Ride Report from a terrible ride at Dupont State Park 2/24/2013- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Ride Report from a terrible ride at Dupont State Park 2/24/2013

    This is a cross post from the all mountain forum. Obviously, it fits much better here. I enjoyed writing this out, so hopefully someone will enjoy reading it.

    It was a beautiful, sunny Sunday in the middle of winter, and I had been granted the afternoon to ride one of the choice spots within a couple hours drive: DuPont. I had spent the previous rainy afternoon tinkering in my workshop doing various bike maintenance, more out of wishing I was riding and daydreaming about riding rather than doing anything that really needed to be done. As soon as I finished up the last of my familial duties for the afternoon, I hastily packed up and rushed out the door to get on the road. It is a little after 1pm with about a 1hr and 20min drive to dupont.



    About 35 minutes into the drive something hit me. Not sure what triggered this thought, but at that moment I realized I had forgotten: MY SHOES!?!!?!!…as I have been conditioned by having kids not to curse I let out a great big unsatisfying “AWEEE FOOOEY!”. At that point, I knew if I went home to get them, that’s game over time-wise for Dupont, but at least I would have been able to ride the more local spot, paris mountain, with my hardtail. However, as bad as I wanted to stay the course and somehow ride Dupont, I didn’t really have any other choice so in disbelief and immense personal shame I head for home knowing I will have wasted several hours of precious weekend free-time.



    As soon as I turn the car around, I see a wallmart perched on top of a big hill. It is backlit with the sun’s golden rays peering around the edges of the building as if beckoning me to salvage my day and buy a cheap pair of skate shoes, which I did. At this point I’m thinking, “sweet! Crisis averted; that was convenient”. So with only about a 20 min total detour I get back on the road and complete my drive to dupont, all the while getting more and more excited to stuff my bike into a few high speed corners and try to huck as far as possible off of even the most meager of trailside booters.



    As I get closer to Dupont, the weather and overall conditions seem to only be getting better and better… 60s, the air is crisp with a gentle breeze, and it’s a place that absolutely pops with rich forest colors on a sunny day. While I’m unloading my gear I’m thinking about the game plan, which is to get as many laps on 3 of the parks most fun high speed, technical DH trails, burnt mountain, cedar rock and big rock; the last two feature stunning Appalachian views and contain the most exposed granite anywhere in the western NC region.



    First up is Burnt mountain. The climb up is a quick 0.5 miles away from the parking lot, then about a 15-20 min push and pedal to the top if you take the most direct route. About ¾ of the way up, after pushing up the most technical, steep rock and root infested section of trail, I hear a sound: PSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS….it’s my rear tire.



    At this point in the story, it’s important to know that about 2 weeks prior, I cheaped out and instead of just buying some new rubber, I repaired an old torn tubeless tire that had given me nothing but trouble 2 years ago when I first started using it. The repaired tire had held up to a huge ride the week before, so I thought I was completely in the clear…obviously not the case. Nonetheless, I still have my spare tube sitting in my pack, so I set to work with the task of getting my bike ready to ride. I get the tube out and I noticed how cheap and flimsy it looked, wondering where the heck I got this garbage in the first place, but get it in the tire and start pumpin away with my tiny packable pump.



    As the tire is getting closer to complete inflation, I am marveling at how ridiculously ill-fated this ride has been. Just then with one mis-aligned pump, I snapped off the tip of the tube’s valve core inside my pump. At this time, I finally let a deep guttural “FUUUUUUUCK!!!” out into the forest. I notice that the end of the valve core is still intact, so I remove the tip of the core from my pump and figure I may get away with this. …Not so much. As soon as I resume my pumping duties, I blow the inside of the core into the tube, and the entire volume of air rushes out of the tire.



