Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bike Hero - Where do I sign?

What happens when your buddy gets a new toy? He films you frog hopping rocks. I'm in front by the way:

Butch Greene, Downhill Clip from matt griffin on Vimeo.

First there was Excitebike.

Then came Ricky Carmichael's Motocross....2002 Version!

It came to fruition with Downhill Domination.

Now in 3D we get - Bike Hero:


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The secret lives of downhillers

I got to thinking this morning as I was scrolling through Google Maps terrain feature. And it came to me that DH'ers are maniacal in their obsession and dedicated beyond reason. We own rigs that can't be ridden out the front door to anywhere unless you live on the slopes of Whistler, Vars or Snowshoe! We scan topo maps to find ridgelines and fire roads.

I've been driving home on backroads, poking my nose in private communities and pouring over "Trail Centres" in the UK and how the access has been negotiated with landowners and the Forestry Commission. It's inspired me to make a go of it here in my area.

I've been cherry picking secret shuttles for years now, getting permission to access private land, but never giving away the locations to the masses. But I really yearn to disclose one of these gems, get us all access to share it, shape it and grow it. Wish me luck in my obsession.

I figure that the worst case scenario is I find a place that will allow me to lease the property for a weekend like a farmer leases a field and go from there. Anyone with ideas or resource materials for me to read on how to get it done, please shoot me links, mail me books, or have an interested land owner call me.

Now...for some riding inspiration head over to http://www.damianbreach.com/ and check the photos of one of bikings greats!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Good shades are hard to come by

I'm a sunglasses guy. I've always had to squint in the bright sun and when i finally got a job in high school, people thought I was nuts for buying $90.00 Arnette polarized shades. I used to lose cheap sunglasses and get headaches. Then the Arnette's made that all change. Since then, I've always bought high quality shades and never broke the $100.00 threshold. Almost 20 years have gone by and $90.00 is still the magic threshold.

Why mention it? Because NoFear Spy Sale is blowing out $80-$130 Spy sunglasses (my favorite brand) for $10-50. Do your eyes a favor and drop some money on good optics and feel your headaches go away. And while you're at it, pick me up a pair!

Monday, December 1, 2008

WNC weather is awesome. Weather.com STINKS!

Thursday meant 2 dinners in 2 counties 50 miles apart. I got an awesome pic of Cassidy zonked out in the blazer. It also meant Kitsuma. My wife dropped me off at the top and I climbed and descended it and got picked up at the bottom. Nothing like a 10am quick descent, a noon dinner with family and 6pm dinner with the in law, all in 1 day.

Saturday's forecast called for rain all day. No rain. I rode Bent Creek and had the whole place all to myself all morning long. I only saw 2 riders!!! I know I'm an aging descender, but Greens Lick is getting more and more tricky. Each day, the lines are changing and the leaves have made it crazy technical these days for such a straight forward trail. But I had a blast. We really have it great here in NC. Ride the same trail for 6 months. Memorize it. Get bored. Leaves fall and the trail disappears under a canopy of leaves. New trail. Rains come and pack the leaves and slick it up. They move around and some spots are bare adding even more variation. I LOVE IT!!!

Thought of riding this morning and weather.com & WLOS both said snow. I woke up to blue skies!!! Sure, clouds on the horizon, but no snow, no rain in Fairview!!! Missed an opportunity this morning. No more listening to the weather fear mongers. I'll ride from now on in the AM!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

One heck of a shuttle

So Saturday was "me" day. Ryan had time away last weekend so I got all day bike day. Was all set to go to the Windrock jam, but my travel companion Greg's dad got put in the hospital so I stayed local. Hooked up wtih Matt Griffin & Zack for some local shuttling. We did a bomb run down the big nasty Shumont, but it was near terrifying b/c leaves were so deep and speeds so high, it was random.

One second a pile of leaves, the next a pile of rocks behind a thin sheet of leaves, the next...leaves piled in a 2 foot gully. It made for a lot of fun, switchy lines that made you fight to stay smooth. Me & Matt had hella fun but setting the shuttle didn't appeal to us to do another.

I talked them into doing a run down my secret stash. Cleared a downed tree (props for the assist by Matthew)and showed them the flowy, tech lines and it was on. We did over a dozen runs until it was too dark to see!!! On my final run, I was on the edge of control. Why? My fork was randomly locking out mid-run!! Then POW goes a flat.

All in all, the timing couldn't have been better! Did every run I could all day long and finished with good food at home. I gave the boys directions to Blue Sky Cafe

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Maiden Voyage on the Franken Turner

Here's a pic of the Turner "5 Pack" after my first little ride and all I can say is YAYYY!!! I feel like I've got a supermodel dressed in a burlap sack. My parts a little haggard, but attached to this machine, they can't hide the beauty within the beast.

