Monday, March 31, 2008

Stone Cold Sober; Never Again

Of all the holy cows in the universe, a couple of us must have really pissed off the holiest of them all.

This weekend had it all, I will try and reiterate what I can but words will hardly do justice.

I took Friday off so that I could enjoy the weekend in earnest. So Shade and I took off on our mission to make it to the campground before dark on Thursday evening. We were successful and I was surprised to see so many people already looming and awaiting some big rides.

Friday morning I was up pretty early and we had a big group interested in going to do a common Fish Hatchery loop. I had intended on leading Bruce and Cleveland Robert on a ride over at Dupont but it just wasn’t in the cards for me since I had Shade.

So after getting some sixteen riders and one dog (Shade) together we took off headed up the gravel to the middle of Long Branch. A couple of the out-of-towners sighed when they saw what we were riding up next but they all took it in stride. At the top of Long Branch, we decided that it would be best to head straight up Kissee Creek Road for Farlow. I could here the beast crying out to be ridden hard.

However, as we crested the hill toward Gloucester Gap, I realized that we might not be able to make it to the top of Farlow as the road going up was closed. Prescribed burns were the theme of the day and henceforth we headed to the top of Butter. Foreshadowing to Saturday, maybe the Holy Cow was actually looking out for me on this day, causing me to forgo what could have been catastrophic bicycle failure on Pisgah’s most deadly trail. Mooooooooooooooooooooo.

Once we were at the top of Butter, we re-grouped and suited up our helmet camera and goggles. Someone started talking about downhill pecking order so I quickly chimed in that Dennis should head things up followed by me, after that I didn’t care. A couple of the guys that were concerned with the order dropped in behind me. I took the upper section as fast and hard as I could, I watched Dennis pull away pretty quick after that so I pulled up and let three guys go around as I knew I had no chance. From there, it was just a great cruise all they way down to the Long Branch intersection. I stopped to wait for Shade. I heard something about broken shifty bits on one bike. Crap, Shade likes to have sympathy pains so I rode back up Butter until I found Shade and Mr. Broken-shifty-bits walking along the trail. I made sure all was well besides having to walk and called for Shade to make haste.

Back at the bottom, I realized I didn’t have my leash for Shade so we had to make our way around the chaos at the Hatchery and head back to camp via Davidson River Trail. Shade was pooped big time as this was his first Pisgah ride since being on the Disabled List.

We all took time out for lunch and then re-grouped for the following:

Cove Creek -> 225 -> 475B -> 276 -> 477 -> Club Gap -> Buckwheat -> Bennett -> Coontree -> 276 -> 475 -> Davidson River

This time the group was smaller but we still had a good group including Erol who would be filming once again. The climbs weren’t bad but Club Gap hurt a little. I got some “we went the wrong way’s” after that climb. Everyone kept waiting for when I would tell Erol to dawn his HID camera, then they would know that we were headed down.

Dennis and I got to be on camera some coming down Bennett and Buckwheat. I crashed once by hesitating slightly trying to cross a log but it was a soft landing. I once again didn’t have the cojones to try the Q-bert step and tried the move on the devil’s staircase twice but realized I should probably quit while I was ahead.

I came bombing down the last few steps before the Coontree turn off when I took a small ledge at the bottom to hear SSSSSSSSSSsssssssssssssssSSSSsssssssssssssssssssss. Damn, there goes the tubeless. After wrestling with my tire for about 30 days and 29 nights, Erol finally helped me give her the last push over the rim. Whew I was spent.

We made it back to camp safely and proceeded to “get our party on.”

Saturday dawn I awoke to an ever increasing urge to relieve myself. I let myself and the dogs out of the tent. While the dogs ran around waking everyone up in the campground I fell back to sleep.

I should have stayed in bed because the poltergeist was out in earnest on Saturday. Dicky brought the rain so we all convened in Cook’s Taj-ma-beefcake until it let up. While we were all outside playing Frisbee with Buddy, Shade and Juda we heard a rumor that someone had stuck their car in the creek. Jody was not having a good day.

I guess it was lunchtime when we finally had our shit together enough for a ride. There was something like sixteen of us again, so I thought. Luis, Dicky, Dennis and I all waited above the staircase on Cove wondering why we didn’t have any friends. After Dicky double checked and reassured us that we really don’t have any friends, we took off headed to 276. I kept wondering what the hell was going on with my bike as it sounded like my headset was creaking badly.

