Erinna and I went running this morning with our neighbor Mike B., plus the pack of dogs: Floyd, Sophie, and Max. From our house-> Carrier Park-> Riverside-> Beverly-> Haywood-> Hanover.
5.7 miles, 325′ climbing, One hour flat.
This run hurt….. bad…. Mike and Erinna were ahead for the warm-up and I couldn’t get my legs to cooperate. Floyd was pulling every-which-way and I was having no fun at all. Somewhere around Carrier Park my legs loosened up, Floyd realized we were running, not squirrel hunting, and I started having fun. My knee started feeling stiff somewhere along the 4.5 mile mark though and I had to slow my pace way down….. hmmm… looking at the profile…. I wonder why??
Anyway, great run, first time out with anyone other than Erinna. Thanks for joining us Mike!
Unbelievably great ride today! I met up with Rich ‘Teamdicky‘ D., Bill ‘Big Worm‘ F., and Ryan ‘Bill Nye the Science Guy’ C. at 9:30 at Yellow Gap. It had started raining yesterday and hadn’t let up all night. When I arrived (after hauling serious ass up the fireroad in the refurbished Jeep, Thanks Mike R.!) it was still raining. Even though it had only taken 6 minutes to travel the 3 miles of fireroad I was a few minutes late. Everyone was wearing big smiles despite the rain and my tardiness. Our eventual route for the day: Laurel Mountain->Pilot Rock->Pilot/Slate Connector->down Slate->Up the non-loop part to Slate Rock->Pilot Cove->1206. Or as we call it, Outer/Inner.
16 miles, 4170′ climbing, nearly 100% pure Pisgah singletrack.
Rich decided he had to do something even more manly than driving 2.5 hours to do a 4+ hour mountain ride in the rain… He decided it would be a good day to forgo coasting all together and turned his Singlespeed into a fixed gear rig…. and yes, he was only running a front brake to boot. Maniac.
The rain tapered off around the meeting log and we saw our first rays of sunshine shortly thereafter. We made it to Sassafrass without me even realizing we had passed The Cairns and about that time Bill pointed out the bright blue skies to the North. We got to the top in good time (6 miles of climbing later) and continued on to Pilot in high winds, temps in the high 40’s and sun sun sun.
I led out for the Pilot descent and had a super-fun run of it. Not the fastest ever but still a ton of fun. We stopped at both overlooks and checked up a couple times other than that. The best part of the descent was the Hum-Vee section, a downhill boulder field that… if you carefully pick the right line… and you’re having a good day… may be ridable… for some… I did a little wheelie drop off the slab rock and was feeling good. I took a deep breath as I went into the rocks and said out loud ‘Oh my God’ as I dropped into a nearly foot deep creek running right through the best line. I held on tight, cranked the pedals over a few times to keep up momentum, and was spit out the back end of the fray (50 yards later?) wet, upright, and whooping with joy. Bill was only a few feet behind and cleaned it, too. I have never seen that section of trail like that before. It was rad.
A bit more fast descending later we were at the connector turn. I really felt the climbing but we made it to the next intersection quickly. Down Slate was a nice change from Pilot. Easy, twisty, turny singletrack with shallow creek crossings and small log hops.
Next was Slate back up to the rock. I walked. I walked nearly the whole thing. Rich stayed back with me and we chatted about who knows what…. then we were at the rock.
I just got in from about 3 hours of accelerated heartrate activities. I went out to Bent Creek and knocked out just under two hours of muddy singletrack. It was a cool (in the 40’s), misty, and very cloudy first full day of Winter. My route: Ledford Rd?->Boyd Branch->Sidehill(?)->Ingles Field->North Boundary->Green Slick->Sidehill->Little Hickory->Ingles Field->479E->Wolf Branch->Hardtimes Connector. Not a super fast day but a lot of fun, and a lot of struggling, none the less. The climbing was especially tough today as I’ve apparently forgotten how to ride in the mud without spinning out. The two big descents, Green Slick and Ingles Field were…. well…. slick. No jumps today, Thanks.
Headed to Boyd Branch:
On Green Slick:
Then when I got home I kept my promise to Floyd and we went on a run. I changed out of my wet jersey and put on my running shoes as soon as I walked in the door. We ran a new route, down Hanover, Up State to Pro Bikes, Haywood back to Hanover and on home. 25 minutes with ZERO knee pain.
When I got in from that I figured ‘what the hell’ and got on the floor and did 50 situps and 25 pushups. YEAH! Maybe I need to get some weights and turn this into some sort of work out routine….
I went on a fun-filled 30 minute run today. My knee started hurting towards the end so…. 30 min. is my max for the next week at least.
Anyone want to ride tomorrow (Friday)?
Oh, my Christmas wish came true! I got a new camera! I took it along on the run but found out taking pictures of yourself while running will only produce photos of yourself that you don’t really want to share. Anyway, for the sake of getting some photos going again…. a few… not of me.
