June Water Caper

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The bike barge heads out to sea


Eight eager riders chose this Saturday night to romp in the serenely beautiful boondocks surrounding Lake Sonoma. For Azul, his choice is always to run with the pack. He probably didn’t know that it would involve another water crossing, yet that would not give him cause to think twice about it. Family Castle sported the brother/sister entry, Auriah made the connection after two days on the Lost Coast, Michel broke away from the family to add to his archives of tall-tales for future embellishment to young Lucas. Dr. J. provided the logistical needs for the adventure along with Jim K. Eric and Cirrus rounded out the group of eight.

Shortly after six, seven Lunatistas packed into the van and headed towards the lake. Jim met the group near the public boat launch and traveled to the start with the crowd. As the van pulled into the Skaggs Springs parking area, the group was pleased to see that Auriah had made the connection from the North Coast. As the group prepared for the ride, suddenly someone said: “The ranger is here!” Quickly the open beers were hidden and everyone tried to look as innocent as possible. Mike approached the truck and explained what the bikin’ fools were up to. It is possible the rangers simply didn’t believe Mike, but it didn’t matter. Biking is now legal on the lake trail.

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Dr. J. informs ranger dudes

The weather couldn’t have been much better. There was no fog rolling in, the sky was partly cloudy with a high layer of thin cirroform. The only question in anyone’s mind was; how cold will the water be for this early time of year? The initial drop in is one of mountain biking’s premier treats. The trail is smooth, twisting and steep. At the bottom the bikers regrouped and began the trek along the undulating terrain adjacent to the lake. Many boats populated the water. Several wakeboards ripped back and forth across wakes.

The riders made good time to the Island View overlook. Although the trail was mostly OK, there was some remnants of bad trail maintenance from months before. Areas of soft trail made the higher speed events sketchy for some. The trek to the water crossing was short. The timing was perfect. The sun had set but light remained. The giant raft was assembled. This would be the largest attempt yet at stacking bikes on one raft. All eight bikes and packs were stacked on the mat of plastic air mattresses. Twenty thousand dollars worth of bikes precariously teetered on the thin film of plastic as the eight riders and Azul entered the water.

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Azul shepherds the operation

Fears of cold water were unfounded. The temperature was balmy and pleasant. The rig progressed across the lake as such a fast rate, it was hard to keep up with the flotilla. Upon arrival at the further shore, an enthusiastic group of campers cheered the bikin’ fools as they arrived on the beach. They sensed the fun and novelty of this curious group. Once on shore, the group began to gather wood and prepare for another phenomenal feast from the campfire by the lake. An assortment of goodies were placed to cook while pleasant banter volleyed back and forth across the dancing flames. Spicy chicken, sausage, Portobello mushroom, baked onion, squash, and corn on the cob sizzled over the red hot coals.

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Another culinary delight

When dinner finally came to a close, the bikers packed up and headed for the single track. Morgan had lobbied hard for the more extended finish to the ride. Previous routes had taken the group up to Liberty Glen on pavement. This time the group would proceed along the lakeside trail. The first part of the trail was smooth and pleasant. The light was ample making the riding most pleasant. The trail offers fine views of the lake while dipping in and out of the woods. An occasional seeping spring made for some tricky footing. The group moved swiftly forward and soon stood at the foot of Bummer Peak. The origin of the name is uncertain, yet this section of the route can cause the hapless biker to mutter “Bummer!” as they try to scale the outrageous pitches that climb the mountain. The steep hill only gets steeper and occasionally turns to a wall. Cirrus managed to summon all his youth power and cleaned the whole thing.

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Bummer Peak taking its toll

Once at the ‘top’, the ride again earns its name. It really isn’t the top though it sure seems that way. In a short distance the trail again climbs sharply towards what appears to be the top for sure. Again the tiring biker finds another false summit and must climb again before finally getting to the turn-off to the boat ramp and the finish of the ride. This part of the trail is more technical and overgrown in places. Ruts and deep ditches are hidden from sight. Mike, among others, managed to explore an impressive rut. As he got up he noticed that the ol’ ProFlex didn’t seem to be responding properly. He had managed to snap off one of the drop-outs on the front fork. He would have to hoof it for the last two miles of the ride.

The ride eventually dumped out into the parking lot at the boat ramp. It was after one o’clock, six hours after the start of the event. Jim shuttled Mike and Auriah back to the vehicles. The troupe put a lid on the event around 2:30 a.m. It was a pleasant, fun excursion into one of the bikin’ fools favorite haunts. The early season proved to be viable and. generous. The ride generated many pleasant memories of friends on a mission in a beautiful setting. The soft light of the moon will shimmer on the calm waters of the riders memory for a long time.

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Moonwaves shimmer in the warm spring night