We're moving slow. As expected. An hour to go before we head back out into the same darkness we finished in the night before. It's in the mid thirties out, so at least there's no frost on the ground like usual.
The hour goes by fast. Eric "PMBAR Honcho" Wever starts mumbling on the PA system. Ready to go, I head over to listen. Something about going up Farlow is all I catch. I ask Eric to confirm. Yes. We are heading straight up the beast that is Farlow Gap, time trial style to our passports, not up the road as is customary... unless you are into unnecessary pain.
I head back to retrieve Zac at the tent. We start in less than eight minutes. If you don't make your start, you're DQ'ed. Not good. He's in the vestibule doing something. I don't have the energy to ask what. Eight minutes goes by and I hear Eric calling our names. Zac is still in the vestibule, but feeling my sense of urgency, he emerges. We head to the start, they bleep my timing blooper, Zac realizes he left his in the tent, I wait at the edge of the campground for him to fetch it. We're doing great so far.
Up Daniel's Ridge to Farlow. Zac is riding strong where it's possible to ride a bike. I'm trying to ride, but am sorta feeling drunk from lack of sleep. We get to the base of Farlow. More hike-a-bike. Look back down the mountain in amazement at the site of all the little tiny lights behind me. Try to keep my feet dry on the creek crossings. Almost fall backwards while trying to scale a steep rock section. Catch myself before tumbling ass over tea kettle, but bust my SIDI buckle into pieces. Fuck.
A creek crossing without paying attention and I scoop my toe into the water enough to fill my shoe. Another creek crossing and the rock I was counting on to hold my weight tips over. The other foot is soaked now. Angered by the wet feet and busted buckle, I hike in rage. Passing other riders being hikers with drool coming out of the side of my mouth. Still taking in the wonder of the strange, bright orange light coming through the trees and lighting the ground in strange patches. This is the day two experience I was hoping for. I get to the passports and wait for Zac to get to the top.
Once again, Eric has outdone himself. The mandatory checkpoint is ridiculously far away (Buckhorn Gap shelter). So many checkpoints stuck in so many bad places. I tell Zac there is no glory to be had adding to our 2.5 checkpoints from day one. We're in good company, as many others have lowballed their expectations right along with us. We opt for another 2.5 checkpoint kinda day.
I give Bob Moss some of my Little Debbie's brownies, as he was caught with his pants down and left his food behind in a mad dash to make his start time. Where I'm going, I won't need much. I'm guessing between five and seven hours to make the mandatory and one for good measure on Bennett.
We head towards the gravel descent. Zac's best guess, 2,700 feet of descending. My wet feet become painful rocks. My hands are throbbing. Even the easy way out hurts. We diddy-bop our way over to the climb up Clawhammer Road, and maybe twenty minutes in, my feet and hands are back to normal. The realization that I will descend Clawhammer for a second time in two days amazes me. There is no reason to ever do that.
We get to the top, hike up to the Buckhorn Gap shelter (about four hours into the day), Erinna gives us the option to hacky sack volley three times or eat two jalapeno peppers. We hacky sack successfully, and then Zac eats the peppers for good measure. 1/2 a checkpoint earned. Zac pockets another pepper for his Ramen noodles later.
Descend back down Clawhammer, bang the right up Bennett and push up to Coontree.
Our one and one and done route.
Down Coontree and back to camp on 276. No cars almost hit us on this day, and we get back to camp before anyone else. Drink beer, eat biscuits and tear down a tent that dried nicely in the sun while we were gone.
I got what I came for, a Double Dare finish and a completion of all the events in the King of Pisgah Series. An interesting collection of results.
1st Single Speed Team (with Zac) at PMBAR
2nd Single Speed at the Pisgah 111K
3rd Single Speed at the Pisgah 55.5K
4th Single Speed at the Pisgah Monster Cross...
and 24th overall at Double Dare... 3rd place in the single speed class.
There were classes at Double Dare?
I guess I should pay more attention.
Double Dare aftermath tomorrow.