So here begins the final chapter. If you are joining us late you should stop now, go back and read from Day 1. Not to be a militant blogger or something but there's some things you just won't get otherwise.
Day 3 begins later than Days 1, 1.5 and 2.0. The group stirs with all the furvor of a pack of bears emerging from hibernation.
Dennis is on a different wave length than the rest of us - did I mention he slept on the porch in his ultrasweet bivy sack sleeping bag survival system? Dennis is a bike commando, its just that simple.
Since he was up before us he began loading bikes, sorting out gear and generally moving the bears along. This was good, Yogi, Boo Boo and the gang needed it.
Our plan was to drive to where we left off the Womble Day 1 and ride the rest of the way to the western end. We drove both cars and shuttled the van to the North Fork trailhead. If you think Squirrel and Dennis are fast on bikes, you should see them in a van (a MINIvan for Craig Christ sake) on twisty, hilly, potholey single lane fire road. When I was done with that trip I was ready to drive in a car commercial.
The flatline on the end of this elevation profile does not indicate that me or my bike were killed, dragged along way and thrown off a cliff. I turned Mr. Garmin off at the end of Womble and back on at Vista where he died, the flatline is Mr. G trying to connect the end of Womble with the beginning of Vista. I'm just too lazy to go into the program and fix it. For Vista I only have a mileage estimate based on the trail map and an elevation estimate based on my legs, lungs and achin' back.
We knew the Womble leg was not long, at about 13 miles, and that it ended with a nice long downhill. This stretch had numerous hairpins where the benchcut trail contoured from sidehill to sidehill. It reminded me of racing those electric slot cars. I used to have a pretty wicked slot car set up when I was a kid. Only this time I got to be the slot car. From my experience I know you don't fly into a corner too fast or you'll get smashed against the basement wall, or - in this case - go too fast and fly your bike off the side of the hill. Whoohooo, slot bike.
I think we all just settled into a nice groove and didn't stop to regroup until we were almost all the way through. When we did break it ended up being an extended rest, which I utilized to practice rock and sticking throwing for accuracy, distance and sheer style. Nick seemed to think this was somewhat juvenile.
Nick - shakes head, rolls eyes
Me - shut up
Nick - what? I'm not sayin' anything 'cept...... great job
Me - oh greeat job, you gotta say it like that?(throws another big rock, this time it clears the trees and crashes down the hill)
Nick - yeah, great
Me - that couldda killed ya
Matt also kilt time chewin' the cud with these ole' boys from Tennessee. At some point during his yarn Matt jokingly referred to himself as the "Encylopedia of Downhill"....That ole boy didn't seem to think so. All kidding aside, they were nice guys.
From there it was a bit of climbing before the nice long descent to North Fork lake.
Teri finishing the Womble, you can't tell from this angle but she's about to officially declare her Craigness to all those present.
After mowing down sammitches at the Mt Ida Subway we went to take on the Lake Oauchita Vista Trail, some of the newest singletrack in the area. Vista has 10-12 miles completed, but plans are for well over 40 miles. They really know how to build here, its impressive how just one trail goes for milezzzz.
Vista was waaay buffer than rocky Womble. It was more like the familiar hardpack of home sweet Denman's Woods in Ioway.
The hills were kinder than W, but there was still significant elevation with a couple of doozies. For every twisty uphill there was an unwinding down, it was flowy goodness. Corey got well out ahead of me when I stayed behind to help Nick with a broken chain. Soon enough Nick and I caught up to Teri and Sam chillin on a bench overlooking the lake. Nick decided to pull the plug with those two so I was left to reel in Corey (as I knew Matt, Dennis and Squirrel were probably long gone). I caught up to Corey at about the 5 mile mark in. Shortly after that we found a kiosk with a map.
"You are here" sometimes isn't as clear as it sounds. Corey and I debated and guessed and hypothesized. "We're here, heading this way, soooo we should go that way......right? Ah, yeah, right." "You mean left?" "No, right, right?" "Uhm, correct."
About this time Matt rolls up from the other direction. "Oh yeah, we should go back this way." "Uh, nooooo, we already done hypothesized all that Dude, we're going this way." Despite initial confidence in our orienteering skillz we allowed Matt to convince us his way was better. Turns out he was right technically but if we'd gone our way we would have ridden longer, so I guess we were both kinda right.
I think the first rule of oreinteering is to follow your kinda right gut instinct, sorta, or something.
Finishing out the Womble was 13 miles 2,458 ft. Vista approximately 12 miles and I'll guess 1,900 feet of climb for a total of 25 miles and 3,358.
Total stats for the group
87 miles*, 11,458 feet of elevation*
*add a few more miles and elev for Dennis and Squirrel
158.5 references to Craig
Number of actual Craigs on the trip - 0 (or was it more than that?)
one broken: chain, shoe, crank arm, and 4(ish) flat tires
80 frozen toes
approximately 1,300 miles driven
left with 8 bikes, returned with....8 bikes
zero injuries (yea for me - no, "what happened to you?")
6-7 minor crashes
an undisclosed number of adult beverages consumed
approximately 16 $5 Subway footlongs destroyed
all of that =
One ton of fun.
When can we do it again?