Lucy wanting to go out as I left:
I might have to back and swipe those jumper cables someone left behind:
Mike B and I met up with Jonothan and Dennis K at 7AM at the Fish Hatchery today. The plan was to get at least 5 hours in but…. well….. we need rain bad….. and we got some today. As we left it was chilly (but not cold) and the sun was just starting to rise. The drive out there was kinda… unnerving because of dense fog. Needless to say, everything was nice and moist. It wasn’t raining when we started but that changed somewhere along Long Branch. The (my) route for the day: Cat->Long Branch->475->Pilot Mtn. Road->Farlow Gap->Daniel Ridge->475->Davidson River. Everybody else (+Kassi) continued on at this point but I was done. 3.5 hours was enough for me.
16.75 miles 4112′ climbing.
Oh and Rich, Sorry for calling you a puss. My knee hurts like mad. I’m going to Chicago for most of next week for work…and that’s perfect. I need a week off.
1. Farlow in the rain is no joke. All four of us went down and I think I got the least of it. I did the same wreck as last week: Deep leaves+ downhill= sliding on arm and face. Jonothan: Tomato had the most spectacular crash that I’ve seen in a long time. He got squirrly at high speed, lost his front wheel, and highsided. He tumbled over-and-over, totally out of control, and didn’t get hurt! Well… until his bike caught up and hit him. Mike went down twice: Once getting a huge goose-egg on his shin and the next knocking the wind out of him. I didn’t see Dennis’s crash but as he explained it, the wet rock drop thing you’re supposed to just rail over when it’s dry… ate him.
2. I funkin railed the descent! Not fast but… Tech. Up in the steep stuff I was feeling BRAVE! Gravity is cool.
3. Pilot Mountain made me want gears. Maybe 1×9? Any 1×9er’s out there?
4. This ride kicked my ass. As soon as I got home I took a hot bath then a 90 minute nap with the cats. Could there be a better way to spend the day?
Erinna and I went out for a half hour run this evening that turned into a 55 minute run. I had a hard warm up but was feeling great after a few minutes. Towards the end my knee was starting to hurt so we had to walk a few times but… great little work-out none the less. BIKE RIDE TOMORROW!
Running is hard. Running is fun. Running is addictive. Running is hard. and cold. and hot. and sweaty. and hard. 50 minutes around the neighborhood with my sweetie and the dogs today. Much faster and further (feeling) than the last time. Next time I want to double my time/distance out there.
4.4 miles, 267 climbing. Sounds like nothing in bike terms.
I got in a ride today out at DuPont State Forest with Jonothan and Andrew and Chuck from Greenville. 20 ish miles of Up->Down->Up-Down->Up->Down. Great ride.
We started at about 10:30 at Fawn Lake and were out for a solid three hours. I don’t know my way around DuPont at all so a complete ride description is eluding me. (hey tomato?, uuuuhhhh what was the route?) I basically held (or tried my best to hold) Jonothan’s or Andrew’s back wheel all day. DuPont is so different than Pisgah it’s hard to imagine the two places are so close together. DuPont is full of short steep ups and downs that twist every-which-way-and-back. There is no time for rest at any point. Each uphill is just long enough to get your heartrate going through the roof but short enough that the slowest guy is always there in no time. Let’s see, some highlights: Jonothan and Andrew riding across the river crossing of death (10-12 inches of fast flowing current over a solid, continuous, rock bottom with just enough algae that it feels like you’re on wet ice), New work by Woody and Valorie, including a super bad-ass BMX style wall ride and double jumps. Watching Jonothan and following close behind on the rock wall made me laugh out loud. Plus, I cleaned the first double with style (i.e. my front wheel was a little high). It must have been a 8-10′ jump. At some point we hit Burnt Mountain trail (I did have an idea of where we were then) and I launched off the two drops like I was on a freeride bike. The first one went super smooth, I set up for the second, went off the highest point launch rock thing, and felt that weightlessness/weight of the world feeling… My bars twisted from left to right, right to left, my trailing foot came unclicked (by the grace of God it stayed on the pedal), and I felt myself *gasp* for air…. In case I didn’t say it enough that day, or in case I haven’t said it enough here…. I absolutely love Mountain Biking!!!! I’ve not been able to replicate that feeling anywhere else in my life. I pulled the drop and rocketed into the gravel road. Jonothan was right behind me and when Andrew and Chuck arrived they commented on our perma-grins. We went over to the quarry and rode a few miles of singletrack that was totally new to me. When we got to our furthest-out point I was starting to feel fatigued. We turned around and Jonothan joked that now all we had to do was retrace our steps (pedalstrokes) all the way bak to the car. Whaaaa? As I was still processing if he was kidding or not I had one of those slow speed crashes that will either wake you up, or knock you out of the game. Front wheel washed out in deep leaves and *BAM* I was sliding on my arm and face. Uuugh. Lucky for me Chuck was feeling even more fatigued than me… I was able to take a breather at the top of hill #3452 of the day and regain focus…. If we were only at the half way point… I needed to get it together. Well, we were actually at the 3/4 point (ha ha tomoto. ha ha. you must have seen me hurting). I wrapped my mind around how far we really had to go and I actually started to have a second wind. Two guys (one from Cuba, one from Greece) hopped on with us in the last few miles and brought the pace back up to… where it was when we started. We bid-adeau to them at the turn back to the parking lot. When we got back in Kristin (Tomato’s misses) was waiting for us after her own long day in the woods, reading a book. She let us know Wode had shown up around 1PM and was also enjoying the day. Chris came out of the woods as if on cue, and we all popped open beers and said ‘Cheers!’ to a great day in the woods.
