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 I still belong? hah!