Sunday, January 25, 2009

Nothing to do but ride, ride, ride..

Get your own knuckles at the knuckle tattoo gun.

Going slower up hills, going faster down hills, and jumping stuff seems to be the theme lately. Of course what goes down must go up at some point (if not consult your doctor) so it's not like I haven't been paying my dues. I had three different rides in three different areas over the past four days that I guess are worth a mention.

Thursday I rode the Kitsuma loop with the ladies.. It's always nice to ride with girls, for a number of reasons. One great reason to ride with your homegirls is a noticeable lack of the ole "were just gonna take it easy today" only to have every dude race from the trail head all the way back to the car. No, most of the female persuasion has a different look on things and a ride with the ladies is more about the ride.. with Shanna and Beth it was simply a few mountain bikers out on the trail enjoying a warmer than usual winter day in the sun on a beautiful mountain. Now, you can't beat a good hard ride with the boys but the lack of testosterone does make it a little more like nature hike then a bike race. This is by no means an insult to the ladies. And, I will let it be known that Beth has destroyed me on this trail before and on this day Shanna rode it on a rigid single speed and kicked ASS! No, the ladies had it going on and kept me working just hard enough to get the heartrate up but still enjoy the view. The ride up old 70 seemed easier than it has ever felt and the new pavement tricks you into believing your just strolling along on some greenway in the park. The hill is still there I just didn't seem to notice.. Kitsuma was is great shape and only a small amount of snow remained. It was a fun two hour jaunt and we topped it off with a post ride pint at Pisgah Headquarters.

On Saturday a crew and I made another trip to Big Ivy / Colman Boundary. Big views, steep descents and a good 8 or 9 miles of climbing was a nice way to spend a Saturday. We were treated to an "ice volcano" that was unlike any ice feature that I have ever seen and unfortunately I will have only memories as I forgot my camera (imagine a 10 ft mountain of ice eating a giant waterfall). The ice cold temps of last week turned the streams and waterfalls into flowing ice sculptures which was the inverse of the last time I rode these trails when the ground was covered in a few inches of snow (as in the blog header pic) and the falls were full of flowing water. Pisgah Bruce, Phil, Saver, C. Craig (sponsor of the heartbreaker), and the cool Colombian Ricardo made the trip and everyone survived a slow, wet and cold climb to the top then a slick Staire Creek decent.

Sunday it was off to the North Mills area for some fun trails with Park and one of the Kerber boys. It was a different kind of ride filled with a lot of thrills and only a few spills. Spending five hours hanging in Pisgah this particular Sunday left me feeling as though I had been to church, school and party all in one. Guess you could say it was a good ride.

enjoy your ride...


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Coming in from the cold...

Current Trail Conditions in Asheville - Cold and Fast. With the ground frozen over the riding pace has picked up. Three sweet rides over the past few days come to mind.

Paris Mountain. It was my first trip to Greenville and I was not disappointed. I called up Brad-o and let him know it was time to mix a little pleasure with the business we have been taking care of (more about this Bissness coming soon) a call was made to Big Jay and the ride was on. Denny Stevenson came along for the trip south and we hit the trails of Paris Mountain by riding out of Dennys friend’s backyard. The trails were rock hard and suppa fast. We hit all the high points for a good tour of P. Mountain and as we rode the trail brought back good memories of some the fast and more flowing trails back home in Nashville. It was also a reminder of how amazing it would be if Percy Warner were open to bikes. The trails in Percy Warner had much of the same qualities as the trail system in Paris Mountain but Percy Warner does not have a Big Jay. The SORBA guys got it going on and the ranger has been befriended and they are pulling of some kick ass events and making some sweet in-town riding available for the folks in G’town. I delivered a growler, Denney dropped off some wool, I ate an overly hyped tortilla soup and we were out.

Bent Creek. T Gaines and Eric made a quick trip to Asheville from Knoxville to mix it up for the day and I jumped on board for a sweet ride at b.c. We hit the outer loop of single track and didn't encounter any of the mud that was evidently there just a day or two before. Deep lines carved through the frozen tundra preserved the signs of those who came out and rode in conditions that should not have seen bike tires (come on people?) but on Saturday in 25 degree temps it was so fast! Eric C came out and ripped it on a cyclocross bike, Bruce and I rode single style, and Eric and T Gaines who had not be on trail bikes in a while let us drag them around on squishy bikes.

Pisgah. What can I say about Pisgah that hasn’t been said? The place is amazing and wherever you ride you are all but guaranteed an amazing experience but Monday surpassed my usual love for the place as snowflakes fell and beautiful lines where carved in to the mountain’s canvas on Laurel Mtn Trail. It was short but incredibly sweet as the snow was coming down fast and it was a day I will not soon forget. I hoped to wake up to a foot of snow the next day but and spend the day looking for good hills, plastic sledding devices, and drinking beer however Asheville saw very little of the white stuff as usual.

We didn’t get any snow but we did get a new president, which is actually A LOT better than a snow day. Good luck Obama, you’re going to need it as we are sitting in one crappy diaper right now that is in a desperate need of change. It was nice to see how fast Bush bailed on the scene and it was the first time I have felt good about our leadership in a long time, if ever. So Obama, please don’t fuck me on this one. It’s alright if he isn’t the miracle maker many hope him to be but come on, live up to half of what you say you want to achieve and I will be happy. He sure can inspire the masses and basically, I am hopeful with out being delusional.

