Monday, December 30, 2013

A Knotty New Year

Tomorrow is Tuesday, so I assume all those not on the injured reserve roster are charging lights and checking tire pressure. Especially since this is one of the rare Tuesday's when the following Wednesday is a holiday. As has been noted, there will not be a post-ride Taco Tuesday. Instead, The Knot Hole will be serving all those other delicacies that we are occasionally served when Mother Rye wants to clean the leftovers out of the refrigerator. Think chickenbake, taquitos, guacamole and the like. And if they aren’t serving tacos, then the whole menu gets thrown up in the air. Imagine ordering a draft beer or a vodka and tonic!?! Certainly the ultra-conservative P-party wing of FT3 will boycott such tomfoolery, but I am excited about reveling with the regulars. Also, camping in the new Supermax parking lot is permitted, along with burning Christmas Trees. (Though, we may not burn any of the 22 cords of wood that Spawn has neatly stacked.) The best part is that B has volunteered to be on babysitting duty the whole night, and I’m certain a designated driver (cough cough taxi cough cough) can be found for anyone who insists on sleeping at home. 

I am OUT for the ride (expected return date is 21 January), but Mrs. Chickenwing and I plan on making the party. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Reward: Lost Ride Leader . . .

For a bunch of dudes who don't think twice about careening through the forest in the pitch of night, there sure was a lot of trepidation and indecision leading up to last night's ride. Uncertain conditions on the trails of Pollywood led to visions of wipeouts amid endless miles of hike-a-bike slogs. Several mentions were made of a Placerville ride to play it on the safe side. B, Xteric, Cap'n, and PC converged on the Mosquito lot to discuss the options and enact a plan. Fortunately, logic kicked in and cooler heads prevailed. Nohandle and Bambi, it became known, were already headed up to the revered Knot Hole. Besides, Xteric had a hankering for tacos. Up the hill we headed, resigned to our collective fate.

It was kind of odd parking in the RV lot, but the usual camaraderie (and Pre-BR's) quickly dispelled any disorientation felt. When the aforementioned foursome arrived, Nohandle was making ready while Buttons was rarin' as usual. Spawn soon joined the fray. Illumination was arranged for Bambi, the light-less rider, back for his second FT3 in a single month. Dogs emerged, and B decided to have a yard sale right there in the middle of the lot, dumping out the full contents of his luggage on the ground. Eventually, Spawn simply took the helm and took off across the road with the lithe Lola in tow.

Qualifier was in prime shape, with only some thin patches of crusty snow to contend with. So far, so good. Along the way, intermittent hollers served to keep the enthusiastic Lola from straying too far away. Booker kept an admirable clip, pausing suddenly to inspect trailside conditions, somehow staying barely clear of riders' wheels. Once we arrived at Park Creek, however, conditions took on a considerably more wintry appearance. The grade being fairly level up there, we were challenged but not defeated by the snow cover of varying length, depth, and condition. Forward progress was maintained with some squirrliness but little frustration. Spawn pointed the group of ten down Powerline, which was snow-free and fast.

One of our group failed to make it to the bottom, however. Lola, apparently out of earshot and oblivious to her owner's vocal entreaties, was back at the top somewhere. Spawn had no choice but to ascend. When Nohandle discovered that his waterbottle had ejected some ways back, he followed suit. At that point, it became clear that we all might as well head right back up to the top of Powerline.

As it turned out, this was actually a key move. Having regained dog, bottle, and altitude, the group continued along Park Creek into the increasingly long and deep snow cover. Eventually, we turned right, squeezed under a gate, and found ourselves heading into the highlight of the evening: a snowy, untracked, undulating downhill run. It was indescribable - simply the joy of mountain biking renewed. B even carved a pair of tracks into the fluffy surface of the hillside like a seasoned pro. All in all, it was more fun than anyone was expecting to have that night.

To top the night off, we headed up rock garden, which required some off the bike time hoofing it through the snowy terrain. After descending toward the lake, though, we were one rider short. This time, the dog was there, but her owner  was missing! Like Spawn calling for his roaming canine, the group hollered our darndest a collective "We have your dog!" up toward the top of the hill, hoping to retrieve our wayward leader. Nobody suggested going back up the trail to fetch him, so we waited a spell. Before long, lights emerged through the trees and the pack was once again united under the leadership of our beloved alpha of the evening. 

Satisfied, we rolled into the Knot lot still tingling from the feeling of snow-spray blasting our shins. Yet one final delight awaited us. As we entered the cozy taco shack, a glance down the bar revealed the presence of one of our very own: Lars! Already four tacos deep, his nonchalance revealed a sense of comfort and belonging that only a true local could embody. Lars reflected on the fact that the tacos don't taste quite the same as they do after a ride, and PC, attempting to relate to the comment, suggested that he hadn't "earned" his tacos. Snickers and jeers around the table revealed that the gaff had been interpreted as a jab, spinning off into comments about insubordination and the like. 

B was the recipient of a grande glass of rye whiskey that he was officially forbidden to share. Though even B himself had his concerns about consuming such a large volume of liquor in one dosage, a blog report from the morning after proved that he'd held it admirably and, though delayed somewhat in his morning activities, was no worse for wear. All bid adieu to Lars as he stepped out into the night. We patted the lolling sidekicks, now resting on the floor, and thanked Spawn for the adept leadership. 

All in all, it was a ride worthy to go down as the final 'official' FT3 of the year. 

Not the final ride of 2013 though, as Newb has expressed intent to get a Christmas Eve daylight ride together. Should be a fine way to celebrate the season . . .

Monday, December 16, 2013

No FT3 . . . ?

