What I love most about this sport is it’s ability to make you feel like a kid again, except better. When you’re 12, and you went out to play in the mud, it most likely resulted in some sort of punishment. Now that I’m 40, the only punishment that gets dished out is a good, old-fashioned workout (even though I still have that 12 year old looking smirk across my face).
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to shoot up to the Uwharrie National Forest and pre-ride the XTERRA Uwharrie course three separate times. What’s better than pre-riding a fun course? Well, that would be riding it with good company such as my friends Dan Kimball, Ben Endicott & Ed Rickenbaker. Heck, Jarod (Dan’s son) even made one of the trips.
Dan has made all of the trips, so he and I have the most “war stories” to tell. The first trip, back in February, was just brutally cold and brutally long. We completely over-estimated how long we would be out on the course and, along with that, completely underestimated our fueling needs. By the time we were done, Ben was ready to gnaw on my arm as a means of getting some sort of sustenance. Of course, it didn’t help that he had raced a road duathlon the day before.
On the second trip, it was fairly uneventful other than just getting really, really muddy. For those of you unaware, the XTERRA Uwharrie bike course takes place on shared-use trails. Since horseback is the primary means of transportation on these trails, they tend to get pretty beaten under hooves. Mix that in with a little moisture and you have the thickest, most gooey mud you can find. Most mud holes on some other typical mountain bike course can be powered through with a little speed. On this course, pick the wrong line, and you’ll find yourself coming to a very, very abrupt stop, performing an acrobatic end-o or both. We didn’t have too many “off-bike excursions”, but we did get completely covered in mud. At the end of our ride, Dan had a fun idea of how to get clean AND test out the water temp.
Our most recent trip to pre-ride can be summed up with some quick stats.
- Black snakes seen: 2
- Number of those black snakes that were bunny-hopped: 1
- Rattle snakes seen: 1
- Estimated diameter of said rattlesnake: 3 inches
- Rear derailleurs broken: 1
- Estimated miles ridden with bike “converted” to single-speed: 3
- Times chain had to be reseated during single-speed ride: 8
- Number of deer stands climbed: 1
- Scratches caused by crashing into briars: too many to count
So the moral of the story: If you want to feel like a kid again, get out there and ride!
Be a Warrior.