Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pisgah Sucks

Ben and I had both been jonesing for some Pisgah lately. You just can't go too long without mountain biking on some of the trails out there. I found a day I could get away from the budding family and we headed down Saturday night. Sunday morning we were ready to go after scoring breakfast at Allison's Diner in Black Mountain. Ben had never ridden Heartbreak Ridge and since it's a must do ride and a little bit closer to the Triangle than Pisgah Ranger District this was where we would make our stand.

We parked at Andrew's Geyser and headed towards the Heartbreak trailhead. Not 10minutes into the ride I attempt to roll through a deep creek crossing and have to dab at the end. Foot slips, splash. Felt real brisk since the temperature was barely cracking 30F if that. Thankfully there was some brutal switchback climbing on Lower Heartbreak to get me warmed up. Ben was rolling through most of the switchbacks despite plenty of leaves stealing traction and hiding goodies like roots and rocks. At star gap we started the descent down to Jarrett Creek Rd. The downwhill switchbacks were more my style.

Next up Curtis Creek Rd, the brutal 6mile fireroad climb that is in really good shape now that it's been repaired and opened back up to cars. Curtis Creek dumps you onto the Blue Ridge Parkway where you get more climbing, a little descending, and a final one mile climb before hitting the trailhead for Upper Heartbreak. We noticed a little snow on the BRP road surface then as we climbed the snow kind of grew and got thicker especially over in the trees beside the road. The hike a bike off of BRP that gets you to the start of Upper Heartbreak had 2-3 inches of snow which made it hard to keep on trail and got my feet wet again. My piggies stayed wet and cold most of the day.

The snow was kind of patchy in places on Heartbreak but was about all I could handle along with the slick leaves. Those leaves were hiding a nice rock that decided I needed a good endo. This is a sweet long descent that ends with the switchbacks we climbed up to start the day. I tried "real hard" to talk Ben into tacking on a Kitsuma loop too but the car was too close. Butch's BBQ in Morganton sponsored our ride by offering unlimited hush puppies with the BBQ plate.

After dropping Ben off at home, I had a scary but in the end very lucky mishap. When you see the car behind you flash the high beams pull over. At first I wondered what they were doing and then noticed my bike wasn't on the rack. Pulled over and the bike was being dragged, held only by the rear wheel still in the rack. Since my fork has no lawyer tabs I guess it just popped right out of the fork mount. Miraculously there is no damage to the frame or fork. Sadly my beautiful gold Hope stem and headset are destroyed along with my front disc caliper, bars, and saddle. A few more miles and the headset would have ground down enough to expose the head tube. Thanks dude with the high beams.


felonious said...

The ride sounds great and the pics of you two above snow line are terrific. I wish I'd been able to make it. Happy turkey day, BCCers.

DukePirate said...

That sounds like a great -- if chilly -- trip. Glad you were both able to score the free time.

Also glad that your bike wasn't completely destroyed, but sorry to hear that it's in such bad shape. And the Hope stem was so pretty! Good luck patching her back together.

co2cycle said...

The word "epic" gets tossed around much too loosely nowadays. Webster's dictionary defines an epic ride as possessing all of the following qualities: (1) miserable weather, (2) bike trouble, (3) crashes, (4) frostbite and/or heatstroke, (5) car trouble, (6) awesome recovery food, and (7) a well-written blog post. Sounds like you hit the nail on the head with this one, even though there was probably no official frostbite and that the bike troubles and car troubles were actually part of the same problem. Well done boys.