Last Tuesday, we found ourselves locked in the firm grip of winter. As Spawn reported, the lake trails were 95% covered in snow to a depth of 6 inches in places. So with Pollywood out of the picture, many FT3ers were left scratching their heads (or some other area of the body) and pondering the question, "Now what?"

Historically, riders have been known to enact 'Plan B' when faced with similar circumstances. But due to illness, absence, obligations, and maybe even plain common sense, even the P'ville 'steeps' tour failed to take hold. Clearly, this is for the best, as the local roads were downright treacherous. Even the bike path was covered in snow and ice.

I, for one, opted to work out my frustration on the stationary trainer, which provided ample frustrations of its own. Even my greatest efforts at the pedals seemed to be getting me nowhere. I'd had enough of the nonsense after only about 40 minutes; hardly even qualifying as a ride in normal circumstances.

But let's not dwell on the past. A new day has dawned, providing evidence for the fact that the world is still turning on its axis, despite a Tuesday going by with no FT3. Let's not allow it to happen again, though. Best not take any chances.

The snow is melting, and credible sources have indicated that the trails will be in ride-able condition come Tuesday night. There will be snow, yes, and there will be mud. Bring your fancy shoe covers if you wish. Bring your fenders if you're allergic to dirt. But be there, oh yes . . . be there.

By the way: where were you last Tuesday night? Comment in the thread . . .

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Coldest FT3 on Record

Of course, that is only based on what the thermometer said last night. We all agreed we have felt much, much, colder on several occasions and that 33 and raining is a much worse condition to ride in than a clear and cold 25 degrees. Of course this event doesn't account for the time that some select FT3'ers rode from Strawberry to Kirkwood and back in January. That ride began, and likely ended, with temps in the 'teens, if you don't know the details about that one then you should read the entire blog.

Last night's ride began as any proper SSFT3 would, with a round of... "what the? Are those Budweiser's?" NoHandle sprung for six King of Beers and we happily enjoyed them. Then the Spawn showed with more PBR's and we didn't have time to stand around in the cold and drink them so we went along our way. The Spawn likes to ride lead, we think, as much as our DRL, so he lead the group that included Cap'n, Councilman, XTeric, NoHandle, and Buttons out qualifier way. After determining just how cold we were and that XTeric had forgot his Camelback we swung back into the lot to finish our ride and go get tacos. Just kidding. We grabbed his Camelback and I grabbed an extra pair of gloves and we headed back out. We rode along the lake clockwise and climbed Barnesback to Park Creek. A proper choice on a cold night as we all stayed relatively warm and comfortable on the long climb. We then rode Park Creek all the way to Powerline, then dropped B is for barf and the little fun DH trail with super sweet 6 inch jumps back down to lake level. It was at least 9 by the time we finished, fingers and toes were starting to go numb, there was no short riding on this cold evening. There was also no sign of Peter.

The taco part was better. Spawn brought the remaining PBR's in and set them on the table, we all knew this was a life goal of our chicken wing friend, it was sad he was not present to enjoy the moment. Canned, free PBR's at the taco table. Yes. Spawn was also served his tacos last.  It was clear who was in charge last night, it was the two taco bitty's, no sign of Mother Rye or Even Keel. The old friendly engineer/professor told our table of thawing MTB'ers that Button's looked like a Muslim. Just then the recently-returned taco bitty with multiple jobs asked us if we had any allergies. Odd question, we all thought. Then the tacos arrived, first Buttons and NoHandle got theirs, then XTeric and I (Councilman left after the ride) and then the Spawn. Buttons was the first to discover a pork taco hidden in his batch. Yes, he was called a Muslim and served a pork taco in the same night. We all got one, just one. It was a nice treat and we were all pleased to receive tacos that did not include rufy's. Or wait, I mean, what happened next?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Did you check the Pollock Pines Weather Cam today?

Last I checked, there were 70 viewers.  They all were wondering what Pollyworld would have in store for FT3 tonight.  If they only knew.

Today is SSFT3, or for the less initiated (and very fit) that means the 1st Tuesday of the month and thus the official Single Speed night of the month.  Not that it mattered last week as Cappy aptly pointed out the SS'ers outnumbered the wimpy geared guys (yes, that is my group).

I again will be showing my no-so-HTFU''d-up fitness and will be riding with many gears tonight, but alas, I will be there.  I'm really hoping for flurries, would be a perfect SSFT3 December night.

See you there.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Last night nine pithy MTB'ers gathered at the Knott lot among huge rounds of downed pine in tufts of sawdust and pine needles. I began heckling Bambi for his lack of attendance and he announced that he was going to have to re-learn how to turn the pedals. B was there too, coming off his long work-related hiatus that has kept him off the bike, out of the county, and away from FT3 for too many weeks. He kindly made the rounds with pre-br's just as Mother Rye began chiding us for parking in the lot as if we were supposed to know to park elsewhere. It was something of a reunion, the group of nine including R.G., Cap'n, Bambi, B, Newb, Spawn, C-Man, NoHandle and our D.R.L. - Lars, were present. It could have been the first reunion of the complete 24 hour Team 1 in many months, if not years. This was at least subliminally present in NoHandle's mind, because at one point during the night when his headlamp battery was jettisoned from his jersey pocket, and lost among the bush, he couldn't help but make a reference about how devastating such an incident would be during a 24 hour race. Note to other riders, it appeared to be the empty wrapper in his pocket that gave it just enough 'slip' to provide for ejection during his epic and stylish maneuver off a six inch high log jump.

