Black Bear Rampage 2013 Weekend: Day 3
This is the third in a series of blogs in which I am documenting my 2013 Back Bear Rampage experience. Previous blogs in this series:
Please note that this week’s blogs and videos contain content and language that some may find objectionable and/or offensive.
Day 3: Saturday, September 7, 2013.
After our late night arrival on day 1 followed by an extremely active day of riding our mountain bikes on Friday, all six of us went to bed at a fairly reasonable hour. I woke on Saturday morning at first light to the sound of roosters crowing off in the distance, and the soothing call of a lone mourning dove.
When I stepped outside of the yurt, the countryside was still and shrouded in mist. I breathed in the cool, fresh air, smiled and strolled down to the common area…
The bike stand (shown on the left in the photo) proved to be very handy over the course of our trip, and the hooks for hanging our hydration units were a great touch, too.
Had I died and gone to mountain bike heaven?
The plan for the day was to drive to Hayesville, NC and ride the Jackrabbit mountain bike trails. Joe and (I believe) Steve were both familiar with Jackrabbit, but Rob, J.C., Mike and I had never ridden there before. Joe’s description of the trails had us salivating: super fast hardpack with incredible flow.
Now some of you may be thinking, “Um, don’t you guys have a 40 mile race to do? Might want to, you know, rest your legs a little?!”
Rob, Mike, J.C. and I talked about that subject on the drive up from Florida, and we were in 100% agreement that we wanted to ride–and ride hard–every single day. The race was important to us, but not as important as having fun, relaxing, drinking some great brews, eating some excellent food and taking advantage of an opportunity to ride trails unlike anything found in Florida.
Jackrabbit exceeded our expectations in every way; it is an absolutely phenomenal trail system. The Enterprise South MTB trails, which we rode the day prior, were awesome, but there was some loose gravel in some areas that prevented us from truly railing many of the turns. The corners at the Jackrabbit trails allowed us to carry tons of speed through them, and that made for a super fast and flowy ride. I rode around 15 miles, with 1,000 feet of climbing (which–thanks to the great trail design–I barely noticed).
Of all the mountain biking videos I’ve shot over the years, this one is my favorite. It starts off with some joking around, and then goes right into the riding. The first riding section is a little slow, and the lens is somewhat fogged up, but stick with it. By the time the second song starts the lens is crystal clear and we’re in full shred mode. The pace doesn’t let up for the entire video. Oh wait, with one exception: at one point Mike is in front of me, slowly working his way up a climb. There’s some heckling from behind, so Mike does a “brake check”, causing me to slam into his bike. There’s some cussing, followed by me passing Mike while we both threw elbows at each other.
Mike and Rob are in front of me for most of this video, so it’s a lot more interesting than the video I posted yesterday. Check out how fast we’re able to take these corners: Mike truly puts on a cornering clinic in this video!
I guess if I had to pick a favorite section, it would be starting around the 7 minute mark. We were hauling ass, railing fast corners and catching air. Then the elbow start flying!
Jackrabbit is not to be missed. If you’re anywhere near it, drop what you’re doing and go ride it.
After the ride we were starving and required some recovery beers. We decided to head over to The Blue Otter Restaurant & Sports Bar in Hiawassee, Georgia. I had a blackened fish Po-Boy, french fries and a couple of beers, all of which hit the spot.
After lunch we drove over to the Burra Burra copper mine in Ducktown:
“The Burra Burra Mine is a copper mine located in Ducktown, Tennessee, in the southeastern United States. Named after the famous mine in Australia, the Burra Burra Mine extracted over 15 million tons (14 million metric tons) of copper ore during its years of operation between 1899 and 1959. The mine’s remaining structures are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Burra Burra Mine Historic District. The site is also home to the Ducktown Basin Museum, and the museum and mine are a Tennessee state historic site operated in partnership with the Tennessee Historical Commission.
The Burra Burra Mine was one of a series of mining operations that occurred throughout the Copper Basin from 1850 to 1987. While these operations produced substantial amounts of copper and other ore-based products, tree-harvesting and pollution from the mines and smelters left over 32,000 acres (130 km2) of the basin virtually devoid of all plant and animal life. The area is beginning to recover, however, due to re-greening efforts.”
We hung out there for a bit, taking the beautiful sites and awkwardly chatting with the local meth head. The tweaker said something largely unintelligible to me, but it sounded vaguely threatening, so I kept my eye on him the whole time.
After we left the mine we drove back to the yurts, got cleaned up and went out to eat for our pre-race carb-up meal. We dined at the Blue Jeans Pizza and Pasta Factory in Blue Ridge, Georgia. I ordered spaghetti with meat sauce, and the portions were HUGE! Of course I ate every bite, along with about a half-dozen garlic knots swimming in butter. Washed it all down with a few more beers. When I finished my meal I was absolutely stuffed.
We drove back to the yurts and hung out for a bit while we slipped in and out of our food comas. We chatted, but the conversation was less raucous than usual. I’m sure we were all thinking about the race in the morning–I know I was.
Tomorrow: RACE DAY!