As we headed out onto the Pink Beds I was in total disarray with what this sound must be coming from my bike. I stopped and adjusted everything. Nothing seemed a miss and I just hoped the bike wouldn’t fall apart because it sure sounded like it would. Oh just ignore it and all will be good I thought. It will get me through this ride and then I will have to get a new head set.

As we got to the good singletrack section of Pink Beds I started to feel some play in the bike. I got off and tugged and tugged on the cranks thinking that the creak might now be coming from the bottom bracket. I could see that the frame was flexing slightly so I inspected the chain stays. All seemed to be good so I hopped back on and two pedal revolutions later I heard the infamous crack of steel and ripping of paint. Come on everybody let’s sing-a-long, “Another one bites the dust, and another one down, another one down, another one bites the dust.”

The down tube sheered in half, slightly further from the steer tube than last time but the same flaw none the less. My thoughts immediately ran to bombing the trails I had yesterday, this could have easily happened on Butter, Buckwheat, Bennett or Coontree. Those thoughts give me the willies.

I ran to find my rag tag of three up ahead. I finally caught up and explained my predicament. I knew what fate was in store for me so I told them all to go on with their rides.

I had a very peaceful walk out to 276, I doodled around in the Pink Bed’s parking area for a minute and then decided to head down 276. I figured it was Saturday and some nice mountain bike folk would see me in distress (walking my bike by pavement in Pisgah is distressed in my book) and have pity on me. If not, it was going to be a long walk back to Cove Creek.

A bunch of cars passed and no luck, then one car slowed down but they were just making sure that I wasn’t bleeding. Just past 475B, another group pulled up and they had room. SWEET!! Dave from Raleigh drove me back to the entrance of Cove, it was his first time to Pisgah so we talked Pisgah a bit and I thanked him profusely for taking me to the beer faster.

Buddha came to me in my dreams and let me know that all bikes break and that my bikes break faster. Buddha emphasized that I work on my finesse. I didn’t argue, arguing with Buddha is bad.

Sunday morning I am up at 7:30 calculating how I can possibly get all my wet stuff together and out of Cove Creek in time to make Crew Leader training at 10:00 am with Mr. Blitch. Miraculously, I was able to make it by 10:15 after I literally shoved all of my camping stuff into the car juxtaposed style.

Next was the picking up, moving and then placing of a bunch of rock. I do now understand Appalachian armoring even better. My Tetris skills are growing rapidly with the help of a trained eye. Hopefully I am learnt enough to lead a trail crew to success on Green’s Lick in June. We worked hard and efficiently yesterday, I have now spent as many work days in Bent Creek as I have ride days.

What has this weekend taught me? Well the Drunken Monkey lasted about 15 months before she met her end. This time the Stone Cold Sober Monkey lasted about 3 months. This makes me realize that Stone Cold Sober is no way to go through life. It could possibly even shorten your life span but that is still up for debate.

Anyone care to hedge bets on how long Undead Drunken Monkey will last? Maybe I should coddle her until the Cohutta. Can a frame fit in one of those zip lock bags they give us for the sag stops?



Duckman said...

Ah just JB weld that sucker. Damn the torpedoes and full steam aheaaaad!
C-ya at Cohutta.

Luis G. said...

Sucks about the frame, pretty scary just thinking about that happening down Bennett or Farlow or pretty much anywhere else except exactly where it happened...

Good riding with you for a little bit!

cornfed said...

You are not helping my neurosis at all. Some zen you are...

My buddy Mike still has you beat, he went thru a Bianchi, two Soma's, two Fishers, and is working on a Niner at the moment.

26" is where it's at. ;-)

ExtrmTao said...


Got me beat? This was my seventh broken frame. Five Gary Fishers and Two Surly's.

cornfed said...

Ok, yeah 2 surly's does trump any other frame out there... Though I neglected to mention that was all within 6 months for Mike...

Anonymous said...

at least you car didn't become a U-Boat.

sucks about the monkey - keep it drunken next time - been a rash of broken bikes here lately guess i'm next seeing at how it has almost been since the last break.


Robert said...

man! burnt head and bikeless, better get your shit together for cohutta. sorry i missed out on the adventure, the combo of you, jut and dicky would have been worth the wait. i think bruce would insert a "that's how pisgah works"