Sunday, August 22, 2010

Lawrence Shoals

Yesterday I bailed on the Fool's Gold. Friday I was super sick, all day. I can't believe that this is just bad allergies. I slept most of Saturday. Eddie called me today though and said that it was a good one to miss. Horrible rain, bad trail conditions, plenty of crashes, trashed bikes, you name it. He called the race after 50 miles. Few or none of the 100 mile riders objected. I envision some trail work days in my future.

Today I felt a little better, only slept till noon and rolled out to Lawrence Shoals with my Dad. It was a long haul, 2 and a half hours of driving, but with 20 miles of trail, we figured it was worth it.

The other name for Lawrence Shoals Park is Rock Hawk Effigy Park. Named after this big rock pile that once looked like a hawk.

 Rock Hawk Effigy

They just built a big tower where you can walk up and get a good view of it. Apparently it's changed a lot since the late 1800's. Nobody knows exactly why but there are a lot of theories.

 Rock Hawk Description

The rain that's been killing Georgia for the past month had taken it's toll out there too. Mainly, it washed pine needles and leaf duff downhill until it clumped up. Every 3 feet there was another clump. Bumpity, bumpity.

The trails were a little confusing. The map only shows the main trails, but there are several marked loops off of them, and they're more singletrackish than the main trails.

The McLean Loop has a plywood berm on it. You can kind of see it at the bottom of the hill here.

 McLean Loop

I thought maybe I'd see ladders or other structures, but no, just that berm.

McLean also rolls out over a big rock at the water's edge.

 Lake Oconee

We figured out most of the trails on the north side, but I still don't understand the Granite Shack Loop.

The Hawk's Head trail was fairly challenging. Tight, twisty and steep. So twisty that there was a tree down that crossed the trail in two different places a hundred yards away from each other.

 Dad on Hawks Head

On the Yellow Trail, we ran across a Black Rat Snake.

 Black Rat Snake

Or, at least I'm pretty sure that's what it was. White chin, almost triangle shaped head, but not quite, kinked up when startled, didn't run from us, not big and fat...

Near the end of that loop, my dad started feeling really sick at his stomach and kept having to stop to let it settle down. We limped back to the car and he took a break, hoping it would go away...

 Dad, Feeling Bad

But, no luck there, and we packed it in. At the first gas station, he grabbed some powerade and was feeling better in 5 minutes. Our theory is that in Dallas, the humidity is really low compared to Georgia and he can ride with just water there, but here he sweats way more and after a couple of hours, he's out of electrolytes. Maybe. Hard to say. We'll see next time.

The sky was especially cool on the drive back.


I felt pretty good today, either the rain's washed the allergens out of the air, or maybe I'm getting over the cold. I can still feel it in my lungs, but it's not as bad this evening as it was yesterday evening. The next 6 hour race is coming up in a week. I definitely don't expect to podium this time, but I hope I don't lose too much time.

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