It was the first ride I had been on in awhile that was all Pisgah Single track. Those trails really make you work for your miles. Squirrel is a narrow strip of a trail that is littered with tough rock moves and downed trees. Every bug that would buzz my head left me with the paranoia of hornets but we made it out with no stings this time.
It was a fine day to be out even though I personally had “the leans.” This is a disease on the bike that causes you to lean in toward the upslope at all times thinking that you might be preventing a fall but instead, you are just messing up all the lines.
Can you hear that? There are kids all over the nation right now saying “I dare you, NO! I DOUBLE DARE YOU!!!!
MTB'R 1 "I am too old to do drugs or drink anymore."
MTB'R 2 "Thank God you own a bike."
I have to ask another question. What does a young woman with a picnic basket and a flashlight do in the middle of the night at Dupont? Here in the last picture D.C. can mysteriously look down the trail with one eye while spotting me with the other. Amazing.
SORBA meeting tonight at shelter 5 in Cleveland Park @ 6:00.
I have ridden every day since Saturday and I plan on riding tonight. It is so hard to turn down a good ride when the weather is so nice.
Yesterday I met Andrew downtown so we could go on an “adventure.” He is one of the key people involved in getting the swamp rabbit trail built from downtown Greenville to Traveler’s Rest and we were setting out to see if we could follow most of it out to Paris Mountain.
The first two miles are already built and just rolling asphalt like it will all be eventually. The next 6 miles would be spent walking, bushwhacking, and riding over varied terrain. I thought we were in Cost Rica for a bit as we rode across widely spaced railroad ties that were a good ways from the ground. At one point, as we were precariously perched over the ground cautiously stepping on rotted ties Andrew said “I hope we don’t hit a hornets nest.” Yeeeeeeeeeeee GAwds, I couldn’t imagine, I would surely take off running and fall to my death. Luckily that didn’t happen.
After one of our bushwhacking sessions, Andrew came up with a flat but couldn’t figure out the source. I scoured his tire as he looked at the tube and luckily due to my barrage of thorn flats in the spring, I was able to find the smallest of thorns in the tire. We were off.
This trail is going to be super cool once it is built. There is everything from Paris Mountain views to swampy creeks that made you feel like you have been transported to the east cost of South Carolina. Some spots have some really good rock out cropping. We even found some moto-cross trails that had some good single track.
We rode the trail at Furman and then made our way up the backside of Altamont. My legs were screaming from the effort as I was pedaling toward mountain bike mile 100 since Saturday. As we crested around the mountain, right where Levi and Hincappie had been racing not too long ago. Two younger cyclists (circa 12 years old) on their road bikes rode by us without any sort of hello. We were about a ¼ mile from the top of the mountain when I noticed that Andrew couldn’t let these young punks punk us. So I just sighed and followed when he attacked.
Maybe we convinced those two little roadies that to be strong, you have to ride a mountain bike 8-) What are they doing out on the road without a driver’s license anyway?
Saturday morning at 7:00AM I walk into Chic-Fil-A, order my food and as I am waiting I have the following conversation with the girl who took my order:
Cashier “Are you going cycling today?” Me “Mountain Biking, Yes.” Cashier “Ooooo you must be dedicated.”
That tiny little act of socializing made me think. Normally I would just shrug it off and go about my day but it made me wonder. Am I really dedicated or am I just another junky looking to get my fix out in the woods?
Then I started to think about all the people that I like to call friends. This doesn’t necessarily mean that any of these individuals address me as their friend but that is another story.
I would like to think that we are dedicated to our sport in a manner that is healthy and sometimes ridiculously obsessive. The reason I call many of my acquaintances “friend” in the realm that is the Southeast is because we share a common bond being in the woods and riding mountain bikes in the woods.
It is knowing that most rides these days I never ride alone and I am almost always meeting new people. It is a group of dedicated freaks and geeks out to get their “fix” in the woods so they can feel alive and live healthy, so yes, thank you young lady “we are dedicated.
Jeremy and I met up on Saturday morning and took off from the Fish Hatchery. We rode 475B, Cove Creek, Daniel Ridge, Davidson River.
Yes, it was short because I almost flew off Daniel Ridge into the river while simultaneously pinch flatting my rear tire. I aired it back up twice and finally the Stan’s was sealing a big pinch. Quickly thereafter Jeremy double flatted and when I offered him my tube, it had a hole. He had just enough tubes and pressure to make it down Davidson River and back to the cars.
