Monday, March 22, 2010
This morning I got to work at 6:30, did my required paperwork and sets for the day, and was home before 8:00 and managed to get out to the PMBAR start/finish by 9:00 for a quick jaunt around the Clawhammer->Black Mountain loop.
When I arrived I was surprised that the temps were much cooler than in Asheville so I donned every bit of clothing I had along. The pavement/gravel to the horse stables went by in a flash as I tried to get nice and warmed up as soon as possible. Clawhammer was next and after last night's rains it was nice and soft and slow. I passed right by Maxwell and was feeling pretty good (chugging along in my granny) until the last time Buckhorn trail crosses. I thought for sure I was at the top.... but no, it just gets worse from there... Oh, along the way I was looking for the cemetery that's up there somewhere. Does anyone know exactly where it is? No rest at Buckhorn because I was feeling rather frozen and up the switchbacks to Clawhammer Mountain followed. When I reached Clawhammer it looked like a war zone (well, minus the concrete/metal/fire/death). The top of every tree was broken off by this past winter's snow storms but the trail had been cleared.
A big thanks goes out to everybody that's been clearing the trails.
I took my first break at the overlook in the saddle, pushed over Black, noticed hat it was starting to SNOW, then started the descent back to the Jeep. This ride served as the rebuild break-in ride for the PR2.0
and I had a few issues that came to light during the downhill but otherwise the descent was fun, kinda fast, safe, flowy, and my hands were frozen. When I got back to the Jeep the temps had fallen and a steady flurry of snow had started. Perfect timing.
A little over two hours on the bike with slow and steady moving and hardly a rest...
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Last night I went to the Grey Eagle to check out the Wood Brothers and I completely forgot about G.W. time so this morning I was an hour behind for the scheduled 8am raincall/9am rally/10am start that was planned. With Sophiedag along we picked up Mike B. and Maximum Overdrive and met Mike R. and Eric C. at Turkey Pen trailhead at 11. The proposed route for the day: Mullinax->Squirrel asfaraswewanted then back. I was looking forward to getting out in the woods and didn't really know what to expect in terms of trail conditions. This has been the hardest winter that I've experienced for the Pisgah region. Record snows, huge wind events, and bitter cold that was proceeded by (and seems like it will be followed by) record rains. Well, the trails were a total mess. We still had the idea of making it to say.... Cantrell Creek area as we made our way onto Squirrel. Someone had already cleared Mullinax. Soon thereafter we understood that what lay ahead was not a ride day but a trail work day. Squirrel was a disaster. Luckily there was a folding saw in Mike B.'s pack as with the aid of that one tool we were able to clear the length of Squirrel all the way to Laurel Gap. It was if nothing else, a day of trail work that I needed to get in and a total body workout. On and off the bikes, taking turns sawing through up to 6" trees, pulling, pushing, dragging trees downhill, it was very tough and slow going.
We probably cleared a hundred of piles of downfall. I don't believe I'm exaggerating.
It took nearly three hours to get to the gap. Once there I felt the need to get home and do my part tending to Miss Zoe so we turned around there. It was very rewarding being able to descend the freshly cleared trail. Our work had made Squirrel ridable again and we hit break neck speeds and accomplished some fine bike wrasslin' by the time we got to the bottom.
Eric and Mike R. decided it was such great fun that they should do it again so we bid good-day to them at the S. Mills River bridge and Mike B and I climbed back to the Jeep.
Great day in the woods with he dogs and great company. Exactly the ride that I needed to start the long road to getting back in shape.