Black Bear Rampage 2013 Weekend: Day 2
Welcome back! This is the second in a series of blogs in which I am documenting my 2013 Back Bear Rampage experience. If you missed it, Part 1 can be found here: Black Bear Rampage 2013 Weekend: Day 1
Please note that this week’s blogs and videos contain content and language that some may find objectionable and/or offensive.
Day 2: Friday, September 6, 2013.
I ended yesterday’s blog with more or less the last thing I remember from that long day: Mike defying physics by somehow filling the gigantic yurt we were sharing with noxious fumes. It wasn’t easy, but eventually I did fall asleep (with my head under the covers), mercifully oblivious, if only for a few hours.
The next thing I knew sunlight was streaming through the top of the yurt. I can’t recall what time we woke up that morning, but I don’t think any of us got more than 4 or 5 hours of sleep.
Who needs sleep? I was well-fueled by excitement and adrenaline! I leapt from my air mattress: “Let’s ride!” I was fired up, and ready for my first taste of Tennessee mountain biking.
Rob and J.C. are not coffee drinkers, but Mike and I definitely are. Mike was kind enough to bring along some delicious Kona coffee–thanks, dude!
The plan for the day was to drive west to Chattanooga and ride at Enterprise South MTB trails, and then drop by Scott’s Bikes to pick up our Rampage race packets. After that, food… and beer. Lots of beer. I’ll get back to that.
Because we arrived so late at night I’d still not had a real look around. When I stepped outside into the cool (!) morning air, I was in awe…
Not only was the countryside beautiful and unlike anything found in Florida, but the air was cool and low in humidity. I could not wait to ride!
At the Enterprise MTB trails we met up with two more riders, Joe Moffitt and Steve Truitt. Joe and Mike were neighbors before Joe moved to Alabama, and he and his friend Steve were in town for the Rampage. There was plenty of room at the yurts, so they stayed with us for the rest of the trip. Both are strong riders, and very cool guys.
The trails were, in a word, incredible! I was like a hyperactive little kid–whooping and hollering as I rode, a grin plastered on my face the entire time. I rode 17.5 miles at Enterprise, and that included about 1,200 feet of climbing. That’s more climbing in 17 miles than, for example, the 42-mile IMBA EPIC at Santos. That said, I sure didn’t feel like I’d done much climbing. The trails were well-designed and so I was able to pump and carry a lot of speed throughout. Also, NO SAND!
These trails were unlike anything I’ve ever ridden before, and I was blown away. The more I rode, the more I wanted to ride.
After around 7 miles we stopped next to a pump track to regroup. J.C. came riding in, and started a small climb. As he began the climb his new chain snapped in half (this is all in the video below).
As J.C. and Rob worked on the chain, eventually my excitement got the better of me, and I took off. My plan was to go a couple hundred meters, just to sort of scope out what was next. The next thing I knew I was about a kilometer away, and I thought, “I really should head back.” I told myself that I’d turn back when the flow stopped. Well, that never happened and the next thing I knew I’d gone full circle and was back at the pump track. 🙂
I sent Mike a text and told him where I was. He said they would be back at the pump track in about 10 minutes, and so I decided to wait to re-join the group.
After we met back up Rob Ern told me that I’d missed a pretty big chunk of trail, and so we set off to ride that. I was leading out with Ern right on my wheel. The section of trail I missed was insanely fast and fun, especially a downhill section with dirt rollers that got my bike up in the air for a bit.
Because I was leading out and there was not a rider in front of my camera much of the time, a lot of this footage is not as exciting as it could have been. There is some funny stuff in there, though, including some R-rated banter when J.C. broke his chain. GoPro video is terrible at conveying elevation, but at least the speed is there. Here’s the video.
After the mountain bike ride we made the short trip east to Scott’s Bikes in Cleveland, Tennessee…
I was disappointed to learn that there were no Black Bear Rampage jerseys this year. That disappointment quickly vanished, however, when I saw the gear bags that were provided to all the registered racers. Man, these bags are SWEET! They thought of everything when they designed these custom gear bags. There are two large vented side pockets with straps for shoes, insulted dual interior water bottle holders, lots of zippered pockets and plenty of room for all the riding gear you care to carry. There’s probably still stuff in there from the trip, I can’t tell; I seem to always be finding a new pocket somewhere. The bags are well-constructed, and they look great! I don’t know how Scott’s Bikes managed to give these away and not lose money (registration was only $75.00).
I also bought Scott’s Bikes jersey while I was at the shop, which is quite nice.
At this point we were all starving (and thirsty) and so we rolled over to Monterrey’s Mexican restaurant in Cleveland. I had Texas Fajitas, and they were authentic and extremely tasty (I am a Fajita Grand Master). The guacamole was exceptional. The beers were huge, cold and delicious. Great place, definitely check it out if you’re in the area.
As we drove back to the yurts to continue crushing beers until bed time, there was a bit of foreshadowing for Sunday’s race…
Much more tomorrow. Day three was a super exciting day, and I’ve got some awesome footage from the incredibly fun Jack Rabbit MTB trails. See you then!