Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sierras to Appalachians

What do you do when you start a week long skiing trip with a 25 mile bike ride? You end the trip with a long bike ride. Yes I know, after my comment yesterday, I should had been sleeping all day yesterday. However, that is not my style. My style is to purge the depressed Sierra mountain spirits out of my system with new fresh Pisgah spirits.

The last Wood report will have to wait for tomorrow.

I put a little thread out on MTBR that had the wrong date for a Tuesday weekday ride. Oh well maybe I will get a couple to show up. As I pulled into the lot, PisgahProductions and Mike R were getting ready. Shortly thereafter, David, Old_Dude, SingleTrack Pig and Jack22 all showed up for my ride.

PP immediately started with his “I would like to go up and over Black Mountain. . . .” that guy has some kind of suffering disease. Instead we chose the following route:

Grassy Road, Sycamore Cove, North Slope, ClawHammer, Black Mountain

Not an easy route for an afternoon ride. The funny part about this loop stems from me showing the seasoned veterans of Pisgah the loop. PP and Mike R had never ridden Sycamore or North Slope before. That blew my mind.

PP negotiating a tricky crossing on Sycamore:



Once we made it to Maxwell Cove, some of the group dropped off. Here is the rest of the crew awaiting the last push over Black.



I was really feeling quite good on my bike yesterday. Lines were smooth and I didn’t have any mishaps until the last stop on Black. I had my leg still strung over my bike and my other firmly on the Earth when I looked up and saw Mike R coming at me. I freaked and tried to get out of the tangle I was in, well I fell straight over on my back and just continued to roll all the way over. So count me in for one fall off the bike and zero falls on the bike.

Pushing up the steeps:




Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Heavenly Report

Invigorating and rested are not usually the words I associate with my vacations and this is no exception. Long days of skiing, hard nights of too much partying and not much sleep makes for a desire to sleep for the month of March.

I knew I was back in South Carolina when I received the three signs. The first was a car speeding down I-85 with flashers on but no tail lights at all. This was at 10:30pm mind you. Next was a jeep wrangler pulled over in the median. Last was the full parking lot at Platinum Plus on a Monday night.

To my loyal readers I must say sorry about not posting lately but typing wasn’t the number one priority during my last few days of vacation.

The three days that I have yet to report about, were the best. The Pacific didn’t let us down and sent some moisture over the Sierra’s that resulted in 3 – 5 feet of snow around the area.

The first day was storm ridden but fun. My new jacket passed its test this day. Not much to say besides the fact that our car was covered in snow at the end of the day.



Friday was true to Lake Tahoe’s utmost beauty. I opened the curtains in our room to peer at a two foot pillow of snow covering the lower levels of the lake, while the sky was bluebird with a few puffy clouds. A day like this can cause sensory overload without any narcotic help whatsoever.

I was out the door before my companions as I was to ski the entire day by myself. Not by choice, but if you aren’t ready when the lifts are ready on a day like this, you are not riding with me.



I made the short hike to the gondola as I didn’t want to wait for the shuttle. Sweating from the walk, I bought my ticket and was transposed to the top of the mountain via the gondola. Myself and two other couples didn’t say one word the entire ride. Just breathing the mountain, and spying all the brand new fluff that some spirit had left for us to ride.

My next lift was on Sky chair, and yes, it does take you to the top. I snapped this photo as we were headed into the clouds that had just rolled over the peak. Ten seconds after that picture was taken you could turn around on the lift and only see cloud.


I cat tracked straight over to Mott Caynon up on the highest ridgeline possible that early in the morning. See, from Sky, you have to traverse the mountain back toward Nevada to drop into the highest point in the Milky Way bowl, keep traversing until you are on the ridge separating Mott Canyon and Killebrew (Brew), the most remote section of Heavenly. As I discovered over the past few years, people have taken a much bolder approach to this “Double Black” territory.

This was a strange year though, as I was cruising down the ridge checking too see if ski patrol was moseying around, so I might ride the second line of the day. I realized I better take warning from the low snow pack as my skis would be swishing along not making a sound, powdery champagne bubbles of snow flying on, then back off my clothes, when out of nowhere you would here the ominous “Sccccckkkkrrrrrrkkkkk!!!” and your skis would pitch you forward as though you had been lofted by Tiger using his sand wedge.

Since both Brew and Mott were closed, awaiting avalanche approval I decided to ski on and not wait. I was now in Nevada and I could see the desert out over Mott Caynon.



I skied down to the forever long Galaxy lift. I would swear that lift takes a fortune of your time, but you can’t help admire the peace as you swing slowly back up the mountain in your own personal “two-man” chair. Since I was alone, I made some of the ever so dangerous, hold the camera and ski movies not to be shown here today.

