On the first weekend of December, MS, JB, and I embarked on our Third Annual DID (Douthat in December). Things have rarely gone as hoped or as planned during DID, but we are always presented with new, wonderful, and memorable experiences that we wouldn’t trade for the world.
This year, we procrastinated on procuring a cabin inside the State Park, so we went with plan B, which as I have documented before, can be A-OK. We stayed at the Cowpasture River Cabin, and short of not being able to conveniently ride our bikes to the trails, it was an awesome and highly recommended location.
We awoke for day one of riding with rain in the forecast and, for once, the forecast was correct. If you are going to ride in the rain, the mountain trails of Douthat are a good choice. With their rocky consistency and good drainage, it’s amazing how well the trails hold up to rain. With rainjackets and smiles, we set out.
We climbed Beard’s Gap and upon reaching the intersection of Mountain Top & Brushy Ridge, we found MS with a slight mechanical problem, so we set up shop for a bit. And then the skies opened up. Mechanicals in the rain in the mountains are a rare treat. You should try it some time.
After a couple of starts and stops, MS finally got things into working order and we had no more mechanicals for the remainder of the day, unless you count the rapid pace at which MS was blowing spokes out of his rims. Of course, spokes are highly overrated and everyone knows you don’t really need them. Ride on!
The ride experience was surreal. It rained off and on the entire time with a few heavy downpours just for fun. At times the clouds rolled in and swallowed us whole reducing visibility of the trail ahead. It was wet. It was slippery. It was cold. It was dark. It was fantastic!
After climbing Mountain Top and circling back around Mountain Side, we ascended Brushy Ridge. At the overlook, we were treated to another wonderful view of the clouds below us covering the valley floor. While we ate our lunch, the clouds closed in on us blocking out everything around us. We were suspended in a sea of clouds.
The descent of Brushy Ridge was fast, furious, slippery, eye-watering, and an all ’round rollicking good time. Easily the best descent inside the park, I cannot believe it was only the 2nd time I had experienced it. We used the suspension bridge to cross the creek, and then rode south on Flat Run and then backtracked north to the truck for a nice long cool down, which added a few more miles.
Back at the cabin, hot showers were just the ticket. Wet clothes were hung to dry, while shoes and gloves were piled on and around the wood stove. Day 1 was in the books, and we couldn’t wait for what was in store for Day 2…
Now, sit back with a warm cup of coffee and enjoy the video.