25 May 2010

I'm behind...

in my blogging that is...geez! Busy busy lately!

SDS 3 day, Corn Dawg's wedding, now getting ready for the IMBA Festival. It has been get up, full on long day, eat dinner late, go to bed days lately. Got to enjoy some great playtime in Blacksburg though. Looks like I have some time to get in something now though right??

Wrong...I've got 17 minutes of battery life and my charger is at work..ARG!

Hangin' with Luke Dawg at the wedding! Was good to spend some time in Blacksburg.

Scott was on hand too, we all got in a nice ride Sunday! Got lucky on the weather!

Yes, that's a huge black snake...

I almost had a collision with a black bear during the SDS 3 day, he popped out of no where as I was rolling down the trail! Whaaaat?!?!?

11 May 2010

S-D-S was siiiiick

So, this weekend I was a Freshman again, a newbie, noooob. SDS was by far one of the more, THE MOST, epic riding adventures I have been on. "SDS" is it's name, or Stokesville-Douthat-Stokesville. The ride, which is put on by Chris Scott of Shenandoah Mountain Touring, happens each year on Mother's day weekend and leaves from Stokesville and rolls about 75 miles to Douthat State Park outside of Clifton Forge, VA to stay the night at the Creasy Lodge. About 24 of us headed out on the the route that was predominately singletrack, and according to folks on the ride we logged 11,000 feet of climbing on just day 1.

Stooopid views all day long.on the SDS route...

I've been riding a lot this spring and I had my gear dialed in well, and I was feeling quite ready for the ride. As it is done by Chris, I had a lot of job duties pre-during-and post ride which made the weekend even more spectacular being involved on every aspect of it. Day 1 started at 4 am with little sleep the night, thanks to some lively neighbors of ours at the campground and their 3 am atv riding escapades...from there it was a very quick 1.5 hour long session of getting ready, re-heating the premade breakfast, eating, packing up the truck and trailer, and try to get everything together. At 5:45 we were on the trail, leaving the campground just as it was light enough to see.

And we rode and rode, and kept on. Stribling springs, Dowell's draft, SMT, then lunch stop about 5 hours in. I was super hungry, feeling good, but a little anxious for what was coming up. The singletrack/double track climb up and onto the ridge of Little Mare Mountain. I can tell you right now, there is NOTHING little about Little Mare Mountain. Steep pitches, and super slow rolling mossy, rocky trail make for a slog of an experience. Little use of any momentum can be made as the trail itself robs you of it consistently. Chris even got some footage of me riding up Little Mare which you can see here....oh sorry, that was just a clip of mushroom cloud....here is the actual video...Oh, that's not it either...well. I'm sure its somewhere...

The view from the overlook near the end of the Southern Traverse of the Shenandoah Mountain Trail.

Short, post-lunch road section to mentally prepare...sorta...for Little Mare.

Anyways...after the Little Mare suffer-fest, I made it down the suuuper sick downhill of Brushy Ridge, and even hit some bonus miles at Douthat, though I was pretty much in zombie-mode during those bonus miles...still super fun! Into the lodge, beer, shower, food, chilling with friends, and sleeeeeep. Man I dominated some sleep...

Sunday was up early again, big breakfast with the help of our support crew! Big thanks!! Get ready and roll out!! Up the mountain and hit up Beards Mountain Trail and Beards Mountain Spur out of Douthat which is a super dreamy section of trail. Rolling ridge and then a spectacular drop down the mountain on some skinny, off camber, contour trail.

Getting tired yet?? 

Clear blue sky above us! The weather was amazing all weekend.

Some road riding, and then lunch in the sun by the Cowpasture River from the crew again. Loooots of climbing up ahead, gravel road, fireroad, double track, and then single track, up, up, and up to Elliot's Knob. Toootaaally digging the Elliot's downhill, and then gaaaahhh the Crawford Mountain 5 pillars of pain. 5 hike-a-bikes that crush your soul. I can only ride numbers 3 and 4 right now, and need to start adding the others to my list. Its a hard section when you are fresh, and 1 full day, and 1 half day behind you, ohhhh....but now we go down Chimney Hollow........YESSS, fast fast fast, scary, fun ...woaaaah. Didn't crash...good, brake, noo, no brake, woah, ok...maybe some brake...

Still 11 miles to we reach the hardest part of the day...

James Kelly enjoying the Elliot's Downhill

Chris demonstrates proper STEEP riding...

One last drink stop and then its up Dowell's and back mostly downhill back to the campground....AHHH! A rock in my wheel WTF?!?! Oh, wow my dérailleur shouldn't look like that. Bent hanger and a bent cage...well replaced the hanger, still shifting fine, keep rolling. The last sections of downhill fireroad we dominated! Cruising in just at dusk with Whipporwhills sounding out all around us. I used the word surreal before, and I'm sticking with that.

By the end of the ride I had made good friends out of people I had just met, gotten to know others even more, and got to spend two full days riding my mountain bike. Totaling about 25 hours of riding, and about 140 miles. I'm tired...obviously. I'm happy with my riding during the weekend. Wish I hadn't sucked it up on Little Mare, but that is a tough place, need to get on the ball on those Crawford hike-a-bikes, but other than that I felt pretty strong. Stronger on Sunday than Saturday somehow...I think the excitement of finishing helped me stay strong towards the end too. One of my favorite aspects about long long rides, aside from the perfection of being on the bike and sharing that experience with those around you, is the noticeable progression in comfort level and ability throughout the ride. SDS is definitely on my calendar for next year....and the year after that....annnd so on...

More of my SDS pics here.


Pat Miller's Pics

Jon Posner's GPS Tracks
Day 1
Day 2.

SMT is doing the 3 day version this weekend! Check it out here!

Been finding out some more info on the Canaan Valley MTB Festival in June. Planning on hitting that for some solid riding in West Virginia and hopefully seeing some of my old friends up there!

Oh, and my new bike arrived Sunday night...getting it dialed in and ready to rock! Pictures soon...