10apr09 – 12apr09 … a helluva weekend.
WR and i came to the realization several months back that with the impending birth of his first child, our riding times were going to significantly decrease. commutes will still be pretty easy to pull off, but the days of long weekend hauls and critical masses are going to be placed on hold for a minute. as such, we opted to take off for a weekend and burn out one last good one.
now, when two computerGeek cyclists go on a weekend together, of course, they need to prepare for eventualities. as such, EACH of us brought the following…
+ one (1) fixed-gear bike
+ one (1) geared road bike
+ one (1) macbook pro
+ our sensitive shit
that’s right, 4 bikes, 2 computers, and enough tools that we had a full-fledged bike shop in our room. it was baller. we could watch movies, we could tinker on bikes, and after a quick stop at the cal-mart food stoe which was 33 steps from the back door of our venue, we could (and did) mix up rotgut drinks by the tupperware-full. individually, we also brought along stuff like comics (WR) and weed brownies (IL), fulfilling the insanity that was our "quick cycling trip." it was 100% overkill, and somehow we each fit all of our shit into two bags a piece. madness.
friday morning, WR stopped by my house and picked up my roadbike (toro, formerly HIS roadbike) and my bag of clothes/computer/tools. then on friday afternoon, i took off from work about noon with my daypack and my fixed-gear and rode over to his office in mill valley. from there, we MINI-blasted up the 101N to calistoga, in the middle of wine country, and checked into DR WILKINSON’S HOT SPRINGS RESORT. this was actually our second plan, as some scheduling and timing confusion had caused our original plan of big basin (which is south), to fall through. but the upside was, it was a cycling weekend with good buds, and we were familiar with the terrain, thanks to a PREVIOUS TRIP to the area.
arrival friday saw the assembly of our extruded view of 100% awesome, the setup of both our bike shop and an entertainment system between the two beds (read : my MBP hooked up to WR’s three external drives of awesome), and dinner out at a local upscale mexican joint. we got drunk starting there with a pitcher of margaritas and then back at the house on "tito’s" vodka (complete with fauxGold screw-off top) and negra modelos.
this is when we came to notice the cossacks. our room was smack dab between one large russian group and another, and they were always out front talking to each other curtly and very russian and then slamming doors. and that was when they were not in the pool with thermoses of coffee and cigarettes and track suits. the cossacks became more and more suspicious to us as the weekend went on, as they were always coming out of their rooms with tin-foil packets full of food. note that there were no kitchenettes in the rooms. thus, logically, we determined that they were cooking on the heaters. in 90-fucking-degree weather. and their curt "goot MORnink"s weren’t helping the situation, either, because when a cigarette-eating track-suited bald-headed cossack acknowledges you from behind a mystery foil packet, well … you basically run away. hahaha!!!
as the friday buzz continued into full-blown drunkenness, we watched an awesome documentary called "darkon" … "an award-winning feature-length documentary film that follows the real-life adventures of the darkon wargaming club in baltimore, maryland, a group of fantasy live-action role-playing (LARP) gamers," and the real joy for us, in our drunken messes, was noting consistent random occurrences in the background. like when the "laconian" leader described in his best medeival accent how the "mordomian" leader was a two-faced liar, we noted that the laconian had this lanky dude standing behind him in full-blown medeival war gear … wearing a hockey mask. of course, as drunk as we were, this background guy became "my man waingro" (from "heat"). later, we noticed that the "mordomian" leader had a parking lot behind him, which in our altered minds was filled with daewoos. this continued for the whole weekend.
saturday morning was probably the first time in history when WR woke up with a hangover and i did not. i contend that this is simply because i’m a raging drunk and he’s not. also, i ate a bunch of weed brownie the night before. but we rallied, grabbed our fixed-gears and headed out to a huge breakfast, passing the cossacks along the way, as usual. goot MORnink!
this FIRST RIDE DAY was 55 miles all told, with 1000 feet of climbing (each way), and we were doing it on one speed. some of those climbs were slow-going, but the nature of a fixed-gear made it pleasant and simple. the weather was amazing, and the halfway point of our ride was lake berryessa, where WR almost drowned on our last trip, and where i hydrated with a 40 of miller on the same trip. this time was much different. i was hydrating with actual water (and gatorade), and we made some adjustments to WRs steed while we sat amongst red ants and boaters, enjoying the fresh air, sunshine, and blue, blue skies. in fact, whether at rest or at ride, we continued to appreciate these things. there weren’t many other cyclists out there (and any there were, we passed cause that’s how we roll), and it was quiet, so we got a lot of time just rolling along for miles next to each other, bullshitting about our man waingro and the cossack delicacies that were being cooked on the heater. good times.
