Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Snow Day Adventure Ride

Ride Distance: 35 miles plus some hike-a-bike
Temp at Start: 22 degrees F

Lessons Learned:
1. If you have to ride across a questionable creek in below freezing temps, first, make a friend go first. Second, take your gloves off. Nothing sucks more than falling over and submerging half your body in a frozen creek...other than doing so with your gloves on so they end up soggy too.
2. No part of a pine tree tastes good.
3. Holly bushes across the face don't feel too good.
4. $1200 Roval Wheels are probably not meant to function as a machete.
5. When exploring and "adventure riding", it is usually advisable to check the map before you lose hundreds of feet of elevation on a long downhill.
6. A compass is a lot more useful in your pack rather than in the car.

It was Sex on Wheels' first snow ride...yes, that is what I have named her. I think its appropriate.

The ride started out with a nice climb up FS 58, which I decided I'd do in my 17 for strength training - same as on the SS. By the time I reached the top, I had given in to the notion that I just sucked because I was having trouble staying on top of the gear and it seemed so much harder than usual. Then I looked down and realized I had just jammed up the entire hill in my big ring. Grumble.

We hit some new-to-us ATV trails that led to the Hickory Flat Cemetery. We had to cross one substantial creek (well, substantial in 20 degree temps..) and Kim went first and discovered a slippery log buried in the creekbed. See Lessons Learned #1...
She rung out her glove and just kept going though...she's tough.

We eventually picked up a ridgeline singletrack that was dusted with snow. My Maxxis CrossMark Tires were getting pretty decent traction so all I had to concentrate on was going up.

Once we hit the top of the first peak, I jumped on the first obvious trail I saw that went downhill pretty steeply for a while. Eventually said trail turned into a 6" wide deer trail, but it was still pretty well worn. I don't think I've ever been lacerated by so many saplings in such a short distance! We kept pushing on, getting whacked in the head, poked in the eyes, sticks breaking off in my wheels left and right... I had to get off my bike about 4859735743857 times to carry it over big logs and deadfall. Chris probably only would have had to get off 3 times.

When we finally reached the bottom near a creek, I thought we had to go one way, based on where the trail we were SUPPOSED to be on was SUPPOSED to come out. It ended up being a pain in the ass uphill hike-a-bike due to a plethora of downed trees. Of course it ended in a tangle of rhododenderons, so I had to take a closer look at the map and then guessed that we had gotten off of our intended trail and, through a series of old roadbeds and singletrack, had ended up where no bikes should be. The hike-a-bike was a pain in the ass for a second time going back down, but thankfully we were really close to FS 69. Our only resistance was Rock Creek, which there was no way to cross without getting the footies wet.

Once across, we knew we had to climb, so the wet feet weren't too big of a deal. We climbed back up and around to Hawk Mountain and tried to locate where our trail was supposed to come out. We briefly contemplated taking it back towards the car, but it didn't look very inviting and since neither of us had headlamps, we thought it safer to just take the gravel roads back. Probably a wise move, as without a compass, we might still be out there...

1 comment:

Namrita O'Dea said...

the deadfall is insane right now! we did a similar "adventure ride" last weekend...luckily i sent eddie through the creeks first so i knew what not to do, hehe.