I bid the Goat adieu and proceeded to ride back up 475B to meet Zach and Meaghan at the top as they were camping. After a couple cold ones, we bombed Cove Creek for what would be my second time of the day. It felt much smoother the second time.
I left Zach to his own devices and headed home to pick up Kristin, then made the drive back up so we could camp out. It was a cool and star filled evening, perfect sleeping by a creek.
Sunday morning at dark thirty Zach and I are up mulling around like zombies getting ready to meet Jody, Ben, Bill and Dave down at the Fish Hatchery. It was another cool morning but with knee warmers and a Jersey, I felt perfect.
After we picked them up we proceeded to ride the following:
475, Davidson River, Cove Creek, Daniel Ridge, 475, Butter Gap, Long Branch short cut way down the FS road.
I took it much easier coming down Daniel and was really happy that I did when we came upon some Dave carnage. He had cracked his helmet in a hard fall in the rocks. Luckily, the helmet took the brunt of the fall.
Ben took the lead down Butter and I made chase. He rides a beautiful blue Salsa El Mariachi and was really eating up the single track. I couldn’t stay on his wheel but kept him in my sights as we kept speed up through all the technical creek crossings. I felt better than I had in awhile on the bike.
No mechanicals out of six people, sweet.
Someone has done a great thing and fixed the mud pit in the middle of Butter too. A great piece of Appalachian trail armoring now covers the seepage and makes for a great ride.
Brad and I showed up early for the SORBA ride last night so we took off for a warm-up lap. As we were coming back toward the road off of lower Sulphur Springs, I hit the little rock booter and quickly realized I was coming down sideways with my weight forward. Crap, so as soon as the front tire hit and I heard the “brrrrrraaaaaaaaap” of my Nevegal squirting air and Stans all over I knew I was done. I did a OTSOTB (Over The Side Of The Bars) exit and came out unscathed for the most part.
I knew we were headed back to the lot so I just rode lightly with the minimal PSI I had back to the car. I pumped the front tire back up and then was riding around talking to everyone when I went to let a little pressure out the front. As I was trying to open the valve, in one quick burst I heard “FSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!” I looked down and realized I was holding the entire valve in my hand as it had come unscrewed.
I screwed the valve back in and pumped her up to 4 billion PSI to reset the bead. We were on our way. It was a nice night with clouds that had a Halloween feel. However it was still quite warm.
Coming down the first Section of Brissy Ridge I heard a loud pop and the sound of air leaking every tire revolution. I kept riding until my pressure was really low hoping the Stans would hold true. When I looked at the puncture it was a about the size of this “v” in the middle of my tire, since I hadn’t ever tested whether the Stans would really seal a puncture like this, I pumped up the tire with CO2 and took off flying downhill hoping it would seal.
We went around the lake and came back up to the lower section of Brissy and back up the road. Then we made our way down Mountain Creek and the Stans held. That was pretty sweet.
I am fortunate enough to work from home on most Monday’s and Friday’s. So since I live downtown I am able to do just about everything I need without a car on those days.
Yesterday was no exception as I rode my bike to the local Jimmy John’s for a sandwich at lunch and when it came to dinner I figured I would ride my bike over to the new Publix and grab something.
I had walked to the Publix before so I guess I didn’t realize that there are no bike racks of any type. Not even a small pole to lock your bike to. In a city where the National Cycling Championship was just held and a city that touts itself as being biker friendly pushing for bike lanes etcetera. This makes me wonder what they are thinking over there as the Jimmy John’s has bike racks.
I will give them the benefit of the doubt and just think to myself that they are still in their infancy and they will be installing them soon. I will make it a point to say something to customer service when I walk over next time. They do sell beer and wine on Sundays so I can't get to upset.
So I didn’t stop at Publix and I made my way over to Barley’s where I knew I could at least lock my bike up on a pole. I ran into Jay over there and he said I should have taken up two parking spots by locking my bike to some shopping carts. Not a bad idea.
I had a good urban assault ride last night. Somebody has really been adding to the boyscout trails over in Cleveland Park. However, I did finally notice that there is a “No Mountain Bikes” sign that was finally put up on the Sierra Club Park "Fernwood Nature Trail" at the end of the park. I knew that would happen eventually as it says no mountain bikes online but never had a sign up in the park. Oh well, we have to stay out of there now.
