24 May 2012

Oh Boy!

Iron Mtn 100K
Registration: officially submitted.
Girlfriends: unabashedly pressured.
Attitude: super stoked.

I was sold on this race when the indomitable Cissy Fowler told me that last year the course made her decide to name her first child "Ridge". Talk about a glowing review!

14 May 2012

Striking a Chord

i'm not a huge fan of this song but the lyrics are positively uncanny.

11 May 2012

Night Ride

I've been having a trying time with the bicycle lately. With not a single race looming, I have no motivation to get faster and so must settle for watching all my riding companions power away from me up every hill. I haven't made any improvements in descending for as long as I can remember. I can't seem to stay upright for love nor money (and Dan delights in reminding me of it). Sometimes I forget why I do this, why I pursue this two-wheeled passion.

Then the other day a posse of us went off after work to partake of trails a bit off the beaten track. After ogling the brilliant green sweep of forest below us and the indigo peaks that spread out as far as we could see, we plunged down the mountain on flowy, leafy trails studded with massive boulders and slender staircases. In a last minute "can't hurt" decision I'd tossed my light into the pack and was very glad of it, because of course the drive out there took much longer than anticipated. We rode just on the cusp of night and I could feel my pupils expanding, trying to absorb every bit of available light in the darkening rhodo tunnels. I was delighted by how long we played the Jedi game but when logs began emerging unseen from the leaves it was a relief to stop and strap on lights, and the blazing fast choss road that followed was none too forgiving even with vision. Then we hit loops and switchbacks in quick succession through a pine needle forest, ducking trees and startling toads, crossing our fingers that our long-ago-charged batteries wouldn't give out. Too soon we emerged on the road under a slight drizzle, the much-heralded supermoon obscured by fog.

Oh yeah, I thought as we piled into the pick-up and I got lost in the reverie brought on by an excellent ride. This is why. 

03 May 2012

Destination Spot

Brevard, perhaps a little slow on the uptake, has abruptly and zealously embraced the title of cycling capital of the south. Goaded on by the new guard, our town is investing in trails and infrastructure, and advertising to the young, smelly fat tire set, and opening its streets to hundreds of spandexed individuals.

I've spent several hours now at the Bracken Mountain project, and the last time I was there, running through the verdant bowls and along azalea-dotted brook beds, I realized this magnificent trick that's been played on the city of Brevard. Bracken Mountain isn't really a tourist draw, a revenue bringer, an easy connector to the forest proper. Nope, it's just another plaything for the locals, a stand-alone loop perfect for after work rides, one more feature we can brag about to those unlucky enough to only visit.

Kind of unrelated but I LOVE this shot! 
Pic courtesy of Eddie Clark and bright pink shirt courtesy of Wes Dickson  
The publicity provided by Bike Mag has been instant, unexpected, a gamechanger. The B&B where I work has seen a tenfold increase in mountain bikers, droves of them flocking here in their Subarus and Jettas packed to bursting with chamois, chain lube, and energy drinks.

And in the grand tradition started by California and Colorado, with bikes inevitably comes beer. It seems that every week the town is abuzz after another brewery's announcement; first it was Sierra Nevada, then New Belgium, then closer to home Brevard Brewing Co opened its doors (to enthusiastic local fanfare) and, not to be outdone, Oskar Blues will be on Main Street by December. We had the chance to ride with the friendly and talented Oskar Blues boys and they were suitably enamored with the scope and variety (and greenness!) of our trails.

Try the Pilsner.
Pic courtesy of Meyer Photography
Truly it boggles the mind. Hops! Malt! Jobs!! In a perfect world, I'll go out to play in the west for a while and return at precisely the right time to land a plum post in the beer business. Here's hoping.

All this hubbub brings into focus (yet again) my visceral love for this little slice of NC. It's OK though, because I want to fall in love with somewhere new, with new people and new coffee shops and new mountains. I want to accumulate more of those moments where you stop, look around, and realize nothing could be more perfect. Sure, I encounter them on top of Coontree, and riding up to the bar at dusk, and sitting in the bike shop laughing so hard I'm crying, but there's a world full of moments like that. I want to gather up as many as possible while I have the mobility and flexibility to do it.