Heading up Wolf Pen was not as bad as I remember. It's a bunch of short steep curves for about a mile and a half. Earlier, Matt's derailleur got jammed on the way up Woody, so when I heard him stop and say something, I turned around but saw him still pedaling, so I kept pushing forward for only a second before I saw a BIG ASS BLACK BEAR step out onto the road about thirty feet in front of me, at which point I quietly stated: "holyfuckit'sabear" as I turned around and rode a little ways back. Thankfully he surprised me more than I surprised him, so I turned around again and made my way up the rest of Wolf Pen. It may have been the adrenaline rush, or the fact that I could hear him running alongside me in the woods, but I made it up this gap faster than any other time I've ridden it. I'm not sure why I thought I'd ride downhill since I know black bears don't usually attack humans, but I also know that they can run over 30 mph and I believe the fastest I've gone downhill was about 37 mph.
We made it down Wolf Pen and immediately started up Neel's Gap which is when I started to feel my quads working at the outer top half of my thighs, a spot that doesn't usually burn, although I was pushing it harder than usual up Neel's. I believe it's only about two miles up Neel's in this direction, but it felt like about two days. Up at the top I felt a couple rain drops and we sped the whole way down and through a bunch of junk miles back to Rock Pile where we parked. The wind was blowing pretty hard and it took my front wheel to the side a few times on the way down and it rained on us half way back to the car, but we made it. Sadly, the only victim of the ride was the BIG ASS DRAGON FLY (at least that's what it looked like at 35 mph) that hit me seemingly in slow motion right between the eyes and perished upon my sweet fox sunglasses that I wore to protect my eyes (and totally did not pay $100 for them) from rain drops, leaves and sticks that were flying around.
We made it back to the car safe from the storm and on the way home, my friend who rode 3 gap for the first time kept complaining of feeling nauseated. The heat was pretty bad at first, but Matt and I told her she needed food and that would make her feel better. Apparently the gallon of vomit she barfed up in a walmart bag did the trick half way home and she was laughing along with us after that. Strangely enough, hearing the barf bubble noises she was making made me a little queasy. I made it home without throwing up and believe it or not, craving a hot meal. It's hard to get good food at 11 p.m. so I ended up with some leftover fruit from lunch, a soggy left over half sandwich and about 5 clementines. I rarely cook for only myself, so I was pretty short on supplies and motivation. Subletting from ol' Mother Hubbard is a bitch, yo.