Stylish maneuvers abounded last night, as Bambi quickly proved he had not forgotten how to ride, he maintained his typical antics and even sang us a country song. Our D.R.L. took us down to the lake and along the lake and on some horse trail to the super steep climb to the bottom of Rufus Rage. During the horse trail part, I took to announcing, in BMX announcer fashion,  the awesomeness of this reunion, riding the wheel of Bambi and Newb who were equally embroiled in antics. At one point I announced some particularly awesome fancy riding of Bambi's and Newb decided to look back to see what was going on. He then rode off the trail, crashed and whacked his nuts. There was little remorse from our group of excited riders, so we rode on while Newb HTFU'd and rode on as well. Our group contained 1 single speed more than geared bikes for a total of 5, each of those riders took to the steep climb with ferocity. We climbed the rage and descended upper skid and skid row and all the riders thoroughly enjoyed the works of the unknown trail builders, not to mention perfect trail conditions.

'Round the lake we went to Hazel Creek where we got on the fireroad that only people who do long runs know how to find. We climbed in that area for a long while, then descended some fireroad back into familiar territory. During the fireroad decent, a wild and ferocious possum crossed the trail forcing some hard braking among the group. The hard braking took place just as Bambi was about to make his move to pass Lars and I by riding swiftly between us. Bambi rode directly into my left ankle, where I was not Bronsoned, rather I was Ardented, and he then took an unplanned dismount into the hillside, narrowly avoiding taking me clean out. It was quite a spectacle from what I hear, but I did not see it, as I was more concerned about the ferocious and obviously rabid marsupial in front of me. We dropped back down to the lake in the vicinity of B is for barf, then rode back up to the qualifier, dropped a little single track section and out to the road where where we could see the Knott shining like a beacon in the night.

We rolled into the tuft lot once again to change out of our cycling panties and headed in for tacos. It looked as if all of the riders partook in some rye, with the exception of the Spawn, who opted for water and a single champagne of beers. During the conversation we learned how chainsaws help us appear more manly to our significant others, how much beard growth is just the right amount, and how absurd it is to try to change your own taco handle.  Alas, we were all thankful for yet another successful FT3. May there be many more to come.


For those of you who are not aware, there is a local, very grassroots and only 'somewhat organized' Turkey Trot run tomorrow at 8:00am. The run starts at the Placerville library and goes down the Forni to Missouri Flat road section of the El Dorado Trail. Two mile, 5K and 10K turnarounds will be marked. This is a fundraiser for the local food bank. If you come, plan to donate what you can, burn off some calories and enjoy this community gathering of friends for a good cause. Hope to see you there. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Firing Squad

It was a balmy 48F when we assembled in the Knott Lot Saturday morning. Though all the Penn alumni had predicted much cooler temps, we were met with sunshine and smiles as we struggled with layers. There would be no question for Safety, surprising us with a visit, and donning his trademark jacket and shoe covers. Yours truly rolled up (on time) to find Rock God in full embro mode.   Our ride organizer and leader, THTH, was joined by P.C. and none other than Orphan. Once we made pleasantries, and received our blessed communion of Mojo and (insert beverage of choice), it was off to the wild.

NoHandle led his minions NE to the qualifier, and then down the now debris-strewn chopping block. Seems the recent high wind advisory left an extra layer or two of twigs, needles and leaves over the damp but firm earth. Our leader both quizzed us on trail names and solicited ideas for future trail work. I wonder if anyone can get us a pro deal on some McClouds. From the block, we veered E and up the newly named Wall back to PC. After some layering changes, we were then directed to Grimangers, and the ridge(name?), eventually making a few last minute tweaks to bring us right round to PC. From the 4 way junction, we headed SE towards MET, with yet more climbing on fire roads. Our destination was Cappy's Cache, and it would not disappoint.

As we whooped and hollered, roosting leaves on every corner, the distinct sound of cannon fire could be heard in the distance. RG predicted, and we quickly discovered, that this cacophony of sounds was not only getting closer, but well within our current path. As we climbed out of the Cache, the rifle report grew louder, and we would soon smell the powder. Just before the beginning of the Bonetti paved road, we dropped into a veritable shooting gallery. Almost a dozen ticket holders stood aiming at targets directly ACROSS the fire road. Like ducks moving across the carnival board, one by one we rolled past the firing squad. They kindly holstered their weapons and allowed us to pass. There was nervous laughter as the lead carny jokingly(?) assured us "don't worry, we're not shooting cyclists, today". Once safely past that maelstrom, we rounded another bend to find a smaller assembly of marksmen. Our group then discussed the irony found in breaking the perfectly tranquil and silent fall morning with gunfire.

As the gallery, and the ringing in our ears, began to fade in the distance, we set our sights on a left lip drop. En route, P.C. performed a splendid log balancing act. This was shortly followed up by this rider's complete stacking over the same obstacle. The folds in the lip enveloped our tires, and I for one would like to have savored it thrice. We then wrapped things up with a CW loop back to the cars.
In all, a nice 3 + hour tour of the greater pollywood complex. I believe Msr. Credite captured a few pics, and can now upload for those who, well, wished they were there but couldn't make it.

Consider this your weekend weather/ride report, and Tuesday's callout. It will be just another perfect evening in the forest....sans gunplay, of course.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Spawn's Ride Report

Just Kidding, but I got your attention right?  Call Out disguised as a RR.

The group all appeared to be in agreement on Tues night during the official Pollywood season opener ride that Spawn would craft his ride report from behind the bar.  He would then email it to NoCa... err strike that; Chicken Wing who would post the ride.

Almost everyone was willing to do the post themselves, but as no one except Spawn knew where the heck we actually road, it was decided that he would write up the post - by "It was decided" I mean Cappy and I strongly encouraged him to.

OK, no real ride report but how about a call out!

