Showing posts sorted by relevance for query pisgah. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query pisgah. Sort by date Show all posts

Friday, September 11, 2015

Daniel Ridge/Cove Creek

In last few weeks, I found two of my favorite rides in Pisgah, near Brevard NC and mad it to Bent Creek near Ashville.  Here is the one.

If you want a pretty technical climb and a boat load of single track on the flip side, I think I've got it for ya!

The Daniel Ridge/Cove Creek combination is pretty killer.  You can park at the Fish hatchery on 475 off of 276 north of town of Pisgah Forest, which is next door to Brevard. NC.  Ride out of the the Hatchery and turn left on 475 and in a few the Davidson River trail will keep you off the road and get you a taste of easy single track to get you warmed up for the 1500 feet of climbing to come.  Take a left back on 475, just before it turns to gravel for a short while before the Daniel Ridge Parking lot.  Cross the Bridge and stay left when Daniel ridge splits.  You will gain some elevation as this trail slants gradually upwards, with just a few tricky spots.  That is, until it turns abruptly right and up, where the bridge use to cross the creek.  This is where the fun begins.  Very technical and some hike a bike will be required my most folks, enjoy the cascading creek to your left when forced off your bike or taking a break.  Continue right where Farlow gap comes in from the get to descend a bit as the trail rolls, instead of going straight up, like before.  But it is still plenty technical.  Watch for a trail that comes in from the left after a period where the trail levels off before the descent of Danile ridge starts.  That left will take you to Cove Creek rd, take a right there.  This rolling mostly DH single track becomes a Forest Service rd.  Watch for the Cove Creek Trail head to come up on the right.  While manly DH, it does roll up and down on it's way back down to 475.  Fast and flowy, with banked turns and new bridges (as of this writing) as well as some gravel filled mud holes, that rode nicer that the hike over them the day before suggested.  A few techy parts and off camber roots here and there that can get sketchy at speed.  Shorty after the fastest section you will see the camp ground on the left.   Turn left after you cross the creek, there is a sign but you come up on it quick, just when you have to navigate over a few log steps, up out of the creek.  Take a right on the FS road.  The creek crossing can be deep, so take the bridge to the left, just as you see the creek.  Take a left on 475, and take the Davidson River trail back the way you  came in to 475 back to the Hatchery.

1500 feet of climbing and less than 14 miles and 2 hours (for me).

I kind of gave up looking for that perfect 3ish hour ride, in this part of Pisgah.  Anytime I tried, ended up being 5 or better hours, with either way to much gravel or some ridiculous hike a bike or death march.  I like nibbling on Pisgah, cause when ever I try to take a mouthful, I always end up


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Pisgah Kicked My @$$ Again

Turkey Pen Gap was was much better in the DH direction.  See WTF I Need a Beer or 4 for details!  There still was plenty of hike a bike up Black Mounrtain from Claw Hammer Road.  Some on TPG itself and Cantrell (Can't Tell If if is a creak or a trail) Creak had a fair amount of Hike a bike as well, particularly with the 34X19t.  Funny it did not seem so steep on the way down, just the other day.  Squirrel Gap was pretty fun, but I was shot by then, but could still turn over that big gear, more like a slog.  Even the gradual South Mills River and Buck horn trails back to Claw hammer would probably have been more pleasant on a lower gear, though.  Broke a chain early and stopped to borrow a tube and pump to a guy from Indiana that left his in the car.  "Don't leave home with out your gear" goes double for Pisgah.  I carry two tubes a big air, a pump, plugs and boot material, chain links, tool w/chain breaker, Leatherman, Hanger fixer for when I have gears etc. 

Overlook on The Black Mountain trail

Waterfalls on the South Mills River trail

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Bike Farm Pisgah

I meet some very interesting folks a the weekly ride is led by the tour company "The Bike Farm Pisgah", I know, the name, does not exactly fall off the the tongue. I needed co-owner Cashion's business card to remember it, but I am a bit dyslexic. Although, the tagline is more memorable; " Cultivating good times from the dirt up"  Look them up on the  Web and on Facebook. If you want to get some history on them, read Eva Surls and Cashion Smith's original Blog.

I found out about the weekly Wednesday night ride after a stop at The Hub bicycle shop in Brevard, North Carolina. The ride rolls from from Oskar Blues Brewery at 6 pm. You will need lights this time of year. I pulled out the black tape to help shim one young riders Night rider to his 25.4 handlebars. The first couple miles on the paved bike path would usually serve as a warm  up, but a gusty cold front was pushing through. It was nice to get into the woods. Cashion pulled a light for a rider without one. After the set up we got going down the gravel that slowly became more and more flowy.

