Tagged: Pisgah

Ride Data Galore

I was thumbing though some Celine last night and a particularly nasty and brutish passage reminded me of this. Life is not always pretty…

As some of you know, Bloggy’s Luddite tendencies run deep, but after this weekend’s glut of ride information, it may be time to upgrade the 1987 analog Cateye motion computer (doesn’t tell speed, only tells you if you’re in motion or not, but doesn’t specify if you’re moving forward or backward) to something a little more current. Joshie sent me “the numbers” from Saturday’s Pisgah loop off of his Garmin 705 (discontinued by Garmin so it’d be in your best interests to get the 800 (COMP6080), the only computer on the market with the ability to reconcile human emotion) and I can say without a trace of sarcasm that I was definitely surprised by our distance: 23.5 miles! Sure it took 5 hours, but high speed is for suckers. You miss all the wonderful treats Mother Nature has in store for you, like ferns and smooth creek bed stones and ferns! Not to be outdone, our newly hired head sales goon Doug sent me “the numbers” from Saturday’s Bike To Nature shop ride. Representing Hawley on the road bike tip were Doug, Teenwolf and inside sales newbie Matt. In addition to this trifecta of sad sacks, three other masochists showed up for what would be a vigorous 48 mile ride. Doug said there was nothing casual about this hammer-fest but the boys held their own and the ride vomit was kept at a minimum. It gives Bloggy great pleasure to think of Doug, Teenwolf and Matt suffering on some desolate stretch of black tar in the middle of nowhere whilst I hooted and hollered in the bucolic fern splendor of Pisgah. Doug’s Garmin Forerunner 305 (COMP6222) recorded an average heart rate of 166 which begs the question, which one of his parents is a hummingbird?

Both great cycling computers but in different flavors, plus Teenwolf’s 4th favorite movie of all time!

My analog Pisgah sandwich in a Park Tool nutrition sheath (NS-10)

Adventures in Babysitting (Pisgah)

Saturday was a lot of “fun” (unnecessary quotes) because Bloggy got to dust off the ole mountain bike (said with an Old Coot inflection) and meet up with coworker Joshie to ride some Pisgah trails. Leading the ride was Cane Creek Eric in addition to his lovely wife whose name escapes me for the moment. We met at the confluence of fireroads 1206 and 5015. From there, we rolled downhill on 1206 for a bit then turned left onto 426. As we rolled along in the cool, nay, frigid morning air, the scent of fresh horse dung inundated our senses and it wasn’t long until we encountered our first horse riders of the day. Horses passed and olfactory senses intact, we jumped onto South Mills River trail for a bit. It was nice and flat with a few bits of quasi-technical rocks thrown in for good measure. In a moment of mountain reverie, I almost lost it on the first rocky drop of the day. After regrouping, we crossed the slicker-than-owl-$#%@ bridge and turned left onto Squirrel Gap. I’d ridden Squirrel a few years before in the opposite direction. I was partnered with Toby Porter for my first PMBAR and I remember the trail being pretty intense as I was a Pisgah debutante (still am to an extent) and my nascent fascination with trails that actively seek to commit grave bodily harm upon me was still in its infancy. After Eric said “Here’s Squirrel Gap”, I quietly cursed Toby’s memory under my breath as we started climbing and climbing. Lots of rocks, roots and punchy little pitches my spindly arms weren’t ready for. I was running a Columbia gearing of 34 x 19 and soon found it to be inadequate for Squirrel. Several dismounts, some graceful, some not-so-graceful. As we continued on a little downhill we encountered two riders, one of them being my friend Yuri. I hadn’t seen Yuri since last year’s ORAMM but he seemed to be in good spirits. He and his riding partner were doing recon for stage 4 of the Pisgah Stage Race . I think Yuri said stage 4. Hmm, maybe not. Anyhoo, I remember being somewhat unsettled by Yuri’s friend addressing me as “Brah” as in the Dog the Bounty Hunter greeting. I mentioned this to Eric and will probably address it during my group counseling later this week. Like I said, most unsettling. As the forest enfolded Yuri in a thick curtain of Rhodendron, we made our way down Squirrel Gap riding some of the thinnest singletrack in Pisgah. Somewhat overgrown, my left forearm bore the brunt with the smacks of briars and nettles. I screwed up at least 2 rocky crossings. Probably closer to 5 now that I think about it. Oh well, ride and learn. The daily afternoon rain showers had made the trail damp and my Race Kings were having traction issues. I let out a bit of air and that seemed to help matters. With new found grippy confidence, Josh and I rode ahead to find the trail junction with Laurel Creek while Eric and his wife whose name escapes me followed. I’m not sure exactly where on Squirrel Gap it happened, but I was about 10 yards behind Josh and watched his bike slip on a large patch of off camber roots at about 20 mph. He tripoded and seemed to be readying himself for an epic crash when at the last moment his front tire held onto a root and he rode his way out of what would’ve been guaranteed bone carnage. We kept careening downhill until we came to a junction that looked similar to Bradley Creek trail. Josh was pretty sure it was Laurel but we figured we’d wait on Eric and his wife. After a few minutes, Eric rode up and told us we missed the Laurel Creek turn so we had the pleasure of climbing/walking the wonderful downhill we’d just descended. Oh well, so it goes. During the interim, Joshie and I discovered that our Mirrycle Two Tone bells were a half step apart allowing us to play the Jaws theme, or at least the first few measures. Back on track, we descended Laurel with the quickness, crossed the creek and made our way back up fireroad 5015. It was a nice 4 mile climb, nothing too steep and I could almost swear we rode through a cloud of fresh bear urine, but it could’ve been a Sbarros kiosk for all I know. Nearing the top of the climb, I remembered to outsprint Josh to the finish which felt good because Joshie had outridden me for most of the day and I needed something small and meaningless to help bolster what little self esteem I have. Then the post-ride sandwiches were distributed. I was given a turkey, hummus, spinach and carrot sandwich. I was thankful to receive its bounty and praised Eric’s wife whose name escapes me. Arms exhausted, legs unusually fresh and belly full, my ride ended where it began and the day had come full circle, or full drum circle as the local dirty Asheville hippy types like to say.

The easy going nature of South Mills. Ahhh, so relaxing…

Ahh, the rooty climb spazz outs and rocky trail crossings of Squirrel Gap…

After the ride, I snapped a picture of Eric’s Salsa which is actually Pete from Cane Creek’s Salsa. The frame was a little small so Eric made sure to extend the Thomson post to “warranty-negating” lengths. Can you believe this guy used to work on people’s bikes… for a paycheck?!