Sat 8:30 AM departure
Knot Lot
Back by Noon.

See ya there


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

(Wet) Season Opener . . .

While it wasn't the first rain of the season, you could say it was the first FT3 in the rain for the fall season last Tuesday night. As another noted blogger astutely observed, Providence, it seems, held back the precipitation to coincide with the most important event of the week, beginning with the lightest of mist and increasing almost imperceptibly throughout the evening until our return to the lot, at which point it had become a definite wetness descending from the troposphere.

After a failed Mosquito meet-up, there were once again, shamefully, nearly as many motor vehicles as riders in the Knott lot. Spawn, at least, saw fit to ride to the venue under his own power. We were all glad to see Cappy, as he'd been experiencing some distress in his evacuative mechanism and wasn't sure if a ride was in the cards. P.C. passed out not-quite-expired Mojo bars as riders swapped bull and zipped up layers in anticipation of the evening's uncertain weather conditions. Proudly flaunting his 20 year-old purple-paneled leggings ("leotard"), Buttons lamented some serious brake rub he was having in the rear. Darn it if Newb didn't give it a good go and try to rectify the situation right there in the lot, but it was nothing a 5mm hex could fix, anyway. Nohandle waited patiently for the festivities to begin. Soon enough, under Newb's capable leadership, we were off . . .

It weren't about 5 minutes into the ride before riders were stopping to peel off layers in attempt to adapt to the somewhat wet but not yet rainy, kinda cool but not yet cold conditions. Newb, single gearing for the occasion, went so far as to strip down to his shirt-sleeves ("wife-beater"), drawing admiration from the crew.

We tasted some of the last dust of the year going down Naptime. We squirmed and grunted up freshly slickened climbs. We stopped, removed layers, rode, stopped, added them again. Ride leader reliably enforced the three minute rule at all such delays. We even got separated at one point: Newb, Spawn, and Nohandle took the left fork unbeknownst to Cappy, P.C. and Buttons, who continued descending on the right fork of the trail. Not to worry though, dear reader, the six were shortly after reunited at the top of the hill when good logic and group problem-solving saved the day.

What route did the group take as ride leadership threaded together trail after sweet trail? Well, you weren't there, were you, so it appears you'll never know. Unless you were there, in which case you don't need me to tell you. Guess you'll just have to find out for yourself next FT3.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Incident

It’s boring, but since you asked…
Mrs. Chickenwing and I left the Cozmic a little before midnight. The music was still rocking upstairs and I forgot to pay my tab. Her bike was locked just outside, while mine was still at my office. We agreed that she would start home, and I would catch her somewhere along the way. Just as I turned off Jaquier at the EDT trailhead parking lot, I could see her light up at the top of the climb. Inspired by the thrill of the chase, I accelerated. Where the climb steepens, I looked down to see what gear I was in and WHAMO! drifted off the trail and into the ditch. My fingers instinctively went to my collarbone. Feeling the fracture beneath my skin the first thought in my head was “no baja kayak vacation”. Back on the bike, I grabbed the waist of my pants with the hand from the now useless arm and quickly caught Mrs., explained the scenario, and hurried home before the adrenaline wore out. Back at home I laid on the floor and had Mrs. stand on my shoulder while I tried to line up the two bone ends.

X-ray taken from 35 degrees below.

The same surgeon put another plate in last Tuesday night. Since then I have concentrated on healing, which mostly involves drooling on various pillows throughout the house. Thank you for the Jamaican Pain. That was an extremely thoughtful gift. You should have seen Mrs. Chickenwing go too deep the first night we opened it. I am especially looking forward to collecting all of the “hot and spicy kisses from everyone” promised in the card.

So, take heed to my cautionary tale (in case you missed the last cautionary tale) and sieze the opportunities to crash in soft forest duff when you can. This evening looks primed for a classic FT3. Lord knows, I hate to miss it.   

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Nature's Wonderland Bike Park

While the efforts to build a bike park in Placerville quietly gather grassroots support, the rest of us will enjoy's natures wonderland upon our fine 29 inch wheel steeds. If you are still riding some other wheel size, you should probably watch this informative "How to Be a Mountain Biker" video. I will see you dudes, your designer beers and flannel shirts this evening.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

BP3 - Bike Park Project Placerville

It seems the influence of FT3 runs strong through our local community of bicyclists. With no prompting from me, in a democratic vote, the organized group of youth and bike shop leaders selected the name for the committee working to develop a bike park in Placerville: BP3 - Bike Park Project Placerville. The first meeting took place last night and the energy is building, we will need the support of FT3 members, both pithy and fringe. There is a Facebook page, this will be the resource for information for the time being; Next month there will be a movie night, a bike movie (duh), with a suggested donation, this will be a 'light fundraiser." we are just building support at this point. Get involved. If you are not stoked yet, enjoy this great viddy:
Cap'n (Feel free to add this weeks ride report to the thread!)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Monday Ride

Anyone want to ride with me up in either polly wood or maybe Auburn.  I have the afternoon off, starting around 1pm, and would like to get some miles in.  I know none of you have the wonderful privilage of working retail, but was hoping someone might be playing hookie or have an afternoon free to spin some miles.   So who's coming with me?

NewB over and out!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What's for Dinner?

The mood was businesslike, "are you wearing a base layer and a vest?" as we kitted up in the knott lot. Spawn was hardened from winters commuting in Salt Lake City, and was comfortable in knickers and a long sleeve jersey. Xteric tried out the new clear jacket. All assembled, Lars allowed as how he had a few new trails in mind to explore, and we relaxed into following our Dear Ride Leader.

