Team 19 WSD, along with friends and Significant Others, spent a long weekend in the mountains of North Carolina for team training camp. Pisgah Girl Scouts Camp provided the shelter and the areas surrounding Brevard provided the climbing needed for a great weekend.
I love the mountains. On my bike, it’s a love/hate relationship, but otherwise, I really, really love the mountains. I used to live in this area and I never pass up an opportunity to return. Upon the team’s arrival at Camp Pisgah, there was a flurry of unpacking and claiming of sleeping territory – mostly cots with plastic covered mattresses that made diaper sounds when you moved on them. I discovered a box spring and mattress hiding in a closet, so sorry ladies, I had the best arrangement. With sleeping quarters taken care of, we were off on the bikes for “a little jaunt”. Within 10 minutes, we hit a leg breaking climb that had all of us wondering what we had gotten into. But, after that, we got to climb and, more importantly, descend Cesar’s Head Mountain. For me, Cesar’s Head is the biggest bang for the buck. The climb is gradual over several miles – no too bad – but, the descent is about 6 miles of 40mph downhill, my personal favorite. The ride ended up lasting longer than we had intended and even longer for a small bunch who decided to ride ahead…and then got lost. The sun was going down fast and it had started raining, so we sent the cavalry out for them only to find out they had knocked on the door of a random house, disturbing a man having a shower, yelling at the top of his lungs, who eventually gave them directions back to camp. A friend of ours, Sonja, cooked a heck of a pasta dinner for us all and we sat down and shared stories of the day.
Saturday morning we fueled up on breakfast prepared by Sarah. It is worth noting here, that the littlest woman on our team, Flavia, it turns out, puts away twice as much food as anyone else at camp. Seriously, it’s absolutely remarkable. Anyway, after marveling at Flavia for an hour, we headed out for a long day that included a 20 mile climb on Rt. 215 up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. As we climbed to the higher elevation, ice and snow started appearing on the rock faces and ground. In fact, ice chunks were falling from the rocks at a velocity that could cause a serious injury. At times, I was hoping one would hit me. It turned out the Parkway was closed due to snow and ice, so we had to come back down what we had just climbed.
I love going downhill. It’s really the only thing I excel at in cycling so when faced with a 20 mile downhill, I get excited. Unfortunately for me, and the entire group, it was insanely cold – hands so numb you can’t even tell if you’re braking; legs shaking uncontrollably; eyes tearing then freezing on your cheeks. So, rounding the bend heading back up to camp was a welcome sight. Also, a welcome sight was the baby goat on the farm, Cupid (born on Valentine’s Day), that greeted us each time we arrived back at the cabin. I’m convinced that, because of Cupid, Hadley and Monica will own a goat before the end of March…and they shall call her “Frances.”
That night we headed into town for a little Mexican feast. By dinner’s end, there was only one plate scraped clean without a morsel left of which to speak. I offered Flavia one of my fajitas, but she swore she was full. I still wonder.
Sunday’s ride was the same loop as Friday for some of us. Another group decided on a slightly shorter route, which ended up being longer than they thought when they took a wrong turn (ha,ha). I think they knew they were in trouble when they saw our group climbing toward them. It worked out in the end though. It was nice to have them join us and finish the last ride of the weekend with the whole group in tact. And despite a small misreading of speed on a curve that left me in a ditch going down Cesar’s Head, the day went well. Back at the cabin, we had some lunch and then prepared to say our goodbyes to each other…and Cupid. I was really quite sad as I watched everyone leave to their respective home cities – Richmond, Blacksburg, Chapel Hill, Charlotte. But, as sad as I was then, I am equally as proud to continue to be associated with such a great group of people.