Sunday, July 17, 2016

Epic sh*t man… would they understand?

What we do in the shadows...

All that style, all that body.  Credit: Dave Tevendale


Rain pooled around our feet in a brown soup. Nearby it gushed down the mountain side in bloated runoff streams. “I’ll bet it’s rained 2 inches” Dave said as we hunkered down under a tree that didn’t do much to stop the rain from filling our shoes, and removing all stoke. It seemed like a strong thunderstorm was stuck on top of Narrowback mountain. We headed back towards Stokesville, only now realizing the wisdom the teenage girls in the back of a pick-up truck had told us we were going the wrong way. A deer almost ran over Dave and I. Our phones were buzzing with emergency alerts for flash flooding.

Credit: Dave Tevendale

“Should I go for a tall boy or a regular?” I asked at the store we were taking shelter at. “Tallboy, always.” Dave said. Maybe 30 minutes or so waiting out the rain, and then we rode up Lookout and Hankey to ride the new Dowels Draft and Dividing Ridge trails. It felt a lot like Stage 3 of the Tour de Burg… minus the rivers while climbing Hankey. The weather cleared nicely and riding Dowels and Dividing Ridge was perfect.

We gathered at the gravel road and realized we needed to get going as it was 7:30pm or so.

Back at the White Oak lot, I was busy cleaning up while Dave and John were talking to a crew that had set up base camp for trail runners. Turns out, some Ultra, Ultra trail running. One lady was out on course working towards her goal of 7 loops of White Oak! 200 miles or so. Now that is some Epic shit.

Dave asked me if I felt blown out, or did I have more in my legs. I did not realize his intent at first and said “Yeah, I feel pretty good.” That’s when he revealed the scheme to me. Things were about to get interesting as he told me not to change out of my kit. I really wanted to get that wet nasty kit off.

John drove us back towards our second stage that would start at Skyline drive off route 33. We saw a lot of flooding and streams well over their banks as we headed back to Harrisonburg for fuel. Some fields had their crops knocked over, while across the road the corn stood tall and strong. Strange.

Credit: Dave Tevendale 
Ordering a burrito at Chipotle in your bibs and a base layer shirt with cutoff sleeves is surely the height of fashion. Essential fuel for a late night spin across Skyline Drive to Simmons Gap. I’m sure my get up of arm warmers and a vest (no jersey) showed my panache. There was no way I was putting that nasty jersey back on. John dropped us off at the entrance gate, and Skyline was ours. I admired views of valleys lit up with lights below. The sound of knobbies kissing pavement hummed through the humid air as our lights punched a hole through the darkness.

I was having a hard time following the tire rut in the grassy double track. My headlight needed adjusting, but that would have required taking a hand off the bars. I waited till I could slow down.

Dave mentioned we were on Shifflett Road and then I realized we were climbing the Pantani gravel route towards Flat top. We were now having a bizzaro world Pantani ride, in the dark and super humid summer night. I tried to peek through the pulsing red blob that was Dave’s rear blinky light. My glasses were smudged and foggy… I have a prescription. Blinky light off, I could now see much better following Dave.

We dropped into the topside of some trails at Blue Ridge School. I followed down some technical and mildly over grown single track, struggling to see the trail with a too dim and poorly aimed headlamp. Spicy. After falling in a grass hidden miniature rock garden, I got back to it and was really frustrated with my light situation. When I finally got a chance I checked the settings on the headlamp I had borrowed and realized I had it set to the lowest light setting. Click.. Click.. Ahh… now we are cooking with gas! Bombing flow trail with some rock flavor mixed in is a pretty good way to finish a special ops midnight assault. I gave it the business.

Maybe 30 minutes later we were back a Dave’s house. My car was there, but all my stuff was not. We had started our carpool from Dave’s house in John’s truck. Just then I realized the full implications of having to drive to John’s house to retrieve my gear bag and all my supplies from his truck as I took off my kit. I would be driving around, lurking up to John’s truck, after midnight, in my underwear. I imagined how I was going to explain this to the police. Epic shit man… would they understand?

Credit: Dave Tevendale


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