This is a more casual, no drop ride. This night we had a dozen or more riders. Some had been out for a few hours already. We went up Grassy and down Sycamore. Eva said that this ride was a little shorter than the usual couple hours, due to that. We finished up at the brewery. I would have joined the others for a pint, but since going gluten free, I have not had a beer. I thought it best not to tempt myself.

 For best results play at the highest quality, 1080 preferably. The second video, in the playlist, is my first time filming in the dark,so I got just a little usable video. Go to the bottom for the night ride on Vimeo. Seems like they do HD with less fuss.
TheBikeFarmPisgahOdarkOclockb from MTB Epic Rides on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Cohutta Prep

So on February 11th, I get a phone call from my good friend Tom Kruse, Spelled with a "K" not that other guy.  He is taking on the National Ultra Endurance Series this year.  His first one will be Cohutta, which just happens to be only three hours away from Brevard.  Does this sound familiar?  Well the same thing happened for Tatanka.  You guessed it; he asked me to consider doing Cohutta on April 25th, just a scant 11 weeks out.  I had hardly been on a bike since early December and my first MTB ride since November was just February 1st.  It was my first single speed ride since October.

I know, sounds like every racer on the start line right?

Single Speed is my favorite way to ride, but I went down pretty hard on my left shoulder back in early September.  It has taken several months to get it to 95% and I was not willing to risk most of Pisgah on a SS.  Up until early December, I was doing a ton of endurance work exploring the forest service roads and back country single track of Pisgah on my geared bike.  Still pretty harsh on a rigid, but I was learning the area and it was pretty cool.  And then...

With all that, I was pretty sure Cohutta was a non-starter.  I had already planned to refocus on my kettle belling and hikes with Tammy.  But I had until April 1st to decide, if registration did not fill by then.  Following TK's call, I did several endurance rides on the road through our few weeks of winter, but then I decided to try something completely different.  Just two rides a week (one long, one short), only on my single speed and only mountain biking, two kettle bell sessions, some yoga, a hike and /or the occasional walk per week and log it all on my special TSS spreadsheet.  TK noticed all the SSing I was doing and said, "You're not thinking about doing Cohutta on a SS are you?", like I was crazy or something.  I said if I was doing it, it would be on my favorite bike.  He said I could put gears on it.  I said "Uh Uh".

When I started, I was on a 34X22 and North Slope was darn tough,

I added Lower Sycamore for a little fun.  That first ride was 11 miles and it was rough.
Was I nuts even considering doing 10 times that much in 10 weeks?!  I added Upper Sycamore the next week.  In a month, I replaced Upper Sycamore with Thrift Cove and then switched out lower Sycamore for Upper. It was a good month and a half before I changed to the 21t cog.  10 more days I was on the 20.  Finally Thrift for an FTP two fer

I had been adding about half an hour each week to my long ride.  April 1st came along and we were hosting at Cascade Lake.  I had been thinking about riding up the 6.5 mile Cascade Lake Road to Dupont from camp for my long rides.  I was not relishing this on a SS.  Long and gradual and then the reverse coming back down with that steep last nut heading up Little River Road.  Tammy kept asking me geared or SS.  I said "I do not know".  At the last minute I decided to stick with the SS game plan.

Along with the kettle bell strength training, I had been working on standing a lot.  My average speed started just below 9 MPH.  11+ hours for Cohutta then!  My AVG MPH slowly climbed to 9.5 over the last few weeks.  Better but still 10+ hours for Cohutta, if I could hold it.  My rides did seem to have more climbing per mile than Cohutta, but still.  I had hoped to go to a 19t cog, each tooth meant more speed but harder to turn over on the steeps.  It was getting close to go time.  I had to switch wheels because a bearing went out on my older Powertap hub.

It meant a tire switch, so I put on the steeper cog as well and went for my last long ride.  Five hours, tapering down from six the week before.  I felt faster and slower all at the same time, it was weird.  I thought my wheel size setting might be different between hubs, but my AVG speed seemed up.  Later, the down load would confirm the 10 MPH AVG.  Now I have a shot at 10 hours.

