Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Humans are Dead...

...I poked was dead.

Last Saturday I helped a buddy move in Greenville, SC, so I didn't get to ride until Sunday. I did, however, stop at SunRift in Traveler's Rest to spend some cash that was burning a hole in my pocket. I needed some new bike shoes, and was debating between Lakes (which I've had before and liked), and Pearls. They had both, so I asked which ones they thought would be better for walking my bike around Pisgah, and ended up getting an AMAZING deal to take a pair of silver Lakes off their hands.


I tested my robot shoes out on Sunday by riding a very short but fun route that required zero hike-a-biking. I rode Grassy>Thrift>Black>Grassy>Upper Sycamore>276.

That's all I got for ya. Have a Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Elusive Cedar Rock

This post is a little late, so I won't be too wordy with it. I was able to get into the Forest both days last weekend. On Saturday, I rode from the Ranger Station, and did 276>477>Clawhammer>Black>Buckwheat>Bennett>477>276. It was a really nice ride, and I felt like I had the Forest to myself.

Buckhorn Shelter

Black Mountain Trail

Club Gap

View from Bennett Gap Trail

View from Bennet Gap Trail

On Sunday, Heather and I decided to see if we could figure out how to get up to Cedar Rock from Butter Gap. We started out on what I'm pretty sure is the correct trail, and took it to the left when it got steep. This is where we ended up:



There was no really obvious way up the rock face, and it was kinda wet, and I really didn't feel like killing myself, so we went back down a bit, and took a less obvious right route when it got steep. This time, we ended up here:



Again, no obvious way up, so we hung out and had a snack, before descending back down to the gap. We then decided to take another unmarked trail from there, and ended up at the base of Cedar Rock, where there are some climbing routes. This was a fun place to just play around.




So we never did make it to the top of Cedar Rock. From what I've read, you basically have to scramble up the rock face to get there from this side, and there are supposedly some "steps" carved into the rock, but I didn't see them. I think we'll just start at the hatchery next time and come up the other side.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cove Creek Kind of Weekend

It was a great weekend to get out and play in the woods. On Saturday, I went out for a short loop in Pisgah. I headed up Cove Creek to 225, and then down to Daniel where I went left, and took the less technical, and supposedly more flowy way. It was a fun ride, albeit kinda short, but I had some beers to drink afterwards. I got my first ever tire puncture since switching to tubeless with Stan's, and I was impressed with how well it worked. It took a few minutes to seal it, and I had to put some air in, but it held really well the rest of the ride and is still holding strong.


Once I finished Daniel, I hung a left to see how well Tom Spring Falls was flowing, and then continued past to see if I could find the connector trail back over to Cove Creek Campground.


I actually found two trails where I figured the one would be. I took the one that made the most sense to me, and in a couple of minutes, I was where I figured I would be. Anyone know where the other one goes? One of my favorite things about Pisgah is how at ease I feel, and have always felt, in just exploring. I have a good general sense of direction in the woods, and over all the years I've been visiting Pisgah, I've never felt lost, even when I didn't know exactly where I was.

After I popped out into the group camp area where Single Dare was held, I went up the road a bit to see the rest of the camping area. At the back corner of the first camping "field," I found a spot I'll be re-visiting next summer.


Today, we wanted to hike somewhere nice to get one more photo for our Christmas card, but we didn't have a lot of time. I thought Cove Creek Falls would be good, so back to 475 we went. I've ridden past the trail that leads to the falls many times, but had never actually gone down to them. It was a really pleasant surprise when we saw them, as they were much bigger than I expected.

We stopped about half-way down, and walked out on a ledge to get a few photos.




We played around for a while longer, and I took some more photos of the creek and its surroundings, before we headed back to the campground via Caney Bottom Trail.




Monday, November 21, 2011


So I haven't really done much that was post-worthy since Single Dare.  A little bit of hiking and a little bit of riding, but the camera hasn't come out at all.  I started a new job about a month ago, and although it's great to be working full-time hours, it sucks to be working full-time hours.  I haven't been nearly as motivated to do much in the woods, let alone post on here.  Hopefully that'll change soon, though, as I get in more of a routine.  The job is great, btw, thanks for asking.

This past weekend, I received a couple of reminders of how great it is to live in Brevard.  On Saturday, Heather and I were tooling around town, and a yellow pickup truck drove by with a dummy dressed up as a hunter strapped to the hood.  The driver and passenger were both dressed up as deer, and as they drove by they yelled "We got one!"  That was hilarious to me, and it's the quirky little things like that that make me love Brevard more and more.

