Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pretty Hard Core

Pre-ride scene
at the bonfire site. 
The allure of this event is evident only if you fully embrace the adversity. Not surrender to it, but embrace it. Revel in it. More is better. Cold? No problem. Snow and mud? Good. Sleet and freezing rain? Excellent!

By that measure, the evening was a home run. The snow started around 5:00 and by 6:30 it was a near white-out. Awesome. These would have been perfect riding conditions an hour earlier, but now with 4-5" on the ground we knew it would be a challenge.

One of many stops to
check the "root."
Sure enough, twenty feet into the ride we knew we were in trouble. The tiny climb and turn onto the Struble railroad bed was impossible to negotiate. In fact the slightest turn risked immediate washout of the front wheel. This is gonna be tricky. Got to pay attention. Stop laughing. Focus or you are going to get hurt. Thankfully we had Rob breaking trail with his new fatty and those 4" monster tires. A half hour into it we found ourselves at the bottom of the Quarry climb with visions of warm Chili and a blazing bonfire dancing in our heads.

This is when Mike played the mountain biker shame card.

Looking up at the impossible Quarry climb, he said something like "what's with the defeatist attitude?" There would be no warm Chili and bonfire for us now. No. Now we would have to climb. Damn Riley. So we climbed a lot and we pushed a little and 15 minutes later we were at the top licking our wounds from a few nasty spills but looking forward to a mostly flat ride through open fields back toward home and the chili and the fire. Only those mostly flat open fields were covered by a nasty crust that made pedaling even harder. Sonofabitch. ALmost two hours later the ride ended with a treacherous high-pucker-factor descent through the neighborhood on an unplowed ice-slicked road. Be careful, you are one tiny twitch away from a broken wrist or concussion or worse.
Fine dining alfresco
with bonfire in the background

Back at camp the 8' high bonfire pyre was aflame and stoked by the gusty winds and as (the other) Mike said "shit burned, and burning shit fell over, and everything else turned to ice." But that process took a few hours during which we were treated to:
  • Brats roasted over the fire (and doing weird things in the fire).
  • A new fire jumper filling the void left by a recent retirement. Did he just do what I think he did??
  • The competition for best beer presentation (see below)
  • Hot chili, then warm chili, then cold chili. 
  • Bourbon, Root, Snap, and assorted brews. 
  • A homeless person in spandex. Who is this guy and why is he wrapped in a sheet of plastic?
  • Day old donuts
  • Freezing rain
2013 winner of
Best Beer Presentation
Congratulations to Mike for his beer tree which won the Best Beer Presentation of 2013 by a comfortable margin. Everyone was impressed by the attention to detail (stainless steel screws) and especially it's ability to sprout an endless stream of microbrews for the thirsty judges.

The crowd +1'd to seven (not counting 2 casualties who were unable to make it out of their driveways due to the snow storm but were there in spirit and missed by all) and then the group slowly dwindled until three hard cores decided to throw in the towel around 1:30am. We've done it again.

Oh and yes, the firepit was still smoldering the next day around 2:00pm, twelve hours after the 2013 winner went up in flames.


"I'm going to put my pants on now."
     -- Homeless Mexican mountain biker standing outside in freezing rain around midnight at 2013 Bike-Bonfire Beer-a-palooza.


  1. Yes, silly (borderline stupid) can be fun sometimes...