Monday, April 28, 2008

Alive, not dead at all!

1206 along side itself one of the many big creek crossings
foundation from 1903, one of Vanderbilt's Hunting Lodge buildings

Yo, Yo, Yo....fist to the chest real hard for 650B better known as the friend that made me cry during the Double Down Sunday Special Edition Post from a few weeks back. She and I had headed to North Mills early Saturday for a classic ride up 1206 to Laurel Mountain, to Lord of the Rings/Gnome trail, to the Pisgah Inn, Blue Ridge Parkway North through the first tunnel, to Big Creak Aka The Death Descent, out the bottom to Trace Ridge Parking lot, lower Trace, Across the River and back to the car.

Ars was riding her new 650B custom Coupler and of course I was riding the same 32 x 18 Mercification fixy that has plagued me for 6 weeks. The good news is the fed ex man came while we were out on the trail and even though he left only a note saying that somethings were over nighted in my name from Asheville my hopes of coasting have been boosted. I should have something revolutionary and exciting to show you in the next few days that will help this weekend be my last fixy mountain ride for awhile. I feel like I have been in a hate/enjoyment purgatory hell since February. Sorry to get side tracked, back to the ride.

So, Fire Road 1206 flat rise to gravel climb upwards on the first step up to the top of the big toe of the giant we were about to ride. The good part of a fixy mountain ride is the way that it keeps coming behind you on the climb, direct drive. I stopped for a spell up high after a swooping switch back and saw an interesting angle of 1206 running parallel to itself 30 to 40 feet above and below itself. It made for an interesting photo and then one better when Ars rode by for scale. Over the top and into the single track climb of Laurel Mtn which until the top does not even feel like climbing especially as hard packed as it was. I laughed at myself by cleaning a few of the left hand wet rocky rising switches and pushed through some of the more scary ones that I can usually power/ratchet through. While climbing I looked around and saw that not hardly any trees were green and upon cursory examination I realized that some of the hard woods did not even appear to have green buds. It felt strangely arid on the high mountain and while I was alone snacking on PBJ/baguette waiting at what used to be decision log for my mtn buddy something happened that I cannot recall the like. I at once immediately in time found myself being stung on the leg. When I looked down to my shock and dismay I saw that my legs were covered from the knee down by what looked like standard black house flies. 20 to 30 on each leg and they began to bite. Yikes another tacit reminder of the Persian Gulf. As much as I swatted them away they kept on. It was only when I was moving that they stopped eating my flesh until we got over the 2,000$ climb. Seems as if they were only a problem for about 1,000ft of elevation on the warm dry mountain side.

Over the 2k In God We Trust Units Climb off Laurel on to the Lord of the Rings trail which lived up to it's name with vistas of moss covered slanting huge boulder fields and over sized vibrant green floral fauna clinging to the hill side almost as high on a trail as you can be in NC. The carriage width surface in spots is old gray stones bench set in connecting arete to arete placed by humans in between 1 and 2 Centuries ago. A good portion of these medieval looking sections have been eroded, off setting stones and I could not keep my momentum through the tech so I pushed which was my only other option. At one point we rolled by the stone foundations of Vanderbilt's 1903 Hunting Lodge. Nuts Lunch Break outside Gray Federal Snack Hut with 15 cent recycling going on at the Blue Ridge Parkway. Who ever that guy with that gal and that mum was that noticed my Mountain Bike fixy leaning in the sun without my provocation, here's to you for paying attention.

Moral was high and so were we at parkway level how can you not be. Knobs on the asphalt, lessons about the light green Lichen being beaten back by the tires of sight seeing auto Vipers and stories of tunnel crashes all under a stacked cloud sky. Grins big in the wind. Big Creek Down: "Ars go first", I heard my self say for like a few seconds then, "Okay let me by already I feel great!" Thunder is around, lightning flashes on other hills, you can see over there towards the west and north. Steeper down in the big swooping turns under the tall hard wood trees the sky went dark with lightning and thunder at the same instant. Off the steep traversing past the dam up towards the Trace Ridge Parking Lot. Just then as a little drizzle began to fall I looked over at Ars and above her sophisticated right shoulder I saw what was happening on the next mountain over. I happily shouted, "Holy Crap look at the windy rain on that mountain over there, it is coming this way and going to be on us quick!" Then it fell and blew a gale of pouring water down upon us as if we were not present but were. Soaking wet, every part me and my bike were dripping off the falling water. I had an overwhelming feeling of being cleansed by this clear cool rain. Hurry up, the river is rising! Soon we were at the car and the rain tapered off with sun filtering through the clouds. Alive, no one died.
*Don't miss yesterdays Special Edition Video Post by clicking here
or just scroll down~!

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