Quick down to the Lake, then right to MET, maneuvering to the stealthy trail between the equestrian parking lot and Ferrari Mill. Fleming CW, sneaking left on a hand cut fire line to Blue Gouge Mine Rd, continue CW to the next new trail which dropped precipitously, briefly and then was a steep and long hike up. Continuing CW, the pace furious towards the Fleming high point. (Later Newb guessed the fast pace was a consequence of RG's pressure on the Ride Leader. RG explained his energy was the old NoHandle trick of coming over-rested then blowing out his legs with no concern for tomorrow.) After Lars demonstrated a balletic no-speed crash, we launched into the long descent to the base of the second dam. After climbing back to MET, the remainder of the ride was thrown into the air. Lars abandoned (or made a display of abandoning, at least) Ride Leadership. RG asked the time, and it was only 8 o'clock. Newb and Xteric petitioned a climb out B's Chin. But, ignoring Newb's howls, we turn towards tacos.

There was some surprise at the Knott hole when we arrived. Chickenbake even had to warn us that she had made Chickenbake, thinking we would especially enjoy it after a cold evening of riding, but we were so early it was still in the oven. No one minded having to wait. Meanwhile Xteric made a sauce offering. He assumed it would be a sweet sauce as the ingredient list started with apple sauce. But, it contained chili extract, not chilis, and its eruptive heat pushed a few outside of their sauce comfort zones. We attacked the Chickenbake with relish. Although we didn't quite finish the pan.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

FT3 first winter ride??

The rain gods have sent FT3 a blessing of precipitation. And although Peter might be a little upset about it, I'm sure there are a few FT3 riders feeling like children on Christmas morning. Time to bust out the fetish items such as tights and nickers, maybe a hat and a base layer, and kick up some not dust. Seeing as I haven't ridden in almost a month, all my cycling gear is clean and ready. Is yours? ONE

Friday, October 25, 2013

Hangtown Halloween is for Hippies HoBo Ride

While some FT3 rider's may be getting their "fest" on, others will be partaking in another great ride from the lore of FT3. A HoBo ride is going down on the El Dorado Trail tonight. Departure time is 5:30pm at the Mosquito Park and Ride lot, this is an out and back on the EDT with a mandatory HoBo stop in Shingle Springs. We will go as far as the collective group wants to go. Bring money and charged lights. Happy Friday!

The count holds at three presently with Cap'n, NoHandle and Xteric IN.

Who else is in??

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Buttons, Staples and Stitches?

Amid laughter and the snapping of spandex, a hearty seven primped, primed and otherwise quaffed themselves for the main event. With Xteric's late (and unannounced?) arrival, we again had as many riders as cars in the Knott lot. Properly lubricated and hydrated, Buttons stepped up to lead us into the wildnerness.

We departed out the back door, crossed Sly Park and wound our way down the scree to the spillway. From here it was MET to the (official) pay parking lot, up Rufus by way of long sought connections to lower DH. Here we enjoyed a beverage/flat tire repair stop.  Then on up to the newly redesigned upper skid row, and to the dismay of some, a full descent of skid row in lieu of the ever tasty left lip.

From here it was a long slog up the EQ trails (including Orphans flesh offering to the gods), then down to the lake and, with a silent transfer of power, out through the campgrounds to yet another of Spawn's white gates. He then led us up another long climb to god knows where, ending up at the bottom of wedding march. It was a quick drop, with a few diversions, bushwhacking, several spills (the honors going to Nocar for best dismount), and then CCW back to the Knott. All in all, a solid early effort by Buttons , and a splendid job of shared ride leadership.

Tacos were served up hot and fresh, and we bantered about sauce combos while watching PC literally sweat out his choices. We were ragailed with "staple" jokes from our friendly local engineer/professor/inventor dude (insert nic-handle).  We offered courtesy laughs, though it would well after bedtime before some of us got the punchlines. Nocar , Spawn and I lingered over our lasts beverages, an ice cream, and a discussion of the joys and sorrows of working with emotionally disturbed youth.

Notables: more free pre-ride Mojo dispensed. The Fargo made it's inaugural appearance, and PC deftly maneuvered this rigid, fat-tire beast through the cover of dark and dust. I got to see the inside of Orphan's knee through a bullet sized hole. I'm bringing a stitch kit next time! And lastly, when not chasing the elusive "record", Spawn prefers upper-crust beers. First RG, then Spawn, who's next to abandon our "staple" beverage?

Stay tuned for the next installment!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Could we be a dirty dozen tonight?

Placemarker, until someone at a desk can put up some race results or other.

1! Will update taco status later!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Barely Legal

Partial Rollup
An early arrival home from meetings in Sacramento provided me with a rare opportunity to execute the elusive "roll up" typically conducted by those with less children and more flexible schedules than mine. Ignoring the clock's ticking and maintaining my optimism, I sat down for a quick bowel movement and began calling B. After multiple attempts to answer his phone we finally connected. His rollup was underway, he was just beyond Mosquito, I indicated that I could be ready in 7 minutes, and he reluctantly became part of my optimism. While he was rolling back I determined that my light wasn't charged and my rear tire was flat. Alas, the minutes ticked by and the elusive rollup became once again more elusive to me. I placated a noticeably frustrated B with a couple warm PBR's while I repaired the flat and charged my light. We convinced XTeric to bring his extra rack and pick us up at Valero with NoCar and began our journey up the El Dorado Trail to execute the "partial rollup."