Compared to the 20t the 19 gave me a little trouble on the steeps, but not much, and some steeps seemed easier.  I could pedal in more situations.  I could stand more effectively on lesser grades, 4% and up instead of 5% and up.  Seemingly contradictory, I could stay seated and maintain momentum, instead of coasting and then standing on rollers.  That is where I picked up half a mile per hour from the same ride (except in the wet, plus a bonus climb) as 2 weeks ago.  Even with some training effect and I had my Black Sheep titanium fork back in place of my Salsa steel fork, some of it has to be the 34X19.  Don't ask me which elevation is correct.  Just trust me there was more on the 4/17 ride than the 4/4 ride.

After the Little River Crossing

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Swank 65/Couch Potato

My focus has not been on racing this year. As such I don't look for races. The Couch Potato and the Swank 65 are this weekend November 2nd and 3rd respectively. I was riding Saturday and ran into a Mike and Alastair and  rode with them for part of their ride. Today I found Mike's file,which he named Couch Potato. I downloaded his file to my Garmin to do as part of today's ride. I wondered what the name meant, until Chris and Chad rolled up while I was talking to some guys about wheel size. They were looking for the racecourse this weekend and 650b guy (sorry I did not ask their names) gave Chad and Chris directions. I asked them if I could tag along. Then I put together the name of the race and Mikes file name. I heard about the Swank on the Sycamore Thursday shop ride. I just assumed it was far away.

Also, I have been busy riding as, almost all my rides out of our basecamp Adventure Village has been an epic. See them below.

The Couch Potato is the "easiest" of the two races, with only 4,000 ft climbing over it's 30 miles. The Swank spins the dial way past ten, breaks it off and throws it in the fire, ascending 8,000 feet in only 40 miles! Holy crap! Even the easier course is epic, the Swank is EpiHC.

I have to ride Farlow gap, before I decide which one to take on. There is so much climbing in Pisgah that I do not think the SS is an option. On top of that most folks here use full suspension. Chris and Chad had hardtails, they were looking to do the Couch Potato, cause Farlow gap apparently needs a dually. Here I sit with only fully rigid bikes. I may have to put the gears on my Lynskey with the Blacksheep fork, then maybe I would have a chance. I have not ridden SS since I have gotten to this neck of the woods. I rode Dupont SS last November though. Dupont is no Pisgah!

2014 Couch Potato

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Barton Creek Austin, Texas

With a 34/15, I was geared great for much the river valley trails and made most of one of the big offshoot climbs, before the first underpass.  The Hill of Life, was another story altogether, I be back with gears, cause one gear that makes that climb, maybe doable, would be painfully slow on some of the trails along the creek.  There are lots of rock gardens and features to work your technical skills, a few would have benefited from a lower gear too!  There are two entries on Single Tracks that kind of overlap, Barton Creek Greenbelt and Barton Creek Wilderness.  From the topo maps they  look like slightly different versions of the same trails.  Distance and descriptions vary quite a bit though.  My best take on that is that the Greenbelt encompasses the main trail along the creek and the Hill of Life and the Wilderness trails are the unmarked trails across the creek from the main trail head in Zilker park.  A nice warm up would be to go east toward the river/lake, cross the first bridge and head west up to the road, around the construction and access the unmarked trails, just up the road a bit.  Take them to the karin and go right across the creek, back to the main side.  It looked like the trail may continue on the unmarked side, but I was uncomfortable riding through what looked like someones property, no signs, just a patio and a landscaped walkway.  Even on the main side there are many offshoots, some come back to the trail, some dead end and others go back down into the creek.  Some reviews on both entries mention the Hill of Life, but I do not think that you could get there in the 4 miles listed for the Wilderness, but the topo map includes it, but seems to miss the unmarked trails across the creek from the TH.

This is the first time since I started running the Knard/Blunt 35, that I got to descend big rocks and drops, maybe since Pisgah even!  Now while I was not descending like a I was on a downhill rig, I felt in more control and I did not feel like I was going to be bounce of the bike, like at Farlow Gap!  While not quite as intense and gnarly as Farlow, descending the Hill of Life and other sections of Barton were a good test.

I love the technical aspect of these trail and the first real climbing in quite a while.  They can get pretty busy at peak times, so plan accordingly.  Zilker park has a lot of other activities, such as canoe and kayak rentals, swimming holes, playground a kids train and a garden.  Zilker also gets you access to the Town Lake bike path, which was even busier, due to its tame wide and flat crushed stone surface.

Ironically, at first these trails reminded me of other river valley riding that I did way back when in the Minnesota and Mississippi river valleys in Minnesota.  Just throw in lots of rock gardens from my more recent home town trails in northern New Jersey and a couple big climbs.  It was "ironic" cause part way along as I was about to take another dead end, a rider comes by and I tag along.  His name was Tim and he also was borne and raised in Minnesota.  He left when for texas when he was 21.  Small world for sure.

