Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Catch Me If You Can

In the woods by my house, Shade and I play a game. I walk him down the street and into the woods; he already knows the area so well that he can lead me down the trail in the middle of the dark.

When we get to a big rock outcropping where the terrain is steep, I make him sit and then take his leash off. He bounds around on the rocks running close by me so I can shoo him away. He now knows the game so well that he will take off and run around while I try and catch him. He loves the game and afterwards I always make sure he walks up to me so I can put his leash back on so he knows the game is over.

There is a creek crossing on Corn Mill Shoals in Dupont that haunts my thoughts. In the summer it is a welcomed site to have to slip your shoes off and walk in your socks across the creek. In the winter, the creek becomes a cool seductress that will punish you for falling in.

If you have ever been to Dupont, you know the creek I am speaking of. It is where the Little River crosses Corn Mill Shoals and the crossing is insanely slippery. Imagine riding your bike across an ice hockey rink that has been freshly zambonied. Now imagine riding your bike across that ice with water rushing on top of it, yah it is like that. Alan taught me a while back that if you leave your socks on and walk across your feet stick to the algae covered rocks. It is a local secret that serves me well in the summer. . .

Last night I was riding with Shade on the leash at Paris when he did the Peter (from Family Guy) move. You know the one where he covers his butt with his hand and makes the ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh sound. It hits him so abruptly that he has to stop no matter what. After I feel my arm tug backward I look down and notice I have the leash and collar in my hand while Shade is copping a squat in the woods.

After he finishes his business he gave me the “Catch me if you can” look. Ohhhhh Crap. I tried to tell him that we weren’t playing but he wasn’t having it. Eventually I had him trapped by a large creek and I thought for sure I had him when he took a leaping bound into the water. He literally went in over his head and came out of the water vibrant and full of life still wanting to work on his escapism game.

The first time I ever went to Dupont I never hesitated and got halfway across the creek before my bike and I went for a nice little swim. I have fallen in the creek since then but it has always been walking.

Now on our Wednesday night rides, Beefcake masterfully negotiates the crossing. He hits it with a slow roll that leaves me cringing just watching. On Saturday we had 30 some miles under our belt when we rolled up on the creek. I grabbed a tree knowing Cake-masta-beef was right behind me so I could watch his line. His line scared me as bad as the first scene in Cliffhanger, Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

However he made it, I sat there on my bike, holding the tree watching Dennis and Zach untie their shoes while Cook sat victoriously on the other side. I had no excuse as my camera was not with me so I slowly came up with my own line and twinkle toed my bike across the creek thinking quiet thoughts the entire way.

I was victorious, in catching Shade and crossing the creek.

Peace

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cross?

Not dressing, cross racing. Some folks in GreenVegas are holding a cross race. I have never tried racing cross before but I figure it will be like most races. It will hurt. So I plan to go and hurt.

I am thinking the Nevegals might be overkill for a grass course with little to no mud and a couple barriers so I will probably throw on some sort of cross'ier tire and hope for the best.

Some of us are going to be throwing down a practice this Friday @ 5:30. So anybody got any tips on how to win my first cross race on a Single Speed mountain bike?

Here are the deatails for the race, we are meeting at the same venue for practice this Friday:


Additional Races: If a racer is eligible to race more
than one race and wishes to do so the entry fee for
the second race is $10. The entry fee for the first
race is the amount of the more expensive race if
applicable.

Note: Racers may participate with a one-day
license available on site ($10) or with a current
USCF or NORBA annual license ($60). Annual
licenses may be purchased online at www.
usacycling.org or onsite. Registration closes 15
minutes before the start of each race. Warm up
will be permitted on the course only between
events at the official’s discretion and only after
waiver has been signed. Race is held rain or shine.
Helmets must be worn at all times while riding bike.
MOUNTAIN BIKES ARE PERMITTED, BUT BAR
END MUST BE REMOVED. The promoter reserves
the right to combine categories and or prizes due
to attendance. Categories races under 5 racers will
be combined. All U18 riders with a CX1,CX2 license
must race the CX1,CX2 race. All U23 riders with a
CX3 license must race CX3.

