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.