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Friday, November 29, 2013

Kerr Scott IMBA Epic

Flowy and twisty, Kerr Scott is a big contrast to my recent stomping grounds near Brevard, raw backcountry Pisgah National Forest and the multi-faceted Dupont State Park. Kerr Scott has a definite flow progression from Dark Mountain to Overmountain Victory Trail (OVT) to Warrior Creek.

Even the original 5.3 miles of "Old School" trails of Dark Mountain, seemingly always has an eye towards flow, it has bigger climbs, grade reversals and sharp hairpins. It is just more rugged!

Be sure to ride trail #8 down to the bridge down river from the dam. Even if you may have to climb back up, it's a good climb too! #8 is my favorite descent in the system., old school feel with sharp hairpins.

OVT is bermorific, this part of the system cranks up the flow a notch. Usually done as an out and back, often in between Dark Mountain and Warrior Creek. I have been working on keeping my weight centered and I am coming out of turns faster than ever before making sections of the trail seem endless. Take the Berry Loop on the way towards Warrior Creek an Shiners Run on the way back, they flow nicely that way. Making the most of the elevation change, Berry Loop (1.5 miles) gets even more swoopy and even some of the berms going uphill seem to conserve your momentum. Trail boss Jim Horton was working on the second half of Berry that will eventually form a figure 8 with OVT. Shiner's Run (2.3 miles) uses noticeable elevation change as well, but is more like original flavor OVT in the flow department.

Warrior Creek is a super sweet 11 mile single track loop. Berm after berm of flow, begging you to stay off the brakes and maintain every last Newton meter of momentum for the next grade, direction reversal or the occasional obstacle or feature. It was literally an endurance workout for your flow skills.

I rode for a bit of OVT with Mike the Owner of Magic Cycles over in Boone while was testing a 650b Giant. Pretty nice guy.

Here is video to get you started. I will add a few more.

Monday, November 11, 2013


I generally don't pay much energy on Strava challenges. But they had a 5000 meter (16,404ft) climbing challenge from IMBA. I am in climbing heaven and Swank gave me over 6k ft. And I had worked out a century road ride with 2 HC climbs, netting over 10k. But the spirit was dirt so I went back out and got over 5k each on a Pisgah explore/bushwack, (Walking counts right, forgot my machete) ride and an awesome Dupont ride. So I got the spirit of the challenge, but it took a lot of time and it exhausted me to the point that I am just getting to blogging and video editing.

Damn you Strava!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Sandia Park Cibola National Forest.. Snow!

Albuquerque New Mexico was the last place I rode on our journey from Pisgah Forest North Carolina to Mesa Arizona, which had terrible WiFi, making uploading video impossible. 
A lot was going on with travel, new digs and job and all, so I am just getting to this now on a rainy day in Durango Colorado.

10,250 feet was, by far the highest elevation that I had ever ridden to.  The ride up was mostly in the sun and warmer than the 50 degree temps suggested.  Nice stiff climbing with some technical features that were a challenge as the climbing added up and the air thinned out, There were some spectacular view on the way up and at the top in the Scandia Peak Ski Area.  The descent was the polar opposite, pun intended, as I plunged, so did the temps, down to almost 28 degrees by the end as I chased the light.  As I started, I could see the shadow of the mountain meet the sunlit valley, but at each and every chance I got a glimpse of that line, it was receding, faster and faster.  I was descending in the snow shadow and at times the snow riding was tough or even required a little hike a bike.  Needless to say, my descent was not nearly as swift as anticipated, but my Bulldog fleece bib knickers and long sleeve jersey and jacket (carried to the top in anticipation of chilly descent) kept me warm until time ran out.  I exited the ski area and bombed the road back to the trail head, quickly exceeding my kit's insulating rating!  Nearing hypothermia, i made it back to the car with little light to spare, started the car and shed my wet clothes for dry ones, making it back alive one more time.

Route description: Climbing; Sulfur Springs, Faulty, Oso Corredor, Tree Spring, 10k, Golden Eagle. There was some snow before Golden Eagle, but it was sparse. Golden Eagle had alternating sections of snow and melt, both slowed me down. All of KOM was in the snow shadow and there was plenty of powering  through/walking on the uphill parts of the mostly DH,  down KOM and then it was getting dark, so finished on the road.

