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Linz struggles uphill

Jeremy’s Ridge

 

Grown men wept openly. There was gnashing of the teeth. Many accepted their fate as being a shallow grave, lost deep in the canyon where only deer, bear and mountain lions dare venture. That was the good part.

Fourteen grown men agree to undertake the task of , once and for all defining exactly, the definition of a fool. It worked. The concept would be enough to repel even the most intrepid mountain biker. Yet in the face of guaranteed disaster, the fourteen plowed ahead as if they could actually pull off the plan.

Michel, having been absent from the sport due to such trivial matters as a new child, a new house and a responsible job made the trek from El Cerrito. Fuzzy put a tangible definition to the word ‘lunacy’ by actually showing up when he knew perfectly well that these rides have a strong tendency to defy logic, common sense and most laws known to physics.

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Fuzzy, Shawn and Trav getting ready to romp

Both Lindsey and Shawn, long time veterans of these events prepared by brewing fifty gallons of beer and drinking it all before the ride started. The added cheer helped buffer the weighty misfortunes that lay ahead. Mike practiced for the ride by crashing his motorcycle at speed the day before. After totaling the Volkswagen with his Ducati, he felt he earned a bye for the evening.

This month Dr. Die was properly informed on time. Having missed the drunk-a-thon event of the previous moonride, he was eager to join the pack to howl either at the moon or in pain. Single-speed Chris would again carry the massive burden of being the only candidate in contact with any sort of reality. Whatever out-of-control periods he may have spent in his life previously would pale in comparison to the bikin’ binge he was about to embark upon. Sean Large somehow convinced his wife that she would survive in his absence. She likely wasn’t aware that it might be permanent.

There was a strong contingent of youth to carry forward tales to their grandchildren of times and people who did things that previously only happened in folklore and tall tales. Cirrus elected to borrow his brother’s bike. His prescience in doing so would prove to be accurate as few bikes survived without damage. Dan, mega-scholar and brain trust would counter all the intelligence that his mother had spent a lifetime trying to infuse into his head. Also on a single speed he innocently joined the crowd having only heard of these events. Aaron, not completely satisfied with the forty foot drops at Kirkwood Ski Area also joined the pack to make sure his guardian angel didn’t get much rest.

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The distant hills await to devour the Bikin' Fools

Eric (A.D.) knew it was a bad idea. However his chronic addiction to bad choices once again steered him into the fray. Several times in the early stages of the event, he lobbied for a change of venue. Shawn, a purest and Forward Navigational Specialist would be tempted to slap A.D. several times during the ride. Travis needed bikin' therapy to soothe his wounded soul. It would only add more wounds to his body.

La Luna would have to be in her best form to host this event. She beamed brightly in a clear California sky as the riders began to swarm at the shop. With this many bodies, it was entirely possible for the event to stall at the initial beer drinking at the shop. Miraculously the giant, amoeba-like blob actually departed. The ride up the Oat was more difficult than planned. Although passable, minor items not seen on the trail caused struggle and effort.

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Dr. J. with survival gear and mountain lion repelling Fuzzy Duds™

The crowd proceeded to several standard stopping points. Everyone assembled at the Wedding Meadow with the exception of Jim K. who elected to do the ride by himself. Again the group stopped at the Rock and gathered all the participants, minus Jim. Finally at the saddle the thirteen were reunited with Jim. To mark this not-so-notable occasion the pyrotechnic div. was summoned to entertain the troops.

Chris had volunteered to pack the mortar tube. Unfortunately he had stacked along the way and broke the base off of the launch device. After a call for duct tape and some head scratching, it was decided that by burying most of the tube, it would be the same. Although there was some truth to the concept, the reality proved very entertaining. The first temple ball rose majestically into the sky and exploded with great color and a resounding report. The next shot didn’t quite reach the same altitude. Subsequent launches gained less and less altitude until one blew up near the ground sending colorful streamers of burning fireworks into the crowd.

