Sunday, July 15, 2007

Epic, Part 2

We started at 6am. Frankly, this is earlier than I normally even think about getting up to ride -- especially on a day off -- and here we were rolling out of the parking lot.

My bike is on the right... the odd one in the group. Due to the fact that there is quite a bit of gravel road on this ride, I opted to run my 'cross bike. I was running 39mm wide tires, and these turned out to be too wide since I was hitting my non-drive side chainstay at times. Other than that, the bike performed with aplomb. Notice there are two water bottles on my bike. I'll miss one of them before the end.

We, as a group suffered exactly zero flats on the ride; pretty amazing, really. We did have our first mechanical just a mile from the parking lot. R.'s cleat was acting up. Pulling over, he discovered that he was missing a bolt, and that the other one was loose. Uh, oh. This would make for a l-o-n-g ride, unless... Asking around, we discovered that C. had a spare bolt with him! We fixed the cleat and off we went.

Right away, we were climbing. It wasn't a long climb, but it was steep. The climb started out on pavement, but soon became pea gravel. After we passed through a gate, into an area that is off limits to motorized traffic, the gravel was loose and harder for me on my skinny tires. Standing up was out of the question. Thank goodness it was short.


Once over this small rise, it was mostly downhill to the second section of pavement. The pavement was uneventful, leading us to a nice covered bridge.

This was our first break of the day, and after a brief stop, we soldiered on. We were back on gravel now, and we were loving it. The temperature was still cool -- mid 60's -- and this was the whole reason we left so early, so that was good.

After meandering along the Mary's River for a while, the road turns up, and gets interesting -- at one point disappearing all together!

As we are riding up the first major bit of climbing -- not as steep as the climb we had right off the bat, but much longer -- C. regales us with what happened to him while he was scouting this route. It turns out that he got stuck in the section we are heading toward. His 2WD Suburban just wasn't up to the task of getting him out of a slippery, muddy, rutted double track and going forward, as you'll see, was not a question. He ended up getting towed out and if you ever wonder what the expense is of getting towed of a remote location... well... lets just say it's way, WAY more than your normal towing fee.

After the gravel road climb, we enter a more rugged double track, and this is where the adventure begins. You didn't think this would be a tale of one l-o-n-g gravel road ride, did you? Oh no... the rest of them were on mountain bikes, you recall.

The two track looked like easy sailing at first. It was fast, it was swoopy -- well, as swoopy has two track can get -- and it was pointed down! Then, it got rutted. Then it got overgrown. Then... it disappeared.

Rutted double track:

Hey, where's the trail?
Now the fun part... much of this was stinging nettle.

C. and D. had quite the run in with the stuff last year on their first aborted attempt at the C2Sea. This time, they came prepared for it with plastic bags for their legs.


They even had some for R. and I, but we declined. We were too tough for that. We could handle the little stings. We were MEN, darn it. We got stung and, speaking for myself, inwardly wondered if the plastic bags weren't a good idea. Oh well. Next year, maybe. If no one has a camera out.

Next time, the sea and "where did my full bottle go?" and "you can eat this?"

2 comments:

Jon said...

Is that even a trail? How, on earth, did you decide to press on rather than turn around a look for where the trail veered off?

James said...

That used to be a road!