Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Blue Bird Sky on an Early Spring Day

 Temps just above freezing.  Fingers feeling it.  Breathing heavy,  soaking in the cold clear mountain air.  Spring is springing in town but not up here in Pisgah..  The cold duff almost screams for some warm sunshine.  The seeds and buds wait in anticipation to break through last fall's leaf cover. 

The cold mountain stream rushes, feeding the roots that reach out.

The air is still and the sky clear and bright blue.  I had the woods to myself,  peaceful, quiet.  Climbing up and gliding down the trails.  Relax, breathe, think. Breathe, relax.
 Places to go, people to see,  but not right now,  one more trail,  one more climb,   just to stay a little longer.  Avoidance?  Perhaps,  more like making the most of the moment, where I am here and now.  Not allowing the experience to slip away without milking it.  This is what I came for,  no need to rush away. 
And then I was back in the lot, loading up and heading back to civilization......

Monday, March 24, 2014

Fun Weekend

 Another fun weekend came and went.  I headed out to Bent Creek on Saturday and climbed up to Bent Creek Gap for the first time in a long time.  I had changed out the 21 tooth rear cog to a 22, and it made a huge difference.  I can push the 21 but for a long ride it might do some damage. 

I ended up doing a "big" 16 mile loop around the lake, Explore Loop Ext, Sidehill, Hickory, Ingles F, back to the lot. 

I'm getting used to the feel of the big wheels and realized that for a long time, my body weight has been a hair too far forward on descents.   By leaning back a little more, the bike absorbs rocks and roots a lot better and I feel like I can let go a little more.  Always something to learn!
Last week I was slammed with getting bike clubs and ride up and rolling.  Definitely a busy time of year, a good change to all the logistics and planning I have been doing.  This is why I do this, to ride with kids! 

Now with a winter storm rolling in, it will be a few days until I ride again.   That is spring in the mountains!


Friday, March 21, 2014

It begins, again

The Thursday night Liberty Road Ride started up again last night. 

We rolled out with an A and B group forming on the climb past Biltmore baptist.  I stayed back in the B group hoping for some smooth steady paceline action.   Several of the riders were a little rusty and needed some coaching but we managed to roll through several times.  I focused on staying smooth and not killing myself. 

The air was almost warm but with a strong wind, the temps felt pretty chilly.  Somehow, I had layered perfectly and was comfortable for the whole ride. 

I was wondering if the 1- 1.5 hr single speed  MTB rides had been doing anything for me.  While the legs quivered and  burned occasionally,  I felt surprisingly good. 

As I type this I'm not feeling as badly as I have in the past.  I guess I'll keep riding single speed MTB for a while! 

Towards the end of the ride, my SRAM front derailleur did something weird, jamming the chain and leaving me almost unable to shift into the big ring.  That was slightly frustrating, but that's the way it goes.  I'll be stopping by Liberty Bikes and letting them work on it.  I tried and it didn't work out for me. 

This year I have less aspirations other than ride my bike.  Let in the year when I am stronger, I'll probably try to hang with the A's periodically,  but will most likely be riding in the B group.   And if I'm not feeling that.... might drop off the back and spin around the countryside alone!   I burned myself out last year and don't want that to happen again!

Looking forward to next week. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I Belong Here

" I belong here",  a phrase that has entered my mind quite a bit over the past couple of months.  It is a comforting thought.  It usually pops in my head under stressful situations. 

It started early winter when I was trail running at night.  Trying to overcome that fear, (which was a successful venture),  reminding myself that I was created to enjoy the creation around me.  Reminding me, that I was created to be who I am at that moment in time.  To fulfill my goals at that moment in time.  Fear of what others might think or other's fears should not hold me back. 

I belong here, when I'm feeling discouraged,
I belong here, when I'm feeling rejected
I belong here, when I'm not fast enough, cool enough, hip enough, cute enough...... enough is enough.

It is something I have struggled with since....well, since I can remember.  And I'm sure we all have and still do.  That fear of rejection, is what sometimes drives us. 

But,  what if we belonged here?  Our perspective would change and we would still be driven to our goals,  but fueled by passion, rather than fear. 

I belong here, and so do you!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Weekend Ridin'

 Friday I got out for a quick loop in Bent Creek,  almost warm but not quite.  Did I mention it is nice not to be following a training plan at this point in the year? 

Saturday I met with Pete who was taking some beginners for a loop in Bent Creek.  I love being with people who love introducing people to the love of mtn biking.  Lots of love! 

Fun times ripping it up, riding with a nurse, a banker, a family who recently moved here from France.....  good stuff.

Sunday, cold and rainy, but I didn't want to be couped up inside all day.  I grabbed the ss cx and headed out again, to Bent Creek.  It was cold, I was cold, then I was cold and wet.  As David Noletti said, it was still better than rollers.  I agree, but next time I probably just won't ride. 

This week is go time for Trips For Kids WNC,  4 different bike clubs starting up!  And meetings, and The Bicycle Thrift Shop.... and another major step in the renovation project. 

I'm gonna need a sabbatical,  how do I apply for one?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Cove Creek

 I finally had the opportunity to head out into the woods for an over nighter.  I headed out around 2pm.  With temps in the 60's and a forecast low in the 30's, I packed my heavier sleeping bag and decided to give my E-bivy a try.

