Monday, July 21, 2008

Truth in Advertising

We said it was going to be super, and it was super. 100 miles super. All night and most of the day super. Classical yodeling super. Masked vigalante super. Waterslides with the Deko Family super.

11:00pm - 1:00am. We leave Turtle Park and follow the scenic shores of River Des Peres on its meandering route through South St. Louis. As we a approach Lemay a Grandma and Grandpa in a Mercury Grand Marquis refuse to take no for an answer and squeeze recklessly through the FBC peleton. Grandma gives me the finger as she cuts through the pack.
Eventually we turn north leaving the River Des Peres behind and begin following the Mighty Mississipi upstream towards downtown. At some point on our route up Broadway the back of the pack encounters a large snake in the middle of the road. After a near miss or two a few FBC Lifetime Members for life successfully capture and relocate the serpent to the grass on the side of the road. Soon after a man on the side of the road without provocation insists that we 'go fuck ourselves.'

1:00am - 3:00am. The FBC arrives at Laclede's Landing. Some of us are surprised to find that that creeping sensation you feel in your spine when drunken violence is imminant is not unique to Soulard Mardis Gras; it can be felt any weekend night on Laclede's Landing.

Once inside the bar it briefly seemed as though the Feisty Bulldog was an oasis of relative calm in the hurricane strengh shit storm that is Laclede's Landing on a Friday night. Then we went downstairs.

The basement of the Feisty Bulldog was like an awesome dance party in hell. There was enough strobe light to make even the most insensate person consider going epileptic. There was a guy with a microphone. There was a pole. Some dude made it rain dollar bills.

3:00am. Bars close. All the drunks pour out onto the street. Four volatile meatheads hang around bothering the bike riders. One of them is naked for several minutes. He is not the kind of man most people would want to see naked. While the naked man and his three buddies are wandering around looking for someone to fight, the crew that intends the ride all the way to Raging Rivers assembles. There are 14 of us. We fix a couple of flat tires and head to the river front trail.

3:15am - 5:00am. We ride the Missouri section of the riverfront trail in the dark. We are psyched. The weather is perfect, no crippling head wind. We decide to stop at Cementland Party Pier. There are two people camping out there already. No matter what Don says, they were not having sex.

As we reach the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge we notice that there is a man with a bicycle standing at the gate. He has a bandana covering his face. The gate is open. We had expected to have to jump the gate and were pleasantly surprised to not have to. We said hello to the masked man, who said nothing back and started across the bridge. Two thirds of the way across the bridge the masked man pedals up along side us, passes us and races ahead to the Illinois side. As he reaches the Illinois side gate he gets off his bike, digs in his pocket, produces a key and unlocks the huge padlock on the gate. He opens the gate for us and stands aside. I ask him who he is. No response. I ask to take a picture. He waves his hand no. We thank him and pedal in to Illinois. Who was that masked man? Why was he helping us? We may never know.

5:00am - 5:53am. We are riding the Illinois side of the trail disscussing in disbelief our encounter with the masked man we named Snake Eyes. We pass the still unfinished Lewis and Clark tower.

5:53am. Sunrise. The spoke card ceremony is held on the trail over looking an RV dealership outside of Wood River Illinois. Joe Deko, Chris Smentowski, Nicole, Emily, Christine, Monica, Henry, Don, Michael, Drew, Alissa, Katie, Trent and myself proudly hang one of the rarest spoke card in FBC history in our spokes.

6:00am - 7:15am. Trent has his magic radio strapped to his bike and KDHX is playing some awesomely weird stuff. For at least ten minutes there is yodeling set to Bethoven. When the classical yodeling ends the DJ remarks that he would be happy to play any requests. I make the call. He picks up after one ring and I explain the situation. 'Me an my friends are in a bike club and we are riding our bikes to Raging Rivers. We've been riding all night and we still have a long way to go. Could you play our Official Unofficial Theme Song?'

He has Grand Old Flag, but its at home.

'Well how about something else patriotic? Do you have Battle Hymn of the Republic? No, ok. Well how about Surfin USA by the beach boys, we are headed to the water park after all.' He doesn't have that either but he assures my he'll play something will like.

A Minute later he's back on the air. 'So I just got this weird call from a bunch of bike riders who have been riding their bikes all night on the way to Raging Rivers and they wanted to hear someting patriotic. They even asked for Battle Hymn of the Repulic and I told them that I didn't have it. Well it turns out that I do have it, and its a really wierd version by Jim Nabors, who you may remeber as TV's Gomer Pyle.'

And so at 6:30 in the morning we listened to Gomer Pyle sing Battle Hymn of the Republic on a bike path in Southern Illinois after a long night of bike riding. It was one of the most strangely beautiful moments of my life.

7:15am. Breakfast at the GB Grill in Alton. The GB grill is a diner that is run by an old Greek couple that have been married for 52 and half years. They are fucking adorable. The man, Mr. Boukas, has a jet black mustache. Slingers are not on the menu but Mr. Boukas did agree to cover ham and cheese omlettes in chili for Trent, Henry and Myself.

The GB Grill does not have a bathroom for customers so some of the girls placed their orders and then set out hunting for a place to pee. Luckily right next store to the GB is The Sand Bar, which was not only open, but serving alchohol to a handful of loyal customers. Between breakfast with the Boukas's and a pick me up at the Sand Bar I think everyone came out of our morning pit stop feeling like a million bucks.

8:00am - 9:59am. The final stretch from Alton to Raging Rivers. There is a light rain falling and it feels amazing. But its still a long way on a very straight very exposed road. This last section is starting to feel like the longest part, and then the phone rings. Its Peat Henry. He Just started his long bike ride to his work in Ballwin and is calling to check in and see how everything is going. So I tell him. I tell him everything. He sounds stunned. 'Man I can't believe I had to miss it. I'm gonna ride with you in spirit.' It was just what we needed to hear.

9:59am. We see the entrance to Raging Rivers and spontaneously sprint to the finish. The park opens at 10:30 so the parking lot is basically empty. We use the open space to ride victory laps with our hands held straight up in celebration. Then we find some cool grass to lie in and wait 30 long minutes for someone to unlock the gates. The person who finally unlocked it wasn't even wearing a disguise.



Blogger FBC Spokane said...


July 21, 2008 8:17 PM  
Anonymous deko said...

Mike Bussman,

wherever you are, driving in your french fry fueled wonder vehicle - god bless you man

this was the ride that the fiasco was borned for

July 21, 2008 9:24 PM  
Blogger roseblablabland said...

i was there! yes! thank you trent. way to represent. i love you guys. im so sory i missed that one. how do i prove that im still epic? im sure ill find a way.

July 22, 2008 12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who WAS that masked man? FBC is living right. We even have bike angels! Maybe he'll show up and fix flats too.

July 23, 2008 12:41 PM  
Blogger Alissa said...

Best last weekend of my 26th year that I could have imagined. You are all awesome.

July 25, 2008 9:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget about the world naked bike ride this saturday, august 2, at tower grove park. Meet at 7pm leave at 9pm.

July 31, 2008 1:58 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Cool post. Wish I could've made it. I had to make a deal with the devil (my husband) to not go to this one, but my goal is to do one in September, if you have one then. I'll be doing the Moonlight Ramble in August.

July 31, 2008 4:58 PM  
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