Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Cutting Corridor

Long time reader, first time poster. Whooops, things ran a little rye recently on the bike front and the Drunken Monkey is going to need some time at the spa before she can be ridden again.

This past Saturday I showed up for a half day of trail work out at Paris Mountain. The trail that we worked on will connect the top half of Sulphur Springs with Brissy Ridge. It is going to be a sweet trail. I really enjoyed the work as we were cutting down anything that stood in the way of the new trails so the ditch witch could come through and cut into the side slope of the mountain. There are some steep sections out there. I think I fell close to five times cutting down trees and ripping mountain laurel from the ground. The rain helped us stay cool but didn’t help with the footing.

Sunday Broussard, David Cook and I all hit up Croft in Spartanburg. We got in about 20 miles at a brisk humid pace. That trail really takes its toll with the rigid bike. I got in front of Broussard and Dave at one point and tried to keep from slowing them down too badly. Basically I lit my entire book of matches in two miles and had nothing left for awhile after that.

After our tour of Croft, we came out to the parking lot and saw Allan, BradO and Jay suiting up. They all commented on the fact that it was a nice day until they looked at me. You see I am a sweater. Not like a cardigan or a pull-over, I mean I perspire like no other human I have ever met. They figured I had jumped in a creek or . . . no way could that only be sweat.

Well we went back out for a short loop around the whudaho, Idaho trail. That trail is great fun. I have a short video that I will post later this week. Then we had to part ways as we were hearing the siren’s call of our beer in Cook’s truck.

When we got back to the truck I noticed my shoes were squeaking as though I had crossed the river a few times, I hadn’t. I took off my shoes and I was able to pour out a half cup of sweat from each shoe. I have a lot of work to do before Fool’s Gold and I won’t be able to ride this week, yikes! Thank the bike gods I didn’t sign up for the hundred.

Looks like trail running will be the sport of the week until I can get the Monkey back from the spa.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Skull And Flames!

Steve, loving the ride.
BradO and his son Harrison.

Rick climbs towards the light. Don't go buddy don't gooooooooooooooooo. . .

Andrew rocking the Single Speed for the first time since his surgery.

How do I know that we are going to have the coolest mountain bike club in all of the land? Our Upstate-SORBA chapter decided last night to incorporate our logo with a skull and flames! BradO had designed one of the logos this way to appease El Presidente and everyone loved it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


First off I have an announcement. E-Designs is proud to announce the release of Harrells Bicycle World’s world wide web presence. In my opinion, the coolest functionality on this website is the local riding page. We have all the local areas listed out with directions, maps and interactive weather for real time updates on my favorite riding spots.

Next, don’t forget that another Upstate SORBA meeting is tonight:

Paris Mountain @ 6:30
Meet at the first parking area on the right under the shelter.
With time permitting, we will ride after the meeting.
The infamous Ty Houck will be on hand to promote the upcoming trail work days at Paris.

Check out the two videos from this weekend, sorry for the poor quality:

Our group goes jungle fever style.
David George showing off his mad skillz.

I have been running more than usual to fill in my biking lapses. I have been running anywhere from 2 – 3 times a week. Normally I just do a loop around town that involves somewhere between 3 – 4 miles. Since I run on a combination of greenways, local dirt paths and road, I can’t really map out the mileage. Nor do I want to because then everyone would realize how much I embellished the mileage.

Due to the nice weather and extra motivation, I finally had a “good run” last night. I felt as though I kept a decent pace on the flats and was able to attack the hills and recover much quicker than I have in weeks past. The last couple weeks had been a real struggle for me, once I attacked the first two hills I lost my motivation completely and even walked to recover a little. This had to do with heat and a general lack of motivation.

The hill attacks really help with my breathing and stabilizing my heart rate on and off the bike. This is a good thing because when I am attacking a long climb on the single speed, such as Laurel Mountain, I normally have the same issues. I have to attack the steep sections to make sure I can stay on the bike and recover in the flatter sections.

The great thing about my running route is that I can run on the grass or dirt 60% of the time. I would rather run on single-track as it takes your mind off of the mundane activity of putting one foot in front of the other. It is also much easier on the knees.

The clock is quickly ticking away. Fool's Gold will be here before we know it.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Is This July?

Thanks to David George, this was our elevation profile from Saturday's ride. Click the profile to see the large version.

Even a rickety bunch of mountain biker's knows how to pull a safe pace line.

