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North Carolina
July 5th-7th, 2001

We gathered for our first NC ride at the Carolina Fatz bike store, which was closed to flood damage (did I mention the rain?). That left us milling about in the parking lot awaiting Moab’s arrival from the motel where you paid by the hour (hey, that’s what I heard). There were 15 of us: Cajun, Slider, Gadget, Mike, Fausto, Denise (an FFG from Fla), Cruiser, Ella, Grinder, Timber, Moab, Bam Bam, Coondawg, and Melissa. We seemed to have Spokejunkies from all over the place. We caravanned to theTrace Ridge trailhead w/o incident (that would be the only time). At the trailhead we broke into 2 groups: FFGs, and the rest of us wanting to avoid a 2.5 mile climb. I was, of course, in the 2nd group. We waited for the FFGs and rode the rest of the trail together. 

The FFGs enjoyed the downhill after the climb, but it seemed that there was a price to pay judging from the mud and blood covering them, especially Grinder. The crash potential was high. Denise had a good trip over the bars. Coondawg and, Slider also bought it on the downhill. We had several mechanicals: Fausto had a flat tire and Grinder broke his chain. These minor mechanicals were put into perspective when Ella crashed and broke her fork dropout. Rather than walk out, the guys disassembled her bike and rode while carrying it. This wasn’t quite as dangerous as it sounds because Ella has got a kids frame: 12”. And since she is kid sized, her FFG husband rode her out, Ella on the seat and Cruiser standing. Walking might have been easier, but the men were up for a challenge. Safety obviously wasn’t a consideration. How they managed to steer carrying a tire or frame, I don’t know. Guess that’s why they’re FFGs and I’m not. 

There was a fair amount of water crossings and Timber sacrificed herself for the good of a group by falling into a deep puddle, forcing the rest of us to stop and notice the bypass-Thanks! Moab even wore a white jersey so he could show off his body. He was the only one who took the wet T-shirt contest serious. Bam Bam had a bit of trouble with mud in her eye and she managed to borrow a pair of clear shades for the rest of the rides-it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye. Ride with FFGs - Gadget

Dupont Night Ride 
The Night Ride at Dupont was absolutely the best night ride of my life. I had ridden this trail a year ago in the day and was blown away by the fun factor. I could only imagine bombing the hills at night on solid granite exposed rock with a full moon overhead. It's the stuff mountain bike dreams are made of.
Everyone assembled and headed into the darkness for an experience unlike any other. After the initial ascent to the top of "The Rock" we just sat around and enjoyed the view as a flat tire was being changed. After soaking up the ambiance it was time for the DH. One by one Pisgahboy lead us down the open granite rock flying like a swarm of lightening bugs drawn to a bug zappper. The ride was electrifying and exhilarating and satisfied us all. Then we headed down to the falls which at night was a sight to behold. Pisgahboy informed us that Last of The Mohicans was filmed here under these very falls. So Slider and I promptly stripped down to all but a loin cloth just to get an idea of how the Indians felt. I prefer my Zoic baggies thank you!
Then it was time for the big climb up the rock and another descent that was just as mouthwatering. Then we coasted back to the cars on some tame fire road and talked about our experiences. What better way to follow up a ride like that than a trip to Waffle House! - Moab

Laurel Mountain/ Big Creek Ride 
All twelve of us Grinder, CrankE, Pedal, Timber, Bionic (Denise, the first Florida spokejunkie), Flats, Slider, Trail boss, Chad, Fausto, Cajun and Scott. I don’t know if we were the brave 12 or just the stupid. We chose to accept the challenge of a 7.5 mile (really 10 mile climb). We were nicely warmed-up with a 3.5 mile fire road climb, all of us still marveling at Bionic who flew up the climb in the big ring. I don’t mean to start rumors but Bionic is under suspicion of blood doping; I mean come on a Florida rider roasting up climbs like she is on an easy jaunt. After the fire road, we finally started on the single track and I think that Cajun described it best by saying “It was like Tar Hollow on steroids”. Seriously the climb was a blast, primarily a mid-ring climb, with incredible vistas of the valley below and small caves and cliff outcroppings. After a little over 6 miles of climbing on the single track (that is right campers, this is mountain biking in the mountains there is a price to pay, but always a paycheck at the top) we learned LESSON #1 Grinder lies about mileage, he told everyone that is was only about a 6 mile climb. We don’t blame him we believe it is a dysfunction like dyslexia, so just be forewarned. We topped out just below 5000 feet and with our mouths watering for the descent. The descent started out mellow enough, but very quickly we quickly learned LESSON #2, when Andy (Gravity Boy) says the descent gets kind of nasty, take him at his word, he doesn’t kid around about the descents. We lost 1600 feet in about a mile and half and it was an exhilarating course of switchbacks, rock gardens and downed trees.

