Jeff’s birthday is always within striking distance of Thanksgiving, if not on Thanksgiving. Historically, this has made planning birthday celebrations difficult – friends travel out of town to see family for the holiday, people get busy, etc. This year was splendidly different.
About a week before Jeff’s actual birthday, Karin mentioned to Nate (while she and the rest of the Tuesday Ladies Ride riders were waiting for me…) that Jeff wanted a whiskey-fueled urban alley cat for his bday. Nate suggested the next best thing: The Dump Loop.
(Karin, this is more or less how I understand this conversation going down…feel free to correct any misstatements above)
When we returned from the weekly ladies ride, Nate was still at Velo and shared more about what he continued to very nonchalantly refer to as the dump loop. The Jeff Birthday Dump Loop Ride started taking shape: 40ish miles, no skinny tires, some climbing and trespassing, many beers, lots of fun.
On Sunday, we gathered at the Lunchbox in the West Bottoms. Originally scheduled to roll at 10 a.m., we didn’t actually roll out until closer to 11 because there was important pre-ride business to attend to, as demonstrated below.
After some pre-ride beverages and breakfast burritos, all 15 or so of us rolled out. I’m not going to list everyone…if you were there, you know it. Before we left, Nate warned of small spaces and heights and he certainly delivered. While we started riding familiar roads in the more industrial part of the West Bottoms, we quickly found ourselves on the gravel levee trail that’s intended for railroad service vehicles and, from there, on an actual railroad bridge with very little separating us from the Kaw.
To summarize the next bit: a little dirt trail, a few under bridge beers, some hike-a-bike, and more levee trail. The weather was PERFECT. Like, never in recorded history has there been an 11/24 as warm and sunny and perfect for a birthday bike ride as 11/24/2019. Also, Jeff was having a lot of fun. At one point, we collected Zeke who I’m still convinced just, like, materialized on the levee trail like a wizard or something.
After a somewhat stressful multi-track crossing that included Karin getting train-horned and a group of dudes having to back track because they got so excited getting their zoomies out that they didn’t see us stop to cross, we parted ways with Bryn, Tara, and others who had real life commitments and carried on to the eponymous dump.
Naturally, one does not simply ride into a closed/decommissioned waste dump. Fortunately, there was a pretty easy way in, after a quick hike down a hill and around a chainlink fence. Once we were in, it was on. Nate promised good views at the top of the dump, so we climbed. Part of the way up, we saw either a large coyote or a normal sized feral dog, depending on who you ask. With some trepidation on my part, we continued. I do not fuck with feral dogs.
The climb to the top of the dump was…climb-y but rewarding. The views were great and it was an ideal spot for more yard beers and, thanks to the birthday boy himself, a dirtbag charcuterie picnic. If you know Jeff, you know that a dirtbag charcuterie picnic on top of a decommissioned waste dump is very on brand. Happy birthday indeed! Once we finished the requisite beers and snacks, we headed back down the dump hill, which was super fun. Exiting the dump was slightly more adventurous than entering, but we all made it out in one piece.
Onto the next! A cruise downhill and a quick off-road detour brought us to dirt trails, which are apparently intended for horses. As someone who has never ridden trail, I was pleasantly surprised at how fun this part was even though I had to walk some of it. After trading dirt for pavement, we found ourselves a Dollar General and the world’s best/worst liquor store for a quick refuel. Post refuel, Jared and Timme hit the road, but we continued on. We found more spectacular views from a pavilion at City Park, where, upon leaving, Jeff was almost nailed in the head by an errant foul baseball.
I’m not sure when it was decided that we would go to Johnny’s on 7th. Maybe that was the plan all along and I forgot, but that’s where we headed. It was a perfect location to end Jeff’s birthday ride before heading back to midtown since it’s more or less his version Cheers. Our way there included what appeared to be a very fun but also very steep descent down a short hill…the kind of hill that’s perfect for sledding. Karin, Derek and I hung back after the others went down. Derek very valiantly went first and was completely sending it…until the very bottom of the hill, where he endo-ed in truly spectacular fashion. Karin and I proceeded to walk carefully down the hill to checked on Derek. Other than a few scrapes and bruises, he was okay. His shifters, on the other hand, were less fine. After assessing the damage and dusting off, we all headed to Johnny’s for a much needed beverage.
Johnny’s was delightful, as usual. We ran in to Jeff’s younger brother Matt and, later, his older brother Kurt and fiance Lisa, whose actual birthday is 11/24. After a couple rounds, everyone was feeling the day’s adventure and verging on hangry so we headed back to midtown. Derek and Neal accidentally split up from Karin, Nate, Natasha, Jeff, Matt, Zeke, Tread and me after the see through bridge. We took the levee trail and they took roads, which I’m definitely not judging them for. I met back up with them after they spotted us coming up the hill below the Scout and we all made our way back to the house, where Jeff was already doing Jeff things, namely making food and entertaining.
Super solid ride, five giant stars. Thanks to everyone who came out and helped Jeff celebrate 34 full revolutions around the sun. Most of all, thanks to Nate for leading us on a wild one.