Tuesday, March 7

"We were going down Farlow this one time, and there was this super old guy...

musta been like fifty or something." ~ Nick (not that Nick)

"ouch." ~ me

Because it's the only way I can exact revenge, here's forty something year young Nick showing "super old" me how the work gets done:

I really, really needed to get back to Pisgah.  I don't remember a real mountain ride drought ever lasting this long since my first day trip to Western NC in '97.  It's imperative for me to get this kinda riding back in my wheelhouse as I've decided to do the Pisgah Stage Race for the first time starting in a little under five weeks from today. 


Yeth, I've never done it before.  I've had my "reasons."  Now I'm at the point where I'm going to do more things for the last time with greater frequency than I find myself doing things for the first time.  As far as stage races in the Americas, I've already done:

One X Moab Stage Race
One X Crank the Shield 
Two X Trans-Rockies
Two X La Ruta de la Conquistadores
Two X BC Bike Race 
Nine X Breck Epic (one DNF, dammit)
Ten X Trans-Sylvania Epic (one DNF, dammit)

All of them on a single speed, most of them stupidly rigid.  

So obviously it's time to put my "reasons" to the side and toss my hat in the ring for a new to me experience.

But good lorb, what a baptism of fire Saturday's ride was.  I've been riding far too much on smooth'ish trails and racing shart tarck and Sad Dads™ around Charlotte... because of weather and shart tarck commitments and other excuses.  My thousand yard stare was down about nine hundred yards from top form.  I was mega-butt-puckered for the first descent from the top of Daniel Ridge, but mebbe it wasn't the best place for me to dip my toe back in the water.

The following images are out of order and context.

I plan on racing the Epic EVO in SS mode for most or all of the stages.  I don't wanna expose it to any really nasty Pisgah gristle conditions, and I'll pull the Vassago out if it's wet and gnarly or even the Vertigo if it's not so gnarly (like mebbe day one).  Yeth, there used to be a luddite self-flagellator in me that wanted to do all the things on a rigid SS (like I did Moab last year, trbl), but I've accepted all manner of technology in my life since I started riding single speed in 2003.  Tubeless tires, 29" wheels, disc brakes, drooper posts, drivetrains that don't drop chains (that was a thing?), data acquisition devices, and whatnot.  What difference does it make if I add one more thing at this point, and also I'm old and running outta time to embrace new shit.  I've already done a buttload of Pisgah races on a rigid fork, and will continue to do so if Watts (new blerhg, who dis?) stubbornly says we do PMBAR thusly, so the need to prove things to myself isn't something I really have here.

Also, it's f____ fun.

I had to keep my internal voice running most of the day. 

"Let this bike do what it can do."

Especially in the thunder chunk and droppy root sections.  It's so ridonkulously capable, a true grip 'er and rip 'er.  I'd say by the end of the day, we were very much bosom buds again, and trust has once again been reestablished.

Bryan doing that huck we all do because it's mandatory.

Türd rolling the sketch-looking-but-not-really rock into the creek crossing on Butter Gap.

Stephen also doing that huck we all do on the ever-popular seasonal hatchery route.

Doing the Pisgah stage race is going to push me into getting on my game much sooner than I'm used to this year (with not quite enough notice, my bad).  I'm gonna drop some weight, clean up my act, and get up to Pisgah (proper or "the other") as much as possible.  This is less in the interest of making great bike race and more about reducing my potential suffering.

Türd showing off his ability to not tag the root stub with his left pedal like a couple of us did on the most technical move on Cove Creek... which I almost didn't ride down but then decided I need it back in my repertoire.

I've really let myself get uncomfortably rusty in the technical stuff... dammit.

Stephen is too young to rust.

And Nick redeemed his "young" self many times that day, riding the sketch-looking-but-not-really rock into the creek blind and trusting me when I said "it's fine, just ride it."  

The only potential downside to this plan is finances, I guess.  With a planned trip to (insert some place out west Bill Nye and I are going) this August and the tax man knocking on my door right as this stage race wraps up, I'm not sure if it's fiscally responsible to do the Trans-Sylvania Epic this year (sometimes money is an object)... but it's hard to imagine not participating in an event I've gone to every single year that it's existed.  I know there will eventually be a time when I do my last TSE, but I'm not so sure I ready for that yet.


Mebbe time to sell a bike part or something.  How many kidneys do I need to survive?



T Schmidt said...

MF'er hit me up when you come out here. Rode Squirrel->Buckhorn->Black->Turkey pen Sunday with Santana and I know your weak a-- flatlander self needs to do some hike-a-bike to get ready for the Pisgah Stage Race. I did hill repeats pushing my bike up my driveway today; how 'bout you?

dicky said...

Hike-a-bike will always be my best skillset when it comes to riding bikes.