Saturday’s club ride was another delightful romp in the hills, from Ione to Volcano and up the fearsome sounding Ram’s Horn Grade, whose slopes, while significant, are far from fearful. Then down Shake Ridge Road, an easy descent make difficult by irritated pickup drivers irked that cyclists are allowed to use their roads and delay them for 20-30 seconds.
One such pickup roared past a group of riders, including yours truly, then pulled onto the shoulder and spun his wheels in the gravel, raising a cloud of dust for us to inhale before he hopped back onto the pavement and sped down the hill ahead of us. Just another friendly encounter with a foothill local, a deliberate and pre meditated attempt to show cyclists who is boss.
Still the perfect weather had the large group of SBC riders (24 took the start) in a fine mood, and the conversation and kidding were lively all day. And the star of the day was Don H, aka ‘Chief’ or ExTrez’, husband of ‘Grasshoppa’, and our Oldest Member.
P.G. Wodehouse is one of my favorite writers, and some of his Golf Stories are introduced and narrated by the cantankerous clubhouse denizen known as the Oldest Member. Don H is the Stockton Bicycle Club version of that literary creation, possessing a cutting wit and high intelligence with a cranky streak and no intention to suffer foolishness quietly. He is the ‘Oldest Member’ that regularly does club rides, and he is a very strong rider period, not just very strong for his age.
Saturday was ExTrez’s birthday and since he is such an entertaining figure we sang Happy Birthday to him not once, but twice! Once in Volcano at the mid ride break, and once at the end of the ride. The second performance was aided by some cold libations that appeared from various ice chests fully stocked for this special occasion.
The Stockton Bicycle Club has a fair number of characters, some of whom possess character. Don H is among that group. Happy Birthday Chief!