North Coast Squadron
October Moonride ~ Hasheesh Moonfall
North Coast Squadron
October Moonride ~ Hasheesh Moonfall
As the full moon approached academic studies intensified for Auriah, the North Coast representative; deadlines were evaluated, papers were typed at break finger and eyeball wrenching speed and time was managed to make space for the impending Moonride. The word was sent out to fellow fools by Auriah on Thursday that bikes should be tuned and spirits lifted for a Friday Moonride.
Friday evening came quickly and as the twilight hours entered, Auriah was busily preparing his noble steed in his garage; his Heckler had not been ridden since the epic tour de Downieville which occurred some months earlier (see Bikinfools and the Bachelor Run??). Complete shifting mechanisms needed installing, brake pads replaced, and proper mounting of a new Revolution gifted bell! However the sky was crisp and clear and seemed to welcome the ensuing convey into adventure.
Slowly Moonriders started trickling in for rendezvous; Lucy made her way up the hill, Jeremiah and Haresh pedaled up through the majestic Redwood Park, Andy pulled in and started his ready-to-roll preparations, and King Brian rolled up in the work-mobile with his Stinky ready to go. Shredding Surfing Sara stopped by to say hi as she was heading up to Ericas house and was immediately coerced into coming along for the ride, using an "extra bike" of Jeremiahs.
The route for the evening would be the notoriously beautiful top-of-Fickle Hill to Blue Lake run. Completed once before (see Feb. North Coast Squadron) the ride traverses insanely beautiful territories above the slithering Mad River on well groomed logging roads. The route offers a practical raceway for the speed junkies and also provides accommodating terrain for the rookie looking to get into the Moonride experience without a great deal of risk to life or limb. However, it requires a slight car shuffle to avoid a 15 mile road ride back into the Arcata area.
Auriah, Lucy and Brian headed out to arrange the base rendezvous car shuffle, Jeremiah took off to find the extra bike, and Sara went to get some socks. Upon return from car shuffling the shuttle truck had already been loaded, and two more Moonriders had arrived, Rex on his glorious Specialized was present and in top energetic form, and Karina had made the rendezvous and was primed for an evening of gliding through the night on her Raleigh which was known for its extreme air maneuvers on a previous Moonride.
The two shuttle cars made there way to the top of Fickle Hill amidst a slight misty fog which had rolled in off the Pacific. A brief detour at Ericas house to pick up Sara was the last touch with "common reality" that the riders would experience for the night. The fortunate group now consisted of 9 riders all reared up, mentally prepared and ready to go. Upon arriving at the drop off point at the top, the misty fog was swirling through the trees with steady velocity. The trees were doing there temperate rainforest job of intercepting the passing moisture and providing the sense of a thick rain storm. Under the trees one was able to experience fat rain drops while outside the canopy simply a misty presence was felt. The 9 riders headed into the unknown wondering if a Humboldt downpour ensued.
The first destination was the Rock at the Edge of the World. Spirits lifted as all riders suddenly became aware of the element they were communicating with. The lady of the night made herself known through the light fog and smiled down on the riders with her radiant glow. The riders could see the faint lights of Blue Lake off in the distance and wondered what lay on the path. Body Energy Electrolyte Replenishing beverages were enjoyed and offerings made to the goddess of the night.
As the 9 riders left the Rock behind, speeds increased rapidly on the steady down hill. The pack of 9 began to spread apart as veteran moonriders tapped into the force and blazed down the trails, while the recently deflowered moonriders began to get a grip on the situation. The route contains a few critical turns, and at such spots the leaders of the pack would wait for all members of the convey to arrive so as not to lose anybody along the way.
