The Bikin' Fools



sizzling L-Factor

As Lindsey lay on the ground babbling incoherent statements, Eric had the distinct feeling that Linz had passed beyond ‘tired’ and was approaching ‘shallow grave’. It was way too hot to consider a bike ride, let alone one up the steepest trail known to the Bikin' Fools’. For some reason, boredom perhaps, the Fools decided to ride up the Pickett loop. Not only that, but the plan was to go all the way to Middletown. Had there not been a brewpub in Middletown, Linz would have never consented. It is highly likely, however, that the thought of a cold beer was the thin line between heat frazzation and survival.

The popular Pickett loop has been ridden several million times by the locals. It has always been ridden up Oat Hill Mine road and down Pickett. Consequently there was no local lore about just how steep the climb would be. (Having ridden a route downhill does not allow one to judge the steepness of the climb up the same hill) A valuable lesson that Eric and Linz still would not learn.

Although there was much shade on the climb, the temperature for the day was around 100 with very little wind. The two sweated profusely at the onset of the first hill. For a half-hour or so, the two slugged uphill. It was clearly going to be a struggle. At the first hunting deck, the two stopped for a rest. Feeling slightly better they proceeded to the next section of the climb. This part comes out of the woods into the bright sunshine. The intensity of the heat increased immensely. The loose rocks made the struggle fierce.

By the time the Fools reached the Holmes place, Lindsey’s eyes appeared as spinning concentric circles, the type that are seen in cartoon characters. Yet there was no hesitation to continue. After all, the 2000 vertical feet of tough climbing had been put behind them. Now, it seemed, all they had to do was to pedal the several miles of technically challenging terrain, climb a few more small hills, slip through the hunting camp and presto! The Mount St. Helena Brewing Company in Middletown.

Although the temperature may have been a few degrees less at the higher altitude, the effect of the heat was the same; brutal. The two made decent time to the wind cave. The trail contains several sections of pleasant single trackin’. Just past the wind cave is another climb. Near the top of that climb Lindsey announced: "Gawezzle frompets are shudging the frizzle bits."

"Do you need a Luna bar?" Eric asked. It was a bad idea. Linz was already loony. The possibility of going blond on top of obvious heat frustration could produce catastrophic results. For a period of time Linz sat in the shade speaking an alien language. Perhaps he was getting directions from the leader. Who knows? At any rate he eventually rallied (as he always does) and began to make steerage towards the hunting camp.

A saving feature of this route is the beautiful waterfall that exists within shouting distance of the hunting camp. When the two finally got there, they both shed all clothing and plunged in. It was sheer delight and refreshing to the core. It provided the boost needed to pedal the remaining ten miles to the life restoring beverage of bikers.

Less than a week later, Eric’s phone rang; "Hello, its Lindsey." The cheerful voice announced.

"What’s up?" Eric queried.

"I’ve got a window of opportunity for a bike ride this afternoon." Linz said.

"Ahh, great," Eric said starting to mentally rearrange his day. "What did you have in mind?"

"Dunno for sure, but I’ve got about two and a half hours." Lindsey stated.

"Well, come on over. We’ll figure it out." Eric replied.

Lindsey arrived at Eric’s pad and the two headed down Lake St. towards the Oat Hill Mine road. Just as they reached the bottom of the hill, Eric said; "Do you want to try something different?"

"Sure." Linz eagerly answered.

"Let’s ride up Palisades road, across the hiking trail and down Oat Hill." Eric posed. "It shouldn’t take too long."

"Sounds good," Lindsey said accepting the plan.

Once again the summer temperature was nudging the 100-degree mark. The Palisades road is steep and open. There is very little shade. The two proceeded up the increasingly steep pitches sweating profusely. Soon the hill was so steep it was impractical to ride. Since time was a factor, the two pressed on without stopping. After an hour of trudging uphill, they finally arrived at Lasky point where the Palisades trail crosses the spectacular scenery.

For fifteen minutes they huddled under a small Oak tree trying to figure out whether they had the time or energy to continue. They decided to press on. After all the worst was over. Or so it seemed. The hiking trail is not very rideable and it climbs another five hundred vertical feet. One must mostly hike-a-bike the route. Forty-five minutes later, sweating bullets, they got to the Holmes place. Linz never stopped. He had an airplane to catch and never let up all the way down the long Oat Hill Mine road.

The heat on these two rides had been intense. Yet it did not prevent the fools from adventuring out on these death-defying rides. Linz seemed to grow more resilient with each ride. Perhaps the day will arrive when the Fools choose to ride in the cool air of the morning. But who knows? Summer Happens.