I am not making any money at the moment and I saw my name on the ssws09 list today so this year can only get better and I have some good times to look forward. With a life focused on simplicity shouldn’t that be enough?

Cheers to 2009 everybody, hope you all get enough.

Jut Rut

Monday, January 12, 2009

Can't stop till I get enough... bikes and tacos in 09..

Well, in lieu of working a lot I have been putting in the miles and making the most of living in Asheville.

Wednesday. Wednesday if now offically "Fix it Wednesdays". Somewhere along the way of deciding it's time to get back in shape I tought it would be a good idea to do fixie sprints day at the mellowdrome in the rain. Good times, cold rain and I realized that I really need to work on my sprinting as I had nothing when I came to hammering HARD for more than 30 seconds. We will see how it goes after another few weeks of this. No tacos, yet.

Thursday. Thursday is now officially "Band Practice". A crew of us hit Heartbreak Ridge and rode into a 30 hour wind gusts and a snow storm around 3,000 ft then rode the last mile or two on snow and ice covered trails. Everyone made it down alive and we celebrated our victory at Pisgah Brewing Headquarters (the brewery) in style. Still no tacos but it's coming..

Friday. Christmas finally came. I ran in to Jeff at Industry Nine and he informed me that my wheels were ready. I was at I9 as fast as I could to pick up the new wheels then hit Biowheels for French Broad Fridays. Free pints were had and wheels were set up on the Maverick. I rode around town for a bit and could already tell a difference as I made it to the Crow's Nest for Taco and Tequila night in record time. Taco and Tequila party quickly turned into a dance party around midnight, records were spinning, a belt was taken off and you don't really want to know the rest. By 1:00 I was done and already planning for a good ride on Saturday.

Saturday. I was ready to get some dirt on the new suppa white rims. Rain clouds were looming over the Mills River area so the call was made to hit Big Ivy. After a good climb, Bear Pen and Stair Creek did not disappoint. And even after a night of Tacos and Tequila I felt faster on the climb then ever before. Took a few runs on the fun stuff then cruised down the babyhead rock, rolly stick decent with confidence. Headed home to more Tacos and the remaining Tecates in the fridge.

Sunday. The call was made for the second big group ride of 09 with the crew from the new years day ride and a few others. We decided on Turkey Pen as a starting point and decided to have fun and just do an out and back on Mullinax and Squirrel to the river. A strong group of Asheville's finest meant that everyone pushed the envelop and it worked for me as I cleaned more of the roots and rocks up to the top than ever before. The new wheels held there line and my legs just kept the wheels turning and before I knew it we were at the top and I had only dabbed about 4 times. Good ride to the river and back with post ride tacos at Papa's and Beer. Headed home for some serious lounging with one more round of late night nachos

Monday. A little business in the morning meant I could feel good about an afternoon ride. Once again I headed north and hit some of the most amazing trails I have yet to lay a tire on in Pisgah. A good 8 mile climb was rewarded by an amazing 4 mile descent and epic views from 5,000 ft. Good times indeed and yes there were more tacos when I returned home. Not a bad day considering it was the most depressing day of the year.
My life sucks.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Check is in the Mail...

It's on bitches.. color your's and get it in the mail. See you in Durango or at Fred's Well which ever comes first. sswc09 is going to something special. I know the Duango Crew and can't wait to see what they come up with.
Heartbreak Ridge in the snow awaits. I'm out..

Sunday, January 4, 2009

09 is off to a good start.

A wet and muddy Snake Creek Gap kicked of the 09 Race Season. Over 200 riders came out to take part in a race that is arguably one of the hardest 34 miles of single track that you will find to race in the southeast. The combination of time of year the race takes place (Jan, Feb, & Mar), the trail conditions you experience (snow, mud, cold temps), and the technical nature of the Pinhoti trail system make for a challenging experience.I have raced the SCG for the past two years and it is always a great and usually humbling experience. This one was no different and the mud and rain made you earn every mile. Feeling better than I usually do come Jan 3rd I had a great time and finished without feeling like I had been in a bar fight. A few of the SCG races have ended with a feeling that I would be happy to sell my bike and take up a new sport but this one has left me looking forward to a new year of mountain bike racing and going fast.

As for the rest of the crew.. The Pisgah Brew Crew came out in style and kicked some ass. Beth Roberts pulled off a third place (4:29) finish despite wanting to bag it at the half way point due to a drivetrain that required pedaling backwards for every few pedal strokes forward. Marshall threw down a 3:15 which put him in 4th place for the money class. Not bad for his first look at the trail.. Bruce and I rode in at 3:57 putting us in fourth place amongst the 30 people riding with one gear. Shanna Powell kicked some serious ass in the ss class in her first long single speed ride on a rigid bike no less.

I can't wait to do this one again. The new wheels are on the way and I expect to take at least 10 minutes off my time just by having some lighter and better wheels. Take away the mechanicals that added at least 5 minutes to my January time and there is 15 minutes that I stand to gain without the 2009 training plan that I am kicking off. Good times indeed and the SCG is starting to feel like a reunion of sorts with all the great people I get to see and ride with. Next time we will bring some Pisgah beer, step it up a level or two and stick around to raise some hell in Chattanooga post race.

See you on the trail..