Monday, March 29, 2010
The KSF'ed Up weekend
The little trophy Brad gave me says I'm Champion of the Universe. And I won't argue with that, because that practically makes me He-Man's brother.
The family resemblance is striking:
After a four hour drive to Charleston on Friday night, we watched the end of the original Clash of the Titans (it's an amazing movie,) got a few hours of sleep, then woke up at the butt crack of dawn to the smell of burning bacon and scrambled eggs. We spent a little while shaking off the groggies, then headed out to start the ride in the Kanawanana Rock Forest of Despair.
Rob had a gps and a camera, so he documented the day (even though a professional documenter of bicycle events was present.)
The first climb was a steep and loose kick in the nuts, but I was feeling light so I floated up to the top. Last year in the Black Bear race, I had to get off and run most of that hill with a 32X18, but this time I was able to clear the whole thing in a 38X20.
At the top of the hill, everybody's hands were burning from the cold. We took a couple minutes to catch our breath, then headed out.
The next trail we rode was smooth, flowing, and super fast:
It was so much fun, we did it twice (actually we had to double back and look for Jason's lost camera. But it was a ton o' fun)
Excluding Brad, none of us had ridden any significant downhills since the fall. The descents at Kananwana are quite a refresher. I kind of remembered them from the race, but they were a little different this time:
The black bear downhill is scary when it's dry, but with a river running down the middle of the trail, it's sketchy as hells.
At the bottom, Brad tallied up everbody's score in a little notebook. "You put a foot down but made it to the bottom first, so -2 points, I made it 2nd without a dab, so -2, Rob was 3rd -1..." and so on. I didn't quite get how he was assigning the points, but I did understand Jason's hike down the hill wasn't worth any points.
We went up and down the 500 foot ridge a few more times (it's a lot harder than it sounds) then headed back to the cars for some pizza that Kristin so graciously delivered to the forest.
After the za, we met up with a few grumpy old native Charlestinians who had been riding in the forest since the dawn of time. They all rode big full suspensions with downhill rotors, and fenders in the front and rear. We climbed up a steep fire road, then headed off onto some trails that I wouldn't have even recognized as a trail without following the guys in front.
We turned down a stream or something that didn't look like trail, and while I was pounding down it, I must have touched my front brake and hit a root, because I was suddenly jettisoned over the bars. My hip took the brunt of the crash, and I landed right in the middle of the stream. I groaned, tried to get up, and promptly slid back into the stream. I laid there in the running water for a few minutes while Don laughed his ass off. "Ugh. Well I'm glad I'm entertaining" I grunted.
A little blunt impact is really effective at sucking the power out of the legs, and I was a little slower for the rest of the day. But we pressed on.
The old guys were awesome at climbing steep crap in the granny ring.
We were starting to get tired by that point in the day, so all the climbs slowly morphed into hike a bikes.
I tried to ride this one, and failed miserably. If you look at the back of the picture you can see me smashing my nuts into my stem.
We hit another back woods trail with Don and Jason in the back, and when we stopped to wait for them, both trudged into sight carrying their bikes. The trail had snapped both their derailleur hangers. The West Virginians (who carried bike shops in their backpacks) set to work repairing the bikes while we watched.
Jason had a spare hanger, so he was forced to continue the ride with a fully operable bike, but after setting Don's bike up as a SS failed, he got to bail and go sleep in the car.
We hiked up some more absurdly steep ridges, then bombed back down to the bottom on a rutted out, butt puckering descent.
Down at the bottom we started the climb up what was supposed to be a hard packed and steep, but very ridable road.
But some mining operations decided to ruin it. And it blew.
After that goopy mud, I think I'll pass on La Ruta if I ever have the chance to go.
We climbed and climbed and climbed to the top of the ridge, then headed to the last downhill of the day (after some more climbing.) I was toast by that point.
And I won the "race" thing that we were kind of doing at the beginning of the day.
Hooray! It was a great day, and there were times I wanted to slap Brad, so that means he did a fine job coming up with an endurance course.
Rob's little GPS had the profile for the whole thing:
When we got back to Brad's house, Don slipped and rolled down the stairs. That's what he gets for laughing at me when I crashed. Karma's a bitch.