Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Knife at a Gunfight

Beer presentations were all functional
but only one burned
"I don't see what's so great about standing around, outside, at night, in the middle of December, drinking beer from a toilet." I could not dispute the technical aspects of her argument, but somehow the more sublime aspects of last night's bonfire were not resonating with my daughter...

The evening started with the customary ride. After climbing the new Quarry Bypass into the park and pausing to share a flask of Root, we dashed across the park to The Bobsled Run. Mindful that KO was on his wife's beach cruiser and not wanting any drama to delay the start of the bonfire we (thought we) bypassed the rock garden by the ruins. But it turns out our pack of 10 riders had bifurcated and of course KO's half detoured straight into the rock garden. Somehow the bike and rider survived and we regrouped at the top of The Bobsled Run for some more Root and the mad dash to the comfort of the beer and the bonfire. The Bobsled descent was punctuated with a lot of woo-hoo's, a little cursing, and a couple of busted spokes on MS's SFurly. Watching the lights of the last few riders snake down that trail was magical, one of those rare scenes that only occurs on night rides with large groups.
Knife at a gunfight? KO wife cruiser
 with kickstand and book rack
Random note: We started with 10 riders and ended with 11. That never happens. Generally if we start with 10 riders we are lucky to end with 8. Good mojo last night.
Back at the bonfire, the chili was bubblin', the beer was chillin', the best beer presentation entries were being scrutinized by the judges. Both entries scored high on functionality (seems to be a theme at these bonfires). The DBDC entry looked vaguely familiar, scored high for incorporation of Wet Wipes and imaginative use of vulcanized rubber accents. The Porcelain Goddess entry scored high for classic lines and it's "upper deck" potential. Stiff competition but the judges job was easy because in the end only one entry burned ("must burn to win" provision in contest rules). MM took the title in '11.

Planning for next year commenced during this morning's cleanup and yes, some changes are in store for '12. But for now we'll just celebrate the memories of '11, starting with this Bike Rider Bonfire and Beer Exchange Fun Quiz:

1. You know the best beer presentation contest at the annual Beer Bonfire and Beer Exchange has reached new lows when the judge's discussion centers around:
A) Gooners and Upper Decks
B) Nessies and Groovers
C) The smell of burning vulcanized rubber
D) All of the above
2. At the '11 Bike Ride, Bonfire, and Beer Exchange RV caused a stir by
A) QuestioningHermosa Tours' use of the Groover
B) Admitting that he had once "glassed" a guy who wasn't using a groover
C) Never walking farther that 15' from the bonfire to relieve himself
D) All of the above
3. This morning the neighborhood awoke to see MR's contest entry
A) On the roof of his house
B) In the back of his truck
C) Trailside overlooking the brandywine
D) Next to the firepit

We'll close this post with some wisdom from last night's ride:

Never Bring a Knife to a Gunfight...unless of course the gunfight is a mountain bike ride, and the knife is your wife's beach cruiser.
Happy Holidays,

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Inverse Proportion

23.5 degrees Fahrenheit at
7:58am eastern standard 
This time of year with the frequent freeze/thaw cycles can be difficult riding. Oh sure, a little mud and blood spices up any ride, but slogging through persistently soggy trails can become a bit of a drag.
So it is widely held in mountain biking circles that this time of year, trail conditions and temperature are inversely proportional. That is to say, the colder the better. We tested that theory today. When we rolled at 8:00am the temperature was 23.5°, trails were wicked fast, grip was outstanding, and frost crusted bridges provided some welcome pucker factor.

Let's delve into this inverse proportion thing.

If the following:
F = the fun factor and
T = temperature 
Then mathematically speaking:
F = 1 / T
Now let's apply the universal mountain biking "fun" constant of 100 because everyone knows that mountain biking is at least 100x as much fun as anything else you could be doing (except of course what TP wasn't doing this morning because he was mountain biking). So then:
F = 100 x 1 / T
That pegs today's fun factor at 4.35 (100 x 1 / 23.5). If today's ride is any indication, then a fun factor in the 4s is pretty darn fun. I checked the blog, and in 2009 we rode a fun factor in the 14s, that sounds almost illegal. But if we take this to the logical extreme (T=0°) then we are just a couple dozen degrees from INFINITY! Now wouldn't THAT be fun?


"Keep riding, Nancy. It's just water and dirt." 
     --- Huck And Roll

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Answers to The Questions

I can't wait to see what questions get answered at this month's Bike, Bonfire, and Beer exchange. Following are some burning questions that got answered last year :

1. MM's entry in the Best Beer Presentation contest was disqualified because:
a) Someone dropped a deuce in it while he wasn't looking
b) The material in the magazine rack wasn't "edgy" enough
c) It wasn't sacrificed to the mountain biking Gods
d) The TP was scratchy because of the stickerse) all of the above
2. Last year RV brought some contraband that had to be confiscated so we could relax around the bonfire. What did he bring?
a) A jar of home made "Mountain Dew"
b) A baggie full of Mauwie Wauwie
c) A baggie full of fireworks
d) iPod video "The Opening of Misty Beethoven"
3. You know for sure that Jenn'a older sibling really likes you if: 
a) She has a beer duct-taped to her hand
b) Her toes are pointed toward you
c) Her toes are pointed away from you
d) All of the above
4. You know it is cold at the annual Bike, Bonfire and Beer exchange when:
a) People start burning blowup dolls to keep warm
b) Beer cans start spontaneously exploding
c) None of the above
d) All of the above
Can't wait... 

"It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how."
     --Dr. Seuss

Winter Rides

Morning frost in the sunligh
Winter rides are special. The trails are (mostly) still frozen, fast, with great traction. Brilliant blue sky. Trees in the open fields cast silver frost shadows on the grass. The air is crisp and cool and I am comfortable in shorts with a couple of light layers on top. When I stopped to take this picture, I could hear a cacophony of water droplets falling from the trees (frost melting).

Sometimes that's how it is. Spiritual. Peaceful. Sublime.


"Cycling is like church-many attend but few understand"
     -- Jim Burlant