Thursday, February 21, 2008
Happy Birthday Bro!
Mark certainly did put a great ride weekend together for his Birthday. We stayed at his cabin in Saluda, NC and as always it was just the best location to set up home base. Some rode on Friday and Saturday. Some showed up and just did Saturday.
We started the weekend by meeting up on Friday at BentCreek.
Malcom from Cane Creek took us around to a few other trails in the Bent Creek area after we finished the whippin down hill. I got so tired of pumping all the jumps I just started rounding them out towards the end. I did have some trouble launching the jumps. My fork was really mushy and I was getting bucked. Close to going ass over tea kettle a few times. Still fun as it could be. All the guys really ripped down that one. Big grins everywhere after that run. Last time down it (few months back) I got a flat. This time Ray got a flat. I think a precedence has been set. Afterwards we swung by Carolina Fats where I bought some fork oil that I couldn't use. Wrong weight. I ended up trading it to Shaun for dinner Saturday night at a Pizza joint in the town of Black Mountain.
Friday night back at the cabin Paul was waiting for us. I think there were about 10 of us staying there. We had spaghetti for dinner and a great Lasagna ala Shaun. Really good meal and beer with freeride videos thrown in for good measure. Hanging out with all your riding buddies talking about bikes and different rides is nothing but good times. The hot topic of the evening was the ride to come. Heartbreak ridge on Saturday. Of which none of us had ever ridden except for Paul who has some painful memories of that ride. Not due to the ride itself either. That is another story (Big Ball Paul). We knew it was going to be a grinder, death march, killer. Choose your cliche'. We had heard 7hrs of riding. I was looking forward to it. I have really come to love the long epic rides. Ever since (man I use this a lot). Switzerland. This ride would not disappoint in that respect. About a 20miler . I think.Sat image taken from Shaun's MTBR post. (giving credit where credit is due)
Saturday morning we rolled out bright and early. We met up with Marty of Pro Bikes and her boyfriend Christian. Two great riders and really awesome people. We all followed to the parking area along the road to where we would start this ride. Up a long gravel road. Through some some sort of Bible camp to the trail head. Straight up. The climb was a beast. Steep and rocky. This caused the front of my Nomad to dance around all over the place. I had to dab a few times. The fact that I had 20lbs of food, water, and gear on my back did not help. Hey I like to be prepared. The trail took a hard right and leveled out to a regrouping area before the super long rock garden climb. Insanely bumpy baby head rock climb. Over all about a 14 mile climb from the trail head at the Bible Skoo. On the way up you pass a few hunting camps. For bear. For that reason this trail is only open for a few months out of the year. It does pass through private land and there are no short cuts. Once you start it you can pretty much only turn around or keep going. There might be a cut off at some point. You know, to pick Pansys. Get it? This is some very remote riding. Apparently there is a bit of controversy around HeartBreak Ridge. Anyway, when we reached the very top there is a camp set up with an old RV and a camper. Long gone are the days that those saw pavement. It was a little bit of a wait for everyone. We built a campfire and hung out around that until everyone caught up. Roasted some gloves over it to dry them out. It really got chilly up there.
The run back down was pretty good. It was tight and loose. Lots of off camber sections with roots and, about a foot deep in leaves in spots. Super slick and had some really gnarly exposure in some precarious spots. Closer to the end of the run are and abundance of switch backs. Those are lots of fun. Overall quite an epic ride. Not a huge downhill payoff. More of a "yeah let's go out and spend the day on a grinder". Honestly I was not expecting a downhill to beat all others anyway but I do think running the 14 mile climb the other way so you get that crazy rock garden for miles would be lots O fun. After all was said and done I guess the downhill was not bad. The over all ride is really cool.
We had some great participants. The Usual suspects. Me, Mark, Rob, Shaun, Ashley, Paul, Rick, Jason, Dirty Dr. Ray came in from Va. Beach. There were also some new friends that added to this ride. It was great having them on board. Bill my new best friend from Cali (great riding with you), Daniel the machine from the Yukon, Ashley's Pal Keith the Huckster, Marty and, Christain (we could not have done Heartbreak with out them).
Good times everyone!
flickr photo set
at 9:14 AM