Maybe I should rename this ‘Every time Eric gets his heartrate above 150 Log’
Erinna and I got an excellent run in tonight. 45 minutes around the neighborhood with the dogs. I asked Erinna to ‘pick up the pace’ (she was pacing me the entire time) for the last few hundred yards and suddenly I felt my strides double in length and we were flying! I’m sure I’m going to feel that for a couple of days.
Erinna has been running 3 times or more a week for the past couple of years and I’ve not joined in on that particular brand of torture until… very recently. Drawn by the idea of exercise from the front door, and an alternative means of raising my heartrate in the cold months, I decided to get off my butt and start running. A few weeks ago I got out for about two miles and came back hardly able to walk down stairs. Erinna and I did the same loop a week or so after that and whatayaknow, I didn’t hurt as bad as the first time. Progress? Well, we went to Williamsburg for my sister’s birthday / Thanksgiving and inbetween feasts we got out and went further than I had run since I was in the Air Force…. Maybe 5 miles? I was mentally unprepared to go that far that day… but as it turned out the run to Colonial Williamsburg was just far enough to get a good, solid, warm-up in. The miles up and back on Duke Of Gloucester Street were fun, slow, and not all that hard. The run back to my sister’s house kicked my ass though… and my knees were feeling rickity for a good few days. Today I decided to go at it again. Fresh off the longest run in 13 years I got in a solid hour around the neighborhood and down to the mellowdrome park. The sculpture show is still going on so the run around the park was slow since I was taking in the sights… hell, it was slow because the pace Erinna and I kept in W’burg was slow…. and that’s a fine pace for me for now.
Rich has challenged me to join him for a big run in January…. if I keep this up I just may do it.
Well, it’s taken me a few days to process this ride enough to write it down. I’ll just quickly summerize: Mojo? None. Head in the game? Not at all. Skills to pay the bills? waaaaaaaay in debt. I just couldn’t get it together. Every root knocked me off course. Every leaf hid a gnome ready to throw me to the ground. I walked the uphills, I never properly warmed up. My light seemed inadiquate on the downhill, like I was traveling 50 feet per second and it was only illuminating 35 feet ahead. I lost the back end during a tech section and I started to fishtail like… a motorcycle out of control…. I almost highsided. I was so happy to be in the parkinglot when I got there because the real danger was behind me. I tried to salvage the ride by putting the hammer down up the gravel back to the Jeep and ended up with a solid time of 56 minutes for the loop…. and I got out of there as quick as I could…. before something bad happened!
Erinna and I got out for a fun Bent Creek ride Sunday. She had tons of studying to do but I felt it was my duty to pull her away from the books (after 5 solid hours) and go enjoy the fine Fall afternoon we were having. We took Sophie dog along and started at Hard Times trailhead. Homestead->PineTree->Explorer->get a little turned around->Lower Sidehill ended up being the ride, 75 minutes or so of fun. Highlights: Thomas M. and his (5 year old?) little boy ripping it up, Trish S. and her dog at the bottom of Sidehill, and Sophie reaching 18 mph! on the campground connector. Oh yeah, and realizing that Erinna and I are in a place where we don’t have to go far, like 15 minutes or so, and we’re riding trails that most of the nation would kill for…. and we have so many more trails at our disposal…. that are even better.
Saturday I met up with Scott from Indy, Jonothan L., Valorie N., Dennis K. and Clay F. for what ended up being a short ride for me. The plan was to do the classic Big Creek loop but mechanical issues held me back. Dennis and Clay hauled ass up 1206 to Yellow Gap and I was pleased to find Jonothan and Valorie content with keeping a slower pace up that three mile fire road climb. They were talking trail politics, tomato and I talked racing, we had a chill fun warm up to the gap. We picked up Scott from Indy (after a tour of his campervan/mobile palace) and hit Laurel at full steam. Dennis, Clay, Jonothan, and I were having a great go at it and eah time we stopped to check up, Valorie and Scott were right there, one twist or turn behind. About the time I decided Clay was having a much better day than me and I let him around … my chain dropped… and I thought back to a few nights ago at the shop….when I noticed my chain was loose…. and I proceded to strip out one of the sliding dropout set-screws…. F$@%!…. I put the chain on and watched the train leave the station. I got back on and tried to catch back up and…. ooomph! the chain dropped again. OK, that sucked….. I got back on and tried to spin nice and steady… keep it rollin’….. hit the techy rootyness just before the gap and… it dropped again. I got to the gap feeling defeated and decided it would be best to head back down the hill, get over to Pro Bikes before they closed and have Jason or Alex start drillin’…. so…. that’s what I did. After a series of ‘oh wells’ and ‘next times’ I retraced the ride back down to the car. I hope everyone had a great ride after I turned around, I was having a blast!
