Grave Ridge: Pu-Pump it Up

We woke, stirred the embers and got the fire flaming into a nice pre-breaky meditation piece.  Coffee was in the cups, and a cutting board lay waiting to be used for dicing up potatoes, onions and peppers.   The bacon, yep–more pig, was out of the cooler and insisting on being thrown into the cast iron.

We cranked the little radio and listened to some classic country, the kind of sound and song that harks back to a day when the genre was about story telling of life’s authenticity (struggles and smiles), and not a celebration of closed-mindedness, blinded patriotism, and of being a  self-proclaimed “hick,” like today’s version.

A cigar and some scotch went alongside a buddy’s plate of bacon and potato-veggie-eggs mix.  I opted for orange juice and more coffee; I had Rattlesnake Ridge backside trail, 3 Mile trail, and Grave Ridge on my morning agenda.  Chompin’ on the Maximus trilogy of yesteryear on a Sunday morning was going to be my church session.

Can I get a witness?

Not even five minutes into Rattlesnake, and after I hucked my way through a previously uncleaned section (a personal best), I ate it.  Or, Rattlesnake bit me.  An endo onto a bed of rocks reminded me, “You can’t start out at Michaux without a tranquilo warm-up!”

The sweat was rolling fast though.  I circled back around to camp.  We broke it, and I got shuttled to 3 Mile trailhead.  That was a gift not taken for granted.

Uh-oh, however, my rear tire was a little leaky flat.  I pushed on it and decided to go for it.  Pump in the hydration pack, I was prepared.

Two quick uphills usually can mess up an attempt at cleaning what is a classic Michaux cross-country trail.  I made ’em both, and got excited about a possible 3rd-time-ever of cleaning it.

Enter leaky.

Things starting getting too squishy out back.  And then it felt like the tire was going to roll out of the rim.  Stopped.  Sure enough, I needed to pump it up.  I didn’t feel like putting a tube in.

Rode on.  Again, leaky was back.  “Damnit, seal up Stans.”  I pumped again.  In the meantime, concentration was lost and I dabbed out more than a few times.

Eventually, back out on the forest road, waiting for my “shuttle” to come back from a PATC cabin search, I asked myself:  “Put a tube in, or pump it as needed on Grave Ridge?”

At the parking area on the shoulder of the road by Dead Woman’s Hollow, we got the brainy idea of trying to melt the tire enough so that we might seal up the tiny hole we found.  Yes, we actually tried it!

Holding matches over the air exit, and striking one on the box and  then using it to light the bundle, we prayed like Sunday morning worshippers that it would get hot enough to make the rubber sticky enough to work into the hole.

Come on mtb gods…I pray thee’all look upon me and bless me with a righteous good fixer-upper.

Believe it or not, it almost worked!  If we had a lighter, I’m convinced we would’ve had success.

(I decided to not change the tire.  I was kind of on the clock for a family event that being late for would not have been an option.)

Alas, I pumped it up and crossed the hard road and soon after hike-a-biked (the shortcut) up to Grave Ridge.

If you know the line of years gone by, and stick to it, Grave Ridge is one helluva burley trail.  Today, however, the ATVers have chewed it up and widened the trail to a point where you can “cheat” your way across, except for one section:

I made it through without cheating.  It probably was my last time, as Grave Ridge is slated to be logged this fall.

The rear tire was somewhere under 20 psi as a I dropped off and skirted over to the hard road and then to my car.

The day was high.

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