Sunday, January 21, 2007
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.
We nailed Daniel Ridge and headed back toward the cars. Fantastic Ride!!!