Ian ‘The Pony’ L. and I went on a fun ride yesterday: North Slope->Black->Thrift->Grassy->Sycamore. Yes, very simular to the ride I did the day before but hey, when you’ve got something good going on, why do it just once? Plus, Ian isn’t in the best shape these days and when he expressed interest in heading into the woods, I knew it was best to plan a non-epic. We arrived at the PMBAR start/finish at about noon and went over to Davidson River campground first. It was shaping up to be a beautiful day: clear skies, temps in the 50’s, and most of the leaves were still on the trees. The color is starting to wain though, even though we’re having a LATE fall….winter IS on its way. Anyway, I have only been on North Slope a handfull of times and had never navigated it sooooooo the plan was to putz around and figure it out. I realized during the first climb that I must’ve always been totally anerobic when arriving there because I just followed the signs and found the way easily but… with no recognition of ever being there before. Well, that is until the Art Loeb connector, on the ride the day before we had stopped there for a breather. Ian and I made good work of the rollers to the descent (Ian went back and tried every tech move a second, even third time if he chickened out rolling into it) and rolled into the ampitheatre quicker than I had anticipated. Next was Black-> Thrift. We rolled right past the truck and attacked the hill. Ian stayed on the bike nearly the whole time spin spin spinning his way up in granny gear. I would ATTACK!!!! then get off and rest, then ATTACK!!!! then rest. ATTACK!!! rest…. ATTACK!!! rest… Well, that got us up to Thrift in great time. A bunch of yahoo’s (edit) were headed down Black as we were headed up and they must not have gotten the memo…. downhill riders yield to uphill riders…. anyway, the hotwheels track, er, I mean Thrift was next and we R-A-I-L-E-D down it. Thrift is so much fun from the top. It’s 4-6 feet wide with big swooping turns that you hardly need to even brake through. Jumps, berms, swoops, straightaways at a 30* pitch…. scary-fast. Next was grassy road to Sycamore, then Sycamore Cove Loop back to the pavement. Ian had neverbeen on Sycamore so it was definately a treat for him. I had been there just the day before and was feeling pretty confident. I continued the theme of ’scary-fast’ but this time on 3′ wide singletrack and across creeks, with big rocks, logs, drops….. fun fun fun! Ian was nearly right on my tail for the whole descent and as we flew towards the road Ian let of a YEOW! scream and ding ding ding his handlebar bell, I sure sign he was having fun. Thanks for coming out Ian! You always come up with the craziest shit to say…. It’s great to see you on the bike again.
So no pictures until I get a new camera…. if anyone want to know what I want for Christmas….. how ’bout a waterproof, shockproof digital camera like one of these beauties:
Yesterday I met up with Tomato, stiched up Kuntz, SingletrackPig, and G’ville Sam(antha) for a nice three hour ride. The meeting time of 8:30 felt especially early to me as I had gone out to a show the night before (Rev. Horton Heat, Hank III, and Nashville Pussy) but after a little ribbing about the fact that I looked like something the cat ragged in….. we were on our way. Our route: Thrift->Grassy Rd->Sycamore->North Slope->477->Bennett
The ride today had all the elements of a great day, no matter what you’re doing… Great friends, Great weather, Great scenery, Hard work, Hard play, Laughs, Applause, Cussing, Sweating, and when it was all said and done, a since of accomplishment. We had completed…. Something many folks aren’t able to do. Ian ‘The Pony’ L., Ian B., Mike B., Wes, and I rode some of the very best trails in Pisgah today… The Big Nasty…. From the PMBAR start/finish->Black Mountain alllllllll the way up and around to Club Gap->Buckwhat Knob->Bennett Gap->477->276
Holy crap did I just get in from a great great great ride. I took my time this morning, missed all the planned rides and decided to head out to Laurel Mountain around noon. I decided to start at Yellow Gap. When I got there Matt F. and Brad K. had just arrived aand were almost ready to do Laurel/Squirrel so I asked if I could tag along for the Laurel/Pilot section. What was I thinking?!?!?!? Oh yeah, Mr. Totally Out of Shape wants to hop on with the winners of the Double Dare, 2nd at PMBAR…. Well, I took up the third spot in line and went for it. The pace started out way over my head, and mellowed to just incredibly fast. I hammmmmmered and did my best to keep within 10-20 feet of Matt’s wheel, or Brad’s wheel, whoever in their rotation was in second. We passed a small group of fast guys and ent for every tech section on lower Laurel. They caught up to us while Brad was trying a tech spot again and then we rolled like a freight train of five all the way to the gap. I told Matt I needed a break there so we stopped and took a breather. The two others rolled on. After only five minutes we hopped back on and started the steep stuff. Just when I was thinking DAMN! we are freakin’ movin! Where are those other two? We ran up on their back wheels and passed. We each tried the overhang rock twice (Brad got it) and soon after we ran up on another group. We passed them and hammered into the final few gaps. I was feeling great and in great spirits… I was actually hanging on with these guys! It was a busy day on Laurel and as we hit the false $2000 climb we passed a third group. Not wanting to faulter at this stage of the game I really tried hard to keep up. We got to the real hike-a-bike and Brad definately didn’t want to faulter… I’ve never seen anyone clean that much of THAT climb…. he is a freaking MONSTER. We got to the top and I thanked the guys for dragging me up the hill.
