Wooooooo!!!! Yeeaaaahhhhhh!! WoooHoooo!!! Man o man Kitsuma rocks. Sophiedog and I just got in after knockin’ it out in just under 90 minutes. That’s with multiple stops and Sophie halfbonking at the end! Afer almost three weeks off the bike due to sickness, travel, and bittercold weather I arrived at the Kitsuma trailhead at 3:30 today. When I got there I was ready to go except almost all of my water had drained out of my camelbak. doh! Well, not to be deterred I took just a couple sparing sips and headed up the swithbacks. I passed a group of college kids with a gorgeous pitbull and cleaned all but the last couple switchbacks before the interstate overlook.
I was surprised that after only a short break they were at the overlook, too. Sophie and I hammered to the top and without a stop attacked the first descent. Oh, before I forget, the climb to Kitsuma peak was in better shape than I’ve ever seen it. Anyway, I attacked the first descent, wheelie dropping the stepdowns without fear. The trail was feeling groomed…. (oh, wait, maybe it was my 5 inch travel fork??? )Then the next climb was there sooner than I expected. That’s the way it is in Pisgah… Someone will say ‘yeah, xxxtrail is a great descent.’ what they mean is, except for that big-ass climb in the middle, xxxtrail mostly goes downhill. I checked-up on Sophiedog every chance I got during the descents but…. really let it hang out when I wasn’t checking-up. Erinna’s words rang in my ears ‘who’s going? Just you? BE CAREFUL.’ Thanks Sweetie. I was just careful enough to not get in trouble. I did, however, go back and hit the new bigbad log launch…. and pulled it clean as a whistle. Another climb, surprise switchbacks? wha?
I guess it’s been a while since I’ve ridden Kitsuma… more rock&roll descending, the two righty deep roll-ins, whoa! that jump’s too big! and we were at the picnic area. Just good ‘ole Old 70 back to the Jeep ahead. Another surprise awaited me there, I had heard about new asphalt but was unprepared for the roady backwoods experience that now is Old 70. A perfect one lane ribbon of asphalt has been laid from one end to the other. It takes away any trail-like atmosphere…
but… holy crap is it FAST! A couple of photos later…
…we were on the open road. I had forgotten a leash so, that piece of blue twine that I found on the side of the road would do….. back to the car just before 5PM. Kitsuma. A great way to get back on the bike.
For more years than not since I met Bill, Rich, and Clint I’ve done a ride with some or all of them sometime right around new years day. It’s a tradition that’s held up for just as long as any other seasonal tradition that I look forward to. This year it was just us plus Mike B. We started at about 9:30 at the Andrew’s Geyser for Heartbreaker. Old Toll road opened on the 1st so that’s the way we went up.
I got out yesterday with Mike R. and Eric C. for a great day in the woods. 1206->Laurel->Gnome->*walk*MountainstoSea*walk*->BRP->Big Creek->Lower Trace->Fisherman’s.
After a few delays on my part we met at the concrete bridge. Mike and Eric weren’t in a hurry and we finally got rolling at 1:00. Knowing the Big Creek is usually a 4 hour loop we understood that any further delay would put us out there after dark. The pace up 1206 was pretty high so we got to Yellow Gap in just about 30 minutes. After a quick break we hit Laurel in high spirits and fast pace. Water has returned to Pisgah so all the lower problems were definitely unridable and we left inch deep tire tracks the entire way up the hill. Somewhere after the meeting log I hit a wall and Mike and Eric rode away. I think I was having a sugar crash after devouring that yummy frosted pop-tart at Yellow Gap. Anyway, I shot an emergen-c and my energy level was up again for the $2000 climb. At Turkey Spring Gap we decided to continue on Laurel to the parkway boundary rather than going Pilot Connector->Pilot and over to the Pisgah Inn. That section of Laurel kicks ass. It sees so much less use than everything before and is much much more tech. One thing that stands out in my mind was a rock field along the way that was totally covered in moss. That place has a beautiful and very wild feeling. Anyway, we walked the mountains to sea to parking lot then descended the Blue Ridge Parkway to Little Pisgah Ridge.
When we got there a dog was chasing cars, running out into the road, chasing cars INTO the tunnel…. generally making bad decisions. It was a little blue heeler with a harness and tags so after a few moments we decided to grab it and tie it to a tree. It took a little doing, but it responded and came bounding to me and I was able to grab it. Levi (we then learned it’s name) was cookoo for chasing cars so a brand new tube was sacrificed and a couple of slipknots later, he wasn’t going anywhere. We left a message at the number on the tag and decided to come and get him if no-one called back. Next was the big descent of the day, down Little Pisgah Ridge to Big Creek. We were running out of light so we made our way down as safely and quickly as possible. We really didn’t have time for a flat or anything. About 2/3 of the way down we came across a hiker and lo-and-behold, he was missing a little blue heeler. Sweet. He’s tied up at the top.
Mike led out for the entire descent and after a quick breather at Big Creek we were on our way. The low-in-the-sky sun, plus the descent, and some food had chased away any feelings of hitting the wall and I was in the groove for Big Creek. The Smokebike and 5″ travel fork just ate up all the rocks and corduroy, too. We flew down that trail, walked through the creeks to save time, and made it to the reservoir before dark. Sometimes the reservoir road takes forever, sometimes, like yesterday, it does not. We killed it. In near pitch black we decided to take Lower Trace back to the vehicles and that was exciting to say the least. Eric’s night vision was failing him, Mike and I rode like vampires. Well, until the water main at the river…. that thing looked slick and scary. Cross the river and 100 yards later we were done. 5 hours with the dog incident and two breaks.