Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Monday, April 7, 2014


Woke up Sunday morning, March 30, and headed toward Brevard NC.
Ten long hours later, due to a snowstorm through West Virginia, I ended up at Davis Campground in the Pisgah National Forest close to Brevard.

Decided that since it was only 4 o'clock, I might as well ride, so I found Clawhammer Road and started climbing.
Of course, my hardtail was no match for the rutted out descent of Black Mountain, but it sure helped during the climb.

The Black Mountain descent is a classic, and I managed quite a few butt puckers and face-wide grins anyway. I passed a dude on the climb who was wearing body armor and a full-face helmet. Probably the most appropriate gear for that trail. Let's just say the Scott Scale made the trail more interesting. .

Woke up the next day and consulted with the guys in the next campsite, who were from Georgia and ride Pisgah frequently. The gave me directions to the Long Branch Trail near the Fish Hatchery.
I spy this cool waterfall then bust back out to the two track for the rest of the ascent, only to discover I had lost or forgotten my map. Bonehead. Everyone I talked to said a map is essential for navigating Pisgah. Fortunately, I had taken a few minutes before the ride to study the map closely, so I had an idea of where I was supposed to be going. Seemed pretty straightforward: find the Long Branch Trail off the gravel road and bomb down. Look for the Butter Trail or something and do an out and back or something, blah blah blah then ride down catpiss trail some such or something or another...Piss on it. I figured I could always backtrack if i got lost, so I decided to press on.

And this was my reward. Pure Michigan Pisgah.

The Long Branch descent was fun, fun, fun. Plenty of rutted out, water-barred chunkiness that again left me wishing for a full suspension bike, but not really caring because it was so cool.

That afternoon, I head toward Turkey Pen. Climbed the forest service road and headed out on the South Mills River Trail on the advice of the boys from Georgia. They told me not to climb the Cantrell Creek Trail, but after a fork in the road and a mile of some very unused trail into the backcountry, I decided to backtrack and....ride the Cantrell Creek Trail. Or should I say walk, stumble, mumble, piss, fart, bitch, etc. It reminded me of Quebec Run in PA but in a bad way. (Checking Strava afterward, I find that MTBR's Sandra Looney apparently decided to ride much of what I walked, given her elapsed time. Bitch).

Plenty of cool suspension bridge creek crossing that reminded me of the North Country Trail in Michigan.
I finally made it to the intersection with Squirrel Gap and realized why it's usually ridden as an out-and-back. Going back, it's a combo of rocky rocky rocky narrow tread with steep slope exposure into a wild hairy-assed descent on Mullinax. Totally worth all the pushing and bitching. Kinda like the George Washington National Forest near Harrisonburg. Except better.

By then, Brandon Le was within a couple of hours of Brevard so I decided to head over to DuPont and walk the doggy near one of the waterfalls, then see if I could find the Green River Narrows near Saluda. Which I didn't. Kind of a big disappointment. I was really looking forward to seeing the famous steep creeky rapids, Gorilla and such. Oh well.

Next day, after shooing away a bear or wild boar in the middle of the night, Brandon and I got some good news while drinking some coffee on a bench out front of the Hub: Kerr Scott was open for riding. So we headed toward Boone. Man, what a drive!!! Grandfather Mountain and the Blue Ridge. Awesome. And sunny, warm temperatures!!
We decided on Rocky Knob in the morning.
The climb to the top was a premium ballbuster. The place is a carefully designed bike park complete with sections of riding features where people can work on their skinny, berm and rock riding skills. Must have taken an enormous effort, and as much I prefer natural, old school trails, it was pretty amazing. .

The descent was a hoot and again, well-worth the climb. And again, required a full suspension rig to fully appreciate.

The afternoon ride was at the Kerr Scott Reservoir Area, based on the recommendation of Egg and MC. We hit up Warrior Creek, and neither one of us was ready for the constant berm-punchy-climb rhythm of the entire trail. I have ridden quite a few engineered trails (Copper Harbor, Allegrippis, the Merrill Trail) and all i can say is that Warrior Creek was.........the product of a lot of hard work by some dedicated individuals.

North Wilksboro: quick, name the most famous outdoor bluegrass festival of all time!!! Damn, I didn't even realize we were there until I saw the banners.

The next day it was OverMountain Victory trail to Dark Mountain.
I can't believe I didn't get and pictures of Dark Mountain. Loved that trail. Loved it. I LOVED IT, MAN!!!!! Just enough engineering to make it rideable, but just enough natural trail to not make it feel like an amusement park ride. The last downhill was damn good shtuff.

On the other hand, OverMountain Victory Trail was........the product of a lot of hard work by dedicated people.

