Monday, June 3, 2013

Cougar Canyon

We moved here for the mountain biking and hiking, but have discovered that this is an immense, outdoor playground, and there are so many different ways of exploring it. We both love moving water and waterfalls, and I was able to convince Heather to go on a canyoneering trip with me, with Joe, the founder of Pura Vida Adventures.

We tagged along on a trip this past Saturday, and it was a great experience. We can't wait to do it again!

We met at PV HQ early in the morning, and once everyone arrived, we headed south of town to a wet and wild section of National Forest that Joe refers to as Cougar Canyon. (If you want to know the exact location, book a trip!) We parked, and started our very mild hike to the falls we would be descending. The trip we were on was an introduction to canyoneering, and wasn't truly canyoneering, but more just rappelling down the side of a 75' waterfall, as opposed to actually working your way down an entire canyon. It was a great way to introduce a person to the sport without overwhelming them.

We were a group of four, plus Joe and Andy from PV.


Our waterfall for the day.


We took a steep trail to the top, and then played around up there for a bit.




After some words of wisdom from Joe, we were on our way.



I was so proud of Heather. She just started going without hesitation, and was probably the best out of us all.




I was comfortable, but the first time I went down, I leaned back too far at the ledge towards the bottom, and my feet slipped up, causing my left foot to get caught between the rope and the rock face. I was stuck upside down for a bit, which was pretty comical. Nailed it the second time down, though.


Easily the best time I've had in the Forest in a while. We both loved it. If you have any interest in trying this, book a trip with Joe. You won't find a more knowledgeable or nicer person in the sport. Seriously. Book a trip. Now.

I have been riding some, too, but not a ton. I did my first ride into Pisgah from my house, via Bracken Mountain Trail. 475C was a bit long, but I probably won't notice it as my fitness improves. I haven't really been documenting my rides much, because my camera's lens is shot and I can't exactly afford a new one right now. Maybe over the summer sometime.

Also, I just ordered the ingredients to brew an American Pale Ale, and hope to start brewing more often. I'll post more on that later.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Volunteer PMBARism and Martha Stewart Doesn't Have Shit on Me

So, I will be at PMBAR this year, at an undisclosed location. I decided to man a checkpoint so I can still be a part of the event. Sure, I would much rather be racing, but that will have to wait until next year.

Despite the non-racing, I'm still pretty excited about it. I plan on rising before the sun on Saturday, and riding to my checkpoint with a big ole' pack on my back. I get to hang out at a beautiful spot in the Forest, converse with racers all day, sip on rye, and sleep in the woods. I also get to do a real-world test of all of my DIY hammock gear. For those that don't know, I bought an old sewing machine a while back and made a hammock, then an under quilt, and this past weekend, I made a top quilt.

Outside Open

Footbox closed

It is made of 1.1oz ripstop nylon, and stuffed with 11oz of 850 fill goose down.  It was a pretty cool project, and not all that difficult. It should keep me pretty darn warm.  I'll take some pics of my complete setup this weekend, and maybe describe how it all works together in a later post.

That's about it for now.  I've been riding as much as possible, but haven't really been taking too many pics. I also have a dropper post now on my Altitude, but haven't been able to test it out yet, so more on that later.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Short and Oh So Sweet

I'm not fully recovered from my cold, but the ortho cleared me and I was going to ride my mountain bike, dammit. So that's what I did. I started out at the Hub and rode the Estatoe trail (bike path), and then up Black, Thrift, Grassy, and then upper Sycamore. My knee felt great, but my lungs felt like shit, at first. I stopped somewhere along the initial climb and just started hacking. People could probably hear it for miles. It culminated in a series of hacks where I was gagging and thought I might puke, but then it was done and I felt just fine for the rest of the ride. Sometimes you just need to get that out of your system.

The climb and cruise around Thrift were uneventful. The climb up Grassy was no big deal. And Sycamore was a blast as usual. I had no issues at all. I thought I'd be a total wuss and walk every root and creek crossing, but I had no hesitation at all. The only issue I had was that my uber-fat front tire (Ardent 2.4) was rubbing my fork when the wheel would flex, and I would hear brrrrrrp, brrrrrrrp, occasionally. It turns out my wheel wasn't dished properly, and that tire is a very tight squeeze anyway. So I had a couple of beers at the Hub while the wheel was fixed. I've never been so satisfied with such a short ride.

Lazer Cat Revival

Friday, March 29, 2013


I had my appointment with the ortho yesterday, and he went ahead and cleared me for all activity. I couldn't believe it. It has been such a long road since the surgery in June. A lot of pain, frustration, and hard work. I'm still not 100% there yet, but I can now start mountain biking again, and I couldn't be happier. Unfortunately, I've been home sick with this chest cold all week, but I'll be on the Lazer Cat as soon as I can breathe somewhat properly.

While home this week, I've watched a lot of mountain bike videos on Vimeo, especially ones from European Enduro races. As many of you know, Pisgah Productions is putting on the first 'official' Pisgah enduro race later this year. For those in the dark, an enduro race is basically several downhill races built into an, for lack of a better phrase, all-mountain ride. The downhill sections are timed, and then you ride at a more leisurely pace to the start of each timed downhill section. It seems like a good format for any local Pisgah rider, as pretty much every ride here is an 'enduro' ride.

