The Bikin' Fools
This release is strictly for the participants of the February Full Moon Ride
Any unauthorized reading of this vignette may trigger sexist thoughts
The Bikin Fools maintain a most deep appreciation for all that is female in the universe
Even though this story may not totally suggest that notion
The late February Full Moon rose corpulent and pregnant with verdant springtime energy. She beamed down to the earth a full and complete offering of feminine dynamism. So rich was this offering, that the Bikin Fools found themselves agog in her luscious presence.
When the Luna Bar Womens Racing Team truck showed up in Calistoga just days before the full moon it seemed serendipitous. It was as though the Goddesses had answered the dreams of the bikin dudes. Normally women are rare participants in these moon events. But what better crew than the Luna Ladies could possibly show up for a rendezvous with fun, abandonment and merriment under the precious rays of the Lady of the Night.
Representative Johnson made contact with racer Marla. She expressed interest in the concept. This hint of interest would start in motion a progression of male thinking that would only snowball throughout the evening. 16 tires and testicles made the trek from normality to the realm of the full moon. It is an extraordinary experience to be present in a lovely natural setting under the watchful eye of the lady of the night. She has offered a variety of emotions, has been deep and mysterious, has offered beauty beyond control and has always taken the Bikin Fools to her bosom to comfort the spirit with truth, joy and freedom. She has been the passage to the promised land.
As Tuesday wore on, the Bikin Fools were full of excited thoughts about the possible event. Gosh, to ride with strong women who could appreciate the subtleties of mountain biking and keep up was almost to much to bear. In addition there was some pleasant anxiety about meeting new people and experiencing a moon event together. In the light of the moon, in the beautiful venue of nature the experience trumps the mundane and offers a very special experience to the attendees. The girls never showed. It is understandable. They are in training. They have been focused lately on road riding. Further they have to worry about such mundane concepts such as injury. But they missed an event that would have been pleasantly etched in their memories for years to come. It was a beautiful, balmy evening that filled the senses with awe, joy, humor, adventure and friendship.
The opportunity was not missed or lost on Mike, Michel, Grant, Shawn, Ryan, Jim K., Auriah or Eric. The eight bikers delighted in the St. Helena downhill. This ride offers a variety of mountain biking challenges and rewards. The ranch road to Turks Head is one of the most beautiful settings in northern California. It perfectly faces the moons ecliptic yielding the maximum possible light. It seemed only appropriate that the Luna team would be in town for the brightest full moon of the year. The earth/moon ecliptic is at the apogee of its cycle, closest to the sun and the moon ecliptic is closest to the earth. It is a whopping 11 per cent bigger than normal. The commanding view from Turks head offers an expansive panorama of Napa, Lake and Sonoma counties. Far to the west, the Pacific delineates the end of California. Her calm foggy veil underscores the deep sense of wonder and hides the rich offering of life that exists mostly unseen.
It is perhaps two miles to Turks Head. The road undulates with a series of short climbs and descents as it traverses the 2500 foot contour of Mt. St. Helena. In part, because of the beautiful view, a short break was taken at Turks Head. One could not help but appreciate this magnificent setting. The air was so warm that no jackets were needed. Jim Korte was heard to mutter; "Gosh, this is beautiful!" This statement from a man who grew up looking at where the crew was standing. Of all the people, Jim might have found this setting to be familiar and ordinary. Yet the scene was so beautifully enhanced in the light of the moon, it defied description. The steep slopes of the mountain blended gracefully into the foothills at the bottom. The valleys were festooned with twinkling lights of another world now far away.
The next section of this fun ride bears the name: Downhill. There is a secret opening through the brush, then one floats across soft grass and under oak trees. The conditions were perfect. The new grass of the year was just a few inches tall. It made for a soft carpet upon which to bail or crash, and it wasnt so tall as to impede passage. Then the hill drops precipitously. It gains steep-ness in a couple of steps. Finally the last pitch defies riding. It can be done, but one usually has to hang off the back of the bike or slide sideways or wreck or all of the above. In a decade of monthly events, in the face of outrageous challenge, in the name of grand adventure, no one has ever suffered more than loss of dignity and minor blood spillage. Tonight was no exception. Eight riders stretched their own personal limits as they, one by one, skidded, slipped, and bombed down the hill.
It was at this point that the Bikin Fools had to recognize the fact that the Luna girls werent going to make it. Some even had visions of them showing up late, catching up with us and enjoying this venue as much as we were. It was so nice out there that one wants to share the experience. Pleasure shared is pleasure doubled. To a one, all rookies of moonrides have had the same sentiment: "That was cool, Im so glad I went!" Part of the problem with sharing this experience is that it requires one to be an expert mt. bike rider. That eliminates almost everyone you might know. There are many capable women in the ranks of the Bikin Fools, but few are burly enough to shred the outback, daring enough to ride into the unknown and willing to skate on the edge of reality.