I can't explain how nice it is to ride trails on full suspension again. I'm just NOT a hardtail guy. I hate the sensation of popping a root section on the front tire only to have the rear go scatter everywhere behind. The worst is trying to throw the bike in a turn and get it to grip. The front tracking and the rear trying to just throw you off the side of the mountain!!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

2 Reasons to get out of the bed!

Because if you don't, you have to walk around all morning long with these things stuck to your head. And believe me, getting up is a way better option than the knee kicks to ribs they drop to open you up for head shots. They've been watching way too much UFC Fighter!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pisgah...you're all mine NOW!!!!

Like a warrior with a new, perfectly sharpened and balanced sword, I stand ready! Greg at Turner Bikes sent me a franken-Turner! White 6-Pack used front triangle mated to a used 5-spot rear end..all joined and sent into action by the power of a brand new Fox DHX 5.0!!! Now...to rip off every single part from my trusted hardtail, bolt them up to it...and shred some singletrack for hours on end. Numb hands no more. And no more smacking a rock with front suspension, only to fly off trail or flatten a tire thanks to that rigid and unforgiving rear rigid tail!!!!

Next time you see me in Pisgah...wave fast. I'm going deep!


Friday, November 7, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How to ride in the Cold?

I forgot!!! Can't do it. Mind block. Fear. Numb toes. I haven't ridden in almost a week since it's been so blasted cold. I wanted to ride my road bike to work Monday but there were 30mph gusts. NO WAY! I was gonna ride yesterday before work, but it was 28 degrees and snowing 2 inches. WHAT?

Then this morning I chickened out again. I have got to man up and get back at it. Tonight I break out the stationery trainer. Oh the humiliation. If anyone's got a copy of Earthed 5 or NWD 9 or F1rst, please...PLEASE burn me a copy. The thought of hearing "It seperates the men from the boys" one more time is too much.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


My dad called me yesterday. He was pretty upset. He lives in a remote part of McDowell County on family land. My grandparents gifted him 33 acres of springs and gullies and quiet, peaceful solitude. Somebody stole an inexpensive canopy and a $10.00 grill off the property. The worst part is there is only one way in past other family members homes. So they had to drive right by and haul it all out in a truck. Pathetic. I have a relative hooked on drugs who we think took it and will probably try to sell it for pawn.

Pathetic. They will have to answer to God though, not us. But life goes on and thieves will always fail in the end. Forgive the them for they know not what they do!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The roots of Mountain Biking

Sometimes...all you need to tell a story is a picture. Whoever took this should really tell the rest of the story.

Click to see the full size image:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Exploring the Hickory Nut Gorge

Been putting in some meander miles in Gerton and talking alot to the locals there about trails. I'm finding out about more and more good riding that is new, fun and silent. Descents like nothing else around, views that are just insane and trails all to myself. Wanna check 'em out, just drop me a line.

It's all going to be a state park soon anyway and we want MTB to be part of it. If bikes get in, I'll be the first to tell you...I TOLD YOU SO!

Oh...and if wanna see some old school DH from 94-95. I'm at 00:52 seconds:

Windrock Carnage from Doug Ferguson on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

It's All about HOW You Look at It

I've been guilty of being a negative nancy and playing the blame game. My wife even called me out on it last night. And it really does play out in your daily life if you take that kind of attitude. You defeat yourself. I've always had some family say "You'll turn your liver." "You'll put your eye out"(dad really did put his eye out so he's got me on that one). My mom and dad have been great though because they always back my decisions, so I've always managed to move forward despite my outlook.

Lately, I've been taking the mentality of "You get out of it what you put in" and it really helps keep me motivated. It's hard sometimes to not make excuses. That's my own self taught diversionary tool. But having kids and a wife who trust you changes your mindset. Plus kids just don't know you can't do things. They just think stuff happens. They're positive, upbeat, energetic and keep you pumped up every day.

This whole economy has people running in fear but it's had the opposite effect on me. It's made me realize that we are in a bind because we blame it all on something else. There is a credit crisis because we got greedy. People want stuff so they get it on credit. We spoil ourselves with cars, gadgets, computers, power tools, hybrids, carbon fiber, titanium, granite, cedar, performance, turbo, designer, brand name and custom fit.

Our whole economy has been about buying stuff. George Carlin talked about it 20 years ago that we had too much stuff in our boxes. Now, we've gotten bigger, more massive boxes with all the latest gadgetry and filled them full of 3-4 times what we did 20 years ago, yet no one is really working harder. Nobody's producing something the rest of us actually NEED. Americans are the middleman to the world, distributors of WANTS. What do humans NEED?

