Sunday, July 11, 2010

Aaahhh... Summertime in the mountains.

If you're looking for something a little different than Pisgah that's still in Pisgah, check out Wilson's Creek. This morning DjD met the 6:30 rally time and we were at The Pony's house just before 7. Fast forward an hour and 15 minutes and we were pulling in at the bottom of Sinkhole in Wilson's Creek to meet Dicky, Big Worm, and two guys without nicknames, David and Aaron.

It's The Pony!

The route started with the gravel up to 181 then 181 to Greentown. Our route for the day: 181->Greentown->Raider's Camp->Sinkhole.

It had two weeks since I had been on my bike but it had been a whole two MONTHS for The Pony so I hung back with him. I got a little ahead towards the top but he was at the top moments after me. I had been fighting coffee-stomach for the climb so a less intense than normal pace was perfect. I was put out front for the first descent of the day and I called Ian to follow. When we got to the first rest I was surprised (considering the pace) that the fully-rigid-equipped Bill was right on our tails. A theme was already developing for the day: Bill was shredding the downhills. Another theme: Ian and I off the back for the climbs, Bill, Ian, and I out front for the descents.

We crossed the river at the bottom of Greentown then wrapped up the 'old-toll-like' climb in what felt like just minutes. The group got ahead of Ian and I again but we were hanging back and talking the entire way. The group was waiting just before the rest of the climb to Raider's. The top part of the Raider's descent went by very quickly as we all railed the berms and took the fastest lines available. We checked one spur trail to see if it was the way down to the waterfall overlook but it didn't feel right to me and I recalled the long descent down to where the trail just.. sorta... runs.... out..... that we had taken years before and the call was made, the right hand turn was NOT where it was supposed to be, and we made our way back to Raider's. Well sure enough the next turn off we saw was obviously the bottom of the overlook spur and we had missed the turn. Was it where I said it wasn't? Maybe so, maybe not.

Raider's turns into a rutted out, swoopy, and super tech mess after the spur and we made the very best of it. Whoops and hollers rang through the woods as we were all having great fun. We decided against the steep rocky drop in and were at the parking lot and headed up the gravel with zero incidents. No crashes, No mechanicals, and No bonks. The 'no bonks' part was about to change though. We stopped at the water fountain that's just before the store and I realized my stomach had again taken a turn for the worse. I think it was the electrolyte stuff I was trying in my camelbak for the first time but I can't be sure. Anyway, Ian was again off the back for the climb and I was MORE than happy to be his carrot and ride my own slow-ass pace, that was just fast enough that I couldn't always see him when I looked behind. Aaron was starting to feel it, too and was a perfect carrot for me (but I could hardly catch him even when he was walking, uuugh). By the time Ian, Aaron, and I arrived at Sinkhole Saddle we were all starting to look like death-warmed-over with me feeling the worst. The four others took off up to Sinkhole trail and were out of sight in moments, Ian fell off the back, and Aaron and I took it easy and talked about the things that people talk about when they've just met and they're now four and a half hours into a ride. Whatever that was :)

Sinkhole was our final trail of the day and I was content to let everyone go ahead buuuutttttt.... I was the only one willing to go back and try the steep chute to log drop move a second time sooooooooo..... I nailed it (photo of after the chute/setup before the drop by Bill F.)

and stayed out front for the rest of the descent. Oh, we stopped at the sinkhole, just about everyone cleaned the BIG sinkhole chute, we all attempted and completed some serious tech moves on the goat section, and once at the Jeep and the Dirty Toaster took refreshing dips in the creek. We sat in the creek and I was reminded of a day long ago when many of the same people were sitting in a creek after a long ride in North Georgia. It's amazing how time flies. It's amazing that I still know these guys. It's amazing that we are all still healthy enough to ride 25 miles IN the mountains. Excellent ride everyone, old friends and new.

Unrelated to the ride, here's a shot I like of Sophiedog on a walk the other evening: