"It," in this case, is awareness: The knowledge -- the certainty -- that you are fortunate beyond your wildest dreams. I had this moment yesterday when it hit me, and I realized just how lucky I am, to be where I am, doing what I'm doing.
Father's Day weekend was a blast, and getting back on the Spearfish was just what I needed for my soul. The Legend's Loop didn't disappoint, and though I wasn't quite where I wanted to be, it felt good to get my legs under me.
From Fisherman's: 1206 > Laurel > Pilot > 1206 > SMR > Squirrel > Laurel Creek > 5015 > 1206
As I noted, we also had some great family time, and darned if Daniel didn't come really, really close to crawling on Father's Day ... a task he finally pulled off on Wednesday! It's fun watching him get around, and holy cow is he QUICK!
Thursday evening rolled around, and Kim wanted me out of the house so she could pack. It was raining in Asheville, so I headed south instead, just making it to the Sycamore ride:
276 > 477 > Clawhammer > Black > Avery
Kim and the kids headed out on Friday afternoon to spend time with her family halfway between here and Chicago, so I had the weekend to myself. It started out with heavy trimming on Bracken Mountain with a small crew, before heading over to the Hatchery:
Davidson > Cove Creek > 225 > long Daniel > 475 > Pilot Mtn Rd > Farlow > short Daniel > Davidson
I ran into a guy from South Carolina throwing rocks off the trail on Farlow(!), I suppose making it easier for his 26" hardtail ... in order to edit his GoPro footage to make it look like he cleaned it. For real. He admitted as much.
Except for that episode, the rest of the ride was pretty good -- the air has gotten "chewy" around here, and the high levels of humidity and afternoon showers are making the forest nice and slick right now. I ditched on a root before the rock garden on Farlow, and it started raining as I hit Daniel Ridge the second time, making for a righteous Pisgah experience. Afterward, a massive plate of nachos and a healthy dose of mid-1980s California vampire culture made for a most excellent day.
Went to bed too late and got up too soon for more of the same. This time on lower Avery with the Pisgah Area SORBA trail crew:
|That area on the right side of the trail would make for a tasty drain!|
|Further down the trail, the area on the left was completely clogged before I got to it!|
With a crew of five plus two sawyers, we tackled the first 200 meters of trail or so, re-shaping the water run on the drop-in from the road, de-berming the edges, clearing the drains and adding a nice little kicker-cum-water berm at the first left bend. While Carlos and Chuck went ahead with their saws, all the way to the top to clean up the deadfall that was seriously killing the flow on the switchback section, the rest of us concentrated our efforts, and darned if it wasn't a ton more fun to ride later in the day. It may sound corny, but I'm looking forward to getting out there with the kids in a year or so, when I can point to the work we did and show them what I do when I go play in the woods with my boots on.
There is still a ton of work to do out there, but at least it's a start. Avery is gonna' be sweet ...
After a bit of time hanging by the road, eating lunch and talking long-term strategy -- while being passed by friends and strangers all out on their own adventures -- it was time for me to ride. I rolled down to the Ranger Station, changed out of my crusty clothes and loaded up the fluids -- it was another hot, wet afternoon, and I would need everything I could carry, and more. And I noticed an amazing thing after digging around all morning: Dirt in Pisgah actually glitters. It's unreal.
With no plan in mind, I headed out and up, trying to decide where I wanted to go ...
276 > 477 > Avery > Buckhorn > Claw > Black > Turkey Pen > SMR > Mullinax > Squirrel > Wheelchair ramp > Claw > 5057 > Avery > Buckhorn > 477 > 276
Somewhere out there is when it hit me, just how fortunate I am right now. It's not all wine and roses, but consider that the same week my son learns to crawl and we celebrate my first Father's Day with two little ones, I also get to enjoy time on some of the most amazing trails on the planet. Trails whose names inspire awe, with only one word: Laurel. Pilot. Black. Avery. Squirrel (twice!). Farlow. Turkeypen (or Turkey Pen?!). Yesterday was one of those incredible days where bike and body were one, and even deep into the ride, with threatening skies and fading light, the speeds were high and the aim was true ... it was sublime.
And now, in just a few hours, Kim and the kids will be home. I can't wait to see them, and hear all of Kate's breathless stories that will somehow mash together time in the pool, what she ate for dinner, how much she misses her cousin and what she saw on the car ride home. And to see Daniel's big, slobbery smile. And Kim's shining blue eyes.
After all, some days I know how lucky I am.