Monday, September 26, 2011

finally a new video

Finally! I got around to editing some of the GoPro footage that I've had stored in my hard drive. I actually just shot this footage last week at my back yard trails, Warriors Path State Park.

I've been playing around with a few new mounting points and I acquired a new mount that allows me to attach the camera to the downtube of my bike. I set out with the intention of riding the entire trail system setting up different shots using 2 separate cameras and multiple different mounting positions on the bike and me. After I got through the first 2 trails I had spent pretty much all the time I had to ride. I was also sick of setting up shots so I called it a day. I'm glad I quit when I did because I had more than enough footage for a good video. Alot of the footage found it's way to the editing room floor and will never be seen so no loss.

As much time as I spent filming this and the amount of stuff I had to carry with me on the bike I doubt if I'll ever shoot with that many angles again. Anyway I hope you enjoy the video as I really worked hard on it. If I had a crew of people things would go much faster and smoothly but I'm the camera man, star, make-up artist and lighting guy all in one.


Friday, September 23, 2011

sick day

Wow what a week, a good week it was. A week full of riding and every destination was different. While most of them were in my hillbilly neighborhood, half of them were new to me rides and that's what matters.

I'll skip all the stuff that's local and get right to the good stuff. Probably not new to most who read this blog but the land of Pisgah singletrack is something I've not really ever ventured into. I've ridden Pisgah in some form or another a few times over the years but not the cool back country stuff I've been reading about.

I'd gotten an email from a buddy of mine who conned a couple of other to burn a sick day in favor of riding but no destination had been determined. I suggested hitting Pisgah and over the next couple of days a plan came together.

We all piled into a friend of mines Honda Element stacked way too much gear and bikes in along with us and tried to hang on while he practiced at driving like a NASCAR driver who has nothing to lose.

Of course we got lost, rode trails we weren't supposed to to find our way back, crashed a couple of times, got wet and looked at the map waaay too many times. It had rained the day before and as we we climbing some slick rooty singletrack I began to wonder if we had made the right decision in riding here. That thought didn't last too long as the sun fianlly peaked out and everything dried up nicely. The climbing yesterday was awful mostly because my legs felt like they had bricks strapped to them and I suffered all day but the downhills were well worth it. I had so much fun I'm already trying to figure out when I can go back again. There is so much to explore it's going to drive me crazy.

The only thing that sucked about the whole day is that I forgot my wallet. I hate being a bum but I had no other choice. My breakfast, lunch and beer were all paid for thanks to my friends. Wait a minute, that didn't suck.

I did take along the GoPro and shot some video but after viewing some of it today I found that a portion of it was ruined thanks to a Camelbak strap flapping in front of the lens on one of the nastiest descents we did yesterday. Don't worry there is still plenty of footage to make a short video but it's still disappointing none the less. That makes three rides worth of footage I have saved on my hard drive waiting to be edited into a video, I'm really slacking.

Since I did alot of taking this week and really all summer I decided to take the day off today and give a little back. The dogs were in serious need of some exercise so I killed two birds with one stone and took them along with me for a little bench cutting on the Chestnut trail at Bays Mountain. It felt good to get out and do some trail work, I wanted to stay all day and start working on the new section but I had some chores to do at home. It was an excellent day to be out in the woods working on the trail, not too hot and there were no bugs buzzing my face.

Monday, September 19, 2011

dusting off the blogwebs

With nothing really substantial to say I decided to log into my blog and dust off the cobwebs. I've been lacking lately and as usual it's been more of a lack of time than anything. Even when I don't have a great story to tell, (great in my own mind) I can usually make something out of nothing just by starting to type.

Work is about to get really nasty in a couple of weeks for me, actually it's been nasty but starting Oct. 10th I will do very little in the way of bike riding or blogging. I plan to make every free day count in the way of riding so if you have a sick day or two to burn hollar, I'll be riding. For those of you who are in the mileage contest with me this is a good time to play catch up. I need a good challenge so get off the couch. Speaking of mileage I'm well over 1000 miles on my mountain bike for the year with a new goal of hitting 1500 before Dec 31st. There is no sense in discussing road miles since I've only done one road ride for the entire year after which I realized my frame was cracked. I've still yet to get any urge to buy a new frame, for a while I seriously considered buying a Surly Cross Check not really for CX racing but more of just cruising on but that has been put on the back burner for more important purchases.

I thought I might do a bit more CX racing this year since the introduction of the fat tire class, but with no points or prizes I guess riding for free in the woods was a bit more appealing for some crazy reason than riding for $10 in the grass with people shouting obscenities in your face and ringing cowbells in your ear. Doesn't sound like fun? Trust me it is, every time I do venture onto the race course and get past that feeling of, "I might vomit at any moment" I think to myself I should do this more often. I totally plan to get out there but since I'm not racing for points skipping the first two or four surely won't hurt me in the standings.

Melinda and I did manage to get in some good quality rides this weekend, the first being the newish Pinnacle fire tower trail on Buffalo Mtn. I've ridden a portion of the trail a couple of times hooking in to the end of the trail from the other side of the mountain for the final push to the top. Saturday we rode from the Unicoi side and did the entire trail from top to bottom for the first time. It was better than I had expected or had heard, yes there are a couple of steep but short sections that were not wisely built but it's better than nothing. Maybe one day they'll extend the trail making it a loop rather than an out and back, now that would be cool.

