As the September moon approached its fullness, trouble was brewing. Several days before the scheduled event, Dr. J’s lower back decided to do the pretzel thing. He was seen creeping around his house as the 200-year-old man. It did not bode well for his inclusion in the lunar event.

Wednesday, September 22, 1999 was selected for the month’s assault on good judgement, responsible mountain biking and casting fate to the wind. The wind would score a few points, four stitches and a few bruises. As the group assembled at the Pine St. apartment of the S.S. Burlyman, Shawn could not be found, only a facsimile that sort of looked like Shawn, except with a puffy, swollen head showing only one eye. Maybe it was the rarely seen cycleclops, fabled bikin’ legend of Big Wheel Bob’s imagination.

Shawn tried to explain that he had been stung by a bee while riding his motorcycle, yet it was uncertain whether he suffered from beer reflux, a condition where the beverage goes straight to the brain instead of the stomach.

Jim, Morgan, Eric and Lindsey would take up the remaining positions for the event. Originally Lindsey’s lost trail was selected for the ride. However, with the missing Dr. J. it seemed prudent(?) to undertake a known ride. Where this particular logic originated is still in question. It may have had something to do with the good Dr.’s inimitable sense of being lost, while still being able to show up in civilization before daylight, most of the time. (not always). The default choice would be the Mt. St. Helena Downhill. This popular ride has served the bikin’ fools well over the years. Although it seems as an easy, mostly downhill event, the truth of the matter is that it takes a huge degree of skill and much effort to safely negotiate the grassy slopes of the lovely lady.

It was two days before the full moon, giving the evening orb a chance to climb well into the night sky before the commencement of the event. The five lunatistas assembled at the RLS parking lot, made final adjustments and proceeded to navigate their way up the single track pathway to Robert Louis Stevenson’s old cabin site. From there, Silver St. was taken towards the Stillbad cutoff. Although it was known that Ms. Stillbad was no longer in attendance, the sense of pranksterism guided the five bodies across the stealth path, originally designed to avoid one of the world’s ugliest persons, a woman dedicated to hating mountain biking. On a previous outing, she was heard to fire up the ancient Toyota pickup, gun the engine and take hot pursuit of Trav and Eric. They hid off the road as the beady eyed, witch attempted to bust them for a crime not committed.

On this evening, the five transited the path, finding that more trees had fallen in the way. At one not-so-difficult part of the booney thrash, Eric stumbled slightly catching his fall with a giant step forward that ended up with his calf skewered on a broken branch. Although blood was immediately present, it didn’t seem too bad. The five slid out of the woods and onto the Silverado Ranch road that would deliver the crew to Turk’s head. There the group would safely meet to honor the Goddess of the Night and appreciate being the lucky one’s who escaped the confines of civilization to spend time in the magic lumens of the bright wilderness night.

From Turk’s head, the serious downhill portion of the ride begins. Once through the secret portal, the grassy slopes open up and the descent becomes increasingly steep until one has to hang off the back of the bike and slide for life. After Shawn’s first flat, the group proceeded towards the side-hill gouger path. Jim and Morgan bailed early, while Shawn continued downhill, eventually reaching the proper trail. This part of the ride is, perhaps, the most tedious. The steepness of the hill is so great that a "highside" fall would not touch the ground for ten to fifteen feet. Yet, the bright color of the dried grass and the bright light of the moon make for an awesome setting, one of breathtaking beauty and tranquility.

Eventually the path enters the woods. At this point the front runners waited for the trailing duo, Eric and Lindsey. After Eric had joined the three others, Jim’s voice was heard to say: "Stay above the rock as you come in here, Lindsey, there’s a rattlesnake near the path!"

"Great," Eric thought, "I wished they’d told me."

Sure enough, when the clattering and crunching of progress halted, the unmistakable rattle was heard in the bushes nearby. Now the hill was less steep for the moment. The single track was mostly rideable and fun as it wound through the woods. The group, despite Jim and Morgan’s tendency for warp speed, made an effort to be leisurely about the pace. Another stop was taken for power bars and safety equipment.

The steepest part of the ride was past. Now the trail would traverse across the humps on the lower part of Mt. St. Helena. The trail led past the ranch house and onto the slopes where the bovines had created a nearly impassible mess on the earth. Cows tear up the ground to an unbelievable extent, reason enough to be vegetarian. Once past the bad bovine zone, the upper jeep road is contacted. From this point speeds increase towards Chino Flats. Flat being the operative word for Shawn again.

After a short delay, the group decided to forego the lake run for the more expedient, direct route to the Calistoga Inn for E.R.T. The five would roll into town just in time for last call plus one. To add to the endorphin high, the lovely Ms. Star was belting out tunes at open mic night. The only table left in the Inn was directly in front of the tall, shapely singer. Her short T-shirt and the presence of fleshy areas of her body below the navel area seemed to add to her talent.

With all of the pleasure receptors having been sated, the only item left on the agenda was to retrieve the cars from the parking lot at RLS. Lindsey, however, not content with the evenings dangers, managed to stack in dramatic fashion only ten feet from the Jetta. Eric cringed as Lindsey hit the pavement like a ton of bricks.

"I’m alright, I’m alright!" Lindsey stated, though Eric had some doubt.

Another moonride had flashed under the bottom brackets of five enthusiastic lunatistas. Despite the few dings, it was another exceptional evening of fun and extraordinary experience in the mystical and soft light of the moon.