Wednesday, September 26, 2012

big south fork: the beauty, the carnage and the video

It's been a few days since we got home from our trip to Big South Fork and I'm already missing it. I've been to Big South Fork a couple of times previously but I had ever been allowed to ride the trails we rode this last weekend. The park itself is beautiful and the campground is very nice. No harassing park employees and no silly rules. Several miles of trail that were previously only open to mountain bikes during the weekdays, the Grand Gap Loop & the John Muir trail, have recently been opened 7 days a week. One of the park guys even lead our ride stating that this was the biggest group he'd seen yet. Big groups can be good and can be bad, good for having company and camaraderie but bad for a fun smooth ride on singletrack. Thankfully no one was trying to keep us all together. As the trail wore on we all split up and did our own thing, everyone seeming to have a great laid back time.
Periodically we would exchange pleasantries at break points and scenic overlooks but other than that we just rode and enjoyed the heck out of the trails we were on. The fast people worked there way to the front, the people just enjoying the ride were somewhere in the middle and those of us who were stopping taking pictures and sampling a bit of the honey were in the back. Not to say we didn't ride fast we just took our time and sucked it all in.
Rewinding a bit, a few of us arrived early on Friday and decided to kick things off with a pre-ride on the Grand Gap Loop that afternoon. I had packed the GoPro last weekend with intentions of filming but left it at the campsite on Friday. Somewhere about midway through the ride we came upon a tight squeeze between a giant rock that jutted out about shoulder to head high and a tree. Right in the middle of this mess was a smallish rocky downhill section thrown in just to keep things interesting. I was 3rd in line going through and I watched Jody & Todd clean the section but when it came my turn I was more worried about clipping the giant rock in the trail than the rocks I was riding on.
Unfortunately my lack of attention to the trail sent me flying over the bars and landing face first onto the trail. As my bike flipped up backwards, it and me rolled off the trail and down the hill into a mess of leaves and roots. When I stood up the first thing I did was make sure all of my teeth were intact as they took a serious blow to the trail which was obviously just a small amount of dirt covering alot of rock.
Other than a little blood, some nice bruising, most of which I would find over the course of a day or two I was good to go. One thing that did bother me was that I didn't have the GoPro with me to capture it all. I climbed back up onto the trail, did a bike & body survey, spit out all kinds of dirt and got back on the bike.
Saturday, I made sure I had my GoPro on and filming when we hit this section. I wasn't sure if I wanted to ride it and I never really got the chance. One of my buddies in front of me took a bit of a spill in the same section. Luckily he wasn't hurt either and luckily for everyone else I got it on film. His crash wasn't nearly as bad as mine but I asked him for his permission to use it in my video and he agreed.
We got in 20+ miles alone on Saturday and had a great time, the trails were smooth, buff and fast with just enough rocks to keep the guys with big squish happy. The scenery was probably some of the best I've seen in a while, it ranked right up there with some of what we saw out west. Even the small amount of time we spent riding the gravels was scenic.
This was Ocho's first camping trip and I'm pretty sure he enjoyed every minute of his time there. I think he's going to be a great camping dog and when he gets little older, a great mountain biking dog. He's already getting the hang of running off leash at our local trails and staying with me.

Normally when he gets quiet for a while I know I need to check on him because he's likely into some kind of trouble. On Saturday afternoon, I caught him licking on an empty beer can that had been smashed. I'm not sure where he got it but I had to snap a picture before taking it away from him. I will admit I was a little proud.

I skipped on posting any of the photos since they're all over the box already. Enough talk, onto the video, I will admit it's a little on the long side but I couldn't bring myself to edit anymore out of the footage than I did. I apologize in advance.




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