Sunday, July 18, 2010

Long Farlow

Davidson River->475->5095->Long Branch->475->5003->140A->Farlow Gap->Daniel Ridge->475->Davidson River

Ian 'The Pony' L., Mike B., Matt F., Dennis 'DjD' D., Ian B., and Kris K.:
Let's see, it's now the next morning and after a great night of sleep maybe I can scribble (peck?) out a quick summary of yesterday's ride. The whole crew rallied at my house just after 7AM and after a cup of coffee and loading 6 people, bikes, and gear into two vehicles we were headed to the Fish Hatchery. Matt F met us there upping our roster to 7.

We were on the bikes by about 8:30 and the weather was cooperating perfectly. The temps eventually topped out in the mid 80's for the day with humidity just shy of turning the ride into a swim through the air. The gravel and doubletrack climbs to Long Branch went by quickly with no stragglers. Up Long Branch necessitated the use of the granny gear for the first time of the day and Ian 'The Pony' L. and I took up the last two positions for the climb.

During the downhill in the middle Mike B had a flat, then his spare was flat, so it took us a while to get up to Gloucester Gap. He had waved me everyone on as they flew by so it took a bit for the word to get forward that he needed another tube. Up 140A followed with Mike, Ian L., and I off the back of the pack. That was absolutely fine with me as Ian and I stopped and took in the sights and tastes the forest has to offer in mid-July. Flowers abounded as did ripe blackberries.

Riding up 5003 is much more tough than 140A and that's the reason I had left some reserve fuel in the tanks. The climb to Farlow Gap gets much steeper and technical after the turn. Ian was a bit off the back but Mike and I would take our turns hammering forward then waiting to make sure he was doing fine. DjD was soon spit off the back of the 'A' group and joined in for the fun of cruising to the gap with the 'B' group. We arrived at the gap just as the 'A' group was breaking out the lunch boxes. A long breather/lunch break/glove change preceded the reason for climbing for THREE HOURS: Farlow Gap.

Mike took the lead for the rock garden descent and cleaned it. I was tailgating a little too much and had to come off the bike as he picked his way through the gnar. I decided to take a few photos of the rest of the crew descending then realized that Yes, indeed, I do need a new camera. Not a single photo came out OK. Anyway, We took the time to go to the bottom of the first waterfall for a quick dip

Then railed the rest of Farlow. We all were on our A game at that point and had a blast in the tech sections. I saw Ian B pull some impossibly tight bike handling moves and after watching Mike hit the BIG set of steps with ease, had to go back and try them myself. With DjD acting as a center, or maybe linebacker ready to block me back into the trail I lost my inhibitions and went for it. One of the hardest moves I'm comfortable trying that deep in the forest.

Everyone was just about out of water by the time we were at Daniel Ridge and Matt must have been the most thirsty since he took the lead for the final part of the descent. When we hit the open road I had to look at him wide-eyed and say :'Matt, I knew you were fast but damn! I could hardly hold on!' It was one of the fastest feeling descents of Daniel that I can recall.
We finished with the cruise down Davidson and were back at the vehicles in 4:45 hours out.
Great ride everybody!!!!!