"I Just saw a cat, I shit you not"
As we approached the hill just beyond Jacquier an extremely excited helmetless man on a mountain bike came roaring down the hill yelling "I JUST SAW A CAT I SHIT YOU NOT." B and I, aware of recent mountain lion sightings in the area, and judging by his reckless abandon, assumed he was referring to a mountain lion type of feline. Moments later we passed a woman who had also been informed of this feline sighting, she was terrified and thought it best to remain paralyzed on the trail bench to avoid being this cat's dinner.  Without an ounce of fear, we continued on our quest to complete the "partial rollup." B was convinced we would not be attacked as we were both looking splendid in our FT3 kits while rolling atop single speed mountain bikes. We pondered the potential of this man being judgement-impaired due to drug or alcohol ingestion, but since he continued on his quest to inform the masses in a "bring out your dead" or "the British are coming" manner we were unable to obtain additional details about whether or not this was a house cat, bobcat, or mountain lion that he was 'shitting us not' about.

FT3 sucks at carpooling
B and I completed our rollup in good time, just as XTeric arrived to Valero, we loaded up and began a spirited discussion about whether or not FT3 should encourage or disallow the participation of riders under the age of 18. Our carpool arrived at the Knott to join a ridiculous number of single occupant vehicles. FT3 needs to take a look at it's carbon footprint, it's bad enough that each of his will foul the air on red hot Wednesday, the least we could do is attempt a little emission reduction with the carpool on Tuesdays. Just as we started to look at one another to determine if we were collectively ready to roll, Unknown Local arrived in his multi-seated single occupant vehicle. Councilman's Pre-BR's were dwindling as the last minute repair was completed on UL's rig. The ELEVENSTRONG count off was executed in the parking lot amid grumblings from the pack, lights were on, and Spawn desperately wanted to ride lead.

Barely Legal
And ride lead he did. His calls for count offs at intersections were splendid and he treated the pack to multiple sections of new trail. The new section he took us on was 'barely legal' and stands to be named as such, it took at least one rider out while the remainder of the group whoopped and hollered in it's glory. As we re-grouped our group of eleven provided a good sounding board for the discussion of less than legal (18 years and younger) riders participating in FT3. Within the context of the aptly-named trail I thought it fitting to roll out my strong opinion on the matter. Seems several riders agree; and our adult conversations later in the evening (and every Tuesday) solidified, that FT3 is an occasion fitting for an adult. There indeed remains some differing options on the matter, so the discussion will continue, could this be the first occasion for a formal vote? Do we need to call upon our Counsel?

!&c%ing Bu$shwacking
It is notable the discussion was held to three minutes our less, and our ELEVENSTRONG group of Spawn, Cappy, XTeric, B, Councilman, NoHandle, NoCar, Partial Credit, Buttons, Orphan and Unknown Local charged on. We rode up some fireroad that only the Spawn knows how to locate then began our search for some wildlife trails which quickly turned to bushwacking.  Our ride leader was unflappable, he deftly maneuvered through the bush and remained steadfast in his leadership of the ELEVENSTRONG group that pleasantly accepted his route choice. Suddenly the bush and trees opened and we began circling the picnic tables and took off for a clockwise lake loop. Since we had hardly climbed by this point in the ride it was necessary to take the horse trail and the extra steep bonus "insert foul name unfit for the ears of a minor here" section up to the powerline and after a quick regroup climbed Rufus Rage. NoCar clamored for a pavement decent of MET and didn't get what he desired as we dropped Redneck Rising. UL fell into the "tank trap" and lived to tell about it, XTeric went all mountain and rolled his tubeless tire. After failed attempts to re-seat a tire with very little Stan's in it, the ELEVENSTRONG group learned that "If you flat it then you better put a tube in it."

15-10 and Surrend
We rolled down Fleming, back out to MET and back to the Knott via the boat launch trails. Councilman bailed, the table was set for ten and Taco Spawn announced that he was going to make an attempt for the taco/beer record (notably, this is yet another occurrence unfit for a minor). As the Spawn dug into his tacos and Coors light's the group pondered how a football team could score a single point. Must be Canadian, some said. Those guys are corn fed, others said. After a curious departure from the table and the Knott hole to outside, some confusion about how many baskets of tacos the spawn had had, "you better check with your taco people" and just after he began slurring his speech, he decided to throw in the towel. The remaining six tacos were devoured by the rest of the group, NoCar put one in his pocket to enjoy while he reads this masterpiece, and the rest of us got up to pay our bills.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

10/9 -Bike Messenger Appreciation Day

Six riders were kitting up in the Knott Lot when RG, B, and I arrived. Obviously all of them except for the to-be-qualified rider and Taco Spawn live in the dark ages and are unable to enter a comment on a blog. Or they consider their lives too important to participate in the pre-ride chatter. While we waited for Councilman, Spawn hoisted the PBR flag.

When the question of Ride Leader was poised, RG feared that Spawn would probably claim it and take us out for another long-mile training ride.  So he took the front and started us on a mandatory Qualifier climb. The new rider had no difficulty hanging with the group. From there we dropped the wedding march -which has been mounded with tank traps, to the Rock Garden, CW lake loop, up right lip, down left lip, continue around the lake, then over to Ferrari Mill Road for Lower Fleming to Palins (complete) then back around for a second Palins (top half), to the Knott Lot. No mechanicals, short breaks, and a hard charging Ride Leader got us back to the Knott a little early. After bidding adieu to Partial Credit, and saying salut to Xteric (who had ridden up lower qualifier to powerline, park creek to barnes back then up and down right lip) we headed in for tacos.

