Just 99 miles to go

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thankgiving weekend II, Return to Elizabeth Furnace

The background.
February 2005.
With only 6 months of MTBing experience, a brand new 29" bike and little experience with rocks I hit Elizabeth Furnace for the first time with a large MORE group.
On a boulder strewn downhill, I endo and in the process rip a ligament in my knee which required surgery and over 9 months of rehab until I was back 100%.
Just the thought of the place made my stomach turn.
I don't remember a one damn redeeming characteristic about that place.
It was time to go back.
(Insert loud bassy drama music here).

Nice opening, huh?

Jabberwocky (Chris) from my MORE forum led the ride there. Squirrel Girl (barbara) posted up that she was going. Nicest women you'd ever want to meet and if I was ever stranded in the wildneress, I'd like her leading me out. But, she is slow. I knew I'd be safe making a return to EF with this ride.

We had a nice group of 12 people. Just about the right size. I knew about half of the people that showed. My old buddy Denis actually showed up too. It was real nice seeing him again.

I told myself before hand , I didn't care how bad I made myself look, I wasn't taking any chances. The goal was to do the ride with no injuries.

The first part of the ride is a fire road climb. 4 miles to be exact.
I didn't remember that. It was relatively easy though. I took my time and was enjoying looking at the scenary.

Next single track with some cool ass stream crossings. I've got to throw a little plug in here for the 29er. I'm by no means technically good, but I seemed to have a little less problem with the crossings than some of the others. I've got to credit the big wheels.

The next phase, and the most notorious. The hike a bike.
I still havent gotten a real distance but I'm figuring atleast 1 mile of walking your bike up a rock/boulder strewn trail. Not a nice easy grade either. Your gaining altitude fast. Although I knew to expect the false summits at each switchback, they still were aggrivating.
For a while I was thinking " I've died and this is really hell. I have to climb this hill pushing this bike for eternity".
There's no better relief than when you actually hit the top.

We sit at the top for a while , resting,regrouping, and enjoying the scenary.
Now the "fun". The evil descent.
I remember from last time. Don't evan get on the bike for a couple of hundred yards down. Pat (Philman), didn't remember. He clips in and starts off from the top. Right away, he endos. It looked bad but he was fine.

Yup, I was right. I'll walk for a while.
We get to the first switchback which is the go spot for actually starting to ride.
I go ahead and lower my seat a good 2". Its all supposed to be downhill so I shouldn't have to worry about pedaling.

Ya know what? I had one hell u va good time. None of the rocks seemed as big as they did last time. My attitude had changed also. Instead of slowing for a rock, I powered up to get some momentum up.

I did walk one nasty switchback that I had tried to ride last time. I remembered it right away. I endo'd on it and twisted my ankle right before I had my big endo last time.

I kept thinking "damn this fun, I hope we're not near the bottom yet", as compared to my first time "wheres the eff'n end of this SOB".

So I had a great time and I can't wait to go back.
The place did have me thinking about a full suspension rig though. Its completely doable on a hard tail but I can see how a FS would make it more enjoyable. Not to mention I became un-clipped about 3 times on the descent from all the bouncing around I was doing.



Vecsus said...

I wish my frame were done so I could have joined you guys. I am currently bikeless. I've only ridden EF three times but I really enjoy the trail. You're right, it's a perfect spot for a FS bike. But the next time I ride it will be on a full rigid 29er. That should be interesting...and perhaps painful.

Tom said...

I can not figure out how ya do it.
If I go more than 2 weeks without a ride a get really PMS like.

I'll go with ya on your first ride back to EF.

Just don't make it the first ride of your new bike.

gwadzilla said...

I need to get my technical and my confidence back

injury can be a bitch