Daniel Ridge and Butter Gap

Sunday was another great day in the woods. It started out colder then the previous days, but we also started a little earlier. The plan was to do a short ride so we could hit the road early and still make it back home before 1 am. The ride started at the Fish Hatchery. We took off up the road and did Danial Ridge counter clockwise > road climb > Butter Gap > Fish Hatchery.

The water fall on Daniel was looking good as usual. As we were looking at it a biker came up from behind us and passed on. We said hi, but he seemed to be in a hurry. I didn’t think too much of this, but it seems there was a reason that we did not know yet. As we kept going on Daniel Ridge, we noticed some cars parked in different areas and several people hanging. It looked like there was something going on, but we were not sure. As we rode along Scott said, is the Swank 65 this weekend? Well, I had not thought about that. I did see that it was coming up some time, but did not know when.

Well not too long after that we knew for sure as what I think was the two leaders passed us. It was great! We were getting cheered by the crowd at the top of the hill as we were climbing.  Several of the top riders passed as we kept riding. Those front runners were flat out moving. I think I could have rode faster if I needed too, but I am no way ready for that kind of pace on those trails. We were definitely on some of the same path, but not exactly. At one point Scott asked a guy where they were headed and he said Farlow. Well, Farlow was not on our loop, so I knew at some point we would loose the racers. It just was not as soon as I thought it would. It seems they also climbed the road and headed out toward Butter before doing some loop to get back to Farlow. Oh well, it was interesting to see all of the riders pass. At one point the rest stop was even trying to see if we needed anything. We both declined and kept going. I am not sure if they knew we weren’t with the race or not.

That road climb up is one heck of a long climb. I did this back in March and thought it would never end. As you would crest a incline that looked like the top, you would turn a corner and then it would look like you were just starting. This weekend it seemed to go better, but it was still long. I know I am in much better shape then I had been the last few times I was there. All the climbing I have been doing on the SS has helped in some places, but it also has not helped in others. I am not as strong when I have to just sit and spin in the granny. I do much better when I am moving a little faster and pushing a little bigger gear. Either way I was still doing better. I just hope each trip keeps getting better. I have a goal of actually finishing PMBAR in 2010.

The road climb was worth it as Butter Gap was so much fun! There is nothing like a slice of Butter. Spread it all around and share it with everyone. As we rolled back in to the Fish Hatchery parking lot I was feeling a little sad. It is always depressing when I know it is time to leave and head home. If I could make it work out, I would move to Brevard in a second. But, there are too many issues that I will not push that to happen. If it was 20 years ago it might have been a different story, but it is not. We preceded to load up the shuttle and head north making sure to stop at the nearest Moe’s for some grub.

I would like to thank Scott @ ICS and the ICS Shuttle for making this trip possible. There is no better way to see Pisgah then with a guide like Scott that needs no map and can take you to all the great little gems that are hard to find. To top the experience off with a trip in the ICS Shuttle. It is so nice to just be able to park, pull the curtain and you are set. I also have to thank Scott for all the good pictures. My camera took the big dump two years ago and I have not had the pleasure of replacing it yet, that is on the list for this winter. So, if you happen to be in the Indy area make sure to stop by Indy Cycle Specialist. Tell them Bentcrank sent you.

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