I got out today with a great group of guys and one gal for a Tour de Turkey Pen. Rich wanted to learn his way around that area so I came up with a big ‘ole loop that hit just about every important intersection (plus a couple unimportant ones): Vineyard Gap->wrong way->66 jumps->Vineyard Gap->Riverside->Bradley->Squirrel->Cantrell->S.Mills->Mullinax->Laurel Creek->Bradley->66 jumps. The rollcall for the group went like this: Blair, Rob C, Tim K, Sam, Leanne, John, Bill F, Rich D, Dennis just Dennis, and myself. 22 miles, 3800′ of climbing.
The GPS malfunctioned between Laurel Gap and Cantrell Creek…. and the battery in my camera died…. Oh well…. I did get a couple of photos….
The ride started with notVineyard to 66 jumps to Vineyard. My bad…. Anyway, here’s a shot of Bill and the train of riders on the hike-a-bike up Vineyard the second time:
Vineyard was a blast. It’s been several years since I’ve been back there and I had forgotten about all the rollercoaster hills inbetween the big up and the big down that I did remember. The big down was longer than I remembered, too. There were logs across the trail at the most inopportune places, perfect for pulling sideways around the turn bunny hops…. which were probably the cause of the pinch flat I got just before the bottom. Rob C was just seconds behind.
Next was Riverside, another trail that I hadn’t been on in ages. The crossings were deep and there were many of them. I thought for sure someone was going to take the dunk today (it didn’t happen).
Riverside wanders back and forth across the river but doesn’t really gain or loose any real elevation. Left onto Bradley Creek right where it DOES start to climb then Right onto Squirrel to Pea Gap. That climb went by much quicker than I expected… but I was chasing Rich and Bill…. so…. I guess I should have expected it to go by fast. Our group of ten crossed paths with a group of three twice today. Here’s Bill at our first meeting with them:
about ten minutes after this photo I was again chasing Rich and Bill, this time up Squirrel towards Cantrell. We came across the other group and the girl in orange had dislocated her finger but the chivalrous man along with them put it back in place for her. We ran into them near the end of the day and she was still in high spirits. Sweet. The climb to the gap was fast fast fast and after a quick breather and a bite to eat we were back on the bikes and made fast work of the section to Cantrell. I was feeling on FIRE and made it to Cantrell about a minute before Rich:
Then my camera died…. and I’m hungry…. so I’ll finish this up later.
photos by Rob C.: My first real attempt at crossing the log bridge on Cantrell.:
Today I got out for an extremely challenging Pisgah ride. Mike B., Kris K., and I left Asheville around 9AM and arrived at Black Mountain trailhead (the PMBAR start/finish) and were on the bikes quickly with a huge day of riding ahead of us. Along the way Kris had a locust stick sling up into his rear wheel, taking out 1/2 of the spokes. His day was done long before Mike and I. My crackberry worked way out there on S. Mills River trail and we arranged for a ride out of the woods for him. Anyway, Mike and I rode: Black Mountain->Buckhorn Gap->S.Mills->Squirrel->Cantrell->S. Mills->Bradley Creek->1206->Slate Rock/Pilot Cove->lower Pilot connector->lower Pilot->1206->276->Discovery Center->477->276 back to the Mike’s vehicle.
Well, first and foremost I have to compliment Dennis D. on his ever improving riding skills.
He’s only been at this whole mountain biking thing for what? 6 months? and today we knocked out an advanced Pisgah ride: S.Mills->Mullinax->Squirrel->S.Mills->Buckhorn Gap->Black Mountain->Turkey Pen Gap in just over 5 hours.
20.5 miles, 4050′ climbing
That’s not slouchin’ one bit. We (including Sophiedog) arrived at Turkey Pen parking lot a little after 9AM with plans to do Laurel->Squirrel. I wasn’t feelin’ getting my feet wet once we got there though so I suggested another route altogether. The climb up Mullinax was as hard as ever and we took our first breather at Pea Gap. Squirrel was next and we kept a pretty good pace along the whole way.
We found the latest SORBA trail work (GREAT JOB GUYS) and crossed paths with Ben P. and Matt R.
After a round of hellos and introductions we were on our way again heading towards Horse Cove.
The trail gets insanely tech through there. Anyway, soon after Horse we ran into another group of riders, this time Patrick ?, Eric B., and Nick ?. Nick was having a rough moment, his crankarm was detached from his machine….. On to S.Mills was next and we got there in great time. I filled my camlebak from the river and we continued up S.Mills to Buckhorn Gap trail.
That climb went by quickly, I was feeling great, and we stopped again once we hit Black Mountain trail at Clawhammer road.
The hike a bike up Black got me though, I was feeling fatigue setting in pretty quickly. We took another quick rest at the overlook
and pressed on to Turkey Pen Gap trail. Up the unbelievably steep switchbacks, over Clawhammer and Black Mountains, then we stopped again and ate just about all the food left between us.
Dennis had a 4:30 date so we had to keep moving to get back to the Jeep by 3:00. I was hauling ass down Turkey Pen, hopped a pretty big log, overshot a corner, hit the underbrush, and was tossed head first into a tangle of limbs and downed logs. Whew! no damage to me or my bike. I did, however, almost cramp trying to get the bike off of me. That made the last few climbs of the day even harder than they should have been but right as we hit the last SUPER steep climb we ran into another group, this time Mert D. and Tim ?. Tim was miserable but thankful to know the ride was almost done. We had been following these two all day, we just didn’t know it. A couple more quick downhills later
and we were back at the parking lot. 5:15 total ride time. Not bad. Not bad at all….