Riders atop Smoker's Knoll, Pine Mountain. Pre-Turkey din din or meat-free, hurt feelings-free, din din alternative.
Another Thanksgiving Day has passed and what does that mean for us? Well... that means another Appetite Seminar, what many refer to as the Turkey Day Ride, has passed looping the famed hills of Pine Mountain above Fairfax, California. The Appetite Seminar brings out young and old - sometimes riding bicycles subjecting both to the same roller coaster of dirt, in arguably (very easy to argue in fact) the oldest ride in Marin County.
Charlie Kelly, whom Bike Magazine proclaimed "Soul Brother #1" in their recent anniversary edition, celebrating heroes of the sport, can be credited (though you'll see he modestly shirks from it on his website) with the inaugural 1975 Appetite Seminar and those following. Check out amazing historic photos and a true run down of the event's growth and life HERE
Many mountain bike greats attend this ride each year. While huffing and puffing my way up the first "I hate life" ridge of Pine Mountain - crying to myself on the inside and seemingly on the outside as I appeared to be raining myself (it was a warm dry day though a rainforest seemed to have relocated inside of my helmet) I saw Gary Fisher crest the ridge ahead of me, calmly composed, and begin to descend toward where I was zig zagging on the wrong side of the fire road. He looked as though he had exerted no energy whatsoever. His finely waxed trademark mustache didn't appear to carry with it a hint of sweat nor dirt. Lucky.
Riders start near the Fairfax Theater and near Java Hut - with no official start time, it's usually some time before 9AM and someplace downtownish that droves begin to depart in waves.
Later on, while finding myself again wondering how this loop seemed to contain such a remarkable amount of climbing, I spun along nearby Charlie Kelly himself. I can't say I truly rode with him, but I rode near him and he even stopped to ensure a fellow rider had an adequate pump to fix his flat troubles. He was riding an immaculate, drop bar adorned bike that he casually commented could be ridden straight into the Marin Museum of Bicycling / Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, which had wisely scheduled a festivity following the ride and luring posters peppered the loop, reminding riders that they had sore butts and needed beers. Charlie moved swiftly and his beautiful bike made no rude noises despite having a very small helping of gears - a stark contrast from what I was limping along on in a cacophony of metal on metal, shaming an original relic and Soul Brother #1.
Marin Municipal Water District officials guessed roughly 900 riders attended this year's Seminar, a staggering number that invades downtown Fairfax. Sadly, when you get that many riders together, someone is bound to crash. One rider lost control on a descent and suffered a deep laceration in his face and was having difficulty maintaining consciousness. Search and Rescue responded immediately and a rescue bird arrived on Smoker's Knoll.
Our thoughts and hopes were with him, we wish him a speedy recovery.
Bikes and riders of seemingly all walks of life dot the ridges and decorate the streets of Fairfax. True klunkers make historic appearances, often piloted by original owners, tandems come out of the woodwork, some of the first mountain bikes are ridden, and Trail-a-Bikes bounce children along in a let's assume it all goes to plan manner. Everyone seems too happy, officials are even seen smiling.
Turkey spirit in effect - Josh and Katie of Hank and Frank Bicycles, enjoying the festivities. Check out Josh's Rad People Who Ride post here
Nearing the conclusion of the loop was Josh Orlando, a true staple in Marin County mountain biking and mechanic at Fairfax Cyclery, kindly serving pancakes, a tradition Josh has upheld for quite some time.
So, what comes after delicious pancakes and a historic shred fest? Well... beer, duh.
Klunkers and carbon, happily rubbing against one another, must be an event of historic proportions. Quite a lot of WTB tires in that shot...
Do beer and bikes have a correlation? Gestalt Haus was jam-packed, borderline overwhelmed I'd say and bikes belched out into the street.
Mark your calendars for next Thanksgiving - yet another instance of historic and rad living harmoniously together.