Saturday everything finally came together for a ride at Ft Yargo. The trails were closed til noon due to rain the night before, so I had time to switch the tires on the goose to a Nevagal on the front and a Dart on the rear. These tires were wasting away on my Talera, and were much better suited for any mud conditions we might encounter compared to the bottom of the line tires my “Goose came with.
Everyone got to the park within a half hour of one another which was pretty cool considering everyone came from a different direction. The standard pre-ride chat-n-gab session happened, and of course the mandatory group ride pic:
L to R: Chadd, Graham, Robert, Mershon, and John.
This was only my second time at Yargo and my first time doing it counter clockwise. It didn’t take long before a short steep climb beat me down and I was off the bike to hoof it up to the top. Several sections like this beat me on the day. No matter though, everyone was in good spirits and we were enjoying the terrain.
The group was still pretty much together when we got to HorseShoe Gap. Horseshoe is a crazy scary feature and all of us who tried it -almost- made it up the other side. We realized after we had gone through it, that as far as we could tell, to get back on the trail we had to do another deep valley feature that was almost the same thing a few yards up the trail. It was just as scary as the first one. Gravity was on my side this time, and I cleared the section.
From this point of the ride our field started to scatter a bit. Chadd and John were the fastest of the bunch, with Graham in tow. Mershon and I brought up the rear. The two groups caught up to one another a few times, and eventually Graham ended up sticking with me and Mersh for a while. The last time we all caught up, I told Chad and John that they should just go ahead at their own pace because everyone had driven a long way to get out to Yargo, and shouldn’t waste the day waiting for the clean up crew. That was the last time we saw them til the ride was done! I like to stick together as a group while riding, but it is kind of beat always being the slowest guy because you end up feeling like you are really cutting in to everyones enjoyment. Some trails are easier to keep the group together on, but at Yargo, I knew they would have more fun if they just hit their stride.
So me, Graham and Mershon pushed on.
Now, here is something you need to know. If you are on a mountain bike ride, and Graham is with you, it doesn’t matter how nice the weather is when you start, at some point it is going to rain. We were now far enough from the cars that turning back wasn’t really an option, so the rain started on cue. We couldn’t help but laugh. It wasn’t too bad, just a light shower that kind of cooled us all off. The only downside was that the main part of the shower came just as we came to the part of the loop that puts you out of the woods and into the open.
By the time we got back into the woods, the shower had stopped. This was about the time Mershons afterburners kicked in and he was gone. Thankfully Graham stuck with me…I was hoping to not have to finish by myself. We kicked along into the second half of the ride in good spirits. I knew that the toughest sections were over.
Things moved along nicely for a while.
About 4.5 miles from the end the thunder started, and by the 4 to go mark, the sky opened up and just pissed down. Giant cold drops of water were blowing sideways through the trees, and it was clear that this burst of rain was a step up in intensity from the first one. There was no choice but to push on. At first it was freezing cold, but after about 5 minutes, it was just freakin awesome. The trail was pretty much invisible, having turned into a flowing river, which made for dangerous situations where you couldn’t see the slippery roots you were riding over. The rain showed no sign of letting up, and the crazy thing is, during the storm I did the best climbing I had done all day. Rain kind of kicks you in the butt like that. At this point I decided there was no better way to finish this ride. I felt totally redeemed from the few hills I had had to get off and rest or walk up that day.
The last miles clicked by, and of course as soon as we hit the .5mile to go mark and popped out of the woods, the rain stopped as suddenly as it started and the sun came out for burning revenge. Hilarious. Extreme localized weather is freaky, and it follows Graham if he is on his Kona. Maybe its’ the bike that’s cursed…we have never been rained on during a road ride(yet).
When we got back to the lot, everyone had a different adventure to tell. Speed demons John and Chadd had finished the loop so early that they went back into the woods for some more, and cut their second loop short when they felt the rain coming. Mershon finished up his personal breakaway by flatting at the .5mile to go mark and ending his ride walking. Graham and I were absolutely soaked and covered with mud.
Fortunately I brought an entire change of clothes. Right about this point Hodge from Addictive Cycles came tooling into the lot in his awesome gigantic land yacht. He was bummed to find out it had just rained, because the trails were now too wet to ride. He rides Yargo on a FIXED GEAR MTB,…must have a death wish or something. We all chit-chatted for a couple of minutes and I found out that Addictive now has stickers, so I am gonna stop by and pick some up for everyone. Also, he said he wanted to sync up with us for the Faster Mustache party coming up next Saturday, which would be pretty rad. I’ll stop by Addictive this week sometime and see what we can arrange.
Overall it was a great day of riding and I think everyone had a good time. I’m bummed that I didn’t clear all the climbs. I WILL clear them all by the end of the summer.
no stats due to rain screwing up the computers
but the trail is approx 11 miles