Saturday, July 4, 2009

Fake Fools Gold

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Today I met a bunch of folks up at Bull Mountain to pre-ride the Fool's Gold course, or at least all of the trails that will be on the course, but not in the same order. I knew some of the riders, others I knew of, some I met for the first time. All were cool. There were 16 of us total.

We parked at the game check station, kitted up and rolled out. But, first, I saw this awesome spider. I couldn't tell if it was a little big-spider or a big little-spider, but it was hairy and gnarly-looking and I was impressed. My hand is just for scale. Watch, it'll turn out to be really poisonous and I was in mortal danger putting my hand there.


We rode forest roads over to FS28A. Immediately we lost 2 riders who just kept going straight and couldn't be convinced otherwise. Oh well, hope they know where they're going. We went up 28A, over to No Tell, down that, over to Black Branch, down and up that. I took lots of unrecognizably blurry photos. This one came out though, part of Black Branch. This is a fall-line trail. Wear is evident.

 Black Branch

Namrita's headset was giving her trouble. Me and Mark looked at it but it was barely loose and we decided it would be best just to leave it.

Montgomery Creek. Travis in this photo. Blurry, but cool.

 Montgomery Creek

It was a no-drop ride, except for the folks that rode off earlier. We milled around at the head of the Black Falls trail for a while.

 Group shot

The Black Falls trail is named because someone mistook this falls for Black Falls. Black Falls proper is south of here and much larger.

 False Black Falls

J'Millionaire at the falls.

 Jason at falls

Seconds after this was taken I took off, did a little air on a berm just down the trail, and somehow burped the entire tube out of my tire. It didn't pop though, so I just deflated it, stuck it back in and aired it up. But, in grinding to a halt, I had cut my sidewall and the tube was pushing through comically. Travis had a boot. Jason had some duct tape. Before long it was "fixed". I took it really easy on right hand turns, but rode the rest of Black Falls, up to Cooper Gap and over and down Winding Stair.

At the top of Winding Stair, Travis came ripping past me, and I was like "oh, all right, I guess you're fast eh?" and then he immediately rode into a set of deep washboards and got kicked around like crazy. I thought he would crash and be killed. I'm sure he considered it too, but apparently that idea was boring, so instead he just rode it out. With him in front and all the dust, I couldn't see them until the last second, or avoid them, but was able to lift the front just barely enough to get through. It was unnerving to say the least. Travis has mad skills. The list of riders I know who could have come out of that safely is short.

We waited again at the turn off for Turner Creek. Nam's headset was still making noise, and the fork too now because of all the dust, but it wasn't getting worse, so again, we left it alone.

Turner Creek.

 Turner Creek

And back to the game check station.

Half of the group bailed. No wonder they'd been so fast earlier! I felt a little better about having fallen back a few times.

At this point, the boot was bulging out of my tire hilariously. I decided that if I could improve it, I'd ride the rest. It seemed like pretty much every one else was only going to keep going if I did, so I was motivated to fix it. It was like a mission. "Soldier, I don't care if your equipment is broken, tape it up, the mission comes first!"

I put another boot and I think about 2 pounds of duct tape on it, but when I was done, it looked pretty good. Barely a bulge and several layers of protection.

Ready to go. Oh crap, Travis locked his keys in his truck. At length, we got a hold of a locksmith. Travis would have to sit the second half out. I gave him my phone, so no more pictures. Eight of us proceeded.

Up Jones Creek.

Up Bull Mountain.

Russell was riding a singlespeed with an 18 in the rear. Jason had a 20. Both had their hardness tested climbing to Cooper Gap. On Bull, again they tasted the whip, but they had it, because they are, indeed, hard. Meanwhile, me and Laureen were just rolling along, chatting and having a good time. Yay, gears. We stopped briefly at Bare Hare for a regroup and noticed that someone had stolen the sign. Woo, people do great stuff.

One of the guys had turned around on Bull, so we were now down to 7.

Stephen was out of water, I had one bottle, so I split it with him and tanked back up at a stream just up Bare Hare. We burned up Bare Hare, Bogger Holler, the Cutoff and 83 Bypass. Stephen and Mike skipped the 83 Bypass and beat us back to the cars. Ony took off at the end and beat the rest of us back. I was actually quite impressed with him all day. For a while I wasn't sure how he'd do, but he ended up hanging in strong the whole time. Nice job man.

The heat had slowly been liquifying the adhesive on my patch and the bulge had been growing and growing. At the end of the 83 Bypass, it rubbed my frame with each revolution of the tire. I was hopeful I'd make it back, but not confident. Fortune was smiling on me though, and I did, in fact, make it back.

Look at this. I nursed this, or worse, for nearly 40 miles.

Tire Patch Job

You would be a fool to attempt the same, as I was a fool today. But, I was a fool on a mission, and in that I was successful, but still a fool.

Travis was waiting for us, his keys safely retrieved. Through a process way too complex to describe here, we all decided to eat bison burgers at Ruby Tuesdays in Dawsonville. And that we did. They must have had to raise additional bison to fill our order because it took about that long to get our food. It was seriously worth it though. At one point, I actually felt sorry for the riders who bailed. They could not possibly have enjoying whatever they ate like we did.

1 comment:

  1. Great ride! Thanks for playing tour guide. Those bison burgers really hit the spot.