Monday, September 19, 2005

Our "One Hour" Epic

Even Wakefield Tuesday regulars like Rose, Beth and I (Gina) get to ride epic rides every once in a while. Not on purpose, but it happens. We had our little epic ride this weekend at the MORE annual camping trip to Douthat State Park.

This annual camping trip is one of my (and Sagada’s) favorite trips. This was actually our fourth time here. We usually prefer the comfort of the log cabins but then we would miss out on the camping experience with MORE, so this time we decided to stay at the campsite. After all, MORE people are among the nicest bunch of folks that I only get to see once or twice a year. But back to our ride. After a good breakfast of oatmeal I headed out to Rose and Beth’s campsite. Beth’s family has an RV and Rose’s family are staying with them. I asked them what they want to do and they readily volunteered their husbands to take care of the kids so we can go ride. I went back to the campsite to change into my bike clothes. After I left, Beth informed her husband that we would be gone for one hour. One hour! I would have laughed if I was there. Both Beth and Rose have never been to Douthat so they had no idea what the trails are like or where we would be going. The plan was to do the Mountain Side, Mountain Top, and Brushy Hollow trails. I wondered if even Sue Haywood or Becky Bafford could do the route I had planned in one hour.

After about 10 minutes, Beth and Rose came rolling to my campsite. They have with them one small bottle of water each. I replaced Beth’s bottle of water with a Gatorade, put two bottles on my bike, and off we go. We saw other MORE riders on the way to the Guest lodge where the trailhead was, but we let them go. We decided to go at our own pace considering that it’s Beth’s and Rose’s first time at Douthat and I’m still nursing a bruised shoulder from the last Tuesday ride at Wakefield (Craig pushed me when I was jumping over a pile of logs – oh wait, he was way ahead of me). Early on, we decided that we’ll give a prize to whoever can whine the most. I think it was a toss up between me and Beth. I enjoyed riding Mountain Side last time with Julie, Maili, and Karen but this time my bad shoulder and aching back made it more difficult (see, I should have won the whining contest!). After Mountain Side we reach the intersection of Brushy Hollow and Mountain Top feeling good and we saw Bob Caverly and his two amazing biker kids heading down Brushy Hollow. We debated a bit whether to follow them or go up the mountain. We decided to go to Mountain Top. Heck, we can’t just go to the side of the mountain, we need to go to the top! This decision sort of reminded me of the time Rose and I rode C&O in the middle of January with 80 percent of the bikepath covered in ice. Within one hour, we had a dozen falls and plenty of sliding between the two of us with an 80 year old woman telling us to go easy on the brakes. Okay, I digress but something like that. We got to the summit of Mountain Top then we went back to Mountain side close to the guest lodge. But we wanted the downhill of Brushy Hollow so we did Mountain Side again just to go to Brushy Hollow. With my last half-bottle of Gatorade rationed among the three of us we started to climb Brushy Hollow to Douthat Overlook. Rose is ahead of us and Beth and I kept looking at the last drop of Gatorade in my bottle. My pockets are full of acorns for Sagada and Beth stuffed her chest (she doesn’t have pockets) with acorns too (our 5 year olds love acorns!) but too bad we don’t have teeth like squirrels because we were starving. Luckily, as we’re pushing our bikes on yet another switchback, Jens and his friend come by. We must have looked and sounded pathetic because they stopped and gave us their Gatorade, power bars and fig newtons. There’s nothing we can give in return but acorns so we just thanked them again and watched in amazement at how fast these guys can go. After more Gatorade and fig newtons, we had a renewed surge of energy and pushed on to the summit. After fixing Rose’s flat tire, we are ready for a nice downhill back to camp.

Our one hour ride became a four hour ride but it was all fun. Probably not for the hubbies though who were worried sick that one (or all of us?) have fallen off the side of the mountain. Every thirty minutes or so, Beth would remark that Steve (her husband) would be so worried by now but somehow it didn’t register to me and Rose. Both our husbands are kinda used to us getting lost in Accotink and Wakefield and not making it back on time. Or they probably thought if we could put up with them, we can survive in the wild if we get lost. But Steve drove his suburban around the park looking for us and later on, they sent Joe to find us. Joe found us on Brushy Hollow and after making sure we were ok, rode back to camp to let the others know. We rolled into camp a bit worn, but happy to have completed our little epic. Now it’s our turn to take over kid duties. The hubbies grab their bikes and head out to Mountain Side, leaving the kids to us. Acorns anyone?

Btw, thanks to Scott, Margaret, and everyone in the kitchen crew!

Sagada, Krysten, and Amanda at Douthat Lake


Blogger Jo said...

Hey, G. You can ride and blog just like the best of them! Great story, guess you all were glad that I wasn't there, bc I would have won that whining contest hands down! (esp. when you all decided to go back to Moutain Side just to come back down on Bushy Hollow!

11:56 PM


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