Sunday, December 19, 2010

DuPont Ride with Mike G.

My buddy Mike was in town, and he had some free time and wanted to ride.  He doesn't get much free time with a young daughter and a pregnant wife that is about to pop, so I was more than happy to pick him up and show him around DuPont a bit.  This was only my second opportunity to ride with him, and it honestly may have only been his second time really going mountain biking.  Well, he's a natural.  He does way better than I ever did starting out, and he climbs like a damn goat.

It was a pretty cold day, and there was quite a bit of ice and snow on the trails still, but it was still a blast.  We started from the Lake Imaging lot and did an abbreviated version of the Briery and Back loop, with a slight detour to see High Falls.  We did around 12.5 miles at a nice leisurely pace.  Great ride.

I only got one pic before my battery died.  Guess I should have charged it after yesterday's hike.

High Falls

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pressley Cove

Heather and I both needed some forest time, so we went for a hike in Pisgah. We parked on 477, went up Pressley Cove Tr., and came back down Maxwell and Clawhammer to 477 again. It was cool, but never actually cold. There was still quite a bit of snow and ice around, and the forest was nice and quiet. We both felt instantly better as soon as our feet hit the trail. We did around 4.5 miles with almost 1500 ft of elevation change. It was a nice little Saturday. We were going to go to Bed, Bath & Beyond, but we just didn't have the time.


Pics from the Actual Hike:








Man, Beast, and Machine

Full Set:

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Not only is Brevard the Land of Waterfalls, but it's also home of the White Squirrels.  In fact, 27% of Brevard's squirrel population consists of white squirrels.  How do we know this?  Because people like Heather and I volunteer to count them each year.  We were assigned our own sector to walk and count white squirrels, gray squirrels, and squirrel nests.  It was a beautiful day for squirrel countin', and we got a few good pics of these elusive creatures.

At first we thought it would be tough to get a good pic, as they kept their distance from us.

But then we found a couple that weren't so shy.


We counted gray ones, too.

Poor Kenda was left at home with only her squirrel dreams.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Quick and Slick DuPont Ride

The weather was great and I had nothing to do, so I headed down 276 and hit DuPont from the Corn Mill Shoals parking lot. This was my first ride back from my groin injury, so I wanted to sort of take it easy. I rode Corn Mill Shoals>Burnt Mtn>Corn Mill Shoals>Little River>Cedar Rock(1st one)>Big Rock>Corn Mill Shoals>Longside>Pine Tree>Cascade Lake Rd.>Rock Quarry Rd.>Micajah>Wilkie>Cascade Lake Rd. It was a nice little loop. I was able to ride all of Burnt Mtn for the first time ever, finally not being freaked out by the rocky downhill section that isn't that hard, but is quite steep. My groin felt pretty good, but did start to get sore towards the end of the ride, right around Longside.

It was good to be riding the Lazer Cat again. Every new bike has a bit of an adjustment period, before the bike really just feels like an extension of yourself. Today got me one ride closer to that feeling. It feels more and more right with every ride.

Every time I ride Cedar Rock/Big Rock, I am absolutely in awe of the scenery. It is such a unique place, and never fails to give me the inner peace I'm looking for in the mountains. The ride up was a bit sketchy in places, because the slick rock was made a bit slicker with solid sheets of ice across it in parts, but it was nothing a little detouring couldn't fix.

While I was pushing up Cedar Rock, I reflected a bit on the past year and I realized that there has been a whole lot of change going on. I finished law school, took and passed the bar exam, we moved to Brevard, and I started practicing law on my own. It's really been a pretty crazy year. Looking forward, I'm confident that 2011 is going to be the year that it all comes together, after many years in limbo. I'm sure there will still be more change, hopefully in the form of a home purchase, but I think stability will finally be coming into our lives. One sure sign of that is that we absolutely love it here.

