on the drive up as B lamented the prospect of having to replace the engine of a car he had purchased a few months ago. Spirits lifted when we pulled in to the Knott Lott and saw Bambi flying the FT3 flag. He made the offering to celebrate selling his Specialized frame. The next half hour was spent inspecting B's car and trying to draw down the 12 pack. After circling, waiting for a rideleader to emerge, B took the front and headed out the back.

We dropped B's chin. Bambi put the pressure on, and when B had to slow up a bit Bambi was forced to come into contact with B's "squishy" backside. Rolling the brief section of flat, I was reminded that I rode the only geared bike. And the tempo of the evening was established: B charged the climbs, Bambi bombed the descents, and we rested on the flats. Since we carefully avoided flat sections the pace rarely let up.

Twice we climbed to MET and dropped trails around the dam. The descent routes are rare selections from the FT3 lexicon, and new to me; especially the trail that dropped straight cross country down, and the one that had us shoulder our bikes and shimmy along a narrow band of concrete over the dam spillway. We climbed lower Palin's and started a Fleming CCW loop. At this time I matched my cadence to Bambi's and resolved to hold that gear for the rest of the night (I couldn't). At the top of the climb (PBR Point) we shared a carried can, and mounted our lights. As I threw caution to the wind and tried to keep up with Bambi on the descent, the slightest bit of dust shimmered in my lights. Woe to the rider that misses these glorious spring rides, summer will be a smokescreen.

We dropped 8B. About 2/3 down B slowed and stopped, as I rolled behind him he announced a flat. We hollered to Bambi, but he was undoubtedly already at the bottom. So we undertook the alligator wrestling like task of removing changing the GEAX. And when the replacement tube didn't hold air, we did it again. About the time we gave up pumping the first tube, Bambi rolled up (and thus I got stuck being the evening's shortrider). While he wouldn't share his spare tube, he did hare all sorts of criticism of B's tube patching technique. Back up 8B around to the top of 8A.

B: Does anyone need to get back?
Bambi: I wouldn't complain if we went back, I got to get up early.
B: So, do you want to go back?
Bambi: I don't care.
B: If no one tells me to go back we're riding 8A.

And so we did.

Finished the Fleming loop dropped the top of Palin's and back to the Knott Lott for postBRs.

We were just getting on our bikes when Mother Rye poked her head over the fence and shouted, "Are you guys coming for tacos or what? Courtney's closing up in ten minutes."
We were sorely chided for our ten o clock arrival, though it was difficult to separate the lecturing tone from the smiling face. After a ravenous taco session, we lingered. B was waiting for his driver to yell at him to hurry up, its time to go. Eventually he realized that he was driving and we headed out.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Perhaps, if Rock God was with us, and we could have rooted around in his bag of useful things, we may have avoided having to roll back to tacos on the road. If only we had a q-tip, light solvent, a flask of rye, a 14 mm cone wrench, zip ties, disinfectant, and butterfly bandages; we may have avoided the short ride.

As it were, we headed out of the Knott Lott, B's front brakes at about 24%. From the qualifier start, we continued up the forest road climbing steadily to Sly Park Road. From there a road / trail parallel to S P road took us to Park Creek Road and we dropped the power line trail, back to the Qualifier, and oh! Cappy got a flat. The change was so fast, I didn't even have a chance to get out a snack. On to wedding march and oh! Cappy's chain came off. But this was no ordinary chain drop, like the kind B will do 14 times in an evening. Cappy's tensioner had gone limp. And for all his handling he couldn't coax it back to its rigid position. Everyone wanted to have a go at the mysteriously uncooperative device, but Cappy hovered over it like a hen over its chick. A tentatively workable situation was achieved. We rode on to Rock Garden and oh! Cappy's chain fell off again, and oh! so did B's. After an epic repair attempt was unsuccessful, the same kind of semi-rideable solution allowed us to get back to the Lake trail and turn towards tacos. The first of the seasons campers watched in confusion as we rolled through the campgrounds. Xteric and I had settled into a conversation about jogging, when we rounded a corner and found B off the trail. Safety explained, "B has an injury." It appeared that B tried to clip into his pedal with his shin, resulting in a long gouge. At this point it was clear that we had best just get back to the Knott.

After B steeled himself with a hefty rye, he raided the Knott Hole first aid kit and dispatched to the bathroom. We were all well though our tacos by the time he emerged. He hadn't even sat down, when Mother Rye came to tell him that Booker puked in the store and he needed to clean it up. It was just that kind of night.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April Showers Bring Many Singlespeeds

Welcome warmer temps and light rain, Spring has Sprung. Today is the first Tuesday of April, SSFT3 Spring edition, 2012.