[A Midsummer Night's Scream]
Part 1: Getting Hooked

Once upon a twilight cloudy,
I went riding, rough and rowdy...

I began these cycling ventures
Unaware I'd risk my dentures.
Paul had urged me, pleading, chiding,
After work to go out riding.
"Late in June the sunlight lingers;
Fun is slipping through our fingers!"

Every chain he found he'd pull it;
Finally I bit the bullet.
"Well, okay," I said, "Let's do it;
Make the plan and I'll review it."
[Tales I'd heard included groaners;
This galoot had pulled some boners.]

"We'll start off the old coast highway,
Up a seldom traveled byway,
Ten miles up, and then we gun down
Sycamore in time for sundown."
"I don't mean to burst your bubble,"
I replied, "What if there's trouble?"

Now he smiled; he knew he had me!
"We'll bring lights," he told me gladly,
"I've got two; I'll lend you one set.
Even though we're back by sunset,
They'll be there if we should need 'em."
I had qualms, but didn't heed 'em.

I did choose the perfect June night
When we'd have a lot of moonlight.
Just in case, I thought, and wondered
If I hadn't maybe blundered.
We left work, our spirits soaring;
Part of fun in life's exploring!

When we got there mist was creeping
Off the ocean, damp and seeping.
"Not a problem," Paul insisted,
Though my nagging doubts persisted.
"We'll get up above this quickly."
Something in my brain felt prickly.

We rode up the canyon's west side,
Through Wood Ranch (which is the best side).
We were charging each stream crossing,
Water splashing up and tossing,
Swooshing singletrack and cranking
Up rough climbs with drive trains clanking.

Finally at last we crested,
Stopped atop a hill and rested.
Paul asked as we took a breather,
"Gel or ClifBar?" I said, "Neither;
What I really want is water."
I was glad it wasn't hotter.

I was thirsty, tired and sweating,
Though the sun would soon be setting.
Getting back might take an hour;
Having gravity for power
Meant less work, but no vacation,
Not in this rock strewn location.

We rode down a ridge so rocky
That I missed my Kawasaki;
Ruts and sharp-edged bumps so bruising,
We were bouncing more than cruising.
My front forks were getting pounded;
They compressed and then rebounded.

Then my forks made much less chatter
As the trail at last got flatter,
At the bottom of the valley,
Where the road's more like an alley,
By comparison a fairway,
After crashing down that stairway.

Though the canyon here was foggy –
In some patches almost soggy –
We'd fly down the road until it
Dipped to cross the stony rillet.
Then we'd blast in, wildly splashing,
Trying hard to keep from crashing.

Up the other bank and sprinting,
Speeding up till we were squinting,
Then we'd once again be slowing
Just to see where we were going.
Sprinting, braking, coasting, stroking,
Muddy glasses, tired feet soaking.

Fog and dust and darkness coming,
Tired and thirsty, but still humming,
I was having fun, enjoying
This cool ride... so I was toying
With an idea to extend it...
I got more than I intended.

Cruising down was wild and thrilling
Maybe that's why I was willing...
Easy pickings for suggestions,
Do it first and then ask questions...
Paul was looking at me, smiling,
And his voice was so beguiling...

"There's another trail I know where
Bikers aren't supposed to go there."
"That's just government malarkey.
What the Hell," I said, "Anarchy!"
Paul was daring, grinning, winking.
We took off; the sun was sinking.

Sycamore by Starlight - Part 2

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Last updated Oct 20 2006