Sunday, December 04, 2005

That's what friends are for

Woodstock Tower
Woodstock Tower. And from the top.
Do you remember the *first* time you seriously suffered on a mountain bike? That moment when you find your legs have failed and you're in the middle of nowhere with nothing but miles of rocks and endless climbs between you and the parking lot. You know the magic words that will end the suffering, at least temporarily, but you can't bring yourself to say them. Meanwhile your friends are disappearing into the distance. Finally you relent and let the words fall out hoarsely, "Hey, wait up..." but there's no one around to hear.

For some, this moment is the make or break point. It's either the end of a weekend hobby or... the start of a cycling addiction. For me it was the latter. A few months of one-lappers around Fountainhead or Wakefield could not prepare me for my first epic ride at the Frederick Watershed a long time ago. I remember that ride well. Untill that point my standard of "rocky" was Fountainhead. I remember getting home with no energy left and falling asleep on my couch without the strength to take a shower.

Last weekend I had a chance to treat some friends to a similar sufferfest at Elizabeth Furnace. FixieChris, JayD, Darwin, Dima, fellow sser Armando, and myself risked frostbite and buckshot (hunting season, eh!) in search of whatever it is that brought us there in the first place. A few years of riding and racing experience have taken away the initial "WTF?!?" factor associated with this ride and upped my pain threshold, but it's still not an "easy" ride for me. It was JayD's and Darwin's first time out there so for them the "WTF?!?" factor was probably still quite high.

We took the fireroad to Mudhole Gap where the 17 degree temperatures raised the stakes on the four stream crossings there. Fall in and you're guaranteed a long cold ride straight back to the cars. Cos there's no way you're gonna finish the ride with your clothes freezing onto your back. From there we headed up the climb to Woodstock Tower. I had climbed this road before, but the last time I didn't take the time to actually go to the tower at the top of the climb. This time I did. After snapping a few pics we headed back on the rocky goodness of the Massanutten trail, my favorite trail in the Elizabeth Furnace area. By the time we got back to Mudhole Gap, daylight was running short. We had been out longer than I'd planned so instead of heading up to Signal Knob, we took the (not much shorter) short cut back through Mudhole Gap to the cars. Overall, a nice Winter ride and a good opportunity to introduce some friends to one of my favorite riding spots.

A few days later I get an email from JayD,

That was the most extreme and exhausting ride I've ever had... When I got home I went straight to bed. I was so tired to even hit the shower.

See ya on the next ride.


Yup, I think I know the feeling.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

joeP. definetly a good ride. waiting again for the next time around. we should link up for another local ride. ill keep on the lookout for another EF ride.

12:00 PM


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