SSWC O8 Days 1 & 2
Awoke at 2: 23 and let my thoughts whir about.
“Can I write a blog in an hour, and be back to bed to catch up on sleep?”
Hosted Singular Sam Allison, the creator of Singular Cycles. You remember my borrowed steed at Aviemore last year? First we hie’d up to Annadel State Park in hopes of finding the Bunch in that sizeable tract.
We did. Considering we’d begun an hour after they left (and from a completely different trailhead miles away) I consider it a suitable miracle. We needed one. Sam had a spate of rotten luck (hard crash on previous day, his first on American soil) and it was time to wrestle a good time out of this brief (he only took a week away from work) sojourn.
We rode at (for me) race pace. The sun was high, the trail very dusty and super rocky and the shadows were nowhere in sight. I use shadows to help me navigate bumps. Needless to say it was a bit of a Rough Go (name of trail) bouncing along trying to seem like I know what I’m doing.
Within the hour the Bunch zoomed out of the park to get to Sycip’s little post-ride taco picnic.
“Let’s ride more, we barely got here” Sam said.
And with that we returned up the bi-i-g hill, took several wrong turns, did a complete circle at one point, and I remembered how the 1983 Rockhopper flummoxed me, Charlie and the brothers Cook who had come to pre-ride the impossible-to-find route. We returned in disgust (stupidly forgetting how incredible it is just to be out in open lands on bicycle while the rest of the world is stuck in traffic), went to the local bike shop and whined about how lost we got.
Older and perhaps more grateful, I relaxed about being ” lost” in this small fastness, and enjoyed a swim in Ilsanjo, a reservoir accidentally drained last winter. It was a puddle, not a lake, but it was cool and it stripped away the urushiol and dust.
We missed the food but caught quality time with Jim Kish (titanium bike builder, and fledlging banjoist) and Jeremy Sycip (father of four day old boy, now they have one of each), developed a crush on Jeremy’s personal machine (foto to follow).
Back at Taj Mahovel Sam put a beautiful bruschetta together in about three minutes. In ten we were dining on fresh pasta, homemade heirloom tomato sauce from last year’s crop, and fresh pears. And the requisite Sierra Nevada (new flavor: Anniversary). THen he got a VERY quiet night in the Airstream, gathering strength (I hope) for this weekend’s festivities (=excesses) and Charlie and I listened to crickets for an hour up in FP (please write to find out what those initials mean).
A few hours later I hung Sam’s laundry in halfmoonlight (we cater!), then baked peach cobbler and savory bread puddng (aka ‘baked glop’). At nine: breakfast of champions: fresh bread toasted, butter, feijoa jam and tea, tea, tea. The glop I packed for the ride, along with my Ada-banjo (resonator back, bit heavy but hopefully more durable than my open-back jobs one of which I destroyed). Dressed for intense sun: longsleeve white shirt, long tights.
In the parking lot downtown some fifty cyclists ‘faffed’ (that word just doesn’t sound right in our arid climate).
All the expected faces (Sean from Soulcraft and Curtis of Retrotec) …a horde of North Carolingians. Surprise: Eric Roman in the flesh…He’s the wiz who produced SSWC 05 –my first ever foray with the Bunch. Though I didn’t know him personally back then, his efforts inspired me to collect a couple hundred autographs from grateful attendees of the State College, Pennsylvania race.
That cardboard-mounted Rockshox poster is a bit of bike history …I gave it to Maurice, who gave it to ? ..who lost it…unless a reader knows where it is. Please send back to me, I’ll get it to Eric. Reward if found.
I dragged three gals and Big Mig up the hill to Tamarancho early. Better to wait for a crowd in a leafy place, than a barking lot. Surprise #2: Marla Streb hello-ing from Rachel Loyd’s driveway. Rachel was there, and a couple of young men.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!”
I always ask it so accusingly (for some reason I can’t just be happy to see someone I love encountered unexpectedly. I have to be mildly injured that they didn’t tell me when they were in “my” town). Marla, forgive me.
We got about five minutes of excited introductions, catch-up (Rachel’s worried about the tattoo! As if she’s going to just win!) and photographs…then the group churned past (unaware there was a two time singlespeed goddess standing there in the driveway).
The Tamarancho loop was fine, shady bits balancing the hot exposed technical serpentine sections. I even performed a realistic crash for one of the NC women, just flopped over as I was wriggling through the “root-rock-right up the face” section.
Ed: JP, don’t you ever meet any crashing bores on these things?
Strum’d banjo to soothe/torture a green-faced Fiona who lay flat, fighting off heatstroke She and Bo were shivering and sweaty–scary. Her reason: katzenjammer. His: Swedes not accustomed to heat.
So what are the Beijing Olympians doing ? “Training in sauna, or heated gyms, like Bart Brentjens did for Atlanta”. THIS JUST IN: ANNA CAROLINE CHAUSSON TAKES GOLD IN BMX. Sports Illust. needs to cover her.
Sorry, we digress.
Not being even slightly overhung, I kept the banjo’s neck from striking all the trees on my left, while the helmet sat in my eyes, and I re-thought my idea to race with it in Napa.
It will sit in the shade, resonating, and I will wear a three-piece business suit, and overheat but not get sunburnt. I thought about being bare, but no, the poor hide is tanned enough for three lifetimes.
Bo and Ole came to meet Charlie before returning to the heart of the action, take some lemonade.
And at the pub I found Nigel Foskett (mistook him for Biff-yeswearontheweb Outcast), legions of the North Carolingians. Finally grasped WHO Barbara Howe is…and shared boastcards, beers and even fobbed some finery off…The women flaunted some fine post ride footwear. Somehow the time flew and I realized I’d be missing part two of the day’s fun: American Cyclery gathering, ride across bridge, picnic at Kirby.
Hard to even THINK about leaving ‘my’ town for more frivolity.
I pedaled home and hopt into the bath. Gotta get my beauty rest.