First ride in 19 days! (aka Attack of the Hornets)
Sorry for the lack of updates, I try to keep this thing all-rides-all-the-time and I’ve not been out there for a long long time. Today Erinna, Mike B. and I met up with Jody F. and the Extreme Tomato at North Mills River Campground at about 7:15AM. It was already almost 70* and the sun had barely started to climb above the ridgelines. We got started after a few bike tweaks and rounds of ‘hello’s’ and ‘what’s up!’s’. About 3 minutes into the ride David B. came up in his vehicle so we stopped and after a quick getting-ready we were riding again, now as a group of 6. Sweet, welcome aboard David! The climb up to Yellow Gap went by pretty quick but was still hard as hell. Erinna went on a fast ride with an Adventure Race teammate yesterday and was spent. I hadn’t had my heartrate above 120 in over 2 weeks, I was hurting. Everyone else kept a fast pace to the gap while Erinna and I took up the rear and chatted nearly the whole way. Next was the crown jewel of Pisgah, Laurel Mountain trail. I know I’ve expressed it before but… Laurel kicks-ass. Everyone was having a great ride once we got flowing on the singletrack. Mike made a few of the big tech moves, we were in a pretty tight group, the ride was going great….
Here are a couple of videos (I <3>
Jody (singletrackpig), then me, on Laurel at the first tech section/creek crossing. Yes, I need new cleats.
And one of me getting an A+ from Mike B:
then I got hit twice by hornets… We regrouped at the meeting log and I licked my wounds. After a quick breather we continued on Laurel. Mike and Jody were a few bike lengths ahead and we heard the scramble, oh shit!’s, and saw Jody tripping over rocks trying to run as fast as he could. Well, now we had a very upset hornets nest between those two and us four. As Mike said, we were looking at a ‘hornet storm’. We thought we found a way around by bushwhacking but as soon as Jonathon took one step off the trail he stepped right into another nest. I’ll never forget the look on his face as he came scrambling towards me. It was like, he was a truck driver coming down the mountain with no brakes. By this point every one of us, except Erinna, had been stung. We decided to splinter the group with Mike and Jody heading up Laurel, the rest of us heading down. We made plans to meet up again on the Slate Rock / Pilot Cove loop. The descent down Laurel was fun fun fun. Jonathon and I were hauling! We both cleaned the upper tech move, I cleaned the crack rock, we had a great descent. Next was 1206 to the loop and we kept up a pretty good pace all the way until we met up with Mike and Jody again.
Here’s a shot by Jonathon during the climb up the loop:
I was really starting to feel my time off the bike and was off and walking more than usual but soon enough we were at the turn to head out to the rock. Climb…Descent…Climb….Descent with switchbacks!… Climb then we were at the rock.
We got far too comfortable hanging out in the sun so once we did get back on the bikes my legs were dead. I gave it everything I had to get to the descent but at the final little climb before the real descent I didn’t have it. Mike got ahead and started the descent. Mike has gotten super-fast going downhill and I was following his lines all the way until I came around a corner and found him hung up on a log that was like, 2 1/2 feet tall and laying at a 45 across the trail. I called him the sketchmeister for that one and took the lead. What followed was fast fast fast descending. I took risks. I stuck the turns. I ignored the rocks and roots in my path and smashed my way to the bottom. I got a ‘Good job man!’ from Mike and may have even pulled away from him at one point. sweeeeeet. I put in a hard effort and it paid off. Next was the final 100 yards or so of singletrack then the fireroad back to the gap. I was done long before the gap. A quick regroup then the super fast 3 mile fireroad descent to the cars followed. Thanks for dragging my out-of-shape butt around the hills guys. Great seeing everyone.
ouch. 35.8 miles with 8900′ of climbing shouldn’t have hurt that bad. Oh yeah… We topped out at 6000′ elevation after starting at 2300′… uummmm… and oh yeah…Teamdicky, Josh the Wonderboy, Ian B., and Mike B were riding with me… I guess hurting that bad should have been expected.
We started a few minutes after 7AM at the fish hatchery parking lot. That’s not all that early of a start for me but Rich and Josh had a 2.5 hour drive up from Charlotte… Thanks for making it guys. Our route: 475->Davidson River->Caney Bottom->225->Upper Cove Creek Road (Out and back after a lot of f’n around trying to find Sainard Ridge)->225->???->(hike Sainard Ridge 1.9 mile 1300′ climb)->BRP->Black Balsam Rd.->Ivestor Gap (out and back to Art Loeb)->Flat Laurel Creek->NC215->BRP->(hike Art Loeb 1.6mile 1250′ descent during a monster thunderstorm)->Farlow Gap->Daniel Ridge->475->Davidson River->475 back to the cars.
Photos… of the ride…. before….. my camera spent 3-5 minutes underwater….
That’s a dirty, dirty little box. Moments after waking up Rich and Josh in the parking lot:
Morning on Caney. Freakin’ awesome.
Josh cleaning the slimy rock-armoring on Caney Bottom. Again, as with all videos, think steeper than it looks:
Then we got lost. Then we found our way. If you don’t believe we hiked it…. You’ve never been there. Hiking is the only option. Here’s Mike B ahead:
and Josh behind:
Rich and Ian?…. well…. they were ahead at this point. The group splintered for most of the climbs. Rich, Ian, and Mike were ahead, Josh and I were happy, safe, and lookin’ at flowers… and salamanders…. and increasingly HUGE views.
The camera didn’t come out again for a while. Here’s the group at Ivestor Gap. We had just passed our highest point of the ride:
Wait! Where’s Mike B.? Oh… picking blueberries…. mmmmmm blueberries……..
Rich seemed to be really liking his new bike. This here is one bad-ass custom 29er. Designed to meet the needs of an endurance racer super-freak. Thylacine titanium frame. I-9 wheels. everything else is subject to change.:
Then…. the final picture…. I wasn’t minding my camera soon after this photo and it sat fairly submerged in a creek during a water filter project. Rest in recycled little pieces little camera…. Oh, pretty sweet pic. We found the little green Moab trail. We all agreed, Moab came to mind. Big views, big rock and drops, (east coast)elevation, multiple lines, high speed, and little room for error…. but green… and humid…