Wednesday, June 29, 2011

There's just something about Tuesday nights...

8 second exposure at Slate Rock. 10:30PM 28June11

Up? Down?..... Up? Down? Up. Up?


This is just about the best thing ever!


I feel like I'm getting away with something, like, if they knew what we were actually doing out here, they wouldn't allow it.

Yes, tonight's ride was filled with memorable quotes. It was almost like one of those parties where every moment is filled with a friend making the funniest joke you've ever heard, or pulling off a stunt or prank that no one saw coming, and you find yourself caught up right in the moment of it all thinking, wow, this sure is fun... I sure am glad I'm right here, right now.

Thanks for getting out there Mike R. and Jody F.

Jody went down in spectacular fashion, as usual

I hit the deck pretty hard myself...

Mountain bikers in the age of personal communication devices:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

21.6 miles of Asheville roads

Gandhi graffiti

with Mike and Kassi. I tried to get out earlier in the day but bad weather was moving in fast. I mowed the lawn instead and the rain started to really come down just as I finished up. This isn't a lawn maintenance log though, it's a ride log.... About two hours after the storm passed Mike B. called asking if I was up for a ride. Erinna gave me the thumbs-up so off I went starting at 3:40PM.

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As I mentioned, there were storms passing through so the humidity was 100% greater than yesterday but the temperature was just about the same, hovering in the mid 80's. We started with Meadow to A.B Tech because of a train passing through
Mr. and Mrs. BrownDay

but were otherwise right back on course, headed through Kennilworth to Beaucatcher.

The Beaucatcher bridge

After those as-close-to-urban-asheville-as-you-can-get-rural-feeling-roads we crossed Charlotte street and were directly on more rural feeling roads, up Sunset to Town Mountain.

Sunset Rd
Asheville from Sunset Mountain
After a short bit of TMR we were readying ourselves for that stupid road I went down Monday night, Bartram's Walk to Wolf Cove to Beaverdam. The Droid stats say I got going 45.3 mph on that descent... (min grade 20%!) and when we got to the bottom I joked that we should ride back up, but there were no takers and really, we were all ready to head home at that point. Beaverdam to Merrimon was next, and I lost Mike and Kassi at Merrimon as I got the green light at the Ingles and they did not then they had different plans (they were heading to the Bywater) so when I saw them take a right a block before and 200' downhill from where I was I decided to just head on home. I picked up the pace once I was a solo rider and hammered to WT Weaver, through the college, past the Bywater, over the tracks, over the Craven bridge, up Waynesville(where I passed a commuter like he was standing still) and home to Westville. Great ride y'all! Thanks for getting out! Thanks for the invite!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

4 rides in one week!

Sophiedog and I got out today for a chiiiilllllllll paced ride. The inner loop, counter-clockwise.
We started in the early afternoon and there were trail users around every turn. Campers, hikers, fishermen, and riders were all out enjoying this gorgeous early Summer day. Temps were in the mid 80's with no perceivable humidity. Perfect conditions.
The climb was going by quickly when I ran into the first group of riders I knew. They told me their plans for the day and just as we were parting ways Mr Bill G. came riding up. This man taught me more of Pisgah than anyone else.
He is responsible for showing me the light, for showing me that Yes, 5, 6, even 7 or 12 hours of Pisgah is not only possible but fun. After a long breather with Bill we parted ways and my climb continued.
I had forgotten just how tech the inner loop climb can be and relished every moment of it.

Bill had told me that he saw a huge rattlesnake out on the rock and so, of course, as soon as I got there I went looking for it. Well, all I found was the beautiful view that awaits every time.

The descent was great fun even though my fork needs some adjusting and I didn't have a pump. The steeps were steeper than I remembered and the fast sections were every bit as fast as I remembered.... so we were at the road again very quickly.
The last section of the ride, the gravel to close the loop, went by very slowly. Sophiedog the Brave was pretty whooped so I had to take it v e r y easy back to the Jeep.

Add ImageOh yeah, On the way down the gravel road a black bear came trotting across. Sweet.... my first bear sighting of 2011!

