No alarm clocks necessary on day 2 of Man Camp. The earliest to bed folks were the earliest to arise and from my position on the main floor couch everything is happening near by including 2 different people making coffee 2 different ways. The plan is currently our guide should arrive around 9:30 so we have 2 hours to get ready. Not long considering 11 campers need to eat mass quantities of breakfast. Frank fires the potatoes to start with. A bit later sausage hits the skillets. I go and prep my pack and gear. Back up and I steal a PB&raisin&honey sandwich from Darius and I'm about ready. One big breakfast later and we are mostly ready. Then it comes in that we are shuttling. Shit. Out to the car to try and get a gear/change bag ready. The sky is threatening the rain in the forecast.
Guide shows up a bit before 10 and explains the plan. Base ride should be around 18 miles (cough 22/23). And 2 possible extensions. Main ride should take 3 hours. Maybe for him! Lots of Descending! We will start near 4800 feet and end up at 1600. Mention of a few creek crossings. And we are off a bit after 10. 4 vehicles of bikers on the road. I'm rolling with Brett W in the VW battle van. We drive up the mountain and eventually stop just on the other side of the parkway off 221 I think it was. They now have to shuttle 1 car to the early stop and 2 more to the final end point.
And we wait. And Wait. And Wait. We are passed by a cougar in her Jaguar after her hike. She's scarily friendly and eyeing us all up and down.
The trip becomes officially known as Man Camp 2013 - Escape from Cougar Mountain!
Kegley works on his new rap songs for his new career.
We laugh and bullshit. Todd B finds a random part on the side of the road and smartly saves it.
An hour later the lone return car is back. 2 of the shuttle drivers report there cars in various states of fuel shortage from running on empty to possible on "Fumes". The shuttlers prep and we are off. On a 1.5 mile climb. Up the Blue Ridge Parkway. Several mechanical adjustments on the way and we finally hit the single track with a burly rock section doing a quick descent. Then we roll a bit and start a bigger and slightly less techy descent. Then it's a bit of up to the next big descent. We are now down to 1700' from 4800'. Damm. Now we climb back up to about 2400 feet and descend some rooty mess for a bit down to another screeming fireroad.
And the creek crossings start. Shallow little things at first but eventually crossing 50-100 foot knee deep or more crossings on foot. Lots of hike-a-bike also to go over insane rock piles etc. 7 or 8 big crossings. And we stop for a more substantial break. Or rather everyone else has waiting for me. I stop and eat 3 bites of sandwich heaven. And we are off and climbing again. Back from 1650'ish to 2200. And more creek crossings. 7 or 8 more of the same with some CRAZY hike-a-bike sections. Did manage some stuff, but I wasn't beast enough for a lot of it. Another big quick descent.
6 hours later we finish with 18+ gps miles and what must be really 22/23 miles total. I'm cooked and so are 3 or 4 others. We opt to drive the shuttle to the next point. BIG frickin climb up the mountain we pass everyone between half way and 3/4 of the way. The lead group ops to do a quick last trail hit for the Sinkhole/Mine trail. The others coming screaming down the mountain to the final meetup. Last of the riders rolled in at 7:40 from the trail group.
We load up after some celebration and talking shit and we are off back up the mountain and praying that the fuel supply holds. Which it does. We eventually find a gas station with old school pumps and all 3 vehicles gas up. The guide is behind a bit and doesn't need gas. Back to the house about 8:30. And Man Camp Appetizer Battle is ON!