Carl and Dave ride up an Ester Dome trail none of us had ever done before.

Last official ride of the season and we finally needed lights. Only toward the end, though. And only because we had to fix a flat tire for the Loser. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Three diehards showed up. Dave, Carl, and Eric. But Eric didn’t realize he had a big L painted on his forehead. He began to realize when he saw Dave ride up. (Yes, Dave rode to the ride start. Dave was not a loser on this ride!)

Dave had his Big Honking Freight Train Light on his helmet. Another one was on his handlebars. Between the two he has like a billion lumens of light. When he’s riding on the road cars flash him, demanding that he turn down his brights. When Eric saw Dave’s Big Honking Freight Train lights, Eric realized he had forgotten his lights! Loser!

Dave had a solution. He could let the Loser borrow one of his lights. But Dave hesitated. He and the Loser had lumen history. The history goes back to when Dave first started his lumen addiction. Other riders were impressed. Until Dave shown those Big Honking Freight Train lights into their eyes. Then the other riders were annoyed. Agh! Turn it off! Turn it off! This only caused Dave to laugh louder and more maniacally.

Then last season, when a similar light situation arose (when Eric was a Loser again), Dave lent his headlamp to the Loser. Partway through the ride the Loser realized he had a payback weapon on his head. He waited until it was dark. He waited until Dave was looking the other way.

Loser: Oh, Dave?

Dave, turning: Yeah?


Dave: Agh! Turn it off! Turn it off!

Loser laughs loudly and manically!

It may have happened more than once.

So this ride Dave hesitated before offering the Loser one of his lights. He demanded a promise first. No blinding lights in the eyes. The Loser slumped his shoulders and agreed. He was, after all, a Loser. He also noticed that Dave didn’t hand over the light right away. That would come only if necessary.

Then the ride discussion started. The Loser had a plan that didn’t include any part of the Eva Creek Trail, namesake for the ride. Dave thought the ride should include the Eva Creek Trail. The Loser lost.

But his mood lightened as soon as we hit trail. Dave stopped. He was looking at a puddle. It looks deep, he said. I’m going around, he said. The Loser was incredulous. It’s not that deep, he said. It was. But since the Loser is aka Swamp Thing, he was happy!

We then rode up one of the mining maze trails off the Intertie and managed to not get lost. Big achievement.

Us not getting lost!

We then faced a Steep Climb. Dave said he was going around. Carl said he was going for it. The Loser said he would go for it, too. Carl made it to the top. Guess what happened to the Loser? What a weenie!

Carl peels after some hard-earned sweat from making it up the Steep Climb while Dave enjoys the view.
Er, of the scenery. Dave enjoyed the fall colors. I don’t THINK he enjoyed looking at Carl’s sweat.

More fun riding ensued, including the Happy Ridge Trail and some Ester Dome mining trails we hadn’t ridden before. Great times!

The Loser waits atop a climb on the Trail We Had Never Done Before. Photo by Dave.

Along the way we learned that when Dave was younger he “found” himself in India. Seriously. Now, Dave denies that, but that’s because he wants to keep up his Grumpy Old Man facade and deny his true Inner New Ager. Ask him about it sometime. You’ll see that his denials are weenie denials. We also found out some juicy family history from Carl, but we won’t go into it here. There has to be some advantage for actually showing up to the rides!

We hit the Ester Dome Singletrack entrance off St. Pat’s and started climbing.

The awesome bike fix-it kit put in by Goldstream Sports at the Ester Dome Singletrack kiosk. The Loser should have had his flat here!

At the Henderson Drop-in cutoff, we met up with the Goldstream Sports Tuesday riders. They were doing downhill. Something about a 20-foot drop. Something about pucker-worthy. We said, Have fun, no thanks, see ya later!

The Ester Dome Singletrack Trails are grin-worthy!
Carl is still grinning at the Henderson Drop-In. Dave is just too cool. But look at that leg. That leg has had some fun!

Then the Loser had a flat. Found the culprit. A staple sticking out of his tire. No worries, he said. I’ve got more goop for my tubeless tires. He put in more goop. He spun the tire. And spun it. And spun it. The leak slowed, but you could still hear it.

Finally, the Loser decided he had to go with a tube. But he knew how to pop the tire off the rim. Just step on it! Like this. Er, like this. I mean, like this.

While the Loser was digging around for tire tools, Dave popped the tire off the rim. Dave was not a loser. (At least, not this night.)

The Loser found another staple inside the tire. Dang! Even his flats are Losers!

Tube inserted into the tire. Stupid male jokes about flaccid tubes purged from our systems. Tube inflated. And we were off.

We climbed Ester Dome Road and stopped at the new Alder Chute Bypass that takes off from Styx River Road. Dave had already done it a couple of times on bike. The Loser had done it once on foot. Carl hadn’t ever tried it. We were all game.

The light was fading, so Dave handed the Loser his Big Honking Freight Train Helmet Light. The Loser was really tempted to go back on his word. Dave was right there for the flashing. But the Loser knew he needed to lose his Loser ways.

We descended the Alder Chute Bypass. It’s a tricky, spongy, switchbacky descent, made even tricker when wet, which it was. Carl had to stop to answer his phone to deal with a Family Crisis. Something about his son’s TikTok account. Serious, serious, absolutely-had-to-be-dealt-with-right-then-NOT stuff. Dave made the descent and only stepped out of his pedals a couple of times.

And the Loser made it down. Without. Ever. Touching. A. Foot. Down. A couple of close calls, but a clean ride. Even more tricky because Dave’s helmet light wasn’t firmly attached and kept bouncing around. We may now refer to him again as Eric!

A light rain started as we rode the Farmer Mine Trail and connected with the Equinox Marathon Trail at the bottom of the Alder Chute. The rain stopped, but the descent to the Eva Creek Trail was a bit slippery. Still, no one bit it. Success!

At the intersection with the Eva Creek Trail, Dave (remember that he insisted we include the Eva Creek Trail on this ride?) said he was going to go home via the Marathon Trail. He didn’t even ride the Eva Creek Trail! Eric wanted to dub him as Loser!

Carl and Eric made it back to the Ester Community Park and had the last official snacks and drinks of the season. Rain started, but only after we had a good chat. Perfect timing!

Report and photos by Eric. Except one photo by Dave.

That ends the official Tuesday Night Mountain Bike Rides for the season. Post-season rides will continue until the snow flies heavy and hard. Watch the FCC Facebook and listserv for messages around the where of any post-season rides. The first one meets at the Y at the top of Ester Dome (between the towers). We’ll be doing the Nugget Creek Loop.