Got up to the mountains again for the second weekend in a row. Robert's birthday party was the excuse this time. Liza and I drove up early Sun. morning ( well- Liza drove, I slept the whole way ). Hung out for a few minutes when we got there, then Robert and I got ready for a ride around 12:30. Beautiful weather and milder temps. added up to a good ride forecast. Robert's surprise party was at 5:30 and I had instructions to keep him out until then. It was suggested that we leave later to make sure we didn't get home to early, but I figured being home to early would be the least of our worries where we were headed.
We headed out of Fletcher over to North Mills River, picked up FR5000 and started climbing. Got up to Spencer Branch Trail pretty quick and shortly descended Trace Ridge. I found out on Trace Ridge that I probably need to bleed my front brake as it faded all the way to the bar and did nothing. Fortunately I had two- one for the each of ya.
After a quick stop for more water we headed up Yellow Gap Rd. for a nice climb. Then up Laurel Mountain for some more climbing. That trail is in great condition right now, the downhills are a little washed out but the rest of it is perfect.
Saw a bear at Good Enuff Gap. Never seen one move that fast but he was haulin'!
Robert didn't see him as he had just crashed and had a leg cramp at the same time. He was in a spot of bother and couldn't enjoy the wildlife at present.
Topped out at Pilot Rock after a bit. A long bit. The hike a bike was surprisingly enjoyable to me- must be the running I've been doing over the last few weeks. Usually I hate that section. Pilot Rock was good as well, although it has apparently seen a ton of use this summer- very washed out and rough today. Not the condition I am use to seeing that trail in. After an uneventful descent I was ready to get back to the gravel road. The last couple of minutes were starting to test my fatigue and pain tolerances. The rigid fork I'm on and the fading front brake had me worked over by the time it was done. My shoulders were cramping from absorbing the impacts and my hands really didn't work anymore. Still a great descent though.
Robert showed up a few minutes later commenting on how perfectly he nailed the switchbacks and rock gardens on the way down. Not one mistake where he had to unclip to put a foot down. Never got on the bike, so he didn't have to get off at all. Walked a perfect line in the technical stuff. Better safe than sorry on your birthday.
Got back about 6:30, overshooting my time goal but allowing everyone to get to the party before the surprise entrance. Good party with some very much needed good food. Got to catch up with almost all of the Brevard crew and had a great time.
Drove back home yesterday and cleaned out my bike stuff in the garage. Need to get up some money to race with so I found a bunch of stuff to sell on e-bay. I need to get rid of stuff anyways because we should be moving into another house soon. Later- DH