Bonktober 2003: Crazy Up in Here : October 10-12, 2003

as written/reported by Dos Equis. Facts might be inaccurate here or there because of the damn Jar...
Bonktober took place over the weekend of Oct 10-12, 2003. Bonktober '03 was the third incarnation of an ever-growing annual event. Mountain biking groups from Missouri and surrounding states came together at the Berryman Campground in the Mark Twain Forest to celebrate bikes, beer and fire. Over 70+ riders showed up to throw down and by the end of the weekend some had even thrown up.

It was all good.

Friday was the break-in period to set up shop and acclimate to the fact that anything outside the campground didn't matter. We were here to get away from it all (at least I was). I got down there along with Matt Stenberg around 2pm. Mike Donais had already spotted us some slots. There were campsites set up but he said they wouldn't mind. Good thing, too --- by Friday evening most campsites were full, some completely stacked with tents.
Guilty PartySo who made it down from GORC?
Matt Hayes, Matt Stenberg, Mike Donais, John Donjoian, Tony C and Candy, Brian and Steph Adams, Tom Erb, Kyle Bova, Bill ? and by Saturday night Doug Rapley, John and Mary Farinella, Rob and Barb Horn had arrived (but I'm getting ahead of myself). There's probably some other people I can't remember right now, too.

I had cracked my Schlitz malt open while setting up my tent. You gotta have the bad shit first so the good stuff tastes even better than you anticipated. By 4:30 we were wondering where the two kegs and Tom were. Fat Tire Brown Ale (graciously donated by New Belgium) and Schlafly Oatmeal Stout were on tap the weekend.

Supafast...The KC crew had arrived late Thursday and early Friday but were nowhere to be seen until the beer arrived. The STL crew had established base camp with the two kegs and glowing campfire for all. People started arriving and beer flowed. It seemed that Friday night was about casual conversation and relaxing as opposed to full-throttle partying. JohnnyD decided to jump start the party with a derby. I soon followed along with another guy named Matt I think on an old cruiser. Tom got his gear on and we tried to rally everyone into some mayhem. Nope, not that night I guess so the 4 of us proceeded to do a lightless night ride down the trail.

It was pretty dark but no one crashed. We rode three miles into it and took a fire road back to camp. This was the first time I had test ridden my Intense 909 DH 2.7 tires on the Surly and was shocked at how tired I was. Saturday would destroy me. I knew they were heavy but damn...
Where's your tieWhen we got back to camp many of the people had left. Stenberg was in bed, in fact. What the hell?? The KC crew had abandoned us for their bongos so we decided to just chill and drink the night away.

The GORC crew were the last ones out due to the serious partying the night before. We weren't concerned out being first out on the Berryman so we took plenty of time to wake up.
We headed out as a pack going clock-wise. The trail, while serious rutting is occuring, was in great shape as far a tackiness and deadfall.
Everyone was running at top speed and my tires were holding me back. I fell off the pack but kept chugging along. Once we got to the Brazil campground we took a breather and had lunch. Candy sagged for us and brought our coolers of goodies.

Once everyone was satisfied we headed off for the second ass-kicking half. It felt like I was stuck in the twilight zone. Five hills/valleys later I was dead. Stenberg and I were off the back. We had passed several others on the trail from KC and Jefferson City so it was nice to know we weren't DFL especially since we had left late in the morning.

Follow the leaderI made it back to the campground 15 minutes behind the others and threw my bike down and picked up a beer. I was told we had done the trail in 2:45 minutes -- pedal time.

Later in the evening the campfire grew and so did the crowd. Rob and John F showed up around 9 or so and that's when everthing got a little crazy.

John broke out a huffy POS from the back of his truck and threw it done. Being a little beligerent I picked up the lighter fluid and instantly doused the bike in some basting juice for the fire. John lit it up and proceeded to ride around the campground as the tire burned. Once the derailleur fell off it was ghost ridden twenty feet right into Matt stenberg's car. Oops. By this time, the moonshine had worked it's magic (yes, a second Jar was supplied by Rob da man!) so you could say "The jar made me do it" and everyone understood.

(I know at some point we jumped the fire using some plywood I had brought down but I can't remember (damn jar) if it took place about this time or after the next vignette below....)
Burn itNext, we decided to fire up those KC guys bangin' their drums, so John busted out some bottle rockets, firecrackers and roman candles. I'm normally a passive laid back guy but the jar made me do it. I grabbed my little bottle o'whiskey and headed up to their camp with JohnnyD, John, Stenberg and myself. He tagged Rob and dragged him along. Shots were fired but no one responded. John F fired one right in the middle of their bongo circle but they ignored it... What the fk?? We were reprimanded by the women around the site but ignored them. We did get the hell out after we launched more rockets into their homestead.

We would be back...

Fifteen minutes later we came back with Doug Rapley and Elliot to drink their women and have their beer. We destroyed the camp in search of edibles and we thanked them for the cherry pucker. This all happened while they crouched in their tents waiting for the madness to depart.

We headed back and chilled out - it was past 1:30 by now. John F exploded and then the night wound down.

Another day, another hangover. Since some of the STL crew had come down the evening of the big ride we decided to ride the Berryman again but this time head counterclockwise. Before the first pedal stroke I was feeling completely destroyed. John did remarkably well for being completely trashed the previous night. Elliot from Rolla started out with us on a Fisher(?) hardtail with full slicks, platform pedals and a rigid fork. In fact, he had to duct tape his shoe before the ride to keep it from completely disentegrating.

Huffy "Magma" seriesElliot lasted about 10 minutes and then we never saw him again. We presumed he turned around and relaxed back at base camp. John Farinella, John Donjoian, Doug Rapley, Bryan Adams, Tom Erb and me rode at a pretty good pace the second go around. The trail flowed much better to me and offered better downhill portions. We opted to skip the upper loop right above the Brazil campground and headed up the long asphalt ascent. At the top we headed back into the singletrack on our return loop back to Berryman campground.
The weather was perfect for the whole weekend with only a five minute light rain on Saturday night. After we got back and relaxed we all packed up, cleaned up our mess and headed back to the Everyday.

Can't wait for next year's Bonktober. Gotta bring two bikes and more lighter fluid.

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