Wow. I had my ass handed to me today. All I can do right now is post this one picture. I think it sums up how beautiful of a day it was. We’re blessed, blessed I say.
I’ll post more after a good meal, a shower, and 8 solid hours of sleep.
OK, It’s the next morning now so I’ll get into some of the details of yesterdays ride. Jonathon posted on mtbr that he was headed to the mountains for a weekday ride and since I hadn’t had a day off of work in nearly two weeks I decided it was in my best interest to join him. Mike R. had the day off also so we met up at Mr. Pete’s and carpooled out to Brevard. We had a few stops to make on the way, namely Sycamore Cycles and the Ranger Station. As a result of those stops Mike has a new pair of knee pads, Sycamore is a sponsor of the Pisgah MTB Adventure, and the permit to run the pmbar is signed.
Mike and I were the first ones to arrive followed by Jonathon… then David…. then Jody…. then Jack… then Mark! Sweet! Gotta love posting rides in a public forum, you never know who’s lurking online and will show up.
After a couple routes were discussed the group decided (it is a democracy) to head off onto some trails that I’ve never been on. How cool is that? Very. There are still trails right under my nose that I’ve never been on. Our route for the day: Grassy Road->Sycamore->North Slope->276->477->Clawhammer->Black Mountain. I had never done Sycamore or North Slope.
Right out of the gate I had a mechanical, my wheel had slipped to one side a bit causing tire rub. The group headed on out as I made that adjustment and they were moving at a pretty good clip as it took more effort than expected to catch them. We took a right onto Grassy Road, that was a lot of fun, climbing climbing climbing on an old road bed.
We turned left onto Sycamore where the trail turned to singletrack and rolled up and down for a mile or two before a super fast descent down to 276. Next we went into Davidson River Campground and over to North Slope trail. I can’t believe there are trails that fun around here that I’ve never been on. North Slope went through beautiful county. Even though the fish hatchery was right over there and the campground was right over there it had a remote feeling to it. First run on new trails is always awesome and everyone was really moving. Here’s a shot of Mark and Mike crushing one of the steep climbs on North Slope:
and me (thanks Jonathon) in one of the tech downhill spots:
By the time we finished North Slope we had already been in the woods for nearly two hours. We took many breaks, there were a few adjustment type mechanicals, and everyone was having a great time.
Yup. Looks like Jody is having a great time:
Next we took NC276 over to FS477. Jonathon decided he wanted to race I guess because he led the pack out and hammered all the way to the gravel road. We turned into 477 and discovered fresh crush-n-run running all the way to the horse stables. We kept the pace pretty high and by the time we made it to Clawhammer I was starting to really feel the time off the bike. It’s amazing what not riding for even less than two weeks will do to ones fitness. Anyway, we took a little break then started the 4.5 mile climb up Clawhammer to Buckhorn Gap. Mark and David were running out of time so they broke off at Maxwell Cove Road. The rest of the group headed all the way up. Clawhammer is never an easy climb but some days are even harder than others. This was one of those days. My head was starting to hurt, my legs were starting to cramp, my neck hurt…. uuugh… thankfully I wasn’t the only one in the group having a hard time with the climb. I saw Jack, always a switchback ahead, get off and start walking. I took the cue and stopped to get my heart-rate down then started walking, too. After a quick look behind me I saw Mike 100 yards back and also off the bike. whew! Misery loves company, right? Well, it was comforting to know I wasn’t the only one suffering. On the bike, off the bike, on the bike, off the bike…. that’s one way to make that climb go on forever. After what seemed like an eternity I got a bit of a second wind, caught and passed Jack, and finally reached Buckhorn Gap.
Next was the hike-a-bike up and over Clawhammer and Black Mountains. We made jokes about how awesome of a day it was to be out walking our bikes but the terrain is so super steep, no-one was riding.
The view from the top was sooooo worth the climb. Here’s Jack at the Black Mountain overlook:
The overlook is great and all but the next bit of riding was what we were really there for. The descent all the way down off Black Mountain, from the top. I’ll have to find out the elevation change. We got in line with me taking the lead, Jody behind me, Jonathon next, then Mike, and finally Jack. We decided early to check up often since this downhill can get pretty heinous. Up at the top the trail is very tech, lots of lightning quick zigs, zags, and S turns, rocks everywhere, waterbars made from stone and opportunities everywhere to eat it really, really hard. I was feeling very comfortable in the rough even though I was running funky bars for the first time ever. I have a suspension fork on though, and that made a huge difference. I felt great and faster than I have in a long time. (Watch out Dicky… You ain’t catchin’ me now). The crazy thing is how fast Jody and Jonathon were riding on their fully rigids. I really felt like I was on the edge of my comfort zone and I could hardly shake Jody. Jonathon was right behind him, too. Mike was the first one to mention it as he was following those guys and he came into each check up with a comment like ‘holy crap’ or umm… something similar. I cleaned the nasty root rock drop thing towards the top of Thrift Cove! Sweet! All it took was the guys saying that it’s a blind run-in, but do-able… and I did it for the first time in a looong time. Round 12 of that down hill fight was next and I was tired of running from Jody so I let him go out front. Did I mention any time recently that Jody’s got downhillin’ skills? I let off for just an instant and he just accelerated away. That is the coolest thing to watch. Anyway, with speed like that the downhill was done pretty quick and we were at the cars.
Jody and I went on a killer ride today. Starting at North Mills River Campground->1206->Laurel Mountain Trail->Pilot Rock Connector->Pilot Rock Trail->1206 back to NMRC.
