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.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Down To The Bottom

So yesterday I talked about my new gloves.  It’s important to be able to hold on to the handlebars properly while riding a bike, and you don’t want unnecessary slippage.  Equally (or perhaps even more) important is keeping your bike from slipping off the trail.  On my two main bikes, I’ve been running a Maxxis Ardent, the “do-it-all trail tire" according to their website.  It has definitely done-it-all for me as far as conditions go, but with my recent need for change I decided to give something else a try.

So last night a box of goodness showed up.



I’ve been running the Ikon on the rear of my “race” bike, and I’ve been very satisfied with it.  Good grip and super fast rolling, it’s held great for rides/races with no sign of giving up.  Since it has been a while since I’d put on a new one, I decided that it was time to order a replacement.  Before I ordered anything, I gave Dicky a shout with my phone’s fancy texting capability to ask him about the “new” super-wide 2.35 Ikon.

He said he really liked it, on both a squishy fjork and a rigid frok (even in The Pisgah) in dry conditions.  That was good enough for me, so while I ordered the standard 2.2 for the rear, I added a couple of the 2.35s.



I can see the difference on my garage floor I guess.



Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to mount any of them to any of my bikes.  Lunchbox and I had a project last night that involved installing stereo equipment in his car, and add to the fact that I had to play handyman on the neighbor’s garage door I kinda ran outta time.

I really like the Ardent up front on both my bikes, so I hope I also like the new, wider Ikon.  I like to dig my front wheel into turns, and with the smaller knobs on these Ikons I hope I can still do that.  There’s only one way to find out, and that’s to mount them up as soon as possible and do a “dry run.”  I should be able to get a set of these installed tonight.

I’ll talk about it soon, but not tomorrow.  We’re back to “Fun Friday” again, and you won’t want to miss that.

I haz special surprise photo to share.

Thanks to Maxxis for the goods.  I know I won't be disappoint.