Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Gathering Ride Reports

Now that I have stopped bleeding from the weekend, I have time to write about the rides. We got the jitters out Friday night with a quick spin around Davidson River and Cove Creek. The player’s were Jack, Jaq, Meghan, Broussard, D-Kuntz, SingleTrack Pig and Rick.

We all took beers so we could celebrate the start of the weekend in style. The climb came and went, then we drank.

The downhill on Cove Creek was next. I hadn’t checked the PSI in my tires lately and I paid for it. I flatted pretty early on. After a slow change, we were rolling again. D-Kuntz was in front of me during the last section of super fast roller coaster rhododendron tunneling and it was great.

Brad caught us on camera as we came zipping out of the woods into the Cove Creek campground.

Friday evening I started chatting about the ride I had been dreaming up for Saturday. Dennis quickly chimed in and added some extra insight into the loop.

Saturday morning we ended up with 11 of us who were ready for a “quick four hour loop.” I apparently had bitten off a huge chunk of raw meat and had no teeth to chew with. The players were, Josh the wonderboy, TeamDicky, Jody, Eric, Dave, Rick, Mike Brown, Broussard, Guy from Greensboro, D-Kuntz and myself.

Our route was cove creek, no-name-trail, 475, 276, pink beds, 5018, Horse Cove, Squirrel Gap, S. Mills River, Buckhorn, Black Mountain, Buckwheat Knob, Bennett, Coontree, 276, 475, Davidson River trail

Once we were ready, I saw Dennis headed up Cove and I followed suit. Rick was right behind me. I had only climbed that singletrack once before. Dennis and I were chatting it up, when we got to the big rock stairs and I realized no one else was around. We waited, wondered if the group had decided otherwise and then they all showed up. They hadn’t listened to the proposed route and headed down the gravel road out of camp, instead of up the trail. I thought it was weird that we hadn’t been passed yet.

We made quick time up the rest of cove and then headed on towards no-name trail. I was again behind Dennis when all of the sudden he pulled over. His rear shifter cable had broken. He had a spare and after a bit we were rolling again.

The no-name road was super fun. Next thing I knew, we were on a rock n’ roll coaster named Pink Beds. It was super fun and I was feeling great, really whipping through the trees. I had Eric behind me and on one thread the needle spot in the trail I heard him grunt from a little slip up. He still held my wheel all the way through the rollers though.
Next up was the long arduous climb up 5018, I hadn’t climbed this since around Christmas time when Eric showed me the road for the first time. It was painful but not altogether tough. Once we made it to the top, I realized this was going to be a longer day than I had anticipated.

I jumped about fourth or fifth in line for the Horse Cove downhill and ended up behind TeamDicky. I was feeling nice coming down and was really enjoying Rich flail about along the trail. I thought for sure I was going to watch him fly off the trail screaming but somehow the sketch didn’t get him.

This was my second time on Horse Cove. Last time I tried the move across the big rock at the bottom and lightly crashed. This time I waited for the coast to clear, watched Jody expertly roll the rocks and I went for it. As soon as my front wheel rolled over the first rock I knew it was all over, my wheel wouldn’t straighten, I didn’t have a bail out, I had no speed to commit, so I fell right onto the two big rocks. I smashed my elbow and knee into the rock. It hurt but I was ok. It shook me up though, Broussard told me to slow down and shake it off. I took his advice and we decided to wait for Josh since Dave said he was pulled over to the side. After a bit, we rolled down to the intersection and eventually Josh came rolling up, he had flatted.

I decided to take a back seat at that point. I went from feeling great to badly shaken after the fall. All the way to the next stopping point I felt like something wasn’t right. My bike felt weird, my head felt strange and I wasn’t with it at all.

I got to the bottom and tried a tight turn and crashed again. The front of my bike was acting strange, I realized I had a flat in the front. Changed the flat and caught up with the group filtering water.

I can hardly even remember the rest of the ride as I started to bonk from not having enough food and the lackluster feeling that was quickly overcoming my own optimism. Next thing I know, I am JRA (just riding along) when a stick smacks me in the eye and I lose my contact. I had been carrying around a spare in a film container for a year and half. I prayed it was still good. I Got in my eye, but it hurt pretty bad. I was hoping my eye would water whatever it was that was hurting out. It didn’t.

Next stop, Dennis showed me a little mirror he carries with him, (are you kidding me? This guy fixes his rear cable with a spare and he has a mirror?) I borrowed the mirror, then proceeded to gross out everyone that stayed back with me. I had to clean the contact but all I had was water in my camel bak. So I took a mouthful of water, spit it onto my contact and worked the contact back into my eye. Much better! Now the sandy feeling was gone.

Down Buckhorn and Bennett I was just trying to not die. When all of the sudden I saw Broussard walking into the woods, getting very excited. He found two very old bottles of Oatmeal Porter. I couldn’t believe it. I had an opener with me, so we drank one and Dennis put the other in his bottle cage and carried it all they way back. I guess that’s what suspension is for.

Going back up Davidson river, which is basically a rock road, I had a brush with death. I would look over the side of the trail (I had been out of water for the last hour) see the river a couple hundred yards below and think about riding off into the void and what it would be like to drink the water, then drown in the water. It would be like some sort of seductive siren death. I am sure there would be odyssey’s written about it. Dave exclaimed that the gravel road up to the campground would most likely be on par with Clawhammer at this point. He was right but eventually we made it back to the campground. I laid in the grass, drank a cold coke and thought this must be heaven.

No comments: