Thursday, February 28, 2008

Snow day = volunteer day...

Well, the weather doesn't really know what to do. Yesterday was nasty, snowy up in Barntown so I chose to focus energy on some work for PAS. I spent my day hiking around on Green's Lick getting the different sections flagged and working on wrapping my head around it. I believe I can happily say my head is wrapped. Now it is just a matter of finalizing the budget and making sure all the holes are filled in as far as my volunteers go. It will be important to get this stuff done before May as I will probably be out of town the whole month before the workday. Below are some photos from the trail, I hope you all enjoy.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

PAS Laurel Mountain Workday

What a great day. We all (28 of us) met up at the Yellow Gap area to start some dirty, dirty on Laurel Mountain. The report was about 30 trees down and a few trail "events". It was my joy to work on one such "event". Below is a great picture of Valerie Naylor getting ready for war. The group in front of her car is everyone amassing for the workday and Mike Brown and Mark Almond getting the work plan together.

I will tell you when you have a great turn out for a workday like this, you get a lot accomplished and also have time to do some fun stuff along the way. Our main goal was to resolve the issue presented when a large Chestnut oak took a bit of trail with it as it fell. I had the idea of cutting the stump low and trying to wench it back into place, but as we arrived I knew that probably wouldn't work. As is always my way we gave it a shot first then moved on to the more labor intensive, and turns out more fun job of extracting rock and creating a retaining wall and fill slope to cross the root ball disaster.

With a few come-alongs and an immense amount of manpower we wrestled boulders into place. The crew was a rowdy savage bunch, perfect for this kind of work. the majority of the stones moved weighed close to a ton, literally 2,000 pounds. The stones seemed to fall into place in a destined sort of way they dropped out of the root ball and almost in to the perfect place.

The final picture, is the final product. Next time you are on Laurel Check it out. This was no small feat, but the joy is the fact that in a few years it will mearly be a part of the Laurel Mountain experience, assimilated into the joy and pleasure that this trail can give you. Props to Mark and Mike, great job guys.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A little slice of heaven...

Today was fantastic, a little solo road ride to help clear out the system. I climbed from here up the parkway to here. It was a Fred killer. I love the rides on nice days where the whole goal is to crush a climb, you settle into a nice rhythm, then you spot one up in the distance and the chase begins. Today's total 13. 8 on the climb 5 on the descent. It was a good day. I really enjoy this ride in the spring, the parkway is closed and you have limbs and debris to contend with, it makes road riding interesting.

Tonight it is off to the Bike Love party at the wedge, then tomorrow, a workday on Laurel and I get to run a saw all day. What a treat.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bridging the gap.....

Another captivating picture of the project in Barntown. The place is amazing; rock cliffs, long range views, beautiful forest and a great project. The above photo is of the section George, the machine operator, is currently working on. He came to a stop here and is going to have to come around from the other side, however, we may still have to do a bit of hand work to connect the two pieces. Below is "the rootball bridge".

Okay, the story of "the root ball bridge". Once upon a time, a half dozen large trees were growing bigger than their terrain would allow and along came the big bad wind. Perhaps you have seen photos of the gaggle of trees that this bridge is a part of. The set-up is a crazy technical rock section leading to a root ball from a 24" DBH poplar, then you dive directly into a 36" DBH red oak (the one the bridge is connected to) and finally through the crown of another red oak. Looking at the bridge to your right is another three to five trees caught up in the fight and to your left, in a precarious position, are the two root balls for the red oaks.

You may look at this image and ask, "why not just cut out the tree?". Well, the answer is above you. If I were to remove the section of oak trunk that is in the trail, I would instead have a huge root ball falling into the trail to contend with. So this is a bit of an experiment. (Note: I'm not sure if this is even ridable yet) The build involves cutting a notch out of the red oak and dovetailing a joint between it and the honey locust stringers. Yeah a dove tail joint, looks pretty cool, I want to experiment a bit more and dial in my touch with the saw, but this is how to make some cool stuff. The finishing touch is a tread made of sections of 8" red oak split with an ax and mallet. They last a long time as long as there is no ground contact.

I hope to get a few photos of the ride attempts and dialing-in next week. Wish me luck, it is a super sketch move.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Today was great. Other than the below freezing temps and near zero wind chill. Sally and I punched through about 400 feet of great bench in only a few hours. We kept moving fast because otherwise we were frozen. Just basic cutting today I will shoot some photos tomorrow if it is good light in the morning.

Yesterday was fairly good up there as well, the best part of my day was certainly the road ride I had in the morning what a great way to start my week. Here are photos of the trail we worked over last Friday and hopefully I will get some photos up from todays work in the next couple of days. Enjoy.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Life really can be wonderful.....

