Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Before The March of The Bears

Mike R, David Cook, Eric, Erinna, Jay, Jody, Valerie, Jeremy and I all met up for a march up Old Toll Road to some crappy Heart Breakin’ descending.

This would be the first time I had ever ridden up the Old Toll Road. Wow is all I can really say. It is quite the March. We started off with a nice cool morning riding from Kitsuma to Montreat. As soon as we crossed the line into Montreat, my warm-up would commence all the way to the top Heartbreak.

Despite getting up too early and all the screaming I did at the dopers the day before, I felt really good climbing. There were two high speed descents on the way up the Toll Road that really added to the climb.

Climbing the road is amazing; it is a steep rocky climb with no relief in sight for many miles. The sites and views along the way are more than outstanding.

I was trying to believe in my freshly set up new tubeless Nevegal’s as we cruised down the first quick descent. I knew I had Mike R., on my tail and I didn’t want to slow him down too much so I was aero tucking the Rhodo tunnels and just generally smiling from mountain to mountain when I came around a corner to see a huge dirt banked corner. As I came up screaming on the corner I realiazed it was actually a loosely put together log bridge. The “bridge” consisted of about six four inch diameter slick logs spaced apart to form a sketchy situation that I did not need that early in the morning. Knowing that Mike was hunting my wheel and due to the fact that we were hauling over 20 mph. I just thought quiet thoughts and tried to hover the bridge. After we made it over the bridge, we were screaming and hollering about our luck.

After a quick flat fix by Jody, we did what we had to do to make it to the top of the beast. Once we finally made it to the top, we were off on one of the fastest, gnarliest, gangliest ridge descents in all of the area. It was fun to fly like a two wheeled rebel as fast as we could down the mountain. I cranked it as hard as I could up a couple of the steep pitches and even surprised myself at the climbing I was able to put out after the Toll Road climb.

There were a few of us walking one of the steep ridgeline pitches when I looked down and saw a nest of them stinging *&%$#@*&^ again. I felt three quick “whap whap whap’s” of their stingers and yelled at Valerie who was walking in front of me “go go go.” Everyone else got around without incident luckily.

Jody then proceeded to make 84 wrong turns on one trail so we just waited, wondered and chatted for awhile. It was a blessing in disguise as my hands had been throbbing from the high speed descent.

So after a little wait, we were trucking back down the mountain. I made the same mistake of last week. I let Eric go in front and I tried to hang on in the switchbacks. I burned The fourth or fifth switchback so bad that I found myself lying off the trail a few yards. I smacked my knee against the stem but I was fine.

I took it gingerly down the rest of the descent and I think a few of us exclaimed that it was one of the best times on Heartbreak.

Eric had said something about the fact that Erinna was training for an adventure race, so on the climb out on Mills River Road I tried to test her might. She was hanging on Mike R’s wheel when I went motoring by on the hot dusty road. I kept it pinned on the redline for as long as I could but she couldn’t be broken. I fell off into oblivion after my attempt and she just kept on flying. As she went by me she said “I thought you were never going to slow down.” Well, she never did.

Awesome ride ladies and gentlemen!!!


The Goat in a Turtle Shell said...

Great Ride! Glad I got to hook up with everyone and show you the route through Montreat. Lets ride again soon.

gwadzilla said...

any more photos from the shenandoah mountain 100?

ExtrmTao said...


I was not at the SM-100 this year.