Bikes. Parts. Chaos.

If you like to ride trail and ever find yourself in the north eastern corner of that little square state in the middle of the map (you know, Ohidawoh) you should really check out the charming little hamlet of Decorah.  This last weekend they had their fourth annual mountain biking extravaganza DirtBurger. Since this is Skip's event, Phil and I decided we had to go down there for it, so Skip wouldn't cry.  Friday morning we packed up the truck and headed on down.

Here is what the truck looked like before Phil and I got underway.

Detail shot. (oh junk strap, is there anything you can't do???)

We got to Decorah around 3 in the afternoon on Friday, and immediately started drinking beer and setting up camp (I had a bottle of gin on the way down, but Phil was driving, so he had a lot of catching up to do).  Skip was there (as Decorah is his personal stomping ground) drunk and ready to sit.  We got camp set up (carefully choosing the perfect spot, because there was a small chance of rain) and joined Skip in his sitting and beer drinking bender. 

Decorah had gotten a large dumping of rain that morning (3 inches in a couple of hours) so the trails were a bit too muddy to ride.  “Oh, well,” we said, “let’s just drink and fire up the smoker.  The trails here dry out pretty quickly and tomorrow we can really shred.

That first night there were only a few of us, sitting by the fire, sharing meat sticks (code?), mixing our clear liquors with our brown and generally having a ruckus.  Phil got that smoker going and around 11pm there were some amazing wings to munch on between conversations about bikes, beer, religion, knives and recipe swapping.  After two in the AM,  things were winding down a bit, and we heard a little thunder, no biggy though, the trails here dry quickly.  I crawled in my tent, and a few minutes later it was pissing down rain.

It rained hard.  The dry creek bed that ran through our camp site turned into a raging river.  It looked a bit like this

Not to worry though, the trails here dry quickly.

That was the last picture that I took, because every other time I wanted to document something, it was pissing down rain. So from this point on, I’ll be using little drawings to help illustrate the story. Like this one.

When I woke up the next morning we had already had our first casualty.  One dude (I’ve changed his name to Blaaron Blieplow to protect his identity) pitched his tent in a spot that looked good the night before, but in the morning looked a bit more like this.

He was just gone, I don’t know if the earth swallowed him up as his tent sunk beneath the deluge, or if he just threw his tent in a garbage can and drove away.  It was unclear to me.  We held a wake for him around 11AM just incase.  The morning was a bit of a challenge, because people kept talking and making noise and that was making little explosions go off in my head, which put me (more or less) in a killing mood.  Phil had to go into town and buy a pair of shoes at the local thrift store cuz his fly was emptying into his old pair.  Never have a pair of Rockports looked so good.

Eight or ten more folks showed up and we hung out, waiting for the hot sun to melt some of the soup from off those trails.  Eventually we remembered that we were “supposed” to eat as well as drink and Phil fired up the smoker once more.  The sun was out, it was beginning to dry and all was right with the world.

Shortly after the smoker go fired up, Skip proposed a ride out of the camp site and down into town to find a bucket, for bucket ball.  The crowd rode down and Phil and I stayed up to keep an eye on the smoker. Forty seconds later, it was pissing down rain again.  Phil and I kept a keen eye on the fire and the smoker from under our hobo tarp.  That lasted about an hour and a half.  When the rain finally let up, we emerged from our tarp fort to find the camp site had mostly been trashed from the rain.  Four tents were down, and a couple that lasted through the wind and heavy rain, had their rain fly open, so most folks had pretty big puddles inside their tents.

Just as the night before Phil and I managed to stay dry but it took us about an hour to get the fire back to full strength and all that cold rain slowed the chicken down quite a bit.

Wasn’t too long before the rest of the crew came back up from town, having found shelter in a sweet local bar (  They got back just as the wings came off and everyone smeared their bodies with the hot fat oozing from the chicken bits.

Twenty minutes after that, the sky opened again, the thunder and lightning came, and then there were ten of us under the hobo tarp fort.

Again it let up and there was talk of jousting, but the weather just wouldn’t forgive.  About midnight I gave up and crawled into my tent, Phil into his hammock and we fell peacefully into the sweet escape of sleep.  Again it rained all night and our hopes of a morning trail ride before we packed up and left were dashed to the stones.

All in all, we had a blast.  Despite the weather and the trail conditions, it was great to see some folks we hadn’t seen in a while and meet some new ones. 

Maybe next summer we’ll ride.