Today I sit and try to fight the urge to go back to bed. The last two days have been truly stupendous. Friday I worked up in Barntown with Sally and we moved along fairly well. Then, I came back to town and did an old-school style road ride with Andy and Travis. We pedaled from Biltmore Forest along the Parkway up past the first tunnel, then made a downtown parade lap. Town and life was good at that point.

Yesterday things got even better. The Most Horrible Thing Ever was going on and a bunch of folks (16 in total) decided it made a good excuse to pedal in the woods and sit around a camp fire to chill. Eric and Erinna are truly amazing people that I believe are making the Asheville riding scene better through competition. Most towns and a typical XC race is only going to make people fast for about two hours. Well, Pisgah doesn't really have two hour rides. We move toward the three and four scale as a quick day and can be out upwards of seven or eight hours in a ride. Throw E&E's event into the mix and you have people that are now punishingly fast for four to six hours and can healthily cruise all day (ten hours literally). Thanks guys Pisgah Productions rules.

Okay, the ride. We left the White Pines campground with a huge crew and socially meandered up Avery's to the connector over to Clawhammer. From there the group split. I wanted to ride with my PMBAR team mate on Black Mountain as he had never really done it. We split off with Kyley (local ripper chick) and her roommate Mike (also ripper) they will certainly create "the house that fast built". The plan originally was to go down Black and hit Trace or Sycamore and keep cruising, but they were out of water and my tire had decided to imitate a sponge in the air department. The rest of the group went towards Bennett with a few bailing onto Avery's. We rocked down Black Mountain (one of the best for sure) and I snagged a picture mid hike-a-bike. In Pisgah seems you ain't bike'n less'n ya hikin'. So we popped out at the bottom of Black and headed back over to the camp ground to see how the event was coming along. Things were getting interesting so Van and I slipped out for a bite of "The" Chapala.

Upon our return we were ready to do some more pedaling so with a very small amount of coxing, Van, Gordy, Sissy, and I all spun around North Slope. THAT TRAIL ROOOCCCKKKKSS. The whole time it pitched just enough down that I kept thinking "I can go faster" and pedaled and flowed in ways I haven't in a long long time. I am becoming a good dancer again and I have a lot to acredit to my partner...Salsa Ala Carte. Pick your poison and she certainly has been delivering. This bike rips.

We did our cruise and the rolled back and changed clothes to head back into town after saying our goodbyes. Today things are chill, it is raining and life feels like it steamrolled me a bit. So maybe some rollers and a good bit of stretching to sooth the gremlins, then it is on with the work week. I hope everyone got to smile as much as I did this weekend.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentines Day...

Okay, now that I have taken care of that, a little update time.

Tuesday was awesome, I have begun working up in Barntown with my friend Sally, trying to really get ahead on all of the building I have to get done. It would be great to knock the project out by the end of the month, but it looks like it will take a little longer.

Then, yesterday I worked on a bunch of stuff for the club and worked on the brochures for B4 Consulting and Construction. Check it out. One is the outside, the other is the inside.

Today, it is back up to Barntown, I will be working on getting the bridge over the tree taken care of today, pictures to follow hopefully tonight.

Monday, February 11, 2008

In honor of Paris Mountain

Paris Mountain State Park just north of Greenville, SC is arguably where all this stuff I do now came from. It was the best year of my life. Fast-forward 3 and a half years to now and a revisit. I went down to Greenville this morning to meet up with my old boss and the new greenways coordinator for Greenville County, Ty Houck. Ty is an awesome guy and a real asset to the local outdoors community. We met over some breakfast this morning, then I was hoping to run into a few other people, but they were all tied up with business and couldn't break away. Oh, well it let me go hang out with my baby. Paris - not Hilton - Mountain. The above photo is only a small sample of what lays on the surface of an amazing area.

This one is of a bridge Adam Winton and I built around the Lake Placid trail. A curvilinear master piece dubbed "Flow". It had a 36" diameter pine tree fall across it with no ill effect, that is bomber.

This one is of a horseshoe bend in a road to trail conversion we did leading 150 volunteers. What a day, we knocked out a mile and a half in four hours. That is still one of the most amazing transformations I have ever seen. This little hand cut bench horseshoe is some of the only real single-track on the trail, but certainly helps to set a more intimate tone than the old 20 plus foot wide roadbed.

Below are two great examples of optional technical features. The log was built after I left, but the rock-drop was constructed with the help of a few local groms, who have since moved off to college and some sweet trail of their own.

