Fair Weather Girl Scout Loop
Storyline II, another point of view from the glory zone
Indian Paintbrush brightens the day
March 26th, 2006 offered a chance to prove Erics prophetic abilities. Nearly one month previous, he announced an Oat Hill ride. Throughout the entire month, the skies remained solidly overcast and raining nearly everyday. As the day approached, the weather forecasters hinted at the possibility of a nice day. Sunday dawned clear and bright. The cloudless sky offered the Bikin Fools a day to immerse themselves into one of the nicest natural surroundings available in the Bay area.
The fun begins
Nine assorted riders met at the trailhead to join forces in an attempt to handle so much springtime glory. Andy and Reggie joined the mob along with Eric (S.) and Steve. Eric (A.D.), Jim K., and Michel represented the moonriders. John and Marisa returned to the Oat to soak up some more fun and beauty.
Jim puts the rental bike through its paces
The contingent rode together all the way up the Oat, over the top and to Cougar Pass. At that juncture, Andy and Reggie returned to Calistoga. Andys body and bike had suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Andys attempt to clean a very difficult section on his knees proved to be not workable. His blue-twisted-steel legs were too powerful for the drive train , frequently sending him in a direction other than where his bike was traveling. The final straw (large stick) in his rear derailleur sealed his fate. John performed a masterful, delicate fix that would allow Andy to single-speed his way back to the car. (It was assumed he made it since his car was gone, although it is possible that Reggie had to consider a shallow grave somewhere on the big hill.)
John's magic derailleur fix
The group traveled over the diverse route to Pocai camp for an extended lunch/lounge break. The sun was bright, warm and invigorating. The assortment of food and drink for lunch added a massive amount of lethargy to the now-tiring crew. It was somewhat difficult to get started after lunch. Yet the dynamic nature of the trail quickly changed the energy levels back into the serious mode. The very technical Stopel Steps were cleaned by only two riders. The water crossing at Van Ness creek offered a challenge that was met in a variety of ways and results. Michel won the Big Splash award.
Capt. Gasquy makes steerage towards the further shore
A major reason for the ride was to experience the Creek trail. This dynamic section is a recent addition to this decades old ride. The newly built trail runs through the woods parallel to the stream. It sweeps, dives and runs through a variety of lovely, wooded scenery before exiting near the bottom of the hill. The final climb to the parking lot forced the riders to dig deep for the last bit of remaining energy. The scariest part of the day was ripping down the highway (with weekend traffic) to the Old Toll. From there is was a delightful rip all the way back to the cars.
Riders marvel at the Van Ness Gorge
Michel had to jet and Steve had family duties. Eric (S.), John and Marisa tried to find food at the barbeque stand, only to be five minutes late. They joined Jim and Eric at the Calistoga Inn for badly needed electrolyte replacement therapy. Outside of Andys balloon-looking knee, the ride was glorious. The weather was phenomenal and it was greatly appreciated. The Bikin Fools managed to slip the surly bonds once more and dabbled, if briefly, in the zone of redemption, where the mind, body and spirit are filled with the benediction of natural beauty, hard work, camaraderie and good luck.