Tuesday, July 17

'18 Dirt Rag Dirt Fest: The Benigning

Nick and I jumped outta town pretty early on Thursday.  About an hour into our drive...

"I don't think I packed any chamois." ~ Nick

So it begins...

Stop in Fayetteville for foods and get into Big Bear Campground around 4:00PM.  Later than expected but still plenty of time to get a quality ride in before the sun sets.  We find New River Bikes Andy and limit our group to three.  There will be plenty of opportunity for massive bumblefuckery-sized group riding later.  We just need to get our fingers wet on some WV tech before diving in headfirst on Friday.

Here we rolled up on Scott and Jess.  I had no idea he had just popped the question at the overlook, so I thought nothing of putting my bike in front of them and taking a picture.  Huzzah!

I wanted to see if Devil's Tea Cup had bedded in much since last year.  It was pretty fresh-cut and raw then... also super wet.  Trail conditions were looking primo, so stoke and expectations were high.

It did not disappoint.

Mother of Crack over to DTC.  So much slow tech gnar.  100% the reason I love this place so much.  A group can toil along at an almost conversational pace trying to deal with what's in front of them, and laughing at each other when we fail (as long as no one gets hurt... and no one did).  I don't get a clean run, but I guess being that this type of riding requires some sort of familiarity, I'm okay with that.  There's just nothing like this in North Carolina or even Pisgah.  I think we make a run down Gene's Trail, something just about everyone raves about, and then one more climb outta the hole before lollygagging our way back out to camp.

Eventually, our Faster Mustache compatriots (Noelle, Colin, Courtney and Lee) roll in, and sometime after dark, Jim, Mills, Jon, and Jordan make their appearance.  Our entire NC/WV crew has finally assembled... which means it was only a few hours before someone had to come over and tell us to shut up so normal people could get some sleep.

Sorry on my part, but awkwardly, the person who asked us to be quiet apologized the next morning because they found some earplugs that solved the problem...

but that only served to make me feel even more asshole'ish.

The next morning, our large crew assembled (via a great cat herding effort) for a ride I sorta planned.  I figured it would be about as much as we could get done before the cornering clinic put on by Harlan of Take Aim Cycling. I'd promised myself I would go, and dog dammit, I was gonna make it happen.

Race Loop > Lt Canaan > Roadside > Jump Trail > Voodoo Rocks > Crack > More Crack > something something to get back to camp.

Lt Canaan was dope as hell, Roadside a fun ramble down the hill to the bottom of the campgrounds, and and Jump Trail was as I remember it, a quick descent with a few moments to get some air time, and then a long climb outta the hole back up to the dam with surprisingly very few (none) jumps.

While waiting for everyone to regroup, we were just standing around bullshitting (but not comparing our nipples... yet).

photo cred: Mills
Suddenly, I felt a sharp pain in my knee and fell to the ground.

Nick thought it would be funny to tag my thigh with a rock, but missed, and caught me in the kneecap.  Of course, he felt as bad about it as he could.  In hindsight, not the best idea, but I can't say I wouldn't have done the same thing.

It was not as bad as it looked.

And so I felt bad that Nick felt bad, but I guess that's why were friends.

On to Voodoo Rocks, which I'd been dying to ride since last year when it was monsooning on our heads as we attempted to ride it.  It was near impossible to stay on the bike then, but this time, it was perfect.  Aside from falling off the only tall skinny out there, it was very buenos.

Over to Crack to ride the infamous crack.  We spent some time playing there...

none of us not really aware of what happens to modern width bars inside the crack when you're not paying attention.

We finished out on a gravel slog, and I was back in plenty of time to get a burrito bowl before heading over to the cornering clinic.  Everything was going according to plan, which means that obviously things were about to come off the rails.

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