This is my first direct post to Irregular Adventures after Martin's gracious offer asking me to become a guest contributor. Thanks to him. I hope you enjoy it.
Tito, Ags, and Iva left Chapel Hill about 5:45 AM enroute to Hanging Rock State Park for the Three Hump. Leaving about an hour or so later were Lt Dave, Mallet, and Lee D “The Red Rocket”. After some minor detours along the way, we arrived about 8:00 AM. We were the only ones in the parking lot. Then we saw a BMW speeding along the upper deck. To our surprise, Mallet emerged. He was going to do a Four Hump. That is, he rode with us to the bottom and then a few more downhill miles and then turned around and went back up to meet LtD and LeeD for the standard Three Hump. We left the parking lot at 8:35 AM. Weather was cool (53 degrees), cloudy, and gray. I had in my mind that this was going to be a sunny 75 type day. I was glad I brought my sleeves and leggings.
We used LtD’s new route that features an almost immediate (8 miles out) climb up Sauertown. Kudos to the Lieutenant for this design. I immediately started worrying about doing Pilot with Sauertown in my legs. Like last time, we ascended into the clouds close to the summit. As was the theme of the day, which none of the readers will find surprising, I lagged far behind Tito and Ags. Of course, they were entirely gracious about it. I’ll say right now, I’m pleased and proud of my performance on this ride. And, I thank them for hanging around with me. I know with no doubt they could have finished an hour earlier.
On to Pilot. Lots of riders and cars on the mountain. Why in the world are cars interested in going up that hill when the visibility at the top is about 20 feet ! I like cars when I’m in them, but not when they’re disturbing me on a ride. Getting up Pilot, as I suspected, with Sauertown already in my legs was challenging. At the steepest part, I could literally feel my heart pounding in my chest. I’m sure one could have seen my rib cage pulsing. Finally, I got to the top groping in the fog to find Ags and Tito who were relaxing in the overlook. We saw many riders looping through the parking lot and on back down without stopping. Nothing to see anyway. There were some highly accomplished riders on the slope – a mixture of roadies and triathletes. At the bottom, we saw one guy who was young, in shape, and an experienced rider loop through the bottom parking lot, zip up his jersey, and take off towards the summit again. Serious training.
At the bottom, we saw team 2: Mallet, LtD, and RR (red rocket, not rapid Robert). They had made up significant time on us (i.e. me). I was disappointed for LtD that there were only three of them. I had thought that this was one of his big rides with 20 people. But, he said they all bailed. Had I known that the team was so small, I would have suggested an earlier start time. As it turned out, they got the later start time and were still able to finish when I did. So it all worked out.
This route had many, many hills. Up and down. Up and down. We turned right on Mickey (what a climb that is) when I got to Hall, I didn’t know if Tito and Ags had turned or not. I yelled at a passing van. I said if you guys see two cat 2 riders up ahead, tell them they missed the turn on Hall. I went on up Hall. I didn’t know where Mickey came out. It comes out on Moore Springs I found out. The van found them and delivered my message. A spirited debate occurred between Ags and Tito. Tito said let’s turn around and go back up this steep hill we just came down to get back on route. Ags would have none of that. He said this was a trick Iva was playing on them trying to beat them up Hanging Rock. Ags’s reasoning won out. Thankfully Mickey came out on Moore Springs.
I did beat them to the base of Hanging Rock, but about ¼ of the way up, Alberto and Andreas passed me. What a hello of a climb that is as all my readers know. But, I made it with no dismount and a reasonable amount of pizzazz. I felt good about having completed this ride basking in the “admiration” of all the tourists in the parking lot. This is only the second time I’ve done all three humps.
The top of Hanging Rock was packed with cars and their passengers. And, apparently, all the male occupants decided to gather in the bathroom. And, again apparently, many of them must have had bad aim because the place stunk to high heavens. We took turns changing while one guarded the car.
As we finished packing, here comes Mallet. He (and I assume Lt and LeeD as well though we didn’t see them) made it back to the lot before we left. After a few brief words, my impatience to get on the road won out over Ags’s desire to hang out like a normal social person would do. I got back to my house at 5:15 PM. That night I enjoyed two Red Oak draughts and a giant plate of spaghetti with my lovely wife and step daughter.
Thanks for LtD for his cue sheet and motivation, and to my fellow riders for their companionship. Great ride !
PS: One other comment. This is where the title comes from. The residents along the route aren't exactly big customers of Invisible Fence. Dogs were out in full force. Aggressive, big dogs. One particular entertaining bit looked like it came out of Animal Planet showing jaguars running down wildebeasts. Four dogs came out. The lead dog was barking like crazy running 20 mph. His rear legs extended beyond his head in full stride. His duty was to distract us. Next came two more running just as fast silently. These were the closers. They got very, very close. Finally, the take down artist came out. They cut out the oldest and sickest (i.e. me) from the herd. Thankfully, I was robust enough to escape.