It’s hard to believe that this weekend marked the 12th annual Burke trip. What once started at the state campground on the mountain, has morphed into a 2 house festival that can sometimes go from Thursday night to Sunday afternoon. It’s hard work partying that hard for that long, and showers and beds make it a lot more manageable. Especially now that we are almost overrun with kids.
Of these 12 years, I think I have only missed 3. The first 2 I missed due to living out in California, and the third I missed for some reason that I don’t remember. I do remember that my absence was the year that it was decreed that attendance to Burke is mandatory, upon pain of ridicule and mockery. Lesson learned.
Due to having to work, the boy in school, etc, I didn’t get up there until Friday night. I got the last beer out of the first keg, a delicious Hill Farmstead Amarillo IPA. If you’d ever had a Hill Farmstead beer, you know how delicious they are, it’s like drinking gold. The PBR was then tapped, and the gloves came off.
The good thing about having 2 houses across the street form each other,is that staging for rides is pretty easy. The bad thing, is that staging can take 1-3 hours to get everyone ready. No one is ever in a hurry, which I have never been able to understand. There must be some sort of law of physics involved: the greater the number of people getting ready for a ride, takes exponentially longer to get ready than a smaller one. When we finally rolled out, there were 15 of us. Almost immediately, the number started to diminish.
This was Nat’s attempt at taking his own route though a muddy crossing. You would never know how deep the mud was…
Not 20 minutes later, his ride was cut short when a stick got picked up in his back wheel and sheared the derailleur hanger in two. We got him detangled, and were close enough to the road so we could call in an extraction team. We went on, and then lost Blue. He’d been off the bike for most of the season due to surgery, and was not feeling the “pace”. When riding, we rode fast, but we stopped a lot. And waited around a lot. Big group ride syndrome in full effect.
We had some locals with us on Saturday, who were gracious enough to lead the ride, which was a nice change of pace, because we actually rode some trails that we often overlook. After about an hour, our group split into two, the other group headed to town to fetch Nat, who we learned had since fixed his bike, and was going to meet us over on Darling Hill. We waited for a while, but at least it was good napping weather…
Our guides had to go, but at this point we knew what we wanted to ride, and knew how to get there, so once we all regrouped, it was game on. Recent heavy rains made it so that many of the trails we usually use as connectors were closed, so we had to do a bit of orienteering to get ourselves where we wanted to go. It seemed as there was extra climbing, and at least 4 or 5 wrong turns. Eventually we got back to town, where some shuttles to teh house had been called for. A small group of us remained to “do the slow crawl up the hill”, another tradition, in which we stuff our pockets with cans of PBR and ride back to the houses. It’s a 2 beer climb.
We tag out with the folks that were watching the kiddos, get cleaned up, then it’s party mode. Saturday night is the big party, we probably had 30-35 people including kids. It gets loud, raucous and boozy. Tons of food and drinks are consumed, stories of the days various rides swapped, and fun is always had by all. I managed to stay awake until 11 before having to retire.
Traditionally, there is a Sunday ride too, but I was a solo parent. Foisting a grumpy partied-out 8 year old on one of my friends would have been extremely lame of me, so we cleaned up, packed up and said our goodbyes. Almost everyone else hit the road too. I knew that even if I had the opportunity to ride, my body would have gone into revolt. I have not ridden my bike since our trip to Ascutney 2 weeks previously. That little hurricane called Irene really messed things up for a lot of us. Sometimes its good to appreciate the times you do have, and be thankful that you have good people to share them with.
Another great trip, but now it’s back to reality. It’s Interbike this week, so we will most likely get to see some cool new 29er bike products. I’ll be surfing the webs for snickets in between build the awesome bikes I’ll be building this week.