    At this point, things are getting border line comical, and I’m just thinking about how 99.9% of all rides go off without so much as a hitch and why the hell is this all happening now…to a seasoned master-of-shread such as myself of all people! I then have no choice but to start the ¾ mile walk of shame back to the car. On the way I pass several other groups of bikers, and humble myself by asking everyone I see if they have a spare tube I can borrow (read: have for free). Nobody does, and their cheap words of encouragement regarding my situation are a very thin veil for their looks of scorn and ridicule (the Germans call it “shaudenfreude”, meaning to take pleasure in another’s misfortune) at me for have a bike so ridiculously blinged-out but not so much as a properly working rear tire or at least appropriate backup supplies.



    Finally, I make it back to the car and start packing up when another rider parked right next to me finishes up. I try to at least bring another poor schlub into my world by telling this guy about the poo-storm I’ve been dealing with for the last couple hours when he stops me, “here, man, I have a tube for ya; you gotta at least get SOME riding done!”. So I accept his gracious offer and we chat as I’m getting my bike ready to salvage this day and ride some of the best descents in the region. Come to find out he lives pretty close by and we make plans to meet up for some local rides at some point. He drives off being done for the day and I set out for some much needed redemption.



    I head straight for the goods: cedar rock and big rock. The two trails are right next to eachother, descending down from the same starting point, a huge dome of exposed granite with amazing Appalachian views stretching out in almost every direction. Again the fastest way to access the DH is to hike and ride straight up; a pretty grueling half hour of work.



    As I crest the dome, I start to put the day’s previous events behind me as this could literally be one of my favorite places in the world. I start to get ready for the first DH: cedar rock, which is a brake-searingly steep and fast ribbon of exposed granite straight down the mountain’s fall line that gives way to a lower section of fast yet technical rock gardens littered with ledges and features that begged to be boosted, doubled-up, and dropped. I lower my seat and then grab my gopro out of my bag and put it on. I actually have the thought, “how big of a A$$hole am I that I’m actually about to record myself after the kind of crap that just happened? I must really be asking for it…”.



    As I’m musing about this, a retreat group of about 20 senior citizens rounds the bend coming up cedar rock, and tell me that there are about 30 more heading up but that it would be a while before the last of them comes up. At this point I just laugh to myself and resolve to just go slow and watch out for old people on the trail, hoping theyd all be almost at the top. I tell them I’ll watch out for their buddies and field the typical jokes about them wanting to borrow my bike so they don’t have to walk down.



    I turn on the go pro and start rolling, quickly picking up speed on the steep slickrock. At the first left turn in the trail about 40 meters down from the top, I charge through a technical root-infested turn, dodging a few disgruntled, sweaty senior citizens, and just then I hear it again, that “PSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS….” sound. The SECOND replacement tube had just popped. Of course, the situation would not be complete without a little more insult added to injury: I hadn’t even cleared the group of seniors. As each one passed me on their way up I heard “that’s not good”, “whats that hissing noise?” or “are you OK?”. By this point, I was beyond an angry reaction. It was like I had just peed myself in the first grade with no option but to walk past all my classmates to tell the teacher I needed new clothes. As I withdrew into a heady swirl of shame and regret, I walked back up cedar rock, past the group of seniors enjoying the view from the peak, down big rock (the most classic DH run in the entire 60 miles of trails at DuPont), and back out to my car.



    I packed up the car and left; I did not pass go; I did not collect $200. In another 1hr and 20 mins, it was a little after 5:30 and I was back at home nearly 4.5hrs later, not having actually ridden more than 30 meters or so of biking all day. As I pulled into the driveway, having had the whole drive home to digest the monumental waste of a beautiful weekend day that had just transpired, I had only one last thought: “BIKES!”

  2. #2
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    Sounds like a VERY frustrating day! But you did paint a very accurate picture of Cedar/Big Rock summit! Definitely one of my favorite MTB places!

  3. #3
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    Yeah, but now you have a great story to tell!
    And some cheap shoes.
    Better get that check list going and hang it on a clipboard by the garage door!

