Thursday, September 30, 2010

Run Club

32 minutes starting at 6:25. That time of day is getting colder and darker. The running is continuing to get easier but I've not yet tried to up the speed. I'm cruising at about the rate of 10 minutes per mile.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Last night I got out for a nice little spin: Starting at 8:20PM from Bent Creek Gap->FS5000->FS1206->NC276->Blue Ridge Parkway back to Bent Creek Gap. I was feeling a little slow and only took one real break, at Yellow Gap, and was out for 3:20.

As I was preparing to leave the sounds of owls could be heard throughout the forest. It was a beautiful sound. When I arrived at the top of NC276 there was no mistaking the ooowww--ooowww-ooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwww of what sounded like dozens of coyote down in the valley. That was not a beautiful sound. It was downright spooky.

The first 18 miles were on gravel:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Run Club

Fast 30 minutes starting at 0630 with Michael M. and Sophiedog the Brave.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Run Club

3 miles, 200', 30 minutes. Starting at 6:30AM.

'It never gets easier, you just go faster.' does not apply to my running. Not yet anyway. This morning's run was MUCH easier than the other last but just as slow.

As I set out temps were in the low 60's, the 'super harvest moon' was setting, and the fog was growing thicker and thicker by the minute. Beautiful.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough.

Last night I met up with Mike R. and Eric C. at NMRC at 6PM for a FAST paced ride. Our route: 5000->Spencer->Spencer->N.E.R.->Fletcher->Res Rd.->Lower Trace->Fisherman's. Two hours out with a flat.
more later

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Run Club

Just over 30 minutes with Michael M. starting at 0630. 3 miles?
It's been far too long since I've run.
Maybe I'll do it again Thursday morning.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Another night ride on the Cyclocross bike....

Holy hell that was hard. Last night I rode a big 'ole gravel/pavement loop/figure 8. Starting at the French Broad River overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway(BRP)->191->Bent Creek Gap Rd->FS479->BRP->NC276->FS1206->FS5000->BRP back to the Jeep. I started at 8:15 and wasn't done until just past 1AM.

47 miles, 8050 climbing. 25 miles of pavement, 22 miles of gravel.

the start
North Carolina! Hell Yeah! (Garage just before the first gravel of the night)
Water refill at the Pisgah Inn
The turn to 276 off the parkway
Starting to feel shelled at Pilot Rock trailhead. I didn't break out the camera again after this.

Oh, thanks to Mike B. for identifying the dozens of birds that dove across my headlight. Swifts.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Clingman->Biltmore->Broadway->Central->Charlotte->Kimberly->Beaverdam->Webb Cove (gravel)->Blue Ridge Parkway->Vanderbilt->Meadow->Amboy->State->Hanover. 30 miles, 3750' climbing, 2.5 hours out.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

After dark Gravel/Pavement loop

Last night I got out for an impromptu road/gravel ride. Just before Erinna and I sat down for dinner the decision was made: I was going to quickly knock out From West Asheville->Hominy Creek Park->191->Bent Creek Rd->479->Blue Ridge Parkway->191->Haywood->Home. I was on the bike right at 8PM.

30.6 miles, 2441' climbing, 42mph max.

My first real pavement was 191 to Bent Creek and just as quickly as the light faded my light flickered out. Crap. I thought the battery was charged but I guess not. I weaved in and out of the road work barriers on 191 and right as M.I.A. was singing 'You big dummy!' in my left ear I hit uneven pavement and almost went down. Crap! Well, so much for the whole vampire eyes thing while on the road. I contemplated my choices and they all pretty much were if I didn't get a light on my bars I had to go home. I stopped by the Hot Spot gas station and whattayaknow? They had LED mini mag lights for $4! A money exchange and a bit of packing tape later, I was on my way.
Well that was probably the best $4 I've ever spent. The light was bright enough for the trip to Bent Creek but I did outrun the light on the one gravel descent before the climb to the Parkway. Speaking of the climb, I had a blast. My legs were on fire. Head-down-in-the-drops-climbing on gravel. Hell yeah. Landmarks clicked by as I watched the sweat on my arms gleam in the bright white LED light. The shadows of my front wheel and rear brake lever danced along the gravel. The temps were in the 60's. The moon was a bright yellow crescent. Lower Sidehill. Gone Tomorrow. The bridge. My legs were screaming (for more) for me to stop.

After a quick breather and a photoshoot of 'ole Orange I was on the parkway and ready to descend. The $4 light was just enough as I passed through the tunnels and tried my best to spin out the 53/12 gear. The curves came quick and the drivers were hesitant to pass. I again got into the head-down-in-the-drops tuck and was at the Arboretum very quickly. The ride back to West Asheville also went by in short order because now I was warmed up, the screaming legs had settled more into a chant than a scream, and I wanted to get home before a 2:30 time out. I arrived at EXACTLY 2:30 out and thought to myself 'I may just have to do that again tomorrow night'.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day 2010

Dennis 'Race Nazi' D. and I got out today with Lucydog the Fast and Sophiedog the Brave for a great hour plus of Bent Creek. I love this guy. Dennis, heal up soon brother.
Our route for the day included South Ridge->Explorer->Pine Tree.

