Can't shake them Slatyfork Blues- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Can't shake them Slatyfork Blues

    In the year and half since my daughter was born, my life has been filled with many wonders and joys. However, a wealth of singletrack epics has not been among them. So last weekend when I caught wind of trip to Slatyfork coming together, I knew I had to call in every favor I had with my wife to get in on it.

    Nine of us packed into an '87 Suburban and rolled out at about 6:00pm on Saturday to make the 5 or-so-hour trip to the intersection of FS24 and US219. We camped off the side of the road and were up with the sun. We went over to ERTC for a delicious, humongous, hearty breakfast that can't be beat, courtesy of Atira. We digested a bit, donned lycra and headed out for the day. Our route: Mine Road, Gauley Mt. Trail, Tea Creek Mt. Trail, Bannock Shoals, Saddle Loop, Boundary, Bear Pen, Gauley again, and then out 135 for the Grand Finale on Props. High temp of 72, not a cloud anywhere. I could not imagine a more perfect day on the bike.

    But it was not to be. Somewhere along the way, perhaps blinded by the epic breakfast, I forgot to eat on the trail. In retrospect, the Tea Creek Mt. boulderfield would have been a fine place for a sandwich. Or maybe the overlook on 150, or maybe even a hit off the gel-flask here and there would have done it. No matter where exactly it was I went wrong, I was powerless to catch my buddies on the 2nd half of Bannock Shoals. I had gone and caught the dreaded bonk. I couldn't do much more that limp back down the mountain and nap in the sun behind the truck, knowing that somewhere just to the west, everyone else was still up there savoring the singletrack.

    I have been trying for a little over a week to rationalize this, trying to take that glass-half-full perspective. After all, I had a great trip with a great bunch of riders and I got to do some fun riding while it lasted. But try as I might, I can't seem to get right with this. I can't focus at work, I stay up all hours, scheming ways to get back over there and finish the ride that fell short. I cannot completely rest until I get back to Prop's Run. And while I'm there, I figure I might as well hit Bear Pen and Red Run just to complete the collection of classics.

    I know this is a thread going nowhere, but I just need to sing my blues to some sympathetic ear somewhere out there in internet land. I know there are some Slatyfork fans out there, so I suspect someone can feel my pain.

    Thanks for listening. I know I'll find a way. I'm just not sure how or when.
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    Fat, tired.

  2. #2
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    Dude, don't feel too bad.
    I live here and haven't been able to ride much Slatyfork this year.
    Just too many things happening in my life right now.

    Hey there is alway next year and you still have a couple of months left to ride.
    The Juice Was Worth The Squeeze!!!

  3. #3
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    Props is probably in great shape about now. Don't worry though because you really should be feeling bad for missing it. Next time save some time and cut off the big switchback on Bannock Shoals via bushwhack.

  4. #4
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    Hey Farley-

    Sorry I missed you guys. Guess you were down here when the wedding was going on at ERTC. I was in PA that weekend. Anyways that boulder field is always an excellent place for a break. Snap some pics of your buds bashing their shins in the rocks, have a snack, and off you go. But as far as bushwhacking the switchback on Bannock Shoals, that's just not practical. We've tried many things looking for interesting routes for the Wild 100, and I hear this "bushwhack the switch on Bannock" thing all the time. Riding the trail is faster and less taxing, in my opinion. Sorry you missed out on Prop's, its dry as a bone and super fast right now.
    "Sufficient to have stood, yet free to fall."
    -John Milton, Paradise Lost

  5. #5
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    I say that if you are actually not sleeping over this, you should make every effort to get back there ASAP . . . . right now, or this weekend for that matter. You owe it to yourself and your family. Who wants a moping mountain biker around the house anyway. Get back to Slatyfork, ride and be happy.

    Oh yea, screw Bannock Shouls all together. Take the Turkey Point hike-a-bike. Be a man!

  6. #6
    the unvarnished nonsense
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pisgah

    Oh yea, screw Bannock Shouls all together. Take the Turkey Point hike-a-bike. Be a man!
    Turkey Point will be rideable next year. It will require a few days, but I've wanted to see that trail become the awesome descent it should be for years. Next year's the year.
    "Sufficient to have stood, yet free to fall."
    -John Milton, Paradise Lost

  7. #7
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    Clear that trail, I say!

    Climbed Turkey Point two weeks ago. I think much of it would be more ridable if it were not for the trees. It is definately more fun than BS, Bannock Shoals. I have ridden Turkey downhill once. It was ok, trees were in the way though. However, when comparing the routes into the Tea Creek Campground, Tea Creek Trail or The Mountain Trail I think are more worth it, trees or not on Turkey. But it has been a long time since I bombed it.

    But that doesn't mean don't clear the trees. I encourage you to do so, with vigor.

    Take it easy

  8. #8
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    Yep, that was us.

    Quote Originally Posted by davis
    Hey Farley-

    Sorry I missed you guys. Guess you were down here when the wedding was going on at ERTC.




    Sorry you missed out on Prop's, its dry as a bone and super fast right now.
    That was us indeed. We were actually there to give Joey a ride back to Athens after he came over to do some guiding that I think was tied to that wedding. We thought we might as well get in ride in while we were in the neighborhood.

