Monday, October 12, 2009
Ring of Fire/ Orange Loop
We got another attempt at the orange loop up on Massanutten north. This isn't a long distance ride, but very technical and picky terrain that makes the going rather slow. It was Tim's and my birthday week, so we psyched that Pat Miller, Kyle, Nate, Jeremy and Capraro could join us in the fun.
After a fitful night sleep and realizing that I forgot the waffles that I spent hours making, we somehow crammed 6 people and 6 bikes in Pat's Forester. We parked at Steven's trail and commenced climbing up to the ridge. Stevens was very dry and churned up from the horses. The weather was perfect and we continued north on the ridge passing all the side trails. We went through Veech Gap and back up to the ridge. This section to Shawl is pretty tough, but some of the most fun as well. I was in awe watching Tim and the rest of these guys try impossible moves that became possible. Nate and Tim did the big switchback move on Shawl!
Our Lunch stop was Elizabeth Furnance. The orange soda, doritos, and reeses left our stomachs angry as we climbed up the uber technical Signal Knob. It was tough going, but dry as a bone. We cut the ride a little short, cutting out bear wallow and instead hitting the mine road out to Little Fort. We had pesto pasta and Tim had a homemade German chocolate cake for his birthday. We were all pretty dehydrated, but Tim's birthday case of Miller Lite helped.
We were moving a little slow on day two, but we could ride right out of camp up to Woodstock Tower and then south. This was fun, easy riding compared to some of the stuff from the day before. The wild thing was seeing Capraro ride with a chainsaw on his back for cutting out trees. Its not just the weight but the awkwardness of the blade. He is super committed to maintaining trails in that area. And what a strong and capable guy to be able to ride that shit with a chainsaw.
We had a Samazon stop at an overlook and could see short mountain, our next part of the ring. Short Mountain is by far the most difficult riding that I have ever done. It is relentlessly technical with rocks, big moves, and lung busting climbs. I cleared some tough stuff, but had to walk a ton, too. Again, everyone made some incredible moves and kept trying things even when exhausted. We opted out of Jawbone this time...this kind of riding really takes it out of me, but is so satisfying to me right now. I can't imagine passing up on rides like this to ride around in circles somewhere.
Hopefully this was okay preparation for the Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage race that I'm doing this weekend! Probably not, but its going to be good.