Last night's "Thrilla in Woodinvilla" ride was a special one. Kevin, the leader of the ride and founder of this arcane combination of neighborhood trails, has been having a bit of bike trouble lately. One bike he has is broken beyond repair and the one he does ride has a completely blown-out fork and, essentially, doesn't fit him that well. To make matters worse, his budget doesn't allow for expensive bike repairs let alone a new bike. It was getting to the point where he was starting to not attend his own weekly ride... the one he's been leading every week for several years. And what's special about this is that a lot of people who use this route owe a lot of their fitness and/or racing success to it. It's an excellent training ride. I know for certain that I wouldn't be where I am fitness wise right now without Kevin's "weekly excuse to drink barleypop".
So, two weeks ago, several of us got to talking about it over beers and the decision was made to try and take up a collection to see about getting Kevin's bikes fixed up. A multitude of emails and 48 hours later, there were 20 people committed to contributing enough money to buy Kevin a new bike. And that's what we did. And fortunately, one of the local shops even gave us a pretty good discount when they heard what we were up to and who it was for.
Now, of course, this was all a big secret. Kevin had no idea. And I'm sure he was wondering why there were 21 people signed up for his ride last night when it normally only draws a half dozen or so, give or take a few irregular attendees. Nevertheless, he hadn't a clue. In fact, he didn't even get suspicious when his wife -- whom none of us had ever met before -- showed up at the restaurant after the ride. And yet even when Bill stood up and started talking about us being there to honor Kevin and to thank him for the years of leading this ride, he still didn't believe him. And when Bill then informed him that, as a sign of thanks, we bought him a new bike, Kevin's reply was, "Yeah, right, sure you did. Ha ha."
Finally, Kevin was told to stand up and look behind the crowd. And there it was, the new Redline Monocog Flight 29er. A single-speed 29er, just like he wanted, with mechanical disc brakes and some pretty nice wheels to boot. And best of all, he saw the bike outside and commented to someone, "I wouldn't mind having that". So we know we did well.
It was pretty cool watching him look over his new bike, and you can tell he was somewhat in shock from the surprise. After all, nobody ever expects other people to buy them a new bike, least of all people who you wouldn't have met if not for an online ride calendar on a mountain bike website. Big kudos to Bill H. and Doug C. for building up the bike and to Bob A. for getting the ball rolling. It was cool to just be a part of it and to have a way to say thanks for giving so many of us a great place to train each week.
I'll post pictures later; the camera is still in my truck and it's raining pretty hard outside. I'll get it later.