Got Butterflies?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Advocacy, No Piece Of Pie

I must admit, I wanted to do a short Zen post today.

I am still in my infancy in Mountain Biking. Sure, I have been riding a bike ever since my next door neighbor told me I should ride her ten speed and I fell off but I have only been heavily involved in Mountain Biking since a birthday present I received in 2003. A 1997 Specialized FSR, I still have that bike. Thanks Dad!

This addiction has grown inside of me. I remember being in Paul Harrell’s shop one day and I said “I don’t know what it is Paul, I am just addicted to bikes, now I want to ride them all.” He responded “What is wrong with that?”

A friend of mine that I helped get into mountain biking once expressed “I don’t know what I did before I mountain biked.” I guess it is these experiences along with a sense of responsibility that led me to want and be an ambassador of the sport.

The entire reason I moved to Greenville SC, is because I wanted to be closer to the mountains that I love to ride. Then I discovered MTBR and SORBA and realized that if I wanted this sport that I love to prosper, I would need to be involved. I am not saying everyone needs to be an ambassador of the sport because it will never happen nor do I believe everyone should.

So what sparked all of this? Last night I was checking my email when I noticed this response to my Dupont ride thread this week:

Originally Posted by mtnbiker66:

I rode it as well (Big Rock) and everyone did a great job with a lot of hard work I'm sure,but why does eveything have to be the same as every other trail? I've ridden that trail while it was still Dupont property and while that section has eroded some, it was one of the best sections in Dupont.The rock gardens and drops were the best part of that trail. Now it could be ridden on a tricycle. I'm not fussing about the quality of work at all, but there is no challenge to riding it.

I must first interject before I give you what I replied with. I respect mtnbiker66’s opinion, I have seen him and his son out on the trails and they are great technical riders. That is the only reason I even formulated a response. If it were someone I did not know or knew they didn’t know what they were talking about, I would have shrugged it off. However this was my response:

Ignore spelling errors as it was late and I was typing hastily.

Interesting you bring this up, as I rode down the trail yesterday and I believe during the workday we predicted these comments. It is what will always happen when you change a trail. Big Rock, was my favorite downhill in Dupont. Just ask ol SingleTrack Pig, he has followed my line down the beast that was a deliverable downhill. I loved every rock. However, on my blog today I expressed :

"As we came down Big Rock I was interested to see the finishing touches that the Trails Dynamic’s team put on all of our hard work from Saturday. WOW, is all I can say. The rock armoring came out fantastic and will only look better with time. The trail is a little more tame but at the same time its sustainability has moved up off the charts."

Unfortunately, taking care of trail doesn't always mean leaving it along. I too wish we were able to make more technical lines. In fact, we had some other TTF's (technical Trail Features) lined up, but we did not have the resources to execute these plans. Dave worked really hard to put up a small rock berm that is awesome. That berm took a lot of sweat. The trail is sustainable, will shed water (thank's to those with experince) and is less technical. Over time, the trail will cut harder more difficult lines.

As I stated earlier this week in my BLOG, I want to see a different type of trail out at Dupont. I feel mtnbiker66’s pain. I don’t want every trail out there to be a rock armored freeway through the woods but it is going to take some time and dedication to make our voices heard.

I already expressed to Woody that I want to make more hand built trails such as Cannon Creek. He says we need more resources, so how do I respond to that? Well I hope to bring even more people to the campout/work party next time. I will work hard to make sure that we have the dedicated resources and will re-remind people that if you want it done your way, you got to do it.

I hope to take this philosophy into our new Upstate SORBA group. Sorry for the advocacy rant but I believe it is well deserved and most importantly, we mountain bikers are making a good name for ourselves around the area. You can mark my word, this area is going to see more and more trail being built by mountain bikers and soon people (whether bad or good) will talk about our area as a leading example of what to do right.

Now get out there and rail a turn.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Do Not Seek The Treasure

Last night’s ride was one of those ones where everything goes right and everything goes wrong. When we got to the parking lot there was a plethora of high school runners in the lot. They were there to run for running camp. A quick thunderstorm halted our ride for a few minutes. Just as the rain let up D-Kuntz came rolling up. He was late because of a wreck on 276 coming from Brevard.

We had Dennis, Dave Rock Mover Cook, David George, Jeremy and Zach out for the ride.