Once I made it back to the top of sky, I saw the sign indicating Brew and Mott were now open. I flew over and found gate B, it was closed, found C, the only open gate. If you do not know, you must enter through the gates or find extremely low pack among other things resulting in more death defying stunts.

I came into the top of an unknown named chute, (to me) and two guys followed me in. As I was alone, I jump turned my way down the top steep section and one of the guys yelled “point slide” as a tiny whumpf of snow went by my right side. Brew always has the most snow and often is not open. From there I snapped one of “the dudes” picture as they made there way down.




On a normal year the ride back up would mean watching people rip Mott under your feet. This is what it looked like this year.



Look at all the trees straight under the lift, on a normal year, they are completely covered. Right now they were standing taller than me.

I went straight back to Dipper and up for another run in Mott. As I was cruising the ridge this time I heard the sound of ripping cardboard and I was tossed off of my feet head first into the snow, as my hips shot around my head I suddenly grunted very loudly. I had smacked my ass on the left side, right below my lower back and kidney, on what I had thought was surely a rock. I lay with my face in the snow grunting as though someone is moving a knife around.

I gathered my composure and stood up to look at my culprit. It was a slighty rounded pointy stump. I immediately thought about my head striking the stump first, I got sick to my stomach. Why do I not wear a helmet when I ski again?

I was able to make turns under pain and continued on to the “Y”.



Notice the bottom of the canyon where the chute stops and the man skiing just below the right hand corner of the sign.

After the exposed rocks at the top, it was a fun steep cruise down. Then I decided it was time for an anti-inflammatory for my inevitable bruise.




I went for a beer but the taps were frozen so I had a Bloody Mary.


A couple snow covered trees off of Tamarack. Yes these trees are real.


What do you mean I have to pull over and take ANOTHER picture of the ugly lake?


Back to Cali Baby.



What’s the apre’s scene like?

I will have to load the video later and show you.

The last ski day from Kirkwood will come in a report tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Eagle Lake, Desolation Wilderness

Winds were high, legs were strained, so the choice was made to hike today. We thought we were going to walk to Eagle Falls and venture back to the car. It was a supposed 2.2 mile hike round trip.

Our hike started within site of Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe:



It is not too hard to understand the wilderness laws in this part of the country:



The falls were not too spectacular as it was mostly iced over. Here is a close up of the ice and water:



Our ambitions took hold after we saw the falls and we started up an icy, snowy trail. We just hiked, slid, crawled our way up the slope and came upon Desolation Wilderness. This hike would not normally be possible without better equipment in the winter, but due to the fact that the snow pack is low we were able to venture on.



For awhile we could see the sun over the lake but it soon disappeared as we rounded another ridgeline. Soon we were under graying skies and crawling to keep traction as a slide down the snow could have some bad results.

Eventually we could see Eagle Lake that feeds the falls. It was frozen over and we kept on climbing. I started thinking about the approaching storm and figured that a white out could probably have grave consequences.

We made it up high enough to peer down the valley back at the lake. At the “top” the snow was deep enough to halt our hiking without snow shoes. It was better off as we needed to head down.



In this picture you can see the "mushroom" looking clouds. There are very few places in the world where these clouds form.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Blue Skies

It is hard to even begin to describe this part of the country. It takes your breath away at all times. Days like today will forever be ingrained in my memory. The snow was horrible but the day was spiritual.

Not much time this evening so I will let the pictures and the movies do the talking.


















Movies:

http://s144.photobucket.com/albums/r186/extrmtao/?action=view¤t=MVI_0233.flv


http://s144.photobucket.com/albums/r186/extrmtao/?action=view¤t=MVI_0232.flv

Monday, February 19, 2007

Da Wood Report



It was a gorgeous day today in the mountains. We arrived a little after the lifts started dropping riders off at the top of the mountain. We had a decent morning warming up. We went over to Fawn Ridge in Kirkwood. Not too many people venture over that way as it requires a little extra effort.



I found this trail sign out there that I believe would be the old Wagon trail that the settlers used a very long time ago.



As it closed in on lunch I decided that I needed to visit the boot doctors of Kirkwood. I explained the troubles I was having with the boots and they proceeded to shave off some of the plastic tongue on my boot liners, pull out the stitching, super glued it back and then I was ready to go.



The work came out perfect.




In the afternoon we ventured over to the front face “Experts Only” terrain. Found some cornices. I will let the video tell you about the cornices.

http://s144.photobucket.com/albums/r186/extrmtao/?action=view&current=MVI_0199.flv

Second part:

http://s144.photobucket.com/albums/r186/extrmtao/?action=view¤t=MVI_0202.flv

Pow Magic



Yesterday when we rolled into South Lake it looked like a desert. We woke up today and everything was magically white. Gotta love the white stuff!

