Monday, December 23, 2013

Bear Creek/Pinhoti

Zero-percent chance of rain. That's what the forecast called for. That's what my brothers phone still said as we drove north with the windshield wipers on. We were headed to Ellijay to meet Baldwin and Hirsch at Bear Creek. They were, ironically, riding with us on Saturday to beat the weather that was supposed to set in on Sunday.

It was just misting a little when we got there, but then every 10 minutes it would rain actual drops for a minute or two before letting up entirely or misting again. It wasn't bad enough to force you to abandon but just bad enough to force you to choose.

We chose.


It was wet but it never started raining again. The trail itself was wet too, but not muddy, especially with all of the leaf cover, except for individual puddles here and there.

In the past year, I'd ridden my mountain bike once, the day before. It still had dust on it from the 2012 CFiTT. My skills were as dusty as my bike, but my legs were good. The road had, at least, been good to them, and I felt strong climbing Bear Creek.

Up at the top, it was all spooky-haunted-forest-feeling. Misty, foggy. Still wet.

Still Wet

We took the road down, hung a right and rode P2 in the fun direction.

The Frere on P2

I was fighting my bike though, and fighting the trail. I was definitely the bear and not the deer. I needed more tiger and less rhinoceros, as my brother said.

As we headed up the road, we saw two riders ahead of us, turning onto P3. We caught one of them quickly but never caught the other. He was sitting at the top, waiting for his buddy when we arrived.

One thing I noticed... I'm still riding on roller-skate wheels. My brother, Mark and Marc were on 29'ers, or as they're called these days: "normal mountain bikes". I had a much easier time descending switchbacks than any of them. I asked my brother about it later in the ride. He said he'd noticed the same thing: descending switchbacks is sketchier, but all things considered, it's still better.

After descending P3, you'd think we'd have taken Shakerag back to Gates Chapel, but no, we hung a left, out past Mulberry Gap and took 68 back up over whatever little gap that is where it tees into 90, for some reason.

I cratered entirely about a quarter mile from that little gap, on the last climb of the day.

Ha,ha. Classic.

Oh, man, we were dirty. So dirty!

Dirt Baldwin

I haven't had that much dirt on me in a long time. So long that it was disappointing to wash it off.

We ate at a Mexican joint in the Wal Mart shopping center south of Ellijay. I forget the name, but it was good. I'm becoming far more competent in Portuguese these days and I guess Spanish is close-enough to Portuguese in my brain. Reading the menu and hearing the music kept making me think and want to speak in Portuguese.


So, Bear Creek was great, but I've got to get my groove back. I need to go spin like 20 laps around Rope Mill or something, until I forget to think and the ride flows effortlessly and spills out all over the trail the way I spill these words all over the page. Sounds good on paper at least. We'll see. No harm in trying.

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