A New Kind of Bent Creek Week

When living in Bent Creek Neighborhood, directly adjacent to trails, it becomes very easy to fall into a pattern of simply going out the door every day and hopping on said trails, either by bike or on foot. That’s a great asset to have, but does tend to become rather limiting over time. For the first few weeks in the new place I looked around for alternatives, explored my new surrounding areas, and did a lot more road riding than mountain biking.

And then in mid-July I went right back to going to Bent Creek nearly every day.

Not on purpose really… it just worked out that way. Although I will continue to explore new areas and there are only so many options (without burning up fossil fuels) and what works, works.

It just takes a lot longer to get to a trail.

July Showers – Week 3

7/15 Monday: Bent Creek Out and Back 1 of 3 – If I’m reading the ride data correctly, this was the first time since moving that I rode the mountain bike all the way from home, did a loop in Bent Creek, and then rode all the way back home. And from what the GPS file is showing, I actually got to ride some trails! Weird.

7/16 Tuesday: Rest Day

7/17 Wednesday: Bent Creek Out and Back 2 of 3 – For the second time in a row (not counting rest day) I hopped on the Stumpy and rode over to Bent Creek. It’s funny how sometimes I can’t remember a ride after a month or more and trying to play catch up, but then I look at the GPS file and see where I rode and it triggers a memory of nearly the entire ride. This one was quite unusual. Our Wednesday Middle Rim ride was cancelled but then I decided to ride anyway and Tom said he’d join me. Joe joined as well. What was unique about it was that I got to the meeting point much earlier than I intended and then rode back and forth along the Hard Times gravel road three or four times. All that overlap shows up on the GPS track. Anyway.. it appears that even thought the ride was initially rained out, we rode trail anyway. I’m showing that we went up Homestead/Deerfield/Pinetree, did the Explorer loop, then came back down lower Pine Tree. Which makes me wonder…. why did the ride get cancelled in the first place? Who knows.

7/18 Thursday: Bent Creek Out and Back 3 of 3 – Third time in a row and third in four days, this time I hopped on the Tricross and rode out for the Thursday run with Danny, Jane and the rest of the Jus’ Running group. I remember this one clearly (again with the aid of the GPS track) because I started out way too strong, running ahead of the group on the Explorer trail and then got my ass kicked trying to run up to South Ridge Rd. via Chestnut Cove. Damn that’s a hard climb! I did a bit better on South Ridge, but it was becoming apparent that my shoes were starting to wear out on me, even though they only had about 150 miles on them. As a general rule of thumb, running shoes are good for about 300 miles and I tend to push mine up to more like 400. Trail shoes however… there’s a lot of variability to running surfaces so I guess it just depends.

7/19 Friday: Biltmore Ride – Took a spin around the Biltmore Estate. My intention was to ride the loop, stop for a root beer float, then head on up into downtown. I spent some time taking photos in the pools of the Italian Garden…

I apparently spent just a bit too much time there, because just after I resumed riding, the skies opened up with a heavy downpour as I was riding down past the Bass Pond. I did get this cool photo out of it before I got completely soaked to the bone…

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Oddly, when I rode just two miles further over to Antler Hill Village to get my float, there were people out on the central lawn listening to the Friday evening jazz music as if it hadn’t rained at all. Weird.

7/20 Saturday:

Ride #1: Mt. Mitchell with Jon – For the first time in quite a while I rode up to Mt. Mitchell. This time I took Jon with me, who had never done the road climb before. We met at City Bakery and started out in the late AM and went up to the Parkway via Elk Mountain Rd. We had a blast riding up and a blast riding down. That’s when I discovered something odd though… Jon totally sucks going downhill. I was hitting speeds nearly 10 mph faster than he was. Yeah, he’s a skinny little guy but we gotta work on those descending skills!

Earlier in the week, a big topic of conversation centered around a crack that had formed in a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway, forcing an immediate road closure. Turns out that a Park Ranger had discovered the crack the same day I rode up to Craggy Gardens with Vince and Todd, literally a few hours after we had descended thru. The crack appears narrow, but is four feet deep, signaling that a very large mass of land had started to sheer off due to all the heavy rains. We’ve had mud slides, bridges washed out, and all kinds of flooding problems for weeks. This particular bit of news became a hot topic as hundreds of people started hiking and biking up the closed section of parkway from Bull Gap to the Tanbark Ridge Tunnel. It’s no surprise… this is a very popular one mile section of parkway when the roads are closed in winter. Because of the tunnel and a nearby cascades, it’s a perfect casual and interesting hike for families, dog walkers, etc. Jon and I stopped a bit along the way up to take some photos…

Ride #2: After a full day in the saddle going up to Mt. Mitchell, one would normally take a break, eat a meal, take a nap… anything but do more riding. But I had a party to go to and I wasn’t about to drive. So I hopped on the Tricross and rode what may be the flattest ride I’ve ever done in Asheville. Around the city to the south along the Swannanoah and French Broad rivers to a little riverside joint called The Bywater. A group of friends who all have July birthdays were gathering to celebrate what has become known as Crabstravaganza. I’m one of the crabs… July 22nd.

7/21 Sunday: Rest Day – And well earned I might add. Although it wasn’t completely idle. Julienne and I spent the day with not just one but two friends who have July 21st birthdays. We went Ziplining for my friend Alex’s birthday, and then to a most excellent dinner party for my friend Otis. And my birthday was coming up in just a few hours…