We started out the ride climbing some of the hardest stuff in Dupont. Out of the parking lot we went from a resting rate to redlined going up Mine Mountain. From there we went up the ever so subtle, do you sense any sarcasm Cart Trail. From there we went across the river and up the steep technical side of Cedar Rock. I watched Zach zigzag up some of the steepest terrain I have ever seen a single speeder ride.

As we came down Big Rock I was interested to see the finishing touches that the Trails Dynamic’s team put on all of our hard work from Saturday. WOW, is all I can say. The rock armoring came out fantastic and will only look better with time. The trail is a little more tame but at the same time its sustainability has moved up off the charts.

Our group started breaking up at this point, Rock Mover Dave and Zach took off toward the cars. The rest of us took off up Longside and up to the Rock Quarry. We were headed to the Canon Creek out and back for the second time this week.

Last night was the first time in awhile that I felt really strong on the bike. I was climbing hard and really railing the corners. After we made the climb to the highest point on Canon Creek, I stopped and waited for Jeremy, David G and Dennis. This section of the trail sits on top of a huge slab of slick rock.

When everyone arrived I was ready to rail the downhill. I took off down the short 50 yard slick rock section when halfway through I tapped the back brake and felt my back end swing way out like a ballerina dancer. The slick rock gods decided to let me live on this day and after I was 90 degrees off the line I was originally on, I was able to pull it together and ride a safe line down into the woods way off the trail. Yeeeeesh, beware the black ice slick rock on Canon Creek.

The sweetest moment of the day was here, slicing and dancing through the trees on Canon Creek is indescribable. My words only take away from the experience that this trail provides. I think I am in love.
Coming back to the slick rock in the middle of Canon Creek, I watched Dennis slip out trying to climb the same rock that I had done pirouettes down earlier. Then came David G, and he was able to pull out the climb after he pulled four pedal stokes in virtually the same spot with his wheel spinning like Jeff Gordon’s after a Daytona win. Ok it was more like skkkkkk, skkkkkkk, skkkkkkkk, skkkkkkkkkkkkkkk, but the first explanation is way more dramatic.

Jeremy took off from the group making a beeline for the cars as his wife is expecting soon and he had business to take care of. David G got to the top of the climb and exclaimed that he had nothing left. I asked him if he needed anything and he responded with “If I can’t make it out of the woods, I deserve to die here.” Fair enough Dennis and I continued on our journey up Buck Ridge headed to Micajah and Wilikie.

At the top of Micajah, Dennis was in the lead and when we got down to the slick rock on Wilikie he was still in the lead. The trail here turns to sections of slick rock filled in with big boulders and baby heads. I saw Dennis slow way down so I started to shoot past him on the left figuring he was nervous about the slick rock coming up when I heard the word “Bear” come out of his mouth. I looked up but I was too late. We went down to the spot where he had seen the black bear and Dennis said it was the biggest one he has seen to date and this guy lives in Pisgah! I can’t believe I didn’t see it, that’s what I get for passing.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Three years ago, I moved to Greenville and raced the ORAMM. Not in the same day but the move and race were only separated by a measly 12 hours. My life has been a downhill addiction of endurance mountain biking every since.

I am not a GDR, CTR, TR, BC or KTR racer but I have noticed that my addiction grows steadily each and every day.

So once again the ORAMM rolls around and I am sure this year will be a big hit as always. If you are not racing this race but still want to participate in a great day of mountain biking on Saturday, come join us at 8:30 at North Mills River.

Last year I took a full 40 minutes off my time and completed the ORAMM in 9 hours 5 minutes. One will never know what my time coulda woulda shoulda. I think I like it better that way.

I thought I had found a replacement in the Xterra dirt triathlon series but I have since decided against racing the triathlon. The great thing about being me is that I can change my mind whenever I want. I have decided to focus on my main goal of the year, completing the SM-100.

I also changed my mind about the Fool’s Gold. Kristin will be volunteering but since I heard though the grapevine that they were limiting the number of paid volunteers, I decided to race the 50 mile option as a warm-up to Shenandoah. I figured someone else less fortunate should take advantage of the free festival volunteer day. Volunteering for a race like this is very rewarding and I was looking forward to it but racing is just as good.

I really wanted to go into a stent about how wonderful these events are for the volunteers and such but I am not, so there. Let's just say it is as rewarding as trail work and you should get out there and do it sometime. Plus how much fun is it to watch people suffer while you get to laugh and cut up orange slices for them? A ton!

