The Bikin' Fools



Deluxe L-Factor

Wednesday evening, October 27, 1999, shortly before going to bed, the phone rang: "Hello," Eric said.

"Hey Eric, its Lindsey." The voice beamed over the line.

"Lindsey, what’s up?" Eric asked suspecting Linz might be proposing a bike ride.

"I’m at the airport on the last leg of a trip," Lindsey reported, "I was thinking about a ride tomorrow."

"Sounds good to me," Eric said, "What were you thinking of doing?"

"Dunno," Lindsey said with a little hesitation, "I’d like to do something significant. The moonride was so easy, I didn’t feel like I got a full workout."

"I know what you mean." Eric agreed, "It was easy, not the usual mega-ride we expect."

"Ahh, you got any ideas?" Lindsey asked.

"How about Lake Sonoma?" Eric said out of the clear blue.

"Hey, sounds good. Better sooner than later."Lindsey said.

"What time?" Eric asked.

"How about 11:00 or so."

"OK," Eric said slowly, "I’ll have to hustle to get my work done, but it’s doable."

Thursday dawned as Eric and Lindsey rose early to accomplish certain required tasks. At 11:00 Eric called Linz.

"Ready to go Linz?" Eric queried.

"Ah, not quite," Lindsey answered, "I gotta little more work, how about 12"30?"

"That’s great," Eric replied, "I could getta couple more drive-bys done."

Immediately upon the notion of starting a little later, the gears of Eric’s mind began to whir. "Humm," he thought, "By the time we stop for a sandwich, drive to the lake, get ready, make a decision etc. etc., it will be mid-afternoon." With some hesitation and doubt he thought, "That should leave us plenty of time to ride around the lake……."

The trail around the lake is one of the most pleasurable rides know to bikedom. It is a perfectly groomed single track that travels in and out of all the steep contours that surround the Warm Springs arm of the lake. All in all, the trail covers nearly twenty miles when measured all the way around. The original plan would be to ride the course ‘backwards’, that is from Liberty Glen to the Marina.

Somewhere in the neighborhood of 12:45, Eric arrived at Lindsey’s. They made the usual preparations and hit the road, stopping at the Larkfield Deli for a couple of sandwiches. By the time they arrived at the lake, it was nearly two o’clock. Again slight apprehension gripped the mind of Eric, now challenged by the prospect of robust adventure. A decision had to be made as to the starting point and route of this outing.

"Do we want to do the big climb at the beginning or the end of the ride?" Lindsey asked.

"Humm, good question," Eric replied. "We could drive up to Liberty Glen, but that would leave us with a monster climb at the end, maybe it would be better to warm up with a climb. Lets park at the public boat ramp."

It was settled. The long, long climb up was made up to Liberty Glen. Upon arriving at the turn to the campground a discussion ensued.

"We could ride either down the access road or hike-a-bike straight down the hill to the trail." Eric offered.

"Let’s check the map." Lindsey suggested.

"There is a sketchy area on the west end of the lake that Shawn and I encountered on our lap a couple of years ago." Eric said.

"Well," Lindsey posed, "How about riding the road up to one of these jeep trails and going down to the river from there?"

"Humm….It could be doable." Eric said. "If we catch this jeep road it should contact the trail beyond the sketchy part."

"Let’s do it!" Linz said with a notable twinkle of enthusiasm for the notion of embarking into the unknown.

The pair rode past Liberty Glen and began to scour the terrain for what would be the correct jeep road down to the lower drainages of the territory that would eventually lead to Lake Sonoma. The ancient topo map didn’t show any of the new vineyards that had recently been ripped into the pristine hillsides of this here-to-for unspoiled countryside. It appeared that the riders would need to progress just over two miles on the pavement before bailing off the top of the ridge.

The weather had offered the first rain of the season just twelve hours earlier. The sky had been overcast all day long; the temperature was cool but not cold. As the two progressed, the few clouds remaining had relented and finally cleared. It was nearly perfect conditions for riding.

They were looking for a jeep road between two small knolls. Without knowing it they rode past the intended route and ended up at a familiar looking gate.

