Witness to the moon

The month of February 2000 was generally wet and inhospitable to the spoiled mountain Bikin' Fools of northern California. The weather in this coastal climate is usually as nearly ideal as it gets for the sport. Only occasionally does the weather deteriorate to the point of being non-usable. So there was some concern that this month’s event would be altered by wet, cold weather. Boggs Mt. with the tubby option was selected for the month’s moonride. This default option accommodates any weather that may occur. Since the ride ends in the soothing, naturally occurring hot springs, riders are willing to tolerate a wide range of crummy conditions. As it so often happens however, the skies parted the day before the scheduled event and ushered in the nicest, most beautiful weather of the entire winter.

At the last moment due to the improved weather situation, the ride was declared to be a dinner run. Eight bodies would volunteer to continue the succession of moonrides that has been unbroken for more than half a decade. The average number of riders is usually four. But several more people of late have found themselves afflicted by these high times and unable to refuse the exposure to this special lunar experience. Riding in the darkness of night (without lights) creates a wholly different sense of things. Sight often cannot be relied upon for navigation. One must yield often to other methods to maintain progress. Echo location (bats use this) is frequently employed. Unfortunately for humans, the transmitting part of the sound works, but the receiving side of this method has yet to be perfected.

The eight riders piled into three vehicles for the commute to Boggs. Jim Korte and Shawn would ride in Mike’s truck. Dave would ride in Shane’s truck and Eric and Linz would ride with Jim Wilson. The entourage regrouped at Eric’s shop in Middletown where Jim’s vehicle was dropped off as the return shuttle when the riders eventually arrived there at the end of the event. In two vehicles, the eight people made their way to the heli-pad at Boggs Mountain Demonstration Forest. After the usual adjustments the group began the adventure pedaling down route 500. The pack reformed at the campground and headed towards the upper campground. Here the first spike on the chart was to occur. There were campers in the distance. A biker howled out a long and lilting cry to the moon. To the surprise of the Bikin' Fools, a female voice returned the song with a soulful refrain. For a moment the moonstruck bikers experienced some slight fragmenting of the sensory elements. Could this be true? Did they stumble onto a camp of moon-oriented Babealonians? Was this to be an extraordinary meeting of kindred souls that happens only in one’s fantasy? One of the voices coming from the camp had a slightly lower vibration. This did not deter the Bikin' Fools from thinking that they had arrived at the Venus camp of lovely female moon-worshipers. Further investigation revealed that the "other voice" belonged to a burly, bearded red-necked camper dude. To further wreck the fantasy the bikers failed to note that they had entered the L-Factor zone. Someone had eaten a Luna Bar.

Shortly upon departure from the campsite, the trail vanished. Several sorties in several directions failed to reveal the way. The group of eight split into two squads with Eric somewhere in between. Voices drifted in opposing directions. Non visual guidance took over and the scattered individuals gravitated towards the moon. This was hard to believe. Was this was not well known territory? Somewhere in the night, after many minutes of boony thrashing, the Crew Trail manifested itself. Now the riders could continue with the sense of knowing where they were; sort of. Although there really was a trail, it was hard to stay with it in the darker areas under the trees. Frequently one would exit the path without knowing it. For those following the leader, their fate ended up the same; temporarily lost. Once John’s trail was accessed, the ride proceeded with greater speed. Big Springs trail eventually appeared and the earlier L-Factor faded. Big Springs trail is one of God’s gifts to mountain bikin’. It hangs on the side of the mountain and offers a series of fun challenges. Eventually it dumps out onto road 100 at Big Springs.

All of the attendees arrived in good shape. The troops gathered wood and attempted to start a fire. The wood was damp and slimy for the most part. Duff, pine needles, leaves and small sticks were coaxed to burn. It took the best and most patient skills of the ‘fools to get the fire going. Eventually it did burn. Shawn, the magician, extracted from his pack a bag of charcoal briquettes. These added to the fire created the best cooking conflagration that the Bikin' Fools have ever seen. The usual steaks, potatoes, corn on the cob, sausage, garlic bread, roast apples and baked carrots were laid on the coals to simmer and cook while the bikers thoroughly enjoyed the evening under the moon.

The moon was exceptionally bright. It had a slight blue tint. The atmosphere was completely devoid of any polluting influence. The brightness was astounding and there were no clouds anywhere in sight.

Upon completion of dinner, the bikers gathered their packs and began the journey towards the Great Bowl route. Mt. St. Helena and views of Lake County unfolded in majestic grandeur under the brilliant moonlight. With everyone in place, it was time for Jim Korte to discover the hidden trench. He generously had waited until all were present to witness his class-one faceplant. Once again, Jim confirmed that the ground is harder than flesh. Dave, only nano seconds behind, stacked also. Dave writhed on the ground in obvious pain.

"Dave?" Shane asked with concern, "Is your bike OK?"

The next segment of the ride started at the bottom of the Bowl route. The climb back uphill towards the doghouse is steep, but thankfully not too long. Mike seemed to be reaping the benefit of his power meal. He cleaned the very difficult off-ramp towards the chutes. Then, for the first time, elected to descend down chute "B". This fun dog-leg bypasses the notorious primary chute on which, Mike has managed to tweak various parts of his body on each previous attempt. With the absence of pain, Mike seemed to be energized enough to scale the next very, very steep hill. The man was possessed. Not only did he not stop at the top of the hill, but continued at a blistering pace all the way to the TeaHouse turn. Perhaps he was out to prove that a Pro Flex is still a viable machine relative to the pack of Santa Cruz bikes that were chasing him.

The gang eventually regrouped at the Tea House junction and threaded their way down the tricky and convoluted trail towards tubby heaven and an evening that would stir the juices of the Bikin' Fools.

Caution: it is recommended that women pass on the following paragraphs. It is possible to confuse this section of the vignette with male sexism. Sexism is not the case, however the presence of testosterone will greatly enhance the understanding of the following portion of the story. Ed.

During virtually all of the visits to the clothing-optional hot tubs, the Bikin' Fools have not fared well in regard to the viewing of gorgeous babes. Quite often the ladies have been beautiful only on the beer scale. (Any person can be beautiful with the help of 1 – 10 beers) Tonight however, there was a plethora of quality women in attendance. Full, well-shaped breasts frazzled the already challenged brains of the bikers. Very shapely and healthy female bodies paraded past the guys as they made a genuine attempt to not ogle. It didn’t work. Inadvertent and uncontrollable ogling occurred big time.

However, nature has a way of balancing things out. A lady who apparently had a {metabolism situation} entered the pool. The water level rose significantly. Moby Jane was so big that if Capt. Ahab were present, he would have impulsively grabbed for his harpoon.

And so, after the customary rounds of tubbies, the ‘fools dressed and made the cold downhill trek to Middletown. While five bikers hung out in Eric’s boat, the car shuffle ensued. By three o’clock, most of the attendees had heads to the pillow. The moonride provided another super-class event for the enthusiastic moonlight mountain bikers.