  4. #4
    El Gato Malo
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    I can think of worse ways to spend the day (being at work is one of them). Great story!

  5. #5
    9 lives
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    What a story!
    F*ck Cancer

    Eat your veggies

  6. #6
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    Wow, sometimes the "signs" are there to let us know today is not the day to ride. At least no injury happened, right? !

  7. #7
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    Murphy sure had your number that day...I can fully understand how forgetting an important piece of equipment can be to ruining the rest of your planned day of riding bliss.

    I forgot my riding shoes before and trekked to Wally World to buy the 9 dollar cheapie shoes to get me by - I still have those shoes and still ride with them...go figure.

    We all have those days from time to time - but thankfully you didn't get hurt which is a good thing and if you only get 15 min of trail time - that is a huge blessing. Anytime on dirt is awesome and should be treasured.

    Hoping your future rides will be alot better...
    I don't use Strava. Don't need an application to tell me I am slow because I already know.

  8. #8
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    I'm glad I posted it here and that some of y'all enjoyed my story!

    And for the record, I'm really not such a negative person, making mountains out of every molehill, but I used a little creative license because I thought it added to the story. Always gotta put things in perspective: after all, if I had been born a couple hundred years ago I might have been dealing with the black plague rather than a troublesome rear tire.

    And yes, I made it out without injury, thanks for asking!

  9. #9
    ENDO!!!
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    Good story, I think anyone that has ridden for any length of time has had days like that, i know I have!
    Just circles turning circles....

  10. #10
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    Damn some days you just can't get a break. I had a fail ride lately that ended up with a 2.5 mile hike in mud that looked like baby deuce lol

  11. #11
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    Once you get your shazbot together, your next ride is goona be AWESOME!!!

  12. #12
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    I feel your pain. Having gone through similar situation of clearing alone time and going all the way up to the trail to have crazy wind that made riding impossible. Nice read.
    2009 Stumpjumper Comp HT.
    An old Trek 820 ST.

  13. #13
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    "BIKES"

    That sums it up pretty good. I haven't had a flat in over two years (tubeless) until last Tuesday. It was one of those days where my buddy and I had been trying to get to the trail all day but work "things" kept getting in the way. We finally made it to the trail head with 1:20 of day light left on a trail that would take us 1:30 to ride.

    No problem, I figured worst case scenario was just to pop on the helmet light for the last few minutes. I reached into my gear bag to discover that I forgot my lights. I had both my helmet and bar mounts but neither light.

    New plan, just ride faster than normal and get it done; should be doable. We were cooking the first 6 miles and then....pssssssssss....

    Cut the tire and watched all my Stan's run out on the ground. I knew I had a tube so I figured it wouldn't slow us down much. I pulled the tire, built a boot of of random crap I found lying around, super-glued it all in place, popped the tire and tube back on and got out my CO2...my empty CO2...

    Oh yeah, I had given my last CO2 cartridge to a guy, with a flat, on my last ride. No big deal as I had 10 more in my gear bag but I forgot to restock in my Camel.

    My buddy had a small hand pump that he found for $3 in a spare part's bin. It was awesome, in just 3,000 strokes, I had almost 19 psi in my tire.

    We did our best to make it home in the dark with my buddy leading with his helmet light on and me trying to follow the path of his light. The cool thing was the fact that I also forgot my clear lenses and I wear prescriptions...

    BIKES....

  14. #14
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    Check your rim tape. I have had mine get all squirrelly exposing the spoke holes. That equals numerous flats.