On Sunday, I was reminded (like I needed it) of just how great the riding is around Brevard, because I made my first ever trip up to Bent Creek.  I see no need to ever go back there.  Every parking lot was full, and the trails were pretty boring.  I rode the higher trails including Wolf something, Ingles something, and the famous Greens Lick, and then back the way I came.  I guess I'm just spoiled living here or something.  A few years ago, I probably would have loved the trails at Bent Creek, and I think it is probably a great trail system for newer riders, roadies that want to ride their mountain bikes the same way they ride their road bikes, and folks who live in Asheville and don't feel like traveling to Mills River, Brevard, or Cedar Mountain.  I'm definitely blessed to live where I do.

I'll post some pretty pictures again soon.  I promise.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Single Dare

It was a great Single Dare experience this, my first year racing. We got to the group camp around 11, with just enough time to set up camp and get ready. The race started at noon, and Eric, Mr. Pisgah Productions, told us we had to start and finish on Cove Creek Trail, get the mandatory checkpoint, and be back before midnight in order to officially finish Single Dare.

We got our passport and headed up the trail at a slow and steady pace. Once to the top of Cove Creek, we started the long gravel grind to 276, then to 477, and up Club Gap Trail to our first CP at Club Gap. My partner had some heavy legs early in the ride, but I was confident he'd work out the kinks. From Club Gap, we decided that instead of just going back the way we came to get to Pilot, we'd take the more fun route and head over Black to Buckhorn Gap, to S. Mills, 476, 1206, and then Pilot. Surprisingly, the Black hike-a-biking did not help work the kinks out. And then we got to Pilot.

The mandatory CP was at the junction of Laurel Mountain Trail, and the Laurel/Pilot Connector Trail. The fastest way to get up there is to push your bike straight up Pilot for about 2.5 miles. It is a steep and loose climb, and just when you think you're almost there, you're not even friggin close. We finally made it up to the mandatory, and we both had dead legs. It was probably in the 20s up there, and we hung out at the volunteers' campfire for a while and drank a beer. I attempted the bonus challenge, which was hitting a plastic pumpkin with a slingshot from a pretty good distance. I was damn close with every shot, but was ultimately unlucky.

From there, we pushed our bikes back up the connector trail, and then rode down Pilot very wussily carefully. Somewhere along the way down, or up, or somewhere else, we decided that we were done. We made it to the bottom, and started the long gravel ride back to the top of Cove Creek. We stopped at the gravel road that leads to Cove Creek in order to turn on our lights, but somehow my fully charged battery became fully uncharged, and my light wouldn't work. Thankfully, the Single Dare rules require a backup light. Unthankfully, my backup light is a 40 lumen Petzl Tikka. Not so good for riding a bike at night. It sorta worked, though, and we finally made it back to the group camp to the sound of cold people cheering our amazing Single Dare accomplishment.

Photo by brado1

It was finally time to be a little less serious and hang out by the fire with some beers. More racers came in and the crowd around the fire got bigger and bigger, but then it got smaller and smaller as people hit the rack. A small group of us stayed and enjoyed the milieu, and then all of a sudden, some guy came out with a cowbell to wake people up for something called Double Dare. It was all too much for me to comprehend, so I snuck off into the darkness to get some sleep.

Photo by brado1

All in all, it was a great Single Dare. We only got two CPs, but we finished, and we drank a lot, and that's really what it's all about. I may have to look into that Double Dare thing for next year, or maybe not.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tough Love

The Lazer Cat let me know what it really thought about having a front derailleur today.

Who am I to argue?

Back to 1x9.

3 crashes in 4 days. WTF?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Catching Up

Haven't posted in a while, so now it's catch-up time. I've actually been riding quite a bit lately. Two weekends ago, I headed out to Pisgah, and put in some decent miles. My route was 477>Buckhorn>Clawhammer>Buckhorn>S.Mills>476>Funneltop Mtn Rd.>Horse Cove>Squirrel>S.Mills>Buckhorn>Clawhammer>477. I think it was around 30 miles. It was a beautiful day, and the trails were in great shape. At the end of Horse Cove, I ran into a group being led by someone I know, so I tagged along for the ride. That was my first time on Squirrel since the re-work, and I'm not sure what I think. The creek crossings are much better now, but other parts of the trail are racetrack'ish. I'm sure it'll grow on me, though.

A couple iPhone pics from Funneltop Mtn Rd.:

The next day, I headed back into the forest and rode from the Hatchery. The route was 475>Davidson River>475>Cove Creek>225>Daniel Connector>Daniel>5046?>Connector>Cove Creek>475>Davidson River>475>Hatchery. Another great ride on a great day, even with dead legs. On the way out I stopped along Cove Creek and took some pics of a small waterfall.



The Pisgah Stage Race started on Tuesday. Wednesday's stage had a remote start, so I shuttled Stephen Janes and Andy Johnston to the start, and hung out to see the racers off.

This past weekend, a group of Hoosiers, including my Double Dare partner, came down to ride Pisgah, so I tagged along. On Saturday, we parked at Pilot Cove, and rode 1206>Laurel>Pilot>Connector>Pilot Cove/Slate Rock. When we hit the start of Laurel, the stage race leaders had already gone by, but we caught a few of the fast guys heading in, and saw a bunch more racers along the trail.