Enough of that; here are the few pics I took on the ride:






Monday, December 6, 2010

Explorin' Pisgah

Yesterday, we wanted to get out and take a pic to go on our Christmas cards this year.  We went into town and walked and drove around, and nothing really felt right, so we decided to drive into the forest.  Brevard is known as the Land of Waterfalls so we headed to Looking Glass Falls.  It was pretty cold out, so it wasn't crowded at all.  We snapped a few pics of us, which turned out pretty good, and then a few pics of the falls.  It was cool, because the mist from the falls was forming ice crystals on the vegetation around the bottom.  On our way back, we decided to take a short detour on 477 to the horse stables, because Heather had never been down that way.  At the stables, it started flurrying.  After that, we headed into the campground area, and back to the English Chapel, which neither of us had seen up close yet. 

Anyway, nothing too exciting, but here are a few pics:

Looking Glass

Frozen Mist

Flurries at the Stables

English Chapel

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Short Pisgah Hike

Lately, I've really been feeling stressed and anxious. I have a lot of uncertainty in my professional life right now, and it's just been building up inside of me. And due to a groin injury, resulting from me trying to set my foot down on a ride, only to have it hit wet leaves and slide down a rock face on a steep mountain slope, causing me to do the splits until something popped, I haven't been able to relieve the stress that has been building. Add on top of that the fact that it has been monsooning here for the past few days, and you have a bona fide funk in the works.

I decided today was the day to get out and try to do something about it. I had a couple of things to take care of this morning, but as soon as I was finished I came home, grabbed Kenda, and headed for the forest for a short afternoon hike. We parked the Grand at the Art Loeb trailhead by the campground, and headed out along the river. The water was high and flowing fast. The sound of the rapids had an immediate calming effect. We followed the crushed limestone path and then hung a right on the Art Loeb. This is a long and challenging, hiking-only, trail that has several different sections crossing the Pisgah Ranger District. The challenging part of this trail is that it is basically a ridgeline trail, so there is a lot of climbing over summits.

We went up and up and up, and the trail was nice. It was a little wet from all of the monsooning and whatnot, but never muddy. We heard some hunting dogs in the distance, but they seemed pretty far off. I was originally planning on just doing an out and back, but then we came across an old road (Joel Branch Rd.?). I didn't have my map, but my spidey sense told me it would take me close to where I wanted to be, and it was downhill, so off we went down the road. Well, my spidey sense is yet to fail me, and we ended up coming out at the back of the work camp, connecting back up to the bottom of the Art Loeb, and back to the car. We did see one hunter on a trail off the side of the road, but he didn't see us. I was a little nervous about it being rifle season, but I just kept talking loudly to Kenda and it was a non-issue.

It was a nice, and much-needed hike, and ended up being just over 4 miles. No matter how stressful my career path (or lack thereof) is right now, I know we made the right decision moving here. Where else can I drive 10 minutes and be able to go on a short hike on a trail like the Art Loeb, in a place like Pisgah? Just amazing. Now I just need to find some boots that won't give me blisters. Today was pretty much the last chance for these Asolos.


On the Art Loeb



I was feeling a bit Irish today, hence the hat.

Foot bridge over the rushing river.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lazer Cat - Dupont Ride

I hung out in court this morning, just observing things and learning a bit, and then had lunch with some attorneys, social workers, and a judge.  After all that fun, it was time to get real again and go for a ride.  I headed home, got out of my stuffy "court clothes," and grabbed the Lazer Cat.  This would be my second ride on her, but my first with the build totally complete with fork remote lockout installed, and the tires set up as tubeless.

I rode her Saturday in Mills River, and she felt great.  Very responsive, light, and smooth.  Today, I wanted to get her out on a route that I have ridden many times on the Karate Monkey to get a good comparison, so I hit Reasonover Creek>Lake Julia Gulia Rd.>Camp Summit Rd.>Airstrip Tr.>Shelter Rock Tr.>Corn Mill Shoals Rd./Tr.>Shoals Tr.>Laurel Ridge Tr.>Mine Mtn. Tr.  The route wasn't nearly as long as it sounds, but it was a good, late afternoon ride.