"Hey," Eric said with a note of interest, "This is the gate that Jim, Shawn and I spent our first night on the six-day ride."

From the pavement, a traveled, major jeep road could be seen cutting its way downhill and out of sight into the woods. The pair climbed over the gate and did a short hike-a-bike down to the dirt road. Now the ride had officially taken on L-Factor. This was new terrain and the two hadn’t a clue, really, as to where they would end up. The road was passable and had tracks from fairly recent travel. It descended at a steep rate. Road signs appeared in unusual numbers. It became obvious that someone had poached these signs from Caltrans and placed them along this jeep road. The road entered thick woods and the atmosphere became dense and moist. The aging sun disappeared behind the steep walls of the narrowing canyon.

As the woods thickened, suddenly the two came into the confines of a hunting camp. Several buildings defined a seasonally active compound. The road continued along the stream. So far the ride was progressing well. However, as the canyon narrowed even more, the road began to be washed out and frequently disappeared altogether. Several crossings of the stream were made to stay on course until the duo came to a major landslide that blocked all progress, now in booney-thrash mode.

"Whaddy ya think?" Lindsey queried.

"Dunno." Eric replied.

The method for dealing with this type of situation ends up being the course of least resistance. The general direction along the stream was the only known. It was required of the two, to climb up a very, very steep embankment and finally find a game trail that paralleled the stream below. The going was exceptionally slow and tedious with no guarantee that the now disappeared jeep road would reappear. This seeming bad news was tempered by their immersion in forest that was, at times, pristine and primeval. The beauty of this natural setting was worth all of the doubt and effort to get this far. Although the going was exceptionally tough and the outcome uncertain, there was beginning to be that sense of having slipped the surly bonds of civilization, ventured into the jaws of the unknown and having arrived at a scenario of magnificent benediction.

In a relatively short period of time, Lindsey spotted the jeep road, intact on the west side of the canyon: Another stream crossing. Again the bikes could be ridden. For a short period of time progress was made at a relatively fast pace. Suddenly a cabin came into sight. A well-traveled road could be seen beyond. Linz and Eric took the opportunity to take a break and revel in the beautiful moment. The cabin was in a beautiful setting. It was screened on two sides with a large stone fireplace. It was an idyllic natural setting. Linz and Eric sat in two chairs and communed with the moment.

The sun, however, was continuing it’s trek westward. There was not going to be extra time. So when Lindsey discovered a flat upon departure, the repair was made with haste. Again the two began to ride on an improved road. They made it only forty yards before discovering a huge, very interesting looking mushroom. It was packed away and the two continued for another one hundred yards before coming to the confluence of the two streams that indicated a milestone on this ride. From that point, it should have been an easy trek to the trail. Shortly a gate appeared. The road was now very improved and an easy ride. At the far side of the gate, a leg of the road spit and went uphill. This appeared to be the access road to the cabin. Beyond the split, the road continued towards Lake Sonoma. It seemed to have been recently graded and was very cruise-worthy. For a mile of better, the distance flashed by. Finally the road crossed the stream, as it should have according to the map. This was good news. Not only that, but orange painted arrows appeared on the ground marking a trail. This was likely the beginning of the west Warm Springs Trail. However the trail turned and went uphill with the jeep road. This didn’t seem to be the correct direction according to the navigators. Linz and Eric continued to follow the streambed that had turned into the very west end of the lake. Now, it seemed, it should be only a short distance to the trail, and thus easy navigating, although many miles, to the end of the ride.

The original Warm Springs road was discovered. Now it was known exactly where they were and the trail had to be just across the river. After crossing the river and booney thrashing for a short distance, there was no trail. Hummm…. It had to be there somewhere, especially having found the orange marking paint earlier. More booney-thrashing was in the works. For forty minutes the two made slow progress to the east. Finally, they again came to pavement. This was part of the old road now covered by the lake. It seemed a good spot to take a break and enjoy a Luna bar, Clif’s best effort so far, made especially for women. It didn’t seem that it should be problematic for a guy to consume this food.

