Time for a recap of the Friday Night Hoo-Ha put on by the Frank Tuesday crew outside of Kansas City at the Midwest Singletrack Summit. Start time was set for 8pm. Although that was just a suggestion, a huge crowd had gathered by the time we rolled up. The beer drinking was already going strong as most of us had started much earlier.
The Minneapplepuss crew gets a derby going in a tight spot up front bound on one side by concrete barrier walls that saw more that one rider driven into them. Riders go down, bikes are injured, the people cheer and someone produces a blow-up sex doll that surfs the crowd. Yee-haw, things are starting off good. The FT crew produces a box of skinny, flexible glow sticks that get lit up and heaved in the air. Bikes are adorned with phosphoresce, the word is called and 100+ riders head off into the night.
The woods are on fire with a train of lights and glow sticks that snakes and turns, providing odd perspectives and giving you a real feel for what the lay of the trail is, one that is usually hidden by foliage. Riding wheel-to-wheel and hammering it out over the rocky, technical terrain, riders are going down left and right. Since we are no longer in derby mode I do them the courtesy of not running over their rigs or bodies. The ride leader misses a turn and we do a quick bushwhack to get back on course. This later proves to be a problem for riders in the back of the pack.
After about 5 miles we pop out into the field and are welcomed by the sight of the Frank Tuesday limo sitting with a keg of New Belgium beer in the back. Ricky D and I are right there in front, the disco cowboy arrives shortly, but Spearmint is no where to be seen. After a couple of beers we figure he must have bailed out. It takes a while for all of the riders to filter in. We sit under the stars in the cool night and watch the lights traveling along the ridge, wrapping through the woods working their way towards the sweet nectar we are enjoying. Finally, all of the riders dribble in, some were lost, others just slow. Spearmint rolls in DFL for some reason I can't recall.
And then there was fire. As should be expected with a group this large and alcohol flowing, some kind of havoc is going to ignite, whether figuratively or literally. At some point a bottle of flammable liquid is produced (charcoal lighter fluid?) and the trail running through the field is doused and set ablaze. In a moment of bravery/stupidity/bad timing, a rider decides to ride through the flames. Simultaneously the fire starter decides the flaming strip of trail needs to be longer and squirts it down. This is a bad idea (and I speak from experience), as the stream of liquid hits the fire it travels up to the container and ignites the bottle. It's at this time the rider has enter the flames and our pyro begins to panic, shooting flaming liquid in the air, igniting bike and rider before moving to the grassy field and squirting things in a random fashion. Of course we aren't anywhere near water. The fire is extinguished by a bunch of foot stomping and somehow the pyro escapes with out getting punched out. It's time to go, stage 2 awaits.
Saddle up and crank out some more singletrack for a few miles until we get to a steep, wide, grassy hill that falls off to our right, dropping down into the black unknown. Down, down, down we blaze into the night at top speed with the wind in our hair, charging through to a big open field at the bottom. We turn and watch for the rest to watch the rest of the crew approach. Quite a few people wait at the top, unsure about making the plunge. Of course we have no problem heckling them into submission. With as many riders as were out that night though, we had to repeat this scenario a few times in order to get everyone to the bottom. A few riders are ripping it Batman style - no lights. These guys get extra cheers and Chet Peach designates a special bike pile for these select few where you are required to heave your bike on top of the rest.
After everyone is gathered up in the field, the Minister of Chaos announces the next event: climb the hill. Lots of groans in the crowd, but sorry suckers, the only other way out is to ride a couple of miles on a fire road. The single speeders are designated to go first, but no one ever yells go so we eventually just charge the hill. It's steep. Even with the wide open field run, nailing the whole thing is impossible. Running the second half is painful, it brings back memories of stage 8 of the Dirt Rag Punk Bike Enduro. At the top it's hop on the bike and get rolling again, keg stop number 2 is next.
Fast and spanky is the next section and since we are at the top, we get to roll down and get some speed. Just in time for the finish, a giant gravel pile about 30 feet high, that everyone charges in an attempt to get to the top. This is event number 2. The FT limo rolls up again, pulling up with a flashlight spotlighting out the window making us think the man is on to our game. Luckily it's just tonight's organizers and they are sporting more of the New Belgium. As the crowd gets wound up the attempts to reach the top of the pile get better. Frank Tuesday announces the highest bid gets one of two customized frames - one adorned with porn pictures, the other sporting a sweet flame job. In reality, they get given a way randomly sometime later in the night. No matter how fast you go, the instant you hit the big, chunky rocks your speed is sucked up. Stoner makes it to the top in a bold move as he stops 3/4 the way up, grabs his Karate Monkey and claws his way up the gravel. Sweet.
Eventually the keg moves on and we hit the trail again and we head back to Summit central to put away a few more beers before the night is done. Nice job boys.
KC Hat Trick //
Tuesday - March 23, 2004
We went to Missouri to ride trail, and that's what we did. Our plane hit the tarmac in Kansas City around 8pm Thursday where we are met by Frank Tuesday and his girl who whisk us off to some pre-Summit festivities which consisted of depleting the night's stock of Fat Tire ale, followed by any other beer we could get our hands on, followed by someone making a late night run for more beer. The heartiest among us finally ended the night at 3:30am.
A mere two hours later and we are up, stuffing our gear back together and suiting up for the morning ride. The FT limo rolls up at 6:20 and we rustle together a crew of bleary-eyed SSers for dawn patrol. Fifteen single speeders and a gearie hit the Blue River trail where we punch out some tight and twisty singletrack before most people are out of bed. By 3pm we are on ride number 2, hitting Landahl Park where trails with names like Swedish Erotica and Rim Job are serving up tasty technical goodness you wouldn't expect in Missouri. When we get back the New Belgium kegs get tapped and we start getting primed for the night.
The Frank Tuesday night ride is set for 8pm and something like 100 riders show up. An impromptu derby takes place that injure a few bikes and people, then it's off to the woods for some night riding as a train of bulbs snake through the singletrack for the FT ride, complete with two separate keg stops and "special events" - more on this later.