Archive for May 2016

Free Bird...

Literally.  A random exotic bird has been lurking around my mom's house.

Random exotic bird on stump
I can confidently say this bird is not indigenous to North Carolina.  It is a Lady Amherst Pheasant and probably belongs to a house about a half mile away.

Latest bird stats:

  • Time spent at or near mom's backyard...  about 2 weeks
  • Time spent trying to trap bird...  a few days
  • Trap results thus far...  a couple of squirrels and an opossum  
  • Trap sustained a couple of bear attacks.

Besides watching the local wildlife, we managed to get in a ride this past Saturday.  We drove over to the other side of Linville Gorge to ride some gravel in Wilson Creek.

Rolling into Wilson Creek
We enjoyed the change of pace, exploring some gravel roads and avoiding spotty rain showers all day.

Sandy enjoyed it so much she attempted a partial superman while descending one of the numerous turns on Maple Sally Road.

Sandy attempting a partial superman or thinking about using her foot as a break...
Since most of the rain stayed away, we were thankful we avoided this...

Scary sign
It is Tuesday, so enjoy the remainder of your week.  Three day weekend coming up for us!

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Never again. Unless we have to...

A little background...

We decided earlier this year to ride more of the Pisgah Ranger District.  We want to learn as much as we can by ourselves.  Why?  Well, we are good at figuring things out together and we want to know detail.  Detail as in what direction is a trail best ridden. Where the hike-a-bike sections are. What root/rock combination makes you feel like you are riding a bike the first time.  You get the idea.

This past weekend was perfect to try new trail out, so we headed to the mountains after work Friday.

Arrived at mom's mountain gateway adventure camp at a decent time.

Loving the new rig...

Saturday morning we set out to ride S. Mills River - Mullinax - Squirrel Gap - Buckhorn Gap - Black Mountain - Turkey Pen Gap and arrive back to car.

The riding on S. Mills River, Mullinax, Squirrel Gap, and Buckhorn Gap all went smooth.  Trails were great and we were having fun.  So much fun Sandy had time to goof off.

Don't ask...
And act serious...

Sandy on a bridge...
We wrapped up Buckhorn and headed up Black Mountain.  Our reason?  Well, we have never completed this part of Black Mountain.  Now we know why.  We spent most of our time pushing our bikes up.  Up some more.  Ride for a split second.  Push our bikes.  Exchange a few choice words with each other.  Then push the bikes again.  It was worth something.  You get this at the top.

Sandy's bike leaning against a tree on top of Black Mountain...

Yes, top of Black Mountain again...
We are now refreshed from the view and work our way down Black Mountain.  The descent was short lived.  Before you know it, the turn for Turkey Pen Gap comes up on you.  We were sad since the climb up Black Mountain did not provide a big enough payoff.  Don't get me wrong, you can continue down Black Mountain for more fun.  It's just that our route for today had us turning out early on Turkey to get back to the car.

Now we must say there are no photos to share of Turkey Pen Gap.  Why?  A few reasons come to mind.  The trail was just slightly over-grown in areas.  We did not want to hop off the bike and deal with briers or other potential itchy plants.  The trail was still a bit leaf-strewn and dusty, so were were hacking our lungs out.  Then after the first downhill section, Sandy's front brake went out.  She was limited to say the least on the remaining steep grades.  Of course to top it off, we had to push the bikes again up two steep rutted sections.  At this point were were tired of pushing bikes.

Sunday brought us spent legs.  We decided to take the dogs hiking and hit one of our favorite trails nearby.

Rennie thinking about retirement...
We all worked up an appetite and enjoyed dinner with mom.  I can say there was nothing left of the cracklin' cornbread.  I got lucky snapping a photo of the last piece.

Yum, cornbread...
Another great weekend riding was wrapping up.

Opinion formed on Saturday's ride...  We had to try it in order to learn all the details.  The details told us to never do that exact loop again.  Unless we are forced to of course.  We will at least avoid upper Black Mountain and Turkey Pen Gap.

Enjoy your week!

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6 Hours of Lake Norman

The first event of the Southern Endurance Series was last Saturday.  The 6 hour race was held at Lake Norman State Park.  The park is only a 40 minute drive for us, so it was nice to race local for a change.

Weather is perfect, bikes are ready to go, we are ready to go... what more could you ask for?

Getting ready...
I started the race, so I jumped on the bike to warm up.  Well, kind of warm up.

The race started at 10am.  I found myself a little far back in the line-up, so I weaved my way through extra traffic.  Not typically fun for me.

We entered the woods and everyone settled in.  I felt somewhat comfortable on the first lap.  Probably too comfortable.  Thinking back, I could have went a little harder.  Lack of a proper warm up made me lazy.

Lap one complete and Sandy heads out for lap two.

She completes lap two and I roll out for lap three.

As I leave the transition area I hear her say, "This is hard."

Yes, it was hard.  For me anyway.  I felt cramps knocking at the door this time.

Lap three complete and Sandy spins out for lap four.

While Sandy is out on her lap, I complete some detective work to determine how we are doing.  Looks like we are in second place.  A few minutes off first.  Not sure what our lap times are yet.

Lap four complete and I head out for lap five.

This time I hear her say, "This is killing me."

Cramps hit me full on during lap five.  I push through it.

Lap five complete and Sandy starts lap six.

I roll with her and she says we have second place locked and it looks like we are gaining on first place.

Lap six complete and I head out on lap seven.

The first place team left for their seventh lap about a minute before we did.

A couple of miles into the lap I catch up to another rider.  He asks if I have any extra food with me.  Evidently he is struggling to turn the pedals.  I replied no.  He followed up asking what race category I am in.  I said duo-coed.   He told me the first place team was not far ahead and it looked like they were hurting.

I work the remainder of the lap to try an catch the first place team.  I spot the other team, but I am too late.   The first place team makes the finish line ahead of us by only 12 seconds.

Wait, that is not all...

Come to find out the third place team was actually one lap ahead of us.  There was some glitch in counting laps.  The places shifted and we ended up third with seven total laps.

Podium shot...

Congrats to the first and second place teams!

All in all we had a great day on the trails.  Sandy was the star of the day.  She consistently crushed my lap times.  Looks like I got some work to tend to.

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In hot water...

A little late to mention a weekend that happened over a week ago..., but all weekends deserve time to shine.  After all, they are weekends.

Saturday, April 30 was nice.  We spent time with my mom in the mountains.  This go-around we decided to hit the Asheville Herb Festival.  Now I know what you are thinking.  Asheville, herbs, etc...  Not the hippie fest you were expecting.  We shopped for plants.

See here is mom overwhelmed with the choices.  Like a wave of herbs coming at her.

I must admit, even Sandy and I were overwhelmed with the variety.  Everything from basil to Venus Flytraps.

Here is Sandy picking out some sorrel.

We fittingly wrapped up herb shopping by hitting Wicked Weed for some grub and beers.

The weekend came to a close and of course the week brought on new challenges.  Challenge as in our hot water tank finally kicked the bucket.  We were in hot water, or shall I say out of hot water.  The tank had a nice long life.  R.I.P hot water tank.

Don't worry, we fixed it.

Back on the bike topic... We raced 6 Hours of Lake Norman this past Saturday.  Details coming soon!

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