Wake up, coffee, breakfast, dress for some cooler weather. Get my Pivot LES back from the demo tent and ask them to swap the 90mm stem for... something shorter. 60mm much molar better. Now equipped with a drooper, it feels like a "mountain bike."
Shuttling out to Mountaintown Creek 45 minutes away. I didn't get to ride this in November because it was on fire.
Get to the top and we have twice as many riders to filter into the descent on this run compared to yesterday. Always a fun time when riding with a huge group of people you've never met before. Being the guy on the hard tail (srsly, the only guy), I wait until the people that don't want to slow anyone down are just standing around, and I jump in front of them.
Super fun descent. Creek crossings. Occasional rock piles, Low hanging branches. Speed and then more speed. The Pivot LES is much bueno with the shorter stem and period correct drooper post. I don't feel slow.
Get to the bottom, hike-a-bike over to Bear Creek, some discussion on route choices, and down. Get to the bottom where the shuttle is waiting to take the first people back to camp, a group decides to ride bike cycles back (I was going to anyways), and we slog miles of garvel back to the lunch.
Burrito, chips, salsa and a couple beers later, and only about half of everyone is back. Mysterious.
We're supposed to be watching a presentation. It doesn't happen.
We're supposed to start loading shuttles. It doesn't happen.
Finally, the last few riders are trickling in. Some kind of mechanical that affected the last bunch of riders. Better them than me.
There's still a shuttle heading up to do Pinhoti 3... the funner way.
Flip that particular script for the shuttlers.
A small group of us (Aaron, Joel the 23yr old Maxxis engineer, Scott, Jess, Gunnar, and dammit... the guy I met at Breck Epic but forgot his name because I suffer from tartle) decide to earn our turns and ride up. I don't know much, but I do know that 1,753ft of climbing in 3.7 miles is no joke... because I did it the last time I was here. Out and back it and you get 2,787 ft in 7.4 miles? Ouch. At the top, we turn left to the Cohutta Overlook (missed that last time), look at the scenery, and drink our compulsory overlook beers before heading back down.
Upon arrival at camp, I drop my bike off and head immediately to the showers to get cleaned up before attempting to lose all sense of responsibility for the remainder of the evening. In the process, I miss Aaron Chase jumping off a roof.
photo cred: Brett DavidsonA real crowd pleaser, or so I heard. Meh. I'll see it on the internet later (I did).
Relax on the pavement until we're told it's time for more dinner and beer and then a presentation.
If you end up seeing tire tread coozy-related swag from Maxxis in the future, you saw it here first.
After the presentation, we were told that all the remaining beer will be down at the fire. I leave immediately. I get there first. There is a fire. I make it bigger. There is no one here. There is no beer.
Back down at the bottom of the hill at the pump track, we are entertained by costumed riders pump-tracking and jumping and running trains and jumping fire.
photo cred: Timothy JamesMy camera was better off staying in my fanny pack so as to not be lost over the course of the evening. Side note: I was shown how to use nothing but a thumb to shotgun a beer by the NSMB.com guy... although I have yet to replicate the deed.
The crowd thinned shortly after the jumping stopped, and before I knew it, we were down to Scott, Bobby from Maxxis, NSMB guy (TBD) and myself. Still passing a bottle around. Four people makes that tough, but it does reduce the odds of cross-infection.
Eventually, Scott ghosted and we all noticed. Maybe he's smarter than he looks. The rest of us decide it's time to turn in, and on the cold walk back to the cabin, I pull out my phone. 2:07AM. I've maximized my weekend to its fullest.
My takeaways as soon as I can put them into words.