Saturday, July 14, 2012

First Annual....Golf Tournament??

Yes, sports fans - it's come to this. I've turned my attention to golf.
(An audible gasp rustles through the gallery: "Ooooh. Has she cracked? Is she retiring from cycling?? WTF???)
Nope. But some months ago, on one of our "Breakfast in Miranda" training rides, Bill noted that there is a golf course in the heart of Rio Dell, and that it might be cool to ride down sometime, play a round, and ride back.
Since the 4th fell smack-dab in the middle of the week this year, he got the brilliant idea that we should do it then - and since so many folks wouldn't be traveling, we should invite the Latte Warriors to join us. Thus was born the Team Raven Lunatics First Annual Fourth of July Bike and Golf Tournament.
We called the clubhouse and - sure enough, they were planning on being open. So: - I put out a flyer, and David and Mary sent it out to the Latte Warriors and a bunch of other people.
Oh. This is the point where I should mention that we're talking about the sort of golf that traditionally involves windmills and clowns' mouths (though the logging-themed Redwood Mini Golf actually features neither).

Now a golf tournament that has "closest to the tee" and "best costume" as goals is somewhere this side of "serious golf", even for mini golf. Still, I wanted to make sure that everyone's efforts were amply rewarded. So - in true ultracyclist fashion, Bill and I headed off to the Dollar Store for prizes.

At this point we were figuring maybe a dozen people would show up at the outside. We could count 8 for sures. I decided to go deep with the prizes - we were set for at least 18. A $1 golf set? Sure! Expand-o-Towels - throw 'em in! Hey, there's a great "best dressed" prize. I had no clue who was going to win the pink leopard hat, but it certainly caught my eye and would have to go to someone special. Ribbons for the winners, a fan for closest to the tee...a few more random goodies, and - The Coveted Raven Lunatics Cup for overall best-of-event achievement.

We were all set. David, Bill, Mary and I were taking turns driving the Team Van down for a sag wagon. We figured that many folks would want a ride home since it would be late afternoon before we finished, even if we did hit my predicted "high noon" teetime.

And they're off! Four of us - David, Bill, Ryan, and me - took off from City Hall just after 9. Carol, Steve and Noreen joined us along Old Arcata Road. We took the back way through town, coming out to 101 at Elk River Road, where Mary had parked the van at the park-and-ride before riding south with Wendy, who she'd picked up along the way.

I got to the van first. Mercifully, I had time for a quick errand behind the van before the rest of the gang got there. Noreen and Ryan went straight onto 101, but the guys headed to the van to help sort things out. Before I could mention anything, Bill popped behind the van. "Careful over there, I spilled some coffee...". Of course he was spilling coffee, too. And to mis-quote Arlo Guthrie, one big puddle of coffee is better than two small ones...

I volunteered to drive the next leg, vowing to get to the regroup and take off straightaway. Hah. Our regroup was the Loleta Bakery, which sucks cyclists into its caffeine and carbs time vortex and seldom lets them go without a struggle. Or, at the very least, a snickerdoodle.

When I got there, several cyclists had arrived ahead of me. No one was in a particular hurry to leave. Can't say as I blame them - perfect weather, picnic table, prime pastries...and the certain knowledge that you weren't the last one as there were a bunch more riders on the road.

My resolve crumbled faster than the cookie I was about to consume. Double chocolate chunk and a cup of dark roast. But then I needed to turn my attention to more important matters: I was the director of a golf tournament, for cripes sakes. I'm...responsible. At the very least, I should get to the links before noon, just in case someone was planning on meeting us there and was taking the noon start time seriously.

So off I went, with a fair head of steam. I opted for the freeway rather than the longer route around the Three Sisters (the early warmup climbs of the TUC). I got there a few minutes before noon and headed for the clubhouse.

During the trip down, I made some decisions about how to organize the "tournament". Sometimes decisions are driven by the oddest things and since I'd really not had a clue how many were showing up, I pretty much figured I'd wing it on game day. It turned out that a few of the prizes came in threes, so it made sense to do threesomes. There were seventeen folks playing, so that meant (almost...) six threesomes. With six groups, I could break up all of the couples and pair each of our junior participants with one of her parents. Give each team a team color...just have to figure out how to put an extra score onto the one team that was going to be short....

I grabbed scorecards for everyone and headed out of the clubhouse to ponder this. As I stepped into the sunshine, something familiar caught the corner of my eye. But it didn't make sense - every 2011 Sebring T shirt in our neck of the woods belonged on the back of someone that was riding a bike several miles north of here. Slowly accumulating data...ambling gait, desert hat, pruning shears...whatthe...JIM KERN. Not only that, he'd brought Tim Woudenberg - two of the deans of recumbent distance cycling drove up from San Fran to crash "my" golf tournament. Go figure...well, of course they were mainly there to sneak in a visit with David and catch up on RAAM gossip. Well, that made filling out the last threesome easy: I assigned the two of them to tag-team it.

We took off in color order: ROY G BV. I was in the red threesome, which I guess sounds slightly less interesting than being in the "blue threesome", which David headed up. But going first gave me a little more time to tabulate results.

Mini golf is a fairly random sport - by which I mean that (a) you can't predict who's going to be a putting ace, and (b) random luck smiles down on you every so often. Doug got the first ace, shortly followed by Bill, and Steve, and then some others. Sometimes Lady Luck frowned, and you 5-putted. Sometimes your teammates inadvertently improved (or demolished) your lie. The wind picked up, which I suppose affected someone, sometime. But no one complained.

Here are some photos...

Team Blue in the sahdow of Logger Dude Statue

Wendy surveys her shot

Despite Hawaiian shirt and flaming socks, Bill did NOT win "best costume"...

Doug (Team Orange) in the foreground; Team Yellow in the background.

Coco waits. And waits. Having a physicist on your team OUGHT to be an advantage, right??

No clowns, lots of loggers - welcome to mini golf, Humboldt style!

Noreen fights through the wind on the front nine.

Coco watches as her teammate putts.

Team Green putts again!

Team Yellow watches nervously - will the Blues catch them?


not sure how to improve this lie...

...words fail me.

Coco won the "dramatic finish" award - pink AND leopard!

Tim brought Jenga to occupy the gang while they were waiting for awards

...with the predictable result.

Some highlights of the tournament:

Willard got the low individual score, but the Yellows won the team competition. Coco nearly aced the nearly-impossible last hole, and David...well, he came close, too, sort of (see photos above). Wendy won the closest to the tee competition. If I'd gone three or four places deep, I think she might've won more than once. Coco won the "high drama" award for her amazing finishing shot, which netted her the amazing pink leopard hat. Last, and certainly not least, Mary won The Coveted Raven Lunatics Cup. Not only did she anchor Team Yellow, she was second low score overall, AND she had the best decorated bike. 

After the awards ceremony, we packed it up. Bill and I headed for home. David left a few minutes behind us, not far behind Noreen, Steve, and Doug. The rest of the gang (I think, mostly) piled into the Team Van and headed north. Tim and Jim were kind enough to drive north and cook up an amazing barbeque dinner before turning around and heading south. Quite the whirlwind tour for them...
That left nothing for us to do but - Fireworks! Last year we'd been a little bit too tired after our "through the trees" cyclo-touring adventure, but this year we were up for it. Great display, though I'm not quite sure that I'll ever get used to the West Coast tradition of hats, gloves, and down jackets in the middle of summer.

1 comment:

  1. Great review Sandy! Thanks,again for planning such a spectacular "Foreth" of July event. We had a great time and we are looking forward to next year.