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:
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.