Monday, September 22, 2008
The MORE fall camping trip at Douthat was a blast, as always, and I feel sorry for the people who bailed. The weather people were calling for rain, 30% for most of the weekend. As soon as I turned west on 64 the clouds parted, moon popped out and we had beautiful weather for the whole weekend. Sure, it was a little hot and humid, but, the trails were in great shape and I got in some good riding.
Saturday I hooked up with the "fast" group led by Jonathan and we planned to head south out of the park in search of newly cut trails . The ride started with 15 people and like most rides in Douthat it began with a climb. The extended climb up Stony Run really spread out our group and by the time we got to the top there were mummers of a mutiny. At the Tuscarora Overlook more than half the group decides to do a shorter loop and headed North instead of South on Middle Mountain. Our reduced group of 7 press south at the summit and are greeted with tight single track that sees little traffic. The trail was narrow and many a rock were hidden by the encroaching brush and this added a welcome sense of adventure to these spectacular trails. Off Middle mountain and out of the park our map was of little use and we had to rely on vague directions and hand drawn marks on the original map. To be sure there was a little second guessing, but, I was with an adventurous group and we were having a great time. The GPS came in handy once as a way to confirm the groups location and direction. A little piece of mind can go a long way in unfamiliar territory. As the gravel road turned to single track we encountered the new trails we went in search of. Some of this trail was built by the Boy Scout and some by the local clubs. The Boy Scouts have a little to learn about bench-cutting, but, their labor is always appreciated and the new trail is a welcome addition. No idea what the name of this new trail is, but, it brought us all the way back to the middle of Stony Run, just below the switch-backs. From here we could have bombed down the trail, jumped back on the road for an easy spin back to camp. Instead, we decide to hit Locus Gap and keep dirt under the tires. We then pick up Huff's and traverse all the way to Backway Hollow and a screamer down to the campground. I cooled down an Imperial Porter and a nice dip in the lake. Great ride!
That night MORE had its potluck dinner and first every Kung Fu movies. I borrowed my brothers big "event tent" and it served as a central meeting spot for dinner and later became the movie theater for the night. We screened a Power Point presentation of Denis' trip to France, I showed some slides of various bike trips/races of my own. JoeP brought along the movie he made for the winter party, which is VERY well done and always a hit. Joe also brought The Kung Fu Hustle and it was a pretty entertaining movie. We topped of the evening with Off Road To Athens, a spectacular movie about several mountain bikers quest to make the Olympic team. Somewhere in all that I participated in the naked crit, but, we won't go into any details on that one. I will say that John went down hard, Scud has pictures and I'm lucky not to be in hand-cuffs.
I next morning my head throbbed from all the porter I consumed and the pancakes did wonders to make me feel human again. We had a lot of work to do breaking things down, so, I opted for a shorter ride with a slightly less rambunctious group. I also decided to give the new La Cruz another spin on the dirt. It was an interesting ride to be on skinny tires and drop bars, that's one of the things I like about the bike. She climbed well, however, I had some issues with the brakes and I had a couple sketchy moments going into a few of the switch-backs. I had one flat that took too long to fix, but other than that, it was a great ride.
Back at the campsite I started breaking things down. Damn.....I had a lot of stuff. I really have to stop packing so heavy. Of course, the largest item was the event tent and I was happy to have assistance taking that down. Car loaded up I was headed home. Another beautiful weekend of camping and riding. I can't wait for next year.