Sunday, February 19, 2012

Holsclaw S24O

OK, I'll admit it. While it seems a bit surprising given all the different kinds of cycling adventures the past three or four or more years, this weekend  I completed my first S24O, the vaunted I/Grant mini-tour.  I just got up about 5 minutes ago from a couch nap trying to relieve a bit of the tiredness accumulated from both the hard ground and the brisk temps. While our northern brethren would, I'm sure, relish the 32F night, I am wholly unaccustomed to sleeping outdoors in it. In retrospect, like other hardy endeavors, it proved well worth it.

Via the new social medium of G+ we had divided our labor- I think to good effect. I got the permit for a group site at Jefferson Memorial Forest camground where my family had stayed a couple years ago (and where I mountain-biked now 20 years ago). Asher was in charge of fire, Dave breakfast, Patrick supper and Timothy, beer, a good balance. The day of, Asher, who lives more in the vicinity of Jefferson Forest, went directly to the office to pick up the permit and get the fire organized and the rest of us met at the Loop for coffee and lunch. We ended up cutting our time short a wee bit and ate Breadworks snacks instead. Afterwards we hit the road for an uneventful transpo leg save a *long* train which we had to detour around and a particularly vicious orange and black Mustang which passed as closely as possible. Ass.

Train break. Time for water.

Timothy and Patrick coming to top of Holsclaw. I made it first and contend that I did so b/c I had the lightest bike set-up, even though it was the Ute. Timothy was carrying beer, Patrick food and pans, and Dave, a microwave.



We chose the Group #4 site mostly because it has a pavilion in case of rain, which was forecasted. Additionally, the adventure was made more interesting by a forecast of snow, varying from none, a dusting, or up to 4" of snow. You're welcome to study the previous pics of Holsclaw to understand that I was trepidatious of descending that hill on the Ute.

The #4 site was very large and could have held many, many more people. By happenstance another group of Louisville types including Ben and Marcus, whom we've done RCCS rides with, hosted a Bikepacking Facebook Event for the same evening. Ben and I discussed- via "new" media again- whether they wanted to jump into our camp or get their own, which they ended up doing. After seeing the amount of room available we should have all saved a little bit of money. Huge.




Pretty soon after arrival we got down to business. Patrick, Timothy and I set up our tents while Dave had to fix a flat tire. After that it was fire time, oh, and don't forget the libations. Dave brought a 6-pack, I a couple large beers and Timothy 16 pints iced in a dry bag! From there it was camp lounging for a good while. The Ben/Marcus crew showed up a good while after us, saying that they have left "late".



Of note was Marcus' Nishiki, with fattish tread, and more impressively, something like a 52/48 front chainring combo. We all stood in awe at him ascending Holsclaw on a 48/25. Geez!

After social hour it was down to eating business. Patrick's wife had pre-cooked some amazing homemade meatballs and he brought pasta, sauce and bread. We warmed/cooked the meatballs over the fire as an appetizer while he warmed up the other foods. It was an excellent campside feast.


Meatball Buddha warming yet another. He brought plenty as we all had our share.

Fire swirl

Purples and oranges

Louisville city lights from up on the hill. The lack of foliage gave us nice views of the lights and star views at the same time.

Dave and Asher. Shock! Dave playing with his iPhone.

At some point after our meal the other crew came along about to do a night hike. Dave was up for it while there was zero chance I was leaving the confines of the fire. We drank a bit more and settled in until the crew got back where there was some general frivolity. For a change, I was not the animator. I went to bed around 11.00 because, well, because I wanted to. I was ready, as was Patrick, the other current parent of the bunch.

Night lights. I suggested maximizing this pic to see the strange light trails in the middle. I'm not sure what it was.

Crappy pick of night bikes at rest.

I survived a night of tossing and turning which began around 3.00 according to the watch, but I throw a  special thanks to Patrick for loaning me his bag liner. Without it my 45F bag might have had me end up a frozen popsicle. And I don't sleep well while camping, although others wax poetic about how well they sleep outdoors. I don't have too much gear envy given that I don't camp much, but one thing I *will* buy before the next outing will be an expensive, well-worth-it new pad. I'm going for the gusto.

The pics express that no snow fell, much less rain. We woke up to temps right around freezing, with all us generally twitching to get out of dodge. Dave made some campstove coffee, but we denied him the opportunity to make eggs over an open fire. In hindsight, it was probably a spurious decision Campfire eggs would've better finished off the morning than our breakfast decision.



Big Dummy

"Beast"

Newish Motobecane 'cross of some sort.

Ute

Newish Fargo

We left the campground dreading the chilly descent but looking forward to a massive, warm breakfast at Shoney's. The return was uneventful save Dave's Dummy, which was having some problems again with the tire. A few of us had gone up ahead a bit only to find, when Dave and Asher pulled in a while later, that he had stopped to fill the tire. After breakfast he availed himself of one of Pat's CO2 cartridges to get himself home. From Shoney's (bleh! won't do that again. good going down to to hunger, but...), Patrick, Timothy and I headed towards the Highlands where I watched Timothy's bike for a moment at Heine's and then to home for all of us. Literally I hit the door within 10 minutes of exactly 24 hours. Sort of funny, really.


Looks nice, doesn't it? This is only a brief section leading back to the campgrounds. Imagine if it was miles of forest or park road. Alas.


Dave down there on the cold descent.

Gear thoughts to come. Otherwise it was a fun-albeit-chilly S24O. It was probably a good time to pull one of due to lack of bugs, noise, busyness, etc. As stated, I don't sleep well on the ground, but I'm certainly interested in trying one again, maybe in a new location. I wonder what Mrs. Patrick will create this time?

5 comments:

Pondero said...

Congrats on the S24O. I don't usually sleep well on the ground either, but enjoy the overall experience enough to do it occasionally. There's something "elemental" about focusing on fire, food, shelter, rest, and the sites and sounds of the surroundings.

Apertome said...

What a fun trip! Wish I could have made it. I laughed really hard about the "Dave brought a microwave" comment.

David Crowell said...

The microwave wasn't too tough to carry. The 18-mile long extension cord was problematic.

A Midnight Rider said...

About sleeping on the ground. I tried it before my first bike tour and became really worried about what would happen on the road. I found that after a full day of biking however, sleeping on the ground is not a problem. I swear that a few times I was fast asleep just before my head hit the pillow.

Tex69 said...

@MR, falling asleep wasn't/isn't an issue. Just last night we were discussing how hard we slept (fell asleep) at our BigSouthFork trip in '10 after 7hrs of hard riding. My prob is around 3.00, when I finally wake up with lots of dull aches.

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