Brauer's WedNiteRide report for 6/18/08[editor's note: Peter's last post, the one with the picture of the sandwich, was a preamble of sorts to the following narrative. Sov, known to the readers of this blog as Skip Bernet, has moved his place of residence to a place most decidedly out of the 612 area (though he remains gainfully employed by the twirly-thinking hill billies known as Surly Bikes) and as such was treated to a proper send off on his last wednesday night here by a number of the usual suspects. A record of the efforts and effects of this endeavor, mostly wholly uneditted, follows. Due warning here and now that it contains what some people refer to as "bad words."
Dr. Brauer T. Poweur, the author of this peripatetic screed, occasionally wakes up long enough to drool out such fare, usually for no one in particular, although Surly News is happy to publish his work in large part because he requires and receives zero dollars for his efforts. He enjoys beer drinking, bicycle riding, getting new scabs, and being confused about Iowans.]
Not since the days of Kabuki Joe have I been so excited to derby the shit out of someone, with the intent that they would never come back. This past Wednesday was my chance: the big wheel eating meanie known as Sov was finally packing his bags for greener pastures. I think we right scared him, and he knows he's not welcome in the six-one-two anymore.
I can only assume that all the other attendees are still too sore to write their account of the madness of last Wednesday. I'll do my best to recount.
Cockleburr and I departed our secret downtown lair at the usual time, with a stop for both fuel and food. We arrived to a dozen or so ne'er do wells and ex-cons (seriously, MoJo was there). Notables attendees included Pss Drzzled, the Butcher, ZitoxOne, J. Lemkiller, Diamond David Lee Roth, Sovern the Giant (has (had?) a posse 7'5" 520 lbs), GrayBoy (2008 hippie mix), Skinny Santa, Hairy Jim, and Kiltie John (on his virgin WNR) all were present. Notable absenstees included Corrosion (where's the love?), T-Bag and the CRC crewe. Radio communication revealed that the CRC crewe had misplaced their directions to the bandshell, and thought the WNR met at the Walker and liked to go golfing.
The WNR decided we were all golfed out after the epic US Open this weekend, so we pointed eastward with the goal of crossing every bridge across the creek. But first we had to have to have a warmup derby. My early attempts at taking Sov down were thwarted, though someone succeeded. I forget who won the first derby, but the important thing is that Sov did not. We rolled around the north side of the lake to the alleys on the east side of the lake, then southward toward the creek. At some point Sov claimed he called a no-drop ride, so we stopped at the Lynnhurst park tennis courts for another derby. Sov didn't win (though he did punk me a few times--a coaster brake is not the best slow speed derby tool). The few people we dropped were not to be found, so we rolled on. Within a few blocks we passed a few kids on hybrids, and encouraged them with beer to join us. I led the charge across the first bridges of the night. We ended up on the singletrack
below the Bryant Bridge, and scrambled up the hill to the library for our first beer break. Much to our surprise, our new underage friends were still riding with us. Sadly, we had to reneg on our ride-by promise of beer. They couldn't have been more than 16.
We rolled on. A coaster race, another scramble up a hillside, another derby Sov didn't win, across Nicollet and down one of the funner alleys in that area, below 35W on some dirt (sorry--crossing on the freeway just wasn't worth it), and an attempt at the wobbly bridge skillz finally brought us to the bronze rabbit at Portland and the creek, where we met up with Grizzly Molenda and KK Downing. Some more beer and derbying ensued, with a precious moment when Sov absolutely destroyed GeneO, but fortunately took himself out as well. Cockleburr and Pintz tried to ride over the rabbit, with some laughable falls as the predictable result.
Earlier in the night, I had declared the intention of playing bucket ball, a long lost WNR tradition. I felt the best shot we had at finding a league-issued bucket was in the 48th and Chicago area, as businesses tend to have more use for 5 gallon buckets than the public at large. We pointed in that direction, maintaining our bridge crossing agenda. Soon we found ourselves behind Adrian's Tavern, and more derbying ensued. Ziegmeister cleared a path to the back door, and brave Butcher rolled straight through the bar and to the front patio. Before they knew what hit them, the patrons of Adrians had 15 drunk cyclists riding through their bar. Fortunately they were a tolerant and easily entertained folk, and we weren't kicked out. Pitchers were soon being drained as quickly as they were filled. I took a moment to scour the neighborhood for a bucket, and I found the perfect candidate.
We set up the 1st bucket ball game in at least 3 years in the parking lot across the street from the bar--the perfect venue for folks to hang out and watch and drink while we destroyed each others bikes, bodies, and the bucket. The first game was 3 on 3 and was played with mucho gusto; it was almost as we'd never stopped playing. It was a lopsided victory for the other team, 3-1. It was a hard fought game though. We took a beer break, and started game two. I believe game two was four on four. We were about 2 points into it when the cops rolled up. Apparently the neighbors were complaining, so we reluctantly called the game and retreated to the patio. We finished our beers, and rolled back through the bar the way we came.
Cockleburr brought us to McRae Park, a mere 4 blocks from the bar. According to WNR lore, McRae park was the birthplace of bucketball, a night I cannot claim to have been apart of. The thing about McRae park is that they have built us a perfectly sized Bucket Ball Court. It was a sight to behold: smooth asphalt, about 120 feet long, 40 feet wide. They even had nets, but only the Pros are good enough to use those. We had an epic 7 on 7 battle. One goal was actually scored in the net, but we quickly decided that was too difficult a goal. Just getting it across the blue line is good enough. As we took our first break from another bruising game, our good friend Johnny Law rolled up once again. Fortunately it was a different cop than we had seen 30 minutes before. We rolled on.
We continued on our conquest of the creek, and eventually found ourselves on the tennis courts adjacent to Lake Hiawatha. Our 3rd and final round of ball happened here. Who really knows who won or lost here. I know at least 2 wheels were de-trued (complimentary, I may add), and they were both 700s. We had no problems with the cops, being at least 3 blocks from any nearby houses. Exhausted, we retreated to the safe confines of the Sunblock Out for some late night fuel and food. Ham sammiches were on the menu as usual, in addition to the delicious and intoxicating 3.2 beer. Not surprisingly, my memory gets foggy at this point and details are a little sparse. We had over half the crew left when we left the Sunblock, but most elected to go home, including Zito, a rare denial on his part. In the end, it was Cockleburr, Grayboy, Sov, Kilty John, and myself who descended to the depths of the creek flats for a fire at the pit. Surprisingly there were no freaks (ourselves excluded of course) to be found down there. All I remember is beer, fire, repeat. We left somewhere south of 4:00am. Sov's boy was due up in a half hour, I wasn't due up for a half a day. The bird's were starting to wake. As Cockleburr later said, it was a black and blue ride. When you leave the shell, the sky is black, and when you get home, its blue.
All said, this was definitely a ride for the books (who has those books anyway????). Best ride since my return. Sov didn't win a derby, but I also didn't take him down or fuck his wheel up as he's done so many times to me. In reality Sov will probably be on a ride again sometime, and maybe even soon. We'll miss him though. Well, not the destroying wheels part, but the other things. And if you look towards the south on a really clear day, the kind of day where you can see forever, if you look really really close you'll be able to see Sov lumbering across the horizon, towering over the weak minded folks of Iowa, banjo in his hand.