Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I Just Want to Bang On Me Drum All Day Long ...


I don’t have much to say about NORAMM besides the fact that Dennis and I got in 25 miles at a blistering pace due to the fact that most of it was on the VA Creeper trail. We did include some single track that was very Pisgahesque with lots of blowdown from the Hurricane.

I have been on a hiatus due to the fact that I have been on Vacation. I hardly ever post while on vacation, in fact, just ask Brad because I totally ignored his SORBA requests while on vacation, it is just the way I operate, nothing personal.

The first half of my vacation was filled with a personal plot to kill myself through dehydration unbeknown to myself.

My first report is entitled “SOLO SLOG.”

I knew even though it would hinder my healing process, I wanted to get a big ‘gravel grinder’ ride in after Damascus. So last Monday I suited the Undead Karate Monkey back up with a mountain gear 34X22 and my big fatty tires.

Even on the drive up to Pisgah I wasn’t sure yet how I was going to tackle the day. I had no dogs with me as the temps were pushing 90+ even in the high elevations. I only had one destination in mind, the graveyard fields.

My ultimate route:

477 -> Clawhammer -> ???? -> Avery Creek -> Club Gap -> 477 -> 276 -> 475B -> 225A -> Seined Ridge (Hiking only) -> BRP -> 215 -> Old Indian Camp -> 475 -> 276 -> 477

I ended up parking in-between white pines north and south with a good route in mind. I was hoping to do something I had always thought about but had never ventured doing. I was suited up and on the bike by 11:00am.

The over-geared climb up Clawhammer combined with the prior weekend’s festivities had me thinking I might die on the initial steep pitches past Maxwell Cove. I knew once I worked the toxins out of my body I would be ok, or so I thought. I took the old road bed that parallels Black Mountain over to Avery Creek trail so that I would avoid the jarring on Black Mountain itself. I stopped multiple times to work my way through the thickets of blackberry bushes praying I didn’t get a flat with only one tube in my pack. This overgrown monster was quickly replaced with a hike-a-bike up Avery. It was much further than I remembered but last time I hit this connector was in the opposite direction.

I took a careful small descent down Club Gap as I was trying to avoid a shocking blow to the wrist. I was successful and this would be my only single track decent of the day as I was trying to avoid them altogether.
After climbing 475B and 225A, I hit a section of the forest that I had never been in before. The gravel road had been extended as the FS is logging up on Seinerd Ridge and much of the area is in disarray. I eventually found the hiking trail and made the obvious up headed to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The trail was super steep and my hiking/pushing speed was just nearing absolute zero when I finally saw the parkway. I was almost out of the water as I was only carrying 3 liters so that was priority.

I took a left heading up further. Once I made it to the graveyard fields I started spying people around their cars. I saw a young couple who were packing their car up for the day and they had a huge jug of water, I couldn’t resist. The young man said “How long you going for?” I said “A long time.” I had actually now been climbing for approximately 4 and ½ hours with only two descents that lasted less than two minutes a piece.

He told me to turn downhill after giving me four liters of water. I thanked him and pushed on toward 215. After climbing another ½ hour to 215, I was finally ready to head downhill. I had never been that high on 215 before and what a treat! The entire five hours of ascending was descended in 12 minutes. With the views at the top I had a very roller coaster endorphin high kicking and I had to remind myself to watch the road.

It was a slow slog back to the car and I was whipped which set me up perfectly for my next day of vacation. . .

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