Kitsuma > Point Lookout > US-70 > Old Toll > Heartbreak Ridge > Mill Creek > Kitsuma > Point Lookout > US-70
Saturday we had our first of what will hopefully be many Cane Creek Heartbreak rides -- perhaps the only thing more awesome than having a coworker who lives in Bent Creek is having a coworker who lives literally on Old Toll! I hadn't been on Kitsuma since last summer (pre-trail work), and decided to check it out on my own before joining up with the group for the climb up. And by up, I mean way up. The ride opened with a 2,750 ft., boulder-strewn climb for about 11 miles, followed by one of the best descents in Pisgah: 3,100-plus feet in the next 5. I've ridden Heartbreak a few times now, in all sorts of conditions, and I can say that it doesn't get much better than Saturday's mid-70s, low humidity, and beautiful skies revealing amazing views. I can't wait to go back! Along the way we picked up a couple more folks, who it sounds like executed a rescue for one of our group who had double-flatted (the same wheel) and needed to save a family member in distress ... Needless to say, this won't be a ride we soon forget!
Just for good measure, and to confirm my initial impression, I rode Kitsuma again. And ... I don't like it. At all. The trailwork is not sustainable, the tread nicks -- intended to shed water -- are the only things that collect water on the entire trail, the backslope is shoddy, and I predict major carnage there come ORAMM. It's just open enough now that a novice or intermediate rider can get some speed, only to hit one of those nicks and lose a front wheel -- the results of which would include cartwheeling off the side of the mountain like a rag doll at 25 miles an hour. No thank you.
7 p.m. Sunday
Hatchery > Davidson > Cove Creek > 225 > 475B > 276 > 477 > Club Gap > Black > Clawhammer > Buckhorn Gap > 477 > Buckwheat > Club Gap > 477 > 276 > 475B > 225 > Cove Creek > Davidson
One end of Pisgah to the other; one end of the weekend to the other. I'll admit, I was pretty beat up after Saturday, and welcomed the opportunity to sleep in a bit, enjoy a 5-year-old birthday party at a lake house, and even get a man cave project complete before grabbing some dinner and hitting the trail. Sure, it was a school night, but with a month to go before I race through the night, what better time to try out the new lights and get everything dialed?
When I first moved here, I wasn't a big fan of riding out of the Hatchery -- now, a year and a half later, I'm in love. That side of Pisgah has some of the best singletrack around -- none of it is incredibly long, but full-throttle, techy descents, challenging climbs and beautiful scenery abound in the Davidson River valley. I still avoid Pilot Mountain Road as much as I can, but that's a post for another day ...
I crested Rich Mountain right at dusk, enjoying a quick snack before firing up the lights and pointing the way downhill. Club had gone better than expected (I'm beginning to "like" that trail!), and I knew how thrilling Buckhorn Gap would be. Black > Clawhammer just cruising, and then deep into the forest ... I kept my feet dry, which slowed me down some, but before I knew it I was slogging my way back up 477 -- and oh, man did it hurt. That's a long climb, longer than I remembered, and I debated bailing on Buckwheat all the way up. But I know how much fun Club is going downhill, and so the push up the knob wasn't all that horrible, with good times ahead ...
The descent didn't disappoint, and I was surprised at how good I felt by the time I hit 225. With a bit more time I would have liked to have headed over to Daniel Ridge, but Cove Creek is a super-fun, super-fast drop in its own right, and not a bad compromise. Davidson flew by, and before I knew it, I was back at the car and headed home ... quite a late night, but worth every minute!