Wednesday, December 31, 2008

pisgah - day 2

Robb had to work so his friend Ed and I went out and rode 'Laurel Mountain' for a few hours. It was cold but we kept on trudging along and had a great ride. Classic east coast technical singletrack. Pisgah rocks!

Ignore the blue markings. That was from a previous ride of Robbs which we did not do today..

Parked at the bottom and rode up a 30min fire road climb (red). Nice mellow climb and we gracefully eased into our ride.

almost near the base of Laurel Mountain trail..

Right turn onto the Laurel Mtn Trail and climbed. climbed and climbed (green). The wind was howling up ontop of the gaps. Temps dropped and were in the upper 30s and lower 40s. We'd climb a bit and then shoot left across a short ridgeline. Then shoot further left around the next peak. The insane wind was coming out of the north so most of the climb was shielded seeing as we were come up from the south side.

Partway up Laurel Mountain Trail.

We just rode through an awesome 'tunnel' of mountain laurel. I was having too much fun enjoying the singletrack to slow down and find my camera from under my vest and snap some photos. I heard its absolutely beautiful in the springtime when the rhododendron and mountain laurel are in bloom.

Top of Laurel Mountain Trail

At the top we made a left onto the Pilot Rock trail (pink). Down.. down.. down

Went back to tubeless today. No tubes. I was so happy for at the top of Pilot Rock I aired down to around 20psi from 30psi. That extra 'shock absorption' was a godsend with the very technical descent.

Getting ready to head down the very technical Pilot Rock trail


Somewhere near the top of Pilot Rock trail

The rigid fork was killing my wrists. I jacked my left wrist so most of the downhill was fought with shearing pain up my left forearm. It was so cold that both Ed and I couldn't really feel our fingers. Guess that is what I get for wearing summer gloves in the 'winter'.

At the bottom we shot left back onto forest service road 1206. It was fairly cold in the valley coming back up 1206. We had a short climb back to the base of Laurel Mountain trail and then a long, cold, descent back to the car.

Happy New Year! Had a great dinner at The Admiral. Tomorrow we're going out for another ride. Sa-weet!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

pisgah - day 1

Drove down to Asheville NC from my parent's house up in the mountains (halfway from Asheville to Boone up off the Blue Ridge Parkway). Found Robb's house alright. Made our way to The Admiral for dinner and then over to his friend Ed's house to assemble the Dieringer 2.0 for today's ride.

After a nice breakfast we made our way back to Ed's and the three of us ventured south to do the Fish Hatchery Loop in southern portion of Pisgah National Forest.

Here are details from Robb's GPS and my photoshopping fun with google maps:

counter-clockwise loop

zoom out is here

total elevation gain: 3,894ft
total distance traveled: 17.5miles
ride time: around 3hrs
lost bottles: 1 (until I backtracked and found it)
gearing: 32x21
flat tires: 1 front and a broken valve core after pumping up the new tube (but it held air). I'm going back to Stan's tubeless. Every time I ride with tubes I flat.

First climb was long fire road (475). I felt okay but my left knee definitely did not like the intensity right off the bat (read: tendinitis). Was liking the 32x21 gear ratio though. Snapped a video of 'Greg'.

'Greg' on the inaugural ride for the newly 'modified' frame...

Robb's frame was sent back in early Dec for some 'tweaks'. Somehow the lines of communication broke down during paint and the frame arrived on Robb's doorstep for some guy named 'Greg'.

It appears that 'Greg' is Robb's alter-ego. Someone say Hot Pockets? Greg is a Pre-Madonna. Greg likes to stick to his trainer's regime and only rock his Assos and Rafe clothing. Greg likes to ride his singlespeed with a PowerTap to make sure he's hitting his targeted power levels while on a group ride. In other words, you'll be ahead of Greg in all the races you enter where he has entered this year.

Back to the ride.... Upon summiting we took 225 to Caney Bottoms and went along an awesome descent to the Cove Creek campground. I lost a bottle so I turned around and rode back up the descent and found my bottle up near the top (of course).

Ed waiting for me while I was looking for my lost water bottle.

Leaving Cove Creek campground we headed up some pretty steep singletrack to Daniel's Ridge. From Daniel's Ridge we dropped back down onto 475. That descent was awesome. Very rocky and followed a river with some beautiful views. I rode slow to take the views all in.

up close and personal

Robb trying to live up to Dicky's stardom.

After bunny-hopping this gap [not] we decided for a photo op. Yes, I was boiling in full garb for cold weather but riding in 60degF temps. I haven't ridden in temps like this for a few months. Felt like wanting to pull over and shave the beard on a few of the climbs.

My space-cadet moment came when Robb asked me if I can shed any more layers and I said no since I already shed my first layer t-shirt. Little did I realize I could have taken my knee-warmers off. Doh!