Right off the bat, I loved the feel of this bike.  It's a little difficult to explain, but it feels like more of an extension of me than something I am sitting on top of.  That means that maneuvering the bike is much more intuitive, and less work.  I don't know if that is because the geometry is just a better match for my size, that it is quite a bit lighter than my Monkey even with a suspension fork, the fact that it does have a suspension fork, or a combination of all of that.  I really do notice how light this bike is, as it's so easy to get airborne, and pop up over obstacles.  It certainly helps on the climbs, too.  The frame is also very compliant.  Steel provides such a smooth ride, and the Lazer Cat doesn't feel nearly as "tank'ish" as the Monkey does.  I'll chalk that up to Brendan's tubing selection.  And finally, having a Reba XX/Race (the dampener was swapped out from Xloc to Pushloc by the PO which meant it was quite affordable for me) with a 20mm thru axle really made a difference as well.  The bike is a point and shoot, not requiring nearly as much finesse as the rigid fork, and allowing me to bomb the downhills a bit more.

That's all I have to say about that for now.  I'm anxious to see how much more I like it as I get used to it.

Here are a couple pics of the build:

Lazer Cat2

Lazer Cat1

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hike to Bridal Veil - 11.7.10

Heather had never been to Bridal Veil Falls in DuPont, so we decided to put together a hiking loop that would include them. I basically just decided on a variation of a loop that I usually ride, which turned out to be a pretty darn long hike. We were out there for a good 4-5 hours hiking, and playing on the falls. We parked at Fawn Lake access and from there the route was Reasonover Creek Tr.>Lake Julia Rd.>Conservation Rd.>Shelter Rock Tr.>Barn Tr.>Bridal Veil Falls Rd.>Bridal Veil Falls>Corn Mill Shoals Tr.>Shelter Rock Tr.>Airstrip Tr.>Conservation Rd.>Fawn Lake Rd. It was kind of a long one, and we were both spent, but very happy, at the end of it.

It was the perfect way to spend such a great day, and right now we are enjoying the perfect way to finish the day, hot cocoa with peppermint schnapps.





Some Nice Canadians with Broken Hockey Sticks as Walking Sticks Took this for Us.

Coming At Ya!

A Little Ice up High

Too Cold to Get Wet Going Behind

Nice Scenery ;)

See Ya

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Forget the Iceman, The Lazer Cat Cometh

After a slightly longer than expected, but apparently well-worth-it wait, my new John Henry is finished.  Brendan puts out some great frames, and mine appears to be no exception.  The color we decided to go with was Lazer [Cat] Rootbeer, and now you know where its name came from.  I was originally looking for something in the charcoal family, with a mocha tint to it, or Charcoal-ate, but nothing was jumping out at me.  Then Brendan showed me this color and I was sold.  These pics sort of show it, but the color has a lot of depth to it, with multi-colored flake.  I left the decal choice up to Brendan, and I'm glad I did.  I probably would have picked silver, but he came up with cream decals, with a brown outline.  I think that complements the frame color much better than silver would have.

Anyway, here are the pics that Brendan sent, and of course, I'll post more once she arrives in NC, next Thursday.




I'm getting ready to go ride at DuPont today. It looks beautiful out, but I know that it's also cold. High of 44 today, which should be some pretty good riding weather.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bennett Gap Ride - 10.24.10

I decided to head back into Pisgah today, and try out a new trail, Bennett Gap.  Bennett is a seasonal trail, which means it is only open to bikes from Oct. 15 - Apr. 15.  This was a very fun trail, with the best views I've seen so far in Pisgah, because of the depth of the mountain ranges you can see.  I started out at the Ranger Station and took FS 477 toward the horse stables.  I stayed on 477 past the stables, and pedaled (mostly) up a loooooooooooong climb, to Bennett Gap.  I didn't see any signs for this trail, but when you see Buckwheat Knob Trail on the right side of 477, look directly to your left and go around the gate, and you're on Bennett Gap.  You'll start out on some pretty normal singletrack, then you go through a small field of thorn bushes (blueberry bushes maybe?), and then you start doing some ridge riding with some hike-a-bike sections and the amazing views.  After a downhill hike-a-bike with some big rocks, the trail generally points down and is rideable.  It ended with a screamin' downhill that I had to take breaks on just to let my hands rest a bit, from the rigid fork beating.  I think the downhill was a good 15-20 minutes.  All-in-all, it was a fun trail, but a killer climb to get to it.








477 to Bennett Gap