So I am trying hard to find my motivation to “train” again for the Shenandoah 100. Last night I wanted to make the ride out to Paris and back but the weather didn’t cooperate so I ran instead.

Hopefully tonight will be different as we are headed to Dupont.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


This past weekend was a good one. We moved, smashed, pulverized, drug, placed and threw more rock than I have ever seen. It was a lot of work and there was still a ton of work left undone. It seems as though we bit off a little more trail than we could chew. Which led to some hastiness but you can only do what you have the resources for.

This didn’t leave much time for creativity or fun trail features. Luckily I caught up with Dave Cook at the top of our work where he was building a little rock berm. I helped him with the end of that work and it was great when we rode over it on Sunday.

It is really satisfying work and I can’t wait to see what the trail looks like since Trail Dynamics “finished” the work yesterday. It was also hard to tell what work we had done on Sunday because the rocks were still covered with “crush and run” and fill dirt.

We were educated on “keystones,” rock armoring, erosion, trail sustainability, and water/sediment factors.

I personally learned how to operate the ditch witch and I can’t wait to for the opportunity to run that machine again. I also assisted in some trail trimming. Everybody worked really hard and it was awesome.

Sunday morning I laughed at Woody when he told me about another one of his “secret” trails in Dupont. By “secret” he means that it is a remote section of the park and people don’t use the trail very often. The trail he told me about is Canon Creek trail at the very top of the Rock Quarry section on the parking side of the Corn Mill Shoals lot. He told me that this out and back trail was built by him and some Boy scout troops quite a few years ago. Since there are very few trails left in Dupont that I have not ridden. I took the group over that way.

The trail is awesome and I wish Dupont had a ton more of it. It is hand built lush single track that has some really good steep grades to it. It is the kind of single track that was built with hikers in mind more than bikers. I like this type of trail because it forces you to ride with all of your skills to even navigate through without getting off the bike. It is pristine, even Pisgahesque in spots with its rhodo tunnels and single track that is no wider than six inches in spots.

When we got back from the ride, I told Woody that Dupont needs much more trail like this. I already knew his argument was going to be resources and that is the point he made. Without a ton of resources in a thick forest, it is very hard to build trail without machines.

I will argue my point to have this type of trail build at every opportunity that presents itself within SORBA or any other trail meeting for that matter.

So thanks to everyone who helped out this weekend and let’s reap the fruits of our labor and ride this Wednesday:

Fawn Lake Access (07/18/2007)
5:30 (If you can’t make it until 6:30, let me know and we can swing by and pick you up)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Hee Haw Birthday Ride

I hemmed and hawed about riding at Dupont last night. Doppler radar is a beautiful thing. Even though they were forecasting 80% thunderstorms around the region, once 4:00 rolled around I could see that the Brevard area was mostly free of storms. So I made the drive for our weekly Wednesday night ride.

Normally I post this ride up and I have had anywhere from 2 – 10 people show up. Jeremy posted this week’s ride and the masses came out from everywhere. I won’t do a roll call for this ride as that was not the theme. This would be “one of those rides.”

In the parking lot BrouSSard told us it was his birthday. For some reason, that would cause the demons to come out in full force.

So once we got everything organized we took off through the woods. I led the first little descent down Reasonover and then on the climb directly following, I knew I was not the person to lead. I said “Everybody who wants to go, go.” I think 10 people tried to pass me at once. Wes was one of them and when he got to the switchback 10 feet in front of me, he broke his chain.

I stopped to catch my breath, turned around and there Wes was passing me. Huh? You fixed it that fast? Ok, keep rolling.

Now I was last in line rolling up Reasonover. Everybody stopped at the Turkey intersection and I sneaked up to the front and took off. I wanted to push it hard so nobody would pass and I could lead the descent down Reasonover (yes it is a sickness.)

When I got to the little log hop before the downhill I heard something fall on the ground as I negotiated the log. Crap my pocket on my Camel Bak had broken completely. I hastily put everything from one pocket into the other and I was last again. Oh well, I might as well take my time as I knew I could catch the back of the pack on the descent. I took a nature call, then took off.

Around the first couple corners I saw Wes working on his bike again. I stopped for moral support. His back tire had a rip in the sidewall. He fixed it quickly and we were off.