I think there may be a couple of pictures further down below of both trails, but if not, it was because Dark Mountain was so freaking fun that I didn't have time to take any pics, and OVT was.......the product of etc. etc.

Ahhhhhh, Carvin's Cove. Let me count the ways.....
Carvin's Cove rulez. Brandon chugging it up the Hotel/Buck's climb ^

I had been reading about this place for a few years and always wanted to check it out. Thank god I did. It was, simply put, the best experience we had in a week-long ramble in the Appalachian Mountains.
The first thing you think when you see Brushy Mountain is that there's no way in hell a person could ride a mountain bike all the the way to the top of the ridge. It's just too far up there. But, of course, they do, and we did, and it was cool.
The dude at Just The Right Gear Bike Shop gave us plenty of free advice and sold me a Maxxis Ardent 2.4 EXO for a sweeeeeet deep discount price. Our route took us to The Gauntlet. Dude. Dewd. DOOD! He he he ha ha ha ha!!!!! YEEEEEEAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!
Fucking A.

So on the way back up the mountain on the Trough Trail, we start to see all these sweet jumps, and I say to myself, "Yes, Tim, you do need another full suspension bike." I mean, good god. The place is fugging cool!
That's all I'm gonna say. There's got to be a reason why this isn't some gold level IMBA ride center. Not only does Carvin's Cove offer ANY type of riding you want, within a short drive there's both some of the nastiest shit you'd ever want to attempt to ride and some of the sweetest real life true mountain biking you could ever do in your wet dreams.
That's all I'm gonna say.
Shit, man, this thing went on for three miles down the mountain, and it's not even named yet!!!! Bring your all-mountain rig to Carvin's Cove, boys.

3000+ feet of climbing and 22 miles of smiles made us throw an attempt at the Southern Traverse straight out the window. Hmmmm, what should we do now, Peter Dragon??? Maybe......MASSANUTTEN????

This is how I roll.

Brandon decided to do the unthinkable and drink a beer before the ride, for some unknown reason. Dude's got a problem.
"Yes. Dude's got a problem," said Supe.

Chunkity chunk chunk.

Probably from the top of the Pink Loop. Who the f knows. So many views of so many mountains. Man, do I feel lucky.

Ynarw, gnarw, yan, gar. gnash gnarwllllgnash.

It was a great way to spend the last day.
I couldn't believe we had actually pulled it off without a single mechanical or flat tire or other some such problem. Brandon was a good riding buddy. Made it real.

Brandon had to get back home and I headed to D.C. to spend some time with Chris the Younger. Long story short: the kid is 23 and ready to move into a sweet apartment that has views of the entire city and is right next door to the Nationals Stadium. Had dinner at an old Irish Pub in Old Town Alexandria and got introduced to Kilkenny's beer.

On my way back, I decided to stop and check out Gambrill State Park and the infamous Frederick Watershed. Took the doggy on a walk and did some exploring. Looks like it's worth a go next time I drive down and see the boy....I mean, man. 

I hate driving in Pennsylvania for one particular reason, so I stayed south and aimed for Morgantown. Of course, how can one drive right by Cooper's Rock and not stop in and say hi??
I love this place. If i had to rank all the trails we rode, I'd still say Cooper's Rock is my favorite, although Carvin's Cove sets a new standard for just the right amount of trail engineering and variety of riding and proximity to other good shit..Cooper's Rock is zen, though.

A couple of miscellaneous pics. Some of the pics on this entry were taken by Brandon, some by me.

Supe, the suck up.

Not a good look for a 50 year old man.

Looking down into the ski slope side of Massanutten.Check out them biceps.

It was like that. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Watched Inside Lewynn Davis this weekend. As much as I like the Coen Brothers, this one was kind of a fart. Too recreated, too intentional. The best joke was about a cat's scrotum. And if the guy was supposed to be down and out and sleeping on people's couches, his beard wouldn't have stayed so neat and well-trimmed. That annoyed me.  And the cat. Why the cat? John Goodman pulled off a brand new character but he was over-shadowed by Justin Timberlake's ....intrusion.

Watched Nebraska and I must admit I got a little choked up a couple of times, and also laughed out loud more than a couple of times. Very good movie. I knew it was gonna be good from the very beginning when the opening song sent a shiver up my spine.
I think it's ready for Spring Break: Big South Fork of the Russel, Pisgah, Kerr Scott, Carvin's Cove, The Southern Traverse, Gambrill State Park. 

A hike with the dogs in Hinckley

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A hike with the dogs in the Cuyahoga Valley

The first sign of Spring: Skunk Cabbage!