Six inches at Da Wood = we are going to da wood.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Madness Begins

The lingering taste of Patron in my mouth reminded me that it was still early as we boarded our flight to San Francisco. It seems silly to fly over the mountains that we so desperately want to ski to get there but that is the way this industry works. If we had our wishes, we could exit the plan paratrooper style soon and be at our final destination.

Those were the thoughts running through my head as I walked to my seat. While waiting for someone to sit down in First Class I overheard an order for Vodka and OJ. This cat is merely a pawn in the game, because if he were a p-l-a-y-a, he would have said “Give me a screwdriver.”

Currently we are at an un-known altitude and I just sighted the first snow covered peaks from my window.



Not too much longer now and we will be wearing flowers in our hair.

Here are the two other culprits enjoying this skiing adventure with me:



Fish tacos and Anchor Steam from a keg in San Fran!

Time to move on.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Rangerways



Dave and I took off on a 24 mile jaunt through Dupont today. It was brisk and there were flurries blowing in the air when I pulled up to Fawn Lake Access. I was the only car for a few minutes until an older couple pulled up and the lady said “It is a fine day for a ride.”
She had it right all the way.

Dave showed up not too long after and we made it our mission to venture north. We hit some of the fun trails in the northern section including the newly remodeled Jim Branch which is always sweet.



On a day like today it is important to know your way around the forest. With all the slick rock and ground seepage you can find some extremely slick spots. We saw a couple icy spots but for the most part we saw dirt and loose rocks under our tires.




For me, the most interesting part of the day was seeing a Segway. Not too long ago we joked about this happening. Dave and I both commented on the fact that the person riding the segway was very rangeresque, but we can’t confirm it.




I made the mistake of getting my feet wet during one little river crossing. It was about 5 hours later before I could feel all of my toes again.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Planes, Trains, Automobiles



Not too much in the way of bike news besides the downtown Greenville ride tonight. There are a few of us juggling what to do tomorrow as far as a ride goes. It is supposed to be brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr in the mountains so the decision hasn’t been made yet. I am thinking The Queen sounds like a nice option.

I am not going to be very exciting today so get over it. However, I am bound to make up for it next week. Look out though, there won’t be any bike related topics unless I am inspired.

I will be reporting from the West Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide.



Peace.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Discussion Turmoil

Apparently lately there has been way too much writing and not enough riding. People seem to be getting winter fever from not riding their bikes. There are some hot topics brewing out on MTBR these days.

Here is the AL, SC hot topic and here is the NC topic of late.

If you are a savvy internet user, you can find just about any information you would ever need or want to know (about bikes) out on the MTBR forums. Think I am kidding? Check out the new 36’er prototype bike.

So we are going to try this O.U.A. again tomorrow. If you want to start you weekend off on the right foot come out and join us for some pre-weekend riding.

All the able bodied minds and bodies are talking about the upcoming “season” and what races they are doing and what not. As I have said before, I am not revealing any races outside of PMBAR and Shenandoah 100. PMBAR is almost filled up mind you. Can you say that race is catching on? Especially considering Eric had an extra 25 spots open for teams this year.

I am in so much turmoil over my bike situation that I am starting to think that if the Drunken Monkey can’t take me to the finish line I am not going to bother. I am sure I will change my mind about this close to 10 times per week.

One last bit of humor. The actual stuff of life is the funniest right? Well this morning I was driving along on the highway when I decided my windshield was a little dirty for my liking. Apparenlty I have lived in the south too long because I sprayed the windshield and VA VA VA VOOOOM ICE! I can’t see, I can’t see. I have “super intelligence” sometimes.

Ride Em!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

ABORT ABORT ABORT!!!

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh crap, I just hate it when that happens. It is a rare occasion I tell you. I am the one who started an organized urban thread on MTBR that was supposed to meet yesterday afternoon and I was a no-show. I posted the cancellation out on MTBR but it was too late. Work threw me a curveball and I was huggin’ the inside of the plate.

Only one person showed up and he rode alone. I will try this again soon.

Weekly Humor:

I have decided to let you all in on a little humor in my life. I live in a quadplex in downtown Greenville. A big house that is divided into four apartments and as we all know these situations can lead you to meet some . . .uhhhhh interesting people.

Lately the one-bedroom downstairs has been un-occupied. Just recently I noticed someone moving in. Last week while getting into my car to go to work I met the lady who had moved in. We said our hellos and then we both got in our cars. Well I glanced over at her door as I was pulling out and what did I see? A hot tub, yes a real hot tub. There are stones on the grass used as foundation and she has a hot tub outside of the house. ARE YA KIDDIN’ ME?

