Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Pilot Mountain

It initially looked like half of last weekend was going to be a bust, weather-wise, but Saturday turned out to not be as rainy as anticipated.  It had been raining for two days prior, so the trails were shit, but I was able to get a gravel ride in on the Lazer Cat.  The route from the Hub was Estatoe>276>477>276>475B>475>276>Beer.  It was ~25 miles and uneventful, but very nice to get out on a bike, unexpectedly.

On Sunday, I wanted to get out in the Forest with Heather, so we planned a short'ish, but strenuous hike along our nemesis trail, Art Loeb, up to the summit of Pilot Mountain.  This is one of the taller summits in the area, topping out over 5000 feet, and has a nice 360* view from the top.  The hike up was pretty nice, and got really steep in some sections.

Art Loeb to Pilot Mtn.


Heather was just getting over a sinus infection, and her lungs were not cooperating fully, but she persevered, and made it up to the summit, and a beautiful view.




We continued north on the ALT until we intersected with 229, and took the gravel back down to the car.  It was a good hike, and we can check another summit off of the list.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Ridgeline Unedit

It was too beautiful today to not go riding. I went for a short ride with tired legs at DuPont, finishing with Ridgeline.

Unedited Run Down Ridgeline Trail in DuPont from rickdeezel on Vimeo.

Courthouse Falls and Ripley

Last weekend was the first proper forest weekend we've had in a while.  Our goal for this year is to get back to spending some time every weekend in the woods, and we're off to a pretty decent start so far.  My new Ibis Ripley frame came in, so I spent some time building it up.  Unfortunately, there was a snag.  I just couldn't get my rear brake to stop rubbing, no matter how many times I readjusted it.  Finally, I took a closer look at it, and noticed that my brake rotor wasn't rubbing the pads at all, but it was rubbing the rear-most post mount on the frame itself.  Something was definitely wrong with the frame or my wheel.  I shot Ibis an email that evening, and received a response from them immediately, suggesting I check some things out to ensure the problem is not in my wheel.  I took the frame to the Hub the next day, and we were able to rule out the wheel.  Jon also noticed that the insert in the post mount was turned a bit, and the post mount looked crooked.


We shot this photo to Ibis, and they shipped out a new swing arm that day.  They were great to deal with, and their response made me happy that I bought a bike from them.

I figured that, with a new swing arm on the way, it would be OK for me to ride it with a little rubbing for one ride, so I went to DuPont on Saturday for a quick ride from Lake Imaging.  The bike was amazing, especially on the climbs.  The slightest increase in effort was immediately rewarded.  It wasn't too shabby on the downhills either.

On Sunday, Heather and I decided to go check out Courthouse Falls, before Summey Cove Trail is closed.  It was a chilly day, but we warmed up quickly on the initial climb.  The first bit is steep up, followed by steep down, but then follows old road bed for the remainder of the hike.  There are a couple of good camp sites along the way, and the waterfall was beautiful.





My swing arm came in on the Ripley the following Friday, and I got it built back up in time for a Sunday Pisgah ride.  I rode the "Big M" and had a blast.  This bike is so much fun.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Is it 2014 Already?!?!

OK, so it has been a year and a half since my last post, and a whole lot has happened in that time frame.  Unfortunately, not a whole lot of riding, though.  I updated my STRAVAsshole account and my total miles for 2014 are less than 500.  I don't think that is entirely accurate since many of my rides were sans-Garmin, but, regardless, I didn't ride nearly enough.

Like I said, a lot has happened in the last year and a half.  My knee has continued to heal and strengthen to the point where it feels pretty normal now.  We totally gutted and re-modeled our kitchen, and we had hardwood floors installed in the rest of the house.  We added a new wiener to the mix, Bennett, and I bought a new to me Tacoma.  I left the District Attorney's office and joined a small private practice, and then left that practice to start my own here in Brevard. That venture has been extremely time-consuming, but also very rewarding.  My boss is a dick, though.

The Lazer Cat is still around and kicking, but I'm about to be on my third full-suspension 29er.  I sold the Rocky Altitude and built a kick-ass Tallboy LTc.  Seriously the best bike I've owned or ridden.  I had a lot of fun on it this season, but always felt like it might be just a tad too much bike for my [lack of] style of riding.  That frame is now for sale, and I ordered an Ibis Ripley, which I've been lusting over since before I bought the LTc.  I'll be swapping all of my parts from the LTc, and it'll be a pretty awesome build.  XO1/XX1 mix, LEV dropper post, I9 Trail wheels, and a Pike 140mm fork.  I'll feel pretty blessed to be riding such a sweet bike.  I also got a new cross frame, which I've ridden a little bit.  It's an On One Dirty Disco.  MUCH lighter than the VooDoo Wazoo I was on, and the price was fantastic [free].

