Monday, October 27, 2008
One of my oldest buddies, Capt. Pat, came into town this weekend and had but one request, singletrack, classic East Coast singletrack. Happy to oblige I round up the usual suspects and hope the weather clears for Sunday. Saturday was wet with storms most of the day and the front was supposed to move out later that day. Well, caulk one up for the weather people (about time) cuz the sky was crystal clear Saturday night and Sunday morning looked incredible.
Pat shows up a little early to assemble his airline boxed bike. We knock back a cuppa joe while we wrench and try to catch up on several years worth of news. His bike assembled I go to load the bikes on the car and notice a front flat on my ride. No worries, a quick tube swap and we were back in business. Pat notices what we thought to be a shipping scratch on the front plate of his Thompson stem. Merely a scratch we think and proceed to finish packing. Running a little behind schedule we meet up with a few others and get the carpool situation resolved. Headed north we continue to catch up and I look forward to showing him some of the rocky goodness in the "Shed".
In the p-lot the gang has assembled, I do some quick introductions and we continue to gear up. Just as we are ready to roll someone comments on the scratch Pat noticed earlier. Apparently it was not a scratch but a full blown crack, right down the middle of his face plate about half the length. Fortunately I have a spare stem in the car and we set forth to swap it out...quickly. The stem had other plans as one of the cinch bolts was stripped out and would not budge. With limited tools Pat thinks his ride will be scrubbed. Darius goes off in search of a drill, chainsaw....whatever he can find. I get the idea to just give him my face plate and put the spare stem on my bike. Spare in place, face plate swapped we were ready to roll.....again. If your keeping score we have had three mechanicals (so far) and haven't even started the ride yet.
Blasting down Blue Tony drops his chain twice and decides adding some tension might be a good idea. It was and he didn't drop it for the rest of the day. Pat is smiling ear to ear and we decide to hit Trail 6 and a little technical descent. We actually miss Trail 6 and come down the freeride trail, which is just as good when dry. The previous days rain and Autumn leaves made for some slick riding, but, everyone made it down in one piece and we were all still smiling. Rolled down to Death March and the climb up took its toll on our guest rider. Being on a boat and not on his bike, Pat was a tad out of shape and Death March let him know it. At the top of the climb we decided to modify our original plans and head over to Iceberg and do it in the Grebeci direction. While discussing these plans I decide to find out where a mysterious "clicking" noise is coming from on my bike. About the same time someone asks Phil if he planned on fixing his flat tire. Apparently, at some point, 1 of my chainring bolts fell out, the other three were VERY loose, Phil developed flat front tire and Liz' stem and handlebar bolts worked their way loose. She noticed some creaking on the climb and we decided to take a look, just in case. So let's see, that's 1..2...7, 7 mechanicals and we are at mile 4?? Oh, and Pat looks like he might hurl his breakfast if we do another climb anytime soon. Thank goodness it was a nice day otherwise all this might of sucked!
Over on Grebeci the going is slow but fun. Again, the wetness made things tough and this trail doesn't need any help in that department. We pick our way through the boulder fields, session a rock ledge and decide Table Rock will be a good place to crack our beers and take in a snack. Some more sessioning ensues and we are having a good time once again. Off Table Rock, we come down off the Ridge and onto the Roman Highway, bash our way to the S Turn and just couldn't convert it this time. As the rocks gave way to trees things were looking better and the pace picked up again. The trail gods weren't quite done with us and they demanded another sacrifice, however, this time it was to be a human one. DaveG slipped on a log-over and went down......HARD. He hit the side of his torso on part of the stump and heard a loud "snap", hoping it was lumber, knowing it was something else. Dave in agony, Liz and I volunteer to head back to the lot, get a vehicle and EVAC Dave out of the park. Darius suggests taking Mountaindale down and back up as the fastest route. I agree and head off.....in the wrong direction. I don't know what I was thinking, but, I went down Gambrill park road and essentially doubled my trip back to the car. Halfway down the mountain I realize my mistake and can do little but press on. I'm now committed to this direction.
Liz tells me to motor on, get the car and meet her on my way back down. I hit the gas, negotiate several long, steep climbs and try to make up some time. Bike on roof and a trail of dust behind me I pick up Liz as she finishes the last climb (of course). We kick in the after-burners and head down the road at a white-knuckle pace. Got back to the group at the trailhead and Dave is not looking good. Darius helps to pack all the bikes and gear in my truck and the four of us, Dave, Liz, Pat and myself head back to Hamburg to get Dave's car. Liz drove Dave in his truck, Pat and I follow in mine. We get him back to his place where Shannon is waiting to take him to the hospital. Sure enough, that cracking sound was two broken ribs. Dave is expected to be out for 4-6 weeks.
Get well soon Dave.
Oh, and Pat.....welcome to The Shed.