So this past weekend the south saw a significant snow storm. We got some of the white stuff at the house and so the weather called for an early morning Paris Mountain ride.
J got to the house early enough but it wasn’t until we were properly hydrated and baconated that we were able to leave.
It was a much longer day than anticipated as J and I climbed the mountain four different times including the ride to and from the house.
The conditions on the backside of the mountain were much like a packed powder day. Just as I was explaining to J that Vancouver wishes they had these snow conditions my wheel slipped out causing my handlebars to snag a tree and down I went.
I guess it is time to start a new “training” log as P36 has been postponed due to weather. So a 35 mile ride to Paris and back starts the trend of “peaking” in April.
Jones Gap on Saturday, surprisingly, there was quite a bit of snow left over from our most recent storm. Hard fast hiking including a lot of snow running as it was the perfect moisture level for helping you stick to the trail.
Sunday morning, I found myself riding up Paris at 8:30 in the morning. I was able to get in and out for a good ride without hitting all the crowds. I happened upon one hiker while I was descending Pipsissewa. My bike was being extremely quiet and the young lady and her canine companion had not noticed me. This scenario happens a lot to me so I knew I would frighten her when I said hello as she was obviously enjoying the woods. Complacently I said “Good Morning” she reeled around along with the dog doing a jumping 180 degree turn and proclaimed that I had in fact scared her. I apologized and moved along. I believe Ninja’s were single speeders with cantilever brakes.
Clay negotiates a technical trail feature.
A properly trained dog awaits a treat.
Duma loves to try and fly, I don't know if he will ever get all four feet off the ground with that wingspan.
Icycle happens with or without you. This year, we rented the cabin so there was no holding back. With chains purchased from Marietta Tire, I knew we didn’t have too much to worry about. How horrible would it be to get stuck on the highway with a bunch of beer, your wife and two dogs anyway?
It was an epic journey that took 8 hours instead of 3 in the car. The worst of worst conditions being that the passes were all completely covered and the rest of the highway only slightly covered called for installation and removal of the chains several times. By the way, if you are going to travel with chains, travel with bolt cutters too.
Luckily only one 180 degree sliding turn later, we arrived at Fontana Village with our sights set on the keg and some racing. Staying up till 3:00am drinking tea and eating crumpets on Saturday had me feeling perfect for race day.
Two of the best laps I have ever had at Icycle came next.
Going into the downhill the first cross country lap, I was in Fifth position even though I didn’t know it at the time. As always, the downhill at Icycle suits my skills and when I emerged at the bottom, I was in 2cnd place even though I still didn’t know it.
Then close to the end of the first lap, Zach catches up and we start scheming about locking this thing down. Little did we know that we were being schooled up ahead by one other rider in the single speed class.
We finish the first lap and ride into the second lap. About halfway through the second lap, Zach took off ahead and I couldn’t hold his wheel up the climb but I thought I would reel him back in on the downhill.
Once I got to the downhill I knew I wasn’t far behind so I let it loose still feeling good. Three-hundred yards later I was lying heaped up in a ball off the side of the trail wondering what the fuck just happened. I didn’t waste any time and just hopped back on the bike. A hundred yards later I realized my back brake wasn’t working at all. Not from the fall, but it was the culprit of the fall. I must have toasted my pads completely running the downhill the first time. After the race, I would find this to be true. I heard the cheers for Zach and caught sight of him for a moment but the lost time was too much so I settled in for an easy third place.
After some shit talk ensued, I was told I had to do the downhill even if I walked it sense there were only two other people signed up for the Hard-Ass downhill. I signed up, made a horrifyingly slow albeit safe trip down the mountain for my practice run and then waited. I was riding the SURLY with flat pedals and hiking boots since I had NO desire to put cycling clothes back on.
Another safe run later and I was at the bottom securing a double podium. I only note that in case AT&T or Gatorade needs a new sponsor. First or third loser is pretty synonymous with those companies anyway right?
Pictures courtesy of Brad with Kristin’s photos to follow on the morrow.