A beer sighting at the bearpub
Moon over White Point
The Bikin' Fools assembled as agreed at Dr. J's shop near the 3:00 hour on Monday, January 8, 2001. The original plan was to ride to the Church of the Holy Spoke, have dinner then head to the beer pub in Middletown. It was hoped that the ride would incorporate a mega section from the cave to St. Helena creek in Middletown. It was an ambitious undertaking.
An unfortunate 'boating" accident left Dr. J. with a pretzeled back. He was reduced to groveling around in obvious pain with no chance for a miracle, short-term cure. Although he tried to go along, the rest of the squad shunned him and refused his company. He was left to dwell in the hot tub for the evening while the remainder scrambled for an alternative plan. The time line required that the Fools be at the Mt. St. Helena brewery by nine o'clock.
At 4:20 the cyclists left Calistoga headed for the modified route. At this point, the ride would be the Van Ness creek, Ansel ridge, White point route. However, on the way a discussion of the time line left some of the participants with some nervousness about the ability of the pack to transit this route before the beer pub closed. Shortly before 5:00 the five bikers were riding the final version of the plans. It would be a direct ride to White point then a dash down the McGuire peak route.
The shortened version of the moonride would allow leisurely passage. The weather had been funky and wet for several days. The clouds only began to relent on Monday afternoon. The sky continued to clear as the afternoon progressed. By the time of the start of the ride only very few, scattered clouds could be seen in the distance. The temperature was crisp and cold at the starting point in the low woods where the sun never shines.
The direct route to White point requires passage near the ranch. There was a little trepidation about being seen. Jim Korte was operating in the canabinol and alcohol free zone. It was a stark and stunning turn around from his beer-barfing performance only two rides earlier. His excess energy sent him off doing half-pipe maneuvers at any chance. Jim Wilson rented another bike from Palisades Mountain Sports despite Mike Dunn's vow to not rent to the Bikin' Fools. The track record with rentals was pretty grim. Jim would give fuel to the argument against renting to the moon dudes.
Shawn had been sick most of the week and was just beginning to recover. This outing would give him a chance to summon huge wads of phlegm from the innermost recesses of his lungs. It would be therapeutic if not disgusting. Eric would lead the ride, having been across the ridge only a few days earlier.
As the group reached White point, the western sky began to fade with the retired sun. The moon had already risen in the eastern sky and beamed brightly down on the remote and beautiful mountains. McGuire peak stood in the distance high above Callayomi valley. Much of the climbing had been accomplished. The ridge ride began with a steep descent towards the mining area. This part of the mountain was rocky and had been torn up years ago. The route was in good condition despite the addition of water bars. The recent rains had drained well for the most part but left some areas mucky and
slimy. Jim Wilson found soft mud placed in one of the rarely seen ruts on a steep downhill section. A heroic avoidance effort failed and Jim went into full offer mode. His spectacular slide would have been the envy of the Norwegian luge team. Undaunted he mounted the Santa Cruz for more thrills.
The moon was huge in the sky. The air was exceptionally clear. From this point forth in the year, the moon's orbit would descend until the summer solstice when the moon would provide its least light. Although it was bright, the ride was deemed to be a maintenance ride, a fun romp of little significance, no dinner and no Dr. J. The funnometer would remain in the high green zone. This effort would provide some stellar mountain bike riding and enough exercise to justify the beer and pizza.
Once down off the mining section, the climb up McGuire peak began. The road was so steep that one could nearly reach out and touch it straight ahead. It was a brutal climb that mercifully didn't last too long. High on the shoulder of the mountain the road turns towards the west and proceeds across bear meadows before angling down the north side of the peak towards Middletown. Two earthen dams blocked access to vehicles other than the stealthful mountain bikes. After a mile or so, the smell of burned wood was present. It was from the Crazy' Creek fire that occurred in October. This was its furthermost reach. The fire was the reason that the trail was in such great condition. The CDF dozers had recleared the area.
Shortly past the fire zone, the modified trail disappeared and the old path had to be followed. It was mostly easy. The visibility was good and the only real place to get lost didn't deceive the bikin' fools. The area near the house on the ridge was quiet. There was no sign of the inhabitants as the five bikers filed quietly through the woods, over the barbed wire fence and down the driveway. At the big aluminum gate, the ride entered the very final stage. At this point the road improved and all that was left was the final descent into Dead Horse Flats.
Jim Korte had behaved all night with only minor sketchyness near the Livermore Ranch. It seemed out of character for Jim to have a normal evening. Just to make sure he didn't get accused of having no fun, he chose the superman-on-a-bike trick to finish the night As Eric was roasting his Shimano discs on the steep downhill, he looked over as Jim sailed past laying on his seat, arms on the handlebars and his feet stretched straight out in back. Jim rocketed out of sight and off the charts of good judgement. It was a heroic act. Someone had to do it.
The group climbed the final gates and stumbled across the creek to have a safety gathering at Perry's Deli. There was plenty of time for the brewpub. The five bikers congregated at the approved Holy Spoke Mission (any brewpub) and proceeded to extend the sensual gratifications for the evening. Beer flowed freely and pizza filled the hungry stomachs of the happy crew. It wasn't epic but it was surely special as all of the moonrides become in their own way. The Goddess of the evening shed her light and grace on the lunatistas and provided another interlude of a serenely special time, a time that showers the bikin' fools with bikin' benediction, way beyond the ordinary.