Friday, March 18, 2011

Old Girlfriend

She was like an old girlfriend. Familiar but different somehow. No more pitchers and the jukebox had more of a hip-hop edge to it. But the crowd was friendly (at least at the beginning) a Nate the Bartender was his old gregarious self.

The inbound leg was memorable for the sprint down the Champs-Élysées (a.k.a. the Duck Ponds) and the multiple breakaways during the dash through town to the hitching post in front of Chelsy's. "You guys are going in there?" said the 14 year old couple hanging out with their infant child in front of the tavern. I guess we were an unusual sight down there - seven mountain bikers with all our gear and dressed in assortments of spandex and baggy pants.

Fine Art
But once we got through the awkwardness of it all and shoved the birthday boy (Sebastian) and the Chelsy's newbie (Antonio) through the door, it all felt very familiar again. The private back room was available for us to stash all our gear (helmets, camelbacks, lights, gloves, jackets, etc). The beer was cold. The air was smokey. The bathrooms were disgusting. The Chelsy's crowd was blue collar and friendly. And so we settled in for couple hours of easy conversation and  laughter.

But once we killed the Flying Fish draught (yum, and yes we killed it) we noticed the hour was getting late and the crowd was turning a little ugly so we ordered our traditional round of parting shots, toasted the birthday boy, and cashed out our $88 tab. We were a little flabbergasted by the amount (seven guys, two hours, beer, shots, and only $88?) so we left Nate like a 50% tip and made our exit.

And so began the MTBUI phase of our evening (thanks Antonio). It starts with the getting on the bike part. After 3-4 beers and a round of shots, it always feels odd to be climbing aboard a mountain bike. At night. But once back on the Struble the pace line formed quickly which is ironic because at this point we are the last people that belong on a bike, much less a wheel-to-wheel pace line hurtling down the Struble in the dark at almost 20mph.

Once off the Struble and back on the dirt in MCSP, we lined up for the traditional soapbox derby race from the top of Dorlan Mill road. Seven riders wide, and full contact, this is always a barrel of laughs and generally a win for Sebastian. This time was no different. The return leg was also punctuated too many breakaways to count - near the end of the Struble, up Dorlan Mill road, up the backside of the dam, and the obligatory sprint for the Peterson Mailbox (BTW I am resurrecting the Peterson Mailbox Talley on the blog).

Home by 11pm and I presume we all stuck to our pinkie-shake-promise outside of Chelsy's to NOT take a shower when we got home (although I will admit I did put on a long-sleeve t-shirt and long pants before climbing into bed).

All in all a great night, I rated it a 148:
       43 (minutes each way)
     +17 (mph on the pace line)
     +88 (tab at Chelsy's)

See you on Sunday...


  1. Sounds great, I gotta make it to one of these!

  2. Great write-up. Still trying to figure out that art thing...


  3. my theory is that the no pitcher policy allow the customers to keep a reasonable tab on what they should have spent, so that when the check arrives, there is an effort to overtip. But I had 7 pints and he only charged me three! Well here you go your kindness is returned...