Monday, March 30, 2009

Assault On The Carolinas

Rain. Not good. I had been watching the weather forecast all week for Brevard and it was not looking too good. Forecast was for 70% or greater for rain. I figured that I would go ahead and do the ride in the rain, because if it happens to be raining for AoMM, I will have no choice but to ride since my car will be in Marion and I in Spartanburg.

I head out from my friends place in Cullowhee around 7am and get to Brevard around 8am. Plenty enough time to get stuff ready and ride for a little while. The roads were wet at the start and it was not raining...give it 30min and the light rain began. Light rain at times with heavier stuff in between. I really didn't mind being wet - I felt good on the bike and was looking forward to Ceasar's Head. But...all the wet/rain must have washed the lube off of my chain. There was a clunking noise every time i went lower than the 16 or 17 tooth cog. OMG. I could not deal with that - it was making the ride very un-enjoyable. Finally reached the point where the 100k went left and the 60k went right. I was still very much wanting to do the 100k, so I headed that way. For about 2 miles. Damn clunking. I ended up turning around and finishing the ride on the 60k route.

When I eventually got back to the car, I started getting out of those soaked wet clothes. Boy, was I dirty! Grit & grime all over the back of my bibs/jersey, the bike was a mess, the saddle bag was covered in road grime. I changed and headed on back to Cullowhee. Once back there, a nice, long hot shower had me feeling much better! Had some leftovers for lunch and then back outside to clean the bike. I got it washed up and de-gritted and brought it inside to get it good and dry. The next morning, I got the chain all lubed up and met some friends at the LBS in Sylva for a 40+ mile "flat-ish" ride. No problems with the chain or clunking.

Ended up with only 82 miles for the weekend and maybe 4000' of climbing, but I'm not positive on the climbing. I've been gone 3 out of the 4 weekends in the month of March and have put over 2100 miles on the car since 3/5/09! Time for another oil change! And, as much as I really do love the area of Jackson/Macon/etc counties and I love riding up there...I'm so tired of driving. I'm not "scheduled" for another trip west until the Burnsville Metric on 4/25 and Tour de Cashiers on 5/2 and don't have any plans to head that way until then.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Pigeon Loop, 3/22

**Posting by my friend Andy on a forum both of us frequent.***
So today we decided to head up the mountains to start the Pigeon Loop at 5400'. The weather was comfortably cool and I was at times overdressed but we also had some descending to do and I just didn't want to be cold. By the time we had dropped down to 2700' at the store stop, we all shed some layers. By the end of the ride though the arm warmers were pulled back up. We finished the ride back at the car in brilliant sunshine and temps in the mid 50s. The March sun made all the difference. In the valley though it was certainly in the 60s, just really nice riding temps.

The ride today, jschen might remember from one of his visits, was 45.4 miles and 3900' of climbing. Most of the elevation gain comes in one long 16 mile climb from the valley back to the car. We found some traffic when church let out and the rush was on for them to get home in time for the NASCAR race. LOL Most of the ride was very low traffic though and we rode mostly side-by-side as we climbed

So my week (Andy's) ended up with 165 miles and nearly 15k' of climbing. Not a bad way to bump up the volume from my slack low winter levels.

WP loves the BRP

It still looks like winter at 5500'.

We took in the views as we rode

Down in the valley the fields are greening up

The West Fork enters the lake at the bridge crossing.

The lake on the other side of the bridge.

It's a long steady climb with only three steep short pitches of 9-10%.

A couple tourists at a waterfall on the West Fork.

Neal at the water stop by the waterfall

Neal leads a 9% section

Nearing the top

Another waterfall along the way.

Karen can smell the barn not far up the road.

wow. another great day for riding! yesterday, i was cold and today, i had the proper clothing on. not cold at all. those 2 guys were complaining about being overdressed - i was dressed just right. knees & boobies were happy.

i riding up there! and, again, what a difference a year makes. i felt great today, i didn't start too fast, rode by how i felt rather than watching the power since my PT hub died yesterday and i forgot to charge the garmin. i had a really good ride today. these guys are great to ride with!

my pics from today:

no, i'm not THAT short! i just happened to be standing in hole!

we're headed down to that road, hwy 276:

NealH & then Andy

down in the valley

the guys at Lake Logan

bikes at the waterfall

climbing from the waterfall

the guys heading up that 9% section and then looking back

3/21 Valley Ride, Franklin NC

***Posting by my friend Andy on a forum we both frequent***
So today a request came in from one of the two riders joining me on the ride to have a less stressful ride than the one we did a couple weeks ago. So I chose the Franklin Valley but of course nothing is flat around here. We had a great day which started near 50ยบ and ended in the low 60s. The ride ended up at 48 miles and somewhere well over 4500' of climbing. I'll let Wolfpack fill in the details.

Neal rides in the valley rimmed by mountains.

Karen tried to put a hurtin' on us old guys.

The cows were out in the pastures on this fine day.

Someone looks like she's suffering as we approach the Skeena climb

Spring is popping everywhere now

On the way to the Allison Watts climb. STEEP!

Thank you NCDOT for the rumble strips of death.

Karen begins the Winding Stairs descent, fast and breezy

Another nice day riding very low traveled roads here in WNC.

great ride today! i thought it was a bit chilly and was pretty cold for the first hour or so - but the guys said they were quite comfortable. right. my knees and boobies were dang cold! no knee warmers, no vest, no base layer.

me? put a hurtin' on you guys? uh huh. sure. i think it's always the other way around.
and, this is the 3rd time i've ridden Skeena since last july and my time has dropped from 10:30min down to 7:40min. i would never have been able to do this ride we did today last year....i've come a long way bay-buh!

Allison Watts?? we approached it, i asked Andy if we were going up THAT??? yes. omg - can you say steep?? 18% max grade. holy cow that was hard but i made it up it without unclipping/walking. the next and last climb was Standing Indian. felt pretty good for the first 30min, then the PT died and i was worn out from going a bit too fast for that time. gotta learn to Start Slow to Finish Fast.

profile for today's route

ok, here's my pics. i didn't take too many today.

Allison Watts in the background. Doesn't really look that steep from this shot, but trust me, it is.

starting the Standing Indian Climb

Riding With Grandma

The day after my daughter had her baby, I went up to WNC to get in a short ride with Andy and then mad plans to come back up for the weekend. These pics are from Wednesday and Friday.

This is ripped from a forum that I frequent---I(Andy) rode with Wolfpack(Karen) the day after she became a granny and then again today as she came back up for some hill training for the Assault on Mt Mitchell. We rode up the BRP today on a short late afternoon ride to get a look at the mountain that will challenge her in May. We saw a couple cars that's all so we mostly had the road to ourselves again.

LOL. She had to try my Parlee even though it is about 10 sizes too big for her.