Sunday, January 21, 2007

Artic Wind

Dark thirty Saturday morning I was riding in the car headed toward what I thought would be the devil ride. Eric was the instigator. I went past the rich people place while the sun was just casting rays across the sky. The morning looked bluebird and heavenly as though we were out west.

However, I was still in the east headed toward the great Appalachian mountains. I was geared up for a death march of preposterous proportions. I hadn’t slept well and I was wondering if I would be able to hold out for the projected 52 miles and infinite amounts of ascending.

We had a group of seven including myself gathering together at the Black Mountain trailhead. Our projected route would not be sustained. This was the ultimate route:

Black Mountain, Maxwell Cove, Z Hammer, Black Mountain, Buckwheat, Bennett, Coontree, 276, 475, 475B, Paint Shaker, ?????, ?????, Daniel Ridge, Davidson River Trail, 475 276

38 miles according to Dennis’ odometer.

Black Mountain is everything but an easy warm-up. I was breathing heavily early on and not feeling the steeps with the single speed. A wind that could chill a Canadian snowman blew from what seemed like every direction and chilled us to the bone.

We made it to the first gap and Erinna announced that she was frozen through and through. My hands and toes were frozen and I was pretty chilly. We flew down Maxwell trying to hold on with frozen mitts.

Mike and Dennis

Erinna looked awfully cold and decided she was done with shivering. Therefore the two of them took off headed to a warmer place. No one blamed them.

The rest of us took off up Clawhammer hoping to get the blood flowing. Every time we turned the corner we were pounded with a glacieresque headwind.

I could finally feel my feet and hands when we arrived at the top. We quickly headed toward Buckwheat as standing around added to our frozen status.

I wasn’t feeling the steep climbs at all and ended up pushing a bunch. I felt really good descending Buckwheat. I cleaned the first techy section and then made more moves than normal on the Devil’s Staircase but I didn’t have the confidence to negotiate the last step down.

I turned around at the bottom to watch the others come down the staircase when I finally witnessed what had been talked about for weeks. A local Professional downhiller came around the corner nailing the first steep and hucking the big rock like it was nothing. He was on a hardtail and to quote Dennis “His suspension hardly flexed.” It was cool to see someone nail it.

We flew down Coontree and Jeremy and his friend cut off as Mike, Dennis and I were headed for some Fish Hatchery action. We rode to Cove Creek and I bounced down it as fast as I could.

Climbing Daniel

We nailed Daniel Ridge and headed back toward the cars. Fantastic Ride!!!


namrita o'dea said...

i'm so jealous that you can ride there whenever you want!! looks like an awesome day.

Goat in a Turtle Shell said...

Good Riding, Mater! After Chris and I broke off we went and rode North Slope. I knew my legs were fried when I couldn't even clean the massive waterbars to the top. We ended up with a even 25 miles. Lets do it again soon.


ExtrmTao said...

Namrita, You and Eddie need to come out and join us one weekend.


Fun riding for sure.

Unforunately, The next ride in the mountains will be the Icycle.

Anonymous said...

Hey now!!!

Sorry I missed you. I seen Eric on his way out.. And you were to far gone for me to try to catch. I rode a biggin 11:30 to 9:00pm.. Parked at the stables and Up Presley Gap and left on Black up to Turkey Pen. Across the pen down to S Mills and up to Mullinax, to Squirrel gap, to S. Mills. 6:15 add lights here. Up S mills to Buckhorn Gap. Right up the Stairs on Blk Mt Trail over and to Club Gap..and Down Avery in the dark back to stables... Super Day!!! I be back next weekend.. I want to start at trace ridge and go up Big Creek and cut over and down Laura to Bradley Creek to Laura creek to Squirrel gap to S mills to Gauging station, to Pilot cove, up good enough gap, to Laura turn left , to Turkey Spring trail and back down to big Creek and out !!!

Let me know, Scott

ExtrmTao said...


Too bad we missed each other! Sounds like you had a great ride!

Going up Big Creek is something else let me tell you. Fun though.

Unfortunately, I won't be in the mountains next weekend.