Sarah Camye, and I went on a fast torture-fest yesterday. Well, at least it was torture for me. I don’t have all the road numbers right now but… We started at Glouscester Gap and climbed to Farlow Gap. Sarah was on FIRE and took off like a bat out of hell. Camye and I held back and had a nice steady climb together. That road is tough. At the bottom I mentioned that it’s the only gravel road around that I worry about being able to keep it in middle ring to climb. I gave it a valient effort but dropped into granny after only a mile or so. We got to the gate at the top of the road (not the top of the climb) and Sarah and Camye did some yoga to prepare to kick my ass:
The climb continues past the gate and goes on for about another mile on old logging road cut. After the first very rocky descent we were at Farlow Gap. We took the left (straight?) option and headed around to what we call ‘the backside of Farlow’. That old road is rocky rocky rocky and super fast if you’re on. We stopped at the one option, to head down to Courthouse Falls and Summy Cove trail or to stay on the backside, and decided to go for the extended route. We took a right and bombed down the stinging nettle road. That was a ton of fun. I knew there were no black holes of doom or anything like that around the corners so I put it into big ring and really let loose. The trail crosses a creek:
but otherwise is just a super fast eroded double track that’s overgrown into singletrack. That road really goes on and on for quite a while and finally drops into Courthouse Falls Road. We had to pull out the map once on the way down because of an unmarked road that merges in about 2/3 of the way down. A left then a quick right laterand we were at Summey Cove. A few yards into summey is the trail down to courthouse falls. We stopped there a took in the beauty of it all.
I’ll have to go there agin on the hottest day of the year. What a perfect place for a swim.
Anyway, next was about a mile of gently rolling Summey. Cross a little log bridge though, and the steepest climb of the day laid ahead. Waterbar after waterbar up up up. It’s like the top of Black Mountain Trail or some of the steepest sections of Turkey Pen. As we approached the top a thunderstorm was coming in. I started to pick up my hiking pace, even though it really made me suffer, because I wanted to get over the ridge before the storm got to us. There waas a LOT of lightning. I’m usually not phased by lightning but as I saw the ridge up ahead I knew I wanted to be on the other side when the storm arrived. We did make it. The backside of the ridge is just as steep as the other side so riding down involved many moves that felt a lot like sking. I ruddered a few times, too. (one foot dragging behind, toes pointed into the ground, acting like a ‘rudder’). As all steep descents go, it was over in no time. Here’s Camye at the bottom:
Next was a section of 215, Left onto Courthouse Falls Road again, Right onto unmarked road number something, and the next big climb. That’s where the storm caught us and my weekend warrior riding caught me. I slowed way down on that climb. My legs felt fine but my stomach didn’t. The rain felt really nice and I just kept moving forward. I even got off and walked once! Yikes! The rain was really coming down and the thunder and lightning was right on top of us all the way to the top of that climb. We stopped for a moment at the top and I took the lead for the final descent. Well,It’s never ‘all downhill from here’ in Pisgah, but I was able to use momentum to get up the rollers. The combonation of the rain and the true final killer downhill got my spirits up and I big ringed all the way. Here I am at the end with a psycho smile
Back to the Jeep in 3 hours flat. 16 miles, 6400 feet of climbing
oh, one pretty flower photo taken at the ridge on Summey. Yes, even when running from lightning I’ll stop and take pictures of pretty things:
We had an incredible ride on Saturday. Ian, Sarah, Dicky, Josh, and I rode Heartbreak Ridge.
The night before got late quick and I reminded Ian of our 7:40 a.m. departure time a few times. Sarah and I arrived 10 minutes late without Ian but he got there very quickly afterwards. The word of the day quickly became ‘Poop’. More about that later, maybe. We started at the bottom of Kitsuma and had a pretty good pace going up old route 70. Old 70 is a three or four mile broken pavement warmup. I bet that road was abandoned in the 70’s sometime. It’ll take quite a while for mother nature to cover it totally but she’s doing a good and steady job and turning that road into a trail. There’s one great overlook there on the way up:
After Old 70 we climbed through Ridgecrest, got harrassed by some construction workers, and Ian stealthily used their loo. He met us at the ballfields and seemed to be doing much better:
Next was Rattlesnake. That ahem… trail… is the best example of an unsustainable unplaned bulldozed overused ultrasteep cut through the woods that somehow stays intact that I could ever imagine using and not feeling bad about it. Ratlesnake climbs and climbs. Here’s Sarah finally getting off and walking (right in front of the camera of course) and Ian chasing.