The perception of being stood up by the Luna ladies carried even more gravity when one considers the collateral damage. Poor ol Dave Frame was told he couldnt come on the ride because he might scare the ladies with his repeated and oft voiced mantra of "FUCK!!" And, if he did ride with the ladies, he would have shussed the entire mountain on his downhill bike until he did a one-time only performance art, the type that results in having to pay homage to the bike shop, PMS (Palisades Mt. Sport) for months. He would have the evenings guests saying to themselves years from now; "Do you remember that Dave guy?"
The runners high associated with cycling allows a certain meditative state to blissfully descend upon the participant. In this state the individual is subject to such feelings as; light-headedness, floaty feeling, fuzzy/tingly body, power, exhaustion, sense of well being, in control, out-of-control, on-the-edge-of-control, bliss, joy, tears laughter and euphoria. So, with these tools in hand, one is ready to be plunked down deep in the boonies and presented with a scene of serene beauty with owls softly hooting in the background. The softness of the night is the beauty. It is mysterious, nurturing and enlightening. Just being there is all that is needed.
Once off the nose of the grassy hill, the side hill trail takes the rider to new heights of daring and fear. The trail is only a few inches wide, nearly level and mostly very smooth. So far so good. HOWEVER, the hill is so steep that a crash downhill isnt even considered part of the game. Its bye bye. The new grass was dark and made the trail slightly more difficult to see. The trick is to go fast.
All too soon it seemed, the woods appeared. The changing nature of the event yielded a different sort of side hill riding. Now trees were involved, the light was lessened and the trail became more technical. Unseen rocks dared the wheels to find them in the darkness. Branches were all to happy to slap you in the face. None-the-less most of the single track was ride-able. It really depended upon how much trust one could find in their bikesmanship. With balance, focus, finesse and confidence huge successes awaited in the theme park. Or, if one felt like it, walking was perfectly fine. Many did. This section of the ride doesnt last very long.
A meeting was commenced at the cow/plop turnoff just before the hoof holes section. The hoof holes are the worst riding possible. In fact its nearly impossible to ride and when the hapless biker starts walking, it isnt any easier. The cows do intense damage to the earth. Shawn and Jim Korte advised that there was a reasonable by-pass to this unfortunate scene. Not only was this true, but why didnt we notice this pleasant passage years earlier? Thus far the ride had progressed swiftly. As the group relaxed, Mike noticed a certain type of growth on the trunk of the closest tree. It was scarred and had turned inward, leaving a deep crease.
"Do you know what they call that type of growth?" Mike asked.
"Wrong. Its called vagination."
"Who named it?"
"Im as serious as a heart attack."
"Holy mackerel, a six foot long vagina"
"No, its woody growth"
In addition to being much better, the new route delivered the crew to a spot where Shawn discovered he had a flat. His impossible-to-change rims would guarantee a lengthy stay at this spot. The timing was serendipitous. The location, now in the lower reaches of the mountain, was of stunning beauty. It was a perfect place to stop and take in the spirit of the night and to enjoy briefly this nice spot. Shawn worked on his tire while others vegged. Eric took pictures. Someone looked into the sky.
"Wow, check it out! The moon is in a, a, ah, ..."
"Whoa dude! Youre right. Its in a vagina."
Sure enough. An unlikely formation of clouds had created a shape that could easily be construed as having a resemblance to femalia. The moon lay nested inside a tubular cloud, past a soft wispy, lip-looking formation. A debate ensued whether this formation would have been noticed if the Luna girls were along.
"No wonder they didnt come along."
"Hey, they might have seen the same thing."
"I doubt it. I think they sensed testosterone overload with this crew."
"We shouldnt have sent Johnson."
"Shoulda sent the kid."
Shawn finally had success with his tire. It was only a few hundred yards of riding across the side of the grassy hill until the road to Chino flats came into play. The next three miles or so consisted of a variety of conditions. Mostly the road was wet, but only in a few spots did it offer any real resistance. It was a series of short climbs and descents until the road finally dumped out onto the flats.
The evening had remained intensely balmy. It was cooler in the valley yet not cold. The Bikin Fools set the tires to hum for the last two miles on pavement into town. One big paceline shredded the empty roads to Lake St. where Eric pealed off. The others went a variety of ways. Shawn, Mike and Ryan drove back up the mountain to retrieve the cars. The riders would be in bed early. As heads hit the pillows, the guys felt glorious. It had been a great fantasy added to a great perennial bike ride. The ladies would have enjoyed this ride, yet they probably raged in their own way and got in touch with La Luna as we did. Maybe the feminine energy of the full moon exactly balanced the testosterone situation. Maybe not.