Day 1 was as previously noted driving from the DC area down towards lovely Asheville, NC. A late start and rain on I-66 and too much soda kept me from making it fully to Asheville this night. I blame the cornucopia of crap available at Sheetz. I'm a sucker for make your own shakes. And coffee drinks. Almost got some great sunset pics just was a bit late and they didn't turn out, but I did get a fewhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif good ones at various stopping points and a few while driving. Not a terrible drive at all. The hotel (my high school job alma matter, Days Inn) kinda blew but at that point I didn't care. I was run down.
Day 1 Photo's HERE!.
Day 2 - Get up, eat a minimal craptacular free breakfast of cereal and head back out. With minimal fuss and muss I make it safely and sane around Asheville around 9 AM and head south to Pisgah Forest and follow my GPS directly to the Davidson Recreation Area/Campground. My home base till Friday. A quick check in and I'm rolling to my new home, spot #103 on Poplar Loop. No generators on this loop! Good thing I left mine at home, oh well no compressor then either to air up mattresses and tyres.
Open the back of the truck up and start unloading. A quick dance of weirdness and I manage to setup the tent again by myself, thanks to El Hefe (Stoner) for warning me that it takes practice. It's technically a 2 person job to setup and is much easier with 4 hands for sure. Get everything snugged down and time to haul in gear.
New camp bed is awesome but takes up ton of room! Wow! Gear does fit nicely underneath though! +1 Setup cooler and cooking area and it's time to be off. A quick change into gear, water in camelback, tires checked, book packed (Off the Beaten Path, Western NC, Pisgah!) and I'm off. Decide to roll from the campground as I'm planning on doing shorter/easier loop of Pressley Gap, 9.3 Miles total from campground entrance.
I blast away and start the climb up 477 towards the Horse Stables towards Clawhammer Rd. At the horse stables I miss that the turn off it hidden in the back of the parking lot and continue about a mile to far up 477. WHOOPS! Book confirms I've done something wrong, back down I go to the horse stables! Wheee, that was fast as hell!
A quick look shows my error and I'm off to grinding again. 1.1 Miles now till the turn off for Maxwell Cove Rd. 3 Miles later I realize, oops another mistake, guess I'll stick with it and end up doing Clawhammer, a 10 miler from the Horse Stables! Jeez this 5-6 mile climb BLOWS! I BLOW! BIKING BLOWS! Argh. Level out and meet a rider that passed me a while back, he's smartly resting. We chat a bit and he points out a few neat areas to check out and says the trail ahead is pretty good but technical.
By technical he must have meant everyone pushes it with it's repetitive foot to two foot high water bars and hairpin turns along with some down trees. UGH. PUSHING BLOWS! And to make things perfect, thats thunder I now hear in the distance. PUSH FASTER DAMN IT!
Eventually I reach the first summit and I've a beautiful view to the north and see the storm is off at the next range. Probably 10-20 miles away. I've got some time, but not a ton. Start riding again, challenging but not impossible. ARGH who put this rock here a nice scramble up about 8 feet of rock face and I finally make the final peak! YAH! Awesome view to south but storm is coming in/getting louder now damn it and I'm on the wrong side of the mountain. Didn't even stop there for pictures, honeshttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.giftly it was a super HAZY day as you can see from the photo's I'll link to below.
Start rolling DOWN. Some serious downs. Time to drop the saddle downs. No QR on the seatpost clamp blows. Tools out, seat lowered. Rumbles in the background - DOWN We GO! Wheee! OH SHIT!!!! Wheee! Maybe FS makes sense here, the other guy had a nice Santa Cruz! Whee! And I'm back on the REAL south side of the mountain heading south, some burly descents thru some very eroded trails. Lots of growth too, my legs are already itchy/stinging. Ugh. Hit a crazy intersection. Book time! AHHH this is Maxwell Cove RD! More Rd/Trail down, WHEE!!!! Gotta really watch your speed. Left on Clawhammer and continue on! Wheee! Just Over 2 hours back to the Horse Pen! That makes me an advanced Pusher! WOW!
And back on down and back to camp. 17 Miles, 2:05 Moving, 3:13 Total Time. 2600 FT estimated climbing. Garmin Connect Link HERE!
And to the creek to rinse of itchy bad stuff, ahh the joys of 55 degree water after crazy hard riding. For me thats epic, 1000 ft in a day is a big days, sometimes in 3 hours at Wake-o-Tink I end with 800 feet. In 20 miles.
An awesome dinner, a couple good beers (Bells Porter and Old Speakeasy IPA!) and I'm sacked out at 9:30 or 10PM. Tomorrow's gonna be another great day!
Day 2 Photo's HERE!