Monday, July 11, 2011

Vultures Knob Rematch

As you my recall, I have only been mountain biking for a little over a year.  I started riding Alum Creek last year in May and spent my entire summer on P1 and P2.  At the end of the season, I ventured out of my comfort zone a bit, and went riding with a friend at Vultures Knob.  The name doesn't do this place enough justice.  It is truly insane in terms of obstacles and down hill challenges. Last year, on my one and only visit, I made it about 5 miles, before I almost passed out (could have been hangover induced), and gave up.   The course is roughly 7 miles long.  At that time, I vowed I would get revenge.   Yesterday that day came!

The clubhouse at the start

We got to the course around 9 am to beat the heat and get back for a nice day with the family.  Our plan was to do two 7 mile laps and call it a day.  We met up with our third rider, who actually had already completed a lap.  We should have know something when we saw all the blood on his leg.   As it turns out, he laid his bike down trying to go under this bridge (which by the way is straight down).
Expert bridge obstacle

We got through this obstacle as well as may others (the glass highway, the maze, the furnace, the cradle etc.  We were both feeling pretty good and hit a second lap.  I guess we should have thought this one through a bit, as add in heat, tired legs, and an unfamiliar trail, and you know trouble will happen.  It did!  As I was leading the way down through a series of technical challenges, I was carrying a little too much speed, and took a nice trip over the handlebars.  The bike ended up scarring up a tree pretty good, and I ended up in a ravine filled with mud!  Not pleasant.  In addition to the blood from the cuts and scrapes, the mud acted as a fantastic bug and mosquito magnet for the remainder of the ride.  Quite the site and  smell.

After dusting myself off, fixing the Giant and warning several other riders of the pending crash site, we preceded on and had a great but careful ride.  Two laps done, no lunch tossing, and happy to have gained some vengeance on the hill that truly introduced me to real mountain biking.  If you get the chance and you want a challenge, you need to ride here.  Check out Vultures Knob for a piece of this action.

Cradle, picture says it all.
 This last picture is a photo of the Cradle.  Basically a straight drop down, bridging across a gulley, followed by a sweet uphill launch that shoots you up the hill.  Best part is, the ground comes up to you instead of the opposite.  Scary at first, but what a thrill.

These were not my pictures; I borrowed them from Vulture's Knob website.

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