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

A cautionary tale

When the universe is telling you to slow the f down, the best course of action is to do just that. I got out for a quick ride this evening over at Trace Ridge and around every corner I was reminded to slow down and enjoy, don't rush. I started at Bent Creek Gap and took the parkway to the top of Trace. I walked down to the sign and then let the newly refurbished SS rip. I attacked the first climb and the wheel slipped to one side as soon as I pushed hard.... I guess one side wasn't tightened well enough... then, on the first descent, I immediately knew I need to switch out the tires that are currently on... but I didn't listen to myself and I went down hard. I brushed myself off and hopped back on without a rest and continued the descent only to break a stick that was hanging in the trail with my face. Uuugh.
I picked my way down the singletrack and decided to try to turn the ride around on the climb. It was there that the SS did its job because I was immersed in total silence, at least as total as it can be for me. The single speed felt so.... right... like I was gliding up the hill.... also, just like that, I was at the first gate, Spencer, the third gate, then the top. 1:03 moving time, 1:18 total, including photo stops, bike adjustments, and dragging my ass out from the underbrush.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I love my wife!

Erinna and I got out for a great ride today. Of course it was great, we got to ride together. The original plan was to go to Heartbreak Ridge but after the over-the-top-tough-feeling warm-up of going up Old 70 made us reconsider. After my ride just yesterday and after Erinna not riding mountain bikes much at all lately we decided Heartbreak may take longer than we had time for. We had to pick up Zoe eventually. The route we chose for the day was interesting and hard as hell. From Old Fort picnic area->Old 70->Ridgecrest->Paved Road of Death->Adventure Trail->Rattlesnake->Ridgecrest->Kitsuma->back to OFPA.

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The view from the Old 70 overlook. Yes, it was a hot and humid day.
The Rhodos are in full bloom at just the right elevation....
Adventure trail is much harder than this photo suggests...
Mr Toad, when will this wild climb be done?

Rattlesnake down!
The happy couple
Erinna wasn't the only one wearing pink today

Kitsuma has climbs?!?!?
The trailwork on Kitsuma has bedded in and it actually has a nice flow. The rocks are coming back out on the climb and the bike-eaters are about gone. A number of old-school tech features are history though....
Thanks for getting out on a ride with me Erinna! Thanks for taking care of Zoe, Dawn! Thanks for taking care of Biltmore, Andy! What a great day.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Jamie, that road is stupid.

Jamie at ProBikes told me about a road a couple of months ago and has been bugging me since: 'Have you done that road yet? Have you climbed that road yet? When ya gonna ride that road?' Well today, I rode the road. From West Asheville->Clingman->Hilliard->Biltmore->College->Town Mountain->Bartram's Walk (the road)->Wolf's Cove->Beaverdam->Webb Cove->Blue Ridge Parkway->Elk Mountain Scenic Highway->Beaverdam->Merrimon->WT Weaver->Riverside->Craven->Waynesville->back to Westville. The droid powered down along the way so I don't have maps or stats but.. I do have a few photos.... more on the ride later... maybe...

the end of the (paved) road

Day Lilies on Webb Cove

yes, a big smile for getting out on a Monday
speechless at Buzzard Rock...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Deep in the heart of Pisgah....

....the squirrels are white

I got out this morning with Sophiedog the Brave for a fun dog-friendly Pisgah loop: South Mills->Cantrell->Squirrel->Bradley-> back to Turkey Pen parking.

Sophie and I got started just after 8AM after I changed the ride plan en-route. I decided that a bit of deep Pisgah was a better choice than the inner-loop, for Sophie's sake. The singletrack down to the bridge was a great bike/confidence check and the flattish 5K or so of South Mills River was an enjoyable warm-up for the both of us. We took a quick break/photoshoot at the Lodge then proceeded up Cantrell.

If you've never done Cantrell up you're missing out. The trail never gets too steep but it is tech tech tech all the way to Squirrel. The water was surprisingly low so I even smashed my way across a few of the creek crossings. It was turning into a beautiful last weekend of Spring day. Temps rising out of the 70's, a bright blue sky, and the sun was still at at lower angle than I'm used to seeing in the woods since it was only 9:15 or so when I hit Squirrel.

The stretch of Squirrel from Cantrell to Laurel Gap is one of my favorite. Classic Pisgah at it's best, even after the trail work. Some of the tech features are gone but the flow is out of this world.... and it's still beautiful and tech.
Sophie was starting to feel the lack of rides somewhere around Poundingmill and I had to let her catch up again and again. At least she's not the type of dog that runs until she absolutely collapses, she slow to a trot, shows up with a smile, and soldiers on to the end. Good dog.
At Pea Gap I decided to head down Squirrel rather than Mullinax just to get to the river more quickly for Sophie and when we arrived she was grateful.

A slow spin on Bradley was followed by my best attempt at climbing the singletrack back to the parkinglot that I've accomplished in a looong time. I almost cleaned it. The sweat was pouring off me when we arrived at the Jeep and whattayaknow, Kris and Ariane K. were just starting a ride of their own. Did you just go swimming? Kris asked. Nope, just finished an awesome ride.

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