    For some reason it took 8 of us to come after him . . .

    I'm hatching a plan.

    I think I may be able to give my parents some "Grandparent Quality Time" and take a little side trip while visiting family in Charleston weekend after next. It's potentially a lot of juggling for a little riding, but I keep hearing such good stuff about the recent conditions on Props that I can't help but think it might all be worth it.
    Fat, tired.

  9. #9
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    farley,

    Just reading your post brings tears to my eyes. I feel a similar emptyness.
    I was so much wanting to ride those trails just one more time before the snow flies.
    However, all I can do right now is to wallow in my own sorry with a grade 3
    shoulder separation and broken collar bone.

    Hope you get back over there in the next few weeks. If not, there's always next
    year (which appears to be my future). Hang in there and keep dreamin' of all
    the good rides you've had.

    ODN
    Caffeine ! "Do stupid things faster and with more energy" ! !

  10. #10

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    Farley,I see you have family in charleston ,have you ever ridden kanawha state park?if so how would you compare it to slatyfork.I've read about it but never been .we usually ride kanawha and on holidays go to pisgah and dupont .looking for some other rides to do a little closer to home than wnc.Thanks Butch

  11. #11
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    Apples and Oranges, as they say. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected]
    Farley,I see you have family in charleston ,have you ever ridden kanawha state park?if so how would you compare it to slatyfork.I
    I cut my mountain biking teeth in KSF as a youngling and still try to get over there any time I'm in Charleston. In fact, that's where I'll be riding next weekend if I opt out of trying to head to Slatyfork.

    It's tough to compare the two places though because they're such different types of riding and each one is a great example of the type of riding it is. I'd characterize Slaty as technical riding, while KSF is more like very rocky, flowing riding. And for me, there are times when I'm more in the mood for one type of riding than the other. But I can't say that I've ever been sorry I rode in either place.

    I've never ridden in Pisgah, but I've heard it compared to Slatyfork by some who have ridden both.
    Fat, tired.

  12. #12
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    Many things left unanswered. I made the mistake of not being aggressive enough last time I was there (2001 Wild100). I've thought about it for 6 years.... get back out there and conquer what challenges you. If I had it to do all over again, my life would be entirely different.

  13. #13
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    What a find at near the end of a good ride.
    Beaver Pond.jpg

  14. #14
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    That looks so familiar............... This was used in my post "Our
    Version of the Slatyfork Epic". It is beautiful isn't it.

    ODN
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    Caffeine ! "Do stupid things faster and with more energy" ! !

  15. #15
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    Yup. Same Place. I checked...8/23/07 for me. Post Bear Pen. Really nice ride. I wish I lived closer to ride there more often. Like them huntin' cabins too.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fwilpum
    Yup. Same Place. I checked...8/23/07 for me. Post Bear Pen. Really nice ride. I wish I lived closer to ride there more often. Like them huntin' cabins too.
    Yea, my son and I parked at the intersection of FS135 and Mine Rd., rode up to Tea
    Creek Trail, down Tea Creek, up Tea Creek Connector to Gauley, then Bear Pen off
    Gauley, rode Bear Pen till just before the end and took Boundary Trail all the way to
    the intersection of Bannock Shoals and then rode 135 back to the truck. What a
    great ride. Came to around 16.5 plus miles. We plan on doing that one again in the
    spring. Thanks for the reminder of how much of love those trails in that area.

    ODN
    Caffeine ! "Do stupid things faster and with more energy" ! !

  17. #17
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    Make sure you notify the other felons so we can all do this ride in the spring
    Capt_Phun's Riding Blog:
    http://captphun.blogspot.com/

    I better go get my headlamp while I'm sober....ish

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capt_phun
    Make sure you notify the other felons so we can all do this ride in the spring
    Will do Capt'n !

    ODN
    Caffeine ! "Do stupid things faster and with more energy" ! !

  19. #19
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    Think spring...

    I know I am. Can't wait to see if I get full range of motion back in the right arm. Its a little depressing now, but just this week I was able to get my hand back on the handlebar. Granted, I can't really do anything with it, but I can get it there, and that's a start.

    Living in very close proximity to those trails is great, but there's an awful lot of trade-offs, believe me.
    "Sufficient to have stood, yet free to fall."
    -John Milton, Paradise Lost

  20. #20
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    I"m counting down the days until we can ride again.
    I'm really looking forward to another gathering.
    Just as long as we don't do another "Stupidest ride ever"
    The Juice Was Worth The Squeeze!!!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hecklerboy
    I"m counting down the days until we can ride again.
    I'm really looking forward to another gathering.
    Just as long as we don't do another "Stupidest ride ever"
    Ditto !

    However, even on the stupidest ride ever, we shared it with a great bunch of folks.
    That made it worthwhile, even though I'd rather not do that one again.

    davis, keep on healing. You'll be back on the bike before you know it. I actually
    was only off the bike 5 1/2 weeks due to my fractured collar bone and separated
    shoulder. Have been back riding for a while now and am able to do bunny hops
    without pain now, but if I ride hard like that for 15 to 20 miles it gets a bit sore.
    Should be ready for Slatyfork by spring though.

    ODN
    Caffeine ! "Do stupid things faster and with more energy" ! !

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