Sunday, February 26, 2012

Rough Weekend

Honestly, I don't know how we do it sometimes. Life here can be rough. Yesterday, Heather and I took Kenda and ourselves for a short hike up in the Graveyard Fields area. We had been meaning to check it out for a while, but it's always so crowded. Well, yesterday was a beautiful day, but pretty cold and windy, so there were only a few cars in the lot when we got there. We headed down to Lower Falls first, and played around.

I'm in this photo somewhere.

Lower Falls

Kenda enjoyed the view.


We then started making our way up to the aptly named, Upper Falls. Kenda hiked with dad...

Father/Daughter Hike

Graveyard Fields

...but took breaks with mom.

Taking a Break in Graveyard Fields

Upper Falls

It was a little sloppy on the trails, but was a nice hike that we all needed.

Today, I wanted to see how the new bike was for longer rides, so I went for a 30'ish mile jaunt in Pisgah. Starting at the Ranger Station, I headed up 477, up Clawhammer, down Buckhorn Gap, left on S. Mills...

S. Mills River

S. Mills River

...up the FS road, right on Funneltop Mtn. Road...

Funneltop Mtn. Rd. Overlook

...right on Horse Cove to Squirrel Gap...

Break at Squirrel Gap

...right on Squirrel Gap to Wolf Ford...

Wolf Ford

...up S. Mills, up Buckhorn, down Clawhammer, 477, 276, and back to the Ranger Station. It was an awesome ride, and the bike felt great. Surprisingly, I felt pretty good, too.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

First Ride

I finally finished building up my new ride. Well almost. It's going to share wheels with the Lazer Cat until I can afford some new ones, but other than that, it is independently finished. It's a used 2011 Rocky Mountain Altitude 29 SE frame, with a few nicks here and there, but everything else is new. I built it up with an X9 2x10 (26-39) drivetrain. It also has a RockShox Revelation 29 fork with 140mm of travel. It is obviously quite a bit different than the Lazer Cat, and that was the idea.

I decided that the Big M would be a good shake-down ride for it. I expected it to be pretty sluggish on the climbs, and I noticed a slight sluggishness as compared to the Lazer Cat, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought, and I left the suspension fully active the entire time. I made it up Clawhammer and Maxwell in no time.

New Ride

At the top of the short hike-a-bike up Black, I figured I'd take it easy since I wasn't used to the bike yet, and still walk the couple of spots I've always walked, but then I started actually riding this bike downhill. I felt instantly comfortable and confident, and flew down all of Black to Thrift with no problems, no stopping, and no dabbing for the first time ever. Woot!

At the bottom of Thrift I decided to hit lower Sycamore instead of my usual upper route. Despite being much shorter than the upper side, lower Sycamore is a bit more challenging with a couple of crazy root sections.

Starens Branch looked cold.
Starens Branch

After crossing the creek, I hit the aforementioned root sections and made it through without issue. Normally, I'll at least dab here and there, or my back tire will slide completely out on the greasy roots.

For a first ride, I was really impressed with this bike. There will still be a little tweaking, but it felt good from the get go.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

[Not a] Lull

Haven't posted in a bit, but I have been pretty busy.  There is a lot going on around here.  First of all, I am in the process of building up a full suspension 29er. All of the parts should be here in the next couple of days, and hopefully, I'll be riding it next weekend. Really looking forward to having more suspension for a change of pace.

Secondly, there is a lot of good mountain biking news happening around Brevard. If you haven't read Bike Magazine's "The Bible of Bike Tests," you really should. They tested all of the 2012 bikes around Brevard (Pisgah and Dupont), and there is a nice article about the town. It should bring some national attention to the area's riding scene, and hopefully boost our economy some.

And speaking of boosting our economy, Sierra Nevada has decided to open a brewery in Mills River. Why Mills River you ask? The water is great, the recreational opportunities are great, and the fact that Henderson County is pretty much giving them everything they need is also great. Plans are for brewery tours, a gift shop, a restaurant, and possibly a music venue. Next time I sit my sweaty, dirty butt in the river below, It'll be fun to think about how that water could become my beer later on. I'll certainly be more careful about where I pee now.


Finally, one day of our weekends for the past three weeks has been dedicated to clearing trail corridor for the Bracken Mountain Trail. This is the trail that is going to start right behind our house, and connect to 475C in Pisgah. It won't just be a connecter, though, it'll have about a 4.5 mile lollipop loop in there, too. We've made amazing progress, with a ton of response from volunteers. There have been at least 20 people there every week, and the grand opening is expected early this summer.

Here is the progress after last weekend, and we cleared about another mile today.

Trail Progress 1.28.12

I've really never been so excited about anywhere I've lived before.