Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wilderness and Impalement

A sweet Hike with Clay, Duma and Shade from this past weekend. It was my first time this deep into the Shining Rock Wilderness.
Clay and Duma enjoing a quick packless respite.

The rain let up while we wandered around the Six Thousand peak summits so we could enjoy some view.

Shade's enlightenment "Ohhhh This is why they call it Shining Rock Wilderness."

Duma is always making fun of me.

Shade also knows how a well placed cairn can help.

Again Duma was pissed that he couldn't get in my tent so he dug in disgust.

Last night was a tough one for the WNDC. I almost impaled myself during a wreck early on. J had a ride ending mechanical 40 feet into the ride. I suffered a tubeless flat and then tried to kill myself coming down Pinnacle Mountain Road. We also crossed some wild rivers which split the group up.
CF and Tomato's route:
Fawn Lake -> Airstrip -> Mine Mountain -> Laurel Ridge -> Shoals -> CMS -> Little River -> Steep Cedar Mountain Side -> Big Rock -> Longside -> Pine Tree -> Sheep Mountain -> Buck Forest -> Conservation -> Johanna -> Pinnacle Mtn Road -> Turkey Knob -> Reasonover
A tough ride for a WNDC!!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Life on Overdrive

Everything is happening, but I still manage to ride. I have been maximizing my fun factor by not taking cameras and rarely writing about riding but alas I am a liar.

I got two very similar rides in at Dupont this weekend from Fawn Lake and both rides consisted of two people. Two people make for an excellent ride at Dupont as you can minimize your stopping time because as I have said many times before it’s the transitions that count in this forest.

I would love to put Saturday and Monday’s ride routes down but I really don’t feel it is worth it. Each day, we rode all around up and down.

Saturday’s goal was to avoid all the traffic at the park and hit some of the last few “trails” that I have never set rubber on. Mission accomplished including a really fast run down Rocky Ridge that might have been faster had I not been worrying about the 80 billion trail users out for the day.

Grassy Meadows is my number one priority lately.

We also managed to pick the exact same lunch spot as PAS had picked for their long ride. A pump track makes a great lunch spot and man this pump track is going to make you work for your lunch. Saturday was good with no mechanicals.

Monday was an interesting day to say the least. Joe and I hit up the mountains and made another decent sized ride with a time constraint that I thought would be completely blown when I had a new-to-me mechanical.

I was showing Joe the kids loop since he is looking into bringing his son up sometime soon. I was on the really skinny, skinny’s when I tried to negotiate a tight turn onto the not so skinny skinny’s. My front wheel just barely slipped off the wood structure and I heard paaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnngggggggggg!!! I knew it wasn’t good but when I saw my rotor I almost passed out. When the wheel slipped the first thing to catch all my weight was the front rotor and it was bent at a 45 degree angle.

Never being one to let things like this get me down. I laughed, showed Joe and he laughed until he realized he had to help me get this situation resolved so we could finish the ride as we didn’t have any maps with us.

I gimped the bike out to the parking lot and started trying to bend the rotor. I caressed it, took my shirt off and yanked on it, put my knees on the tire and bore all my weight down and got nothing, nada, nunca. I stood on the rotor with all my 195 lbs, nothing. My worst fear was the rotor breaking causing some sort of medical trauma to myself so I went and found a BIG rock. I Put my shirt over the rotor and beat the shit out of it. I got it close but it still wouldn’t turn well when happiness in the form of mountain bikes on a truck pulled into the lot.

I asked some strangers if they had some pliers, the nice stranger obliged with an 8 inch handled adjustable wrench. Perfect I said as they watched in horror as I applied to tool to my rotor. A salvaged rotor is what I ended up with which was quite remarkable considering it looked more like a soup spoon twenty minutes ago.

With a new found happiness we finished the ride in glorious style. Another highlight from the day was seeing two fellow bikers at the Corn Mill Shoals little river crossing. Two guys were putting their shoes on as I lined up. One of the fellows glanced at me and realized I would probably be stopping so he didn’t bother to move his bike out of the line. As crossed the halfway point the fellow frantically hauled his bike out of the way.

To cap things off, when I got back to the truck my window on my hatchback looked funny. I popped it open and realized the bolt that holds the upper right side was broken. So the hydraulic pushed the window out of place on the right side. After five minutes of wresting with the thing I got it locked back down. Crisis numero Dos averted for the day.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Can You Smell That?

Good times are lingering in the air when I can take the HVAC switch and set it Duke Power’s least favorite position “off.” I smile while the dogs wrestle outside in the cool morning air. They too sense that the season of summer death in the south is coming to a close with their grins and playful growls. Once again they will enjoy those hefty coats.

As I type this, Buddy jumps in through the half open door with his outside ball. In a nonchalant voice knowing he wouldn’t obey I tell him “Buddy, that ball belongs outside.” He promptly jumps back outside ball in mouth and I could hear him drop it on the deck. He doesn’t always listen so well.

Riding has finally gotten back to normal but I have lost almost all my fitness again from a two week hiatus. Rides have been filled with me watching everyone climb away but its oh so good to be riding.

Coleman Boundary last weekend was excellent. How often these days do we go out into the woods and only see the people in our own group. It was good heading out with some people that I don’t always ride with as well as in an area that we don’t always ride in. We made our way around to almost all the single track and had a great time doing it. Many downhills still follow the fall line and they are fast and rocky. I managed to hit the deck twice but nothing serious. Ever since the ride at Wilson’s, I get reminded almost weekly that I still have a wrist that doesn’t take well to bad falls.

I have finally gotten around to clearing some of the woods around the cabin and I have pruned and raked a pretty neat section of trail. If anyone has fill dirt or recycled concrete chunks, I sure could use some dropped off at the cabin. Granted I have to do quite a few loops to score a mile but with two berms and a small pine tree log jump I can’t complain. Look for some Tiki torch time trials sometime in the near future. The hardest wreck I have had in weeks was on one of my own turns. Kristin witnessed my cussing from another setback on the wrist.

WNDC has been going well. This week’s edition involved some mechanicals right in the beginning of the ride but after those two small hurdles and leaving one man behind (Remember George W isn’t our Commander and Chief anymore), the ride went without a hitch. The highlight of the ride had to be riding up Big Rock as I remembered it being a little harder than that. Then we rode the long side of Cedar Rock back down to the powerlines. It must have been the first time I had ridden that downhill with a suspension fork because it was smooth as butter except for those fleeting thoughts of falling while cruising on the pock marked slick rock.

I have done a great job of avoiding all trail work at Paris Mountain for the downhill race. It is tough to get your head in the game when you can’t see the race line. Maybe I just need to practice seeing the flow better and then I can allow myself to come out.

I have also been trying to write up a proposal to our local Parks and Recreation for a bike skills area at our local park. Hopefully there will be some good news coming down that pipe real soon.