Monday, April 22, 2013

Douthat State Park Too

I rode with Carter. Carter, the self acknowledged intermediate, represented himself pretty well, here at Douthat. We started with the east side and were treated to only slightly more moderate climbs than I rode the previous day. I was going to ride gears again, but Carter showed up on his Spot belt drive SS,

so I pull out the Lynskey SS and made the tires have my happy pressure and we were off. I could not let Carter enjoy more suffering than I. Evil Grin.

The first climb, while more moderate in general, still seemed to keep going forever. With some steep sections that were just a little too much, on day two and with one gear. I would stop and Carter would say "You don't have to stop on my account." I would have laughed if I wasn't still catching my breath as he made his way up to me. I normally do not stop for much, when I have my way or don't need photos, but On this day on this mountain, I was more that happy with all the stops for scenery and snacks.

The Rock over look
Tuscarora Overlook

Stony Run Water Fall

 The Garmin Stopped adding elevation about half way through.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Douthat State Park

Man, I thought Big South Fork Was Big! Douthat really kicked my butt. I definitely underestimated this Epic! Granted it was 87 degrees (mini heatwave for April) and I attempted to follow the Mid Mountain Mama XXC race course, which does go outside the park. I can't remember the last time I used my granny gear, let alone so much. I was using it 40 minutes into my first climb (Stony Run) and quite a few times after that! I did use Stony Run for Threshold training and probably burned up too many matches, I got a 3rd out of 40 on Strava, so in a way it was worth it. I got almost 30 minutes of threshold in before I began to to sputter. It was the most so far this year and all in one chunk, not two or three intervals. I paid for it later though, boy did I pay! But the DH's were equally long and sometimes brutal and treacherous. I had to awkwardly negotiate more than a few tight switchbacks with steep consequences!

There were orange arrows on the ground, that I believe are for that race. It crosses itself and runs along the Middle Mountain ridge twice (best I can tell) I was toast well before this, so I dropped down Blue Suck Falls Trail. I rested there for a bit.
Tammy met me at the beach, with food and beachwear, so I could nap and refuel in the sun.

Check out the local IMBA club at 

They have a link to this map (Became a 404) Try
I got in touch with Carter Shumaker for the next day's ride, through their Facebook page
More on that later...

Monday, April 8, 2013

Big South Fork NP Gears John Muir and Grand Loop in reverse

I was Feeling good this day, despite 12 hours of riding this past week. This ride makes 155 miles of dirt in a week. Sweet. No spectactular interval numbers, but a pretty good average power for the duration. Gears definitely provided more Pedaltunities going reverse on John Muir. I found some Tifosi glasses in one of the caves. They were probably too dark for the shadows, prompting there removal. I left them with the visitors center's lost and found. I hope the Karma will help me find the pair I misplaced. No sightseeing this time. I just wanted to feel the flow of the trails. I am glad we are splitting the trek to Douthat in two. Eight hours of driving the bus can be rough, even when I am well rested.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Big South Fork NP SS John Muir and Grand Loop in reverse

Saturday I was going to do the part of Collier Ridge I have been skipping.  After I realized it was one way I just did the whole loop, both up and down and just took the fire road up to the start of the West Bandy trail. This added 3 or 4 miles, so I just about had an endurance day, HA!. Like 36 plus is short. But after 72 miles in two days, almost 48 hours off the bike, the sun smiled on me as we drove the switchbacks to the overlook on the Eastern Rim. I dusted off the road bike and took the 10 and 15 minute hills that came out of the river valley. That was late Friday. So endurance pace felt just fine, Saturday morning! Single Speed today, saving gears for Sunday's ride, in case I am tired. I rode John Muir and the Grand Loop in reverse. Funny how it did not seem up hill to the north trail head, but it sure seemed more down hill on John Muir than the opposite direction. This was fine, but if I was looking for more Pedaltunities I would go the from the Grand Loop up. The trail flowed, in some ways better in this direction, but there were a couple more places that I had to dab or take a few steps off the bike. I spent some time at the overlooks. There are so many that you could really make a day of it if you hit them all.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Big South Fork on Single Speed

Oak Mountain Video

I am giving up on Picasa as a video editor and I could not make hide nor hare of the software that came with the Go Pro. Nick probably told me about Microsoft Movie Maker, but I forgot until I it came up my second Google search. My first came up with AVS from But it is only free if you want their logo smack in the middle of the video. To small to read, but big enough to be anoying. Here is the first one form Movie Maker:

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Big South Fork Kwik Stats

BIG! It's in the name and it describes the trails. BSF is the only IMBA Epic in a National Park. While there was some two way on a fire Road, all 37 miles were on dirt. I just happened to run into Jim Cross from Big South Fork Bike Club ( as he and a buddy where finishing up. I mentioned that I was happy that I finally got some climbing, more tech riding and natural trails in at Oak Mountain. After negotiating the numerous switchbacks in the motor home, with car in tow, just to get to camp, I expected a ton of climbing. Joe said that there was not that much climbing and nothing really technical. He definitely under sold it, to my delight! Even though very few of the hills broke the 3 minute mark (only important if you are looking for intervals), I still broke the 100 feet per mile! Right up there with Oak Mountain.
He also said it was natural or old Army Corps of Engineers and that was on the money. I seem to prefer more natural trails.
There is is plenty of tech, spread out over the trail system, just the way I like it. I think what others call tech I call stunts. Built drop offs, machine built jumps and skinnys are what I call stunts. A technical section can consist of log hops, rock gardens, roots, some smaller natural or massaged drops even.
There is a fair amount of gravel fire roads. I love single track, maybe it is because I have been riding for decades that I enjoy a good fire road as well. Now I would not want a steady diet of flat straight fire roads, BORING! The fire roads as BSF are anything but! Barely a hundred yards of straight or flat. These fire roads are so fast and twisty, it just feels like big single track. I raced a Toyota pickup home. the speed limit is 15 mph. The Toyota could climb that fast sometimes, but had to descend much slower. I would descend much faster, but climb slower.
There is a good steady of diet of cliff exposure on both the Grand Loop and the John Muir trails. Both are open to hiking. I saw neither. I did not even see any wild life, not even a squirrel! First time that has happened since we left NJ. There are so many over looks and geological features, I did not have time to stop and take pictures of them all.