When the team said something about getting together for a mtb trip and Pisgah was the intended destination, I knew I just had to go. It didn’t matter that I had not been riding much in the last 2 months. What better place to train for the Double Dare, then riding in Pisgah. I knew I would be in for a hard ride, but that is nothing new for riding down there. I have never been on an easy ride in that area. This was going to be everyone’s first time riding trails in the Ranger District. My Double Dare partner, Rick aka MTB Brevard joined us for both rides and added to the fun. With only having 2 days to ride, I knew what I felt would be the best two trails to check out. After the fact I was told that the trails I picked might not have been the best choices, but they are what I cut my teeth on and had me sold on making the drive as many times as I can. I decided that Saturday would be a Laurel – Pilot loop with the option of adding Slate at the end. Sunday would be Claw hammer – Black with the option of making it shorter with Maxwell.
The week leading up to the trip, I was told that my trail choice for Saturday was part of that day’s Pisgah Stage Race route. I thought it might be fun to see the pros go flying by us and it was kind of cool to see some of the racers, but at first it was kind of bad being passed all the time. We had a couple of mechanical issues and crashes that slowed some sections down, but I felt the day was moving along nice. I think most was having a good time right up to the hike-a-bike section. That was not making some think so nice about the loop choice, but we finally mad it to the overlook and took a little break. We watched a few more racers going by and one was even on a Surly Pugsley with music rocking out and tearing up the switch backs.
I was not real happy with my climbing, but that was kind of expected. What I was real happy about was my descending. I actually rocked top few switch backs with only dabbing on a couple all together. I can not remember ever riding the top two switch backs. I also almost made it threw the Humvee section only stopping after the guy in front of me made a stop. I have no idea if I would have rode all of it or not, but I thought I was past the real hard stuff, so it is hard telling. I do know that it was much farther then I have ever rode before.
At the bottom of Pilot, it was decided that some wanted to check out Slate. It has been a while since I have actually be on slate since I made a wrong turn this spring. I was looking forward to getting another look at the overlook. I did not remember how hard the climb was up to the connector trail. Normally we hit that section first and with stronger legs, we ride a lot more. But, it really didn’t matter because the view was worth it. The down hill on the other side was a blast too and with a short detour because of a wrong turn, we finally made it back to the car. It was so nice that Rick had some beer iced down for everyone and it made a great ride ending.
After the ride we made a quick stop to check out the sliding rock. I think those after beer rides were part of the bad influence, but Josh just had to check out the rock. No one could believe that he actually got out there and slid down the rock. I was freezing just in the air, I could not imagine how cold that water was. After getting him a little dryer, we made a quick beer stop at the Hub before showering and heading out for some much needed food. After supper we made a quick stop to check out the after race party, but since we were not racers or volunteers we could not get any beer. This put a little damper on how much fun we thought the party was and Rick came to rescue again and we headed over to his house for a few beers.
Sunday morning came fast with the some what late night and the need to hit the trail early so we can get down the road toward home. With the limited time and everyone feeling a little tired from the ride on Saturday, we decided to head up Maxwell. That was a good enough climb and Black was a great ride down as normal. At the bottom we took a left on Thrift and headed up to Grassy. We took that over to Sycamore to add to the ride. That loop was a blast and I think everyone was happy that we added it to the ride. We still got done riding early enough that the hotel let us in our room for a shower before the drive home. We headed out I-26 and made a quick stop at Moe’s and the rest was history.
I think everyone had a great time riding and most left with some better bike handling skills. Some new friends were made and probably a yearly team trip is probably in the schedule to be repeated . I think I am in a little better shape then what I was before I went, but I won’t know for sure until after I stop hurting and can get back out for some more rides. I really need to get some miles in over the next few weeks if I hope to have some more fun at Double Dare.
So, until next time, Honk if you like Bacon!