Well, it's been awhile since I posted and I promise to post more regularly in the future. Got in a great ride today. It was finally a nice day out so I bounced out of work a few minutes early to go ride. I decided to ride Laurel Mtn./ Pilot Rock today. I figured I could get to the top in about an hour, then do the downhill in the dark, lights were charged so I was ready to roll. I'm really glad I rode that trail today as it was in almost perfect condition. I was able to clean all but 2 spots on the way up, made it up 2 rock sections I have never made before. There were some pretty cool ice sections over some of the rock sections making it a bit interesting. Made it up the bottom third of the hike a bike before I had to walk, then rode from the second switchback of the hike a bike until the left turn to descend Pilot Rock. I was really stoked about that, there is some tough climbing there. As I was climbing I saw some of the coolest light I have ever seen here in Pisgah. The sky was still crystal clear blue with furrows of hot pink clouds. All of the light, which was rapidly fading was bright orange and bathed the ridges and treetops with a warm glow. Everything looked orange except the pink clouds streaking the sky above my head. It was the closest thing to alpenglow that I have seen on the east coast and was over all too soon.
Time to go downhill now so I turned on the light as it got pretty dark all of a sudden and I thought the downhill would be fairly suicidal if I didn't use the light. I haad never ridden Pilot Rock at night before and it turned out to be as much fun as I hoped it would. I actually had better lines than in the day and had no problem blasting through every section. Well, almost no problems- on one of the wide open fast sections, I didn't see a fallen tree trunk sticking out from the bushes about 12" high. Caught that sucker right on top of my ankle, it almost cleaned me off the bike- it hurt so bad. Luckily, it was so cold out that it soon went numb. Finished up the downhill with the worst part of the ride- the forest road back to Yellow Gap where the Megavan was stashed. That road was horrible- it is mostly downhill and you can run 20-30 mph almost the whole way-that is torure when it is only 30 degrees out. Got back to the van just before the onset of Hypothermia and Rally carred it down the road to home. Great ride confiming that Laurel Mtn. is my favorite ride around.