Saturday, October 27, 2012

playing catch up

Long time no bloggy bloggy, slacking as usual, I just haven't felt the urge to spend time blogging. Call it a bust schedule, call it the need to get stuff done or spend time outside with this awesome weather we've been having, I don't know. This post is basically a photo dump with a bit of narration. Alot has been happening, winding down the camping season, the pup is growing like a freaking weed and rides galore.

A couple of week ago we hit Tsali for the weekend, the last group ride in the club schedule. It was a small affair, with a ton of other stuff going on in our region that's cycling related I wasn't surprised in the turnout. Some say "you shouldn't conflict" but really there is no way not to. I look at it as having several options for riding or racing every weekend is a good thing. Some folks I know would kill to have a busy cycling calendar in their area.

Sometimes a "smaller group" ride can be a blessing as coordinating everyone and trying to keep all the different ability levels happy can be tough. I think we do a pretty damn good job with what we have, we never really hear any complaints, mostly compliments.

Tsali couldn't have been better, the leaves were changing and the air was crisp and cool, a perfect couple of days for riding the trails.

Not really one of the more technically challenging places to ride but definitely a fun and relaxing ride, something most everyone can enjoy. We rode alot, drank a few beverages around the campfire at night and had a ton of fun. It was Ocho's 2nd camping trip and he's fitting in perfectly. I'm thinking he's going to make an excellent camping and trail dog, it's like he was made for it. He and Moonshine are like two peas in a pod, they get along like best friends and seem to have alot in common.

On the home front, I've been working at a more rounded roll in the cycling community. Not just in the events we do but our involvement with the local parks and land managers. Joe and I have managed to make our way onto the Board at Bays Mountain. I'll not deny our intentions are mountain bike trail related but it's been interesting to learn the other side of the park and it's needs.

Our second meeting of the year was held on the park's barge, we cruised around the lake and pulled into one of the coves while we enjoyed a catered dinner and discussed that month's agenda.

On one side of the cove was a huge beaver dam, roughly the size of a mid-sized car.

This Thursday a plan was laid down to do a bit of exploring in the local National forest on some old trails in Laurel Bloomery. Forgive me if a butcher some of the details as I was unfamiliar with the area and the proper names. I wasn't even 100% sure what state we were actually in during most of the ride. It had been years since our guide Rob had ridden these trails so before we even mounted up he stated we couldn't blame him if the ride sucked. Right off the bat the trail went up, up a steep rocky as hell, old jeep road that kept up from maintaining a decent pace. 

Basically if you got stopped which we all did, alot, getting back going was sometimes a feat in it's own. The trail was a momentum killer with enough rocks to make Boone's new trail, Rocky Knob look smooth. Cover that with a bunch of dead leaves and we were better off doing the hike-a-bike for the first mile and a half. Once we reached the top we came to a fork in the road and a gate with several "No Trespassing" signs.


Unsure as to which way to go we looked around and before we came to a decision, an SUV came down the road and through one of the gates. When they stopped we inquired about the area only to find out we were indeed no longer on national forest land but private property. The guy we were talking to ended up being the owner and a cocky one at that. Basically he told us our only option was to go back the way we came. Frustrated we hung out a bit while he drove off, as we sat there and discussed our options we noticed the owner didn't continue down the mountain but was waiting around the corner to make sure we left. Eventually he turned around and came back through, three times he did this trying to wait us out so we decided to just sit down and have a snack until he got tired of wasting his gas. After a few pass through he finally gave up on us and we continued on our now illegal ride.

The last time Rob had ridden here it was public land but now private and from the looks of the owner and his fancy clothes and cocky demeanor, we were looking at the future site of a mountain top golf course or swanky high end community.

We opted to make the most of our ride and a few wrong turns here and there we finally found our way back onto public land without going back the way we came.

Some of the view we saw were absolutely beautiful, unfortunately not everyone is welcome to share them. One day no doubt this will be someones front yard or the 18th hole, sad.

Once back onto legal trails we were treated to more hike-a-bike. Some required some bike shouldering that would have made any cyclocross race course look like a kids playground.

Some of the names of the ride aprticipants have been changed as most were supposed to be at home sick in bed instead of riding their bikes. Thank goodness for sick days, I'm a firm believer in using them.

After some ridiculous mountain b-hiking, we came across a double waterfall that made it all worth it.

Some frosty beverages were consumed trail/creek side as we took in the beauty of our surroundings. All the new canned craft beers were made for packing it in on a good back country ride. I can think of a better place to enjoy a good oat soda, not everything good comes in a bottle anymore.

As we cruised back down the other side of the mountain we must have crossed this stream 10-15 times, most of which were not rideable.

As hard as we tried to keep our feet dry, it was inevitable that we were going to get wet. By the time we reached the truck not a single one of us had a dry sock or shoe but we all had a blast.

Trail building opportunities have not been a problem in our area in the last few years, especially at Bays Mountain but trails signs have been. At Bays, so far the park has been the ones who have constructed all of the signs and as can be expected they're a little slow at getting them out there. A few trails in the park are lacking signs including our new trail Chestnut. About a year ago a group of boy scouts made a few, much needed signs mainly near the top and the backside of the park where people were getting lost. Unfortunately some a-hole who I'm sure is an anti-mountain biker pulled up our sign for the top of Bear Run and hid it. It had only been in place a couple of months when it disappeared. We suspected it hadn't gone too far due to it's hefty weight but no matter how much we looked we couldn't find it. Finally after a about a year it was located buried in the woods about 30 yards from it's original location. The fact that it was buried is proof someone is not happy with mountain bikers and the new trails we're building at the park.

In an effort to discourage anymore disappearances I replanted the sign with a bunch of concrete and rocks. It's sad that some folks will go that far to discourage us from using the park. The irony is that while these folks don't like our presence they do use the trails we build on a regular basis.

I'm not going to promise that I'll try to get back into the swing of blogging because I've just not felt the urge to spend the time. Hopefully that will change especially with all the cool events coming up on our calendar. Trail building season is upon us!

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