Perhaps the most notable thing about last weekend is what I didn't do. I didn't do the Horrible Race for the first time since its inception. I thought about it a lot but after a long several weeks of work and only a handful of bike rides since the Double Dare I decided it was best not to put myself through 24+ hours of suffering my way to a DNF. Instead I was sound asleep before midnight both Friday and Saturday nights and as I walked up Kissie Creek Rd. with Yuri on Saturday afternoon I knew I made the right decision. But I still feel like I missed the fun.
Instead on Saturday I went for a fun ride with Yuri and Jon C. Our plan was to do the Sienard Ridge > BRP > Flat Laurel Creek > 215 > Summey Cove > Farlow route but it took an unexpected twist at Black Balsam and Flat Laurel Creek was skipped.
I was feeling good on the big climb up to Black Balsam and around Graveyard Fields I pulled ahead of the group and made my way up to the top of FR816 to take some pictures. Yuri and Jon should have been right behind me but they weren't. I hung out at the top for awhile and then finally they appeared as two slowly moving black specs five hundred feet below on the parkway. From way up there I could see them clearly as they rode a short ways and then stopped for a minute. Then they rode some more and stopped again. This happened repeatedly until they stopped again at the intersection with 816. I figured they were taking a break or something so I continued my own break. Finally, I saw them get up, but not onto their bikes. What was going on? I thought about calling them but that seemed silly and unsporting. I thought about riding back down to see what was going on but that seemed like an unnecessary extra climb. So I waited.
Eventually I saw them get on their bikes and start riding up 816. There was snow up there and I noticed a white chunk of snow in the road that seemed to be following them up the road. It was either a chunk of snow that was moving with them, an animal, or my mind playing tricks on me as I tried to see what was going on so far below. Snow doesn't move like that and unless they got a dog no animal would follow them like that so I concluded that it was my mind playing tricks on me and was relieved that they seemed to be mobile again.
Then I clearly heard Yuri say:
"I'm going to ride ahead and tell Clay what is going on."
So, I did what I should have done a half hour earlier and rode down the road to see what was going on.
They got a dog.
She came out of the woods near Graveyard Fields and they had been carrying her on their bikes. She was a collared hunting dog, had been out for days, was very skinny, hungry and seemed to be in bad shape. Now I know hunting dogs and know she would have probably been okay but they had been in phone contact with the owner and the decision was made that we would take her down to 215 where the owner would meet us. So into my pack she went and down the road we rolled.
After dropping off our precious cargo with her owner we went on down 215. We made a slight detour onto a forest road that didn't quite do what we had hoped. We could have done a big bushwhack but I vetoed it and we backtracked out to the highway and then up Summey Cove instead. I love Summey and really hope the Forest Service keeps it open and connected to 215 - losing this trail would be a bad precedent and a true loss.
A slight detour at the rock on Kissie Creek and then a short slog up to Farlow Gap and a nice single track finish to a nice winter ride.
Sunday Runday saw me and Duma not wanting to drive far or do anything too hard so we headed to Turkey Pen where there are lots of single track options over moderately rolling terrain. Our route was:
South Mills River > Mullinax > Squirrel Gap > Horse Cove Gap > Cantrell Creek > South Mills River
Not much to report. Squirrel was good. My feet got repeatedly wet on Cantrell but it was warm out. A good run!
6 hours ago