Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Announcing the 5th Annual Bike Bonfire and Beer Exchange

This note is to officially announce that the 5th Annual Bike Bonfire and Beer Exchange will be held on Friday December 17th.  

We'll kick off the evening with the requisite night ride through Marsh Creek State Park where, if the past four years are any indication, we'll experience frozen fingers, mechanical breakdowns, and if we're lucky a couple of spectacular crashes during the mad dash back to the security of the beer and the fire pit.

Upon our return, we'll ignite a massive pile of kiln-dried kerosene-soaked lumber and settle in for a long night of holiday story telling, holiday beer drinking, holiday fire jumping, holiday tooth chipping, and general holiday debauchery under the stars.  There is even talk of setting up a holiday bike skills course so we can increase the odds of a holiday broken collarbone. 

And finally the namesake beer exchange. This is  where we memorialize the evening with the signature "best beer presentation" contest.  As you will see from previous years' reports the competition is stiff and the bar is raised (or lowered depending on your perspective) each year, but the winner earns much exalted alpha-male status at a years' worth of block parties and backyard BBQs. Even last year's runner-up - who lost on an technicality - is now a local legend.

More details to come on what to bring, exact time, contest fine print, etc. Also note we can scrounge up a few loaner night lights, bicycles, and helmets (all required) if you let us know far enough ahead of time. All you really need to worry about at this point is:
  1. Informing your wife that you'll be sleeping on the couch that night (if you're lucky) and
  2. Planning the theme for your beer presentation (let your brain stem do the thinking here)

P.S. In case you want to see how "low" you can go with the contest or just get stoked by reading about the previous years' events, here are the ride reports:
  • 2009 - dancing clydesdale
  • 2008 - flying clydesdale
  • 2007 - nothing good happens after 2am
  • 2006 - defiled again

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Terrible Night

Steve hasn't been on a bike in almost a year. Not since Jenna bit the big one.  Yet he decided to climb back onto a single-track night ride with a persnickety rear derailleur and failing headlamp. Now that is true mo7s style!

And thanks to Jim for the personal send-off at Pinecroft and Kaiser. That was a first!

By the way it was a spectacular moonlit night, mid 50s. A terrible night for couch surfing, but most excellent for biking...

"Life is not so short but that there is always time enough for one more ride."
-- Unknown

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Double Trouble

It was sad and hilarious at the same time.

Andy set a blistering pace. Bob said he was "riding it like he stole it." To his credit Andy was committed to keeping us on schedule to hit 19 miles of highlights in two hours - the Fox Pen, Crack Head Bob, and some new trails from the Jamboree. I managed to ride his wheel for about 15 minutes then dropped back to the #4 (out of 5) position where I belonged.

The GPS was acting a little finicky so there were frequent stops to consult on navigation. And then Andy would get a sense of urgency to make up for lost time. The result was a series of furious 10 minute dashes punctuated by 2 minute stops to consult the GPS and scratch our heads. Interval training. Sort of.

The sad part was that our #5 rider was suffering off the back and EVERY time we stopped and he caught up with us Andy would immediately shove off  for another frantic dash with zero opportunity for #5 to unclip much less catch his breath. But the hilarious part was that EVERY time we stopped and #5 caught up with us, Andy would immediately shove off  for another frantic dash with zero opportunity for #5 to unclip much less catch his breath.

Luckily #5 saw the (sick) humor in this and suffered oh so gracefully.

The ride home was glorious. Four of is in the F150 King Cab with seat heaters all around. Let me tell you a seat heater after a 2 hour beat down feels awesome. We had a beer and checked out MikeM's back yard skills course, and then MikeR and I headed back to the 'hood and as I was unloading my bike I got a text message from Jimmy. Something to the effect of "heading out for a ride after I finish my sandwhich, anyone want to join me?" There I was all suited up with my bike but...my legs were screaming NO!

So I said YES.

And so Jim and I cranked out a short ride at the lake, my legs screaming I TOLD YOU SO the entire time. But it was spectacular just the same, brilliant sunshine and low 50s. 

So now here I sit on the couch, fire crackling in the fireplace, football on the big screen. I think I'll have me some Ben and Jerry's Half Baked GUILT FREE.


"Art is suffering." 
     -- Squidward Tentacles

Friday, November 12, 2010

It's Got Soul

Confetti on the Bonus-Bonus Loop
I won't be near a bike for the next seven days so I figured I would sneak in a quick ride today.  The trails are covered with a soft golden carpet and out on the Bonus-Bonus Loop there is a sprinkling of pinks and reds which makes it look a lot like confetti.

I am so lucky to see amazing stuff like this in my own back yard.  I wonder how many people live within 5 minutes of this place and have no idea?

The Sole Trail's Got Soul

On the way home, I stopped on the Sole Trail to document the trail's namesake.  I actually like to think of it as the Soul Trail as in Souuuuuuuuuul Train which as you know is and always has been "the hippest trip in America."  I think the Sole Trail is pretty hip too...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

21 and Loving It

Two of us broke the rule yesterday and lived to talk about it, so I expect we'll be breaking the rule again in the near future.  You know, the rule to never EVER fiddle with your bike the day before a race or big ride?

Let's start with the ride.  It was the 5th Annual Fair Hill Mountain Bike Jamboree.  A few hundred local mountain bikers turned out in spectacular fall weather for guided rides, food, beer, bike schwag, games, and to enjoy the generally awesome mountain bike mojo.  Weather was crisp 40° with brilliant sunshine when the "B" rides started at 9:00am.  Shorts weather!

We hit a few new trails and some of the old favorites.  It was impressive to see our group of 25 winding through woods (I can only imagine how awesome it would have been at night) and an opportunity to size myself up with the "B" riders (there were "A", "B", "C", and beginner groups).  In the end I think I would have done better bringing up the rear in one of the "A" groups, but we saw plenty of awesome singletrack and some fast flowing downhills that had us grinning ear to ear.  Unfortunately we lost our sweeper 10 minutes into the ride and our guide bonked about an hour later, so the 2nd half of the ride slowed down until we finally bid farewell to our guide and finished the ride ourselves.

Post ride festivities started with a bowl of hot home-made mac & cheese and a nice greasy bubba-burger.  We washed it down with a Dogfish Head and hung around hoping for the games to start (in particular the Huffy Toss) but by 1:00pm the siren call of the shower, couch, and Eagles game was too much so we threw in the towel.

The ride home was spectacular with that Dogfish seeping into deeply fatigued legs, a 12" turkey hoagie to keep the burger and pasta company in my belly, music playing in the warm car, and the spectacular horse country rolling by outside.  Frankly I would have happily driven all day long, but there was that couch thing...

Sign me up for next year.

"Hitch your bicycle to a star. Or a roof rack on a car"
     - unknown

P.S.  Oh yeah, the rule breakers:

  • Doble moving spacers on his rear wheel, wound up with ball bearings rolling around on his garage floor. Somehow he slapped his rear hub back together and it seemed to work perfectly fine today.
  • I had better luck, installing 21T cog on my SS.  It's amazing what a difference a 5% reduction in gear inches makes to a pair of 50 year old knees.  21 and loving it!!