Monday, February 14, 2011

PATC Cabin (Charlottesville, VA)

Our original cabin from the PATC was pretty rustic. It was basically one room that we spent most of our time in, huddled around the wood stove for most of the duration. It was nice, though, just to be away from it all.

This time our cabin was surrounded by the UVA campus, but the cabin was much, much nicer. It was a lodge (called Dunlodge) to be exact, with all the amenities of home like running water and electricity. We chose this spot instead of the more rustic cabins since we wanted more people to feel comfortable going on the trip without the fear of "roughing it" the whole time.

We spent most of our time lounging around the cabin and its acre or so of land, putting in some effort to drink our keg for the weekend. It was a nice, relaxing time even though we weren't far from civilization. To get some of that feel, though, several of us slept outside in tents and hammocks.

Joey supplied entertainment on Saturday when he found a log that he dubbed "Thor's Hammer."

A short walk into the woods revealed a ropes course, so we spent some time climbing around and exploring the challenges. We even spotted a zipline, but had no way to test it out.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Superbowl Ride (Briery Branch, VA)

For years now there has been an annual tradition called the Superbowl Ride. I've always missed it for some reason or another, but this year I was able to make it for the first time.

The general theme of the day is to freeze your ass off, grind up a long climb, then celebrate by downing whatever beer/alcohol/other that you faithfully carried the whole way to the top (Flagpole Knob to be exact).

This year it wasn't especially cold, but every other aspect of the ride remained the same. We grinded up the asphalt road until it met fireroad, which was a great relief - just having something to pay attention to was nice. Although it's...well...a climb, the ride is actually pretty fun. Once we gained some elevation, we began to see snow on the ground and frost in the trees. We even had a chance to ride on solid ice, carved out of the muddy tracks from trucks driving in the Fall. It was a good distraction from the tedious nature of the climb.

When we reached the top we all set to digging through our individual stashes of the goodies - I brought two Brooklyn Brown's. I also discovered that Time Atac pedals are perfect bottle openers.

The descent is always the best part of the ride and this one was certainly worth the drudgery. The thin layer of water/mud on the top of the surface made it a "blinky" ride down, but still at warp-speed despite the minor lack of sight. I was reminded of our trip in the Spring with the big bikes and how quickly the descent was over. There's some satisfaction in riding smaller, less "sled-like" rigs on technical descents. You get to pay attention to the details I suppose, although railing through the rocks on a full DH bike does have its pros too.

Once out of the woods, we had a quick jaunt along the road back to the parking lot. Muddy and tired, we relaxed in the sun and retired what remaining booze waited at the bus. It was a full day of riding - almost 30 miles; but we still made it back to Richmond in time for kickoff. A great day for sure.