13.5 miles / 2990′ climbing
We took the two lefts and were ready one of my favorite descents, Pilot Rock. Matt took the lead, I followed, and Brad took up third. I had never ridden with either of these guys before so as we started I wondered if Matt was going to pull away and Brad was going to run me over…. or what. Matt flew into the switchbacks at the top and once we hit the straightaways he hit mach 3 at least. I held his wheel though and that made me rather pleased with myself. Brad had dropped back a little but as soon as Matt and I arrived at the overlook he was there. We took a breather and I ate an Emergen-C and a gel. Right about the time we were scoping out the line off the rock / back onto the trail the big group we passed at the hike-a-bike came ripping through. It was a showcase of badass full suspension rigs and all but one of them cleaned the double switchback. We waited a minute for them all to get a good head start down Pilot and when we got moving again it was Brad in the lead, then me, then Matt. Brad had just been holding back on the upper section, I guess, because once we got moving we hit dangerous speeds. He not only was hauling, he was showing great technical skills, as well. He hucked off the slab rock and rocketed into the Hum-Vee section and smashed his way through. I slowed wayyyyyy down and picked my way through carefully. That section can eat man and bike alike…. I made it through clean, too. Matt was there moments later and didn’t quite make it through but…. he didn’t get eaten. One, Two, Three more switchbacks, the last straights, an over the bridge and Pilot was done. At this point I said goodbye and headed back to the Jeep, they went on to do S.Mills->Squirrel->LaurelCreek->5015. Freakin’ Studs. I started to think that I was looking at a personal best time for the Laurel/Pilot loop so I put it in overdrive for the gravel road back. The climb back up from Bradley Creek to Yellow Gap went on fooooooorrrrrreeeeeeevvvvvveeeeerrrrrr but… I still made it back to the Jeep in a total time of 2:15. My best time ever was 2:30 from the bottom, so, not my fastest ever, but a damn good effort none-the-less. A great day in the woods, too.
From W. Asheville->Biltmore Forest->Blue Ridge Parkway->Town Mountain Road->Downtown->Clingman back to W Asheville.
28.5 miles, 3830′ climbing.
I decided to head out around 2PM. I called Erinna so someone would know where I was going to be and she knew exactly what I meant when I said ‘The Two Hour Ride’. Right from the get-go I was feeling pretty good so by the time I got to Biltmore Forest I was ready to hammer. That stretch is always longer than expected but I still felt like I made good tim through there. It was a beautiful Fall day, temps in the 60’s, strong breezes, a cloudless sky, and leaves *almost* at their peak color. Next was the Blue Ridge Parkway headed North. Everytime I stood up on the bike it made a click click click sound but I put in (what felt like) a heavy duty pace all the way to Rt70. After crossing the Swannanoa River I knew waht was next…. I mean come on….. rivers aren’t at the TOP of mountains, now are they? By the time I got to the overlook I felt like my heart was going to leap out of my chest and run away screaming He’s Crazy! He’s Crazy! So about 100 yards later I took a break. A few deep breaths and a drink of water later my heartrate was back down into the lower 200’s so I peddled off up up up to Craven’s Gap. Once you’ve done a route a few times (and you don’t use a computer) you find landmarks that let you know how close you are… or how far you are…. from the top. I sure was happy to see the ‘beware of sudden icing’ sign because a little more up, then a nice relaxing down later, I was at the gap. upupupupupup one more time and then the fun had begun …. downhill all the way back to downtown Asheville. I had one car pass me up at the top but other than that I had the downhill lane all to myself. I pushed HARD at the bottom and came flying into the final big swoopy turn so fast….. the bike was leaned over so far…. oh…man…. I passed the road of death (where drivers can’t see you swooping through that turn at 45mph)…. and looked up and saw the downtown skyline, with the mountains behind, still traveling at 30+, and thought to myself…. I’m so thankful to be here…. and to able to do this. A quick jaunt through downtown was next, followed by one more climb from the French Broad River back up to W. Asheville, and I was done. Oh, and time from start to finish? 1:55
The Pisgah MTB Adventure (the race Erinna and I thought up and produce) was voted one of the best cycling events in WNC by the readers of the Mountain XPress!!!!! How cool is that?!?! Thanks everybody!
