Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thanks Teresa!

Thanks Teresa for watching Zoe this morning and allowing Erinna and I to get out to Bent Creek. It was a beautiful late summer morning with the temps in the high 60's, zero humidity, and sunny skies, a perfect atmosphere for zipping around the local recreation area.

Our route for the day: From Rice Pinnacle->Hardtimes connector->South Ridge->Sleepy Gap->Explorer Alt.->Explorer->Pinetree->Campground connector->Hardtimes connector. The GPS says we went exactly 10 miles.

All is right in the universe. Erinna and I are riding together again.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Perfect (dog) ride.

Mike B and Maximillian-the-overdrive rallied at 9AM at my house today for a dog paced ride, something Sophiedog and I were all about.

We parked at Turkey Pen and our route for the day was singletrack->S.Mills->Cantrell->Squirrel->Bradley->66 jumps.

Just real quick, highlights of the day: 1.The warm-up on S.Mills. I felt great from the first to the last pedal stroke of the day. Sophie and Max were ecstatic to be in the woods, too. 2. Cleaning sooooo much of Cantrell UP. Mike and I were ON today.

(pictures more or less unrelated to text other than that they are from today's ride)

3. The tech section between Cantrell Creek and Laurel Gap on Squirrel. Two or three dabs the entire way for each of us. That section of trail is so unbelievably technical I cannot find words that does the scene justice. Oh, who's up for a September Dragon's Back, VA camp and ride?

4. The downhill from Laurel Gap. Holy Hell. Mike was up front and we were hanging it all out. Then, without warning, Mike would just accelerate. I thought, 'Well, I guess I can go faster, too' and would reel him in. Then he would do it again! and I did the same thing, all the way to the point that I almost let my front end drop off the edge, and I knew I needed to stop chasing if that was going to be the speed of the day, and we were at the intersection of Mullinax just like that.

5. Finishing with Squirrel all the way to Bradley. The dogs got the water they needed, the views were spectacular, and Mike even got a swim in at the end.

Thanks for joining me for another outstanding day in the woods Mike B., Max, and Sophie.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

35 mph on Trace? Hotdamn!

I had the morning off from work today so I took the opportunity and got out into the woods for a little while. From the first gate on 5000->Spencer->Trace->Wash Creek->Bear Branch->5001->5000. A fun 90 minute tour of the Trace Ridge area.
The warm-up today was similar to the last, my heart felt like it was going to pound out of my chest, but after about 20 minutes I was feeling in the groove. The climb went by quickly even with the hard warm up and a few texts coming in (I had to stop and check them, I was kinda playing hooky). At the Spencer/Trace intersection I snapped a quick photo:

and didn't take a real break until after I climbed the little hell hill to the Trace descent. In the first bit of Trace I passed a family and their two dogs but otherwise I didn't see a soul all day. By the time I was at the real Trace Ridge descent I was feeling great and was ready to put the hammer down. Trace is one of the fastest off-road descents that I know of and today I was flying. The trail isn't even in great shape right now but there is something to knowing every foot of a trail, where to brake, where to pedal, where to coast, how hard to pull up, how sharp that next turn is... that allows you to go faster than what's probably safe. When I rocketed into the parking lot I checked the GPS: 34.8 mph was my max speed. Holy crap. Lower Trace to Wash Creek to 5000 was next then I made the decision, based on my wife's recommendation, to climb Bear Branch trail to 5001. Where as I know Trace like the back of my hand, the opposite is true for Bear Branch up. Pisgah is an amazing place. After all these years of riding I cannot recall one ride that included riding up Bear Branch. What a trip. It was a fun climb through a pine stand with a few steep spots to contend with. Not bad! Down 5001 was slick in every corner and the climb back to the gate, and the Jeep, was over in minutes. I wish I had the time to keep moving at that point, I was feeling pretty darn good.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pavement->Gravel Loop

I just walked in from an excellent ride on the 'ole orange multibeast. I was called into work just as I was preparing to go so I didn't get the super-early start that I had planned. No matter, it was just a little hotter at the end than it otherwise would have been. It turned out to be a beautiful day with highs in the low 80's and sunny skies after the last of the morning mist burned off.
The route for the day: From Bent Creek Gap-> Blue Ridge Parkway->NC276->FS1206->FS5000 back to the gap. 33.2 miles, 5200' climbing, 2:58 time out.

The warm-up on the parkway caught me off guard. It felt like my heart was going to pound out of my chest or maybe just come to a sudden stop like an engine locking up. After about two miles of climbing though I was able to start to stand and hammer.

The climb up to the Pisgah Inn still went by a little slower than I had anticipated, just under an hour, but I did stop and take in the views a couple of times. I guess just under an hour actually wasn't that bad.

Just past the Pisgah Inn the parkway was under construction and a group of cyclists were milling about waiting for the light to turn green. I met this guy, John G., who was riding this bad-ass old StumpJumper way up on the parkway. Actually, what looked like his entire family was along on all his old bikes. Pretty cool.

The NC276 descent was a freaking blast. I had a carrot ahead of me by a few hundred yards, a big ole truck that I hauling through the corners. I slowly reeled him in and he broke off to the left to let me pass right in the final straight-aways to FS1206. The way I pulled away I must have been cruising about 45mph or so.

