Monday, June 09, 2008

The Big "K"

I have been on a hiatus of sorts. I had thoughts of posting that I wouldn’t be posting in awhile but that would be a post and would therefore negate the fact that I wasn’t posting. So I decided not to post that.

If you followed that penultimate sentence, congrats to you!

I had three pages of material typed up last week, I read them over and over again and realized how negative it all sounded and decided to just not post for a bit. Get over it, I am back and it isn’t revenge I am seeking, it is the reckoning.

I will give a brief description of how I felt on a big ride from two weekends ago where we parked at N. Mills River and dropped into Bent Creek for a look-see at our sections on Green’s Lick and came back.

The ride for me, can be described with two words “Extreme Paranoia.” I was not confident on the bike after 10 days of being off of it and because of this, I failed to notice that my back wheel had lost all of its tension. Instead of noticing this small fixable problem, I went on a paranoia binge to hell and back. Every trail intersection, I was flipping the bike over, inspecting for cracks. Every moment of the day riding was spent wondering if I would die on the next pedal stroke.

Whew, that is much better; I mellowed down three pages of paranoia to one paragraph. AWESOME!

This past Wednesday, we had an awkward moment at our Wednesday night ride. When we all arrived, one deceased man was being taken out from Fawn Lake. Rumor has it that the unfortunate soul had a heart attack while swimming and rescue efforts took too long due to the remoteness of the area.

With no disrespect, the day turned into an awesome ride of the newly re-opened Burnt Mountain. We even saw one of the trail masters himself riding the trail. After ZB discovered my tensionless problem and helped to rectify it, I got some good feelings from the Gods of dirt and rock and really started feeling like a Mountain Biker again. I even felt good enough to launch the bike into the air a few times and received some “props” from our fellowship.

Now we can get down to the talk of extreme trail "K"arma because if you participated in National Trails Day, that’s what you have for exactly one week. Thanks to the organizational powers of Ben B., we were able to manage 120 volunteers from all over to re-vamp Green’s Lick. It is really hard to even begin to describe what happened to this trail. Tons of Locust cell rock armoring on the steep top sections, I think I counted 20 something rock cells at the top combined with some tight berms and even a couple extremely ambitious rock armored berms.

Mike Brown and I worked together with a killer group that helped take care of a flat boggy ditch section. With two rocks I picked out and another huge rock Mike picked out, we created a nice lounge chair TTF that might send you into the air if you were so inclined to take the incline sending you over a small culvert of rock. The direct line is flat rock through the ditch or crick if you please.

Adam worked with a bunch of folks on the last feature of the trail. It was a three-way street of jumps. The left side being the most difficult with a nice table top that leads into a ginormous dirt and rock berm. Early in the morning, Adam and I walked up and took a look only to discover that one tree would have to be taken out. Yes, it was that big. When I saw how perfectly this jump was formed at the end of the day, I had to hit it and hit it I did. The first attempt I didn’t have enough speed and my front wheel hit the landing but the back wheel hit the flat table top and that put me into a nose wheelie down the back side. I pedaled back up and pushed the speed as fast as I could this time landing in the fall line zone about six feet past my landing on the first jump.

That jump along with three beers from the Mayberry cooler had my stoke high enough for me to pedal back up Bent Creek Road to the parkway. Dennis had secured us the last free camping spot along Wash Creek road and that was my destination as I had pedaled to the work party at 6 in the morning earlier that day. Now it was 5:00PM and a cold rain was slapping me in the face as I had my revenge on the climb up to the parkway. A week before, I walked a good bit of this climb.

Once I was at the parkway, with 0 hours of sleep the past night and a full day of trail work under my belt. I knew I wasn’t a candidate for soloing up the Blue Ridge Deathway to get to Trace and ultimately our campground. I pedaled up to the parkway, watched three cars go by at 50+ MPH and decided I would pedal down Wash Creek Road and back up Spencer to get to Trace. I am finally getting a little fitness back and I was at the top of Trace in no time. I had contemplated going down Spencer but I knew that steep + tired + wet + rocks + solo was a semi bad idea so I came down Trace. It was awesome and I dedicate this descent to my friend Mike R. who recently went down hard out in Pisgah and will be living vicariously for a few months while he heals. Best of luck Mike!

Saturday night was low-key as the non-trail-karma people arrived via road bike after some measly little road ride that took them for a 120 mile jaunt through South and North Carolina, WUSSIES. We were all beat, especially those who didn’t sleep the night before because of redneck wannabe cowboys. I slept though all of their cat calls on Saturday night as well as the dogs.

Clay and I decided to push karma up another notch and lead a SORBA ride on Sunday. May-duh had planned out 11 or 12 rides for the day so we volunteered to lead/sweep the Farlow Gap ride. It only made sense.

We pulled up and to our surprise we found no-one joining us, in fact there wasn’t a single bike on or off a vehicle at Daniel’s Ridge. Eventually Jut and Chris joined us for our trip. We took the back way to the top of Farlow with a side trip to Courthouse falls so we could listen to 10 screaming 8 year old girls as they plunged into the icy waters on a cool June day. I really can’t wait for August so I don’t have to keep wearing my knee warmers.

Clay and I were both suffering pretty hard. Jut is a super-human partying riding machine. That’s all I have to say about that.

My ride was pretty tame, I tried fooling with the ERGON angle on my grips right before the descent down Farlow, CAN YOU SAY STOOOPID?

So I had to stop a couple times and re-adjust, I walked a lot. My only highlight was actually making the log bridge huck towards the bottom. Clay helped a little providing Kodak courage.

The only other interesting note was the trail maintenance I did on Farlow. There was one super steep pitch that Jut wanted to clean so I hiked down to capture this occasion with ones and zeroes in the form of digital photography. I found a nice ½ ton rock to sit on and got my camera out. As I was taking a picture the earth started moving faster than normal. I stood up only to realize that this gigantic boulder was only precariously holding onto its position. It teetered and I warned all around not to get in the path of this beast. After Jut cleaned the section, I was putting my pack on when I heard the inevitable, gravity had won over this rock. Luckily only trees and creeks were harmed in the fall. Clay said “Wow, luckily you weren’t sitting on it.” Yeah luckily.

I hate posting without visual aid but I have been hounded for not posting. I will add some visual delights sometime soon.


Stephen said...

I decorated your bike, did you like it?

ExtrmTao said...

Ahhhhhhhhhhh, that was you was it? At first I was so out of it I just thought some leaves got stuck in the bars. Then I saw some leaves sticking out the other side and thought that was strange. Then after I pulled them both out and pedaled up toward the jump I thought "I wonder if that was poison ivy. . . "

Anonymous said...

Ahh Trace, one of my super fast favorites...Thanks, J. You nearly brought a tear to my eye. Please don't take anymore blog breaks, as I am MOST DEFINITELY relying on these blogs to get my trail fix.
Current personal ride goal is road bike by late fall, mountain bike in the spring.
keep it real, but be careful out there.
-mike r.