Monday, August 25, 2008

4000 Feet 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.

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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 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:

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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.