Saturday me and Doc made the 2 1/2 hour drive down to Stokesville to ride some of the trails that are in the sm100. We met up with Chris and James, and last minute attendess, Denis and Mike. All MORE guys.
Docs been bugging me for the past 4 months that he wants to do the sm100. The thing is, the hardest trail he's been on has been Patapsco and his longest ride has been doing 3 laps at Rosaryville. He had NO idea of what the stuff was like out in the GW forest. To tell the truth, I wasn't so sure I wanted to be the one to take him out there. You can get hurt fast out there and I'd feel like shit if he did get hurt. I figured atleast let him cut his teeth at Gambrills or Greenbriar, but this ride came up first and I knew he'd be pissed if I didn't invite him. So after a few emails and me telling him that he CAN NOT take his carbon fibre hardtail that has crack in the chainstay out there (whole other story), he was a go.
We all leave out from the campgrounds at Todd Lake which are 1/2 from AS2 of the race. Chris and James are camping overnight so we park at their site.
A mile or 2 of road to the gate that starts the climb up hankey mt.
We've got to skirt to the side of the gate on a thin loose path with a 6' drop on the left.
I'm eyeballing it. "Damn, a little too left and you could go down easy".
Right off the ball I've psyched myself out.
4 guys go through it fine, sure enough I bear left too much and start sliding down the dropoff. I save myself and James manages to squeeze by me. I've got one foot down, on the downslope and I'm still straddling the bike. As I go to throw my other leg over to get off the bike, I start falling down the slope taking the bike with me.
I'm laying there, embarrassed as shit.
Not 2 miles into the ride and I'm laying in grass. And I was worried bout Doc.
I climb up the slope, and the rest of the group is a couple hundred yards ahead looking back trying to figure out what the hell I'm doing.
I go to take off and sit down on the saddle.
WTF! Why's my saddle feel funny.
I stop and look. The saddle isn't there. Its gone. I've just got rails to sit on.
The saddle popped off when the bike fell down the slope.
I skurry down the slope, find the saddle and of course it won't go back on.
I pop the back in, but the front wont go. I try to ride it like that but after 100 feet it falls off.
Than Doc, of all people comes to the rescue. He pulls out a zip tie, and we zip tie the nose of the saddle to the rails. I'm back in business.
After the 1st 5 minutes I didn't evan noticed the rigged saddle.
We do the 2 mile climb to the 1st intersection. Docs in the back with Chris and is doing good.
Climb 2 more miles and make the entrance to the single track.
A little more climbing on the single track, a quick stop at the scenic overlook and we're at the top.
I've actually got concerns for myself. I can't get it out of my head how I crashed 4 or 5 times on this descent during last years race.
I took it easier than normal on the way down, but most of it was cause of the bike.
It didn't feel right for some reason. I didn't feel comfortable on it like I do the Redline on the descents. We make the bottom and this thing just didn't feel good. I felt beat up, like I was riding a rigid.
This front fork sucks!!
Everybody makes it down with no problems. Docs un-scathed. I'm happy.
Next we make the 5 mile road ride, with a pitsop to re-fuel, to Braleys pond.
This is the 3? mile single track climb.
I'm trying my best to ride as much of it as I can. During last years race I walked 90% of it.
I end up riding 50% this time. Its really not that difficult, I just can't handle the off camber trail.
Trying to get going again after you stop is a bitch. One time I racked the boys on the top tube.
That ended in a 5 minute rest.
Get to the top and Denis,Mike, and James are waiting for me. I havent' seen doc and Chris since the bottom. They get there about 5 minutes after me.
The descent is fun, but still for some reason I'm not enjoying the ride as much as I thought I should. The front fork is beating the shit outta me. I actually almost endoed on a drop. This never happened with the Redline. It was on this descent I start thinking maybe I should bring the hardtail to the race. ?????
Ain't that a bitch? I've gotta new FS that retails for 4k and I'm thinking about pulling the hardtail outta retirement.
So we all make the descent with no probs.
A few miles of road back, with a few more climbs thrown in for fun, and we're back at Todd lake.
Total of only 35 miles, with 4k of climbing.
I would've like to get more milage in, but its better than nothing.
Talking to Doc on the way home, he's decided the race will have to wait till next year.
After that 35 miles he can't see no way how he could go out and immediatley do that ride again.