Thursday, July 21

The Good Newses

Two pieces of great news you'll either love or be indifferent about because they don't affect you (or you don't have feelings)  Not my fault you're not living right.

Firstly, the 2017 Breck Epic registration is open... already... before the 2016 event even takes place.  Benevolent promoter, Mike McCormack has decided to offer some super duper donkey pooper low early bird entry fees.

How low?

How low would be inversely proportional to how high you'll be on the Wheeler stage, which is very.

Like $649 low.  For a six day stage race.  In Breckenridge.  The closest stage race to heaven (in literal distance... heaven is only directly above America BTW).

Is this race good enough to throw your money at (pardon my dangling preposition, it does that from time to time)?

I've been there the first five years straight, skipped a year to go on a normal mountain bike mancation, and then went back last year.  I think skipping a year between my attendance works for me, as I like to go and see new places, but not being there really pulls at my heart strings all the more when I miss one.  I really do love that race.  Even the "not breathing" part.

I have a decent amount of friends who are looking to throw their cowboy hats (Mike loves cowboy hats) in the ring, so more than likely I'll be going back as well.  Make that a 95% chance, because predicting my future thirteen months out seems optimistic at best.

Other good news?

I saw this on the Instagram on Tuesday:

Do you believe in miracles, because I do now.

I first started riding Pisgah back in... 1997?  Was it that long ago?

Anyways, back then, getting around Pisgah wasn't as easy as it is now, what with GPS, STRAVA, the internet...  not to mention, we were dealing with a certain lack of popular exposure and a sense of "locals" mentality.   We figured our way around the woods by staring at (terrible) maps, reading guide books and guesswork.  We had no idea that some trails were "seasonal," and we rode all the things whenever we wanted to (again, pardon).

Seasonal.  Closed to bikes from April 15 through October 15th.  If I've been told correctly, the trails are very popular with hikers during those times, so to avoid conflicts... no bikes.  Since learning about the whole "seasonal" thing, I've done a very good at job avoiding those trails when I'm not supposed to be on them... despite the fact that a lot of my favorite loops are impacted down in the North Mills area.

One such trail, Bennett Gap.

Only a tiny section of the trail is (was) actually seasonal.  It's the portion that completes the Coontree Loop, a popular and easy-to-access trail for hikers.  If you stare at the map, you can also see that Bennett begins and ends on the same fire road, so from October 15th to April 15th, it sees a fair amount of shuttlers.

I'm sure someone could say they heard me mumble something about the difficulty of the climb not being quite worth the reward of the descent.  This probably has a lot more to do with the time of year that one can (could) actually ride the trail.  When it first opens, it's covered in a thick duvet of leaves.  A four star hotel duvet, not the one on my bed.  Such an unpleasant surprise, finding all the hidden obstacles whilst astride me hard tail.  By the time it gets run-in and you can see shit, it's cold AF in Pisgah.  Add to that, that's my fat-and-outta-shape season.  Climbing is not my friend.  We're not even acquaintances.

So maybe I hit it twice a year... since this is the same time that my favorite (less-climby) loop over on the west side can be had due to it also having a key piece of it on a seasonal trail as well.

I'm not saying that I've never shuttled Bennett.  Once... mebbe twice.

It's just that when I go to Pisgah, I want to do more than just ride in the back of a pickup for half the day.   Shuttles tend to disappoint me with the amount of standing around and organizing and passengering and general bullshit that happens when a bunch of dudes have too much time to high five...

Anyways, to be able to ride Bennett Gap during the summer?  Bonus.  Super bonus even.

I have to thank the Pisgah Area SORBA for doing all the hard work (politicking) to get this approved by the USFS.  I can't believe they got it done... just never thought things would ever change for the better (being the glass pretty much empty kinda guy that I am).  Also, a big thanks to The Pisgah Hub and Tavern for throwing the first sponsored PAS workday in the cleanup effort to get it ready for heavier use (not too many hikers hit the upper and lower portions, so yeah... overgrown I would imagine).

I guess the only thing that I ask is that as you enjoy the fruits of their labradors, keep in mind that we are still sharing the trail with hikers... who might be surprised to see us out there.  I'm not directing this at the begoggled Enduro™ shuttlers specifically.  A real asshole can ride down the mountain in stretchy, super hero clothes as well as pads and a full face helmet.  It's a super fun trail for everyone, so as your bombing down the mountain in the coming months (and years and decades), keep in mind that as this trail has been opened up to us, it could also be closed.

In short, don't be an asshole, asshole.

I'll be going up there this weekend if you would like a lesson.*

*you might have to wait up for me on the descents tho


Anonymous said...

nice! the Breck race, would love to do that race...

as for the forest and trails, I much prefer the trails when they are unregulated. We now have so much regulation and trail police its no longer funny.

But, we have some hidden away single track growing from rogue trail builders that want to get back to grass roots riding... so the rebels will rise again.
Need rebels (not donald trump by the way, he's just a narcissistic fool thinking he can take back america from china ).
Most people are sheep, they follow. Thus the bureaucracy that forms and social engineering special interest clans etc...

Eric Wever said...