Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A fine afternoon on the Biltmore trails

 I just walked in from a fun (until the very end) ride at the Biltmore Estate. Arbor Trace->Black->Blue. I had planned on getting out into Pisgah but after being called into work a second time I decided it would be best to just stay close by, like, on property.
Arbor Trace has a nice warm-up along the river and gets into some fun rolling singletrack after it crosses the Winery Road. I stopped for a few photos, gave directions, and was on the back of the out and back quickly. Black was next. 
 Black has the hardest little grunt climbs but over in a flash. The longest singletrack on the Estate is Blue. It's not as tech as Black but has a flow that only Woody built trails have. It meets up with the Land Rover Experience trails and passes by the front of the Inn before diving back into the woods for the final few hundred yards of trail.
Little Buddy on Black Diamond Trail
 Well, just as I was about to turn into the field in front of the hotel I had yellowjackets attacking me. One landed on my lower lip and as I went to spfft! spit it away it stung the inside of my lip and the tip of my tongue! Holy Hell!
Obviously not the attackers, just someone hanging out at the Jeep when I got back.
 I'll try to remember to take a picture when the swelling is at it's worst. Hopefully that's not much greater than right now because.... already I don't think dinner or drinks without a straw are in tonight's plans....

OK, here's a shot from 1 hour after the ride.... and my lip is STILL swelling....

View 2011-09-28 13:50 in a larger map


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dude. I was on this ride and like, a HIKE broke out!

Today was awesome. Totally F'ing awesome. Jody F. showed up at my house at 8:00 and we met Tomato and J at NMRC. We were on our bikes around 9:30 or so, rendezvoused with Erinna and Zoe at the top of Mount Pisgah at 1:00, and were back at the cars at 3:30. Our route: NMRC->1206->Laurel->Gnome->*walk* M2C->*walk* to the Mt Pisgah Summit and back->BRP->Big Creek->Reservoir Rd->Lower Trace. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

Where's that confounded gnome?

Jody F and I got out last night for a ride in Turkey Pen. The idea struck us on the way out to try to locate the gnome down in the bowels of Turkey Pen since soon enough it'll be too cold and the water will be too high to get down there until next Spring.

Well, damn that gnome. Damn that gnome to Hell! Every time I go after it something unexpected happens including an adventure ride. We started slow on not-Vinyard and looped back around to the parking lot as a warm-up loop and just as we arrived the rain started to fall. Up Vinyard followed and the rain slowed then stopped, just after turning every root into a snotty-slick mess.

I hit the deck pretty hard then almost immediately had a crazy mechanical. A thick stick got caught up in my rear triangle, somehow broke the valve stem off without breaking a spoke, and actually forced the tire off the bead. Crazy. I was wondering if I was in for a repeat of the shortest ride ever because my front tire was also loosing air. Anyway, we BOMBED down Vinyard to Riverside. The descent was incredible. Slimy roots were sending my wheels in all sorts of unintended directions and my foot was off acting like a rudder on more than one occasion. We crossed the river and I made the fateful decision to go Left on Riverside, thinking that it was the shorter and dryer route.

I was wrong. After what felt like 10 crossings we ran into a problem.

We could not find where the trail exited the river at one especially wide crossing. New trees were down and we scrambled among the crowns trying to find a blaze. After literally a dozen times crossing back and forth trying to find the trail I finally spotted the yellow blaze we were looking for.

A half hour had passed where we were wading in thigh deep, fast moving, river water and the temps were steadily falling. I was feeling rather chilled and was happy to be moving again. We missed the turn to Pea Gap and were at the swinging bridge shortly thereafter. We decided that you know, it was already 10 PM, it was probably best to head back to the parking lot. We took the singletrack back up to the vehicle then enjoyed a couple post ride beers. We talked and laughed and told stories for probably an hour but just before we turned onto the highway was a moment to remember: A huge flying insect had entered the car and by the time Jody got it out I was laughing so hard I was crying. You had to be there. Great ride Jody. Even if it took us 2.5 hours to cover less than 8 miles!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

48 mph

30.6 miles, 2646' gain, 2:17 total time, 14.8 mph moving average, 48 mph max!
Town Mountain->BRP->Ox Creek->Reams Creek->Merrimon->WT Weaver->Riverside->Craven->Waynesville

View 2011-09-07 11:48 in a larger map

Monday, September 5, 2011

The shortest ride ever!

Erinna, Sophiedog, and I had to bail on a ride yesterday. We started at Turkey Pen parking lot at 9am and were headed down the singletrack just a few minutes after arriving. We were out for a shakedown ride for Erinna. Her tiny pink WaltWorks bike received a refresh after 6 years of faithful service. A new fork, new wheels, and new drivetrain bits needed to be seated in. On the way down the hill I noticed two things: 1. the trail has been recently worked on and the numerous grade reversals have been sculpted into perfect jumps. 2. my rear tire felt soft. We stopped and I pumped up the tire and asked if everything felt good for Erinna then we continued to the bottom of the hill. I got off to the side to take a few photos as Erinna arrived and must have stepped right on a yellow jacket nest. As soon as I snapped the photo:
I felt the first sting, then the next. I started yelling RUNRUNRUNRUN!!!! and we hauled ass. I dropped my bike at the horse ford and ran across the river. That took care of the rest that were attached to me. We stopped, got the remaining few out of my backpack, took a breather, and were ready to get going again when I noticed something odd: Somewhere along the 1.5 miles I had DOUBLE flatted. crap.
We then realized that If I used the two tubes we had with us we would be spare-tube-less for a ride in Turkey Pen. That and Erinna's spare was actually a road tube. Uugh. The decision was made to just walk back up to the Jeep. The three of us had a pleasant walk back up the hill then cracked open the after ride beers. That was good enough, it had been a stressful week, it was time to chill out, let grandmona take care of Zoe for a few more hours, and have a nice relaxing morning at home. I love my wife!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Lazy and with lead weights for legs.

29.4 miles, 2675' gain, 2:18 total time out, 13.9 moving average, 39.2 max

From West Asheville->Kimberly->Beaverdam->Webb Cove->BRP->Biltmore Forest->Meadow->Amboy->State.
I finally was out and on the bike at 12:15 after what felt like 100 unexpected phone calls and emails that had to be answered. The temps were already near 90* but lucky for me that was the high for the day. Severe thunderstorms were arriving just as I finished and the temps had dropped nearly 10* over the course of the ride.
I stopped often as the hot warm-up was especially tough and mediocre photo opportunities were calling me. I was happy to stop every time. The climb up Webb Cove was very dusty and every vehicle that passed made it especially so. The descent to the Folk Art Center was a welcome breath of fresh air and my legs were finally working correctly.

Once my legs, lungs, and heart were all on the same page I was able to pick up the pace. The rollers to Biltmore Forest were tough but smile inducing. I was on top of the gear and moving quick. I blew through the stop sign right in front of a Biltmore Forest cop and thought for sure I was getting a ticket but I guess it was my lucky day. Once on Meadow I was standing and hammering and made every green light back to State. Up the hill and home took just a minute and I knew I had salvaged the ride.