Directions: Westside Aquatic Center address is
2700 West Blue Ridge Drive (253), Greenville, SC.
PLEASE GOOGLE MAP THIS ADDRESS. From GA:
Head North on 1-85, take exit 44 for US-25 North,
Turn left at US-25 / White Horse Road (go 5.1 miles),
Turn right on West Blue Ridge Drive, West Side
Aquatic is on your left. From NC (Asheville): Take
1-26 South, take exit 54 to merge into US-25, take
US-25 into Downtown Greenville (US-25 Turns into
White Horse Road), Turn left at West Blue Ridge
Drive (253), West Side Aquatic is on your left.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Laundry List

A big thanks goes out to my Dad this week as he helped me kill almost every project I needed to get done at the house before winter. Experience goes a long way. There is no reason for a gym membership when you are working on your house. Here is a quick list of items that were conquered:

Smashed concrete walkway, replaced with pea gravel and large natural stone.
Re-hung and replaced all the crawl space insulation.
Dug holes for fireplace jacks, poured concrete, installation of jacks.
Bolted back deck to the house along with adding support connectors.
Cut down a few trees and chopped them up including a very large hardwood.
Re-caulked the floors in the house.
Put up the Christmas tree and lights outside. Not like the Griswold’s.
Raked most leaves away from the house until the rake broke.
Installed new counter top lighting in the kitchen. (Work in progress)

Yup, we did all that including throwing a Thanksgiving bash at the house in-between all of this handiwork.

During all of this, I was still able to get some good rides in. I rode by myself at Paris on Tuesday getting in a strong loop. I felt awful in the beginning and really warmed up nicely. It was nice to get out before the masses.

Wednesday night was a huge success. I met Broussard early and he, Harley, Shade and I all went for a pre-loop around Reasonover. I am so proud of Shade as he ran the entire loop of Reasonover more than doubling his previous trail distance. That’s two successful trail rides following Harley. So now I have to see if I can get him to run with just me and the bike. When we first hit the trail last week he took off so fast I couldn’t keep up. He burned the first switchback headed down to the creek and had to smell his way back to the trail. I think he is going to be a great short distance trail runner. I am trying to break him in real slow but he is gaining strength quickly.

The ride after the dog lap was fantastic. We had a great group and as always a great ride. I was able to keep the rubber side down except for a little slide out following The Goat around Reasonover. It was one of those soft slip outs where you don’t even feel the impact. The tires just couldn’t hold.

Saturday was my birthday and we had the usual crowd show up along with one new face. It ended up being a great ride with lots of energy in the beginning and nothing but tired smiles in the end. That was to be expected after close to 40 miles in the hills. The route was a long one:

Fawn Lake Loop, Airstrip, Laurel Ridge, Corn Mill Shoals, Barn Trail, Shelter Rock, Conservation Road, Lake Julia Road, Reasonover, Turkey Gap, Poplar Hill, Turkey Gap, Pinnacle Mountain Road, Johanna Road, Briery Fork, Grassy Road (out and back to Johanna) Grassy Creek Falls, Wintergreen, Tarklin Branch Road, Sky Valley, Shoal Creek Trail, Rifle Trail, Guion Trail, Hickory Mountain Road, Ridgeline, Hooker Creek Trail, White Pine Trail, Buck Forest Road, Jim Branch, Lake Imagine Road, Hilltop Loop, Lake Imaging Road, Buck Forest, Staton Road, Sheep Mountain, Pine Tree, Longside, Corn Mill Shoals, Shoals, Laurel Ridge, Mine Mountain

Thanks to everyone who came out and an extra thanks to Zach for supplying us with some hot soup post ride.

There won’t be any pictures here for awhile as my camera took a big hit and is going to be headed back to Canon for a hopeful fix.

Peace

Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nothing much going on this week besides house projects. I don’t have time to write up a ride report from Saturday but it was a great ride with Valerie, Clay, Pisgah (just no productions. . .), Dennis and Scott from Indy. We went all the way up Laurel Mountain and back down Big Creek.

