The Indian Warrior Trail

Several different plans were floated for the April, 08 moonride. Among them was an idea to go to the Sierra's and snowboard in the moonlight. With the good Sugar Bowl connection, this seemed like a fun idea. Yet the weatherman didn't cooperate and forecasted 50 mph winds. That idea was scrapped. A dearth of riders and energy lead to the inevitable decision to trek, once again up the Oat.

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Linz struggles past downed oak tree

Dr J., Linz, Eric, Michel and Miss Swift were the only takers. Michel clambered again for an epic event, only to be confronted with waning energy on the part of the Calistoga contingent. His lack of recent riding left him antsy to go big, to tap into that zone that only occurs when the limits are stretched thin, to the breaking point. There would be no breakage, only a mild, pleasant jaunt into one of Mt. Bikin's gifts to fat tires.


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Michel steals someone's bike

The ride uphill was easy and pleasant in the cool temperature. The destination was not announced. It would happen by default when the most weary of the riders decided they had enough. This point occurred at the Indian Warrior Trail. This section of the single track derives its name from the profound proliferation of the wild flower that adorns the ground as a majestic purple robe in the springtime.


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Miss Swift makes sure Mike stays on course

The push to the top of the Warrior trail was enough to satisfy the needs of all but Michel. He would have to settle for a premature expedition. The lad would be left to his own devises to reach the state of bliss associated with being properly thrashed on a major event. He would settle latter in the ride for an option that would fulfil his need to "go big".

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Michel pedals into La Luna's courtyard

This was a ride that Miss Swift could participate. There would be no road work, no long downhills or any venue that would inhibit her love of the woods. As a shepherd she watched her flock closely to make sure all was in order. She would forego the impulse to find wood rats, sleeping bunnies or any nocturnal creatures that stir in the night.

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Linz steams along the path

The group convened at the old campsite at the top. For several minutes the group vacillated upon the notion of where to place the campfire. Even though it was only April, the Spring had been unusually dry and wild fires were already occurring in parts of the Golden State. Eventually a place behind the big rock was discovered to be an ideal spot. It was a natural amphitheater that would protect the raging flames from the breeze that danced through the trees.

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Last real fire of the season

Without the aid of a fire starter or Boy Scout water, the crew was able to bring the fire to life with only dry leaves, pine needles and breath. One Bic lighter and its attendant leash would be sacrificed in the effort. Shortly after the fire became established, there was a significant, only slightly muffled "Ker Blooey" as the lighter exploded in the flames. "Oh, that's were my lighter went," Eric said.

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No moonride complete without French Cooking

With the excitement out of the way, the fire settled into a perfect cooking mode. Several delicious items sizzled on the coals as the lunatistas soaked up the benediction of being in a beautiful spot, far in the boondocks under the watchful lumens of the gracious lady of the night.

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Miss Swift blends into her natural home

Dinner was eventually finished and the group carefully put the fire to rest and cleaned up the site. The passage down the highly technical options proved to be interested if not downright scary. In the day with all things being perfect, the options are a double black diamond effort. The trail is narrow, sometime steep and always forces attention. In the moonlight, late at night, after dinner and with enhanced electrolytes the trail can be extremely difficult. Dr. J. was without helmet. This added distraction led him off course several times including one episode that saw him tumble several feet over the side of a steep section.

It would be up to Michel raise the ante on crashes. As he rounded Korte Corner he steered a little too wide at the big rock. It was a big mistake. Within a fraction of a second he was plunging over the edge of a steep drop. His trajectory propelled him rapidly downhill, sliding out of control. For an interminable, seemingly long time Michel crashed for many meters down the grassy slope. When he finally came to rest his bicycle clobbered him in the head. This terrifying moment would sate his desire for something "big".

Michel would walk away unscathed, leaving only the indelible memory that attends such dramatic action. The successfully tapped into the joy and the escape from the mundane for the four riders. La Luna again shed her grace on the few who found the energy and the will to shuck the shackles of lethargy, of sloth and apathy to be ordained by a higher authority, if only for a brief, fleeting serene moment.