Sunday, December 13, 2009

Weather Report Suite

My workday Friday ended in Cedar Mountain and since I had to drive through Dupont to get home and just so happened to have my bike with me I couldn't help but stop for a little Burnt Mtn and Cedar Rock > Big Rock action. It was very cold out and I was perhaps a little under dressed for the conditions so I decided I had to try and go fast. I'm still nursing some tendonitis and put my sissy 22t cog on last week and was hoping that the extra teeth would allow me to clean the steep side of Cedar climb. The trail was covered in ice and I slid off at the bottom. Maybe next time.


Saturday I had to be in Asheville in the afternoon so I decided to ride my road bike up there. I could have taken the route up the valley through Fletcher and whatnot but that sounded flat and full of traffic so instead I headed West out of town for Pisgah Forest and highway 276. It was 20 degrees out when I left my house so I tried my best to hammer on the long spin out to stay warm. Terri is looking for a bike so I stopped at Sycamore Cycles to check out their selection and talked to Wes for a few minutes. It was nice and warm in there I sort of just wanted to call Terri and say "come down here and check out these bikes and then drive me home" but I knew I needed to ride so I headed back into the cold and was quickly passing the forest gate headed into Pisgah on 276.

It was the last day of rifle season and the road was lined with hunter's trucks but I didn't hear a shot as I climbed to the parkway. It is a long climb but never very steep, it just sort of drags along and along. The perfect way to warm up on a brisk fall mountain morning. I made it to the parkway and had to stop multiple times to admire the sites. You can't really tell from this picture but Looking Glass Rock was covered in ice and it was easy to see how she got her name:


Mount Pisgah meant that after a long climb it was Downhill From Here:


I headed towards the Little Pisgah Ridge tunnel at 40mph and at the last possible second saw it was paved with deadly black ice and somehow got my speed under control just in time. So that is why the parkway is closed!

I've driven highway 151 many times but have never biked it. I knew it was going to be a very cold descent but wasn't expecting the road to be full of debris. If I wasn't dodging sticks and branches I was trying to avoid the deadly black ice. What should have been a kick ass 35mph downhill was a freezing frustrating obstacle course. My hands were so cold I couldn't tell if I was braking or not and the headwind was giving me an ice cream headache. Good times!?

From there I was headed towards Enka Lake but none of the streets were signed and I got turned around a time or two before I finally found my frozen way to Terri's house.

Here is what the good part of the ride looked like. Only one climb!


It was supposed to be raining and cold all day today so I had not planned on doing anything but by mid afternoon it was sunny and warm so I took the dog for a little walk. We didn't get started until 4:45 and headed up the Art Loeb. We turned around when we hit Joel Branch Rd. at dark and walked back to the truck without the aid of a light.

One more week and it will be Winter in Pisgah!

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