Red Five, I'm going in.
Wow. That shit was just as fun as I remembered. The trench was just wide enough to accommodate my big ass and my big ass bike, I was flying down the trail with a giant smile on my face the whole time. It was a long downhill, and it just kept getting better.
Eventually, the downhill ended at a creek crossing. It had those signature ancient Uwharrie rocks and with very little maintenance, it was technically challenging. I rode it a few times.
I remembered that there was a brutal climb after this creek crossing. There was a climb alright, but I was wrong about its brutality.
Ha. Easy climb. Anyway, after coming out on a road, I checked (and double checked) my map and thought I was going in the right direction. I ended up doing an extra loop, but it really wasn't a big deal. I made my way back to my planned route with ease, hit another downhill, and ended up along a creek. And then...
I found the most horrifying climb I'd ever ridden on a mountain bike.
I'm pretty sure that once upon a time this trail was named "Bruce."
I crossed the creek and prepared to climb. I told myself that I'm a much better cyclist now, and that climb wasn't as bad as I remembered. Wrong again. It was fucking brutal. I've never seen anyone ride it all the way, and with me on a steel single speed, I ended up pushing up most of it. I huffed and puffed, and watched as my heart rate soared to nearly 200. I was gonna die!
Finally, I saw the top. That little bit of motivation carried me the rest of the way. As difficult as it was, the climb was worth it. The view was a rare one for this small mountain range.
And then I took the opportunity to do some shameless product advertising:
I don't know if it was my rising heart rate, lack of oxygen, or momentary lapse of judgement reading my map, but I couldn't figure out how to get own from that mountain top. I thought I was supposed to take a sharp left to head back down, but with all the leaf cover and lack of maintenance I couldn't find the trail. I took another trail that was easier to follow and figured I'd find my way back to my route eventually. I wasn't technically lost, but a few checks of the map showed no existing trail. I could find my location on said map, but not any trail close by.
I pushed on. Screw it. One more check of the map and I saw that I was approaching my intended route again. Moments later, I spotted a sign that was very familiar.
The Short trail was anything but. Mud, steep climbs, rocks, and lots of hike a bike. At least I was going in the right direction though. One climb later, I approached another intersection and knew I was on the right path.
This is not the Good Guy Greg Trail. I'm not sure he's even been on it.
That loop turned into another loop, and I knew I had one final downhill to go. It was rough, untamed, and full of leaves and baby heads. It was so rad.
Yeah, I nearly busted my ass a few times, got my legs cut up by flying rocks, and bogged down in the mud a few times, but I was smiling. It was one of the best rides I'd had in quite some time. I popped out onto the fire road, and after a short ride on the gravel again I was back in the parking lot...
Three and a half hours later.
I don't care for the term "epic ride", but you know...
I can't wait to go back.
Wanna try it out for yourself? Start here:
Need a guide? I work for beer. Hit me up before I get too fat to ride anymore.