Monday, July 14

I... thought... you... was... a... toad

I've been feeling burned out lately.  Over the last two months, it was PMBAR, Pisgah 111k, Pisgah 55.5k, Pigsah Enduro, and the Tour de Burg.  Loads of fatigue.  Sore throats.  Cold sores.  Bags under my eyes.  My body falling apart.  I was looking forward to an easy weekend.  A short ride at most.

The Pie and Nia were planning on heading north this week, originally scheduled to leave today.  Some time in the middle of last week, the plan changed.  They were leaving Sunday instead.  A day to myself?  Can't waste it locally.  Must go to the mountains.  I got a hold of Eric "PMBAR Honcho" Wever and organized a minimum two person ride that somehow turned into a reunion ride with Mike "Own your words with your name" Brown, Tim "The Single Speed Champion of Charlotte, and The Other White Rich D.  The word "shuttle" was thrown around, but it doesn't make the ride plan sound any easier.

Saturday, I just want to sleep in... I wake up at 6:43 with the graying face of a 16 year old mutt breathing on mine own.  I'm up.  Shortly after, the door bell rings.  My neighbor.  What could he want?

He tells me a limb from one of my trees fell on his fence and mine.  Meh.  Grab the shoes and a bow saw.  Head out back.

It was a huge leader.  Hundreds of pounds.  Forty to fifty feet of tree parts.  Fence integrity compromised so our dogs were no longer secure.  Meh.  A problem in need of addressing.  He busted out his tiny chain saw and after a rousing amount of cutting, toting, propping and repairing, we had this:

Relaxing way to start the weekend.

The rest of Saturday went much better.  A lot of bike room piddling and time spent getting the Dickstickel Meatplow V.6 ready for action.

24.5lbs of hard tail all mountain Enduro™ shredding goodness.

Up at 5:30 the next day, out the door to The Other White Rich D's house, in the minivan sedan and to Smoker's Cove.  Meet Eric and Mike in the parking lot, Pisgah Productions Sprinter with Ian "The Pony" Lione at the wheel.  In the lot, I see Greg Leister and another person headed up Lower Black to do (even more) work on the new improvements.  I am reminded of the We Need Primitive Trails article by The Angry that went up earlier in the week.  He got things a little wrong...

"According to the locals, the forest service wants the trails left the way they are, with little to no modifications or maintenance..."

The Angry was only there for a few days, and it's easy to get just part of the story in that short time.  There is some truth to what he said, but there are a fair amount of locals that were less than chuffed with his article.  A lot of work has gone into the trails in Pisgah, a fair amount being the kind no one likes... politics and red tape.  I don't want to get too far off on this topic, as it is a lengthy one, but on this one day of riding, we ran into two trail crews on separate sides of the forest and were able to be first wheels on the all new Upper Cove Creek.  After riding the new Lower Black, I have to give huge props to those that labor up in the hills.  Magnificent.  Anyways...

We load up and drive to Gloucester Gap.

What follows is seven and a half to eight hours in the woods with friends covering no more than 28 miles... but they were Pisgah miles, so there's that.

All the following photos are Eric's.

This is what most people think of when you say "Farlow Gap."  The rocky chunder gnar near the top.

This is what I think of:

All the creek crossings and hike-a-bike to get out.  Arduous indeed.  Made even more so with a down hike to see a pretty water fall.
But then again, Tim really likes pretty things.

I tried to get a sense of redemption from the not-ridden stairs from the top of Reddish Knob last week.

It didn't work.

The view from the top of Black Mountain was foreboding.  A giant rain cloud loomed in the distance to the west.

While Mike tried to tell me that the bottom of it was "hung up on that mountain," I sensed he was trying to trick me with his "local knowledge."

I contemplated what this guy would think if I tossed him from the cliff on top of Black Mountain.

Not that I would do it, but I wondered if he has a decent sense of his own mortality.  Would he be flying through the air thinking, "Noooooooooooooo!"?  Or perhaps he would be ignorant of his soon to come demise and be all like, "Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"  Or maybe he would be thinking about how he left his lunch up there and just let out a sad, "meh."

During all this consideration given unto this frog's possible fate, the rain cloud rolled in, and we were riding down the Black Mountain Trail gnar in a steady rain.  Memorable.

Long day.  Difficult.  Much needed and good to ride with old friends who must hide under rocks... like toads.  Maybe someone threatened to throw them off a cliff at one point.  I'm glad that didn't happen.


Rob said...

For once I agree with A.S.S overall, that primitive trails have their place and are awesome. Not everyone wants a race track on dirt.

dicky said...

I like primitive trails. That said, some of the trails in Pisgah are getting out of hand in terms of erosion, environmental damage and the exponential rate that they will continue to deteriorate. I love Upper Black the way it is, but continue to ignore the problem, and the future generation will be riding down a ten foot ditch on the side of a mountain. Sometimes... something has to be done.