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Electron microscope view of a Bikin' Fools brain synapse firing

After this event, there would be no laughing until the next day when the participants realized they actually survived the near death experience that followed. Fuzzy had been warned that there would be ‘some’ hike-a-bike. From the saddle the group exited the Oat and began a G.I. Joe type climb up the Horse Well trail. For the next several hours there would be no riding. A.D. insisted he knew where he was going. His bluff was pretty convincing. None-the-less all followed and somehow, by Divine intervention, they made their way to the open fields below the Sunset section. Upon departing from the trail, the earth became something closer to soup. Ten thousand years of Mother Nature’s work was thrashed by twenty eight feet trying desperately to get traction on the very steep slope that led to the woods.

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This looks like fun

Although this “trail” had been navigated twice several years previous, there was initial searching to find it. Shawn managed to punch through the nearly impassible buck brush and into the woods. Although easier, the woods resisted movement. Dense sections of small trees on a steep hillside resisted any movement. Constantly the bike acted like an anchor, catching vegetation with each step. The attendant energy to wrestle the bike free and move ahead was enormous.

As fate would have it, the group fragmented in the dark, thick canyon. Each of the previous explorers of this route had their own idea of where to go. It was critical to stay in the proper area. Any deviation would cause massive problems. There was only one small window of opportunity to gain access to the climb to Jeremy’s Ridge. All else would lead to a short notice in the obituary section of the newspaper.

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Michel and Fuzzy deep

The participants were now running strictly on adrenalin. The steep slope, woods, brush and poison oak required the maximum effort to go DOWNHILL! An occasional rock was inadvertently launched towards people below. Several times people had to ditch their bikes and scramble out of the way. It took an inordinate amount of effort to finally reach the bottom of the canyon.

The climb back up the other side made the descent look like a cake walk. With all of the bad conditions still present, the group now had to fight with gravity. It wasn’t pretty. After crossing the stream, one could only lean the bike on the very, very steep hillside and move it inches at a time, each effort a monumental struggle. It exercised every muscle God created. A.D.’s heart rate approached something close to 4500 bpm. There is little reason that he shouldn’t have clutched his chest and keeled over. That was only halfway up the hill.

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Whose idea was this?

Finally, when hope had vanished and prayers were being offered, a voice from above could be heard. It was the sweetest four letter word available at that moment: “ROAD!”

The Forward Navigation Specialist had done his job. Yet it would be nearly forty five minutes before the rest of the group could extract themselves from the nasty nightmare of the canyon. One by one they struggled, worked and thrashed to extricate themselves from the imprisonment of the brush.

While the last bodies neared the end of the tribulation, others gathered wood and started a blazing fire. To be able to rest was worth everything. To be able to sit down and collapse had the most pleasant, wonderful feeling. Slowly the sense of what they had just done began to sink in. Now the adversity had been met. Now the group could entertain the feelings of relief, of having survived and of having just done something beyond amazing.

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"Lord, if I ever get out of this, I promise...."

 

A cornucopia of food blessed the hungry adventurers. The Rolling Deli produced another great selection munchies. There was great bread, cheese, chips and more. Shawn created the Monster Burger. He took two pieces of prime sirloin and sandwiched them between two Portobello mushrooms, them wrapped the whole affair in Proscutto. The belly buster was the exclamation point of the meal. Cooked veggies, hot dogs, and sausage went down with ease. A cooked turbanato-sweetened apple delighted the palate at the end of the meal.

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Passover dinner - definitly on the other side of reality

 

The campfire was deep in the boondocks far from town, yet the ride was virtually over. From that point it was only a fire road that had to be ridden. And it was all downhill. The riders quickly descended the mountain. Somehow a slight navigation glitch near the bottom failed to take them past Jeremy’s place, but it mattered not. The road became increasingly better until it was possible to engage the big chainring.

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Finally, headin' down

The two miles on pavement back to the shop at 1:30 in the morning were easy and fast. Only one car passed. The driver had to wonder at the fourteen bikes out at this time of the night. A short debriefing session followed until the riders could not longer keep the eyelids propped open.

For such a crazy concept, the ride carried the participants from the normality of life as we know it, to a place that very few are privileged to experience. Insanity turned to brilliance. Bitterness turned to joy. Struggle turned to bliss. The Bikin’ Fools rode into the void where the source of bounty and benediction dwell.