By Sal Ruibal
I've been known to dabble in science. If they gave PhDs in dabbling I'd be walking down the aisle with the other learned men and women who remembered some stuff while watching the Science Channel and skimming through Popular Mechanics. I'm even a little bit ahead of them, having taken Astrogeophysics 101 at the University of Colorado – twice. One of my dorm roommates even had an internship at the university's Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics. Emphasis on the "joint."
My personal apex as a scientist was revealing to the general public that Pluto was misclassified as a planet. Yes, that DeGrassi guy makes that claim, but next time you're on a computer (like right now, fool!) you can check out "Planet X (featuring Sal Ruibal)" which is a real song written and sung by Christine Lavin about my discovery.
But I digress. I bring this stuff up because the Hamburglar and The Burger King have conspired to ruin my mountain bike summer.
On our chunk of the East Coast, we've had a coolish summer with gloomy days that suddenly spit out rain for about 15 minutes, then turn sunny for five minutes then turn back to gloom. The trails have ranged somewhere between goober spit slick to green-apple equine diarrhea.
For this, I blame The Hamburglar and his pal Burger King. Red Robin? Co-conspirator. Outback Steakhouse? Toss another Aussie on the Barbie.
Scientists, such as myself, have determined that so much meat is being grilled these days that waves of oleic acid – a byproduct of cooking meats – have permeated the atmosphere above D.C. and Northern Virginia to the point where microscopic droplets of burger drippings are becoming the nuclei for raindrops. You can look it up in the Cliff Notes.
Unless you were daydreaming about Linda Ronstadt's knickers in science class, you would remember that raindrops are created when water vapor forms around tiny specks of dust, which then fall to Earth. But now there is so much burger juice floating around in the atmosphere above the East Coast that the raindrops form more quickly and drop sooner because of the viscosity of the oleic acid in the atmosphere. And then they land on little cat feet and on the trails where we ride.
We are literally riding on hamburgers, hold the bun. Instead of dragging out the 650b vs. 29er debate, we should be searching for ways to keep the beef tallow off our tires. This may be why Americans seldom do well on the UCI Mountain Bike circuit. Europeans don't eat as much greasy meat as Americans. There is no pasta effect on our trails.
It's no wonder our mountain bike tires have to be bigger: our bodies are inhaling massive amounts of au jus while the French and German guys are grazing on kale and lavender iced tea.There has been chatter out there about weaponizing T-Bones and sending a fleet of White Castle burgers into Libya. I'd be careful about any moves that could make our atmosphere a kill zone.
Remember what happened to Pluto.