Wednesday, December 30

Bike Ride!!!

I don't actually spend all my time shedding sponsors, shooting myself in the foot, and picking up new sponsors based on loosely formed, beer lubricated friendships although it seems like that's all I've written about lately. Well I guess I also covered dead pets, new frames, weekly injuries, and naked guys at the Y. Sometimes I do actually go for a bike ride.

Poorly aimed Kerkovian shot taken with my new cell phone that has a CAMERA. Did you know they make cell phones with cameras?

Last weekend ALL the trails in Charlotte were shut down due to recent heavy rains. We've got a 24 rain rule here in the Queen City, but the rains were substantial enough to keep them closed for days on end after the rains subsided. The mountains were not an option either as they were socked in with 8-17" of snow right before the holidays. I thought I was screwed until my boss called and asked me if I wanted to head down to South Carolina and ride Hanging Rock.

First things first. I haven't ridden with my boss in over a decade. The last time I rode with him he had a steel rigid hardtail, but since then he has upgraded his rig.

That my friends is a (a crappy picture of) a GT Thermoplastic LTS with proprietary shock, square taper Race Face LP, cranks, Magura HS 22 rear RIM brake, and a slew of other parts that belong in the MOMBAT. This was the bike of his dreams years ago, and it has served him very well since his purchase. He does plan on upgrading again... in five or so years.

So back to the ride...

We headed down to Hanging Rock which is named after the creek that runs through it. All the trails are on the private property belonging to the family of Holt's friend Robert Mobley, our tour guide for the day. Also in attendance was fill-in messenger of the year, Eric.

Here's Eric atop on one of the many giant boulders deciding if we should attempt to ford the swollen creek or build a raft.

Once we got to Mobley's place he had to be summoned from his quarters, as he and his son had spent the night in the woods. It took awhile to rustle him up, but I could see how it would be hard to leave the comfort of these quarters.

Handbuilt chimney, cot for the boy, and (not seen in the picture) Gilligan style hammock for dad over the boy's sleeping area.

Before we headed out Robert hooked up the neutral support vehicle with extra water, spare tubes, and a floor pump.

His son Reese was supposed to be our Johan Bruyneel for the day, but washed away bridges kept him from fulfilling his duties, so he just spent his time puttering around the woods.

We weren't on the bike five minutes before we encountered one of the many washed out bridges. Half-assed repair work was done as necessary, and the ride hardly sputtered when faced with such difficulties.

Some bridges were left untouched by the flooding, and it's a good thing as this one would have been hard to fix, and crossing this creek would have required helicopter support.

Hanging Rock is a hoot and three quarters. The trails do not fit IMBA standards at all, but the steeps are steep (my 32X18 was quite taxing), the switchbacks are numerous and tight, the stunts have a decent pucker factor, the scenery is amazing, and the overall newness of the experience made it all the more fun. It reminded me of riding way back in the early 90's when there weren't really any "mountain bike trails", so we just rode wherever we could and had more fun than we could imagine. Thanks Robert for the unique experience and the chance to do something other than just hammer the pedals and turn every fifteen feet.

See, I actually do ride my bike. I also have a new helmet (first picture) that has a story of its own, and I'll tell you more about it when I get back to my usual non-ride related topics.


Anonymous said...

forget the helmet. talk about those mutton chops and the elton john shades.

the original big ring said...

shorts? shorts? shorts you wear - freakin minus 18 (celsius) here today . . . shorts

Karen said...

Ah, the Original Big Ring just posted what I was about to post. Only change "minus 18 (celsius)" to 5 degrees Fahrenheit.


Drew said...

i thought holt had already upgraded to a pre-pacific GT DHI?
i heard he was trail riding on it with its road cassette and 38t front ring and 8" of travel.

Mike said...

Man, we used to ride that trail back in the 90's, when I had some connections. I often find myself thinking back and wondering about that trail.