Tuesday, August 15

Roll with the changes

Some general house cleaning and then me.

If you finished the '23 PMBAR, you still have a shot at the King/Queen of Pisgah.  You just need to do the final three events, but you better not sleep on it.  The Pisgah Enduro™ is this weekend.  I'm bummed I'm gonna miss it, because it's an all new course.  The Mild Mild West Tour '23 beckons tho.  After that, there's Monster Cross in September and Pisgah 111K in October.  There's $7,000 in prize money up for grabs (split evenly between K&Q), so get some.

Since I'm going outta town August 19-27, I won't be doing any Horny Cat 69 promotional related efforts.  I just don't wanna keep up on the emails and Venmos and whatnot.  Once I get back, I'll be going full steam on getting the slackers moving.

And FWIW, when I get back from Colorado, no Shenandoah Mountain 100k for me.  Instead, I'll be doing the Treeshaker 6 Hour Challenge.  I never could get my '22 deferral sorted out after last year's canceled event, and The Pie needed me to shit or get off the pot so she could make Labor Day plans, so I went ahead and shit.  Bummed, but it is what it is.  Gonna rip laps and boost gaps (and take naps). 

So... on to other topics.

The day after I last posted here, I sought medical help regarding my bug bite issues.  I don't specifically know what chomped me, but it put some bad juju in my veins and saddled me with the vapors.  Night sweats, chills, joint pain, headaches... suffice to say, after almost a week of drubs, I'm feeling much more buenos.  Went for two rides over the weekend, and never felt like I was gonna die, which is marked improvement. 

Wilson Creek ditch living with Stephen King, Türd, and Bill Nye.

Humidity is still killer up in the NC mountains.  Can't wait to get away from it for awhile.

Mild Mild West Tour '23 coming, shaking out the cobwebs (literally) before we leave.

On Sunday, I went out and joined about a thousand billionty other Charlotte area mountain bikers for one final ride at Steve's... I mean, Rocky River Trail.  Steve passed away about a year ago, and the family has decided to no longer keep the trails open to the public.  I get it.  We've seen this happen before with the trails at Poplar Tent, but it doesn't take the sting away.  

Türd and I were recently discussing the "best trail in the Charlotte area," and he felt pretty strongly that RRT was tops.  As much as I like it, it's the long haul there and back that kills it for me.  Forty five minutes on certain streets in Charlotte that I just... just... have an inability to tolerate.  From a road design perspective.  From fellow traveler perspective.  From a terrifying memories of the worst bike commutes in my life perspective.

So Türd proposed this quandary.  If I could have one last ride on a Charlotte area trail in which I would be helicoptered to the trailhead and then my life force extinguished when I was done, where would I want to go?  I had no answer (at least not one he was happy with), but after one last solo'esque ride at a leisurely pace trying to soak it all in, I'd have to say he's right.  It really is (was?) that good.  So much real single track, so many features, buttloads of miserable challenging climbs, juicy descents, and probably the most bespoked and nurtured trail around.

One of my goals on the ride was to retrieve the "Dicky's Rock" sign that Steve had nailed to a tree.  I only deserve half the credit for the feature, as Jerry the Cat was right there next to me working beyond what I felt like could be done in a day to complete it.* 

Essentially, I was just there to help Steve and Jerry do some maintenance.  We were working on a sliver of single track and just ten feet to the left was this giant boulder.  There's tons of them all over the property, and I asked Steve why aren't we riding over any of them.

"Go ahead and build something if you want."

With no real plan, Jerry and I went to it.  We had to bring in so much rock to fill in the gap in front of the boulder.  Then it was all covered in dirt, which bummed me out, because all the rock work we did was now hidden from view (it was a thing of beauty). Jerry pointed out that it was still too steep to roll, so I went way up the hill and found this tortoise sized rock to place at the bottom.

There was a lot of flipping and flopping and rolling to get it from its location probably forty yards up the hill.  There was a certain risk that it was going to roll down the hill past where we wanted it to be, and without the assistance of gravity, it wasn't going anywhere but down.  Then lots of sweating and grunting and smashed fingers to get it into place.  Looked done to me, but...

"You know people are going to jump off the top and there's nowhere to land."

I'd never considered that because I wouldn't.

I was outta water, food, and energy, but Jerry had a point.  We still needed to bench in a lander that would catch any hucksters.  I was feeling wobbly and half dead, but we hacked away until we had the whole thing worked in.

It was after that day, I realized why Steve didn't prioritize riding over all the silly boulders (although over the years, he built plenty of wooden features to get up on other rocks that put this feature to shame).

So anyways, I guess Jerry musta told Steve I gave away part of my soul building something stupid on his trail (as opposed to doing the maintenance I was supposed to be helping with that day), so Steve put up the "Dicky's Rock" sign.  I've done lots of days of forgettable trail "maintenance," but I will certainly never forget that day.

And although Emily was standing right there on Sunday, and I coulda handed her my phone to document it, I got to roll "my rock" one last time to the applause of no one but the little me in my brain.  

Oh yeah, the sign.  It was gone.  I had a feeling people might be taking mementos from the trail on this final weekend, as it was littered with all kinds of decorations.  This trail has been around for so long, and a lot of people have memories (good and bad), so I can see wanting to take something home.  The sign belonged to me no more than any other human, so good on them for grabbing something to remind them of the good times... or bad.  I've seen some people get pretty messed up on "my rock."

But then yesterday, I got a Face Message request from some guy named James.

He'd heard or read that I was bummed on missing out on my piece of history, and he was the one who got there first.  He offered to meet up or mail it to me.  I'm... happy?

Stoked to be getting the sign but also still dealing with the sadness that not only did we lose Steve who had built this gem of a trail, we lost one of the best things we Charlotte riders have had in a long time, and chances are, we'll never see anything like it again.

Fuck it.  Enough sads.  I'm heading to Colorado.  See you in a couple weeks.

* Late Edit: I was able to find the OG post about building Dickys Rock with Jerry back in Feb '12.  

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