Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Eki's Super Mini Camp - Beer Included!

Hey, next year I might throw this out as a scheduled mini camp and invite EVERYONE. The idea makes no sense, yet if you take a step back it makes all the sense in the world. Here's the concept...A one day, two session ride in the Chequamegon National Forest. Objectives include riding slow, drinking some beers (provided by ME), eating a huge lunch, then a couple more beers preferably in a gravel parking lot while examining the minutia of mountain bike rigs that are present, then ride slowly again. Oh, the most important objective, HAVE A BLAST!
Zach carves up some sweet single track.

The inaugural Eki Super Mini Camp was located in Cable, Wisconsin, the heart of some of the Midwest's premiere mountain bike trails. I was traveling and riding with my good buddy Zach and slated to meet Salsa design engineer, Tim Krueger. However, due to countless delays directly related to the "Zach Factor" we were put way off schedule and unable to meet up with Tornado Tim, despite about 25 failed attempts to contact each other via fancy cell phones.
The "Zach Factor" and we wait...

No worries! We would ride, have a few of the beers I mentioned, and ride some more. The day was, crisp, and bright blue. We were lovin' it! I vowed to document the day with photos, but proved to be an extreme amateur with action shots. Ultimately, I decided that I was wasting valuable riding time trying to get the perfect shot, not to mention risking life and limb riding tricky single track one handed, while taking pictures.
Lunch at the Seely "Sawmill"

The good moods flowed, so did the laughs. The Summit Brewing Company is directly responsible for poor decision making on my part as I entered a section of trail called "Wall Street" on the Rock Lake Trail (see Tim Krueger's account of this day as he rode on without us, as he just couldn't wait for our endless delays - I can't blame him). Fueled by an Octoberfest blend I paused briefly to scan "Wall Street", quickly surmised, "No Problem" and dropped in. Lightly concerned that I was having a spot of trouble clipping in my left foot and an apparent boulder field was coming more and more into focus at the bottom of the gully. I surfed my hard sole cycling shoe around the pedal waiting for it to find it's home with the familiar SNAP, but it wouldn't come. "C'mon, c'mon, where are you?", I thought as I fished for the egg beater. "UH OH!", was the next thought when I completely lost the pedal and began the "rudder effect" with my left leg as it dragged behind me somehow attempting to help steer the bike. The seat was popping me in the throat while the rear wheel was buzzing my crotch - not good! Now, being this stretched out made it hard to reach my break levers, in fact I couldn't reach them at all. I began to accelerate into the boulders ahead. "This is going really poorly" I thought, then I saw my front wheel fall perfectly into a slot made for a 29'er and in one twisting, sickening motion I was flung from the bike and into the rocks. A nano- second of an image was burned into my brain, the sight of my front wheel folding up like a tin can.
Random ride and shoot pic.

I collected myself and the Spearfish, reversed the handle bars back to the direction they are supposed to face and pushed the machine up the other side of the gully. Apparently dazed from the fall I looked over the scene I just passed through and saw a hazy Zach running toward me yelling/asking if I was o.k., but in an echo type voice - so weird. Inexplicably, I removed the front wheel from my rig, raised it over my head, and slammed it down on the ground in a hard fast motion. The singing wallop rang through the hard woods and seemed to play on like a guitar player holding a note. I gave the wheel a spin and couldn't believe that it had boinged back into something that looked like a wheel. I put it back in the bike, looked at Zach and said, "Let's try to get out a here without this thing folding up". He simply replied, "I can't believe you did that".
Mmm, mmm, Good!

I limped out of the trail and back to the car with one super wobbly, sketched out wheel, that my favorite mechanic ended up pronouncing DEAD the next day - so sad (and spendy).

Nevertheless, it's all part of the risky game we play in the woods and if you can't laugh at it, you shouldn't be doin' it. We clinked a couple more bottles, changed clothes, dumped the gear in the car and enjoyed the setting sun.

Now, that's what I call a mini camp. See you next year???? You're invited.



Anonymous said...

Sign me up! Put me on the Roster for next year.

Anonymous said...

Eki, who you fooling man? Slow? Shoot, you have not ridden slow since 2000!