unfortunately, the return portion of this trip is wierd in that calistoga continues to get further and further away. it’s a serious head trip, i swear, but the closer you get to calistoga on that portion of the ride, the more distance you realize you still have to travel. it’s fucked UP. but personally, it was rewarding in that i passed many, MANY places along the way where i’d almost collapsed from exhaustion those couple years ago when we did this ride before. i’m such a stronger long-distance cyclist now, though, that i breezed through the whole thing without the need to stop. WR wasn’t so lucky this day, as his saddle wasn’t broken in enough to handle the whatever it was, 6 hours or something. so he was just trying to zen through his pains on those last 10 miles or so.
but man. when we got back to calistoga? SUCCESS!!! it was the longest fixed ride either of us had ever taken, with significant climbing therein, and we did it without the deaths. and WR survived his hangover, too, which is a fucking testament as far as i’m concerned.
we went straight to the hot tub and soaked until crazy old plastic surgery lady fired up the jets and slid into the waters with us. it’s like when you’re on a safari and you see the crocs slip off the shore, except here the crocs were wearing mid-blue one-pieces and had varicose veins. shudder.
later that night was delicious burgers served by enthusiastic waitresses, followed by guy ritchie’s "rocknrolla," which will perhaps get a review later. in another first, i didn’t drink much at all this night, while WR mixed up some ghetto sangria in a tupperware and slugged that fucker like he’d just walked through the sahara.
the SECOND RIDE DAY was a road-bike day. multiple gears. a different ride in every conceivable way, and to add to the differences from the previous day, we also took a different route. this route was 57 miles round-trip, and only had a few hundred feet of climbing. so in review, we’re on bikes with multiple gears and we’re riding a flatter route — should be easy, right? WRONG. because we’d ridden so hard, fixed, the day prior, even the lowliest of climbs felt like mountains. the upside, though, was that road bikes can go a LOT faster than fixies, so we smashed out the same amount of distance in like half the time of the day before. that was very cool.
for me, the weather really started to get to me this day. the heat was starting to make my head swim a little bit, and no matter how much water, gatorade, clif bars, and shot blox i ingested, i couldn’t shake the cobwebs. i was a little bit feared at one point, thinking i’d have to pull off and shade out for a minute, but i made it through!
we also got to do some unexpected cyclocross riding when i discovered that there was a frontage road just off the side of the freeway we were riding on, and went to explore. unfortunately, there was a huge creek there, so we had to ride along on the packed dirt of offroad vehicle tracks till we hit a crossing. fun as shit, though.
the bale grist mill was of particular interest to us this day, if only because their sign said "milling today," and it had "bale" in the name, so we thought we might get asked "WHAT DON’T YOU FUCKING UNDERSTAND?" alas. no. just more heat.
and then we were back! we’d left WRs car in the hotel parking lot after checking out, with fixies chained on the rack, so we just tossed our road bikes onto there, changed clothes, and shot to a microbrewery we’d passed on the way back into town, where we ate calamari and chicken and dumplings and burgers and had beers and water and bullshitted for the remainder of our time.
the trip back to the city was uneventful, and we were there in time to enjoy the rest of the day with our respective sig-o’s, finishing out the trip in laid-back style.
as i said at the start … a helluva weekend.
: : :
The Flickr set can be found here, complete with videos. Shaky, dodgy, one-handed videos.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/wrongrobot … 785014683/
I thought it was funny that ‘our man Waingro’ seemed to be spotted everywhere in Calistoga, in AND out of his mask. Also, of particular shock to me was that Lung noticed Yoda moving in one of the testimonial scenes in Darkon, which caused my heart to seize… as I thought it was just a static puppet. The sour rebel in Darkon had been ranting, then he abruptly got up, stated ‘an’ thass all ah gots to say about that.’ and walked off camera, to which Yoda suddenly turned to watch him leave. I don’t think I recovered from this shock all weekend.
It’s true, that first fixie day was tough on wrongBike(tm)… on the way back we flipped the bars so I had some riser action which helped a ton, but I was jonesing for drops. Overall though, and despite the grundle suffrage mentioned, it was still awesome to do such a ride on that little old conversion fixie when we had done it on road bikes two years prior. I haven’t gotten as much riding in this year with baby approaching as I had in 07, so I was just pleased to be riding at all.
We also noted that this was the first hotel we’d ever been in that represented the Buddhists too:
What a great trip! No deaths, no cracked cranks or other vehicular calamities, and I even arrived, though to an empty house, to a surprise visit from the Easter Something: