Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop

Continuing on from yesterday...

I might have gotten a little Enduro™ up there in the hills.


Anyway, we had a choice.  We stopped at the bottom of the climb on Mill Creek Road and had a little rest to figure out what to do.



Mike had worked really hard so far.  Lots of climbing, some tricky descents, and asking his body to do something it hadn't yet done.  I offered a choice:  take the road back to town or keep climbing to finish the course.

I wasn’t sure what he would choose quite honestly.  The ride back to town wouldn’t have been bad, since it was mostly downhill and all on the road (and something like a little over five miles.)  If we continued though, it would be over three miles of gravel/paved road climbing, followed by steep switchbacks up to the top of Kitsuma (and then down of course.)  He decided to keep going.

I was surprised, but happy that he was willing to keep grinding it out.

So we climbed.  Right up Mill Creek Road.  It was steady climbing, and even though he was hurting he wasn’t about to give up.  It took quite a while, but eventually we got to where the Point Lookout trail intersects the road.

One of Eastwood’s friends was there.



Mike was tired, but I told him we were almost there.  Once we finished the road up to where we turn off for Kitsuma, we were rewarded with a nice view.



We turned down the road towards Kitsuma.  It turned into singletrack, then turned into ugly.  Steep switchbacks were there to greet us, and Mike gave it everything he had to get through.  The reward would be lots of fun downhill, so I’m sure that’s what kept him going (it gets me through that section.)  We stopped on a lookout before the top to take a break, and we had a good view of the interstate below.



I’ll contrast that photo with one taken a short while earlier, when the trail started at the same elevation as the interstate.



We climbed a lot.

“Just a little more climbing”, I told Mike as we left there.  All we had to do was hang on just a bit longer and we’d be rewarded with fun downhill all the way back to the parking lot.  Once we started down, it was fun.  The trail was a little tricky in spots since it was wet here and there, but it kept things interesting.  Sideways wet roots almost caused certain death at times, but the pucker up feeling is what makes that descent so fun.  We screamed down the mountain, and after what seemed like mere minutes we arrived at the bottom.



The only thing left was the ride back to town, and since it was just about all downhill it went by quickly.  We were done, and most importantly, Mike completed his longest mountain bike ride (in the hills, which should count extra.)  We hung out for a while, cleaned up, and headed down the road for some grub.

We sat down and it was time to EAT ALL THE THINGS!



What a great day.  Mountains, mud, wild berries, and introducing someone to Pisgah.  TomTom and I had fun out there giving the Pisgah Lite Tour.  I’m pretty proud of my man Mike for pushing through what was probably the toughest ride he’s ever done.  With the race coming up in a few days, he gets to do it all over again soon.


I’ll be there too.  Maybe we’ll stop and eat berries again.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Intro To Pisgah

I wasn’t here yesterday.  You may or may not have noticed.  I was tired.  I got in late Sunday night, and didn’t feel like taking the time get up extra early yesterday morning to write this crap and nonsense.

So yeah, Sunday was a long day.  My buddy Mike (from Charlotte Youth Cycling League fame) wanted to ride up in the hills.  He’d already signed up for the Jerdon Mountain Challenge, but he’s never ridden anything out there.  I volunteered to take him on a pre ride of the course.

I spent the night before getting ready.



While some might say this isn’t “real” Pisgah, it’s Pisgah enough for someone that’s never been there.  TomTom joined us for the ride too, and we got to Old Fort, NC late morning sometime.  We geared up and rolled out of town towards Curtis Creek Road.  After a short climb on pavement, we veered off onto Jarrett Creek Road.  That’s when the fun climbing started.

It wasn’t too bad, but I know Mike wasn’t really ready for it.  He pushed his way up though, working his ass off to get up the hills.  TomTom and I kept a social pace so we wouldn’t kill him.  You know, because it’s not really a good idea to kill someone on their first trip to the hills.  We stopped every so often, and Mike was doing quite well.  Somewhere in the middle of Jarrett Creek, we saw TomTom up ahead waiting for us. 

“Free snacks from Mother Nature!” he said.



So we stopped for a spell to eat wild berries.  They were so damn awesome too.



After climbing, I know Mike was glad to have a break.



We saddled back up and kept climbing.  For an old fire road, it wasn’t so bad.



Eventually we hit a long downhill section.  Since a little rain had fallen that morning before we got there, the corners were a little slick.  It was still fun, and we enjoyed the break from climbing.  Soon we rolled up past a creek that looked familiar to me.



“Just a little more climbing after this” I told Mike.  He pushed up.  We went up, down, back up, and down again.  We finally reached the bottom of Heartbreak Ridge.



There was a tree down at the beginning (or end depending on who you ask), so we climbed up and kept moving.  We hiked our bikes up some switchbacks to get to the intersection of Star Gap, and we were rewarded with a nice view along the way.



Since the course for this year’s race is a little different from last year, we had to head down Star Gap (last year we climbed up it.)  I warned Mike that it was tricky and full of tight switchbacks, and since the trail was a little wet we had to be careful.  There were only a few slip ups, and Mike did a great job getting down the mountain.



After a rocky descent and a creek crossing, we reached the end of Star Gap (or Heartbreak depending on who you ask.)  It pops out right at some railroad tracks.



Phase one, complete.  Mike was doing fine so far, even though he was hurting.  We were all happy to be out in the hills, and especially glad to be able to take Mike on a tour.  We had a decision to make though.

Do we ride back to town or keep going to finish the course?

I didn’t know if Mike wanted to, or even if he could.  That’s a lot to ask someone who’s never ridden out there before, and I kept that in the back of my mind.  We kept rolling to find a spot to let him take a break to figure it all out.


Tomorrow, we’ll get into that.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fun Friday

I wasn't here yesterday.  Did you notice?  If you read Dicky's post yesterday, you probably thought it was because of this:



It was not.  I survived.  Twas fun.  Hopefully we do it again real soon and all that.

Nope, yesterday I had to drive to Raleigh, NC for some work stuff, stay all day, and drive back home last night.  I'm pretty beat.  Okay, maybe the Wednesday night thing added to that.  Anyway, since it's fun Friday and all that, I'm gonna have fun.

I'm probably gonna stay home and play with my new toy.


For those of you that don't know/care about music, this is my new Wah Wah pedal.  The little lady's response to me walking in the house with it was, "Oh great.  More noise."

Yeah, noise.  So I can do this:




I might be stuck inside for a while.

Y'all get out and do some epic shit this weekend.



Monday.  I'll be here.  With tales of mountains, music, and beer (most likely.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer Plans



Quite a while ago, I registered for Single Speed USA.  It’s coming up soon.  Like, August 9th soon.  Being a veteran of this fine event now (I’ve been to two of them), I know it’s gonna be a good time.  The trails up that way are supposed to be rad, so this year’s race garnered a lot more interest from us North Carolina folks.  I know Eastwood signed up, as well as Dicky, D-Wayne, and a few others (that don’t have blogs.)


We talked about how we were gonna get up there, and discussions began about acquiring an RV to cram full of people and other shit.  It sounded fun, but when we did the research it just didn’t make sense. 

I looked at all kinds of ways to get there, but my latest idea wouldn’t even get us out of town.



Too bad, it would be pretty easy to pedal that far with the little fella in my side car.

Besides, D-Wayne moved away to the desert,  and probably isn’t interested in driving that far (I don’t blame him)  The Arizona DrunkCyclist crew is skipping this one in favor of the Single Speed World Championships in Alaska this weekend, so that kinda made me lose my motivation to go.   I’ve been to Alaska.  Meh.

So it looks like Eastwood might be rolling solo up there.

Well, I hear that Jon Danger is going, but he also rolls solo.



So yeah, I guess I’m out this year.  Hopefully some Southern folks will win the hosting rights and bring that shit well away from Canada so I feel like driving to SSUSA next year.

It’s a shame that I’ll miss it this year, but I’m sure The Internets will be filled with photos and stories.  It’s like I’ll be there, without the long, boring, stinky drive up to Michigan. 

Who knows, I may change my mind between now and then.  I already have the time off from work anyway.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Adventures Part Two

We rode bikes.  That’s how every good adventure should start (sometimes that’s the whole adventure.)  This was only the start, so we packed up and hit the road.  Since we were in the area, we decided to drop by a local store, grab some beer, and make a pit stop at First Flight Bikes.  If you bring beer they let you sit in there and drink it.

Little Miss Sunshine thinks that’s pretty damn cool.

They love beer in that place (especially when you bring enough to share.)  They even have a wall along the stairs (on the way up to the Museum of Mountain Bike Art and Technology) that has beer ranked from worst to best.



The worst is obviously at the bottom.

What a cool shop.  I love stopping by there when I’m in town.  They are always happy to see me (again, because we brought beer), and you never know what you’ll find in there.

 
Old bikes.  Yes.  They haz.
  
We left outta there with no real plan other than grabbing some lunch.  Down some country roads, we found one of two remaining covered bridges here in North Carolina.  The other is out in the Uwharries, and yes, we’ve been there.

Anyway, this one is kinda cool too.





It’s just across the river in Catawba county, and I guess you should check it out if you’re in the area.  We kept going down the road and eventually ended up in downtown Hickory, where we found the Olde Hickory Tap Room.  We ate lunch, and of course I had some beer.

Death by Hops.  What a splendid way to die.
  
I guess that beer did something to me, since a little while later I was caught molesting some kind of German WWII gun.

Photo credit:  Little Miss Sunshine

Then we wandered around a bit more and found some ice cream in the middle of an industrial park.



And somehow ended up at DeFeet headquarters.  No one was there, but I still made my presence known.


I’m glad no one called the cops.


It was a fun time, and a nice way to spend a Saturday.  Bikes, beer, and a road trip.  Definitely a break from the norm.  

Monday, July 14, 2014

Adventures

I had this grand plan to go up to the hills over the weekend. However, Little Miss Sunshine had grander plans. She wanted an adventure.  I guess I sorta needed one.  I needed a ride too, and not just any ride.  I'd become bored with fast and flowy trail, mind-numbing singletrack that forces you to pedal faster to have fun instead of thinking about your next move.  Anything in Pisgah would have sufficed, but an all day bike adventure with the little lady wasn't gonna happen.  Instead, we kicked off our day by riding a short, yet still challenging (read:  fun) trail.



Signal Hill, just up the road in Statesville.  Built on a landfill, the locals affectionately refer to it as “the old trash trail.”  It's unique, and one of my favorites even though I don't get up there as much as I'd like.  In fact, it's been a while since I'd ridden up there, but it was very obvious that a ton of work has been put into it. Especially on the pump track, which sits smack dab in the middle of the property.

The little lady seemed to have a blast on it.



It's pretty big, with plenty of room to have fun.



I rode it too, but I think I had more fun taking photos. I was happy to park my bike and play photographer.



That pump track is probably the only section that's really smooth.  The rest is rocky and rooty, twisty and fun.  Nothing there is too dangerous, but I did have to convince the little lady that she wouldn't die if she rode off some rocks.



And of course I asked her to get a shot of me taking the “pro” line, while I got all Enduro™ in the process.



Yeah, I know, it's not that technical. I could've just as easily ridden that on my rigid bike but that's not the point.  That place has some fun features, which is very welcome to me these days since I've grown tired of your every day, run of the mill “flow trail.”  Riding stuff like Signal Hill keeps my riding fresh, especially when I don't have a chance to go all the way to The Pisgah.

We had a good start to our adventure, even saving a critter while we were there.



We like turtles.  I saved one last year, remember?


Bike riding is fun.  I'm starting to remember that.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fun Friday (Summer Edition)

It’s that time again.  It’s Friday again, which means I take the easy way out and post what I think are funny pictures that may or may not be related to a topic that I’ve discussed in the past.

I like taking the easy way out, hence why the Fun Friday thing continues on. 

Anyway, we’re something like halfway through summer.  Time for fun in the sun, which for a lot of people means trips to the beach.  If you didn’t get your beach body ready by now, it’s too late.  Today’s only Fun Friday photo is about a friend of mine that worked hard all “offseason” to get himself ready for the beach. 

Dicky is so proud of his hard work that he just wants to show off (almost) everything.



Good luck getting that image out of your head.


See y’all Monday.