It’s now Sunday afternoon and Erinna and I just got in from an excellent weekend in the woods. Mike Brown and I arrived in the forest around 9AM Saturday looking to go on the scheduled ride with all the fools camped out at White Pines, but luckily we didn’t have any rush on…. the 9AM ride didn’t get going until 10 til 11. A freakin huge group started up Clawhammer and at Buckhorn Gap 12 of us split off of the ummmm 50? rider ride for the LOOOOOOONG loop. The crew out for the biggin’: Beefcake, Tomato, Broussard, Teamdicky, SingletrackPig, Valorie, Mike B., Dennis K., Brain N., David G., Steve and Eric from Michigan, and myself. The route for the day: 477->Clawhammer->Black->Turkey Pen->S Mills. Val, David, Rich, Mike, Steve, Eric, and I broke off from the rest at this point and continued on Mullinax->Squirrel->S.Mills->Buckhorn->???->Avery Creek->477 back to the camp.
34.6 Miles 10,000 feet of climbing. (!!!)
Erinna had her own great ride yesterday. She had to work until the afternoon so she rode from Asheville to White Pines…
47.5 miles 9600′ climbing dayuuuuuuum! After a LATE night she even got up and went riding with Mike and Kassi for Clawhammer->Maxwell->Black with Sophie and Max. Way to go Sweetie!
Plus, with weekends like this the opportunities for great photos come up. My nomination for photo of the year goes to Brado for this one:
Mike B., Varorie N., Steve D., and I met up this morning a little after 10 for a day of riding and trailwork on Squirrel Gap trail. The route for the day: 66 jumps->S.Mills->Mullinax->Squirrel->O&B to Horse Cove->Cantrell Creek->S.Mills->66 jumps.
Thanks for the pic Valorie!
Trail work done:
Big hole near Mullinax: Rocks were very hard to come by, new benchcut, rock armoring, covered with soil.
Inside turn Wash: Drainage cleared, BIG log moved, rock armoring.
Big Tree down across trail: Now= Pyramid of logs.
Plus scouting to Squirrel at Horse: The USFS needs to get a 36″ chainsaw certified technican out there….
Fun ride everyone. I was happy to finally get out there for a trailday. 4 folks with mountainbikes, 3 sierra saws, 3 folding shovels, and a few hours to be in the woods sure can get a lot done.
Erinna and I went riding with Ian last Wednesday evening. He picked us up around 6PM and we drove to the first gate on FS5000 then did Spencer->Trace.
Thanks for coming out Ian!
No pictures so, a brief description: We parked on 5000 and as we started to get ready we realized the truck was parked on top of (or very near) a yellow jacket nest so we hopped back into Ian’s bigasstruck and tried again lower on the hill. Te climb up 5000 went by quickly, as always, and Ian cleaned the little move at the gate. The climb to the steep hill was just enough of a warm-up for me and I attacked all the way to the downed tree. Sweet! I haven’t cleaned that in a long time! Erinna dabbed at the bottom (so did Ian) but made it all the way to the log also (so did Ian). I was feeling good at that point and Erinna and I took off pretty fast, regrouping twice with the Pony, and everyone had a great run of the off camber rootballs and we were at Trace likity-split. The little hell hill got me pretty good ( I cleaned it but was WAY out of breath at the top). The fastest descent in all of Pisgah was next and it was great having Ian aboard. We hauled ass and it was a treat having him say all the funny silly stupid shit he comes up with while riding. Get that man on a bike and a special switch geys thrown. Anyway, the descent was, well, there were no crashes, the sunset was nice, high speeds were attained, new ruts were rammed through or bunnyhopped and well, then we were at the Trace Ridge parkinglot with big smiles. Quick descent to 5000 then about 2 miles of mild climbing back to the Jeep. 7.5 miles, 1 hour ride time, 1:15 away from the Jeep. Fun, Fast ride with great friends. (one of which hasn’t been on his mountain bike since…. he almost stroked out on heartbreaker….)
Erinna and I went on a fun, fast sub 2 hour ride today. We started at the intersection of the BRP and Black Balsam Rd->up to the parking lot->Ivestor Gap out to the Wilderness Area boundary and back->Flat Laurel Creek->NC215->BRP back to the Jeep.
For now, pictures.
The view from the end of the line on Ivestor Gap trail:
Erinna and the Shining Rock Wilderness Boundary:
and headed back on the out-and-back:
The Green Machine at the Falls on Flat Laurel Creek:
and Erinna on the bridge:
and finally, the Jeep, packed up and ready for the ride back down the hill to Asheville:
Where in the world is Jody Santiago?……. (a.k.a. Labor Day ‘07 on Heartbreaker)
Erinna and I just got in from a killer ride, HEARTBREAK RIDGE!. The group was loosly organized through emails and when it took shape this morning, we had a total of nine riders. Erinna and I were joined by Jeremy A., Valorie N., J.K., Mike R., Jonathon L., Jody F., and David C. We met up at 7:30 at the Kitsuma trailhead and were on the bikes by 8:00. It was down-right chilly to start but by the final climb of the day we would see nearly 80*, storm clouds, and bright sunshine. Jeremy knows his way around Pisgah better than just about anybody. He decided, to start, he’d take us up through the town of Montreat and up some wide singletrack that eventually ran into Toll Road. I had done that route once before but it had been years so, I didn’t know the trail at all. It was a fun change from Ridgecrest->Rattlesnake, that’s for sure. It was a lot like an overgrown tollroad rather than the super steep pitch up the other way. It added about 5 miles or so to the overall ride too. Next was Old Toll all the way to Heartbreak. We stopped at every turn to make sure everyone was going the right way and that made for a ton of changes in the cue of riders. I’d be riding with Erinna, we’d stop, we’d get going again and I was riding with Jonathon.