A cut in the hills was apparent ahead, as was the road below the cut. A decision to go up the cut was made and Bingo! More orange paint appeared and a bone fide trail made its appearance. It was official now. The two had contacted the primo single track that would require no more navigation, just a couple of hours of hard bikin’ to get back to the car.

"Hey Linz," Eric said, "My tits are feeling a little sore."

"Gosh, I’m feeling bloated." Lindsey said. It must be those Luna bars. "I think my period might start."

Nah! The Luna bar couldn’t have any effect on the male, right?

After a short distance on the well-defined trail, suddenly the two found themselves off the trail and hearing the distressed voice of a woman. Must be the Luna bars.

"You there!" She called, "I need help!"

It had to be the Luna bars. The two bikers were now in a hurry. Time was clearly running out. The sun was near the horizon, and a couple hours of hard riding had yet to be completed.

"Should we go down there?" Eric wondered.

"We gotta keep moving," Lindsey said.

The lady yelled something about not being able to start her motor. She was camped out at the lake. She had a fire blazing. The siren pulled on the spirit of the adventurers. But the lashings held them to the mast.

Lindsey called out; "We’ll call for help when we get out of here."

"Call my brother," She yelled. "His number is 575-1548"

"OK," Lindsey shouted.

Somehow they had to climb sharply uphill to regain the trail. It sure seemed odd to have, unnoticed, wandered off the trail and to be put in the realm of the woman. Humm, the Luna bars?

Travel now slipped into the surreal, phenomenal, bike-theme-park pleasure mode. There exists nowhere on the earth, a more inviting pleasant ride for the mountain bike enthusiast. The trail was utterly smooth. It rose and fell, turned and swept through dips and hillocks and over the undulating terrain. Great progress was attained as the two continued to race the sun to the finish. The two lost. After making good time into and out of the several legs of the lake, the bikers arrived at the Island view lookout just as darkness was taking a strong hold on the end of day.

For the next couple of miles, the trail was clearly contrasted against the bright straw-like grass. As the twilight faded the trail became harder and harder to see. Just before the bikers elected to walk, Lindsey managed to high-side off the trail and plummeted several yards down to the earth below.

"Oww, oww, oww." He said, followed by a mantric string of expletives. The verbal pain medication seemed to work. Nothing was broken or bleeding and the two could continue in the ever-darkening woods. Under the trees it was so dark that absolutely nothing could be seen. One could only feel the trail under foot to continue. It was moderately apparent when the trail was left. Then the biker had to zigzag until the correct ‘feel’ returned. This went on for an hour or so. The trail was lost several times altogether.

The energy was flagging, though the end was still some distance away. At some point, the two seemed to be on a jeep road and not the trail.

"Hummm," Eric thought, "I don’t remember this from previous rides."

Then a sign appeared. This was definitely not on the map of experience. Upon close inspection, the sign read: NO BICYCLES. This was exceptionally good news for it portended the proximity of civilization. Not only that, but the sign was facing the other way than the direction of the bikers, making their side of the sign OK, sort of like having the good side of the bridge toll situation. NO PAY! Sure enough, shortly uphill appeared pavement and a parking lot. The two had inadvertently discovered a shortcut to the highway. This saved at least an hour of groping in the dark.

A couple more miles needed to be ridden in pitch black on the road. However enough starlight existed to define the lines on the highway making navigation relatively simple. One major exception occurred that could have sent either of the intrepids off the road. On a steep downhill, high-speed section of a turn the lines vanished for a brief time. The black pavement became a black hole.

The decision to park the car at the bottom of the hill now played heavily into the scene. To climb the hill at this point would have been a bummer. Linz and Eric cruised the last mile with ease and arrived at the car to indulge in one of the world’s greatest treats; to eat good food while ravishingly hungry. The Deli sandwiches triggered a pleasure reaction close to orgasm. The beer could have been from Aphrodite’s breast. In the lights of the parking lot, the adventure drew to a wonderful close. It had been six and a half-hours of riveting adventure. The boys would sleep well tonight with dreams of glorious fun and communing with our sisters.