Monday, April 25, 2011

Two rides in two days?!?!? What could be better than that?!?!?

Alternate title: Riding in Pisgah with my wife?!?!?!? What could be better than that?!?!?

My beautiful wife at the Wash Creek bridge:
Erinna and I got out for an over-the-top smile-producing most-excellent mountain-bike ride today. A few pictures for now, A ride description later.


Erinna at the swinging bridge on North Mills River trail:

Erinna on Spencer Gap trail:
and at the top of the climb on Trace Ridge trail:
A Stan's flat? No way!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Jimminy Cricket!

I just had my ass handed to me. Thank you very much Greg C.
After a beautiful Easter day of hanging out with the family plus Katie, Greg, and Dahlia, Greg and I decided it would be a great idea to get on the road bikes starting at about 8PM. We hit the road at 8:30 without a solid plan other than to climb Webb Cove. Our ultimate route Waynesville->Riverside->Elk Mountain->Lakeside->Osborne->Beaverdam->Webb Cove->Blue Ridge Parkway->Town Mountain->College->Heywood->Chicken Hill->Waynesville.

Droid Stats: 24.2 miles, 2570' elevation gain, 1:39 moving, 14.5 average, 44mph max. Kick ass.

Greg set the pace early and after a couple insane passes by motorists I decided to push and hold his wheel to get that nasty stretch of pavement over with and it was done in a flash. I was seeing stars and doing my best to not need to stop for the climb through Woodfin and finally had to warn Greg that the climb up Beaverdam was NOT going to go by as quickly as the last few miles had, for me at least. He slowed just enough that I was able to catch my breath and get into a comfortable spin. Exactly what I needed I guess because the climb to Webb Cove wasn't that bad and by the time we were at the gravel I was feeling damn spry. We were both out of the saddle and hammering when, lickity split, we were at the parkway. Hell. Yes.
The Town Mountain descent really got the lactic acid building in my legs. They were on FIRE as I pushed but I still pushed as. hard. as. I. could. I was able to drop Greg in the chicanes but he easily reeled me back in on the straight-aways. I was absolutely flying at the final turn headed into downtown and Greg was only seconds behind. EXCELLENT. EXCELLENT. EXCELLENT.
We took the fun twisty way back to West Asheville and parted ways less than two hours after starting. Awesome ride Greg. Thanks for getting out. Happy Easter everyone!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

First group ride since October!

Last night I got out for an excellent ride. I met up with Mike R. and Eric C. at the bridge at North Mills River Campground at 6:30pm. Our plan: Fisherman's->North Mills->Yellow Gap trail->5051->1206->Yellow Gap where we would meet up with the ANDC and continue with the most classic of Pisgah rides, Laurel->Pilot.

Our prologue loop was tons of fun for me because Eric and Mike were whooped from a huge day in Pisgah just days before. I could warm-up the way I like to: Slow at first, short sprints to get the heartrate up, and frequent stops to catch my breath. Jody and Ben passed us while climbing 1206 and I told them we'd be there in a half hour. Well, about 25 minutes later we arrived at Yellow Gap, right as everyone else (Jody F., Ben W., Than ?, and Clint ?)was just ready to go.
The pace up Laurel was much higher than I expected but the breathers were frequent. Everyone took their turn (even me!) in the lead pulling the group but generally Jody and Ben were out front, Mike, Eric, Than, and I traded places again and again, and Clint was off the back. LAurel was in great shape. The soil was dry but every water source was flowing like back-in-the-day, before the droughts. This made for fast going when we were going but the stops were frequent and long.
It was a beautiful night to be in the woods with temps in the 60's and a strong warmish wind. The skies were clear and stars were visible in the millions. Perfect for the tempo of the ride: Hammer to every gap. Stop at every gap to regroup. Not the best way to keep the flow going but a great way to enjoy a splendid evening.
The $2000 climb was notable this evening because of the pace. My calves were on FIRE just trying to not get runover by Ben W.
The descent down Pilot Rock will be marked as one of the finest in recent memory. More about that after the break. Wait Wait... I've got to mention Jody's spectacular crash in the HumVee section. Again, more after the break.... It's just that.... that crash was spectacular! Another late edit: I just remembered a conversation from last night. Mike, Jody, and I were waiting up on the downhill and I mentioned it was Erinna's and my anniversary tomorrow. Jody then told me he had just had his 13th anniversary. 'Know what the best part of the 13th anniversary is?' 'No Jody, what' 'It's the lace anniversary...'

Yes, that orange ball is the rising moon.

