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North Carolina
August 2000

Dupont State Forest
It was a warm Friday morning and despite many people driving through the night to get to NC you could see the anticipation on everyoneís face. After the preliminary pleasantries, we were off to Dupont State Forest (DSF) to ride some of the only granite slickrock in the East, which just recently opened to the public. After the customary group photo and synchronization of everyoneís watches to maintain our precisely calculated schedule we were off to ride the Cedar Rock trail (for future reference it is the third left not the second left). 
At the beginning of the ride there some valuable lessons learned about bike maintenance: 1) DO NOT lube your chain with 90 wt. oil, besides the inadequate lubrication, the stuff is the worst smelling crap I have ever inhaled (and I have ridden behind Recon on night rides, so I am familiar with bad smells). Thanks Recon for the education. 2) There isnít a chain made that Bogus canít break and 3) Do not loan your bike to Sweet Lou. Eventually we all made it to the top of Cedar Rock (with the exception of Recon and Kilowatt, who decided to follow Coondawg and I thought dogs had a good sense of direction) and hooked up with Al (mugg) and Rosita, as well as a friendly local, PisgahBoy. With PisgahBoy now guiding us we rocketed down some blazing technical trail on open granite. 
After the downhill we went to check out some really cool waterfalls (Bridal Veil falls) and then on to the Burnt Mt. Trail. After the initial climb we reached the top part of the Burnt Mt. Trail, PisgahBoy informed us some very video worthy jumps were headed our way. Dirt Devil (video master extraordinaire) proceeded to bike down first to set up for the ballsy riders. Fausto did not disappoint with his terrific crash right into Dirt Devil, given Faustoís skill he was able to wreck within in the frame of the video camera. Make sure that you bring that footage to the Unite ride Dirt Devil, so everyone can marvel. After the downhill we were off to the parking lot then to Hog Wild for food and a siesta.
After the lunch and a visit to a cool bike shop at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest, we decided to try a brand new trail, Sycamore. PisgahBoy promised us about a 1mile climb with over a 3-mile technical descent. Mary (Kilowattís better half) and Debbie (Moabís friend for her very first ride) joined us for the Sycamore Trail. We drove to the trailhead and began our climb up the fireroad, which left many of us questioning the sanity of biking so soon after our meal. As we got close to the top of climb many riders were heard muttering "there better be a good descent after this climb or someone will pay."

As we began the descent many of us were reminded of Snowshoe and were excited about what was to come. The rest of the descent was one of the best technical downhills that I have ridden in a while. Evidently Coasterís bike got a little out of hand and he had to show his bike who was in charge. After the stern reprimand Coasterís bike received, it kept its place and carried him down the trail. Kudos to Debbie who did well on her first ride on a trail that wasnít really meant for beginners, she came out of the woods with Moab and a big grin on her face (I am assuming the grin was from the ride). 
A short ride back to the trailhead and we were headed for the icy waters of Sliding Rock. Sliding Rock is Mother Natureís version of a water park; you basically slide down a moss-covered rock into a pool of 45-degree water, which leaves you feeling quite nipply. Since the spokejukies always want to push the envelope, there was a train of 12 junkies formed to slide down the rock; the picture doesnít do it justice. After the group hit the water there was an accusation of someone grabbing Bogusí package, not to name anyone but I think the offender also spent some time in the armed forces and has questionable lubrication practices. It was then back to campground via the scenic route, which provided many wonderful views of fog. Everyone began to dream about what Tsali would hold for the next day... - Grinder

Tsali
Although Iím not aware of an official head count at the Tsali trailhead, approximately twenty riders showed to assault one of the best known trails in the East. Foaming at the mouths, the Spokejunkies wouldnít wait long enough to be counted and were rariní to go fight the crowds that were evident in the parking lot and later on the trail. Iím not certain where the name "Tsali" comes from, but itís probably Native American for "fast even when muddy."
We started up the Thompson Loop which is one of the two more technical* of Tsaliís four total loops. Even though North Carolina had gotten a week of rain, the trail was in great shape. After a relatively short climb, the true beauty of Tsali became evident: miles of roller coaster fast trail. The only thing to slow a person down at Tsali is a rider coming the other way or a mud puddle in a turn. Mouse Loop is similar to Thompson with the exception that it is a smidge more technical*, making it the most challenging loop of the four. It makes up for this by offering some excellent views of the lake. Normally you donít see the lake because youíre going too fast to look. If you do you might get a real close look at the water when you drop off one of the sections of trail thatís only a few feet wide. Some things of note about this ride: Debby, after putting up with a definitely not-beginner trail (Sycamore,) conquered yet another challenging (long) trail and certainly earned the "Good Sport" award. Putting-up with Moab also helped earn this award.
Tsali is a good place to get stung by a belligerent bee or do a strip tease, or both. Just ask Bruiser. Pigpen made it through another ride without breaking his bike. It appears that his bad-bike-karma is now working on breaking his body. Last thing to note about Tsali: try to ride it on a weekday. This trail suffers for its popularity. Too many riders going all different ways makes things hairy at times. *Technical is a relative term however. Nothing about these trails is overwhelmingly difficult. What they lack in challenge, they make up for in speed. And you can make the trail tougher by going a little faster. - CrankE