Ride Recap: Orinda Pool Party & Ride(s)

2016 Pool Party pool2

            They was a splishin’ and a splashin’

            Reelin’ with the feelin’

            Movin’ and a groovin’

            Rockin’ and a rollin’. Yeah!

                                    –Bobby Darin

Another year and another Different Spokes pool party has now gurgled down the drain. We got some heat this year, real heat and not the so-so heat we’ve had the last few years. In fact it was so hot that poor Howard really started a-reelin’ and we had to call 911 to get him checked out. But more on that later…

Just the facts, Ma’am.

This year 20 men showed up to pedal and paddle, and I do mean 20 men…as in zero women. It was a stag party by default. And no, that didn’t mean we went crazy wild in the pool, folks. Eight animals, who were patently into some kind of BDSM cycling thing, decided to do the new longer, climbier route and seven sane, mild not wild Spokers did the regular, well-mannered, Goldilocks-kinda route. The former was only five miles longer but it took the Pain Gang up Shepherd Canyon Road. Um, that would be the hella steep grind you’ve never heard of. Unless you live over here. Based on the moaning and complaining I got afterwards it was obviously a fantastic hit. With that feedback in mind I’ll definitely plan on an even harder route for you whiners next year. (Hint: if you did the Orinda Hill Hopper with me years back, you know what you’re doing next year, ha ha!) The goal is to utterly silence any kvetching by either having absolutely no one take up the challenge of doing the harder route or only getting dainty, quaint compliments on how absolutely lovely it was! You’ve been warned.

2016 Pool Party ride

Prancing About.

Sal and David Goldsmith led the long route while Doug O’Neill and David Gaus led the regular route with me as the sweep. I can’t say much about the BDSM ride since I wasn’t there. But the vanilla group had a fabulous time. In fact, the mood was very much like one of our Social Rides, i.e. there was a lot of gabbing and gossiping going on. We only shut up after the second hairpin on Pinehurst, when all talking ceases and heavy breathing increases! Of course after catching one’s breath we were right back at it. Topics of the day included the most au courant excuses why we haven’t been riding much (“Girl, I’ve been watching the Olympics! Did you see that David Boudia in the synchronized riding? I’d like to synchronize my dive with him!”); why the brakes must be rubbing the rim because there’s no other reason why I’m going so slowly; what percent grade is Pinehurst??, and “Darling, that kit you’re wearing is absolutely smashing!” Strangely enough the only real topic worth discussing—Howard’s brand new, custom titanium/carbon Seven superbike with SRAM E-Tap shifting(!!!!)—elicited absolutely no notice from anyone other than me (I’m known for my wandering eye—bike eye, that is). So we sashayed up Pinehurst and moseyed along Skyline even stopping twice to take in the view and snap some panoramas and selfies with our phones. On the descent into Berkeley the animals finally caught up with us and vanished off into the distance whilst we continued to meander along Wildcat lost in chatter. On Old El Toyonal Wanderson, who had left with the Queen Bees but then had been mercilessly dropped Mean Girls-style, finally caught up with us and we arrived at the pool party gruppo compatto. The animals (minus Wanderson) had apparently arrived long ago and did not delay in beelining to the Playa del Pédés ‘cause there was a-splishin’ and a-splashin’ going on when we rolled up.

2016 Pool Party food

Mouth Action.

Brunch was the usual—Caesar salad, Aidell’s sausages (this year it was Spicy Mango and Jalapeño), and pasta with pesto made of basil from our garden. There was the usual array of desserts from people designed to give your pancreas a workout and your brain a nice sugar high although chocolates were strangely absent (except for David’s truffles). Of note was Bill Knudsen’s delicious homemade peach kuchen! In contrast to the distant past when beers would have flowed like October in Munich, this was a way dry crowd except for just a few oldtimers. Man, it was like hanging out with Mormons—no alcohol, no chocolate, no caffeine. This training nonsense must stop. Are we a cult yet?

2106 Pool Party gab

Howard’s End.

Although the rides took place under comfortable conditions, with the constant sun the temperature rose into the low 90s over lunch despite the deck being under awnings. After a hard ride and a couple of adult beverages, Howard apparently hadn’t rehydrated enough because he suddenly started to pass out. Jeff screamed, “Howard, who’s the President of the United States?” trying to elicit a coherent response. Being preoccupied in the kitchen, I hadn’t seen anything odd occur. So when I rushed out to see what the hell was going on, Howard actually didn’t look too bad and at least could talk coherently to me. By that time Roger had already summoned 911, and for our next drama we had an upclose and personal visit from our local fire department. Whilst the EMTs administered to Howard, there were murmurs in the background that went back and forth between Howard’s well-being and how lucky he was to get all that attention from the four young, hunky men in uniform. My god, you would have thought there was a porn movie taking place in real life judging from the hushed whispers and salacious side comments. I thought for sure some others were going to faint and ask for medical attention as well. In any case even though Howard seemed well enough he was whisked off to the ER just to make sure (after all he—like some of us—is “of an age”). And no, there was no filming in the back of the ambulance. Naughty boys!

Riding Off Into the Sunset.

Not long after, folks decided they had had enough drama and heat for the day—plus laundry and other mundane tasks demanded attention before Monday’s slog to work beckoned—and riders packed up their beachwear and took off for BART. The Den Daddy went off to the ER to make sure Howard was going to be alright and he returned to get that dip in the pool he missed (as if the pool at Rossmoor wasn’t good enough!). Things quieted down pleasantly leaving just Joe, Lamberto, Roger, Derek and me to shoot the bull about dining in Contra Costa, the vagaries of local pizzerias, and the fabulous amenities at Rossmoor. We didn’t break up until 6:30 making it one long day of fun, food, foolery, and fabulous blathering.

Hostesses With the Mostesses.

This year marks the ninth year of the Orinda Pool Party, originally called the “Recession Special”. (You do remember the Great Recession, don’t you?) Originally it was an excuse to have a ride but also something that was more than a ride. Often the club will do a ride together and then we take off to tend to our busy lives. The Orinda Pool Party was meant to go beyond that. I hope we have succeeded. Well, at least people seem to be coming back! It is also a way for Roger and me to give something back to the club. Clubs survive and thrive on the energy and volunteerism from its members. Although putting on a pool party is perhaps beyond the means of most members, offering to do something for the club is something anyone can do. It can be as simple as stepping forward to sweep a ride you’ve joined, leading a ride, or posting something to the Yahoo! Group. It could be something more ambitious such as helping to plan a weekend getaway or organize a group dinner. Riding isn’t always about “training” even if many of us do enjoy training (although I’m not sure quite what for). Rides can just transport us to different locations but they can also transport us to another level of friendship and camaraderie. Anyone can release their inner Perle Mesta!