Monday, May 15

Florida man invades my space

Joe  (AKA: therealfloridaman) from Florida is in WNC.  He's been my mountain bike guide twice in Florida on family Spring Break before, and woulda been this year, had I not been celebrating the nuptials of my son.  There was no way I wasn't gonna come play bikes with him in the woods in my state.

Yet somehow, there was still no plan this past Friday evening.

Nick "Dip 'n Spray" Barlow texts me, and he's down to 40% battery with no charger till Monday, thinking someone will show up at The Spoke Easy party and just make a plan.

Bill Nye is at the nuclear plant venting radioactive gasses.

Joe is living in the woods without cellphone coverage...

And then Nik F wants in on the action... and I don't even know what the action is yet.

All this going on and I'm trying to add weight to my bike through technology (to be discussed later) using tools and stuff.

So make a plan that pads my time and allows for the lack of communication we'll have in the dead zone that is here and now and later known as DuPont.

I never ride in DuPont unless I'm with someone who knows their way around.  There are ninety nine trails.  Short trails.  Whip out a map every two minutes trails.  I don't know my way around, and I don't plan on ever knowing. I've never needed to, so whatevs.

And yet I still agree to lead a ride and guide our friends from Florida.  No big whoop.


Get to Bill Nye's early.  Scoop him. Go to meet Nick.... tic toc, tic toc.

Fifteen minutes.  Text.  Response.


Glad I padded our time.

Get to DuPont, Fawn Lake Access.  Earlier than planned, but still padding my time.  Things never go right in DuPont.  Then the women start showing up in the parking lot.  In droves.  Apparently, we're busting up into a Juliana demo of mass proportions.  Doh.

Hi, ladies.  Bill Nye and I are not here to creep.  Honestly. 

But after a half hour of sitting in the parking lot, it would seem like we are creeping.  Hard.  How do you not look like creepers with a Ned Flanders stache and Dio hair?

Nik (not Nick) arrives.  Time passes.  Joe and Matt arrive.  Clothes strewn about their bikes in the back of their truck in an attempt to dry them out from the previous night's camping monsoon.

photo cred: Nik
Me enjoying a moment with my hobby... AKA my rhomboid.

Much later than anticipated but actually totally anticipated, we roll out.  I'd planned a half-ass route on Trails Forks a half hour before I left my house, but three miles in, my shitty phone is already at 90% (on airplane mode), and Matt's had a flat tire.  Looks like we'll have to rely on the paper map Bill Nye grabbed from the kiosk in the parking lot and the grace of Dog.

The first bad decision was trying to cross the swollen and as slippery as ever creek that if you've been to DuPont, you'd know the one.  Bill Nye almost loses his bike and we almost lose one Bill Nye getting across.  I don't think we'll come back that way... mebbe.

I take a left up Burnt Mountain thinking it's another mountain altogether, and we enjoy one thing while giving up on the dream of another.  We all want to get to Ridgeline no matter what, so we make a beeline... ish.

The rain is coming down, and each time I take out the shitty paper map, it disintegrates a little more.  We ride on and take the risk that at some point we might have to figure something... out?

Eventually, we end up at another parking lot, and I ask everyone to grab a paper map and put it somewhere safe.  Who knows how long we're going to be out there?  Definitely not me.

Semi-planned lunch stop in unplanned location.

We finally get over to Ridgeline and end up bumping into all the women folk just in time to have Joe break a chain, and as we stand there at the side of the trail, we get served some well-deserved sarcastic reverse misogyny.   We get up and running again for Joe to only to break his chain again.... and get served more of the same.  Fortunately, we have enough quick links between us to make a whole chain if  need be.

I'd mention what was causing the issue, but that would be Joe's story to tell.

Another run down Ridgeline and realizing Joe's problem could only get worse (and more non-repairable), we beeline it back to the parking lot.

One parking lot beer, and Bill Nye and I bid adieu to the Florida men.

Despite the extreme (but expected) unexpected, a great day in the woods not looking at the clock but looking at maps and rain and mud and friends and bacon and beer and definitely not looking at the women that were looking at us wondering if we'd ever been on a mountain bike ride before.


Anonymous said...

Now that's some funny!

Wiggins said...

Don't forget about almost losing Bill Nye to the whitewater!