We took our time heading up Laurel, as it was most of the Hoosiers' first exposure to Pisgah. My chain snapped somewhere along the way. It wasn't where this pic was taken, though.


We finally made it up to Pilot, and worked our way down to the Rock without incident.



After not-so-gracefully (I endo'd twice) bombing our way down Pilot, we took a left on the connector with the intention of heading up to Slate Rock. During one of my crashes, I bent my cassette, and my chain was skipping pretty bad, so I headed back down to the cars once we hit Pilot Cove, and started drinking out of the growlers with Nick, who bailed before the connector.

That night we headed down to the after party for the stage race and listened to the band for a bit, and then up to my house for a couple of beers, where it was decided we'd meet to ride again at 8:30 the next morning. We met at the Ranger Station and rode 276>477>Clawhammer>Maxwell>Black>Grassy>Sycamore>276. It was a great ride, and a good way for the Hoosiers to end their trip.

Today I got a little bored, so I hacked up some old clothes and made a couple of cycling caps. I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out. I got the pattern and instructions here.


That's all I think. No wait, somewhere in there I put a front derailleur and a granny gear on the Lazer Cat. I feel dirty.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Looking Glass and North Mills

Well, I finally got my brake situation worked out. I received my new hose, fittings, fluid, and bleed kit late Friday afternoon, and had it all set up in about an hour. Much easier than I thought it would be, and the Formulas are great. I'll have to see how the durability is, but so far, I'm a convert.

As excited as I was to be able to ride the Lazer Cat again, I didn't want to ditch Heather all weekend, so we planned a hike for Saturday. We still had a couple of "Rocks" that we hadn't been up to yet, so we decided to fight the crowds and climb up to Looking Glass. The parking area was full, as it usually is, but the trail really was not that crowded. The bottom half was a smooth, machine-cut track, with a fairly gradual rise. The top turned into what a trail is supposed to be, narrow, rocky, and rooty. We climbed about 1700ft in just over 3 miles up to the view, and oh what a view. It was a cloudy and cool day, but the view was still fairly endless and uninterrupted. Here are the pics:









Looking Glass Pano

Sunday, I met up with Eric in N. Mills River. We got kind of a late start, so we only did a ten mile ride, but it was a good one. We started from the intersection of Bear Branch Trail and FS 5000. We did the Bear Branch loop first, stopped at the cars for refreshments, and then climbed 5000. We hung a left on Spencer, and climbed some more. While Spencer has some steep climbs, it's a really fun trail. It has some rocky and rooty technical sections, and Eric was right, it does remind you a bit of Laurel Mtn. At the end of Spencer, of course, is Trace. Trace really helped me break in my new brake pads. It's a long, rocky, washed-out in places, downhill, and a ton of fun. I only had one slip-up in a deep wash-out, and just kind of fell over into the side of the wash-out. No harm done to me, but somehow my chain had come out of my Paul's Chainkeeper. Not sure how that happened, but after about five minutes, we were descending again.

After popping out at the parking lot, we started on lower Trace, but then took a left on Wash Creek, and made it back to the cars, just in time for more refreshments. I really liked this loop, and I'll definitely be doing it again in the future. Downhills like that make me wish I still had my full-suspension bike, but I'm sure I'll get faster descending on the hard tail. Sorry, no pics of the ride. It was too dark and dreary for anything to turn out anyway.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Almost Back to Normal

Holy cow, I actually rode both days this weekend. It felt good to push myself again, and it's nice to be excited about riding. It's been a while. I went to put the new brakes on the Lazer Cat, but these were take-offs, and the rear hose was too short. My LBS didn't have any replacement hose kits, but it's on order and should be here this week.

So on Saturday, I ate a nice breakfast and then headed out to DuPont to try and destroy myself on the Karate Monkey, SS and rigid. You don't notice how much a suspension fork helps until you go back to a rigid. My wrists are hurting today. I don't know how far I rode, but it was a pretty good one on the SS. I rode at a touring pace, but the SS still got the best of me, as both of my quads started cramping pretty bad towards the end. I hit a couple of new-to-me trails, and saw two lakes I hadn't seen before, as well as the Lake Julia Gulia Spillway. It was a good ride.

Grassy Creek Falls

Lake Dense Pier


Lake (Pond) Alford

Lake Julia Spillway

Today, I headed out for a morning road ride. My legs felt a little dead at first, and my sit bones were slightly tender, but all was well after I warmed up. I headed out to the river valley again, but I threw in a few more miles and more climbing. It was a pretty nice ride on a gorgeous morning. I actually got a little chilly in some areas.

Crappy iPhone Pic

Looks like the rest of this Sunday will be a lazy one.