Sunday, August 15, 2010

Crow Peak

Thursday I had the bright idea to ride Crow Peak. "Crow" is a top 3 trail for me for sure and I hadn't been on it yet this summer and with the summer winding down, I knew it was time.

I sent a text to A2 to see if he wanted to go. He initially said no, but I played a sneaky card to get him to go. Actually, I wasn't trying to force him to go, but it just worked out that way.

Every Thursday night in the summer, Rapid City has an event called Summer Nights where they shut down a few blocks of a downtown street and have basically a big party with live music. We try to go every week, just to see the live music and expose our son to different people, music and art. Anyhow, A2's parents (my aunt and uncle) are usually there as well and this Thursday was no different. We ran into them and stood around and chatted for a while. I told my uncle about my broken Kona and discussed off-roading for a while, when I mentioned Crow Peak and A2 not wanting to go. After discussing it with my uncle and inviting him along he said he'd talk to his son about it. Later that night I got a text from A2 saying they'll go and what time would we meet up?

Fast forward to Saturday morning. I pick 'em up at 6:30 and we're off to Spearfish. We got to the point where we were gonna ride at around 7:30 or so and by the time we got geared up, we were riding before 8:00. It was a perfect morning despite a bit of rain during the early morning hours. We hit the trailhead where my uncle said he'd just go at his own pace and we should do our thing. We discussed a point on the trail where we could hook up on the way down and we were off.

The climb went well. A2 and I didn't really hammer the climb, but just rolled at a nice, steady pace. As we summited the mountain, we encountered some hikers. We got off the bikes, took a couple of pictures, took in the amazing views and chatted with one of the people on the top. At some point I told A2 to go ahead and take off and I'll follow up in a few minutes.

I ended up chatting with the hiker for a bit longer than I wanted, but he was a nice guy and we were both marveling at the beauty of the summit of Crow Peak (where I have scattered a few ashes of my father, but that is a story for another day). I take off and enjoy the ripping, technical descent of the top 1/3 of the mountain.

I meet up with A2 at the Beaver Ridge spur where we were to meet his dad. We find a stick on top of the signpost pointing down the trail. We assume it was from him telling us he headed down. We take off and I take point. This lower section is a kick in the pants. Flying, twisting, turning, mostly smooth but enough rocks in the trail to keep you honest. Bottom line; it's a blast!

I come around a tight left hand corner and barely get it shut down in time for a downed tree. I figure it was a good point to wait for A2, where I did for what felt WAY too long. Thinking he must have had a mechanical, I turn around head back up the hill. After a few minutes I find him pedaling a little too slowly toward me. As he gets closer, I can see he's crashed. No flowing blood, but his shoulder is dirty, his face on the left side is starting to swell up and there is a bit of blood around his nostril. He tells me briefly what happened and he says we need to go now. I get it. Stopping for too long after a crash will make you think about what happened and it will make you not want to ride anymore. So we're off, with me warning him about the upcoming downed tree.

We clear the tree and once again, I am flying. Keeping a 15 mph or so pace is fairly quick on tight singletrack. I'm cruising along confidently on a fairly straight stretch and all of the sudden I am lying on the ground. There was no warning. Just one moment up then the very next moment down. I'm getting too old to be slamming myself on the ground going 15 mph. My left side was a bit tender, with some flowing blood coming from the elbow and knee. As I am picking myself up, A2 shows up. I check myself and my bike out and we're off once again. We get to the bottom within a couple minutes where we find my uncle waiting. He crashed at some point too, though only his thumb seemed to be the only injury.

We roll back to the car and load up to head home. A2's face is not looking too hot, but isn't getting worse and he didn't seem to be in big pain. Once home, the shower to clean up my wounds hurt WAY worse than the crash itself. Why is that?

Anyhow, a lame little ride report. A few crashes and a lot of fun thrown in. And once again, I can't wait to do it again!

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