It's simple. Food. Water. Shelter. Utilities. Clothes. Safety. Energy. America used to supply almost all of these. Now, we merely distribute for the world. We don't make products, we have shipped here then mailed to the world. Clothes, supplies, housing, energy and food are all SUPPLIED by everyone else in the world. Soon, the world will not need the middleman, just like Wal-Mart didn't.

But the simple answer to all our problems is for Americans to work hard. Supply the world things it MUST have, not luxuries. We must become important and vital. That means getting out of the gadget business and providing the world the basic necessities of life. We are all starting to realize broadband wireless phones with internet and $4.00 Starbucks coffees and in home wired control panels, surround sound theatre plasma electronics are useless for success or happiness.

Get out. Do, not buy....STUFF!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I got hit by an F250 on my road bike!

Yep! Yesterday I rode my bike to work and with all the insanity on Hwy 74 in Fairview, I decided to take a back route and climb across Merrills Cove to Rose Hill Rd to play it safe. Merrills Cove is a beautiful, gradual grade then Rose Hill is a butt puckering 4 minute descent right into the parking lot of work at . I had a shiny commuter pack on my back with reflective material galore on it. I had a bright 3 buld LED light on my bike and a single red clip on LED on my pack all going.

On the way home, I was climbing & less than 100 yards from the crest of the hill on Rose Hill and cars had been grazing by. It's the steepest road I ride..ever! Granny ring on the road bike standing up in the tiniest gear!!! The very last gradual right hander, the sun was shining right at me as I came out of the shadow of the trees. I thought to myself...this could be bad. 10 seconds later I heard a silent whistling sound and suddenly WHACK!!!!!! My arm was on fire but I was still on the bike. I immediately screamed in fear and hit the grass and laid there.

The truck backs up and pulls over to check on me. He apologized profusely and said he drives it every day watching out for the cyclists that climb the hill. He saw me at the last second, but was blinded by the sun. His passenger had yelled to him or it would have been worse. Luckily, the hill was so damn steep he was going slow enough. The giant plastic, foldable mirror left me with a mild spanking like the ones from my 6th grade English teacher!

God is watching over me today!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bike Commuting to Work - YEAH!

I did it again today. Hadn't ridden the road bike to work in a while and can't honestly remember why I haven't. The route to work is pretty easy and not near as scary as Hendersonville Rd.

I take Emmas Grove Rd to Hwy 74 in Fairview down the mountain through Minehole Gap and coast into the parking lot of State Farm only 19 minutes later without breaking a sweat. I've been keeping some spare clothes at work and I feel so much better walking in the door.

If you've never ridden your MTB or road bike to work...DO IT! You walk in happy, confident and awake. I also recommend a blinking LED light on the back of the bike. I have one that I usually only turn on in the late afternoon shadows until I noticed a roadie on Emmas Grove who had his on in broad daylight and I could REALLY spot him from far off. Then when he rode under some shadows on the road, he disappeared but the light was so BRIGHT! I run mine on every ride now.

Oh...and when you ride, DO NOT ride the edge. It only encourages cars from behind to cut tight on you, even with oncoming traffic. You MUST ride in the right wheel track of the pavement about a 1/3 of the way out from the white line. It forces cars to follow you until they can pass you with NO ONCOMING TRAFFIC! I started doing this on road rides 3 weeks ago and haven't been buzzed. It feels much safer now.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My golden rule of rain riding ALWAYS pays off!!!

Many years ago, I learned a valuable lesson about mountain biking. It's an outdoor sport, which means you have to go outside to do it. No way around it. If you take the time to plan a ride and it rains, you better go ride!

I told my wife several years ago that if it's pouring rain on the way to the trail, it's guaranteed to either sprinkle or not rain at all at the trail! Every time I test my theory, it pays off. Yesterday was no different. It had rained off and on all day lightly.

Sure enough, come 5pm it started pouring outside my office. I kept my head high and aimed for Bent Creek. On the drive, the parkway was empty. Bent Creek Road was vacant. The parking lot of Hard Times had 1 other car. This at 5:30 on a weekday and says alot about how ahrd it was raining. But sure enough, I got out of the car and the only water was on on the trees. The trails were packed hard & no standing water anywhere.

After a few fun routes down low I went up Side Hill to check out the FS logging at 5 points. No logging yet, but still the signs. 10 minutes later I hit Greens Lick. Dust free and packed like pavement!! It was a great ride in utter silence and I saw but one set of tire tracks that looked to be from early in the day.

