Monday, November 02, 2009

Pisgah Is Back!!!

If over the past two years or so you have been wondering to yourself, self how is it that I have gotten so fast riding around on the Pisgah single track? Why is it my tires seem to stick like glue and I only fall when my ego outweighs my skill for that day?

Well fret no more because classic ice clad Pisgah (wait it isn’t below freezing yet) is here to stay for awhile and you better show her some respect.

Sunday November 1st was one of those days where you had to pay your respects to every feature in the forest whether you could see it or not, try and push the limits and you will be bitten hard.

Clay, J and myself headed to Black Mountain trailhead to start a long (hours not distance) ride in the beast herself. I had suggested to Clay earlier in the week that it is the season for nice long riding warm-ups and therefore suggested we not take his favorite warm-up which is climbing Black Mountain to the overlook right out of the truck.

We started the day up 276 to 477 and as soon as we hit 477 it started, what about going up 477 to buckhorn, down this, up that, around all of this, back up all of that and. . .

So with that I non-regrettably agreed to ride up Buckhorn from 477 to “warm up.” Of course, all of this was going on while I was snapping pictures of J trying to mount a mock bull at the horse stables set up with suspension and ropes. I guess you had to be there. Check out Clay’s blog for all the wonderful photos. (All pictures in this post are courtesy of Clay)

Buckhorn was wet, slippery, waterfall and eventually pretty steep. When we made back to Clawhammer I was excited about all the mud that would moisturize my skin as we climbed to our first gap of the day, Buckhorn.

Clay of course took off like he had dynamite under his ass and I struggled to even keep sight of him. Next thing I knew I was at the top and Clay came walking up the “hiker’s only” section of Buckhorn moments later. That damn dog of Clay’s has turned him into a monster hike-a-biker and he was actually able to push up that beast as fast as I could climb Clawhammer. If he stays healthy, he will be a formidable foe come February.

Re-grouped we started our ascent to the first lunch stop of the day, overlook on Black Mountain a mile or so past the Buckhorn Shelter. Once there Clay challenged himself with a flat change, he wanted to see how quick he could make the change and it was better than any Halloween special and downright scary.

Some “fellow cyclists” came rolling up and exclaimed it was their very first Pisgah ride. Conversations that start like that in the middle of Pisgah are always entertaining. They had been forewarned that their chosen route of climbing Avery may have not been the best choice. I said “you might have regretted that decision.” However, after what we experienced, they may have regretted the “Pisgah” decision altogether.

So our first true decent of the day to Club Gap was nice with everyone making it safely to the bottom. Clay wanted to document the Virginian’s first Pisgah ride but as we waited and waited we realized they found out they were in over their heads or flatted so we pushed on up Buckwheat.

Coming up on a recent felled tree, I had to back up and line this one up three times before I made the move up and over. J made a nice up, clip out and over move on his first try.

I found myself way in over my head when I came to the off camber rocky section as I was traveling much to quickly for the conditions. I hit the worst possible line and focused on not hurting myself and I made a connection with the rock. Just as I was going to turn and head back up for another try Clay came around the corner and hit the deck in a much more painful manner. No harm no foul and I tried again:

I cannot wrap my head around the Q-bert step on Bennett even though I have seen so many people clean it. I walked and stopped to watch Clay and J’s attempts. Clay bailed with a “not today.” Then J came and I saw him start to nose wheelie just before the top step, not good. As he met the Zenith of his pendulum, I thought for sure some DNA was about to be spread when his huge 200+ form leaped like Catwoman from the bike simultaneously unclipping from the pedals and landing feet down at the bottom of all the steps. It was an impressive save fueled by adrenaline and love for the human form.

On to the overlook, another quick respite and down the rest of Bennett. All of us walked the death defying technical move on Bennett and moved onto Coontree. Coontree is a hoot of a trail and we made it down in quick fashion.

Instead of hiking backup Coontree we decided a loop was in order so onto Horse Cove road up to the Art Loeb trail. I had forgotten how bad any climb up to the Art Loeb is but this one took me to a new place as I made it my mission to keep Clay in site. After what seemed like an eternity we made it to the intersection and I laid down on the knob just relishing the fact that it was over.
Hiking down that beautiful trail to the North Slope connector is painful but it also forces you to take in some nice views. We were rewarded with another attention grabbing decent on North Slope back to the cars. I must remember to pay my respects to the formidable foe, Pisgah. Thanks again for making me feel more alive than I knew I was.

Good ride fellas.

1 comment:

brado1 said...

i miss riding with you guys, my Favorite time of year... now i get to live vicariously through your post, so do a better job of posting up! good talking w/ ya yesterday!

wv: cypeteb

think that's one of the many pills i'm taking....