Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Blankets Creek (de novo)

Well, wonders continue not to cease, and as long as they keep doing that, I will continue to enjoy said wonders.

This past Saturday I found myself at Blankets Creek again with my brother. We planned to get in some decent miles - two big loops of the entire system. I was as excited as I'd have been for a Fool's Gold preride two years ago.

I was looking pretty ratty though, and continued my recent pattern of violating The Rules. Peachtree legs...

Peachtree Leg

...Reality Chest.

Reality Chest

Yeah, that's looking good together. I broke a more obscure rule by cutting my toenails there in the lot too. That's right, I went there.

The frere could have judged me had he not been engaged in some street hooking shenanigans himself.

Street Hooker

His headset was loose and he rebuilt the entire assembly there in the lot. Fixed it though. Even got his bars straight.

We were about ready to go and John was all "Oh, hey, there's Marc."


He'd mentioned trying to coordinate some additional company for this ride but didn't mention that he'd succeeded, so it was a great surprise to see more friends drive up out of the blue.

Marc and Luke

I say "friends" but at the time I had not met Luke. This is Luke:

Johnny Cash, Except for the Gloves

Johnny Cash except for the gloves, which must have been made in the 80's by Vision Street Wear.

We rolled out soon after they arrived and the suffering began. My roadie legs couldn't comprehend the trail. "What is this dirt business?" My roadie brain suffered even more. I wasn't confident cornering. I had no flow. I was claustrophobic in the trees. It was terrible. I got stalled out, John and Luke passed me...

It's going to be a long road back.

We spun a lap around the Van Michaels trail. Marc was off the back for most of the loop, but by the end, he was just gone. We waited for like 5 minutes and he still didn't show up. He'd apparently been VERY sick the week before, but had felt recovered enough to ride. We started to wonder if he'd taken the inner loop and gone back to the car. Right as we committed to go look for him there we ran into some folks who'd seen him, and then ran into him a few seconds later, bike on his shoulder, derailleur wrapped up in his back wheel.


A mechanical hadn't occurred to any of us.

He'd had to walk out half the trail, carrying his bike. I undid his power link for him and wrapped the derailleur up so he could at least push the bike. What a drag though.

Me and Luke and John kept. We rode Dwelling. I did a better job of keeping up there. Better. Still not good though.

The South Loop was a wretched experience. I lost a water bottle, John happened to be behind me and picked it up, then I lost it again a mile later. Some guy passed me and dropped me so quickly it was upsetting. John and Luke had to wait. I thought I popped a spoke but it must just have been a rock glancing off or something. I was so certain that I double-checked later, but no, it was fine.

The second lap around Van Michaels wasn't so bad. I'd actually spun out in one of the turns on the first lap, I mean complete 180, foot dragging on the ground, rolling backwards at the end, hoping I could keep from falling over. I didn't have that problem on the second lap, but I did manage to stall out on the first little rock of that switchback, right after a guy passed me, and with a hiker watching from above. Nothing like having an audience. Woohoo!

The second lap around Dwelling was actually fine until I got indecisive over some roots at the very end, got squirrely, had to power out of it, and never caught back up.

There were dozens of little box turtles on the sides of the trail that lap. Not sure where they all were earlier. Maybe they all come out at that time of day. That's the only wildlife we saw all day, though I did see a dead coyote on the side of 285 on the drive up. I'm not sure that counts as wildLIFE though.

We picked up 3 different water bottles on the South Loop, thinking each of them was mine, only to find that each wasn't. Two were the same exact kind as mine, but not actually mine. Mine is still out there, somewhere. I hope someone finds it and enjoys it.

Luke flatted near the end of the South Loop and we spent enough time fixing it that I recovered enough to be able to hang on until we got out. It's funny. I'm not weak per-se, when we get out in the open I have no trouble, my skills have just degraded into nothing and I end up working too hard all the time. I remember this from a year ago. It didn't take long to recover then though. Maybe it won't this time either.

Back at the lot we were all tired, except for Marc who'd nearly died of boredom waiting around for us.

My legs were filthy and it felt so good.

Righteous Dirt

Screw hosing them off, that's how they should look.

We drove into downtown Woodstock...

Woodstock Mural

...hoping to score some tacos at Pura but there was a wait and Canyons across the way looked like a better choice. Plus, there was a downhill/freeride video playing on one of the TVs and we were drawn to it like so many moths.

The burgers there are good. You should go have one.

Oh yeah, Blankets Creek!

I suspect that I'll be spending time down there on the weekends for a while. So I imagine quite a few posts in a row will be titled very similarly.

I hope to report improvements in my bike handling skills and general, overall mountain biking abilities soon.

Fingers crossed.

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