I did smell a bear or hawk scent lingering near the powerline trail. When I've caught that scent before in that area, twice I've got off my bike to listen & watch. Both times I spotted a beautiful Coopers Hawk, once with a small pheasant/grouse in it's claws watching me from a limb 15 feet away in the underbrush. This time, it was a bear. I couldn't find it, but it was there and staying very close to the trail the whole time.

To this day, I have not once in 16 years of MTB, seen a single bear in the woods!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

WHITE KNIGHT: Defender of Downhillers

Got to go to Snowshoe this weekend thanks to 2 logistic blessings. Greg's parents offered a spot in the family mini-van and Brian Quillen offered his GT DHi to ride. It's been murder, the first in 10 years of not owning a DH bike!

Trip started with bike loading logistics, with 1 gettings trapped to the roof! Once loaded, I learned the back seat is the place to be. Leg room, wide seat, big storage bin, my laptop & MP3 player and BOOM! 6 hours later, we're in Snowshoe.

Our room was comical...tiny, the mattress for Greg & his gf was from 1982, the jacuzzi didn't work until Sunday afternoon when we turned on the light in the kitchen? The downstairs toilet leaked & the dishwasher poured water all over the kitchen. I wound up wedged in a 6 foot long by 3 foot wide corner, feet firmly on a fireplace. Slept good though. His mom fed us like kings though!!!

Snowshoe has a new trail that is a downhill berm filled roller coaster that is a work of art and LOVE. Rode it and the DH course for the most part. Dropped a glove on the lift Sunday b4 my race, rode down the hill to get it and took some insane, near impossible trail to the bottom. It was the 1st trail in a while that had me walking for fear of getting hurt b4 my run!!!

Race time came & there was more comedy than competition. The course was a BLAST and I hit 2 monster gaps, the second one blind & for the first time in my race run. After that..I was just excited & virtually forgot about racing. Finished poorly for Elite, but better than most anybody who was in AM...so I still belong? hah!

Monday, August 25, 2008

4000 Feet Elevation...no Descent?

Ever have your wife concoct a ride with her friend for you that ties into an outing? Me and 2 other husbands fell victim to this evil plot on Sunday. "Why don't you guys ride your road bikes to the Craggy Gardens picnic area & we'll meet you guys there with a delicious picnic with the kids?"

Part of our conversation on the road was like this:
"So your wife thought this up?"
"Nope. Mine said it was your wife!"

Regardless, we started in Fairview, climbed across Merrills Cove to the Blue Ridge Parkway & headed North. 3 miles on the Parkway, it dawned on me. Sign reads 15 Miles to Craggy Gardens!! 2 1/2 hours of non-stop gradual climbing behind a life long 50 year old roadie with not so much as a pee break later, we got to 1 mile long silly steep finish at 5225 feet elevation in the parking lot at Bearpen Gap.

View Larger Map

I've always ridden MTB on long rides with breaks to chat, snack & shed/add clothes If it's road, 1 1/2 hours rides tops. I've never sat in the saddle nonstop for 4000 feet of vertical, unending climbing. You become a machine of efficiency. Walking became foreign!!

And for some dang reason...I want to do it again...but this time, I'll get the descent in!!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bent Creek will be Destroyed

There are around half of the original trails in Bent Creek as there were when I first rode it over 15 years ago. Now I find out the fire road that became singletrack will be GUTTED NEXT WEEK!! North Boundary Rd aka Tony Michaels Parkway is being logged by the forest service. It's the second time in less than 5 years. The irony being that MTB volunteers built Greenslick at the top of the road they're gutting, meaning riders won't have access to a trail we donated to the FS!!!

And the FS never even followed through in converting Ingles Field back from a road to a trail per their original agreement with the public. Time to call Bent Creek Experimentail Forest and complain...LOUDLY! Join Pisgah Area SORBA

I saw the signs on a really fun ride last night. Easily over 100 riders out there and I hit the one route where I saw 1 single rider...a good day in my book..with a sad footnote.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Blacksnake Moan

Ever wonder what a blacksnake eats? Me too!!! I really wanted to cut this guy open to see just how big his meal was, but hoped it was one of many rodents it will eat in it's lifetime.

My house was a epi-center of wildlife 2 days ago. First this guy showed up & my dog went postal on it. Then that night I heard something I heard months ago....coyotes! To say they were viscious sounding is an understatement. This wasn't a pack of dogs fighting over a female in heat. It was feral animals on the hunt snapping, snarling & howling furiously only a few 100 feet from my back door. I ran them off but never saw one. Conservative estimate...8? Next morning, a Coopers Hawk dug around in my backyard like a robin looking for worms. Hawks are my favorite creature on God's green earth, bar none!

