Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Breaking Point

The summer doldrums have set in. Everyday it seems like it is the same thing. Work, work , work, work, all day long. Then I pack it all up and race home and jump on the road bike for a ride. After the ride I trade the bike for the dog and take him for a run. On the weekends it is more of the same except I exchange the work, work, work, for play, play, play. I like it when it is 100 degrees. That makes it more fun, sort of like the snow did.

Last weekend I went for a rare short afternoon Pisgah ride with Zach. We did 1206 > 5000 > HR Road > Trace Ridge > Spencer Branch > Never Ending Rd. > Fletcher Creek > HR Road > Trace Ridge > Fisherman's.

I felt as good as I've felt and nailed the technical downhill on Spencer. Then there was Fletcher Creek - what a perfect little trail! Squirrel Gap is all the uproar but Fletcher Creek is about to get bulldozed as well!

Broussard climbing Trace. Fast, Fast, Fast!


Sunday morning, Independence Day, now that I think about it, Terri and I went for a morning run in Dupont. She wanted to do eight miles so I sort of guessed my way around the Lake Imaging area. When we were only at 5 coming up Jim Branch I knew that meant we had to add more so we did a little out and back around the Hill Top Loop. When we hit the parking lot we still had a mile to go so it was out and back on Holly Rd. In the end we still came up short, 7.98.

Lake Imaging > Ridgeline > Hickory Mtn. > Buck Forest > Jim Branch > Issac Heath > Locust > Hilltop Loop > Locust > Issac Heath > Jim Branch > Lake Imaging > Holly Rd.

Sunday afternoon I felt like going for a quick little mountain bike ride and after deciding that Laurel > Pilot is not quick or easy decided to just do Black instead. I took the easy way to the top - Clawhammer Rd. Before I even hit the horse stables I realized my legs hurt. So I ate and drank and hammered my way to the top. I started out trying to ride the climb up Black from Buckhorn Gap but fell on one of the switchbacks and figured my best and safest bet was to get off and push. I tried to run but couldn't. The best I could manage was a steady push and then before I knew it was all downhill from here.

276 > 477 > Clawhammer > Black Mtn.

But that was all an eternity ago and not what this is all really about. The Breaking Point. Everyone and everything has one. Yesterday I thought I hit mine as I was doing hill repeats on Hutch Mtn. Rd. In the middle of an impossibly steep double switchback I could have sworn I was going to have to get off and walk. On my road bike. I really thought I'd had it. But I somehow held on and made it out of that hole and back home.

Today I took the dog for a morning run which left me more time for my after work ride but no matter how much I tried to convince myself otherwise of the best I was good for was 25 miles or so. And a flat 25 miles at that. No more doing hill repeats up the steepest hill around, not today anyway. So I made a bee line through the flat and fertile fields to the Mills River Campground. As I pulled into the campground I was simply flying in my big ring, gears all cranked out and letting it rip. I went to drop some gears and slow down but the gears didn't drop. I pulled up to the Fisherman's bridge and spent a few minutes before I found the culprit - my rear derailleur cable had broken at the shifter. I guess after six thousand hard miles it finally hit it's breaking point (and might also explain my shifting problems as of late). I spent another several minutes trying to find the right combination of sticks and slim jim wrappers that would give me any cog other than the smallest. Nothing worked so I did the unthinkable and rode my bike home with only two gears. It took me 45 minutes to get to the campground but only 35 minutes to get home. Must have been all downhill!


  1. Squirrel vs. Fletcher= pick your battles.

    About 10 years ago, a mini-excavator was used on the whole length of Fletcher. This was the first machine work in Pisgah. Can you tell now?


  2. 10 years is a long time, Mike. No, I can't tell now that a machine went down it that long ago. If I had to guess I'd say it was all an old rail/road grade anyway, but that doesn't really matter.... Fletcher Creek is a sweet ass trail, very diverse and a good representative of what Pisgah is all about. Squirrel Gap rocks as well. Everyone is all concerned about Squirrel but oblivious to Fletcher Creek... if it is about picking battles then I have to ask when the battle is going to start? squirrel is flagged and ready to go...

    I use terms like "bulldozed" for hyperbole and dramatic effect. Squirrel is going to change, as it probably should. There are simply too many bikers on it who aren't up for the technical challenge. As a result they are destroying the bench cut and work is needed. So be it....