The bar was crowded with contractors working on an EID flume repair. Buttons was visibly distressed by having to shove his way through the sausage party. 
Mother Rye and Chickenbake were informed of our need for special catering on the night of March 4th and the following morning. Besides commenting that they like to sleep in late on Wednesdays (who doesn’t?), they said they would get back to us on some menu ideas. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

First October Tuesday

B and I pedaled into the Knot Lot to find several riders who had not participated in the HCF Count Off. Also, there were pre-BRs, since it was that time of the month. One third of the pack was SS compliant. Taco Spawn claimed Ride Leader without contest. We started towards the Qualifier and BAM! B dropped his chain. As Newb expertly adjusted the tension, I fished the last PBR out of my jersey pocket, still cold, and passed it around. Up the Qualifier to, uh, somewhere, where we took a little-used forest road to some other little-used forest road that looks like all the other forest roads. Eventually we re-emerged at the big intersection on Park Creek Rd. We rolled the road for a bit and then turned up (“grumble, grumble, what time is it? Grumble, grumble,” said RG) towards Cappy’s Knob. Honestly, I wasn’t paying much attention to the route, but focused on not getting dropped. Eventually we returned to the familiar intersection on Park Creek Road and dropped towards the lake. In a cooking downhill we blazed through numerous unfamiliar intersections. The pack was well aware that Cappy was off the back, but figured he wouldn’t want us to interrupt the thrilling descent. At the bottom we retraced back to Cap and B, who were shivering after having been abandoned in the cold. Most importantly, since I rode back, that bumped my total Tuesday miles a few feet over B’s total. The tight pack raced round the lake to screaming cheers from Spotters in the campground. The Knot Hole was emptied when we bustled in for tacos. New member Cutter got to use his freshly anointed handle, which had been debated for much of the ride.


One subject that was slated for the Taco Table, but never came up, is the use of strava on FT3 rides. Apparently Spawn stravaed a ride in the Silver Lake area that included secret trails. Within days, the buzz about the new trails had spread from Folsom to Tahoe. Every FT3er may have a different opinion about the good or ill that may come from greater exposure. However, I would recommend that, as with all important decisions, authority rests with the Ride Leader. If B was Ride Leading and he didn’t want the trails stravaed then they shouldn’t have been. If Spawn stravaed Tuesday’s ride while he was Ride Leader that’s his decision to make. If Xteric wants to strava anything then he’ll have to learn how to use a computer. If I want to strava then I will have to upgrade from my dumb phone AND participate in Ride Leading (ain’t gonna happen). 

Thursday, September 26, 2013


I hoped to post a Ride Report last night, but I ended up going mountain biking with an engineer I work with.

First, let’s all observe a moment of silence for our beloved comrades who were unable to participate in the first sweet trails ride after a long summer of dust.

I think the Mosquito Lot was bypassed by all participants. Lucky for me the party car stopped by Camino. A bevy of unfamiliar faces were kitted up and ready when we reached the Knott Lott. From back channel news sources, I identified the owner of the extra-large frame and the cross rider, but I couldn’t place the third. After nearly everyone declined to be RideLeader, Newb assumed the role. He led us out the back, then kept rolling South on Sly Park Road past the MET intersection. So, we called him back, explaining the absolute necessity of riding the Qualifier. He started to claim his prerogative as RideLeader, but realized that he did not have the political clout to break one of the few institutionalized rules of FT3.

We headed up the Qualifier and our newest addition quickly proved his competence. Over to Powerline, where even the ninth rider didn't taste dust. Cutting back to the bottom of the Qualifier,  the last two riders didn’t appear. Back riding, we found the crosser upside down –pinch flat.

Oh, Buttons!

After a failed patching attempt, a 26 inch tube was stretched onto the rim and we were back in action. For a moment. Then there was an issue with a light coming loose.

Oh, Buttons!

We hopped back on our bikes heading for the lake when a certain rider had chain malfunctions, requiring an exasperated Newb to perform a trailside derailleur adjustment.

Oh, Buttons!

Now the real riding commenced. We rode horse trails CW (though we did miss a section where XT got to emerge as RideLeader), climbed Right Lip, dropped Left Lip finished the lake and powered mightily towards XXX. Only Newb could make the ascent. He stood at the top and mocked Xteric who made two unsuccessful attempts at his namesake climb. 

Not everyone could make it to the taco table. Those who stuck around were glad they did. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

CX Kickoff & It's Tuesday!

Folsom Cyclebration Cyclocross Race went down this weekend, yours truly and Gen 2 took honors. I was bested by my Gen 2 offspring as he went clear for first, I had to settle for second in my class. Nonetheless, I have now visited the Men's 35+ A podium twice, which I will enjoy while it lasts, because soon enough the Taco Spawn will make his entry on the scene.

The hot day made for what can be best known as 'non-traditional' California Cyclocross. It was about 96 degrees at the 2:30 start time. It took a fare bit of HTFU just to push through the entire 60 minutes, fortunately my cousin, who was present to watch, brought his hat to remind me each lap. 

The course was super fun, featuring a mix of grass, sand, pavement and rocky technical sections. My strategy was simply to drill 'the hill' each lap and then take down the technical section with vigor, get through the rest of the course and do it all over again, and again, and again. Twelve laps were conquered over the 60 minute period. All together a good day of cross, it would have been nice to be a little closer to the winner, but I am happy with a podium finish nonetheless.

And now it is Tuesday!!! Let's roll!


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Nap Time

Cappy threatened to stop driving carpool if he keeps losing out on ride time. We discussed solutions to the chronically late rollout, and came back to the idea of a "pre-ride". Basically, a standard loop could be ridden clockwise by the early departers and counterclockwise by the later.