The traction on the roads was amazing, as a slight rain a few days prior combined with the heavy logging traffic groomed the roads to a compact yet grippy smooth surface. The corners welcomed high speeds and tires were heard whizzing through the calm night air. During a particularly smooth section of terrain all riders were making good speed down the road when a slight right turn approached; Rex was in the lead and was being followed dangerously close by Auriah. For some reason still unknown Rex decided halfway through the corner to examine the localized gravitational acceleration as he simply fell over to the ground with considerable force and went sliding down the road. His head was nearly ran over by Auriah who was laughing hysterically while his feet were almost crushed by Andy who passed him on the other side. Interestingly Rexs downfall created a contagious situation were the remaining 6 moonriders entered the corner and all began crashing and sliding off the road. We are still unable to explain just what the cause was but the ill-fated corner caught most the moonriders off guard and sent them down to the ground in a blaze of laughter. To the few who had the experience of standing there and watching the majority of the riders fail and fall off there bikes for no particular reason, the site was pure lunacy. The crew remounted bikes, shoot off the dirt and dust, shared some laughs and perspectives and pressed on. It is noted by moonriders that a simple un-injuring crash is an effective way to dissipate any built up ground-magnet energy, thereby allowing the rider to tackle future obstacles with ease, it also gets the adrenaline pumping which offers multiple benefits both mental, physical and spiritual.
At some point during the ride Rex and Karina were unable to contain there excitement and jetted down the trail; Auriah wondered if they would be able to navigate there way to Blue Lake or if they even knew where the shuttle cars were located. While thinking this, it was noticed that Sara and Haresh were late for arriving at the intersection. Auriah backed tracked to find Haresh scattered out in the middle of the trail on a steep descent. As Auriah approached he noticed Sara staring at Haresh as he lay motionless on the ground. Sara said she had seen him fall and she did not seem very concerned. However Haresh had a different opinion on the situation, for he lay motionless and insisted his leg and hand were not responding. Auriah picked up Hareshs bike and noted the twisted bars indicating a not so graceful impact. It took about 15 minutes to get Haresh off the ground, after determining that nothing appeared to be seriously injured. However the 15 minutes felt quite long, as the group was still miles from civilization, and technically trespassing.
The last few miles were long and provided a good insight into the benefits of good health. Although Haresh was not seriously broken he was barely able to sit on the bike and coast downhill with his one good wing and leg. Jeremiah fixed him up with a t-shirt sling and Auriah bandaged up his hamburgered shin. Brian let Haresh ride/coast on his Stinky as it was more accommodating than Hareshs ridgid G. Fisher; however Brian had recently done some sort of acrobatic dismount at speed into some not so friendly rocks, apparently he had the King power to help him sort things out as he lay on the rocks a few minutes to regain his senses. Most of the group would spend then next few miles cruising ahead and then waiting for the gimp crew to come through. Auriah proceeded to keep pace with Haresh, walking most of the way and offering words of support so as not to let the injured slip out of reality, as the Orange County transplant was already way out of his element.
At some point the riders saw a bright light around the corner and jumped into the bushes fearing a logger patrol advancing. It turned out to be a large CAMP helicopter lit up with a generator in the hills for the harvest season. Luckly no one was around to question the pedaling armada, and the helicopter is the only one who will know where the bicycle tracks came from. Eventually the 7 riders made it into Blue Lake with Haresh appearing to regain strength and pedaling his bike for the last mile or so. However upon arriving at the shuttle cars Rex and Karina were no were insight, of course it had been about 3 hours since they were last seen and it was now about 3 in the morning.
Auriah proceeded to drive Haresh home where he summoned his neighbors to help him clean up. Then Auriah passed by Rexs house, and found Rex fast asleep. Rex had simply pedaled the remaining 15 miles or so back into Arcata and went to bed hours ago. Rex then told Auriah the last time he had seen Karina was in the hills where she was waiting for the rest of the crew. Auriah proceeded back to his house where the night had began and imagined having to now get on his dirt bike and go scope through the hills looking for a lost moonrider. Fortunately Karina was at the house already, having been picked up on the outskirts of Arcata by the other shuttle car on the way back. She had grown tired of waiting and decided to find her way back to town.
It was now 4 in the morning and the last of the moonriders said there goodbyes and thanks. Although there was some blood shed on the trail, all moonriders know that fun tax must be paid now and again, and it can always be a lot worse. It was an amazing evening with a great crew and an epic route. The lady of night bestowed many great experiences for all fortunate enough to have participated.