I knew you wouldn’t believe me so here it is:



The hot tub is in the back of the building there by the charis and that window in the upper left hand corner is my bedroom window. So I am thinking a properly timed cannon ball off the roof should make for some good humor huh?

Edit: Oh yah I finally changed my sidebars. I basically included everyone that I read on a daily basis. If you don't update often I proably didn't include you. If you drop by the site all the time and you want your blog/website included just drop me a line. On the other hand if you don't want endorsement from me you can also drop me a line and I will disclude your link.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Organized U.A.

This weekend BrouSSard Joe and I hit up Lynch's again. The first lap was fast and my legs started to fall apart on the second lap. That is a hard 7.5 miles.

I had one momentary slip up whilst leaning to hard into a rooted corner. I was trying to cut it too close on a tight corner with multiple trees. Luckily I felt the tires start to go and saved the fall by giving the tree a nice abrazo.




Tonight will be the first attempt at a organized Urban Assault ride. Hopefully this will turn into a weekly get rid the Monday blues ride.

If you want to go, we are meeting at the tennis courts in Cleveland at 5:30.

In other news. Kristin has the Icycle pics up on her site now. Go take a look and save them off if you so desire.

Here is one that she snapped of me showing my attitude towards all of those who beat me in the XC race:


Friday, February 09, 2007

Stairs

When I go on my Urban rides I love to ride stair cases. I don’t mean concrete stair cases either. Its not that I discriminate against smooth concretes steps its just that I would rather find steps that mimic trail features.

In Greenville, we have some awesome steps. The kind that are made from real rocks and look like they could cut your tires with their sharp edges. I found a new set last night that blew my mind. The top was super steep and there were about 15 steps before the first platform. After thinking about my line for a few seconds, I went for it.

I normally wouldn’t ride a staircase that had this combination of steep numerous steps right in the beginning on the fully rigid bike since there is virtually no way of slowing down in a safe manner but what the hell.

The top set were steep enough that after two steps I slipped behind the seat and just held on. My seat looked like a un-experienced construction worker handling a jack hammer and then I was on the first platform. After that, there were a bunch of quick steep steps that led to platforms. I will be back to conquer those steps often.

While working hard yesterday I found this picture on the Indy Cycle Specialist site. It is from when we all rode Pisgah together back in January. It is a cool picture as I didn’t even realize it was being taken. Thanks Scott!



Ride at Lynch’s at 9:00 on Saturday.

Peace

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Dollar Bills

Bled my front brake last night, I love doing this knowing that it saves me money every time I do it. For some reason this is one of the more costly things to have done to your bike in a shop. It is so self gratifying to know that the lever was completely useless before the bleed and then afterwards PRESTO they are plush and ready to go.

So Mr. Goat Epics left a comment yesterday about our ride. 15.6 miles at a 10 mph pace, that’s more than double the speed limit. Thank god there weren’t many cops out.

So here is the deal. I love my Drunken Monkey. Since I have purchased that bike I haven’t ridden much else even though I have two other bikes. I love the fact that I can take the DM out on ride after ride and hardly give it any love at all but she still loves me back. For me, that is the appeal of riding a bike with minimal moving parts.

However, I still have the desire to get a full squish 29’er. The thoughts of shocks blowing out and de-railer hangers being ripped off makes me cringe even if I have a backup. I would like to see some statistics on how much money people put into their bikes during a period of one year. I am not talking purchase price, I am talking about maintenance alone. I am also talking about a real rider who rides at least 150 off road miles a month. I know that for me it was pretty high dollar when I was trying to keep my CAKE running 100% throughout the year. I know that now I could minimize those costs by trading time between two bikes but I don’t want a new bike to be that Ferrari that just sits on the garage getting flat spots on the tires either.

As you can tell, I still have a lot of thoughts to figure out before I purchase a new bike.

Peace.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Paris @ 5 MPH

That’s a little joke for all the Greenvillians in the house.



I met up with Mountain Goat and David who I had never met before along with Rick for a ride at Paris.

We flew around the trails. That may be the fastest circuit to date. I always feel incredible the few days after racing. Even though my legs scream at me when I push them, everything else just feels so good.

For the first time, I cleaned every uphill climb along the way which is no easy feat on the single. I was leading down the technical rutted section on Firetower and got slightly out of control before the turn but no biggie.

There was even some frozen spots with left over snow still out there on the backside of the mountain.

Goat Epics and David were really ripping the trails even though this was the first time they had seen Paris proper. I don’t think it gets any better than showing skilled riders your local trails. They will be back.

Mountain Goat Epic himself: