Monday, September 22, 2008

Pisgah SingleTrack

I am finding it hard to put into words how I feel on the bike these days. Every chance I get to spend in the woods, I relish.

Clay and I met on Saturday for a slightly ambitious ride, I would hesitate to call it epic. However, it was another attempt to gather enough fitness for the beast known as Double Dare coming up in less than four weeks.

Driving up to the mountains in the morning is always a treat. Even though it was sunny in Travelers Rest when I left, the mountains were shrouded in beautiful white puffy clouds that seemed to be forming from the valleys up. By the time I made it to Black Mountain, it was sunny and the fog had lifted.

I had the downhill party to try and make it to while Clay wanted to sleep in so I knew the ride would be a little hasty if we wanted gain any significant mileage.

Our ultimate route would be:

Black Mountian -> Turkey Pen -> Vineyard Gap -> Riverside -> ???? -> Squirrel Gap, S. Mills River -> Buckhorn -> Clawhammer -> 477 -> 276

This was the first time I had ascended Black utilizing the black magic of gears. I have to admit that it was kind of nice seeing Clay walk (singlespeed) while I soft pedaled my granny gear in places I would normally walk the singlespeed. I can’t say I was any faster than normal, I just rode more.

Right before the junction of Maxwell Cove, Clay let me lead the short downhill when I heard something scurry off into the woods. It was a black bear of course, Clay saw it and I still have not seen a black bear in Pisgah, damn I need to stay on my toes more.

We made pretty quick work of Black and before I knew it we were standing at one of the greatest trails in the land, Turkey Pen. Before Saturday, I think I had only ridden Turkey Pen one other time in a non-race setting.

Turkey Pen is majestic. It lures you into sweet singletrack bliss during its quick descents only to spit you out at the bottom like a jet fueled rocket along the few flat spots that quickly turn into sharp uphill grunts. Some of these grunts I was able to conquer in the granny and others I was happy to get off and huff up to the top.

From there Clay and I had a short debate about how much time Vineyard Gap would add to our ride. However, it was an easy decision to make so early in the ride, we were hitting Vineyard gap and it would be my first time so maybe a nickname is in order, virgin gap.

I can’t believe I have given this trail the cold shoulder every time I had gone by. The first part of the trail is just like Turkey Pen. Some hard grunts followed by quick downs. However, the last downhill that takes your from the top of the gap all the way back down to the river was incredible. Dennis (who lives 1.5 miles from the trail) had said before “There are a bunch of water bars at the end that are fun.” I really had no idea what I was getting into and when I came around the first corner at full bore I knew I was in over my head. However instead of kissing the ground I was able to hold on just long enough so I could pull my speed back to a reasonable level. Then the one-thousand and one steeply chutted water bars began. I don’t remember a trail with this many quick drops. I was charged at the bottom.

From there we took a long look at the map as this part of the forest still escapes me. I can’t visualize all the nooks and cranny’s like I can in other areas. Talking Clay out of a full tour of S. Mills River was high on my priority list as I was secretly lusting to ride Squirrel. Clay mentioned that I probably hadn’t ridden the bottom of Squirrel before and he was right. Even though I was off my game slightly on this trail I still enjoyed it thoroughly and soon we made it to the PAS work Party. Both Clay and I felt bad for riding by the party knowing full well we should be helping but sometimes you just have to ride! They were doing a good job of turning a mud hole into a rideable section and we stopped and chatted for a second before we continued on with our agenda. Thanks for the work guys and gal!!!

The ride could have been 100% singletrack if we had chosen to march up and over Black on the way back down but we were short on time so we ended up 90%/10% with a fast cruise back down and the small amount of pavement on 276. It was a beautiful day with 0 mechanicals.

Sunday was spent at Paris Mountain, I volunteered for 11 hours course marshalling spectators and riders. I had a primo volunteer job as I ushered spectators up and down the trail during practice runs and got to see some fantastic crashes. This event was a HUGE success and it was a good day to be an UpState SORBA member.



Anonymous said...

what happen to that nice new $700 camera you found along the roadside? these post are worthless without pictures - what's wrong with you man? forcing people to read! slackass

cornfed said...

blah blah blah blah...

where's the friggin Epic Designs bag photos!!!


Palmetto Solo said...

No post updates - could only mean one thing. Somebody has been secert DD training.

DD - Designated Driver
DD - Double Dare

Brado1 said...

Bag & Goofball Picture Here