Then Dennis and I met Erinna, Zoe, and a big 'ole group for Adam and Lela's Front Yard Party. I usually don't post non-ride stuff on this here RIDE LOG but you know, who can resist posting a few photos like this?
Wes M= Super Dad!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Wild Wild Wilson's

Scott from Indy and Paul from Canada arrived at my house at about 8:30 and we were on the road in two vehicles by 9:00. Why two vehicles for three people? We were headed to Wilson's for the XC shuttle ride: Raspberry->Greentown->Raider's Camp->Sinkhole. Along the way I texted Jody from Swannanoa and he was game, he would meet us at the gas station at exit 100 and join in the shuttling fun.

aaaaaand what a day it ended up being. To start the day off there was a semi overturned on I40. The accident must have happened minutes before because the backup had just begun for the westbound lanes. Once we made it to our riding destination we dropped the Jeep at the concrete bridge at Sinkhole then piled into the ICS shuttle van / mobile palace for the 9 mile uphill drive to the start.
We started to unload at the top I noticed something peculiar. Well, more like something straight up wrong, I had Erinna's front wheel. Shit. After a bit of hemming and hawing and rotor changes I was ready to roll with a much smaller tire than normal, a much thinner rim than normal, and a rotor that was exactly 10mm too small. Luckily Erinna and I both run 20mm thru-axles. Anyway, a bunch of freeride types walked out onto the road just before we left (one of them was wearing his little sister's jeans) and after some brief hello's and conversation about equipment choices our crew hit Raspberry full steam.

Raspberry is in excellent condition right now and Jody and I switched out who was taking lead. We stopped for a breather/checkup and the big bike guys were suddenly right there with us again. We took off as they regrouped but during the little ups and the technical sections we could hear the big bike guys right behind us. We stopped for a while at the jump at the bottom knowing they were going to hit it:

Skinny Pants on Raspberry 1 from pisgahproductions on Vimeo.

Skinny Pants on Raspberry 2 from pisgahproductions on Vimeo.

then proceeded to very quickly knock out the climb back to 181. After only the quickest breather we were descending the Greentown plunge.

That trail is so super fast and so super tech and so much fun I won't try to put it in words. Raspberry is fast, tech, and fun. Greentown is fast, tech, and fun in a different way. We rode on the edge of beyond safe and really, any faster... you might actually die. OK, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but not much.

Then was the Old-Toll/Daniel Ridge area feeling climb back out from the creek and to our next trail of the day. The singletrack climb was a nice change of pace from the last gravel climb. Then... without much thought I felt my jersey pocket for my keys. Wait. they're not where I normally put them. It hit me like a blow to the chest, I knew my keys were in the van at top. I stopped, tore apart my camelbak, and then confirmed, I did not have my keys. The bottom of the hill shuttle driver.... shit.
I had been climbing with Paul when I made the discovery and told the others as soon as we caught up to them. Scott gave me a look like 'OK, what's the punchline?' and when I had none, the reality set in that we very well may be climbing the 9 miles of pavement back to the van after a 25 mile ride. I also informed them that was a 50/50 chance that I had a spare in my bumper. The thing was I could NOT actually recall putting the key BACK after the last time I used it. Shit. For the rest of the climb and for Raider's I was beating myself up inside and it felt like morale had dropped throughout the crew until Jody blurted out 'This may be the best ride EVER! I feel like I'm in Crested Butte'. I could see that everyone had absorbed the information well and that indeed, we would figure it out. 'I'll just thumb my way back to the van' Scott even said. Well, right about then we were near the bottom of Raider's and something again seemed amiss. See, this was the first time I had been the sole navigator for a Wilson's ride and suddenly things didn't seem right. A creek? Wha? I thought this just dumped out into the parking lot?!?!? Shit.
Then, across the creek I saw a rider. I splashed across then called the crew to cross. I knew right away we were on the right track. A group of CLT riders were regrouping after their own descent of Raider's and were also headed to sinkhole. As we were all together I noticed something very odd about one guys bike:

sheet metal, hose clamps, zip ties, self tapping screws, and water bottle cage bolts:

He had home engineered a fix for his broken frame! and was trusting it to stand up to Wilson's!!! He explained everything he had done and why he would trust it for another five years at least....'Except this part here is a bit jigaboo'd up' and we were all in tears from laughing. Oh my god, did he just say that?
Once we were on the right track and headed to the parking lot all seemed right in the world. We all cleaned the lower nasty stuff, I had my directions memory verified, and there were people everywhere enjoying the absolutely beautiful last weekend of summer. Temps were in the 70's with bright blue skies overhead.

We stopped at the fountain for water and I made the climb to Sinkhole sound absolutely horrible just so everyone knew what possibilities lay ahead. (In other words, don't attack this climb, it's tough, and the nine miles back to the van ARE going to suck if we end up having to do it) We turned before the concrete bridge and were soon headed up to the saddle. Along the way my front brake was scrubbing the rotor (remember the wrong wheel/rotor issue?) and mechanic extraordinaire Scott took care of it. Then, without warning, without much conscious thinking, but with great meditation on the idea, it hit me like the opposite of being punched in the gut, I knew EXACTLY where the spare key was and EXACTLY when I put it there. YES!?! I told Jody but also told him to keep the revelation quiet, I didn't want to look like a flake x3 if by some off chance the key was not there. The climb to the saddle took exactly 2.5 minutes, or at least that's how it felt after the weight of not having a key to the Jeep was off my shoulders. We took a long breather at the saddle then were onward towards Sinkhole. I had told Scott and Paul along the way that I was saving the best trail for last and my route choice did not disappoint. Sinkhole is again different than Raspberry, Greentown, or Raiders. Steep does not adequately describe the terrain. Neither does backwoods, organic, or fast, fun, and tech. We oogled THE sinkhole, all cleaned the chute, were in awe of the knife's edge, and were laughing out loud by the time we hit the bottom. 100 yards later we were at the Jeep and it was the moment of truth..... drumroll please..... the spare key..... WAS THERE! Once we were loaded up and headed to the van Jody repeated what he had said earlier: 'This may have been the best day on the bike EVER!' Well, maybe so. Great people, Excellent terrain, emotional baggage brought and left behind, no bonks, no wrecks, no mechanicals..... Yes, I have to agree, that was one of the best days.