Anyway, been riding a ton and Ryane (wifey) has been helping me eat right and this morning I hit 188.4lbs! Less is more for me. If you've ever wanted to lose weight and not get bored...search for the Bodyweight 200 or Spartan 300. On YouTube, look up Turbulence Training exercises & routines. Call me when you can do 10 1 legged squats!

Last of all, I got some real inspiration from an awesome DH video on Dirt Mag's website. Check out the tractors lined up at 6 seconds & 25 seconds, not to mention the AWESOME step ups & step downs:

More Mountain Biking Videos >>

Monday, August 4, 2008

Kitsuma & a Set of Loppers

Kitsuma in Black Mountain is my favorite trail bar none because there is no where else you can get 4.5 miles of high speed, twisty DH singletrack & a gated, paved, shallow grade road climb that is a piece of cake back to the top. If I had to break out that much climbing on singletrack, I'd still think it was my fav...but it would double the time to ride. As is, you can't beat 1hr 30 minute rides that have that much DH built in!!!

Anyway, it's my baby but neglected for years now. The rhodos have made impossible to lean into the bank of rail turns & link sweepers. Just one long blind scraping tunnel that pushes you off the track. On a climb, no big woop...but on descents it's a bloody, itchy mess & dangerous when you add the random uphill hiker.

I gutted every tight mess I could find & Todd Branham & crew took out 2 head high trees and groomed the sides the length of the whole trail to give breathing room the length of it. My approach was to take an S turn area and cut out a visual line of sight down trail. I'd park my bike down trail and walk back up to spot my bike..then cut a view path all the way back to my bike. It made a HUGE difference. On the very last left hand switchback uphill turn on the 3rd climb, I cut really deep into the uphill side of the trail. Brush had grown into what was the original trailbed & a new line had formed down low that was almost vapor. Threw brush in the old line and magicly after 30-40 minutes, out of the underbrush popped the original. Felt like a pro...heh. Pretty neat.

In the end, Kitsuma is now epicly fun again and alot of the original flow came back now that you can see where you're linking things up again. Todd has another work day for the end of the month to repair eroded sections where the trail itself is just GONE. I'm going to campaign my fellow gravity junkies to come help and hope they will join in the dig.

My back is a complete knot & I suffered a heat stroke almost on the climb out..but am pretty proud of the attention given to my old friend.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

To ride Little Pisgah

In my quest to ride a boatload more & eat a buttload less, I'm riding Little Pisgah tonight. The Florence Preserve is part of the park & has beautiful paths, rhodos & laurel...and my own silent peaceful ride alone to the best view in WNC!

If you've never been, Little Pisgah is gated part of the way up, but the Florence Preserve (bike/hike allowed) is part of it. The landowners at the top don't mind people hiking above the preserve area to the pinnacle. 360 degree views to Pisgah Mtn, Mt. Mitchell, Rumbling Bald, World Edge...the entire chain of the Blue Ridge visible. Simply my favorite view period!

Weight update - 191lbs (hovering after a horrible weekend of crappy pizza) but not lost. Waist was 39.5", now 38.5". While I snuck back up a hair, I've eaten WAY better this week. Wife even noticed. If you want to lose weight & have fun iwth it, bodyweight exercises are awesome. Just google any of these:
Bodyweight 100
Bodyweight 200
Spartan 300

Which reminds me...eat more veggies says Cassidy:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

189.8 lbs!

Yup...got under 190lbs this morning. Doesn't sound like much to be proud of, but it's been a wall for me. Get down to 190, then pop off a weekend of bad eating and go back up to 197 or some ridiculous amount.

I read that you should measure & not weigh oneself to gauge true successes so I'm starting that tomorrow morning. I'll do typical waist/chest/bicep/thigh/calf and see what I can make happen. My goal is to get down to 180 by the end of August. That is 10 more pounds in 35 days. That means I have to lose 3/10 of a pound every day for 35 days & I can do that. Protein/green veggies/oatmeal/eggs/grilled/no AM chocolate.

Interesting fact...SOBE Green Tea has 14 cubes of sugar in it. A Venti Mocha from Starbucks that I stupidly drank yesterday had 650 calories or 90+ grams of sugar. I even had a Sun Drop that morning as my caffeine jolt.....33 grams of sugar!! Changing my evil ways.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

First Strike

Time to give this blog thing a try. Should be interesting. Going to start documenting life in general...kids, family, events, riding, work & maybe adventure. HAH!