By Chad Haga
The day began slowly, and kind of cold, as the freshly freed students trickled into the middle school parking lot blurry-eyed but eager for the adventure that lay ahead. Under grey skies, we trekked westward into the forbidden land; for on this day, the rocky and hilly trails of Austin beckoned the Aggies.
Upon our arrival, we prepared for battle, checked our weapons, and our 9-strong battalion rode past the children’s playground to lay siege to the trails frequented by our arch nemesi (plural of nemesis?). Like a pack of wolves charging towards prey, we were salivating in anticipation for the first obstacle that would dare impede our progress. But alas, just 2 minutes into the trail Cody needed to stop to rehydrate the starved Earth.
Back on the attack, we pushed onward. There was a fork in the trail, and we took it. The going became difficult, if not treacherous at points. The trail was littered with impassable passages that forced us to dismount our steeds and question our decisions. We relied on the strength of our comrades to get us through the rough times, and as a unit we succeeded. A passersby informed us of our errors, and we quickly rerouted onto the actual trail, passing leering enemies still bitter from the loss in the battle nearby on the Day of Giving Thanks.
We continued taking the forks in the trail and found ourselves lost in a strange land. Apparent trails that led nowhere, an impassable creek bed, and articles of clothing indicative of a hippy presence marked our whereabouts. After much hubbub and murmurings of a mutiny against the leaders, we returned from whence we came and chose a different fork.
Triumph awaited our decision, and the pedaling resumed with an unprecedented fervor! Rocks, roots, trees…nothing could stop us. Except when stopped of his own volition, nature entered the battle and claimed Tom by casting him into the river! He emerged from the murky waters determined to avenge his unintentional swim. And avenge he did! When it became clear that the only course of action was to ford the river, Tom’s shimmering calves led the way.
But the battle was taking its toll on the soldiers. Blood had been shed on this day. Riders hit the deck in the throes of battle, and bikes were succumbing to the stresses of WAR. The end was nigh, and the Aggies would emerge victorious or be crushed and return to Aggieland dejected. At the far end of the trail, the final crusade was to conquer a grueling and technical climb that wound upwards endlessly, it seemed. But we made it. Victory, we exclaimed! But woe is me, for Zane’s freewheel had broken and the parking lot was miles away.
Not to be defeated, the Aggies rallied and pushed Zane homeward through neighborhoods and in traffic in a hostile environment. Resting at a stoplight, we exchanged overly enthusiastic battle cries with a nearby motorist. Zane had to get a running start before mounting his steed in the intersections, at which point the collective horsepower of the Aggies pushed him over the offending elevation.
And so the WAR concluded. We doffed our battle gear and set out for post-battle caloric rewards, but not without first push-starting Duane’s truck. On the recommendation of a double-agent local, we swarmed Torchy’s Taco Stand, then chased down the tastes of victory with a cake shake from Holy Cacao!
Congratulations, WARriors, for on this day we have triumphed!
Chad “Ending on a high note” Haga