Wrapping Up July

For some reason I want to think we got a break in the rain somewhere in July, but it can’t have been much. I know we never went more than a single day without some amount of precipitation so maybe the fourth week was a case where I just got lucky with a couple hours of breaks in the clouds a few days in a row.

Or maybe I just stopped thinking about it and accepted it as part of daily life.

Nah… I’m sure I bitched about it at the time and forgot.

July Showers – Week 4 (and a half)

7/22: Monday: Birthday Rest Day – Didn’t do a damned thing! And loved it!

7/23 Tuesday: Asheville Running Meetup group – Went to check out a relatively new group of runners, via Meetup.com. The format for a Tuesday evening run is simple. Meet at one of the local breweries, do anywhere from 1 to 6 miles depending on your interest level, then socialize after with a pint or two. This was my first time going, and we met at Asheville Brewing Company downtown, so I rode the bike over instead of driving. The group was somewhere between 15 and 20, a good size, and a roughly even mix of 3 and 5/6 mile groups, a few of us adding the extra mile spur onto the 5. It was a good pace, not too aggressive, hard enough to be a good workout but be able to carry on a conversation. Since it was (the day after) my birthday, I had Julienne meet me after the run and as it turns out, a bunch of friends did too. We hung out at ABC for quite a while and then Julienne and I went for dinner and a little stop at Thirsty Monk for a couple Belgian small pours. Quite a nice evening!

7/24 Wednesday: Rain Out Rest Day – I guess we didn’t get a complete break in the rains, because this was a rare Wednesday when I never made it out for a ride at all.

7/25 Thursday: Trail Patrol Meeting Commute – Pisgah Area SORBA has been working on getting a Trail Safety Patrol organized for oh… what seems like years now. They have already gotten an agreement to patrol in DuPont State Forest but the Pisgah Ranger District has been slower to come on board. Things started happening quickly in mid-July however, and all of a sudden, we had a meeting with the Derek, the head ranger and a handful of other officials from Bent Creek and Pisgah NF law enforcement… and voila! We now are authorized to patrol in Bent Creek. I am soon to be a member of the patrol. More details at http://www.pisgahareasorba.org/2013/08/new-bike-patrol-at-bent-creek-experimental-forest/

7/26 Friday:Knowing that a more complete closure of the Parkway was imminent, and having gotten what appeared to be a break in the rain for a few hours, I decided to do an evening ride up to Craggy Gardens. Just as I passed Craven Gap, a couple contractors trucks came down the road past me. That gave me a sinking feeling that I may be too late. Sure enough, this is what I found at Tanbark Ridge Tunnel…

The closure to bikes and hikers alike is not something to mess with. The fines can be steep and all offenses on Federal land are potentially jailable if they decide to throw the book at you. I have crossed these barriers before, but much higher up and only at times when I’m nearly 100% certain nobody is working at the site. This one is much closer down towards Asheville and the odds of getting caught poaching by the Parkway officers is quite a bit higher. So instead I turned around and headed back down, but overshot the spot where I access the Parkway near Folk Art Center and continued in the other direction. As it turns out I was riding straight into the next storm cell and once again got soaked to the bone.

7/27 Saturday: Ride #1: BRP Mt. Pisgah – With the Parkway closed at Tanbark Ridge and Craggy Gardens inaccessible, I headed out the other direction and rode up to Mt. Pisgah instead. Focused more on the riding and less on the photos, but did stop a couple times to get some shots of interesting clouds. Managed to get away with a full ride and no rain this time.

Ride #2: It was another double ride Saturday. After getting back from Mt. Pisgah I cleaned up then hopped on the Tricross to ride into town where a friend was having a housewarming party. It just happened to be Bele Chere weekend, a big ol’ mess in downtown Asheville, but fortunately my friend lives just far enough outside downtown that I avoided the worst of it.

7/28 Sunday: PMBA Guide Tour @ Mills River/Trace Ridge – did my second stint as a tour guide, this time with Patrick and a couple guys from Pennsylvania. We had some wet trail conditions but they had a pretty good time. Covered about 14 miles. After all my riding the previous day, it was plenty!

7/29 Monday: BRP Mt. Pisgah – Once more up to Mt. Pisgah. I had a sneaking suspicion that there was going to be a really cool sunset, so I timed the ride to get to one of my favorite spots just before the sun got low on the horizon. There was a guy standing there with a tripod and camera, also waiting. I pedaled on up another mile or so to scout a better location and decided to come on back down. We chatted a bit and then shot away as indeed the sunset was pretty good. After the colors started to fade, instead of heading back down I fired up my helmet light and went on up to Mt. Pisgah. I got there too late to stop at the General Store, but the gift shop in the Inn’s restaurant was still open so I grabbed a candy bar there and then began the moonlight descent down towards home. Will post the photos in a separate gallery.

7/30 Tuesday: A repeat of the previous Tuesday, I again rode over to ABC to do the group run with the Asheville Runners Meetup.

7/31 Wednesday: Another Wednesday, another rainout. Ah well, I needed a break anyway.