Our DRL took the traditional lead and re-qualified himself. Taking up the caboose position, Safety First! hung on to the pack. He was just back from NYC where he had been partying in the clubs until dawn. We dropped chopping block turned left at the flume and climbed asphalt back to Park Creek Rd. Rather than dropping the all too familiar power line trail, Taco Spawn pointed out a new route called "nap time" installed by the creator of skid trail. All agreed that this will be the trail to hit once the rain comes. For now it is loose and fun with plenty of big features. After climbing little used double track we dropped the lower section of the powerline, to boy scout camp trails to a lake CW. We swam at the boat launch and rolled back for tacos.

Taco Spawn shared some of the family secrets for making taco meat, a task he has inherited. As the evening wound to a close, we got to see the difference between FT3ers who are paying customers and those who are members of the royal family. B and I watched enviously as Mr. Spawn stepped behind the bar and poured himself five fingers of rye. The fun didn't stop there. B and I rode to the Pine Lodge. As usual the Pine Lodgers warmly welcomed our arrival on bikes. Chickenbake joined us for the FT3 after party.  Turns out that besides rocking the kitchen she can also rock the pool hall. B was in top form for our games of Cutthroat, and I got a few lucky shots, but Chickenbake clearly ruled the table.  They kicked us out some time after two and we enjoyed a relaxing roll home in the fresh night air.    

Want more FT3? Cappy's got caps.

[Following commentary by added by Cappy] They are approximately $30 and I can get them ordered if you want one, let me know. There are other colors and styles available too, but I wanted to keep it real with FT3 colors. Most of them are pro fit so I will need your cap size. Here is a photo documentary of the process, including the first rendition with ghetto lettering that didn't work out.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Exorcise your Peter

Who's riding tonight?

And who's going to church

ONE! Definitely riding up. Leaving Camino by 5:00.

I just claimed a vacation day for March 4, 2014 on the company calendar.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sensitivity Training

If you missed Cappy’s excellent call-out yesterday, then you suck. In spite of the quality of the post, the HCF failed to tally the riders, and carpool coordination required numerous last minute back channels. When asked what it was that made them too sensitive to comment on the blog, Noobie explained that he had just moved back to the ‘90s and had to go to a public library to access the internet; Taco Spawn pointed out that he isn’t part of the carpool so his input is unimportant; Unknown Local mumbled something about how he prefers to show up at the last possible minute; and Xteric admitted that he thinks the blog’s constant display of men in tight clothes is borderline pornographic.

In due time all were ready, and Noobie impatiently burst from the Lot. We rode out the back, past the clubhouse to B’s chin, up the dam horse trail, to Fleming CW. We regrouped midway up the climb and admired the sunset. A pack of riders (dads and kids) descended through our loitering group. One stopped and asked, mystified, “Are you going up this?” We continued to 8A. On the climb out Taco Spawn busted his chain. B’s commentary on the incident: “A 9-speed chain on a single speed, you may as well run your drivetrain with a limp spaghetti noodle.” We backtracked to Redneck and just after crossing MET Unknown Local broke his chain -must have been all the dust. We finished the ride, uneventfully, by dropping the left lip taking the first Horse Trail CCW and around the Lake. We stopped for a swim, and what do you know? someone left a dock our for us.

Councilman joined us for tacos, which all agreed were of the finest quality.  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups

One might say FT3 "in general" can be unhealthy for sensitive groups. Today, in addition to the standard risks posed by an FT3 outing, we have poor air quality. Nevermind the tired legs, dust inhalation, hot sauce burn on lips and tongue, potential for excessive PBR's, red hot Wednesday, and possible side effects of a standard FT3. Those are typically overcome by even the most sensitive FT3 rider. However, the current air quality may pose risks well beyond those of a standard FT3 outing. Please see the map below for current Particulate Matter 2.5 pollutants in our area. Orange is "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups" and Red is straight up "Unhealthy."

Selected Image

PM2.5 AQI Chart
I know that it is unlikely that there is a qualified FT3'er around who would like to be considered part of the sensitive group, so that means tonight's ride will go down, regardless of poor air quality. I can update the map later today. I think there is a chance the air quality will improve by the end of the day, but there is also a chance it may hold right where it is presently. In the event that the air quality worsens to unhealthy, there may be some real concerns. I suppose we will just have to keep an eye on the situation and make our own choices about whether or not we are part of the sensitive group. It is notable that the air quality is considerably better 'down the hill' but the idea of changing FT3 to another location usually doesn't play out all that well. I have this evening free to ride, and that is what I hope to do, even if I have to go down the hill to find improved air quality...


Monday, August 19, 2013

Another notch in the Strawberry-Kirkwood bedpost

With nary a warning, Cap’n abandoned his ship and left the remaining Long Riders to scrap together a new plan. We decided to meet on the Strawberry Creek Road to depart at 6:30. Departing on-time (with neither McDonalds nor toilet stops required) we skipped the first steep, sandy slog by staying on asphalt a little longer. Spawn and B were so exuberant that they decided to face-off in a Chicken match.

I watched both of them grunt up the technical climbs that I walked, comforting myself by saying that I would be stronger at the end. Sadly, this wasn’t true and I only fell further and further off the back as the day progressed. Suffice to say, Mr. Spawn can turn over a pedal.

The descent into Caples was chock full of “All Mountain!” And after the brutal climb (hike) to Martin Meadows we stopped for some refreshing Burgies. 
After topping out on the Thunder Mountain ridge, and then bombing singletrack down the ski hill, we sidled up to the bar at the Kirkwood Inn. The staff was less than enthusiastic to receive us, but they indulged our every request. B, had many, and they mostly involved liquor.

As we made the final descent, it was clear that we had shattered all previous S-KW records. Many hypotheses were considered, one being that the time savings was from B spending considerably less time fumbling with his cockpit.

Though I Petered on adding the Lover’s Leap loop to our ride, we did stop at the Strawberry Lodge on principle.