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The Konocti Caper

The April moonride was an interesting exercise in the ho-hum. Words such as pizzazz, drama, struggle, despair, hopelessness, brilliance, glory, success were not in the evening's lexicon. It seemed to be an extraordinary confluence of the potential wild side and the ordinary. The road was smooth and graveled. The climb was steep and long. The crew was happy and glad to be on a ride, but there was a dearth of enthusiasm.

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Kev puts the magic touch on the slightly blackened hot dogs

Michel could have saved himself six hours of driving and bloodshot eyes in class the next morning. No doubt the youngsters would wonder as to Masseur Gasquy’s frequent lapse of attention and slurred words as he would be 24 hours from his last visit with the Sandman. Fuzzy proved his new addiction by arriving for a ‘normal’ ride. Matt dragged his work mate Dan along. Dan sported a one-speed cruiser bike with coaster brakes while Matt rode his cross bike. Lindsey rode the aging Bo-Ti. It squeaked, rattled and rolled over the great mountain

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Matt and Daytona Carlin happy at the beginning

Lucy was in town for a rare appearance. She would be the only one to be levied a fun tax for the evening. It was the most convenient ride for Eric (A.D.) He would be the first rider in bed when it was all over. Auriah prepared for the evening by shredding the Oat Hill earlier in the day. He would spend much of the night trying to grab catnaps at the safety breaks. Shawn elected to ride the Bullet which would help stabilize the earth as he made the long trek to near the top of the mountain. Kevin could not resist the temptation to join the pack and howl, mostly in pain. The ride was tortuous and long with little redeeming value outside of the esprit de corps associated with a group of people on a questionable mission. Although there were a few who managed to ride together, most found themselves alone in the night wondering were everyone went, or didn’t go.

The energy for the evening was decidedly quiet, though fun none-the-less. The moonage mission provides a baseline of enjoyment regardless of the conditions. La Luna gives a special dispensation for the occasional convergence of boredom and a moonride. Matt and Dan split early and wouldn’t be seen until the end of the ride. At one point, no one was certain that they even came on the ride. But later they would be the saving hero’s of the event with the application of a blazing, but ill advised fire. They climbed the hill so fast their wait in the cold night near the top would be lengthy. To survive they built a raging fire to keep warm. It proved to be the most popular feature of the ride.

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Auriah and Linz a little slow out of the gate

The group occasionally stopped to regroup, a sketchy concept at best. When stragglers simply didn’t appear, the majority present voted to press on. There was no where to get lost or take a wrong turn. The only option was a shallow grave along the side of the road. The stop at the gate produced some more head scratching and wondering. Finally a phone call was placed to the absent members. Matt reported from above, Auriah was awakened from a nap somewhere below and Kevin was considered mountain lion bait somewhere on the western flank of the 4400 foot mountain.

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Regroup session at the gate

After the gate, the road travels through a ranch. Shawn scouted ahead and reported lights on at the house. By the time the group had coalesced sufficiently to proceed, the lights had been turned out. No dogs seemed present or brave enough to bark at the marauding mountain bike crowd. Gunshots were not fired as the group proceeded nervously close to the house. Beyond this rare, interesting moment the road pitched upward and began a relentless grunt. It didn’t let up until the weary riders came upon a most welcomed sight; Matt and Dan relaxing around a crisp, warm fire in the cool night.

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The ride saver

A fire has the unique ability to capture and sooth the brain. The dancing flames message the spirit and produce a warm sense of tranquility. Thirst for an alternative reality became strong as the riding ceased. Electrolyte Replacement Fluid was divined from several packs and the group banter livened. For the better part of an hour the group reveled around the fire.

At some point it was suggested that the group proceed to the top. There was a paucity of volunteers to undertake the notion. Finally four intrepid souls departed the comfortable confines of the campfire and headed to the south peak. It was not very far away. Mike, Michel, Fuzzy and A.D. pedaled the final mile to the peak. At the top the wind blew cold and steady. A large diesel generator roared in the background. The view from the top of the south peak was impressive. Lights along the shore outlined Clear Lake. The town of Lakeport stood prominently at the west end of the giant lake. Other tall mountains were visible to the south, though St. Helena hid behind Hanna Mountain.

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Michel gazes into the cool air at the south peak of Konocti

Eventually all of the beer was consumed, Fuzzy’s flask had been drained and thoughts turned to such mundane items as a three hour drive back home. The wad of bikes stormed down the hill. The dust was so thick at the beginning, it was hard to see for those not in the lead. The ranch exposure lasted mere seconds as the bikers seemed to continue to build speed on the eight mile downhill. Several times Dan had to stop and pour water on the coaster brake that was crackling and smoking. Phenomenally the unit would not melt down or seize.

The road produced no real surprises though occasional ruts kept the bikers adrenaline pumping. Lucy yielded to the pull of gravity at some point and skidded to a stop using parts other than her bicycle. The eleven riders finally made it back to Kelseyville and the cars. The last effort would be to stay awake long enough to get home. For A.D. it was easy. For the rest, they would somehow pull it off. Fuzzy and Michel had to face 125 miles of driving at 3:00 a.m.

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Debriefing session at the end

La Luna shed her grace on the Bikin’ Fools again. It was an unlikely venue for high adventure, yet the seemingly ho-hum nature of the evening still proved to be worth the while. Eleven people attended the monthly meeting and came away refreshed, restored and grateful to be part of wacky group who find great treasure in an otherwise mundane setting.