 View from the Top
Full Frontal for the Pups

Different angles

On the way up
Zoom Zoom

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Santos Kwik Stats

After feeling off for a few days,  Touch of the flu maybe. I rechristened the Ferrous as a Single Speed again. Still had the 22 on the back, from when I entertained SSing Pisgah. So, I wanted to keep it between one and two hours today. Tammy has the flu for sure and I didn't want to be wrecked. What to do all the Black Diamonds near the main trail head, hit twister to get er over an hour, but skipped Vortex for now. Cow Bone to warm up, Magic Mt into Rattlesnake around to Anthill to John Brown. Then out Bunny to get to Twister, Canopy to Speedway to my favorite( in this direction) Sinkhole. Then a all of Dr Ruth to do John Brown, Magic Mt and Cow Bone the other way.
Up Coming event 12 Hours of Santos
I original post on Santos

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Surly Knard on a Velocity Blunt 35 First Look

Back on February 20th, I built up a Velocity Blunt 35 29er rim, to mount up a Surly Knard 29x3 inch tire, 29 plus to all the cool kids.  Both my bikes are suspension free and riding in Pisgah, particularly Farlow Gap, got me thinking, as I walked way too much of it.  I was calling it semi-fat, but 29+ is more succinct.
See the follow up here Surly 29er+ Velocity Blunt 35 Knard to Follow and Follow Up

Here is the freshly built front wheel

I will only be running it on the front.  Like suspension, it is most important on the front and it would not fit in either of my bikes in the rear.  I was sure it would fit in the Bontrager Switch blade and pretty sure it would fit in the Blacksheep fork(turns out that,except for Maah Daah Hey quality mud, there is more than adequate room).  

Here is the Knard/Blunt compared to a 2.2 Ikon/Stans Arch

On the Blunt 35, the Knard casing measures out to 71.6 mm or 2.8 inches and 75.6 mm knob to knob, nearly 3 inches.  I expected less, considering it is mounted on a rim 15 mm narrower than Surly's intended rim the Rabbit Hole.  Luckily it still fit in the BlackSheep fork.  You have to angle the big old tire past the brake caliper on both forks.

Stay tuned for my trail experiences with the Knard and the Blunt 35, sounds like a superhero team from Jay and silent Bob.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Couch Potato Videos

After helping park cars, I videoed some of the race start. Later on I pointed folks left after the creek crossing at the end of the Cove Creek DH.

I was amazed at how low key and yet on time the start was.

Some folks got off course. I had no such problem the next day at the Swank. But I could see how one could miss the, even the sometimes HUGE, signs, if due to nothing else, being beat up by the rugged Pisgah terrain. The combination of fatigue, hyper focus and pack following, on occasion, had me questioning my turn choice, even after a big sandwich board sign on a part of the course I was pretty sure of.

As I marshalled the penultimate turn, more than one rider asked me which way to turn while I was pointing and standing next to the left turn sign and blocking going right. They were probably more concerned crossing the creek and the short tech up, just before the the turn. Very few riders made it up clean.

Here are videos I got between the creek and the finish.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Carvin's Cove SS Ride

It felt great to get back on the SingleSpeed again.  In regards to MTBing, I have had fits and starts after I damaged my shoulder.  So it felt great to get back on the SingleSpeed again.   After Sunday's ride at Stephen's, on my geared bike, I was stoked.  I was able to float through the rock gardens again and not want to cry when every my rear tire spun out on a climb.  My plan was to follow the Gamut course.  The Gamut has many loops that make it easy to get back the TH, making taking the SS a low risk situation.  If the shoulder wasn't having it, I could switch to my geared bike.  The first hour or so, was fine and I kept thinking I could have gone from the 22 to a 21 or 20t rear cog, mated up to my 34t Rotor ring and been a little bit happier on the inbetweens and still make the climbs.  That is until I started up Tuck-A-Way, still a 21t would be fine.  But Climbing Jacob's Drop was another story.  I had to get off and walk every so often.  Then once on Bushy MT you just keep climbing, but at a manageable grade.  Down the Trough and up the Gauntlet, led to a few short walks too.

Once you start going up or down, expect to be doing that for a while, here.

Carvin's is kind a like Douthat minus the Pisgah like portions.  I would have sworn that I was on the switchbacks of Buck Hollow in Douthat as I scampered down the switchbacks on Hi De Ho!

Being my first SS ride in a while, I figured that 21 miles was enough given the 3500 feet.  I will bring the geared bike back tomorrow.

Carter turned me on to VES website that has a great map and GPX files for the Gamut.