Once we got to the top it was Old Toll next. That place is very cool. The road climbs for an eternity and changes texture every 100 yards or so. Sometimes it’s a buff fireroad, sometimes it’s a baby head infested hell climb. Somewhere inbetween there is solid rock that resembles pave’, two year-round dwellings that are umm, rather primative, and another great overlook in Pisgah. Here’s a shot of Dicky and Josh enjoying the view at 2/3 of the way to the top:
I ate a mean veggie burger, turkey, and provolone sandwich with horseradish, mustard, and mayo at this point and for some reason couldn’t find my groove again for a while. Rich and Sarah took off like the demons they are and I wallowed behind in my full-bellyness. The last 1/3 of the climb is absolutely brutal. If you have been having a bad time at this point, the next bit is going to be pure hell. If you’re on, however, it’d baaaaad as shite. You can see the sky getting lower and lower which means you must be near the top but as you round each corner, the thing that you’d never expext to WANT to see in the woods, a bunch of rickity old trailers, never appears. If you’re feeling good, it’s just more awesome climbing on loose rock and stream beds with unbelievable views. If you’re not feeling it, well, it can get pretty lonely at the back of the group. When we got to the top we saw something that was a first for me: PEOPLE AT THE RICKITY TRAILERS. Holy Crap! This place has held this mystical ideal in my mind as a Erik Roudolph hideout for years and what do we find? A freakin party!:
Well, I wouldn’t really call it a party. Anyway, RIGHT HERE we were at the start of the reason for all the torture, the best descent in Pisgah, only compared in my mind to ripping down Porcupine Rim in Moab, Heartbreak Ridge. I led for the first bit but was feeling uncomfortable with how fast Ian was bearing down. I got out of his way and we hammered down that thing like a duo downhill team. It was awesome. The trail is sidehill benchcut with zero room for error. Ian and I were ON. Here’s Ian lookin’ pretty happy as we wait for the others:
The descent is the reason to do this ride. After that photo we just railed, so, no other action shots. We made it to the church in one piece, Ian, Sarah, and I pacelined back on the 3 miles of real pavement back to the car, and we were done in 5 hours flat.
It was a great day for ’smelling the roses’ too. This guy says: Eat me and your stomach will be upset… or maybe you will see God.
Tulip Polplar. A tree with flowers. I love this place.
You may be asking yourself ‘What was Erinna doing on a beautiful day like that?’ Well she was racin’ at the 12 hours of Tsali. She did her part to help the BioWheels women’s team clinch the win! Go Erinna! Here’s the BioWrite-Up: http://biowheels.com/Home/Article.asp?PostID=1107
and here’s the big-ass trophey that went to French Broad Brewery for their help:
Did a great ride with Wode last Monday afternoon. We started at the Black Mountain Trailhead, took the road to the ranger station, dropped off PMBAR related stuff to Wade, then proceded to FS477 and Clawhammer road.
Clawhammer is never easy. We did have a pretty fast climb though. I was feeling good and kept the pace up the entire way.
Here’s the profile:
Here’s a pic of Wode H A M M E R I N G clawhammer road:
Here’s another shot from the top of the hill. Yes, I staged this photo but Wode had no idea
We then took a right onto Black Mountain trail. Going that direction we had two mountains, Clawhammer and Black to climb over. There are a bunch of really steep switchbacks heading to Clawhammer mountain. My shifting had been acting up all day and I finally figured out why:
The Pivot pin was working it’s way out. After some time I figured out a fix: An old cheapo key chain streatched out, inserted into the pin hole, wrapped around the derailleur body. It worked like a charm and we were able to continue
The climb was hellish but I still had time for fun photos. Here I am crushing Wode like a little bug:
It was a beautiful day and a rare Monday afternoon non-Bent-Creek ride. The overlook was beautiful:
The descent down Black Mountain was super fast. I was on my rigid fork witht the PC cracks so I didn’t hit any of the jumps or anything. Still lots of fast fast fast descending. We really pushed the light and ended the ride at 8:40 p.m.
Two more quick photos, one of the fork with the powder coat (I hope) cracks:
Super fun ride today with Erinna. We started at the Campground Connector trail at Bent Creek then rode up to the Blue Ridge Parkway on FS 479. 479 was painful and it was tough mentally to get a groove going. Later than expected we made it to the top and hopped on the parkway. It was an absolutely beautiful day. We sure are blessed being able to live here. The view was outstanding:
We headed up the Parkway to Trace Ridge. Down Trace to the site of the PMBAR Trace checkpoint
then onward to the super fast ultra fun classic pisgah descent… The reason I put the CP there… Trace Ridge
After Trace it was the long climb back up to the Parkway, through the Bent Creek Gap tunnel, back down 479(YeeHaw!), and left onto Cardiac, Lower Sidehill. Short yet steep climb then the next killer descent back into Bent Creek. A left and a right later we arrived at the car and ran into Tara, aka M-U-M, aka Lwac, for short heading out an a ‘water-bottle’ ride
Thanks to Tara and Rick for manning the SORBA sponsored Davidson River CP!
Great ride today. One of those rare weekday moring type. Excellent.
Well, Since my last post I’ve only ridden once. Erinna competed in the Baker’s Dozen and I supported, so that knocked out one weekend. The PMBAR is in two days so this week has been filled with race stuff. Erinna and I did get out for a nice ride with Sophie on Sunday past though:
We started at Yellow Gap-> Laurel Mountain trail. We talked a bit about ride descriptions and ‘the book’. ‘The Editor’ gave me my first deadline so I was looking at the trail a bit more critically this time. We started at a great pace and I ven cleared a couple of the lower obsticles. Sophie was doing great. Erinna wasn’t having the best day on the bike. We stopped at the meeting log for a breather but continued on pretty quickly. We payed particular attention to the Gaps, I mean, which one we were in. When we got to the cairns we stopped and built a few new ones and deided to head on down at theat point. I had a blast going down. There werea few moments wher I was completely out of control… Sking rather than riding the bike down the hill. I was a little hot coming into the nastyest section but made it through unscathed. We crossed the creek at the bottom and went over to Slate Rock. The view was incredible! The top of the mountains are still brown like winter but the valleys are green green green. The ride off the rock went by very quickly then we had a couple of miles of gravel to get back to the car. That climb out of Bradley is always a killer and that day was no exception. Back to the car pretty quickly. Great ride, the only one in two weeks!