SORBA ride tonight @ 6:00, I will be there early if anyone can meet me at 5:00.
I finally made it through a weekend without being stung by yellow jackets! Yahoooooooooooo, if you want the full report on where the stinging beeatches are in and around Pisgah, take a look at this thread. I hope most of them are gone before the Double Dare!!!
I did something that I hadn’t done in a long time this past Sunday. I rode alone. I used to spend 95% of my rides riding alone but that just doesn’t seem to happen very often anymore.
Kristin and I drove up to Dupont and she took off hiking while I went out for a ride. My route was the following from the Fawn Lake parking area:
There were only a couple highlights as I felt sluggish. When I got to the first creek crossing on Reasonover, I slow rolled the 40 feet through the river and when I rolled out the other side I could hear a ton of air leaking out my front tire. Somehow the combination of having the tire submerged and going so slow in the water broke the seal on my tubeless setup. I stopped for a second, realized air was coming out from the sidewalls, so I just took off and in about 50 yards the tire was sealed back up. I lost a lot of pressure but just rolled with it because I didn’t have a pump and didn’t want to waste a CO2.
As I was coming down the backside of Reasonover I passed a lady and then came upon her husband. He was rolling quickly so I just sat in behind him just enjoying the downhill. After the rock turn he heard my bike and yelled “Holy &*% Holly” as he looked back and realized that I was not Holly. He pulled over to let me pass and made a comment on how he had thought I was his wife.
The only other noteworthy piece of the ride was taking the Rock Quarry extension up to the top of the Rock Quarry. I had never done this before and Valerie had told me it is a great view. It was and I wished I had my camera.
If you want to read a great recap from the Shenandoah 100. Read Harlan's story of racing neck and neck with Floyd Landis.
This first one is from the first lap at the top of Paris. I was proud to see such support of cycling in Greenville. Well I will admit it, it was actually just an excuse to drink beer at the top of the mountain. Here is the faux Devil doing his thing. This was the third trip up Paris.
There is a song from Bob and Tom that starts like that and it cracks me up. Well I didn’t have one of those days yesterday but there were some that did.
Driving up to Dupont is half the relaxation for me. I love going the back roads route up 25 and down Green River Road. After the hustle and bustle of the city, you get rewarded with mountain views all the way to the park. Green River Road is one of those mountain roads where most everyone throws a courtesy wave to the wind as you go by. It makes me happy.
I knew the crowd would be small on our ride as most of the usual suspects would not be showing. We amassed to a big group of three and took off down Reasonover. After the uphill we were just cruising along having a great time, when I came around the hairpin corner and heard someone screaming.
There were two young ladies that had left the lot before us and now one was sitting on a log while the other consoled her. Unfortunately, one of the girls had broken a finger. She did a good job of extending her arm way behind her back and not looking at the finger. They took off walking back up the trail so there was an extra bike that needed to be tended to.
I was walking my bike and Dennis’ bike down the trail when the Goat came rolling up behind me. He said “gimmie your bike” and attempted to shoulder my bike while riding his down the trail. It worked for a few yards but then Dennis was there ready to ride his bike and it was all good as we had the girl’s bike to the gravel road. Just as we were contemplating who, what, when and where two cats with Sycamore kits rolled up and said they knew the girls and they would take it from here. Good for us, we get to ride.
After that incident we escorted the Goat down Airstrip and back to the Corn Mill Shoal’s crossing as he was parked on that side. I let the Goat lead down Airstrip and holy hell we were flying down the trail pinning all the corners.
My legs were just about cooked from the past few days activities and climbing the tech on Corn Mill Shoals about killed me. After we let the Goat go, we headed back up Shoals and down Laurel Mountain to ride back down the tech on Corn Mill Shoals and take a hold of Reasonover backwards.
That is two days in a row where I didn’t really feel like riding and had fantastic rides. If I haven’t said it lately I LOVE MOUNTAIN BIKING!
Everyone hold their cups high, here is to some good healing Mojo for those that are hurt right now. You know who you are, so get better soon.
There are times when I have no idea what to write and other times there is too much to write about.
This past weekend was one of those filled with lots of cycling so there is too much to write about. Saturday was a killer day as I rode a road bike for the second time in my life. However, now that I have ridden Andrew’s Ritchey twice, I am intimately familiar with the bike. Is it ok to be intimate with another man’s bike? That is another discussion entirely.
