Thursday, June 07, 2007

Dupont Memories

What can I say about the Wednesday group rides? Every week a great bunch of guys meet up and then we ride Dupont in a manner that I could only dream about a few years ago.

I can still remember the first time I ever found Dupont. I was on a rafting trip on the Chattooga River and I lived in Columbia at the time. One of my friends mentioned that I should try hitting up Dupont since it was on my way home. He gave me the general idea where it was and I was off.

I really had no clue as to where I was going and I drove and drove until I came up on a rafting store out in what felt like the middle of nowhere. I couldn’t tell you the store’s name but I walked inside and there wasn’t anyone around. All I wanted to do was ask if anyone had heard of this so called “Dupont.” Then I looked at the counter inside the Kayak place and saw a map of Dupont. I grabbed one and stood outside looking at my Atlas and my newly acquired Dupont map. I got a general location of where I needed to go and ended up at Corn Mill Shoals. Unbeknownst to me, the best spot to park at that particular time.

I took off on my old 1997 Specialized full suspension FSR and came to a trail named “Burnt Mountain.” It had a cool enough name so I started around the loop. The climb almost killed me but I took a rest at the top and then proceeded to fly downhill. Back then, I used to ride my bike for one reason, to go downhill.

I had a blast, I rode Burnt Mountain faster than I ever have to this day. I hit the two water bar drops and the rock drop at full speed due to my ignorance. Luckily Darwinian theory did not take over that day.

The next thing I did was to ride my bike down to Corn Mill Shoals and I came to a river crossing. At that point in time, I had never met a river I couldn’t ride across so I just pointed my bike toward the other side and pedaled. I got about ¾ of the way across the slick rock river and the next thing I knew, I was swimming 50 feet downstream with my bike next to me.

That was my introduction to Dupont and I have been completely addicted ever since.

Last night Blair, SingleTrackPig, BrouSSard and D-Kuntz all showed up for the ride.

Our route would be:

Fawn Lake Loop, Airstrip (left), Mine Mountain, Laurel Ridge, Corn Mill Shoals (cross river), Little River, Cedar Rock, Big Rock, Corn Mill Shoals, Burnt Mountain, Corn Mill Shoals (cross river), Shoals, Laurel Ridge, Corn Mill Shoals, Bridal Veil Falls Road, Barn Trail, Shelter Rock Trail, Conservation Road, Airstrip, Shelter Rock, Conservation Road, Lake Julia Road, Reasonover

All in all it was a little over 18 miles. The only thing I can say about the ride is WOW. We hammered and then we flew downhill.

There is one trail I would like to comment on, Big Rock. I let Dennis take the lead to start with but during the potted out slick rock he pulled a wickedly bad line (he did this because he had camel back water shooting on his leg and he thought it was fork oil) so I took the opportunity to pass and apparently so did Jody.

I have ridden that trail enough to know the “line” and I love the downhill. It starts off on some dirt and quickly turns to steep slick rock with corners that make you brake hard as you can hear your tire tread stuttering across the rock. Then the trail turns quickly back to dirt and you can just let loose and fly. There are some rocks and features down throughout the trail but you can pull a clean line around all of them. Jody was apparently enjoying my line as I could hear him eating up the trail a few feet behind me.

The last section of Big Rock is the best, there are some quick little drops and lots of rocks everywhere while you fly through Rhododendron tunnels on each side. When we spit out onto Corn Mill Shoals, Jody and I flew to a stop, looked at each other shaking like giddy little school children and we started laughing. The epitome of mountain biking.


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