Monday, February 28, 2011

Turrible Weekend....Just Turrible

The title is my best Charles Barkley impression.  It's pretty awesome in my head, and hopefully in yours, too.  Anyway, the weekend was actually the total opposite of turrible.  It was pretty perfect to be honest.  After soliciting for ideas on Facebook, I decided that Saturday was going to be a riding day, and that it would be a ride from my house, into and around Pisgah, and then back to my house.  I got ready, hopped on the Lazer Cat, and started pedaling into town on a sunny, 65 degree day.  I hit the bike path, took the new Estatoe Trail into the Forest, and then 477 to the horse stables.  I stopped there to stretch and looked at my Garmin, and to my surprise, it was just over 9 miles to that point.  Not a bad warmup. 

After doing my calisthenics, I removed my sweat bands and leotard, and started the long grunt up Clawhammer.  This was actually the first time I rode Clawhammer past the Maxwell Cove turnoff, and I was delightfully surprised to see that the rest of the climb is not quite so steep.  On my way up, I ran into three downhillers and finished the climb with them.  It was a nice change of pace to have some folks to pace with for a bit, making the climb less of an internal mental struggle.  At the top, they told me they were going to take Black, to Buckwheat Knob, and then come down Bennett.  I didn't really have a plan, but I had just ridden Bennett a few days prior, so I decided to follow them on Black to Club Gap, and then part ways with them and head down Avery Creek instead.  We pushed and pedaled our way up Black, and they bombed the downhill sections while I followed, doing my best impression of bombing, which wasn't nearly as good as my Charles Barkley impression.  They were a great group to ride with, having that mountain biker mentality that was one of the reasons I got into the sport in the first place.

This was my first time on Avery, and it was fun.  Pretty much all downhill, and all rideable.  I only wiped out once in a washout that was filled with at least a foot of leaves.  It was a soft landing, and there was no damage to me or the Lazer Cat.  After getting all of the leaves out of my shorts, I continued down off the mountain and back to the bike path.  The ride back home was pretty turrible for real, though.  A strong headwind and tired legs made every pedal stroke a struggle, but I eventually made it back to my front door to complete a great day on the bike. 

I only got one pic on the ride, and it's at the bottom of Avery Creek:

Heather needed some forest time, too, so on Sunday we crossed the border for some hiking at Caesar's Head State Park. We hiked a loop that we thought would be less crowded than the popular Raven Cliff Falls trail, and thankfully, we were right. It was a nice loop with a 10-foot waterfall, and plenty of elevation change and creek crossings. We took Kenda, and she did awesome. She was a little scared of the creek crossings at first, but by the end, she was boulder hopping across rushing water with us.






The Aftermath:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Short After-Work Ride - Bennett Gap

It wasn't long ago that my after-work/school rides were at Tower Park in Ft. Thomas, KY, or East Fork State Park in Batavia, OH. While I still felt pretty lucky to have decent places to ride within a short drive, now I can be in Pisgah in 10 minutes. It's still a little surreal to be honest. I got out of court a little early today, so I headed to the Forest and parked at the Ranger Station on 276. From there, I rode up 477 to the top of Bennett Gap, and bombed my way back down to 477 and back to the car. The weather was perfect and the trails were empty. I actually felt really good today, too, and now I'm drinking a Highlands Black Mocha Stout. Life is good.

Bennett Gap-1

Bennett Gap-2

Bennett Gap-3

Lazer Cat at Bennett Gap

Bennett Gap-4

Coontree Gap

Saturday, February 19, 2011

15 Perfect Miles in DuPont

It was sunny, 60'ish, and dry.  I had had a stressful week due to house purchasing drama and a disappointing hearing on Friday, so I definitely needed some forest time.  I headed to the Fawn Lake parking area and figured I'd put together a loop from there.  The trails were absolutely perfect, and it wasn't quite as crowded as I thought it would be, but there were quite a few folks there nonetheless.  I started down Reasonover and, after the climb, decided to head down Turkey Knob Rd. and Poplar Hill Loop for the first time.  That was a good call.  I went out and back on those and then continued on Reasonover.  This is easily one of my favorite trails in the area.  I wish it was about 10 miles longer, though.  From Reasonover, I did the Lake View Loop real quick just to see what it was, then on to Lake Julia Gulia Rd.>Camp Summit>Airstrip>Airstrip Tr.> Shelter Rock>Barn Tr (Where I saw two older ladies riding llamas.  Not joking.)>Bridal Veil Falls>Corn Mill Shoals>Shoals>Laurel Ridge>Mine Mtn.  It was an excellent day on the bike.

Turkey Knob Rd.

Old Wagon on Poplar Hill

I bet this was sweet when it was new

Perfect Day


I love the Salsa bottle cages

Boathouse on Lake Julia Gulia

View from Airstrip

Bridal Veil

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Short Spin in Pisgah

Heather and I are officially house hunting. It's a little sooner than we wanted, especially since we are only half way through our lease, but we just can't stand sharing a wall with a gaggle of heavily-hooved humans anymore. Thankfully, our landlord is going to let us out of our lease early. Apparently a lawyer complaining about his right to quiet enjoyment of his leased property is scary to a landlord, plus we're using him as our agent, sooooooo...

Anyway, we had a meeting scheduled with him this afternoon, so I had to cancel on my planned ride for the day, but the weather was too perfect to not get out for a short ride. It was sunny, 60, and hadn't precipitated in a while, so I headed into Pisgah for a short but fun loop. I parked on 477, rode up Clawhammer and Maxwell, and then descended Black. 477 was a little sloppy in parts, but Clawhammer and Maxwell were solid. Most of upper Black was perfect, but there were still a fair number of muddy spots toward the bottom, where they did all that great drainage work. No precip forecasted for the upcoming week, so the trails will have a chance to dry out a bit more for next weekend.

It was a nice ride on a perfect day. My cardio shape is still really lacking, but the 1x9 setup worked great. I have a Paul's Chainkeeper on it, and it worked flawlessly.  I think it'll give me just enough gearing options.


The 1x9 Setup

Perfect Day in Pisgah

On Maxwell

Pressley Gap

Lower Black