Wednesday evening ride is still going off this week. Meet at Fawn lake @ 5:30.

Saturday the 24th ride details:

Meet at Fawn lake @ 8:30am.
We will go as far as our legs will take us. Plan for all day. There are water stops along the way but you will need to carry all the food you need.

Hope to see everyone there, no more posts on the BLOG until next Monday.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Weekend Rides

Meeting at 9:00 tomorrow at North Mills River.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hitting The Deck

After Saturday, Sunday and Monday’s rides I wanted to go out to Paris and take it easy last night. Then a powerful group of Steve, Rick, Tim and Ken showed up. I lived to my expectations for awhile on the ride and avoided all the precarious log bridges, just “taking it easy.”

Biking is rooted in BMX. Everyone I know that has ever ridden BMX growing up are the best downhillers and technical riders I have ever met. Ken is one of those riders. He knows the bike inside and out, to say he is “fast” just doesn’t do him justice. The smooth lines (He is riding a rigid ON ONE) and quick turns combined with a fleeting disposition to wheelie the bike at any moment he feels so inclined amazes me at every section of the trail.

Coming back down Mountain Creek trail at Paris is a treat. It is super fast and flowing. When you turn into the banks and weave through the trees you just know the trail was designed for you at that particular moment.

So Ken and I are flying down Mountain Creek with Ken in the lead and me pulling the caboose as we had left the rest of the riders to their own demise at the top of the mountain. I am not riding out of my ability but I am watching the lines Ken is pulling to see if there are any lines that I have missed where I might be able to pick up some speed.

I am having these thoughts when I realize I am on an outside line on a corner when I normally pull the inside. I am speeding along at a descent clip when I look down and see a long flat boulder three feet in front of me. Its edge juts up about 4 inches from the ground. Knowing I will be a toasted croissant if I don’t pull up, I commit and bunny hop the entire rock. I have had lots of commitments in my life and this is not one I am proud of as I am flying through the air, I spot where I am going to land and my front wheel is headed straight for a round boulder about the size of a large human head.

At that moment, I am ejected from the bike in a fast arc over the bars and directly onto more dirt embedded boulders. I hit hard on my left side. Hip, head, shoulder, knee and foot all check the earth at the same time on rock. I hit hard enough to get that “blinding shock of white light” come into my eyes. After lying there a few moments, I believe I won’t fall down if I try to get up. I am ok, the bike has a severely bent front wheel but all is good.

This folks is how you “Hit The Deck.”

Peace

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Extra Miles

Dennis and I went and did something real stupid. We went and registered for “The Most Horrible Thing Ever.” You may have your own idea of what is horrible and PMBAR honcho Eric has his. I think his is going to blow us away.

In Eric’s own words, this is what the race will be:

Teams of two riders race to reach up to 30 checkpoints in a 36 hour time period. Start at Midnight Friday night (with a time trial to the passports) and race until noon Sunday. In February. Team with the most checkpoints wins. Start/Finish at White Pines, no mandatory down time,come and go as you please, LONG mandatory gear list, We will have a light charging station.

So did you get that? Thirty-Six hours in Pisgah in February. Sounds just like the ski vacation I took last year about this time right? Ok, maybe not. It doesn’t matter because Dennis Kuntz and I are making up “Team Safety First.”

So last night I threw the road slicks on the Monkey and pedaled up to Paris and back. About two miles from my house is a quick little downhill that had me spun out on the 32 X 15. (I would guess I was right over 30 mph) I hear some barking and look to my right, what do I see but the fastest sprinting dog in Travelers Rest. This dog was FLYING! He out ran me in the grass and then he was satisfied. You can tell this good boy has been trained by thousands of F150’s flying at 45 mph down the 30 mph road. He is fast, doesn’t want to bite you, he just wants to race.