Anyway, that's 2014 in a nutshell.  Too much working at home and the office, a whole lot of change, and not enough time in the forest.  2015 is guaranteed to be more recreational.  Here's a photo dump.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Cougar Canyon

We moved here for the mountain biking and hiking, but have discovered that this is an immense, outdoor playground, and there are so many different ways of exploring it. We both love moving water and waterfalls, and I was able to convince Heather to go on a canyoneering trip with me, with Joe, the founder of Pura Vida Adventures.

We tagged along on a trip this past Saturday, and it was a great experience. We can't wait to do it again!

We met at PV HQ early in the morning, and once everyone arrived, we headed south of town to a wet and wild section of National Forest that Joe refers to as Cougar Canyon. (If you want to know the exact location, book a trip!) We parked, and started our very mild hike to the falls we would be descending. The trip we were on was an introduction to canyoneering, and wasn't truly canyoneering, but more just rappelling down the side of a 75' waterfall, as opposed to actually working your way down an entire canyon. It was a great way to introduce a person to the sport without overwhelming them.

We were a group of four, plus Joe and Andy from PV.


Our waterfall for the day.


We took a steep trail to the top, and then played around up there for a bit.




After some words of wisdom from Joe, we were on our way.



I was so proud of Heather. She just started going without hesitation, and was probably the best out of us all.




I was comfortable, but the first time I went down, I leaned back too far at the ledge towards the bottom, and my feet slipped up, causing my left foot to get caught between the rope and the rock face. I was stuck upside down for a bit, which was pretty comical. Nailed it the second time down, though.


Easily the best time I've had in the Forest in a while. We both loved it. If you have any interest in trying this, book a trip with Joe. You won't find a more knowledgeable or nicer person in the sport. Seriously. Book a trip. Now.

I have been riding some, too, but not a ton. I did my first ride into Pisgah from my house, via Bracken Mountain Trail. 475C was a bit long, but I probably won't notice it as my fitness improves. I haven't really been documenting my rides much, because my camera's lens is shot and I can't exactly afford a new one right now. Maybe over the summer sometime.

Also, I just ordered the ingredients to brew an American Pale Ale, and hope to start brewing more often. I'll post more on that later.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Volunteer PMBARism and Martha Stewart Doesn't Have Shit on Me

So, I will be at PMBAR this year, at an undisclosed location. I decided to man a checkpoint so I can still be a part of the event. Sure, I would much rather be racing, but that will have to wait until next year.

Despite the non-racing, I'm still pretty excited about it. I plan on rising before the sun on Saturday, and riding to my checkpoint with a big ole' pack on my back. I get to hang out at a beautiful spot in the Forest, converse with racers all day, sip on rye, and sleep in the woods. I also get to do a real-world test of all of my DIY hammock gear. For those that don't know, I bought an old sewing machine a while back and made a hammock, then an under quilt, and this past weekend, I made a top quilt.

Outside Open

Footbox closed

It is made of 1.1oz ripstop nylon, and stuffed with 11oz of 850 fill goose down.  It was a pretty cool project, and not all that difficult. It should keep me pretty darn warm.  I'll take some pics of my complete setup this weekend, and maybe describe how it all works together in a later post.

That's about it for now.  I've been riding as much as possible, but haven't really been taking too many pics. I also have a dropper post now on my Altitude, but haven't been able to test it out yet, so more on that later.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Short and Oh So Sweet

I'm not fully recovered from my cold, but the ortho cleared me and I was going to ride my mountain bike, dammit. So that's what I did. I started out at the Hub and rode the Estatoe trail (bike path), and then up Black, Thrift, Grassy, and then upper Sycamore. My knee felt great, but my lungs felt like shit, at first. I stopped somewhere along the initial climb and just started hacking. People could probably hear it for miles. It culminated in a series of hacks where I was gagging and thought I might puke, but then it was done and I felt just fine for the rest of the ride. Sometimes you just need to get that out of your system.

The climb and cruise around Thrift were uneventful. The climb up Grassy was no big deal. And Sycamore was a blast as usual. I had no issues at all. I thought I'd be a total wuss and walk every root and creek crossing, but I had no hesitation at all. The only issue I had was that my uber-fat front tire (Ardent 2.4) was rubbing my fork when the wheel would flex, and I would hear brrrrrrp, brrrrrrrp, occasionally. It turns out my wheel wasn't dished properly, and that tire is a very tight squeeze anyway. So I had a couple of beers at the Hub while the wheel was fixed. I've never been so satisfied with such a short ride.

Lazer Cat Revival