Anyway, I'm excited that this blog will finally be getting back to including accounts of mountain biking in the Brevard area. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Big Ole Dump

Photo dump.

I'm home sick with the chest cold from hell (actual diagnosis), so I figured it's time to update the blog.  We've been hiking quite a bit, and I've been riding the cross bike all over Pisgah.  My knee is feeling stronger and stronger thanks to those activities, and the squats and deadlifts I've been doing at home.  Those exercises have really helped with my standing pedaling especially.

On with the dump.

Hiking on Seniard Ridge.



 Falls on Seniard Ridge Trail 

Top secret cross route in Pisgah.

 Forgotten Pisgah Road

 Emergency Whiskey

Forgotten Pisgah Trail 

We got a GPS and tried geocaching on our back yard trail.





We hiked in Panthertown Valley (Nantahala N.F.) for the first time.

Mac's Falls

Schoolhouse Falls


Slickrock Overlook 4



We finally made it to the top of Cedar Rock Mtn.

USGS Benchmark


Cedar Rock Mtn.6


Cedar Rock Falls

I've also just been riding gated F.S. roads to see where they go, not taking many photos.



End of the Road

That's about it I guess. I go back to the ortho in a couple of days. I'm pretty sure he's going to make me get another strength test and then another appointment to tell me the results of that strength test so he can make more money before clearing me to ride. We'll see.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Still Waiting

Saw the ortho at Mexican tonight. Still no clearance. More margaritas next time.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Patience is a Virtue

The Lazer Cat lacks it...

Ready to Roll

Just waiting for clearance from the ortho. Hopefully at the next visit in March.

I gave the Lazer Cat some TLC today with a total break-down, clean, lube, and rebuild. She was also treated to a shorter stem, and carbon 3/4 risers. Once I'm able to start mountain biking again, it'll be on the Lazer Cat. One reason being that I'll be less tempted to hit stuff I probably shouldn't yet. Secondly, this bike was the one I was on when I really started riding here, so it should be the one I'm on when I start back. Cruised it around the neighborhood a bit today, and it felt oh so sweet.

Just need to keep plugging away on strength-building for a couple more months.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Raven Cliff Falls Hike

We made it out for another short hike today. Last night while hanging out at the Oskar Blues Brewery, we decided that today's hike would be to the Raven Cliff Falls overlook, up in Caesar's Head. We woke up and got our day started, and then headed up the mountain towards an ominous sky. We knew there was a chance of rain, and packed accordingly. The parking lot was pretty full, as usual, but we found a spot in the main lot, and headed out. We saw several people out on the trail, but it wasn't too crowded, and the trail itself was nice.

This is me with my sweet knee brace, and my trusty hiking staff, "Woody." Heather got "Woody" for me as a Christmas present before we moved down here. She ordered it from a shop in Brevard, and it has a woodland spirit carved into the top of it. It has come in very handy on our recent hikes.

Yeah, it was shorts and t-shirt weather.


We made it to the overlook in no time. It was 2.2 miles to this point.

Raven Cliff Falls 2


From there, we decided to start down Dismal Trail, which links up with the Naturaland Trust Trail, and goes to the base of the falls. Looking down from the overlook, I figured my knee might not be able to handle it, but we decided to at least check it out. Well, my hunch was correct. It got pretty steep, and was just a little too much for my knee for now. We did find a fun little rock outcropping to play on, though.



We headed back the way we came, and on the way back, the mist and fog rolled in. It was beautiful and surreal.


 Into the Mist

 Mystical Trail

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Back in the Forest

Man, the second half of 2012 was tough for us. We both underwent pretty serious surgeries, and are both finally recovering to the point where we can be pretty active again. If you've followed this blog, you know that I put in a lot of volunteer hours in the Bracken Mountain Trail project, which is pretty much right in our back yard. The trail officially opened in July, but I had just had my ACL replaced in June, and I was able to barely hobble my way up to the grand opening.

Well a couple of weekends ago, we finally were able to witness the final product, on a nice hike from our back door.




We were pretty impressed with the trail system and our 5 mile hike. I can't wait until I can start riding it. The next weekend (last weekend), we went for a little gravel road ride at Dupont. My knee didn't feel great this day, but we still got a nice ride in.

Bridal Cross

The next day, we planned a hike to the top of Mt. Pisgah, but when we got to the BRP, they were closing the gates in anticipation of winter weather we were supposed to get that evening, so we turned around and drove up 477 to Bennett Gap trailhead for a short hike to the overlooks and back.


Bennett Overlook

Today, I went for another gravel road ride at Dupont, since the high temp was ~70*. I sold my road bike, which was a Bianchi Vigorelli, and bought two cheaper cross bikes for Heather and I. I found her a nice steel Jamis Nova, and bought myself a Voodoo Wazoo. We've really enjoyed the cross bikes and prefer gravel roads over real roads by far.

 Dupont gravel

Bridal Veil Falls

My knee felt really good on today's ride, and I made some climbs that I never thought I'd be able to top at this point. I was very pleased. We should be hiking again tomorrow, so hopefully, I'll have some more photos to post.