I really need to get something posted about last weekend before I have something else to post about. This up coming weekend is the Death March, so maybe in a week or so I will have an update about that.
Like I said in my last post, we headed down to Pisgah for some early season training. Actually a friend was on vacation and was looking for someone who knew the area and wanted to go. I always want to go and I guess I some what know the area. I had a lot of different things going on that made me think I should not go, but the draw of riding in Pisgah took over and before I knew it, I was in.
Saturday’s ride I planned on doing Laurel/Pilot with some Slate thrown in. I have never been fully in control of the map for riding this area. I had been there several times, but I was normally following. I didn’t think it would be a big issue. We headed up the short stretch of Pilot Rock to hit the connector over to Slate. There was a few intersections I had to double check to see if we were going the right direction.
Things seemed to be going good until on one tech down hill my front wheel dropped off a root or something farther then I had planned. Since I didn’t have my weight back far enough it was time for a superman. As I was going over the bars I was assessing the situation trying to make a good landing. It seems that at the last minute I looked up and saw a big rock sticking above ground that was headed right for my face. I was a little nervous as to just how bad this was going to hurt. The crash came and I face planted right in to the rock. I ended up being ok, but I think my hard head broke the rock.
I got up and started moving quickly just in case I was hurting more then first thought. Not too long after that we rolled up on the road. Humm… apparently the Slate overlook is in the middle section. Oops, but now I know. The worst part of that error in navigation is that I crashed after the wrong turn. Being wet, cold and now bloody, I was asked if I wanted to head back toward the car. Common sense was no where to be found so we headed farther away from warmth and beer.
The first part of Laurel was great. I even though to myself that it was not nearly as bad as I remembered it from all the times before. But, that was early in the loop. The real Laurel eventually showed up and started to kick my ass. We passed a couple of trail off shoots that I thought were the ones that I knew about, but that was before we actually found the trails that I knew about. After the hike a bike section started we had one more intersection that I was not fully clear on what way to go. It looked like we should go straight, but after looking at the map we decided to go left. This turned in to the correct direction and before too long we were at the Pilot Rock connector trail. FINALLY! I was freezing and wore out at this point. The SS was working fine for the first part of the trail, but the last section was not.
Just when you think you are at the top you start to climb some more with plenty of walking sections. When we finally hit a down hill section I thought we went the wrong way for a while, but then we rolled up on the rock over look. I said we were not going to stop. There was no view with all the rain and fog or more likely clouds since we climbed so much. I told Mike to go ahead as I plan on walking the first few switch backs. I was too soar and tired to even try them. I was also a little timid after the face plant earlier. I finally hopped on and started the fun down hill. This is one of the first times I really thought that a suspension fork on my SS just might not be a bad idea. My upper body, arms and hands were really starting to hurt. I could hardly hold on to the bars or pull the brakes, but some how rode a lot of tough sections and just as soon as we were going down it seemed we were done.
I was very happy to be done and not have another crash. With my hand condition anything could have happened. At this point I don’t know if I have ever been as happy to roll up on to the car. I could not wait to dry off and get a hot shower. We got back to the room and were so shot that all we did was stuff our faces with left over pizza from the night before. I had no urge to get back out.
Sunday we woke to more pouring rain. We decided to hang out for a bit and wait for it to stop. We headed over to the Hub to pick up some new brake pads after eating them the day before. While we were there we both became card carrying members of the private club and had a couple of beers. What more could you ask for in a shop? Bikes, outdoor gear and beer!
Eventually the rain stopped and the sun came out. We loaded up and headed toward the trails. We parked at the bottom of black and took 477 around to the horse stables. It was late in the day and a short ride was in order. At the split in the road it was decided that Maxwell was going to be the option, but I would have gone either way. Maxwell was longer then I remembered, but it was a nice climb. Took a short break at Pressley Gap and pushed on. Black was so much fun! The arms and hands were having a hard time holding on and braking again, but the grin was too big to worry about it.
I did stop a few times to let the hands relax. I thought again about a shock on the front and how it just might be a good idea, but then I saw Mike doing the same thing with his hands and he was riding a full suspension bike. So, maybe it is just a black thing? The bottom of black turned in to more of a creek ride as all the water was still running down the hill, but it was still a blast. I don’t think Mike cared so much for the road climb and I know he didn’t like going up Laurel, but after we were done the grin on his face said it all. He said it is called Mike’s Mountain! Who is Black anyway?