How could he have not, Jesse Hooks has just completed an epic road/mountain/road ride adventure, a true honest self motivated endurance ride. A few years ago I had the idea to ride solo self supported to the top of Mt Mitchell from here in the QC. Mt. Mitchell is 135 miles from here with a ton of climbing all the way to the summit which is the highest point in the eastern USA at 6,684 feet above sea level. Twice since I have redone this ride both times with three other friends in where we spent the night on the top at a ranger station campsite that had been set up by our forward support. A couple of months ago Jesse asked me about a new twist to the ride. He proposed to lead a two day up the anti version that caused me to think he had lost his mind and at the same time come up with the most brilliant thing ever.
Day 1 ride to Mt Mitchell summit and meet support party where camp will be ready with dry clothes and food. Sleep at 6,684ft. Day 2 take mountain bike out of car and load road bike into car for advanced party to take down below Blue ridge to the town of Old Fort where Kitzuma trail ends. Ride on mtn bike down Mitchell access road to parkway, climb parkway then traverse a few miles to the start of Heartbreak ridge, descend Heartbreak ridge to Star Gap to the road for gravel climb up to Kitzuma trail head, climb Kitzuma, descend down Kitzuma to meet advanced party at picnic table parking lot outside Old Fort, switch to road bike and continue 105miles back to to Charlotte. Yup, this is all someones idea, I'm not making it up.
I was apparently out not only because of my lack of commitment but because I could not imagine the amount of sacrifice that I would have to make to be part of such a huge goal.
I was able to hold a phone interview with Jesse last night, here are the highlights:
On Friday morning Jesse rolled off from Charlotte early at 0420hrs. His ride was basically uneventful for the next less than 12 hours or 135 road miles with big climbs up to the summit restaurant( a state park run dining facility above 6,000ft). He said that outside of Shelby he read a church sign that said something about the devil and trickery being Satins tool but he had no time for Macphisto, his personal goals were priority. After diner that's right diner, Jesse and his advanced party Lt. Katie slept well in a tent with a whole bunch of cold weather gear on the ridge leading south just below the summit. The next morning after fighting through a night of semi sleep that he wanted to be riding through Jesse woke predawn, fired a brew and headed out for the mtn bike portion of this weekend extravaganza. He descended his Bullet down the access road to a saddle in the parkway and then started a big road climb up to a traverse to the trail head for Heartbreak Ridge which is a push up a few hundred yards. When you descend HBR on a mountain bike you are having one hell of a ride, 12 miles or so of undulating ridge that has sent a few folks to the emergency room including me. Can you imagine that when your done with HBR you are going off of Star Gap, to the train tracks(which he prolly gapped), I've seen him do it!), to the road, to the gravel climb under the train tresses, to the Kitzuma summit then descent to the picnic tables, to get on your road bike to go back to Charlotte? Well that is what this renegade actually did have to imagine because he did it with honor. On the road portion of the return he had the only mechanical of the journey, a blown out bead rippage on his front tire, which thanks to his ever powerful intuition was fixed with the extra tire he had been carrying on his back. The last miles were skecthy to say the least, it was after dark with what he had been through and in the grid of this crap hole were we live. He endured solo and alone straight through the gap between Kings Mountain and here and was home in Charlotte at 2056 hours which meant that he turned the Charlotte-Mt.Mitchell-Heartbreak Ridge/Kitzuma-Charlotte in 40hrs and 36mins, a new course world record!
This weekend I participated in the 12 hour Tree Shaker, a nine mile course down at the Springs Green way. It was a last minute idea on Friday afternoon when I decided to finish the build on my semi built http://www.teamdicky.blog.com/ Mt Zion special and seek sponsorship from my courier entity. As soon as the Lemond start went off I realized, "Holy Crap, where is dude??" The race was fun, it was good to be back on a steel frame and enjoy what I know and have become comfortable with. During lap 2 a noise started in my headset that I ignored until lap 4 when I finally pulled over to make the adjustment. I fumbled with my tool satchel for a few minutes before I got the problem squared away. My kid came to root me on but wound up AWOL(Absent With Out Leave) at 8 years old with her little friend Skylar on the Sugar Tree loop side. On the end of that lap I caught up with St. Lissa and the rescued party, I was amazed at how far back they explored. During my tenth and final lap which was the only one in complete darkness I ran up behind a female rider about 1 mile from the finish. She was totally blacked out with no power riding methodically like she had purpose in her dark world. When she asked me if I wanted to pass I laughed big asking, "Why would any of this matter to me, would you not like me to light your way back?". The HID that wwww.singlespeeds.com let me borrow lit us both in. I finished ten laps at 2020hrs and called it an experience which gave me the label of 5th place in men's SS. I ate a small plate of pasta, told the Cactus's wife something about babies and their brains and went home with my camels. I did not sleep much but instead thought about things going round and round and the way it felt to ride 90 miles over a landscape that Brittan's General Cornwallis marched his troops(twice, once in attack, once in retreat) over between Charleston and the Mecklenburg during the Revolutionary War.