Ty, Andrew, Iris and I all met at the Meeker’s pad to start our 30 mile journey. It was a great day and we took off from downtown Greenville headed up and over Paris Mountain where the dopers would be drudging on Sunday out to 25 and 11 where my Father had driven Andrew’s truck so we could all meet up for the time trial on Saturday. Can you guess who these two dopers, oops I mean cyclists are? Extra points if you get them both right. Thanks for letting me borrow a bike!
The Friday before the time trial I had seen Soul Raisin in at Chic-Fil-A and wondered “Who is that brave kid who is wearing his kit inside a restaurant on Cherrydale?” Well since I follow Pro cycling so closely, I had no idea what his story was until Saturday. Here is Soul pounding the pavement in his re-introduction into cycling:
On Sunday Ben, Dad and I all hiked up Firetower through Paris Mountain State Park and out the neighborhood so we could park our butts at the top of Paris Mountain and watch the pain ensue as the Dopers hacked their way up the mountain four times.
We watched three out of the four passes and then hightailed it back downtown to catch the finish. Our timing was impeccable and we saw the Levi had opened a sizable one minute and twenty second gap on the field when we were walking to the finish line. This is the main man in Amsterdam on his way to win the National Championship.
Mike R, David Cook, Eric, Erinna, Jay, Jody, Valerie, Jeremy and I all met up for a march up Old Toll Road to some crappy Heart Breakin’ descending.
This would be the first time I had ever ridden up the Old Toll Road. Wow is all I can really say. It is quite the March. We started off with a nice cool morning riding from Kitsuma to Montreat. As soon as we crossed the line into Montreat, my warm-up would commence all the way to the top Heartbreak.
Despite getting up too early and all the screaming I did at the dopers the day before, I felt really good climbing. There were two high speed descents on the way up the Toll Road that really added to the climb. Climbing the road is amazing; it is a steep rocky climb with no relief in sight for many miles. The sites and views along the way are more than outstanding.
I was trying to believe in my freshly set up new tubeless Nevegal’s as we cruised down the first quick descent. I knew I had Mike R., on my tail and I didn’t want to slow him down too much so I was aero tucking the Rhodo tunnels and just generally smiling from mountain to mountain when I came around a corner to see a huge dirt banked corner. As I came up screaming on the corner I realiazed it was actually a loosely put together log bridge. The “bridge” consisted of about six four inch diameter slick logs spaced apart to form a sketchy situation that I did not need that early in the morning. Knowing that Mike was hunting my wheel and due to the fact that we were hauling over 20 mph. I just thought quiet thoughts and tried to hover the bridge. After we made it over the bridge, we were screaming and hollering about our luck.
After a quick flat fix by Jody, we did what we had to do to make it to the top of the beast. Once we finally made it to the top, we were off on one of the fastest, gnarliest, gangliest ridge descents in all of the area. It was fun to fly like a two wheeled rebel as fast as we could down the mountain. I cranked it as hard as I could up a couple of the steep pitches and even surprised myself at the climbing I was able to put out after the Toll Road climb. There were a few of us walking one of the steep ridgeline pitches when I looked down and saw a nest of them stinging *&%$#@*&^ again. I felt three quick “whap whap whap’s” of their stingers and yelled at Valerie who was walking in front of me “go go go.” Everyone else got around without incident luckily.
Jody then proceeded to make 84 wrong turns on one trail so we just waited, wondered and chatted for awhile. It was a blessing in disguise as my hands had been throbbing from the high speed descent. So after a little wait, we were trucking back down the mountain. I made the same mistake of last week. I let Eric go in front and I tried to hang on in the switchbacks. I burned The fourth or fifth switchback so bad that I found myself lying off the trail a few yards. I smacked my knee against the stem but I was fine.
I took it gingerly down the rest of the descent and I think a few of us exclaimed that it was one of the best times on Heartbreak. Eric had said something about the fact that Erinna was training for an adventure race, so on the climb out on Mills River Road I tried to test her might. She was hanging on Mike R’s wheel when I went motoring by on the hot dusty road. I kept it pinned on the redline for as long as I could but she couldn’t be broken. I fell off into oblivion after my attempt and she just kept on flying. As she went by me she said “I thought you were never going to slow down.” Well, she never did. Awesome ride ladies and gentlemen!!!