A little while ago I caught onto what started as a joke between @Bikerly and @LovingTheBike on twitter. They were talking about #secretevilplan, I was curious and threw in some fun anecdotes. From there it turned into jokes about water bottle concoctions etc... Then we joked a little less and started to think about where we could go with a #secretevilplan event even though we are geographically diverse. I was not successful in coming up with a plan but @bikerly came up with a great one. And we move forward.
Was called up by a close riding friend Chris who I had not ridden with in years and another old friend's younger brother was to come along. We tossed the idea of meeting at a new location for two to three of us as I was not sure if Ryan had ridden there before. I knew my buddy Mike had ridden there before and we had only ever raced together and regularly near missed group rides together. An unlikely group of riders all different speeds and styles showed up at the lot.
All of us excited about a ride we got through the "hey how goes it's" etc quickly and got on the bikes. Ryan apparently knew the trails best so he led. I decided to jump in second and we were off. Went through a couple nice tight pine switchbacks and then into a dark spot. Not sure if it was Ryan's yell "mud" that spooked me or just a slippery puddle, I dropped the bike but successfully ran along side somehow. Mike and Chris passed and I rejoined the back of the train. I slid in front of Chris on a loose rocky climb only because I needed to keep the momentum on the singlespeed. We rode through a few more pine switchbacks and stopped for water and a little chat. All was well and we started up in the same order as we stopped. At this point Ryan moved forward followed closely by Mike, Myself and Chris. After a few more tight twists and turns and a little gravel climbing I realized Chris had lost a little pace on us. I took a left and yelled out left for him to follow. Two more climbs and I realized that where there had been four there were now three.
I decided now would be a good time to stop and wait for Chris as this was a group ride with friends and not a race. I also called to the guys ahead but they were on their way down a loose rocky downhill and did not hear me. I watched as they rode off into the distance. Waiting a little longer I turned back expecting a bail or mechanical had occurred. Not only did I not find Chris but another group of riders had not seen him either. I was in a set of 50km of trails that I did not know from Adam, and to that matter I did not remember the way out as I had followed a tire in and not paid attention to which turns were made.
I rode for approximately 15km before finding the carpark. I yelled names every so often and asked other groups if they had seen my group or a stray. There was writing in dust on my van saying Chris had been there 10 mins ago but went back in. The chase was on I sprinted through "all the original singletrack" without the mud bail this time. Realized I was lost again and wound through a real nice technical section of climbs (that likely are mapped as downhills) found the carpark alot quicker this time though after about a 5km loop. Got to the carpark and Mike and Ryan were there, we started talking and Chris showed up. They all started putting their bikes away and we chatted for a while. I said to Mike that I was still feeling great and had heard from Ryan about a nice loop I had missed. He apparently did not realize I was serious and got changed.
The others left and I turned back in, Mike yelled out that he wanted another loop but was already comfortable so he left. I had an amazing 10km loop with no worries about finding the others and packed it up and went home.
How does this story relate to twitter and #secretevilplan? How does this relate to @bikerly or @lovingthebike? These two guys were nowhere near this ride. I did not even chat about this ride with them before or after. I may have tweeted about loosing friends in the trail but that's about it. What did I learn while riding this set of trails? Did I learn about a great new set of trails? of course I did but this is not my point. Did I learn that riding alone is more fun than in groups? Heck no!! Really I may have learned a little about riding but this is not really why I am writing this story.
I am writing this because @Bikerly came up with a great idea for #bikeschool, things learned while riding. Not necessarily things learned about riding. I learned on this ride in particular that I there needs to be a better way of communicating amongst a group when group riding, maybe it should be radio's maybe it should be cellphones? Maybe everyone should stay still when they realize they have been separated and then slowly retrace their steps. Probably does not matter what the method is but communication of a plan before the ride is key. Or maybe communication with friends is the real key.
If you have stories of things you have learned about life through cycling tweet about it using #bikeschool or maybe some more #bikeschool bloging. Now I guess we will have to think up another #secretevilplan.
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