Thursday, October 16, 2008

Riding with the Pros

Ever since our Swiss debut as Euro Pros last August, word has spread quickly across the pond, and our expertise is now in high demand. Night and day the phone rings off the hook with Pros pleading for a chance to ride with us in order to see such greatness up close and personal. All the guys want me and the girls want to be me. It's tough being a superstar.

Mountain bike super pros, Krista Park and Carey Lowery, were banging on my door all week begging me to play hooky on Thursday and ride with them at Pinhoti. Finally I relented and decided to throw together a quick Mtn Bike 101 clinic for them. Twenty of us congregated at the peaceful retreat of Mulberry Gap Campground for a day of playing hooky.

We wasted no time in establishing female dominance. It is best that the guys know who is in charge!

You can clearly see in this picture that Krista just could not match me and my blinding sprinting power. Laina and I took this sprint easily, but Krista did not give up.

She hung on to my rear wheel as hard as she could and gave it her best shot. I felt sorry for her and let up on the pace after the first climb.

Okay, before some of you get upset, YES, I am kidding. If you know me at all, you know that I cannot be serious for longer than a nano second and tend to make any situation a silly one at best. So, now that I have gotten the silliness out of my system, I will give you the REAL story for the day;-)

A Let's Play Hooky Day had indeed been organized for Thursday with Krista's presence being the impetus for the plan. If one Pro is good, then surely two would be better. Carey added her star power to the list and those of us brave enough to ride with them showed up eager to enjoy the beautiful Autumn day.

I know Krista by default from our crazy BOD family. Usually she's living out West and tearing up the race circuit full time, so it is not often we get to see her. Carey and I met last year during a Snake Time Trial Preride. We shared a funny experience together that day when we passed by another rider having a total meltdown on top of the mountain. It still makes me laugh to think about the two of us riding by quietly with wide eyes hoping this madman wouldn't turn on us and go postal. Carey and Lisa raced the TransRockies this year and totally dominated pulling out an impressive win.

I have nothing but respect and admiration for these two women and was honored to get to join in the ride. They are pleasant and approachable and do not suffer from I Think I am So Awesome that I Cannot Talk to You Syndrome. Like I always say, mountain bikers are cool like that whether you are a super star or not. We all get along well and play nicely together.

CookieM was our unofficial official ride leader, and she led us from the camp to the long 4 mile climb up to the Overlook. Or was it 5 miles?
Mr. Dusack wasn't afraid to spend the day with the ladies (of course, Mrs. D was along to keep him in line).

PBC can always be found where there is a good mtn bike ride!

Krista was probably wondering what she had gotten herself into!
I'll tell you what she was getting into: some fun fabulous singletrack riding, that's what!

Suzy and PJ were there!

Lady D was pleased with how Mr. Dusack behaved with so many ladies around him.

This time of year is a delight to the eyes with all the colors. The temperature was perfect for me, and it really did not feel like a Fall day. If it had not been for the changing leaves, you would have thought it was still summer.

I was so busy chatting that I did not realize how quickly the climb had passed. Thinking we were still at a few switchbacks down, I told Krista this was the last stretch. Oh, wait a minute! We're already at the Overlook! I love it when a climb goes by fast like that!

This sure beats sitting in an office and working.

We enjoyed the view for a while before continuing on to the upper singletrack section of Bear Creek.

Carey rode down the gnarly singletrack to show us how the real Experts do it! Seriously, check out her form here for a little mtn bike 101. Her weight is back and low. See how relaxed her upper body is? Look at her head position. Her chin is level, turned and pointed in the direction of the trail ahead. She's not looking down at the trail in front of her. Very nice form. Thank you, Carey.

Loretta's been racing strong all year.

Our fearless, always smiling leader, Aimee!!

Chris was having fun!

I met Jenn for the first time today. She impressed me as she tackled this section with no hesitation at all. At the bottom of Bear Creek, she was grinning from ear to ear! "How'd you like it?" Aimee asked her. "This is Great," she exclaimed with enthusiasm!

This will be the last of the rides where we don't have to fret over getting our feet wet in the creek crossings. Cold weather is coming soon:-( But today we were having a blast ripping down the trail, zipping through the creeks.

At the bottom of Bear Creek, some of us took a right and climbed up Pinhoti 1, while others took Bear Creek Campground Rd around to join up with us for Pinhoti 2. Krista casually pointed out a snake to me as we rolled right by it. If she hadn't of said anything, I would have never noticed. Neither did anyone else. As the wheels went by, I said to the riders, "you realize you just rode by a snake?"

"Huh? Really? Where?"

Right there!

Just a black snake. No worries. Last ride I did, we passed by Llamas. No llamas today. Just a snake and pretty yellow leaves.

Pinhoti 2 is everyone's favorite, and today I was dreaming about it. About the downhill. I was selfish and made sure it was all mine. Without the pressure of Rocket Raja breathing down my neck, I wanted the pleasure of being first in line to bomb down what is the most fabulous of downhills in the State. What a rush! I had an absolute Ball! Although I hear Gail did not have as much fun as I did, especially when she did a face plant. Brigette reported on her blog that she's going to be okay. I'm so sorry, Gail! We wish you a speedy recovery.

Suzy, Loretta, PBC, Krista, and Carey were still up for more riding after P2, and took the turn up Pinhoti 3. Even though my legs were protesting slightly, I could not resist following them up the singletrack, mostly because I knew we'd get another fun downhill coming back down it. We went up the first climb of P3 and then turned around for the rollercoaster descent. Whoohoo!

Our three hour tour turned out successfully, and we headed back to Mulberry Gap. This is the closest I will ever get to riding with the Pros, which is just fine with me. I cannot possibly manage being a Euro Pro AND a Mtn Bike Pro at the same time.

What a perfect way to play hooky! I can't say that I've ever ridden with that many females before, now that I think about it. I am used to being the only girl, or one of a few in a sea of males. Pretty cool! Thanks Sorella, Aimee, and Krista for putting together such a great ride.

Diane & Ginnie of Mulberry Gap served up a fine lunch, and some of us even enjoyed some time in the hot tub (notice Anne's wet hair). What a luxurious way to end a ride!

I enjoyed meeting some new people today, and putting faces together with names from the forum. Hope to ride with you all again soon, but I'll have to check my schedule first. Riding with the Pros, you know, keeps me busy;-)


Chris, Brigette and Norah Dusack said...

Wow, what an awesome, awesome blog, this was a GREAT read! Do you post your pics right on the site or link them to photobucket or similar. You are a great Photog and such and incredible rider too. Thanks for sharing the blog, made for a WONDERFUL ending to a FUN day. Hope to ride w you again soon!! Have a great weekend. Brigette

Ken said...

Great writeup as always. Wish I could have joined you. Mulberry Gap looks cool, must stay there soon.

Krista Park said...

You are too funny! I stole a couple pictures for my blog (hope that is okay). Had a great time yesterday, hope we can do it again!

regularjoe said...

Yesterday, Pinhoti with the awesome pros.

Tomorrow, Pinhoti with the lame-o joes.


Carey Lowery said...

Sweet read!