Once we got to the bottom one felt like we just came out of a pinball machine and pedaled along the flat rocky trail. Then we discovered why this section was called Big creek. We crossed Big Creek 5 times or was it 7 or 10 times. The trail crossed back and forth through the creek. One wondered if it would be easier just to ride right down the middle of the creek. The crossings were unevenly deep, 6 inches in some parts and up over your bottom bracket for others. For most of the crossings the bikes needed to be carried. Scott tried to ride across, but the creek would have none of that and threw him in. Big Creek trail ended at the Hendersonville Reservoir, once a deep reservoir now filled with leaves and debris but with a pretty waterfall. 1.5 more miles of gravel road and then some fun fast down hill single track. All was going well until the trail ended right into private property. Here we are less than 100 feet to where our cars are parked, but we have to go through private property. We’ve heard stories about people in these backwoods. We were waiting to find ole’ Billy Bob waiting with his shotgun. With a map and a few trial and errors we got back to the cars. It was a fun ride, but boy were we glad to see the cars. The final tally was 19 miles, about 3000 feet of climbing and 12 very tired but happy junkies. - Timber

Return to Dupont 
On Saturday, 18 Spokejunkies followed Grinder back to Dupont State Forest. The night assault had left them wondering what sights they had missed. Tired legs from the day before protested the immediate climb (O.K. mine did) but a groove was quickly found and on we went. Thanks to Fausto for selflessly blowing his fork seal and wrecking, thus giving us a chance to catch our breath while he wondered if he’d ever catch his (anybody bring any spareribs?) One approaches the slick rock and wonders how long it will be before the wheels slip out from underneath and leave you bleeding on the stones like some pagan sacrifice. Actually the traction is excellent, and the undulations make for some technical sections.
At the top, Mo decided he wanted something different. Going with his theme of many piled-up-bodies, he suggested a human pyramid. While this made for an interesting shot, many ‘Junkies sounded as if they were cursing Crank(E) and his slow camera. Hopefully the groping that Mo received on the bottom of the pile taught let him know what it feels like. Actually, a row of girl kneeling on top of the biggest guys worked well. Ella capped the pyramid and pictures turned out great. Mo & Crank(E) blazed on ahead to set up for more photo ops. The remaining ‘Junkies soon followed, blazing down a slick rock decent. If you wipe here, you’ll pay your pound-of-flesh and then some. Craters in the rock threaten to bury your fork and send you flying. If looking for those isn’t enough, you have to keep your eyes open for the small rock cairns that mark the trail. What a rush. Everyone made it to the bottom without incident.

On we went to the falls. A short dual track ride followed by a shorter, but pseudo-technical climb, and another rocky decent left us at the beautiful water falls that Grinder is fond of talking about: “These are falls they used in “Last of the Mohicans.”” The view is great, and we spent a while there enjoying it.  Back the way we came lead us to the Burnt Mountain loop. Unfortunately, we didn’t have Dirt Devil’s camera this year to give Fausto a landing target like last year. Apparently it didn’t matter as he made it down the blazing technical decent with no additional wounds. This section of downhill has to be the most fun section of trail we’ve ridden at Dupont. The beginning portion has numerous jumps that beg you to break Terra’s firm grip. Just about the time that the air gets routine, Mother Earth falls away in some steeper, twisting, rutted chutes. You couldn’t pry the smile off most of our faces and the hands off the handlebars of the rest. Jerry aka Slider (needs to write a profile before one is written for him)and Denise (soon to be “Bionic”) got to the bottom and immediately left for the top again. The climb here was a small price to pay for that downhill. But, all good things must come to an end. We pedaled out to the cars. Another ride awaited us, but not until we got some chow. I mention this, because a favorite of ours, Hawg Wild, apparently was the object of some disgruntled teenager’s ire. It burned to the ground the night before our ride. No more greasy pork sandwiches. Sigh . . . . Oh well, hopefully it’ll be there next year. Go u huskies! - Pedal

All Pics courtesy of Moab, CrankE, Gadget, Doug and Lori