Seeing an old friend again was a great way to spend the afternoon. I look forward to getting a bike back down there in a few weeks and spinning around on the dirt again. If you have a chance it is a highly recommended adventure.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Like summer, but not

Today was about as close as you can come to summer in WNC without the hot weather. I met up with about ten other folks and some K9's on the loose too, and rode from the Hatchery up to Gumstand. Then, we dropped a bit, climbed a bit, and ended up at Daniel Ridge; this is possibly one of my favorite stretches of trail out there. It is rocky, flowy, rhythm, that you can't help but dance to. Once back on the gravel we rolled back up to Long Branch and managed to train the trail, ripping inches off each others wheels and really unleashing the fun of dirt surfing. I didn't take any photos this weekend, sorry. But, I do have a video from the sir-bikes-alot crew so you can get your Monday fix of trail love.

Yesterday was just as good. 2.5 or so in BC did a little saw work and some nice chill cruising.

Now the workweek begins and life takes hold. Being back on the bike this weekend did feel really good though.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Photo Montage to end the week.

Not really in the mood to talk too much. Enjoy the photos. Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Mind a skatter....

Today the mind isn't coming together very well. I have so much on it, things are jumbling, I think it is time to start pedaling again. I took this week off from the bike in hopes the body would build back up a bit. But, now I am craving the opening that a good ride brings. Perhaps this afternoon a good stretch then, tomorrow a pedal on the Parkway on the way back from Barntown.

Well, these are photos from yesterday, not too much to report, just punching ahead. One of the photos is of the beauty of 12" bench, a true tiny ribbon of trail that takes concentration and dedication to stay attached to. This project is where this kind of trail can shine. Low use no user conflict. Also, easy to get to so it is easier to maintain. The rest of this month will be heavily laden with these types of photos. The project may finish in February, but it will probably creep into March. Then, I get to do the I9 pumptrack and I may do a buddy's backyard as well.

Enjoy the photos and think about the flow.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Good Times, Yeah Good Times

We will begin this mornings conversation with Icycle. Saturday, Ryan Taylor and I took a casual roll-out and cruised up to Fontana Village for the Icycle. I have not been to Fontana since I was still a minor. This is my favorite race location of all time. I loved it as a kid and I still do, not that I am not a kid anymore, just that I still love this place. Anyhow, the conditions for the races couldn't have been better. I went without a bike in hopes I would begin feeling more jazzed and pumped on rolling fast. Lately the body has not been happy, so I am taking some time off and will get back on it later this week. Icycle helped.

When RT and I arrived it was so cool to see all the people that are from this area, that truly love riding bikes. This isn't a run of the mill kind of race, this is cult. You don't really see many beginners in the race, it is more of a salty dog winter reunion. RT and I said our hellos then rolled up to the top of the DH course to take a look. Everyone had full expectation that with all the freeze-thaw and rain the course would be stupid muddy, but the top of the course was, dare I say, PERFECT.

The day progressed into me running shuttles, talking smack at my friends, and generally having a great time. I only snapped a handful of photos as I couldn't really be bothered to spend much time behind the lens. Ryan cranked out 3rd in the DH right behind Chris "Herndog" and Garret from Morewood. (This is Garret in the photo getting styley on a hip). It is important to note just how good our local riders are. RT finished shortly behind the US duel slalom champ and the South African DH champ, generally kinda fast guys. After the race we cruised back into town at around 2 am, yeah, Icycle has a great scene. Thanks Jay and Wes.

Then, Sunday brought these before and after shots. Ryan had been helping me up at Barntown and had spotted this sweet rock with a natural skinny across the top. We spent the better part of a few hours wrestling it into place. The original plan had been, the rock skinny and then a bridge across the rock slab that is behind it, but as the afternoon progressed we found more and more rock creating a retaining wall past the rock skinny. I will show some more pictures once it is really done.

Today is still up in the air according to weather. It may be spent heavily in Bent Creek working on the Green's Lick work plan in the rain. Tomorrow, back up to Barntown to do some work.

Friday, February 1, 2008

A little water works...

Yesterday was pretty good, just went up to Barntown for a few hours and did some chainsaw work, but my saw needs some serious love. So I headed back into town and went out to Bent Creek to start working on a work plan for Deerfield Loop. There is one wet spot that needs some love and yet keep the tech aspect. So a plan is developing for that one. Here is a picture.

Today has been mostly sitting around the office getting the schedule figured out for this spring. Tomorrow I will head up to Fontana with RT to watch the Icycle then we are going to head up to Barntown for Sunday. All in all should be a great weekend.