    I love that ride at Du Pont though if time given try to incorporate the other side of the park too. If you want some real down hill try laurel>pilot or Farlow. Different for sure but more challlenging IMHO. Routes are on pisgah area sorba. For safety I'd ride with someone.
    Sent via my heady vibes from the heart of Pisgahstan

  15. #15
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    Reminds me of the time I drove out to Southside park in Spartanburg and then realized I left my front wheel at home. Went home, got the wheel, drove back out, started riding - went 1/4 mile and pretzeled the wheel.
    Friends don let friends ride road bikes.
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  16. #16
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    RE: Ride Report from a terrible ride at Dupont State Park 2/24/2013

    Good story. I got all of ten feet a couple weeks ago just to hear my chain snap. I got a power link out of my bag and fixed the chain, but not only after riding ten feet again it snapped again. Some days it seems like everything is trying to stop you from riding.
    Sent from my RM-820_nam_att_100 using Board Express

  17. #17
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    That was one of the most entertaining stories I have ever read on MTBR. And I feel the OP's pain. I once drove three hours to a trail and despite having a pretty good selection of tools and spare parts in my van, about a hundred yards down the trail I heard the "ping" of my seat post clamp rupturing.

    Who carries a spare seat clamp? The funny thing is that I have a couple of spare clamps in my work bench and it never occurred to me to throw them in the tool box.

  18. #18
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    Thanks Ailuropoda.

    I broke my seat post clamp, too, about a couple weeks prior to the "ride" in my story. Went to lower my seat and the whole thing just kind of fell apart in my hands...seemed like an unusual thing to break.

    I am pretty sure I now have my bad luck out of my system, although my issues were caused more by hubris and cheap-skatedness than by dumb luck.

    I am pleased to report two successful and satisfying rides last weekend, even pressed my luck with one at night, haha

  19. #19
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    Mohammed do you by chance live in Wyoming?

    I was on a road trip as I was moving cross country and one of my stops was curt gowdy park outside Cheyenne. Was so windy, I couldn't even consider spending more than a couple mins outside the car let along going for a bike ride...never thought I'd call a ride due to wind

    But on a road trip it didn't matter too much, I just packed up and headed for south dakota

  20. #20
    Delirious Tuck
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    Everyone has that ride,"I probably should call it quits, but I need the trail time..." and KABOOM... Mech or crash.

    I had one last year that started with a pre-ride waiting for the group breaking a toe/ripping off a toe-nail (don't do a trials backward ratchet to power stroke/hop with forward foot under a rock) then proceeded to plant my chin in the dirt about an inch deep. Probably shouldla called it at the rock, but alas...

    Goes with the sport I guess.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ride the biscuit View Post
    Mohammed do you by chance live in Wyoming?

    I was on a road trip as I was moving cross country and one of my stops was curt gowdy park outside Cheyenne. Was so windy, I couldn't even consider spending more than a couple mins outside the car let along going for a bike ride...never thought I'd call a ride due to wind

    But on a road trip it didn't matter too much, I just packed up and headed for south dakota
    Fort Collins, not too far from Cheyenne and Wyoming. It is not always that wind, but you get some bad days. We just started the first fire and the wind is playing it.

    I have been in cases where you have to steer the car against the wind consistently.
    2009 Stumpjumper Comp HT.
    An old Trek 820 ST.

  22. #22
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    What a crappy day. I'm glad you've gotten a few rides in since then!

  23. #23
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    Excellent write up of a frustrating day. Thanks for sharing.

    My last trail side adventure resulted in the final push to go tubeless. I had just started out on a trail and ended up getting a flat using a brand new slime tube. I did have a spare tube, but it took me the longest time to repair the flat which frustrated the heck out of me. Being later in the day, I didn't have time to complete the ride and proceeded back to the trailhead. After clearing a small obstacle on the way back, I felt the strangest sensation upon landing. A quick inspection found that I had lost my rear axle! After resetting the wheel into the dropouts, I proceeded slowly back to the car avoiding any obstacles, and spent the rest of the daylight hours backtracking to find my axle (which, thankfully, I found). Frustrated with my recent experiences with ineffective slime type tubes, and dealing with mounting/dismounting TLR rims and tires, I ditch the tubes and rely on Stans.

  24. #24
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    Ah, great to hear a story about an old stomping ground...even if it is a sad story.

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