Slaying Dragons



Whataya do with too many cooks in the kitchen? Exactly — start snapping pictures.

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This methodology coincidentally works both in a real, live kitchen as exhibited by the cultural overabundance or overhead food shots (guilty as charged), as well as the proverbial kitchen, which in this case is found on the open roads of Way the Heck Nowhere, California in northern Napa County.

Let’s backtrack some. The date was roughly mid-January and the world still cared about the SuperBowl because it was safely assumed that the laudable Patriots would make it to Santa Clara and the big show. But then Peyton Manning’s wife magically stopped aging and the evil Broncos defeated the mighty Patriots. At which point, the SuperBowl buzz fell silent.

Meanwhile, there was scheming of an event of even greater hype, of more enthusiasm, and of what some have claimed to be more media coverage than the SuperBowl. Needless to say, I’m referring to the SuperBawl — or more accurately, the #SuperBawl.

In honor of an annual and noteworthy event like the SuperBowl, where 300+ pound men are clad in armor in order to hurl themselves at breakneck speed towards one another, all the while throwing an inflated piece of pleather around a synthetic field surrounded by 100,000 inebriated fans, it only makes sense to celebrate such an affair by rounding up a bunch of lithe friends clad in spandex, to don a plastic helmet as “padding” and pedal for an indefinite, but definitely extended period of time.

It was decided that at least 200km was in order. We needed to surpass a significant threashold and triple digits has that covered. But 100 miles wasn’t nearly enough and to say 124.274 miles (that’s 200km, duh) doesn’t have the same ring to it. The masterminds behind this adventure began issuing discreet invitations, knowing that not just anyone who saddles up would be able to (nor want to) participate in this sort of misadventure. This kind of escapade requires guts, it takes discipline, it demands extreme attention to detail, and an iron will. Plus as a small dose of stupidity, and the better part of a Saturday.

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With an ever ebbing confirmed list of hearty participants, our motley crew gathered in Napa at the tender hour of 8:43am. Photos were shot, pockets were filled, and like the valiant horsemen setting off to slay the evil dragon, we five pedaled towards the rising sun.

We witnessed scorched terra firma

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And observed the end of the world…

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And somewhere shortly before halftime in the first annual #SuperBawl, it all got real. That photo at the very top of this entry? We can agree that’s not a standard position for a bike, yes. Here’s a shot captured 30 seconds before that top pic. We’ve just torn a washboard section of dirt road that surely no one has ever ridden a new one. Chris, in blue, has subsequently just discovered that his shifting no long works. Andrew, green, decides it’s a good time to toy with Chris’s cycling computer, while David, in black, tweets about the current status in our legendary journey. Nate, in red, is clearly nervous and is caught gnawing on his fingernails.

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Neither cycling mechanics, Chris and David then go to work. This, below, is a totally normal position by which to work on a bike, right? Everyone has heard of the Shimano’s Internal Junction B Box, of course, so it’s debated and concluded that’s the culpritof this plight, and that particular piece is conveniently placed in an inoperable part of the bike also referred to as its grundle. In summary: Chris is now riding a 53×15 fixie.

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Like the loyal friends we are, the next climb was enough to draw out a sizable gap between those of us with functioning bikes and Chris, who literally was pedaling uphill with all his might at a robust 20rpm. So without difficulty, we dropped him and rode to Middletown.

But then we felt badly about rolling into his beautiful home to his wonderful wife who had concocted this recuperative spread, so we patiently waited for him* and proceeded to team time trial our quintuplet peloton home. Upon reaching the homeland, Chris had pedaled something like 70 miles/110km with an average cadence of 43rpm, unanimously earning the title of VIP SuperBawler. Plus we had a hunch there would be guacamole and we were not disappointed. Guacamole is the best.

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And with that, the first annual #SuperBawl became an instant classic. It wouldn’t be epic without some cool stories. And since we had flawless weather, no mud, rarely a skid, by default it was going to be mechanical. See you next SuperBowl eve for the second annual SuperBawl Classic.

 

*We were seconds away from leaving the convenient store after a quick refreshment stop, and on a whim we called Chris for a quick dose of giggles to hear how far behind he was. Through some miracle that he wasn’t abducted by the ornery folks in big white pickup trucks of Clear Lake, he was only a minute away. So begrudgingly we waited and escorted him home.



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