The outer rim section of the perimeter loop is amazing. You ride along the top of the mountain weaving in and out of these rock paths with just enough line available to give you enough confidence to go for it and hope nothing goes wrong. One wrong move and you are falling to your death, well you would probably hope to die if you did fall. We spent several hours in the woods all the while hoping that it was going to warm up...it never did. The pond was frozen, the ground was frozen and my the end of the ride, my toes were frozen. But it was great to meet up with the guys and get a solid ride in. Many of those fellas are hitting up the Icycle in NC next weekend so it was great to hang out with them before hand. I will be down in North Georgia hoping to shave some time off of my last Snake Creek time.
Sunday morning, Jason and I got up way before the sun rise and made the ritual trip to Cracker Barrel before a long day on the bike. We were some of the very few at breakfast that morning. It was nice. The shortest in and out visit that I can remember. No time warp phenomeon this day. We started at the pump station at the base of Raccoon Mountain and began our climb around 7:30AM.
The sun was just beginning to come up over the ridge. It gave a false sense of warmth which I appreciated. By the time we made it to the top of the mountain, I had warmed up significantly. The ground was still frozen so the trail was in great shape for the first few hours. We made a complete loop and hit all of the inside sections that do not get as much traffic as the perimeter trail. We ran into one person on the first loop.
After a quick snack stop at the overlook parking lot, we began a modified second loop that covered much of the same terrain as the first, but backwards to mix it up. By this time, the freeze thaw effect had begun and there were a few sections that were a little sloppy, but not too bad or damaging. We rode until the sun was high in the sky and decided that we had enough. After getting back to the car and checking the time, it was 12:45PM. We were having so much fun that we were out for an hour or so longer than we had planned. On the way back down the mountain, there were a ton of folks that were heading up with bikes in tow...I hope they did not completely trash the trails due to sleeping in.
After a full weekend on the new fork, I have to say that I like it more than the Rock Solid. The bigger and beefier drop outs seem to provide a stiffer front end and way better tracking. It is a bit heavier, 100 g's but that is relatively insignificant to me. I am looking forward to racing it this coming weekend to truly get a feel for what it can handle. So far so good...thanks to my mates in the shed.