Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Pisgah Rocks!

Pisgah Rocks!

Incredible trip, words cannot describe everything experienced riding in Pisgah. We arrived late in the evening on Friday, setup camp in the dark all while trying to control our excitement about the upcoming rides. Andy Campbell had arrived earlier and had already ridden 17 miles! We setout Saturday morning focused on riding as much as we could.

Saturday - Clawhammer Mountain:

  • This was a major wakeup call! The initial climb was an uphill gravel fireroad from hell! I had chosen to use a CamelBak for the trip which I had not used in quite some time and started to feel the weight of it within the first few miles. That gravel road really made me start sucking wind and made me wonder if I was going to feel like this all weekend. I finally got into a nice pace and started moving along. After our first stop at the top of the gravel road, we discovered we had lost "Naked Bear Ken". After a failed search party attempt , it was later discovered that he had taken a right turn earlier on an entirely different trail! We continued on a bit concerned about where Ken could be, but soon became preoccupied with one of the gnarliest hike-a-bike sections I have ever witnessed. At times it seemed we would never see the top of Black Mountain. Finally reaching the summit, we found ourselves looking deep over the valley with one thing on our minds: the downhill! A little more singletrack ups and downs and finally we found what we were looking for! The first downhill out there was one of the roughest most abusive descents I have taken in a while. After about 3-4 miles of nonstop downhill aggression, I actually had to stop and rest my hands because my thumbs were on fire from the constant bashing the trail was giving me. Hard Turns, berms, erosion bars, off-camber rocks, you name it, this downhill trail was dishing it out in buckets. After reaching the bottom, we then paused to enjoy the adrenaline rush we were feeling. Thinking the ride was over we started up again after giving our thumbs a good long rest, we discovered the best laid directly ahead. The final descent of Buckhorn Gap was a perfect set of pump track humps with oversized berms just begging to be carved! After racing downhill again loving every moment of this insanely perfect speedway, Collin went into attack mode ahead of me and grabbed a huge part of the berm and whipped out of it super fast using it to connect to a perfect jump up ahead! It was really cool to watch someone else enjoy this trail in the way it was supposed to be enjoyed... We then returned to camp, ate a light lunch, hydrated on CytoMax by the buckets, and decided to try another trail before dark. I found my second wind and rode much stronger than earlier and yes, you know it, we hit that super fast downhill once again...it was too good to not do twice...JD had other thoughts on that second ride, but that is his story to tell...Dinner at camp Saturday was incredible! Dutch oven cooked biscuits! Red Beans & Rice with bits of sausage! German Beer! CytoMax! woohoo!

Sunday - DuPont State Forest:

  • Sunday morning came up fast! Breakfast was by Collin , another Dutch oven masterpiece! Feeling well nourished, rested and ready for more adventure, we loaded up the cars and drove off to DuPont to find out what all the fuss was about. Joe Pelton has been mentioning this place to me for quite sometime, but I have had an unusually busy year with only local trails within my grasp to keep myself fit. I now know what all the fuss is about DuPont...this is one incredibly beautiful trail system! Our first ride was up Laurel Ridge Tr, which was a moderate climb with a great rewards system around every bend. Ultra smooth climbs followed by curvy predictable descents. I was in heaven! THEN we found Bridal Falls! WOW! Slick Rock on the East Coast? No Way! Intense! I was in another world! We climbed all the way up to the Falls and then sat there taking it all in. It was really nice...words can't really describe this once again...THEN we returned to the parking lot for lunch and our next trail adventure! The last trail that day was on another section of DuPont called Cedar Rock Mountain. This place was something else. It starts out as clean singletrack leading into rocky sections leading into slick face off-camber climbs. The climbs went more and more vertical as you leave the security of the trees and up and out into the open. I have never had such fun climbing and enjoying the magnificient views as I have while I was there. The views alone helped you forget the fact that the climbs were incredibly challenging. This is one place to visit again and again. I did, however, take a pretty gnarly spill on the way down. It happened near the end, so I guess it was due sooner or later. I had started to get pretty comfortable racing downhill with my suspension plushed out, so this was definitely a lesson to be learned. Racing down the slickrock really gave me a charge, so I started to go much faster and take more risks. I came near the end of the trailhead and I noticed a super smooth hill begging to be jumped. I guess I was hitting around 26-27mph when I neared it. Speed has a way of making simple decisions very very difficult. I approached the jump, got into position and then saw horses up ahead! I decided to try and stop and float up and over the hill...BIG mistake, too much speed, brakes locked and up and over I went, landing a bit sideways immediately sliding into the gravel...ouch! Down I went, sliding across onto my hip, elbow and a bit of my helmet. The landing was uglier than it felt. I got up, chunked my bike, checked myself over, apologized for scaring the horses, and got back on and finished the ride. A little blood, a few reminders to be more careful and all was good. I was lucky that day...

Monday - More DuPont State Forest!:

  • Monday gave us more of the first trail in DuPont since JD was eager to go back and explore that trail some more...I, at this point, was totally exhausted and finally gave in to the cramps which were probably more from eating too much camp goodies the night before...

Noone really wanted to leave, but we all had places to return to in the "real-world"