The 2015 Orinda Pool Party had 24 attendees, the most ever. Despite seesaw weather all summer here in Contra Costa—heat waves followed by spells with colder than normal temps—the day of the Pool Party we were lucky to hit it just right with sun and mid-70s. Perhaps it was the forecast that brought out the crowd, perhaps it was offering two rides instead of the usual one, or maybe it was the end of post-AIDS LifeCycle ennui. We had the usual, ‘classic’ route up Pinehurst and down Grizzly and Wildcat, and we added a second route for those who wanted more of a workout, just five miles longer, that went out to Lafayette and up the Lafayette-Moraga Regional Trail before rejoining the regular route. Seven folks did the regular route, ten the long, and seven folks did neither and came just to the party.
Both routes have a moderate amount of climbing with the added challenge of short but gritty steepness at the top of Pinehurst. But any recreational cyclist can do the routes riding piano. David Gaus and I led the regular route and it was a chatty affair, in fact like a slightly faster Social A ride! Besides the usual club gossip and girl talk several of us had a long discussion of the recent Velonews article on heart injury and overtraining as we, of course, climbed up Pinehurst. Perhaps that’s why we took it at a “festive” rate rather than redlining it all the way up. Some of us senior members are getting uncomfortably familiar with medical terms like “atrial fibrillation” and “supraventricular tachycardia”. Then triggered by Doug Dexter’s recounting of his recent partial knee replacement, we had to go into boring war stories about our own knee and hip issues. Thank god no one started talking about crashes or head injuries else we might never have shut up about such a depressing subject. The chatter was only briefly interrupted by gasping on the steep upper section of Pinehurst and resumed all the way to Sibley for a rest stop that turned into another round table. Fortunately no one seemed to be in a rush!
This year we had just one female participant, Rana. The low number of women turning out for club events continues to be a challenge for us. We lost a couple of women when we had to reschedule the pool party because of the unexpected BART closure at the beginning of August and they couldn’t make this new date. Rana was fresh from a bike tour all the way down from Alaska (!) and was sporting a fractured bottom bracket housing that creaked every time she pedaled. She quickly allayed my concern, explaining that it was the bottom bracket assembly and not the bottom bracket of the frame itself that was cracked!
We made it to the Brazilian Room in Tilden Park where I was to phone Roger to let him know the group was about a half-hour away from arriving, only to find out there is no cell signal. Seriously? At the center of Tilden Park where there are countless weddings and events?? Thanks, AT&T! By then those on the long route finally caught up, so we all ended up arriving at the party at the same time save for David Goldsmith who had missed the turn at Wildcat and ended up lost somewhere in Tilden Park. He eventually found his way back to the route and arrived long after we’d given him up for dead.
While we were cavorting in the Berkeley hills, Roger and Jim had done a marvelous job of final tidying and set up as well as preparing the appetizers. Almost everyone ended up jumping in the pool to cool off and refresh. No artful synchronized swimming was seen in the pool; instead folks were continuing to gab up a storm while reposing in the water.
There was tons of food; among the notables were Andrew and Evan’s delicious and beautifully displayed heirloom tomato salad and Doug O’Neill’s fabulous homemade oatmeal cookies.
The non-riders who attended weren’t just the “bike widows”. Some Spokers opted just not to ride, including Dennis Nix, former DSSF VP and new Apparel Coordinator Brian Leath and his partner, and the Den Daddy Derek Liecty. Derek was freshly back from a long 4,500 mile car trip in Europe, another check mark on his bucket list. Apparently he got five speeding tickets too!
Folks must have been enjoying themselves because it was late in the afternoon before they took their leave, sliding down the hill to BART and thence to home sated and tanned.