I sorta had a plan. I've been on some of those gravel roads in Uwharrie before, but that was after wearing myself out on singletrack first. I never went as far as I wanted to go but I knew that there would be a little bit of climbing as I headed north past the "normal" trails.
I thought about riding some singletrack, but decided against it. "I'll save that for later", I thought.
The gravel road went up, then down. This repeated for a while, although it was more up than down. That was good, since I'd hoped to haul ass downhill to finish the ride. It wasn't all gravel, since those ancient mountains still have plenty of rocks all over the place.
Yeah, I hit every rock I could. I didn't have a modern bike, so I wanted the "full experience." It wasn't too much of a difference on the climbs since I have a rigid single speed I ride out there. Well, maybe there was a small difference...
My "modern" bike weighs nineteen pounds as opposed to this almost fifty pound beast. Shit. I was hurting after only a few miles in. It was hot, but since I was born and raised in Florida I was able to deal with it. I took lots of breaks like I did back in the day. Mostly that involved standing around shirtless while I sweated to death.
Uwharrie was my first mountain love here in NC, and Middle Ring Cycles was my first team. I wore that shirt because those old timers didn't wear no goddamn cycling jerseys.
After (mostly) climbing in the hot sun on a heavy as shit old ass bike, I made it to a campsite I'd seen before out there.
On previous rides, that was as far as I'd been. I haz a map though, and after looking at it (shirtless on the side of the road again) I decided to keep going. I had no particular destination in mind, but the map showed the road going on for a long while. It didn't seem that way once I got further along.
The road less traveled.
I kept going, and I didn't really mind the gradual climbing. The road started out slightly overgrown, and after a few miles it turned into this:
You could barely see any sign of a road, but it was there. I rode through that shit for a while, until I came to my senses. Trudging along in the thick brush was a challenge but not very fun. After a while I made the decision to turn around to check out a turn off I'd seen a few miles back. The road cleared up again (a sign of usage I guess), and after a little climbing I started going downhill. Instead of enjoying it completely I stopped to take a picture (and another break.)
I hopped back on and started screaming downhill. The road started disappearing again and I heard rushing water. I was at another sort of dead end, so I climbed my way back out and decided to make my way back to the main road. And there was another short climb of course...
After that, I started screaming downhill. I guess I was finally "Klunkin'." Except that I was scared shitless (in a good way.) With nothing but a shitty coaster brake and my feet, I had a difficult time controlling my speed. I had lots of "Oh shit" moments, but I was having such a fun time that I didn't care. I was hauling ass, thinking that bike would break apart at any moment. It was the scariest, yet most fun feeling I've had on a bike in a long, long time.
Hell, I even saw Bigfoot out there.
Not the Uwharrie Bigfoot though. The one from DeFeet. Duh.
Before I knew it, I was screaming towards the parking lot. I nearly crashed into the shitter out there and that made me laugh. In fact, I was smiling the whole time I was out there (three hours for those of you keeping score at home.) Sure, I suffered on the climbs and felt super unsafe on the downhills, but that piece of shit bike held its own out there and showed me a fun time. That was my main reason for building it and now I'm glad I did.
And now I wonder why I waited so long to do some stupid shit like this.
No more excuses. I'll ride whatever I feel like riding whenever I feel like riding it. It's all in the name of fun, you know...
And keeping a promise to a friend that would've laughed his ass off at this crazy shit.