Yesterday we had a big turnout for the Sunday ride from Pine Grove Furnace State Park. Joel, Chris, Chuck, Big E, Larry, Martin, Morgan, Sue, Sally, Steve, Dave and two other MORE friends from DC/MD, a couple of others I can't recall, and me. I became default ride leader as we headed out on Community Service Trail.
Larry and Martin had taken Joe and some other MD friends out the day before and commented on the heavy ATV traffic - so my plan was to stay NW of 233 on the singletrack and avoid ALL of the ATV(multi-use) trails which would most likely be mud holes. This meant not riding Grave Ridge, but gaining Lewis Rocks and Rattlesnake.
Shortly after we crossed 233 I suffered a ride-ending derailleur hanger break that sent my rear derailleur through my spokes and seemingly destroying the tensioning spring in the pulley cage. After removing and dismantling it and saying goodbye to the whole group I thought I could maybe spin the whole thing around. Turns out it had been spun 360 by the stick resulting in complete spring detensioning. Viola! I had a functional rear deraileur (kudos to XTR). Larry was the only person left as he was answering nature's call. I told him I was back in the game and he stayed to help remount the deraileur and adjust the cable. I was hesitant to attempt shifting until we caught back on to the group so I was pushing a 33x16. Finishing the singletrack out to Woodrow we found ourselves alone. I sort of figured the group would be waiting here for Larry. The original plan as discussed was to climb Stairway to Heaven and then ride Lewis Rocks around to Rattlesnake. I figured we could climb Woodrow to the last switch back and cut across Jakes Trail to Stairway near the top and beat everyone there. Plan accomplished we sat at the top of Stairway for a while then I began to think that the group might be waiting somewhere for Larry. Larry opted to stay and wait on the trail and I rode down Stairway and back out to Woodrow, finding no one, I climbed back up Woodrow, across Jakes again, and regrouped with Larry. At this point, I figured two things: first, that the "we want to ride Grave Ridge" vote had won out over the "it's going to be an ATV mudfest" vote; and second, that they had left Larry for dead. The latter was because anyone that knows Larry knows that he wouldn't be walking his fully functional bike back to the car with me unless perhaps - I was hurt.
We rode Lewis all the way out to the rocks, then hit Rattlesnake, the corkscrew, and the trails down by 233, crossed over and started back Community Service where we caught many from the original group and fellow MBM'er Emory on a solo ride. At the end of CST I repaired a broken chain while Larry and a downhiller from DC gave J-hopping lessons.
We learned the group had indeed left Larry for dead, went to ride Grave Ridge, found that the trails were muddy, met some ATVs, split up - with some doing Dead Woman's and 3 mile trail and the others heading back.Steve had crashed on Grave Ridge so hard that he got a nosebleed and yet was able to finish the ride. Larry and I ended up logging 20 miles at what seemed a rather brisk pace.
Total Time (h:m:s) 4:20:57 12:44 pace
Moving Time (h:m:s) 2:58:12 8:41 pace
Distance (mi ) 20.48
Moving Speed (mph) 6.9 avg. 24.7 max.
Elevation Gain (ft) +3,157 / -3,157
All told it was a great day for riding in Michaux.
We ran into former pro racer friend in the parking lot who had been riding in Southern Michaux and commenced rehydration while playing around on some picnic tables.
Later we headed up to Brett's beautiful mountain home off of Ridge Road for some refreshments, indoor climbing, and small batch brews from Troegs and Brooklyn.