Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Narrowback Tales

What do you call 15 miles of leg killing mud, one flat tire, two rain squalls, two swollen streams, and bone-chilling cold? Perfection! Maybe not perfection but the closest you can get during a rain-soaked, snow covered Virginia winter. After over a month of road biking and riding on gravel roads I finally was able to ride some singletrack.

As you have probably figured out by now I was somewhat foiled by the torrential rains we had this past weekend. I wanted to park at Briery Branch Dam and then bike up Lynn Trail to Wolf Ridge. After going only a quarter mile on a dirt road I was stopped by a normally calm stream which had swollen to a waist deep torrent. I figured maybe I could do an out and back on Wolf Ridge so I drove to the bottom of that trail and was once again stopped by another overflowing stream. Desperate to get in some mile before the sun went down I looked to the Narrowback Mountain and the trails running along to top of it. On top of this ridge I was able to escape the floodwaters down in the valley but was unable to escape the mud.
The trails along the top of Narrowback were classic Western Virginia sandy loam riddled with sharp limestone. On one of those sharp rocks I punctured my tire. Since I was running tubeless I had to pry the tire off the rim and convert it back to tubed using my fingers. While I was struggling with unseating the tire a storm blew up sprinkling me with rain and a stiff wind. Having been already soaked and somewhat underdressed for being wet in 45 degree weather I was glad to get back on my bike.
The singletrack finally ended and dumped me onto a water soaked dirt road in the middle of I had no idea where I was. Other than a vague idea that there might be a trail to get me back to my car in about three miles I set off. I was able to find that trail and I did get back to the Passat but not without losing the feeling in my drenched feet. If I would have attempted this ride in the middle of the summer and had ran into this many problems I would have went home long before I did. In the winter you begin to appreciate any time in the saddle no matter how excruciating or pointless.
Massanutten Peak from Narrowback

Being a budding photographer I need some constructive criticism, which picture do you like best?
This one in B&W
Or this one in Color?



hope said...

I would have gotten lost and cried for my "Mom." You are hard-core. I like the black and white photo the best, it has better depth.

James Goering said...

Trust me I felt like calling my Mom for a little bit. That is what I thought to. Thanks for the input.

Jessica said...

DEEEEEEED! I wouldn't even have started on the bike trip in the first place! :) Or if I would have, I would have had an extra 4 legs to carry me. :) Namely a HORSE with a personality & companionship. :)

I agree with Hope, I like the black and white.