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.