Thursday, November 26, 2009

Mountain Bike Mud Football

Great ride this morning - sort of our mountain biking version of Thanksgiving mud football. Six riders, all grins, and nobody got winged by the hordes of hunters that were out there.

Moving on to some pending business...the 2009 FOURTH-Annual-Bike-Ride-Bonfire-and-Beer-Exchange is just around the corner. This event has turned boys into men, teenagers into frightened teenagers, and middle-aged family men into drunken middle-aged family men. In years past we've been blessed with some spectacular crashes and some spectacular women. Precious family heirlooms have been sacrificed and some of them have magically risen from the ashes. We've had firewalking (riding) and riders with women's underwear. But mostly we've just had a lot of fun, here is a sampling:

We call it the "Beer Exchange" to provide some light cover for those of us whose wives may not be fully bought-in on this "riding bikes in the woods at night" concept. It puts it in the category, roughly speaking, of a traditional holiday cookie exchange. How could she say no? The format is pretty basic:
  • A short night ride. No matter how hard some of us try, it is impossible to keep the group focused on riding when beer and bonfire beckons, so the ride usually lasts about seven and a half minutes.
  • Ignite the bonfire. Expertly laid before hand, soaked with kerosene, and stoked with plenty of kiln dried lumber, this bonfire is a wonder to behold. SF wore flip flops one year if that gives you any idea.
  • Beer "presentation" contest. I'd have to check my records, but I believe past winners have been DC, SM, and MR. If past years are any indication, this is a very competitive event so if you "bring it" be sure it's your A-game. Also keep in mind that it is tradition that contest submissions be burned in the bonfire - part of the sublime nature of this event.
  • Oh, then we drink the beer and jocularity and debauchery ensues.
Let me make something else perfectly clear. If you can ride a bike and drink beer, then you are qualified for this event. The price of admission is the bike ride, but the ride is easy and expertly chaperoned. Lights are available if you need them. All of the hills on the route go down except for the ones that go up. All you really need is a bike, a helmet, and some beer.

We need to nail down the date so I will throw out Friday December 18th as an option to start the discussion. Let me know if you are willing and able to do that date. If you are willing but unable, then shoot me some alternative dates and we'll see what happens. Bottom line is get back to me so we can get this thing booked and order the strippers.

Oh and have a great Thanksgiving and be sure to leave room for pie.


Sunday, November 22, 2009


We thought we might challenge the record with ten riders today but some pre-ride attrition slashed the group down to six. However it was a great opportunity to catch up with a couple of guys who have been out of circulation for a while:
  • One was instructed by his wife to downsize the love-handles. Slightly embarassing.

  • The other one has been road riding. Moderately embarassing.

We expect to see more of these two guys in the coming weeks and months. But I have to mention that two of our no-shows were reported to be playing volleyball or kickball or some such nonsense instead of riding. That is off-the-charts embarassing.

So anyway, our group of six was just one of many riding groups enjoying the brilliant sunshine and spectacular mid-40s weather. The trails were soft but perfectly ridable, and we even found a new section of singletrack that someone laid out by the Bonus-Bonus Loop (it starts at the hairpin turn). It is expertly done, with a bridge, a small rock garden, some nice rollers, and a couple of small stream crossings.

There is talk of a ride on Thanksgiving morning so we can eat turkey and drink wine and then eat pie and then lay on the couch for a guilt-free afternoon. I think this is a swell idea.

"Better to wear out than to rust out"
-- unknown

Note: photograph shamelessly misappropriated from somewhere on the Internet.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

November Surprise

It is November 15th in SEPA. It has been wet, overcast, and cold for almost three weeks now...

...but today the mountain biking Gods took pity on us and treated us to brilliant blue skies, a blazing sun, a gentle breeze, and 70 degree temps.

I had already moth-balled my short sleeve jerseys and fingerless gloves, but gladly dug them out for today's ride along with Silver (who hadn't been in the dirt since spring). And the trails were in surprisingly decent shape (better shame than I was anyway).

It was fabulous.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


P.S. Thank you.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Life's Not Fair

"Let's ride."

Wishful thinking...because it has been raining since Friday, there is standing water everywhere, and today's Fair Hill Mountain Bike Jamboree is basically washed out.

Oh and to add insult, the forecast is bone dry for the next 10 days - which, coincidentally is the start of a travelling work week of hotel food and air conditioned meeting rooms.

I might have to suck it up and ride the skinny tires today, just to take the edge off.


"Life's Not Fair"
-- Scar (from Lion King)