Monday, March 17, 2008

A Different Kind of Mountaineering

Out in Morgantown we have a little weekly winter sanity maintenance session called the Baker's Ridge Sunday mtb ride. Ten to twenty people brave the snow and mud as well as potential busted clavicles and other sundry injuries. Although The Flanders Fat Cat started his career on a mountain bike, he is no mountain biker (and some would doubt his credentials on the road too). However, this week he dragged out his Trek mtb, circa 1990, and joined the fold.

Truth be told, this was the Cat's second foray into the Sunday subculture. Two weeks ago he and Lord Monkeybutt made their presence felt with a show of ineptitude and a case of beer. It was probably not a good idea to try on this new/old form as a first ride after weeks of virus imposed layoff but no one ever accused the Fat Cat of being rational. Needless to say, that ride was an unadulterated train wreck filled with lactic acidosis and hyperventilation. The only redeeming quality was the high schoolesque post ride parking lot beer blast. No intentions of returning before the ride morphed back into it's spring road incarnation were entertained.

What a difference two weeks back in the saddle can make. After performing a laundry list of fatherly duties such as, building a trapdoor in a tree house and making the Lionel train set run, a happenstance glance at the old "Worlds Greatest Dad" pocket watch read, 12:39. Having "need" of bicycling, the one o'clock Sunday ride seemed just the numbing elixir. There were 18 riders ranging from racers, to huckers, to girls who can kick your ass and look good doing it, to the old rear guard. The Fat Cat took up the lantern rouge position straight away, girding himself for another day of gurgling blood and hanging on. Surprisingly, the lactate threshold was crossed infrequently and the self imposed exile to the back was only maintained out of courtesy and poor bike handling skills.

Speaking of bike handling, the contrast between the front of the pack and the back was displayed in technicolor when Robbie, resplendent in head to toe matching winter gear, showed his father (who was also on the ride) his fit cat skills. Take one big rotten log jutting toward the sky, add one bike handler extraordinaire and watch as your perceptions of what are possible, if not easy, on a bike are altered before your naked, steaming eyes. Then, fast forward from fit cat to Fat Cat and his Baker's ridge Baker's dozen of over the handlebar pratfalls festooning the last hour of the ride. I was particularly entertained when, limbs entwined in a twisted ball of aluminum, dirt and flesh, a comrade quipped, "How's that cro-moly fork working for ya now?" Seems these young folk might just have something with their fancy smancy rox shox and such. I suppose five inches of pneumatic travel might trump the formerly cutting edge shock absorbing properties of a tapered steel fork...maybe.

Just about four hours later, after running "Spaghetti", "Three Stooges" (along with the obligatory nyuk nyuks), "Dragons Lair," "Far Out,""Turbo" and who the hell knows what else, the Fat Cat was finally released from his subservience to the lords of mountain biking and freed from their sylvan maze. AH- sweet, sweet blacktop. All apologies for a couple of post ride faux paus. Sorry for not offering up libations to quell the Olympian's thirst and wrath. I was rightly shunned and will make amends. Also, Robbie, please forgive the, "He thinks he's so cool because he works in a bike store," remark. It's a line from a movie entitled Empire Records starring Liv Tyler in a pleated mini skirt. My other friends, the lazy movie watching ones, would have laughed.

In the bohemian sprawl of the parking lot it was ordained that the Sunday mountain bike ride is to be officially banished until next winter. Too bad. The Fat Cat thinks he might just have had fun playing in the dirt. Oh, and Dan, I'm sure the self reports of your mountain biking demise are greatly exaggerated. Last ride my arse! I'm sure I'll see you back there next year.

1 comment:

Evan T Williams 2 said...

Sounds like a good time. Too bad i was workin for the man that day.