This year's event kicked off with a record 17 riders. Ridership dipped momentarily to 16 at the top of the bobsled run due to SM's "leave'm for dead" math but in the end we managed to avoid any major mishaps. Of course there were a couple of close calls, including an impromptu nose-wheelie-bailout that prompted one rider to comment "Clydesdales CAN dance!" In the end, all riders returned safely to base camp where we proceeded to ignite the bonfire and to see what surprises the post-ride festivities would bring.
They did not disappoint.
We'll start with "the contest." Last year's champion took a hiatus this year (sipping martinis with extended pinky finger), but competition was as fierce as ever and the crowd was split on the favorites.
- Entry #1 scored high in holiday spirit, craftsmanship, and creative incorporation of beer into the presentation. Bonus points for incorporation of a biking theme. The burn was only moderately intense but with very long duration.
- Entry #2 received a high score for debauchery, a deduction for a minor anatomical inaccuracy, and received a perfect 10 in the attitude department. The burn, initiated by special guest Henry Kissinger who really took the blowup doll by the ankles bull by the horns, was intense and scored high for leaving no trace except perhaps a couple of broken hearts.
- Entry #3 would normally have turned a couple of heads but struggled to get onto the judge's radar due to the caliber of entries #1 and #2. However points for effort and, yes debauchery.
The judges struggled to select a winner but after consulting the bylaws, were forced to disqualify entry #2 because beer was not physically incorporated into the actual entry (although there were some suggestions). So the panel awarded first prize and a year worth of bragging rights to...entry #1. Congratulations to MRDBS!
The competitive spirit of this group could not be contained as evidenced by this year's fire jumping competition (now an annual event thanks to AS' inspirational performance of '08). The kickoff was weak with a ho-hum corner jump but escalated rapidly into an impressive volley of middle jumps, middle jumps with beer smashes, and even some uphill jumps. And of course the inevitable bicycle-jumping phase ensued with some impressive performances turned in by two bikers and one blow-up doll, and resulted in only one chipped tooth ("Oh shit, I chipped a tooth"). But we proved yet again that there is no bar this group cannot raise (including the stupidity one) as the competition concluded with a first ever tractor-fire-jump that brought the crowd to their feet.
Around 11:00 the crowd had swelled to 20 and the kitchen served up 11 lbs of dead cow in the form of piping-hot homemade chili. Oh my God, this was just the ticket for a bunch of hungry bikers. The warm food calmed the rowdy crowd, we found our seats around the fire, and settled into more cerebral pursuits like "rip a new a-hole for anyone stupid enough to open their mouth" and getting all misty-eyed and sharing our fleeting memories of "J."
The group hung strong with very little attrition occurring before the first snowflakes fell around 2am (beginning of a nor'easter that dumped about 14" on us over the next 24 hrs). It was pretty cool - you could actually smell the snow. Things eventually started to unravel with a few disappearing acts (and a couple of reappearing acts which were met with much fanfare) and finally the dwindling group threw in the towel shortly before 4am.
- RV for trusting us on his first night ride, the snow-boarder helmet was a nice touch.
- KO for best decorated bike, festooned with tinsel and shiny dangley things.
- JA for best costume, allegedly borrowed from his nightstand "fun drawer."
And an event of this magnitude does not come off without a lot of help, so special thanks to:
- KO for letting us trash his back yard, again...
- MRDBS for his awesome catering, raising the bar yet again...
- DM for letting us raid his woodpile, and for sacrificing his tractor...
...and to everyone who made the pilgrimage. It takes some effort and lots of faith to turnout for an event like this in the middle of December, but the group makes the event and this year was a shining example.
Happy holidays and happy trails!