Monday, March 30, 2009

GET 'n Some...

Here we are again, another week and another big day in the saddle. Pat put together another fine route, exploring a section of the Great Eastern Trail (GET), riding south on the Tuscarora Trail from route 55 and finishing up with a bit of Big Schloss goodness. Pat and I headed out to meet up with Tim, Sue, Tony and Poz at Wolf Gap where we ditched 2 cars and piled 6 bikes and bodies in Tony's truck and parked over on rt 55 at the West Virginia border where we began our double track climb up the Tuscarora Trail. The day started off foggy and wet, but things began to look up as we got to riding. There were some steep pitches, and the soft soil coupled with some loose rocks made some of the climbs nearly impossible. I was in no hurry to blow myself up, so I casually stepped off and walked alot of the early climbs. Things cleared up as we got up on the ridge which gave way to spectacular views that one rarely finds in the mid-atlantic. The dark clouds in bright, blue skies, along with the epic views made me a bit camera happy stopping every 50 feet for a photo op from different perspectives. As we began our descent, which, in typical Massanutten fashion, was littered with massive rocks and wheel eating holes, my camera got tucked away as I carefully picked lines and tried not to highside over the edge. Once again the rain began to fall, which not only made our tires slip, but made putting a foot down treturous as well. At the bottom of the single track, we turned left on a fire road and crossed a park road, following the blue blazes once again heading upward. The rain fell steadily as we began our ascent which started off with several deep stream crossings. I was proud of myself for getting across the biggest one with dry feet, but it was all in vain as I got soaked attempting to ride across the next one. About 10 minutes into the climb, my front brake began acting up and apparently one of the pads dissintigrated leaving the spring dragging my rotor and causing an awful racket. I worked on this for several minutes while the others continued climbing. Frustrated, I got it sorted out and resumed my climb. About 2 cranks in, I realized my rear tire was flat. As if this wasnt enough, hail began to fall and so did my spirits. I sat there metally devastated and starred at my bike and my open pack, watching the contents get soaked. I finally got myself and my bike together and got under way again. At the top of that nightmare climb, I found the others hunkered down attempting to stay dry and warm. The lot of us had a good laugh when I told them of my mental breakdown below. We hooked a left on the fire road which took us to an ominous looking trail head. Pat and Tim consulted the map to make sure we were indeed to cross the mound of boulders which stood before us marked with the tell tale blaze. The lot of us walked into the woods and eventually things toned down a bit and it was back to the pedals. Slow, technical, rock riding is what this section of trail was all about; one of my favorite sections of the day. This took us to Big Schloss where we descended some fast, technical single track. I must say, this is the first time in a while I wished I was on my full suspension bike, which happens to be on the market at the moment. We dumped out on a road where I had yet another flat and while fixing it, realized I had now lost a rear brake pad as well. A few miles of road riding got us back to the car. I gotta say, I have really been digging on the riding in the Massanutten area. Virginia is for lovers of technical riding.

Wild and wonderful indeed...




Looking to the east...



Tony in the shadows..



Poz keeping his hands clean...



Playing on the rocks...



(pat photo)

Lunch with a view...



My chilie dog gets the seal of approval...



(pat photo)

Tim and Sue take in the view...



Poz on the rocks...



Dont worry, he was already wet...



Tony aproaching Big Schloss...



Route map...

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