Other than that, there is really nothing to note. Except that when cars cut you off right in front of a red light that you are pulling up to, it is fun to turn my LED’s to “Retina Burn” level and shine the light right at the driver till the light turns green. So my suggestion to you, don’t cut me off and try to nudge me out of the lane if I have a high powered retina burner on my head.

Peace

Monday, November 12, 2007

Seasonal Goddess

I was ready for a brisk morning on Saturday but it ended up being pretty mild. It was a beautiful drive through Flat Rock as the trees seemed to be peaking in North Carolina this weekend. It was nice to take the long way and stare at the vast amounts of forests that exist around the border of North and South Carolina. If I haven’t said it lately, I LOVE FALL!

We had an excellent group of me, Sam, Eric, Jody and Dennis show up for a semi-long ride. Our ultimate route would be:

Grassy Roads --> Sycamore Cove --> North Slope --> 276 --> 477 --> Bennett --> 477 --> ClawHammer --> Maxwell Cove --> Black Mounatin

The warm-up up Grassy Roads was nice and we stopped just before the second turn to Sycamore for a quick air up of some tires and then we were off. I took the lead up the steep section of Sycamore with Jody breathing right behind me. As soon as the trail started shooting down, I was grooving pretty good, Sycamore is such a great ride. After the little steep step down, Dennis jumped up and took the lead. I took off after him and I had my first ear to ear smile kicking as we both carved our way to the bottom.

Next up was North Slope for the first time this year!! What a great little trail! When we got to the top I told Eric that he looked like he wanted to go fast. He said “I don’t know the trail.” I responded with “You don’t have too.” Well, if he didn’t know the trail, no one would have ever known it. I fell in behind Eric and we pounded our way down the trail as fast as our bikes would take us. The small natural berms on North Slope keep you on the trail and you can carry all of your speed into and back out of the corners. We were having such a great time and flying that we both burned the turn down the steps and went riding into the woods laughing. I noted that if we would have hit the steps at that speed it would be quite the bronco ride.

After North Slope Jody and Eric debated whether they had time for the proposed route up Clawhammer. Yes they did, no they didn’t, yes they did. . . Eventually they didn’t so we climbed up 477. This was the first time I had ever climbed 477 and it was a good burner.

Once we got to the top of Bennett, I knew my leading skills were done. However, Eric wanted me to go first. I took the lead knowing I would have to let Eric by soon. The first little tech stair drop I had to bail and both Eric and Dennis cleaned it.

On down to the Devil’s Stair case and Eric nailed it. The rest of us humbly walked. Once down Bennett, Jody and Eric bid us adieu and Dennis, Sam and I continued to finish the loop up Maxwell to Black.

Great day in the woods!







Friday, November 09, 2007

Saturday 11/10/2007 Ride

Come one come all:

Saturday

Black Mountain trailhead PMBAR start.

8:30am

Seasonal trail route around 4 - 5 hours.

peace

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Peak Color --> Leaf Season

As I drove to Fawn Lake last night, I could see all of the color of the season attacking my senses. It is a beautiful time around Dupont. As long as none of those leaves see a spark from any fire sources.

It is that time of the year where the color is giving way to a blanket of leaves on the trail. Now as your tires roll down the trail it sounds as though an entire classroom of children are tearing up their homework and the sound reverberates throughout so you can only hear your own thoughts as your cautiously hunt for the trail. I have ridden the Reasonover for a good while now and I still lost the trail a couple times last night. The darkness and fresh leave coverage means that only the most skilled trail spotter can find their way on the trail at 15 mph.

That is why you have to enjoy the fall, sure the temperatures were cold last night and our group reflected that thought as David George, Clay and I were the only riders to brave the elemental cold night air for the first time this year. Luckily I had brought plenty more clothes than I ever thought I would have needed as I needed every thread I had brought.

Even with the elements and an unconventional route, it was a great ride with a ride time of 2 hours and 15 minutes. Somewhere around 2,000 feet of climbing is what persists when you climb all of Johanna road. I told you the route was unconventional. At one point Clay said “So we are pretty far from the cars now huh?”

