Wednesday, May 10

The 2017 Pisgah Mountain Bike Adventure Race: Part Two

What would you do for a homemade Snickers bar in The Pisgah?

That's what we did.

Back to the story...

I'm climbing up 1206 and occasionally slowing up and handing Watts gummy bears and trying to be "positive."  I've been in his place before, so I know nothing I say will make him feel better... but I've seen people do it in movies and it works there, so I do it anyways... because mebbe we're in a movie?

We get to the hike-a-bike out and back up to the Slate Rock Overlook.  We see Thomas and Tristan coming down.  Predictable.

It's starting to drizzle.  I hand Watts some more gummies and leave him to himself.  On the way up, here comes Sam and Jacob coming down.  I drag my foot across the trail and note the time.  Get to the checkpoint.

I'd like to note that this was probably the only time I wasn't wearing a vest or a jacket or freezing.

Watts shows up shortly thereafter.

We turn it around and we're back at my mark in six minutes.  We're just six minutes behind them with one checkpoint to go.

We hit 1206 and it's starting to rain more consistently and our gloves are soaked and our hands are now freezing and we don our rain jackets and forge on.

And then I got really, really stupid.

I ignored a very obvious gravel to pave to gravel to Bennett (1206 > 276 > 477) and instead went gravel to trail down to trail up to gravel down (1206 > Gauging Station > S Mills > Buckhorn > Clawahmmer)... to end up pushing up Bennett to the check point.


I have no idea.

When we got to the bottom of Bennett to begin our hike up, Sam and Jacob came popping out.  No matter how bad Watts was feeling, we didn't go from a six minute gap to a forty five minute (I'm guessing in my head, mebbe more... it was more) gap due to his pace.  No.  It was my blaring navigational error.  Sam's giant grin made it very apparent that we'd lost some serious time.

"Have some more gummies, Watts."

I see people coming down from the checkpoint who I know we were ahead of due to where I saw them earlier.  Captain Morgan and Jamie Pittman... I'd seen them coming up Bear Branch when we were coming down.  Such a sweet gap... lost, in its entirety and then some.  They're headed home with five in the bag.  We're still hiking up.  I have no idea how to tell Watts what I've done, so I just do.  He's already low enough that it was very easy to kick him on the ground without lifting my leg too high.

Up at the check point, turn it around, and only hope that the other single speed teams made some kinda error as bad as ours.  I know Andy Forron's teammate Matt Sweeney really knows his way around the Pisgah (and for someone from WV, Andy knows probably as much as I do).  I can only hope that their direction, which was sorta opposite of ours, hinders their day enough to hold them back.  On the way down Bennett, I hear a strange noise coming from my bike.  A clunking.  Also a noise that sounds like a bell...

I tell Watts to keep going down and unzip my Titan Tank bag.  Without all the gummies in there, the tiny metal container holding my iodine had bounced outta the side pocket, dumping its contents into the remaining sugar bears.  I hand Watts some at the bottom of Clawhammer, and yeth, they are contaminated with iodine now.

At least it won't kill us.

Going up Clawhammer, I can tell Watts is pouring out what he's got left into the climb.  We're passing so many sad souls on the way up, and it's... dare I say, uplifting?

Fueled by the misery of others.

I notice that my left cleat is loose.  Shit.  I think about ignoring it, but the possibility of losing it on the hike up the backside of lower Black and having to descend to the bottom without it?  No.

I tell Watts to go on without me, pull out my Tülbag, grab my 4mm... the bolts are clogged with mud.  Hmmm... remember the paperclip that I keep my 8mm bit and spare chainring bolt on, and it's bueno for picking the mud out.

Tighten the cleat and charge back up to Watts.

We get to the final hike-a-bike to the final descent, and Watts wants to know how it's possible that I'm singing.  It's just hard to not be happy when you're almost in the barn.

Down the final descent.

I'm worried that we're going to lose this race to Andy and Matt in a last minute pass... mebbe they made a bad decision or suffered a mechanical... but deep down, I know.  They're already at the bottom.  Probably clean.  Probably fed.  Probably winners.  Possibly on the overall podium.

I'm right.

This is what partial devastation looks like:

Looking at these results does not make my head hurt any less.

We went from being six minutes down on Sam and Jacob after our fourth check point to an hour and six minutes. How bad was that route from four to five?

I don't think it woulda been worse if I had routed us back to Gastonia for BBQ on the way. An hour. An hour. An hour.

So, that's gonna stick with me for awhile.  A long while.

But, a great day in the woods with my buddy and second place single speed ain't that bad but it ain't top three overall and a shitty route so I get to do 2018 PMBAR with Watts because I always want to give my partner at least one good year together... which we ain't had yet.

Well, "good" as far as "performance" goes, because I've never truly had a "bad"time at PMBAR.


Well, that one time I finished by myself going up Turkey Pen... but that's a different story.

Pisgah Productions photos from Icon Media Asheville


Anonymous said...

Points finger and says HA HA.

Mike B

Watts said...

A) Thank you for including that photo of me at the absolute nadir of my day. Fucker.
B) I'll do my best to avoid whatever child-care plague had me knocked out for the weeks leading up to PMBAR
C) I will endeavor to actually eat while we're on the course, and thereby not hit bonkstown.
D) You actually have me stoked about next year. And I'm not really a "stoked" kind of guy.
Thanks, buddy.

Jack said...

Did my lawyer/PMBAR partner and I misread the passport? Didn't it say that 276 to/from 1206 was off-limits? If so...damnit

dicky said...

276 was open between 1206 and 477, just not up to the Parkway.

Anonymous said...

Any advice for casuals that aspire to competing in the PMBAR someday? I've got my rigid single-speed, crazy hair, and decent beer capacity, but I look at the 'gah and think about how they might find my bones in some bear scat after I bonk and fall off the mountain.

Your blog makes me want to ride my bike instead of go to work...

dicky said...

Grab your pants and take a chance.

Lots of people not familiar with Pisgah show up. There's an adventure waiting... out there... somewhere.

Anonymous said...