We met back up with the group at the bottom of Reasonover and I said “What are you guys doing? Wes and I already did two laps.” Nobody laughed.

Some of the group rode up and over the bridge as I stood by and watched. Then I came off the bridge, around the corner and Dennis had a dejected look on his face. I heard him tell BrouSSard “It’s broken.” Broussard “What do you mean it’s broken?” This is what Dennis meant:

DOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Sorry D-Kuntz, I know how that feels and yes I have empathy.

I coached Dennis on the way back to the truck and the rest of us took off toward Airstrip. Apparently in a group like this everyone get’s smoke blown up their butts because we were race pacing (my race pace) everything.

Unforeseen circumstances arose and we didn’t have any mechanicals coming down Airstrip. I tried to coax a group of people to ride the log for posterity but it just wouldn’t happen, so I had to settle for one and a bunch watching:

As we cruised slowly up Shelter Rock, I got a request from a couple people to take them to the “rock drop” with the “rock wall ride.” I knew exactly where they were talking about.

Up the technical steep climb I thought I would die, but I made it with my 32X19 still on. WHEW!

I went and set up shop at the rock drop and this is what I got:

Here is a correctly set up launch:

And Landing:

Here is a semi-correct set up for launch:

A horrible OH $#@& landing:

The result wheel that looks delicious if you put some steak, fish or chicken in there:

Jeremy banged his wheel on the ground enough to get it back in the drop outs and to pedal himself out of the woods. Just in case your keeping track we had:

Two flat tires
One Broken Frame
One Taco wheel
One Broken Chain
One Broken Zipper

The night ended with a swim and my honey chilling by the lake.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

SORBA Adventures

Yesterday when I went home for lunch I made the decision to ride out to Paris Mountain for our SORBA meeting.

I turned on the news for a second when I got home to check the weather. There were severe thunderstorm warnings west of Greenville.

I had a 32X19 that I had thrown on the bike during lunch. I wanted to make haste heading to and from the park. About halfway to the park I could see the rain pounding the city about a ½ mile to my west. I took shelter under an awning on a building and ate my sandwich while watching the rain come down in droves.

It quickly let up and I was back on my way through some standing water on the road. When I arrived at the picnic shelter, Cass was there talking with Andrew and somehow she had lost the Stick on their way to the Park. They had been caught in the storm too.

The meeting was productive. We elected interim officers for President, Vice President and Secretary. Thanks for the volunteers!

We agreed upon the name being Upstate SORBA. Never are we allowed to abbreviate our name as to avoid confusion of us being US-SORBA which does cause a little confusion.

Thanks to Rick and Chris Foreman we also have two trails at Issaqueena to work on. They have already been approved thanks to Cyber Spinners.

We realized that during the National Trails Day we logged 40 hours of trail work. We will also be able to log our time out at Dupont this weekend. So when we present ourselves in front of the Board of Directors this August, we will not have broken a Pint or Quart in our carriage. They will have no other option but to welcome us with open arms.

We also established our next meeting time and place:

July 24th at Paris Mountain’s first picnic shelter on your right

We will be going over our own By-Laws (careful that link is a PDF) and making sure everything is aligned for the August meeting.

After that we went for a ride, it was a little wet but not bad enough to cancel our ride. Andrew and I discussed the trails and whether or not we were being bad examples riding the trails after a rain. I have to admit, I was a little weary but it ended up being ok except for some standing water in a couple spots.

We had a first time rider on the ride! How cool is that. He was stoked after the ride too! I think the atmosphere and vibe among the group is strong. I look forward to being a part of this organization.

BrouSSard and I broke off from the group at the top of the mountain as we were looking for short rides and I had to ride home still. We eased our way down the techy section of Sulphur Springs and then Mountain Creek back to the lot.

I stole one of BradO’s flying dog’s, (thanks Brad!) chatted it up for a minute and took off so I could make it home before dark. It took some grunting, spitting and a few moments of true pain to make it but I pulled up to my door just as dusk was settling her last rays.

Great night and thanks to all who came out! We are going to have a great group!


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Paris Mountain SORBA Meeting

Come out tonight for a short meeting and a ride at Paris Mountain!

Paris Mountain State Park @ 6:30
First Parking lot on the right. We will meet inside the shelter.
Two dollars to get in the park or $50 for a year pass.

Monday, July 09, 2007

For some reason, Blogger won't allow me to add a title.