From 475 we climbed up to Long Branch and rode some awesome singletrack that meandered through some lush Rhododendron patches and eventually put us out at the Fish Hatchery parking lot. Somewhere along this singletrack I flatted my front tire.

"I should have run Stan's"

"I should have used CO2."
I found a way to snap the valve core off my new tube when pumping it up with my hand pump. It held air so I finished the ride like this.

Tomorrow we go out for another ride. This is fun!

Monday, December 29, 2008

mt mitchell

I wanted to keep on riding south on the Blue Ridge Parkway Christmas Day but knew I had to turn around to get back to the house in a reasonable amount of time (3-4hrs). Mainly because I was running out of light. Well, on the 27th I drove down to where I had to turn around (around milepost 347) and kept on riding south from there. Turned out to be a day chock full of climbing. Over 3,000 vertical feet. I rode about 2.5hrs uphill (mostly standing up thanks to my 40x20 gear ratio) and about 45mins descending.

Wound up climbing to the summit of Mt Mitchell. Now I have ridden to the summit of both the tallest mountains on the east coast: Mt. Mitchell and Mount Washington in 2005.

Great day despite the fog and humidity and wind up on Mt Mitchell. Felt great riding so I'm stoked.

When the weather is nice you can see the summit from here...

and on up the mountain....

Weather is clearing as we keep going up..

Hot Water Music was playing

Made it! 6684ft above sea level.

The road I just climbed..

And then the ride back down to find my car...

north carolina for the holidays

Finally left home for a while to enjoy 'the holidays'. I also got over whatever cold I caught whilst flying back from Puerto Rico.

The whole family got together for Christmas at my parent's house in the mountains of North Carolina. I got out on my bike Christmas Day for a ride down the Blue Ridge Parkway. I left the house and rode up the 0.5mile (uphill) driveway out to the Blue Ridge Pkwy around mile marker 330. Then headed south for about an hour and a half down to around mile marker 347. Turned around and came home. Got in 3-3.5hrs and did around 40miles or so (I think). A very small portion of the entire 469miles the Pkwy spans.

The utilitarian in me brought my singlespeed with two sets of tires (mtb and cyclocross) and various gear ratios. This allowed me to ride the roads (pkwy) with the cyclocross tires and a 40x20 gear ratio.

Temps were in the upper 50s and sunny. Much different than a snowy Connecticut and much needed. First time on the bike since Thanksgiving weekend. I was SO glad to be riding again. Work got so insane that I didn't have any time to ride since Thanksgiving.

Got some elevation today. Started around 2800-3000ft.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Why is it that I can not take an airplane from one destination to another without getting sick now-a-days? This is now the second time this year where I have caught some kind of head cold. Woke up yesterday feeling bad and woke up this morning even worse. Head congestion and a sore throat. Tons of hot tea and orange juice later I can finally start my day.

Baghh! I'm on 'vacation' and all I can do is sit around and watch movies in hopes to actually get some rest. Damn, this is so hard given we have over a foot of snow outside. I tried to go up to Vermont this morning to go snowboarding but could not get up and moving knowing I feel horrible and its below 20F up there. Once my day started I figured I could take Omega out snowshoeing but I don't want to go outside. Been mindlessly reading stuff on the internerd all day. I also have to pack for holidays in North Carolina. Might as well go downstairs and find my singlespeed and get 'her packed up....

Friday, December 19, 2008

sleep deprived

The only thing I remember about Puerto Rico is the excellent coffee, a computer screen, green cubicle walls and booking the wrong flights. I worked 20+hrs a day for six days straight. It was so tiresome and I got no time to sleep and enjoy myself. Its even peak surf season too and I didn't even get to go out in the water. Damn.

The only 'chill time' was breakfast. Breakfast entailed this:

Don't forget to vote

All in all, it was alright. I got to do a lot of mentoring and had some people working under me. Met some very nice people and arranged time to go surfing when I return. I also did three months of work in six days. Pretty much pulled off the impossible for this one task at work. Stuff I have never done before. Now I just have to find a way to get back down there in January.

Of course, I come home to this (about a foot of snow in an afternoon):

Looks like I am not getting out on the trail around here anytime soon. Rob, don't stay in Pittsburgh too long so we can ride Pisgah while I am down there.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Not much has been going on to the point where its worth explaining. Got super busy at work preparing for a review that I had today so no bike riding the past two weeks :(

My Audi wagon is back and making some crazy power (400+chp out of a small 2.0L motor).

I was asked earlier tonight to help out with another task at work. That means I'm flying to Puerto Rico tomorrow for a week. Got a lot to do down there but hoping to get some time on the beach and hopefully have my friend down there teach me how to surf. Back next week and then a day in the office and then I'm done with work for the year! Sweet. I'll be able to ride my bike again.