OK, last edit: The downhill was one to remember. It was spectacular. It was incredible. It was the type of descent that brought me to Asheville in the first place. No one was particularly looking to take the lead from the top so I took my turn off the top of the hill. I led out the group as fast as I could and had sooooo much fun. The switchbacks were coming with ease and I felt 'ON' like I've not felt in a while. Mike and Jody were in the chase and Ben was next when we arrived at the upper overlook. We had seen glimpses of the moon on our way down but we were now able to see the full panorama view. An orange ball rising, orange city lights, white riding lights flashing on the side of the mountain... Anyway, after the breather Mike took the lead and I had to let Jody by before we hit the HumVee. My forearms were getting rather fatigued. Mike took off like a bat out of hell as I followed Jody. The wreck he had moments later was unbelievably awesome since he didn't get hurt. It was like he hit a landmine. Bike flipping off in one direction, Jody flipping through the air..... .... ... .. . Two thoughts I had during the .75 seconds that it took for the wreck to occur: 1. 'Isn't that bike made of aluminum?' 2. As soon as he hit 'Cheezy Rice was that hit chin that just made that smack noise?' (that what I thought I had seen). Luckily bike and chin made it unscathed. I took up second place again after that all the way to 1206. Mike, by the way, was flying at this point. I couldn't hold him.
At 1206 we had a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG wait for the rest of the rest to show up then the hammer was down for the descent to Bradley Creek. 20 minutes of climbing after that we were at Yellow Gap and minutes later Mike Eric, and I were at NMRC. Awesome ride guys. Thanks for getting out there.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

1st ride in the new PMBAR jersey

From West Asheville->Carrier Park->Hominy Creek Park->191->Blue Ridge Parkway to Bent Creek Gap->479->Bent Creek Ranch->Pole Creaseman->191->Hominy Creek->Carrier->back to Westville. 30.1 miles, 2680' elevation gain, 2:24 moving time, 12.5 mph average, 37.8 mph max. starting at 8:15 PM!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Just what I needed...

A serving of the Extra Large Nasty.
From PMBAR start/finish->Thrift Cove->Black Mountain->Buckwheat Knob->Bennett Gap->477->Clawhammer->Maxwell->Black back to the PMBAR start/finish.

Droid stats: 19.25 miles, 5935' elevation gain, 20.3 max speed, 5.9 avg speed.

What an awesome day in the woods that was. After being off the bike for two weeks because of work, weather, and getting used to Erinna's new night shift schedule I decided that the way to shake the cobwebs out of my legs was by hitting Pisgah with a ride that would make most beginners and out-of-towners whimper.
I started at just about 7:30 at the PMBAR start/finish and decided to change things up a little bit. I had 4.5 hours to spend so why not start with Thrift Cove? I was surprised by 1. how steep Thrift is in places and 2. How quickly I was at the turn to Black Mountain. I also overshot a little here-to-there on the one descent and decided to take it easy rather than let it all hang out for the rest of the day. I gave the middle section of Black my all but was off the bike for just about everything past Pressley Gap to Turkey Pen. The entire way though my eyes were looking forward and I kept up a steady 1..2 1..2 1..2 pace. Over the top and through the serious switchbacks and even past the overlooks went by with resolve, I was on the bike headed downhill like a man on a mission. I even went right through Buckhorn Gap without a break. I did decide, however, to stop at the shelter for a breather and half a sandwich:
I thought to myself: 'I'm feeling good. No reason to stay any longer than necessary' and kept on keepin' on... The best part about that is I really started to feel good at that point. Not fast,mind you, but good. I cleaned everything but the steps all the way to Club Gap. No rest at the gap but I did have to get off the bike a couple of times before Buckwheat Knob. The descent to Bennett Gap was cautious but again I cleaned everything (and that's saying something since I haven't cleaned the top in the last few tries). Once on Bennett I realized my time was getting tight and Ikept moving forward without a break.... well, until the overlook. I had to stop this time:
The Bennett downhill went like most solo Bennett downhills: Q-bert rock? Nope. Thread the needle? Nope. Highspeed serious downhill pitch loghops and rootballs? Absolutely. I nailed them all. No stop at Coontree, just hammer through, then I took a nice rest on lower Bennett when I ran into Fusco, Curtis, and their two friends who's names I've forgotten already. At 477 it was 11:00 and I was to meet Erinna so she could go on her own ride at Noon at the PMBAR start/finish. 1 hour. I texted Erinna and told her my plan: at horse stables clawhammer maxwell black next one hour will be hard but ill try my hardest. Well, I tried my hardest but my legs were toast. When I got to the top I was surprised by how quickly Clawhammer/Maxwell had gone by since my legs were feeling so bad but that strange space/time/fatigue thing must have been in full force because when I looked at my timepiece at the top I only had 18 minutes to make it back... Fast? Slow? I wasn't sure. The climb from Pressley was the hardest of the day and by the time I was descending Black back to the Jeep my ears were whistling MUCH louder than usual, and I was starting to feel lightheaded, but my resolve was still clear. FINISH BY HIGH NOON. Well, here's a photo of what I came upon right at 12:07.
Erinna and Zoe, happy as can be, hanging out on a beautiful early Spring, 70 degree sunny day. About 20 minutes later Erinna was out on her own Pisgah ride and Zoe and I were headed back to Asheville. What a great way to spend the day.
Oh, a couple more things, along the way I conceptualized some hideous PMBAR special tests and saw a large bird of great significance. Yes, this was exactly what I needed.