So, the turn onto 1206 was next and during the 5 miles of mostly flat gravel road I was absolutely flying, or at least it felt like it. The 53x12 max gearing and 80* of pressure in 28mm wide tires flies just about anywhere. The whole 'Monster-Cross' concept intrigues me because the descent to Bradley Creek and down from Yellow Gap to NMRC were equally scream out loud scary and 'whoop' out loud fun on the 28s. I want a bigger tire F&R, but with the same road-bike handling I've got right now....

I stopped at NMRC for more water (I consumed 5 tall bottles by the end of the day) and turned onto 5000 for the return trip to the parkway. Once I was up the pavement and past the Trace Ridge turn it really felt like I was flying on the flats. I was pushing the big ring as far as I could, which ended up being right about the first gate... The road gets steep for a while there and I was unable to get out of the small ring for the rest of the climb. I had looked at my phone at NMRC and I knew I had about 40 minutes left to beat my 3 hour goal and when I looked up and noticed I was at the Jeep... 38 minutes had passed. Excellent.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Last evening Erinna hosted a ladies-only clothes-swap party at our house so I had to get out of there for a couple of hours. I loaded up the SS for a bit of Bent Creek with the idea of finishing the route Sophiedog was unable to complete on Monday. I arrived to find I had forgotten to refill my camelbak after my last ride so I bummed just enough from a loyal ride-log reader, Jeff, to make it through an hour and a half of SUPER high paced riding. It's amazing how just changing things up a little bit can rejuvenate my excitement for riding. Not that I haven't been psyched to do 4+ hours of over-the-top-technical slow-moving deep-woods Pisgah riding on a 5+" forked /geared machine but..... 90 minutes of buff singletrack and gravel as fast as possible on the single speed at the local recreation area was exactly what I needed. Let's see, some highlights: Realizing I was going to have to really pick up the pace if I wanted to catch the badass girl runner that passed me while I was taking the above butterfly picture, catching a little too much air coming down sleepy gap, descending past the SORBA crew at mach7 as they were climbing Explorer, helping a brokendown rider only to realize I had left my tools at home (with a bolt on front wheel and tubes! yikes!) and making the spur of the moment decision that, no, I was in fact not done yet, and knocking out another 30 minutes of fastfastfast riding at the end. Yup, that was exactly the ride I was looking for.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Bent Creek with Sophiedog

I just walked in from a half day of work and a quick jaunt around Bent Creek. Sophiedog came along for it all. Unfortunately, she wasn't feelin' the high-pace of the route I chose: South Ridge->Sleepy Gap->Explorer... By the time we arrived at the gravel road to head over to Lower Sidehill Sophie was spent. We turned around and went back to the car via Explorer->Pinetree->Campground connector. Sophie is great on slow technical trails but I'm afraid Bent Creek may be just too fast for her anymore.
Despite the short distance the ride was spectacular. Temps in the 80's, sunny skies, talkative folks in the parking lot, and more riders/runners coming from all directions than I've seen in a long time. Plus, you know, I was on my bike in Pisgah with the dog. Not much beats that.

Monday, August 2, 2010

More fun than we should be allowed to have

Erinna, Sophiedog the Brave, and I went on one of the most fun filled mountain bike rides EVER yesterday. Ian 'The Pony' L. and Calum R. rallied at our house in the BigAssTruck at about 10:30 after a huge morning rainstorm had squelched our original 7:30 ride plan.

Our route for the day: Davidson River->Cove Creek->YellowBlaze->225->Daniel Ridge->Davidson River.

This ride was the first time Erinna and I had been off-road together since she was 4 months pregnant and a fun route, understanding crew, and slow pace was to be the order of the day.

The ride started with a pace higher than I was expecting on Davidson but as soon as we hit Cove Creek the real fun began.

We slowed to a crawl and picked our way up that rooty, non-tech climb while talking and laughing the entire way.

Calum and I were hitting the creek crossings with abandon but he was the only one to try this one:

Calum R on Cove Creek trail from pisgahproductions on Vimeo.

Its funny how group dynamics work. When we hit 225 nothing was said, there were no visual cues, no nods or winks, everyone just picked up the pace and we hammered to Daniel Ridge.

Erinna was even in the chase, standing and climbing, until again, with no warning, nods, or winks, we all stopped at a ripe blackberry patch, dropped our bikes, and were collecting handfuls of fruit. It was just one of those days when everyone was in synch.

The turn to Daniel Ridge came quickly and we decided to take the clockwise (longer, less tech) way down. Calum was on his monstertruckbike so he went first for the descent. That man is F-A-S-T when the front wheel is lower than the rear. He hit every here-to-there jump the trail had to offer and drifted into corners fast and furiously. We would regroup every chance we had and the group arrived at the waterfall at the bottom together. After a quick dip in the cleansing waters of Daniel Ridge falls

we were back at the BAT in a little over two hours. Thanks for coming out guys! Thanks for watching Zoe, Mona! Thanks for getting back into the off-road saddle Erinna!!!!