I wanted to sleep in and wait for the sun to warm the earth. Our local trails were going to be a mess from recent rains, so the mountains had to be it. Unfortunately, I couldn't get anybody to agree to go west (until it was too late), so I hopped in on my neighbor Todd's planned ride in the Uwharrie to the east... at an unfortunate 8:00AM.
Within the first few miles, I had already endured three pedal strikes on the Stumpjumper FSR EVO. Visions of an all mountain hard tail danced in my head. I don't know why I finally starting thinking things through, but I did. I was being lazy and riding around with the rear shock in the descend mode 90% of the time. My thinking being that I used to ride 6" travel bikes without fiddling with my bits way back when, so why would I mess with it now?
Because it's 2013, not 2004.
Swapping the Fox Float CTD over to the Trail Mode was quite the revelation. No more wallowing around deep in the travel while trying to maneuver the bike. Most of the irritating monster truck feeling was gone. The rest of the ride was a much more pleasant affair, although Uwharrie is hardly the testing grounds for a 130mm rear end.
Am I a moron for finally trying something different?
Yes. Apparently they have instructions for these things.
After overloading my jersey pockets (and any other place I could think of) with the essentials, I headed out the door to join Jon Danger Evans for a ride over to the short track race.
photo cred: Paul Cunningham
You can't feel hungover by 8:00PM unless you start early.
No racing for me that day, but if the stars line up this Sunday, I may as well too.
Monday bonus ride.
The plan was to meet Eric "PMBAR Honcho" Wever in the "much more convenient to someone who's driving from Asheville than from Charlotte" Kitsuma parking lot. He had Mike "I've never even heard of Facebook" Brown with him as well. Before the ride, I told Eric about my problems with my rear end. He gave me even more shock lessons, and we were on our way. The plan was to spend four or so hours in the saddle approaching Heartbreak Ridge from Old Toll Rd. Mike Brown had another idea, so we did some 'splorin' on the way up.
photo cred: Eric
Never seen this before. Now I have.
The climb up was as arduous as ever. Discussions were had when someone was in earshot, the wind howled when alone.
photo cred: Eric
At the trailers, we stopped for a break before dropping into the nasty that is Upper Heartbreak. If the only time you do Heartbreak is when you do ORAMM, you owe it to yourself to see this portion of the trail. As one friend described it, "It looks like someone took a fire hose to it."
Loose rock chunder. Almost impossible to rally the section. I've seen things get pretty ugly in there.
Down the mountain, only two incidents "off the bike," and a stop for frozen braking fingers.
Everyone safe, we rolled the final climb at a talking pace. Time check. A quick text to The Pie, and I find out I have time for a bonus Kitsuma loop.
photo cred: Eric
Of course I forgot the third water bottle I had left strapped to my Raxter just in case I had time for Kitsuma. What remained of my two bottles would have to do (it didn't). So much fun to snag the bonus descent. So much pain fighting the headwind, cramps, and a deadline on the way back up to the car.
Thanks, Eric and Mike B!!