Yesterday we ventured over to Bays for the usual Sunday ride. Unfortunately I couldn't con anyone to ride with me so I went out for a solo ride with a new route in mind. My pace was a bit faster than I usually do but I was racing against the clock as Melinda was riding with the girls and I wanted to be done when they were. My plan was to hit all the singletrack on the front side as well as some on the back. After passing the fire tower I rolled to over the top via Indian Pipes and all the way down to the bottom bypassing Bear Run. I skipped Kinear Hollow and made it back to the car in record time catching up with the ladies on Chinquapin. For a change of pace I rode the JET9 and had an absolute blast, the more I ride that bike the more I love it. I haven't looked but I'm pretty sure I've put more miles on it than my hardtail this year, something I thought I would never do. It has officially become my new favorite bike.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

to me the Fall season has nothing to do with football

I sent out a couple of emails this weekend to see where we, (GRT) stood on racing this fall and all I really got was uhhh, I think we're gonna do Halloween stuff this year. If I remember correctly I got this same answer from every single one of them. Kinda weird, makes me wonder if there is a big Halloween bash going on somewhere and I didn't get invited. Maybe I did get invited but my invite got lost in the mail. Nah, nobody sends out invitations via the mail anymore.

For the past 5 years in a row GRT has raced the 12 Hours of the Hill of Truth in Knoxville on Halloween weekend. This year it looked as if I was going to have to bow out due to a big shut down at work that's basically going to consume the entire month of October. The official schedule came out a week ago and technically it will be over before Halloween weekend possibly allowing me to race. I'm not going to lie, I'm really not that disappointed in the fact that no one seems interested in going. I want to race but I agree that we need a break.

I was also looking forward to the 3rd and final race of the TN Cup Series, the Ocho Reverse, but it seems as if no one has any interest in doing that one either. I am kinda bummed out about missing this one, especially since we missed the 2nd race due to a last minute date change.

I guess the racing season for me has officially ended, kinda sucks but I'm ok with it. I love to race but it doesn't consume me to the point that I actually put together a training plan. Sure I make a point to get out and ride as much as possible in order to perform well but I hate using the word training. If I ever start riding just to train I'm afraid I'll get sick of it.

In all reality I do have the chance to do a few races this fall with the local cyclocross scene. It's fun for about an hour but that's it. The races are short, in grassy fields and there's no camping but it satisfies the competitive side of me somewhat so I'll take it. I've been thinking hard about buying a Surly Cross Check to replace my broken road frame but I really have no interest in racing an actual CX bike. While slower than a true CX bike, I enjoy racing my mtn bike at the CX races much more. Now with the all new fat tire class I can do so and be a tad bit more competitive.

I have no fear that this fall will be anything close to boring with all the trail building opportunities on the horizon so I guess no more racing for the year is a good thing. Really I'm more excited about building singletrack than anything. It's funny how taking a big ownership in a single trail project has really gotten me fired up about trailbuilding. I've always enjoyed it but this year something has changed. I got really involved in building a new trail this spring, organizing workdays, working on my own during the middle of the week, something I've never down before. I think I might have only missed 2 maybe 3 scheduled work days with the Chestnut project and I've been thinking of going ahead earlier than projected and getting back to work before Fall actually kicks in.

Some people look forward to the Fall season because it means cooler weather and football. I look toward Fall because it means trail building season is upon us!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

a little exploration

Knowing I would be stuck at work all Labor Day weekend I snuck in as many rides as I could find the time for last week. I got in two at Warrior's Tues. and Wed. and one at Bays Mountain on Thursday. I've been want to explore Bays Ridge for some time now but just really didn't want to go it alone. Something about exploring back country trails alone that are not well marked has always kinda freaked me out somewhat.

I conned Richard into heading out with me, packing plenty of water, snacks and a trail map we set off to see what was what and what was not in the further reaches of the park.

We started out on double track that climbed, climbed and then climbed some more before switching over to singletrack and more climbing. The singletrack was super tight and littered with down trees really killing any momentum we ever built up. It had the potential for being a fun trail if it was clear but park maintenance while short staffed doesn't seem to interested in clearing if it can't be reached via ATV.

Bays Ridge was a very fitting name for the trail as we rode across the ridge for a long time. At one point we were directly over a shooting rage than was in full use. We couldn't see the range below and knowing they couldn't see us I was a bit leary of a stray bullet or two making it's way up the mountain. I was prepared to take cover if I heard anything buzzing by my head or even remotely close.

After checking the map a few times we realized we were pretty close to the end of the park's borders and I knew the trail was supposed to end at the bottom of the valley, several hundred feet below us. The further we rode without descending I had a sneaking suspicion that the decent was going to be short and power sliding steep. We came upon a right hand turn looked down and realized my guess was correct. I rode as far as I could under control but a couple more downed trees forced us to dismount and the the pitch got too steep for riding much less for hiking. I really wonder what was going through the minds of the trail builders back when this trail was constructed. Probably something along the lines of "Let's just hurry up and get this over with, I'm sick of building trails."

We did manage to get back on our bikes and finish the decent the rest of the way to the bottom. Once at the end we began the search for the connector trail that was supposed to take us up and over the next ridge so we could ride singletrack our rather than old jeep roads. We looked and looked and looked but never found the trail. I'm sure it existed at one time but no doubt was grown up with weeds and or covered with downed trees.

Needless to say we never found it and wound up riding the jeep road back into the main area of the park. The ride out was quite an adventure in it's self. Not having rain in nearly two weeks you would think everything would be dry but this was not the case. Being deep in a valley with not much in the way of sunshine coming through the thick foliage the huge pits created by illegal access from off road vehicles were still a wet muddy mess. By the time we reached the end of the road we were covered in mud and had picked up and extra 5 or 6 lbs. on our tires.

Having ventured to the end of the Bays Ridge trail I have pretty much covered most of the park's trails and land with the exception of that one connector trail that was hidden or non-existent. I don't regret exploring the Bays Ridge trail, it was fun and a learning experience but it will probably will be a while before I venture back there again.