Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Moar Fun Side

Well then.  After that necessary interruption yesterday, I'm back to my adventure.  You know, the one I was talking about on Monday.  Exploring the other side of Uwharrie, I was having a blast.  It's been well over five years since the last time I'd been there, and although some of the scenery and trail names were slightly familiar, I couldn't remember which parts were the most fun.  I knew there were some fun downhills coming up, but couldn't remember where.  Luckily, I found out pretty quick when I spotted the familiar Death Star trenches.

 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:

Yes, Nuun and Honey Stinger carried me to the top.

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.

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