Our passion for the outdoors, camaraderie and cycling is high as we didn’t see a soul in the parking lot or on the trails. It makes for a great day because this has become one popular park in the last few years and to have it all to ourselves is a gem.

Without their permission I would like to say that some of our crew has been having a lot of success lately in local racing. Rick has been turning up the notches on his training and got fourth at the TreeShaker. Nice work Rick. BrouSSard took the big “W” at the 24 hours of Clear Springs this past weekend. He sent me a detailed race report that I would like to share with you today:

Peace

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Eating My Lunch

Paris has the black magic voodoo on me lately. The last three rides out there have resulted in three flats and one fall.

Now that the time has changed again and Tuesday night is our only extended night of the season at Paris, the hordes are massing.

We had a bunch of people show up for a ride, we tried to tie a couple groups together and then mechanicals and lost ways founds us all separated but riding together if you know what I mean.

For the first section down Turtle and up Mountain Creek, I tried to hang with Jim Cunningham and his group. They are a road crew and whoever was wearing that Land Rover kit was flying. I did my best to keep up and lit my one and only match flying up Mountain Creek, I was through.

The rest of the evening was spent changing tires, failing lights, seats and catching back up with people.

Shade and I took a hike afterwards and I took the time to snap this photo and a high exposure with no flash but using my night riding light. It did end up blurry but that is what happens when you up the exposure and don't use a tripod. OH well.

Peace

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Recongnition

I was not going to post anything today since I didn’t have anything related to Mountain Biking to write about. Then I was reading the Greenville Journal at lunch and ran across an article about my old neighbor (this is a neighbor that I never wrote about before, not the one that likes to cause chaos).

I met Roby Giovine and his wife when I first lived at my apartment in downtown Greenville. Roby works for Hincappie sportswear as the lead designer. He and his wife Holly competed in many local Triathlons and I would always look for their names in the local results as they normally kicked butt. I had not noticed their names recently.

Well apparently Roby is now a photojournalist for South Carolina’s division of the National Guard. Roby has been corresponding since August and is keeping a website documenting his life as a soldier.

Nice work and come home safe Roby!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Have You Laughed At Me Lately?

Its six O’clock Sunday morning and my alarm is going off in the living room on my cell phone. Kristin and I had been out watching the South Carolina game late Saturday night. I am groggy and I can’t see in the darkness as I walk down the hallway headed to turn that beast of a machine off so I can go back to bed. Then as I turn on the light I feel the squish of warm poo between my toes. Shade has taken a healthy dump on my rug, so now I am walking toes up in the air, heel down as to not spread the mess and headed for the phone. As I pick up the phone and turn the alarm off, I look over to see Shade pissing all over my rug right in front of me. Ahhhhhhh beautiful day.

Kristin and I headed out to Paris Mountain State Park later in the morning. I headed up to find the small group working on the trails as Kristin was walking the dog. I was flying down the new trail about to meet up with the trail crew when I had an unusual fall. I haven’t fallen much lately on the bike and I was just cruising the corners when the new trail fell right out from under my tires. Incredibly my bike went to the left side of a tree as I did a “Pete Rose” headed for home plate on the right side of the tree.

Working out at Paris is tough. The grade is super steep and we don’t have a machine to help anymore. I was shamed by the SORBA group as I didn’t have much time to work.

That’s it, not much biking this weekend. Everyone will be happy to note that the dog and I were much happier this morning as he waited to do his business outside.

Peace

Thursday, November 01, 2007

HALLOWEEN!!

Somehow the spirits deemed me to have the day off yesterday. I knew something unfamiliar was going on when I walked outside to see that some spirit had been stacking wood. It had to be a spirit, surely no human could stack wood like this.

After some time spent around the house, some magical being with large wings swept me away and carried me to a mystical land filled with colors, demons and UFO’s.





Some of the beings were whisking their way through the woods, it was quite frightening.


The beings were manifesting into many shapes.
I have heard of security officers warning about the power lines. . . now I know why.



Paranormal, I think so. . .