My destination was Cove Creek campground where Pisgah Productions was holding the race formerly known as "The Most Horrible Thing Ever".

I headed south on the Parkway taking my time and enjoying the sunshine and fresh air.  I had been in a funk lately, and I needed a break.  I climbed up the pavement and turned onto Wash Creek rd. where the forest service gate was closed.  Stopping to chat with a guy on a cx bike who had just climbed up from N Mills River.  With the logging project going on, I was not sure if the road was open all the way through so I asked him.  He told me that it was closed to motor vehicles (obviously) but open to bike.  Well, I was on a bike so that worked out well.

 I stopped at N Mills River Campground to refill my water, but half of the campground was closed and the water was not working.  I found out the next day on the way back that there is a new spigot hidden farther back.  Good to know. 

I was pleased to find that the gate for Yellow Gap Rd/ FS1206 was also closed.  No motor vehicles.  I passed a couple of hikers and cyclists, but after a couple of miles, it was just me.  Hardly anything stirring, the warm sun heading towards the horizon,  the bare trees standing tall.  Creeks singing out, and the slight whisper of a breeze in the tree tops.
 About 2.5 hrs into the ride, I realized that this would be the longest ride I have done this year.  After only being back on the bike for just over a month, I started wondering if I had taken on too big of a challenge too soon.  I ate and drank, and kept pedaling.  Not really worried about getting there,  knowing that a slow steady pace would be the ticket.

I was thinking about taking South Mills River and heading up to Buckhorn Gap then down Clawhammer, but after realizing where I was physically, I started thinking about riding down Cove Creek trail instead.

I made my way to the end of 1206, down 276 then onto the gravel again.   When I got to the right turn at the road that would take me to Cove Creek Trailhead, it was gated with a big "Road Closed: Unsafe Travel"  sign.  Unsure about conditions, and not wanting to be bushwhacking through fallen trees late at night, I continued on winding around Looking Glass and down to the Fish Hatchery.

Darkness fell as I rolled down Davidson River Trail.  I was tired and happy to be near my destination.
I pedaled into camp to be greeted by Erinna and Eric.  It was around 7:30pm.  I changed, made some dinner and then spent the next hours until midnite, chatting around the fire and greeting racers as they came and went.  
I crawled into my sleeping bag and slept well.  Waking up occasionally to the sounds of a racer warming up by the fire,  gazing at the stars, slightly cold. 

I laid there, changed the time on my watch and got up, packed and rolling by 7:30am.   I decided to head back the exact way that I had come.  The first hour, I was miserable.  At one point, I had to stop, take my gloves off and rub them together,  my fingertips were hurting bad enough I was concerned about frost nip. 

I made it to 276 and ran into this guy,  training for a cross country ride.  It was one of those "right place, right time" meeting that had to be more than chance.  We chatted for a bit, and I rolled on,  smiling.
The rest of the ride was mostly uneventful,  never quite warming up,  but the sun was out so I was happy.  1 mile from home with one minor climb left,  although it felt major,  I bonked.  I had been eating lots, but it was around noon and my body wanted something more solid.  I quickly ate a granola bar, drank some water and made it up and over the hill. 

Turning into my neighborhood, felt great.

I greeted the family, took a shower, ate some food and hit the couch for a cat nap. 

Another trip in the bag!!

Thursday, March 06, 2014


I'm taking a different approach to training this year, at least for now,  and I'm loving it.  No intervals, no workouts.  The only goal is to go out and enjoy myself.  So far so good. 

In case you haven't heard:

Click here to enter for your chance to win a Cane Creek 110 headset and an Industry 9 wheelset of choice.


Click here to show your support for Trips For Kids WNC and fly our colors wherever you ride this year.

That's all I've got.  I need to go on an adventure so I have something interesting to write about! 

Have a great day.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Fun vs Fun

Last night the low temps were forecast in the mid 40's.   It was go time.  I've been cooped up inside for the winter and have not slept outside since last summer. 

I rallied some friends to go with me, but with the chance of rain in the early morning,  they wisely canceled.  So, it was left to me to get the job done.  In between taking the kid for a ride at Bent Creek and taking the family to the Lego movie,  I got my bike prepped and my gear packed.

I waited until after dinner to roll out, maximizing family time.  As the sun set, I headed up the road, and as darkness fell, I was on the Parkway heading towards a preplanned nook in Pisgah. 

As I rode, I enjoyed the warmth in the air and looked forward to what this year has to offer. 

Then I started having second thoughts.  I started going through the mental check list of why I was feeling the way I was.  Feeling like turning around and heading home.  Unable to figure it out, I compared laying out in the woods alone, by myself, all night,  to tucking my family in, kissing them goodnight, being there when they wake up,  getting the kid to school etc.   

After comparing the two, I realized that I don't enjoy both equally.  I then remembered that I am supposed to be having fun.  And I was having fun, but I knew that around 3am,  when I was wet and cold,  I would be having a whole lot less fun.   I realized that being with the family was going to be the most fun.

I turned my rig around without regret and slowly spun my way back home.  I figured that I should enjoy my time out there since I was there.

I got back home and explained to the family why I was back.  It made sense to them and although they didn't say it,  I think it made them feel really special.