Here’s a shot of Erinna and Valorie during one of the regroup/check-up/don’t get lost stops:
Erinna and I went to a cookout last night and it made for a full feeling belly, even late in the ride today. I didn’t eat much power food or electrolyte replacement or anything until it was almost too late. Everyone was passing me and I had to take a break. I was getting the first twinges of cramping and UUGH… no power…. Luckily as soon as I rounded the next corner I saw we had made it to the overlook (already? hell yeah!) and it was time for a rest and to force some food down.
The view from the overlook rest stop:
Erinna had made me a tasty sandwich so after one bite, there was no forcing about it. Pictures were taken. Food was eaten. It was a nice long breather at a beautiful spot. The trail pitches upward considerably after the overlook and I was feeling better after the rest.
Here’s a shot of all the bikes at rest before the final big climb:F to R, R to L, Karate Monkey, 5 spot, Waltworks, Specialized?, Waltworks, WTB by Potts, Monocog, Jabberwoky, Rig:
Erinna took off like a bat-out-of-hell chasing the fast boys. I took up the rear with… everyone else…. but I felt good and made pretty good time to the trailers at the top. Erinna was actually the first to the top of the hill. Way to Go Sweetie!!!! Another breather at the trailers then… the descent…. well, not the long one, but the steep one. Jeremy led out, I followed, Mike was behind me. Jeremy pulled over for a mechanical and I passed then let it all hang out. Mike was right on my tail the whole way and witnessed an awesome 4-6′ nosewheely/rock toss that made me thankful I was on a 29er. I’m sure if that had happened on one of those old school kiddy bikes I would have ended up on my face. Anyway, into the field, regroup, ‘everyone know about the right turn?’ and we were off. This time it was Jeremy, Mike, me, then David. Jeremy was gone in an instant. Mike… it took him a minute or so to drop me. My brakes were acting up and David caught me at the first switchback as I was shaking out my hands, he passed and was instantly G O N E. We regrouped at the first uphill on Heartbreaker and after rounds of ‘good run man!’s and ‘F yeah!’s we realized there had been a disturbance in the force…. Jody was missing. Long story short, he had found the Pisgah Bermuda Triangle and spacewarped around a mountain to the wrong place (and time?) and even though when we heard him yell and it sounded like he was waaaaaaaay down in the valley… he was actually…. still way up on the hill. (cue spooky music) 30-45 minutes later a search party went after him, he had not been in voice contact for 15 minutes…. and….. they found him! After a good deal of razzing we were off and descending again. My hands were hurting pretty bad so everyone from before, plus Tomato, went ahead for the next downhill run. Jonathon let me by about half way down and I had a great run of the switchbacks and the final luge plunge into the campsite at the bottom. Regroup then down the gravel and over the tracks, onto pavement then onto Mill Creek Rd. When I got there I had no legs left. J.K. was feling the same way and we rode together up up up and under the railroad, then when we got to the switchbacks going up up up up to Old 70, I lost ‘em. He fell off the back. Up the pavement and back to the cars where Jonathan’s Dad was hanging out, reading a book and drinking a beer, after hiking Kitsuma all the way to Old Fort and back. Sweet. Great ride everyone. David, Valorie, Jeremy, we’ve got to get out there together more often. J.K., great meeting you man, I hope we hook up again soon. Next time we’ll cripple ‘em! Everyone else… we ride together all the time…. let’s keep it that way!
Oh, ride totals were pretty ambiguous: 30-31ish miles, elevation unknown.
First ride in 19 days! (aka Attack of the Hornets)
Sorry for the lack of updates, I try to keep this thing all-rides-all-the-time and I’ve not been out there for a long long time. Today Erinna, Mike B. and I met up with Jody F. and the Extreme Tomato at North Mills River Campground at about 7:15AM. It was already almost 70* and the sun had barely started to climb above the ridgelines. We got started after a few bike tweaks and rounds of ‘hello’s’ and ‘what’s up!’s’. About 3 minutes into the ride David B. came up in his vehicle so we stopped and after a quick getting-ready we were riding again, now as a group of 6. Sweet, welcome aboard David! The climb up to Yellow Gap went by pretty quick but was still hard as hell. Erinna went on a fast ride with an Adventure Race teammate yesterday and was spent. I hadn’t had my heartrate above 120 in over 2 weeks, I was hurting. Everyone else kept a fast pace to the gap while Erinna and I took up the rear and chatted nearly the whole way. Next was the crown jewel of Pisgah, Laurel Mountain trail. I know I’ve expressed it before but… Laurel kicks-ass. Everyone was having a great ride once we got flowing on the singletrack. Mike made a few of the big tech moves, we were in a pretty tight group, the ride was going great….
