Saturday, November 1, 2008

Napolean & a Dyno-Might Day

Eddie and Namrita organized a Happy Halloween Bash weekend at Mulberry Gap this weekend which included a day of riding on the Pinhoti trail. Even though the Chili Dawg Series rides started today, we could not resist the siren call of our favorite trail. So we headed off to Mulberry early this morning to join our mountain biking buds.

Last weekend's Fall colors were at their peak, but bursts of yellow and a little red still linger on painting a serene setting through which to ride.

There was quite a crowd gathered, and lots of new faces for us to meet. I promptly forgot everyone's name, so I will not even try to recount lest I make a complete fool of myself. I almost fainted when Rlaz came rolling in to join the ride. No amount of coercion could convince him lately to come on our mtn bike rides, especially this trail with the switchbacks of doom. He must have had so much fun with us last weekend at Gaptoberfest that he simply wanted to bask in our greatness (or something like that).

cRASh set the mood with his Napolean Halloween costume, and we pedaled out of camp towards Shakerag Road. It has been a long time since I have carried the DSLR in my camelbak, but today I decided to give it a go. The Pinhoti trail is probably the most difficult trail on which to get good shot, so I figured a little classwork was necessary. I have been lazy in my photography and my mind is going soft. My attitude was not the greatness, and I hoped things would get better.

My legs were slow to come to the party as we rode down Shakerag Road to Bear Creek Campground Rd. A photoninja needs spry legs, so this meant I would have to take on a new strategy. While riders regrouped at various points, I took advantage of the lull in action and rode ahead to find a strategic spot on the trail.

Climbing solo through the woods in early morning silence suited me just fine today. I set up on a fast section and enjoyed watching everyone come flying through the turns.

But I made sure to be hooked onto the Duckman, Raja, Captain Train for the downhills. I am comfortable keeping pace with Cyclesmith, because I know we'll live to see another day. But as for this guy, uh, I'd rather not try and keep chase with him.

Eddie and Namrita came blazing through on Pinhoti 1. Out of the way! Racers coming through! We did see Nam again briefly on P3!

The cool morning air was warming up a little bit as the light streamed through the trees still laden with the last of the Autumn leaves. I don't know what it was about today, but the trail seemed magical and I was truly enjoying my ride.

I wasn't the only one enjoying myself today. Chet was grinning from ear to ear, as was everyone else that rode by me as I crouched in the foliage snapping shots.

On the toughest part of the climb, and Emil is all smiles! Mtn biking will do that to you!

One of the reasons you smile on this trail is because you know what comes after the climb. The downhill! The fun fast downhill. No picture taking there, I'm all about letting it rip and indulging myself 100% with riding.

We all made it down the P1 downhill without incident (to my knowledge) and headed on towards Pinhoti 2. You do have to concentrate a little bit to insure you make it down in one piece.

The little creek crossing at the bottom was not a worry for us yet, as it wasn't too deep and the temperature was rising. Despite a bum knee, Ony was able to get in a good run on P1 and P2.

The start of P2 is a gradual climb on a gravel road leading to a gradual climb on doubletrack.

I purposely frolicked through "thaaa weeeeeeeeds" in honor of our new English friend, Kate.

"Loooorrreeeee, thaaaaay'r just weeeeeeeeeeds," is now the standard line everyone hollers out to me at random on a ride. Makes me laugh everytime.

Pinhoti 2's downhill was savored and enjoyed and celebrated with great jubilation. As riders pop out at the bottom, they hoot and holler and you hear over and over, "I love that downhill, That is so much fun, I had a blast!"

With the adrenaline still flowing, it was time to head up Conasauga Road to the Pinhoti 3 trailhead. Time to climb, again. Gotta work for those downhills. They don't come free.

Duckman's goal was to make it all in his middle ring. I think he came pretty close to it.

MarkD was feeling just as spry as Duck and charged hard up the climbs.

The trail was in perfect condition. Beautiful, absolutely stunning.

The light, the colors, everything was perfect.

Raja is forever pushing the pace, and led The Captain and Clogger up the last pitch of the P3 climb.

Sweetwater had a video rigged up to his helmet, so I look forward to seeing some documentation of the ride!

Finally we made it to the top of that loooooooong climb. Some chilled while waiting for everyone to arrive.

We ride as hard as we rest. We're just a bunch of kids at heart and we all love to play in the dirt on our bikes.

Rest time was over. Time to blast back down P3 for our reward.

It was such a beautiful day for riding, and not all of us were ready to stop even though Mulberry Gap Camp was just a mile or so away from the bottom of our descent. Last time we rode here with Toccoa Fred, no one took me up on my offer to ride back up P2 for a rerun. I wasn't about to be rejected again, so I kept my mouth shut even though the thought was running through my mind. Imagine my surprise when regularjoe pipes up, "Does anybody want to go back up P2?"

Expecting groans and moans, I was stunned to hear a few chime in with a "Sure, why not?!" With such a gorgeous day, it seemed a crime not to spend every moment out riding. So MarkD, Cyclesmith, Robin, Joe, Raja, and I headed to P2 for a little extra credit. We were so impressed with ourselves that we had to take a group shot;-)

The P2 downhill was just as much fun, if not more fun the second time down for the day. With 32 miles, about 4400' climbing, and just shy of 4 hrs ride time, our little crew headed back to the barn to hang out with the rest of the gang at Mulberry Gap Camp.

Our legs were toast, but our hearts were happy! Everyone had a great day on the trail, and it was fun to sit around and hear the different stories of each person's adventure. I could do this for a living!

Just another typical day on the trail with Raja and Chocolate Girl. Always a Napolean Dyno-Might Day! hehehe


Anonymous said...

Great shots, thanks!!!


Eddie O said...

Great shots. Thanks for coming out. I'm sorry I missed you guys after....we took a wrong turn and ended up out on Old Federal Hwy in Chatsworth!