The pace was quick at times, the pace was slow at times. We raced a little and took in the views a lot. Laurel/Pilot is one of the very best loops in Pisgah. We were there to have a good time, and that goal was accomplished.
Jody ON Laurel Mountain trail:
Jody OFF Laurel Mountain trail:
New camera fun at the top of Pilot:
Jody cleaned every switchback going down Pilot Rock today.
After shooting that video it took me about 5 seconds to put my camera away and to start pedaling. I had to work FREAKIN’ HARD to catch him! Jody’s got downhillin’ skills! I finally realed him in just before the overlook:
I cleaned the Hum-Vee rock garden for the first time in a while and after that was pretty much done. My hands were hurting pretty bad. My hands hurt and Jody’s time limit was approaching so we decided, at the intersection with no name road, to head on down to 1206 rather than go and do the slate rock loop. The climb back up to Yellow Gap was as hard as ever but I got into a good areo-tuck and must have hit 30mph on the downhill heading back to NMRC. What a great way to end a 20 mile ride, with a 3 mile gravel road descent…Fun day on classic Pisgah trails. I must have done this loop… 40 or 50 times now and it never gets old.
Mike Brown and I had all intentions today of riding the classic Big Creek loop but that did not happen. We started at North Mills River Campground and headed up 1206 to Laurel Mountain trail. The pace was a little tough but not too bad, a great warm up. When we got to the top we saw Trish and Sam so we spoke with them for a little while and Mike tried to find the source of the incessant creaking coming from his bike. Mike and I then went on in to Laurel and about every half mile or so Mike had his bike turned upside down or the front wheel off or was lubing this or adjusting that trying to identify the source of the sound.
Once we had determined that it must be his EBB (and that he couldn’t do anything about it) we really started to hammer. I got out front and was spin spin spinning as fast as I could up the hill. I was having a great time, moving right along. Mike even commented that I was ‘hauling ass’ Yeah! That means something to me as Mike can, well haul ass. Anyway, we made it to the meeting log rather quickly and pressed on up Laurel after a quick bite to eat. The pace was still fast after the break and the creaking sound was getting worse and worse. Mike flipped the bike over to lube the headset and found the culprit, the ride ending mechanical, the end of his only 5 month old frame, a big fat crack all the way ’round the downtube. OUCH!
WARNING COVER THE CHILDRENS EARS BEFORE HITTING PLAY (f-word content)
So after that I turned back to go get the Jeep and Mike limped the bike outa there. I just cruised along and took a few photos along the way back down.
Ice Flow at the Crack Rock:
Winter in Pisgah:
There are no flowers out yet soooo…. um… here’s some Moss in full bloom.
By the time I drove up to Yellow Gap Mike was already waiting for me. He was able to ride 90% of the way back down but never went faster than the bike could handle… that is, without the front end breaking off. Luckily he’s got a backup bike and we’ve both got tomorrow to go riding again.
I just got in from another quick spin around Bent Creek. My route was exactly the same as two days ago… Malomundo!
It’s amazing how much different two days apart can be. The weather today was nearly 20 degrees warmer and I felt great! It was one of those Wow! I’m here already! type of rides. Here are a couple photos:
I sure am one of the lucky ones. Green Slick is my after work trail, the Green Machine is my machine, and my health is such that I can enjoy both.
Right towards the end of my ride I ran into Alan (Thanks for the Double Dare generator Alan!) and Dave setting up for this log ride:
and finally a post ride shot of my new bike, looking much better, covered in dirt. Thanks to Nate, the lead mechanic at BioWheels, for getting my rear brake to work perfectly again!
Hey everybody! I have no idea who looks at this ride log of mine so let’s do a roll-call, shall we? Please leave a comment to this post and let me know you stopped by. It’s quick, It’s easy, and you don’t have to sign-up for anything.
(late edit* Over 200 views and 11 comments in one day!)
I just got in from a quick spin around Bent Creek (link2)(link3). It was a quick and easy ride on a bone-chillingly-cold day. The skies were bright blue and nearly cloudless and the temp was 24 degrees (in downtown Asheville, said NPR, when I got back to the Jeep). It was the first ride on my new frame AND with my new camera so I wasn’t zipping around all race like, it was more of an adjust this, take a picture, adjust that, take a picture… kind of ride. ummm…Did I mention it was cold?
Here’s some ice covered moss on North Boundary Road:
My route was quick and simple. From Hardtimes->Gravel Road->Sidehill Trail Road->Ingles Field->N.Boundary->Green Slick-> and on outa there. I wanted to head back up Sidehill? over to Sidehill? (that place still gets me all turned around) but my rear brake failed so I had to limp out after only an hour on the trail.
That was fine with me, I was feeling the time off the bike and… I think I mentioned this already… IT WAS COLD!
Anyway, I had a a lot of fun as always, got in over my head and nearly lost it on Greens Lick as my brake was failing, had the sensation of roofing nails driving into my thumbnails from the cold, was heated enough on the climb to strip off my jacket and roll up my tights (that didn’t last long), saw some incredible views, saw not a single person until I got back to the Jeep, and even made it to the shop in time to drop off the bike for the brake repair. Sweet!
Introducing… on her debut ride… The Green Machine:
OK, OK, one more shot of this brand new, handbuilt by Walt, custom designed for me, grouping of steel, aluminum, titanium, rubber, leather, and various other materials:
Thanks Walt! It rides great! I felt right at home right away…