Saturday, October 26, 2013

Creeped the F out on Curtis Creek Rd.

Out and back to the first overlook on the parkway on the first cold day of the season.
Temps in the high 30's. Lots of bear hunters.
The descent was worth every bit of suffering during the climb. So fast. So steep. So dangerous. So rad. Soooooooo fast....

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

North Mills River tour with Erinna!

 Classic Big Ridge on a Wednesday with my beautiful wife! 13.4 mi., 1814', 2:18 moving, 3:03 total time out.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hot Damn!

I just got in from my fastest time ever for out and back to the West Asheville towers. 57:46 total time out with photos and one extra long stoplight. I did catch a break in that the gate was open and I caught every light green coming all the way home from the towers. Still, that felt real good... Flying.
 Skinny Eric Go Fast!

Fish Hatchery Fun

Yesterday I got out for a casual paced ride in the Fish Hatchery area. There were tons of logistical problems to be solved and we took care of them perfectly. Pick up Ian L., drive to Brevard, pick up Mike B., drive to the Fish Hatchery, meet up with the crew from Charlotte, Rich D., Zach A., Jerry the C., and Todd ?. We timed it all perfectly and were on the bikes right on time.
Ian had gone out partying the night before and was feeling it. I had stayed up pretty late also. So did Zach. Mike had camped the night before. To the contrary Rich, Jerry, and Todd looked like they had been living very clean, rested, and sober lives and Rich was antsy to get going.
The route for the day: Cove Creek->225 connector->225->Daniel connector->Daniel->475->5095->Long Branch->475->Cathy's Creek->Wormhole->471D->Butter->Cat

Cove Creek was an excellent warm-up and the Charlotte crew kept a fast pace. Ian and Mike dropped off the back for a little while but we regrouped at every turn. It was going to be one of those excellent days in the woods. Everyone talking, looking at the Fall color, riding fast, riding slow, stopping again, repeat.

Everybody was ready for the first big descent of the day, Daniel Ridge. Mike took the lead and we made quick work of the chunder. To my surprise Zach was right on our tails... on a hardtail with a 63mm fork.... Kid is fast.

We then made our way to Long Branch via 5095. It had become a beautiful day with bright blue skies, temps in the low 60's, and leaves nearly at their peak at elevation.
By the time we got to the top of Long Branch Ian was feeling pretty cooked. Jerry asked 'When will he give up and go back to the car?' My reply? 'He won't. He's too stubborn'. My prediction was correct and Ian never bowed out even though he had to walk most of the way up to Butter Gap.

Butter opened just last week and it seems many people had been taking advantage of the renewed Pisgah inventory. We crossed paths with three other rider groups and easily a dozen hikers. Along the way Mike had his worst crash of the year. He slammed into a tree after his hands slipped off the bars.

As we were waiting at Long Branch and listening to Mike , Todd rolled up. He had had a spectacular crash also. Dang guys. Keep the rubber side down!
Cat Gap was the final trail of the day and we all hit the huck (Zach and I went off the tall edge) and we all had our wheels in the air more than once as we approached the Fish Hatchery parking lot. That was an excellent day in the woods. Thanks for coming out, Everybody!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sex Panther.

The seasonal trails opened yesterday.... Tuesday.... The TNDC had to come to order.
I arrived at Smoker's Cove at 6:30 and shortly thereafter Jody F., Mike R., and Chad M. were there and getting ready. Next to arrive was Jeff B., our informative and entertaining shuttle driver for the evening.
Once we got out of the one time best. shuttle. ever. we had the super hard warm-up of Club Gap. I immediately fell off the back but started to get in the groove by the time we hit the Gap.
After a long breather we were headed to Buckwheat Knob. We were all eager for the descent and made very quick work of the climb.

The memory of the next two descents are why I mountainbike. I cannot put into words what it feels like to descend at 20+ mph, at night, on the steepest, rootiest, rockiest, blown-out trails in Pisgah. Deep in Pisgah. Following guys I trust. I am sore today from working so hard on the descents to hold onto Mike and Jody. We were absolutely flying down that 'hot piece of trail... ridge runnin, leaf blasting fun'.

I hope to find time to say something about making our way back up to Pressley and down Black... but not right now.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Bees! Bees! Bees!

Ian 'The Pony' L. and I got out for a memorable ride yesterday. Ian is just getting back into the swing of weekly riding but we had a big ride planned for the day, nonetheless. From PMBAR start/finish->276->477->Avery->Buckhorn->Clawhammer->Black->Thrift.
We rallied late in the day and were on the bikes right at 3:00pm. It was a beautiful day with temps in the high 60's-low 70's, very low humidity and alternating cloudy and bright blue skies.
Ian led out for the warm-up up 276->477 and the pace was excellent. He was trying hard to balance riding hard and not blowing up too early. I took the lead once we hit the singletrack. The last couple times I had been in the Avery->Buckhorn area I have gotten turned around a little, so my goal was to navigate through there with no problems. I have no idea why it has been a challenge in the past (night riding maybe?) but we were on our way with no problems. Well, until we were walking down the log/root steps to the creek at the intersection. 30 minutes into the ride I was hit first. Bees? Then BAM! BAM! hit again. I yelled out BEEEEES!!!! Bees! Bees! and heard Ian making noises like he was being stabbed repeatedly. I hesitated slightly at the bridge over the creek and Ian nearly ran me over. I dropped my bike in the creek and almost left it rather than getting stung again. I grabbed the bike and we stopped running about 25 feet past the creek. DAMMIT! AAAAAAGH! Then they were there. They had chased us and we were getting hit again and again. We ran about 100 more feet and stopped. There was one still on my sock digging into my ankle. Another under my helmet strap at the base of my skull. Another on. my. neck. still just pulsing venom into my jugular...
I was hit a total of 9 times. Ian had twice that, including one on his temple.
If there had been an easy way out of the woods right then I think we would have both taken it... but there was not.
Up Buckhorn to Clawhammer was next and we took a long break at Clawhammer. We both noted how crazy a buzz Adrenaline come-down and multiple bee stings creates.
Stings aside we decided to continue with the original ride plan. A while later we were at Buckhorn Gap and ready to tackle Black.
It has been a couple years since Ian had been on Black and he had forgotten how steep it can get and he did not know how blown out it is on the downhills.
We stopped at the overlooks and picked our way down the mountain as fast as possible. Ian has not forgotten how to ride a bike downhill, that's for certain. He was only a couple minutes back at each check-up.
Daylight was fading fast by the time we got to Pressley Gap but there was no way we were taking gravel back to the car. Matter of fact, we even took Thrift at the end despite very weird lighting conditions by then.
We were back at the Jeep in just over 4 hours total time out.
Today my neck, base of skull, left hand, left arm, right thigh, and both ankles are swollen and itchy. F'n stingy bugs!