Here are a couple of videos (I <3>
Jody (singletrackpig), then me, on Laurel at the first tech section/creek crossing. Yes, I need new cleats.
And one of me getting an A+ from Mike B:
then I got hit twice by hornets… We regrouped at the meeting log and I licked my wounds. After a quick breather we continued on Laurel. Mike and Jody were a few bike lengths ahead and we heard the scramble, oh shit!’s, and saw Jody tripping over rocks trying to run as fast as he could. Well, now we had a very upset hornets nest between those two and us four. As Mike said, we were looking at a ‘hornet storm’. We thought we found a way around by bushwhacking but as soon as Jonathon took one step off the trail he stepped right into another nest. I’ll never forget the look on his face as he came scrambling towards me. It was like, he was a truck driver coming down the mountain with no brakes. By this point every one of us, except Erinna, had been stung. We decided to splinter the group with Mike and Jody heading up Laurel, the rest of us heading down. We made plans to meet up again on the Slate Rock / Pilot Cove loop. The descent down Laurel was fun fun fun. Jonathon and I were hauling! We both cleaned the upper tech move, I cleaned the crack rock, we had a great descent. Next was 1206 to the loop and we kept up a pretty good pace all the way until we met up with Mike and Jody again.
Here’s a shot by Jonathon during the climb up the loop:
I was really starting to feel my time off the bike and was off and walking more than usual but soon enough we were at the turn to head out to the rock. Climb…Descent…Climb….Descent with switchbacks!… Climb then we were at the rock.
We got far too comfortable hanging out in the sun so once we did get back on the bikes my legs were dead. I gave it everything I had to get to the descent but at the final little climb before the real descent I didn’t have it. Mike got ahead and started the descent. Mike has gotten super-fast going downhill and I was following his lines all the way until I came around a corner and found him hung up on a log that was like, 2 1/2 feet tall and laying at a 45 across the trail. I called him the sketchmeister for that one and took the lead. What followed was fast fast fast descending. I took risks. I stuck the turns. I ignored the rocks and roots in my path and smashed my way to the bottom. I got a ‘Good job man!’ from Mike and may have even pulled away from him at one point. sweeeeeet. I put in a hard effort and it paid off. Next was the final 100 yards or so of singletrack then the fireroad back to the gap. I was done long before the gap. A quick regroup then the super fast 3 mile fireroad descent to the cars followed. Thanks for dragging my out-of-shape butt around the hills guys. Great seeing everyone.
ouch. 35.8 miles with 8900′ of climbing shouldn’t have hurt that bad. Oh yeah… We topped out at 6000′ elevation after starting at 2300′… uummmm… and oh yeah…Teamdicky, Josh the Wonderboy, Ian B., and Mike B were riding with me… I guess hurting that bad should have been expected.
We started a few minutes after 7AM at the fish hatchery parking lot. That’s not all that early of a start for me but Rich and Josh had a 2.5 hour drive up from Charlotte… Thanks for making it guys. Our route: 475->Davidson River->Caney Bottom->225->Upper Cove Creek Road (Out and back after a lot of f’n around trying to find Sainard Ridge)->225->???->(hike Sainard Ridge 1.9 mile 1300′ climb)->BRP->Black Balsam Rd.->Ivestor Gap (out and back to Art Loeb)->Flat Laurel Creek->NC215->BRP->(hike Art Loeb 1.6mile 1250′ descent during a monster thunderstorm)->Farlow Gap->Daniel Ridge->475->Davidson River->475 back to the cars.
Photos… of the ride…. before….. my camera spent 3-5 minutes underwater….
That’s a dirty, dirty little box. Moments after waking up Rich and Josh in the parking lot:
Morning on Caney. Freakin’ awesome.
Josh cleaning the slimy rock-armoring on Caney Bottom. Again, as with all videos, think steeper than it looks:
Then we got lost. Then we found our way. If you don’t believe we hiked it…. You’ve never been there. Hiking is the only option. Here’s Mike B ahead:
and Josh behind:
Rich and Ian?…. well…. they were ahead at this point. The group splintered for most of the climbs. Rich, Ian, and Mike were ahead, Josh and I were happy, safe, and lookin’ at flowers… and salamanders…. and increasingly HUGE views.
The camera didn’t come out again for a while. Here’s the group at Ivestor Gap. We had just passed our highest point of the ride:
Wait! Where’s Mike B.? Oh… picking blueberries…. mmmmmm blueberries……..
Rich seemed to be really liking his new bike. This here is one bad-ass custom 29er. Designed to meet the needs of an endurance racer super-freak. Thylacine titanium frame. I-9 wheels. everything else is subject to change.:
Then…. the final picture…. I wasn’t minding my camera soon after this photo and it sat fairly submerged in a creek during a water filter project. Rest in recycled little pieces little camera…. Oh, pretty sweet pic. We found the little green Moab trail. We all agreed, Moab came to mind. Big views, big rock and drops, (east coast)elevation, multiple lines, high speed, and little room for error…. but green… and humid…