as we like to do two or three times a year, tom ryan and i went up to pisgah last weekend. nothing much has changed since last time (well, except for tom and ryan's bikes, more on that later). this time we were lucky enough to have tom's dad come up and ride with us (he's smart and stayed in a hotel). it's not often that a 60 year old with half a heart is introduced to pisgah, but he managed and had a blast, so no excuse for you. we camped in our usual spot. there's enough sites in that area that you can be pretty much assured to find a spot as long as you show up before saturday, and there's tons of good riding leaving from there. this time around, i brought my mountain bike and my cross bike. as you'll see later, that turned out to be a great idea.
as an interesting (to me) aside, while those bikes were sitting against that tree, i notice the saddles and bars were in pretty much identical locations. i don't know much about fit, and set my bikes up half-randomly and never again adjust anything, but it seems i'm good at eyeballing my position. my newish tent was also a great thing to bring. not as comfortable to sleep in as my hammock, but great for waiting out the rain. we easily could fit the three of us, my two bikes, a cooler, and a bunch of gear comfortably in there, which turned out to be pretty useful.
other than the bits of trash lying around, the campsite was as beautiful as ever.
i got there thursday afternoon. tom and ryan showed up on wednesday and were out riding when i got there. i set up my stuff and a little while later ryan showed up. where's tom? he should be here shortly, was the answer. he showed up 10 minutes later pushing his bike.
that's tom's new blur ltc, set up with 650b wheels. you might notice this one is not the same color as the one he was riding last year. he trashed that one and the good folks at santa cruz were nice enough to replace it for him. tom breaks a lot of bike stuff. and he was a bit behind that day because:
luckily for him, it happened at the very end of the ride. but that did not stop me from making fun of him, mentioning how long i'd had my rear derailleur without issues (something like 8 years). also lucky for him, rain started coming down that night, and continued until late friday afternoon, giving us plenty of time to head down to town so he could buy a new one. before the rain started, we were able to cook some dinner
and spend some quality time sitting around the fire
after a day of fixing tom's bike and waiting the rain out in my tent, we drained the campsite of most of the standing water, made dinner, and went to bed looking forward to a beautiful day of riding in the morning (gps data here). and a beautiful day it started out as:
tom's dad came up the mountain to our campsite as we were finishing breakfast. we headed out from camp and made our way to pilot cove trail for a little warm up to the day's main event (pilot rock descent). it's your typical backwoods pisgah trail, with a good amount of hike a bike, rocks and roots galore, and payoffs like this view:
can it get better than this rock outcropping? why yes it can, with a little ryan ass:
and a purdy purdy bike taking a rest. after that came a pretty sweet downhill back to the forest service road where we had a little lunch. here's ryan stuffing his face, in front of his and my bikes.
he's no longer riding the pivot featured in my last pisgah post. he's upped the ante and got himself a carbon tallboy, complete with carbon rims. fancy stuff. here's steve's bike, also a tall boy, but without the plastic fanciness:
from there, we made our way to the base of laurel mtn trail. a loooonnnnnggg climb up, but, save a couple hike a bike spots, not all that bad.
and as usual in this part of the world, the views ain't bad:
we got to the top of laurel and had just a couple hundred feet of climbing to get to the start of pilot rock. a couple hundred feet too many for me. a stick got caught up in my drivetrain and as soon as i heard it i looked down but too late, shit was fucked. luckily it was all downhill back to the road, so i no-chained it to where i could get picked up with my truck once tom and ryan got back to the campsite. so much for making fun of tom:
two broken rear derailleurs in one trip, but both near the end of rides, so no hours of hiking back were required. luck is on our side. that night, we took a recommendation from a couple bikers we ran into on top of laurel and headed into town to check out the jordan street cafe in brevard. great burgers and a great crowd (all the bike shop folks from the previous day).
on sunday i was mtb-less. we packed up camp and ryan, tom, and steve went off to ride dupont forest while i went for a little cross ride from camp (well, i moved my truck about a mile from camp to park it in a better location).
got all my gear together and off i went on a ride that's part of the pisgah monster cross route (gps data here).
now don't get me wrong, i like all sorts of riding, but nothing makes my day like the picture above. just me, some gravel roads, mountains, the woods, and the occasional hallucinating lady to talk to. making my way up to the blue ridge parkway:
now this next picture is the kind of thing that gets my panties all wet.
dirty hairpins ftw! can you tell how happy i am?
i'm not much of a smiler, but this is my happy face, trust me. a little more of this
some more ear-to-ear grins
and i'd made my way up to the parkway.
the parkway is some awesome riding. the section i rode (from fs5000 to 276) is mostly a climb up to mt. pisgah. never too tough, but the climbing was as unrelenting as the views.
you can see fs5000, on which i climbed up, in the center of the picture. and more views:
if you look carefully, and i'm not mistaken, that's the tower on top of mt. pisgah in the center of the picture. we'll be there later. in the meantime, more parkway:
my apologies to Will, but i did not run across any cows to picturize for him (i did run across a wild turkey, and not the liquid kind, but couldn't get a pic in time) but i did catch a pic or two of his least favorite alpine encounter:
and on the other side of that, more gorgeous views:
it almost starts to get old after a while. i was thinking 'shut up, views! i'm trying to ride here' but mother nature wouldn't listen. after a few more tunnels
the views still were taking my attention away from the riding.
down below was home-sweet-home-when-can-i-retire-and-move-here-for-good for the weekend.
finally i made it to the top of the ride after some 13 miles of climbing.
here is part of the mt. pisgah inn:
and as you walk between this building and the one off-frame to the right, you are faced with this pitiful panorama:
what a shithole. notice the bald rock spot just above the fence thing? that's where ryan's ass was posing the day before. anyway, just a little more parkway:
and i'd made it to 276, a screaming downhill (you know it's a good time when cars slow you down) back to the truck.
thanks for riding along. next time you should be part of the adventure.