The dirt Derby
3/17 A very rousing St. Patrick's Day reveling in an annual classic and some green beers. It was good to be back "in the zone" for just a little bit. Saturday's off-road race loop was shortened due the wet conditions from the previous days rain. The track held up well with a soft mulch base providing traction with plenty enough bite in the corners. The bike was my rocket and I just held on. A couple of pro rider to keep thing in perspective, some fast locals, along with those just out to enjoy the trails, made up the peleton of about thirty riders.
A sunless, cold, damp return to winter was one tough nut to bust for some. The mechanics of touring to the race start, one wants to hang back a bit and keep warm on the bike, as opposed to getting there in a big hurry and standing around and shivering to get warm. The key thing was to take it easy during the prelude and I am all about easy.
The fix is in.
As in having enough of that beast for a while. Really it wasn't that bad. Got a lot of comments about the bike. That's part of the Y? I would have to admit. Being genuinely addressed as Mister Toughman, or a favorite from the day - Is that a single speed or a fixed gear? I got passed by a lot of people on the paved downhills while I tried with all my mite to spin 32:16 upwards to over 23mph, but what goes around comes around - usually on the way back up.
3/18 Coolville Cool Down
Around 30 miles total on the road bike that included a 5 mile per lap gravel track, advertised as the cream of the crop and living up to the expectations. Two steep climbs and sketchy descents per lap kept it interesting. I pulled off a classic rock star from the start up the biggest climb pacing Craig Watson along with pro dogs Brian Matter and Tristan Schouten. I held on for about 15 seconds after the crest and held my position till the end. Later Tristan reported that he had a maximum power output of nearly 900 watts. Well, your welcome - I guess.
racing with my head in the white fluffy clouds - lap 2
parading to the venue
10 days ago the 10 day forecast was nothing but those little yellow shining icons that sometimes corresponds with sunny days. It's now 40 degrees and 100% humidity in the form of an all day rain, with the prospect of just about the same for Saturday. Cool, I wasn't really ready for a wardrobe change, it looks like I will get some more use from my snazzy little cycling jacket that I bought this winter.
I really don't know what to expect, but I am determined to ride a fixed gear for about 50 miles at this Saturday's festivities in Athens Ohio. Fifty miles will the longest distance that I have covered on this bike at one seating. Sometimes this bike does magically things and other times it just kicks my butt. Maybe it will be butt kicking magic. Any way, hopefully there will be plenty of kind folks to revel in my misery and to witness the magic. It should be no sweat.
3/5 Found myself in Athens Ohio and had a chance to check out the conditions and see what was in store for the upcoming Gravel Rouser. Super secret recon under the cover of a Monday ride. Had a chance to see with my own eyes what was going down and me thinks it needs to be stepped up a notch or two just to hang with one certain ride committee member. It looks to be quite a tussle!
A sampling of Athens trailage - Finger Rock 4.9MB movie
and because outtakes are always fun - blooper 5.8MB movie
I am the Bike Dork
This betty is right off the beaten track - Black Mountain, the highest point in Kentucky, from Cumberland up route 160 to the mountain pass, then on up on Black Mountain Road for the "Doubles" - two head walls that will keep a head a hanging as to miss the ride-by of the giant orb (FFA enflight radar). Very uncharacteristic riding for Eastern KY, no coal trucks and a touristy revitalized area with a coal museum, low speed limits, and some short sections of rail trails. Nothing spectacular at the top, just a slab of concrete with a westerly view. Interesting enough there are proposals in place to strip mine this particular area, and around these parts Coal is King.
These are for Jay ...
3/4 Barboursville Park 5.5MB movie
3/4 Barboursville Park 7.5MB movie
3/4 Winding a line through an Osage grove. Covering some new ground in Barboursville Park.
2/23 Welcome to Whitesburg
Another day on the road, taking advantage of the "5" o'clock bolt on the bike from the last call of the day. A fine day on the j o b with 7 hours driving and almost and hour on task, but the priority of the day was to get on the bike. One climb to the top to enjoy the nature before the back track down. A short (1:20) ride with high payoff staying ahead of the traffic on the curvy descent.
I checked the log book at the start of the trail - 34 registered trail users in the past 4 months. If those 2 grouches would get out and see what was at their back door, maybe they wouldn't be so grouchy.
2/20 Fat Tuesday; Heading South to find some prime conditions, 45 degrees and some land not saturated with all the white stuff that was starting to get a little bit old. The Pine Mountain Trail on VA's Southern slope provides a good hour of climbing from Payne Gap till it finally tops out just before the trail peters out. A nice warm-up on Kentucky's country music highway leads to the stairway that starts the progression upward and along the ridge. Sweet swept bench cuts through rhodo' thickets and ridge top cliff lines till you reach Scuttlehole Gap, where the trail just fizzles to an end. One of four out and back trail section on top of Pine Mountain's 180 mile ridge.
dry leaves on the PMT!
Jenkins Hollow; Wes Rhoads on one of the longest and coldest rides of a lifetime. Let's hope it's not the last!
Excitement, Adventure, and Unusually Wild Things
2/19 I was all excited that Saturday's group ride would roll from the house and pick up a total of five rider for parts of the days ride. I dropped my car off on Friday and rode the road back to the Heights so that Saturday's ride was a one way point to point on the Kanawha Trace. The weather on Saturday seen more snow than was predicted on top of what was left in the secluded hollows along the Trace. I never thought there would be so much left on the ground, it turned out to be quite an adventure. The trails where fun but require quite a bit of effort to "ride light" on top of the crusty snow or a bit more effort to crush through it. An unusually wild couple of inches of solid ice on the gravel road sections seen everybody biting the ice hard at least once. As it states in the Hitchhiker's Guide - DON'T PANIC, all we had to do was make the 30 or so miles to the CRV (before it got towed). Apparently what I thought was legal parking beside a county road is thought to be private property by a certain land owner. The Putman County police's phone call to my home gave my wife quite the scare. Anyway the car was intact where it was left and everybody made it home in just a little bit more than the projected "solid 4 hour" ride time frame (5.5 hours). Ron made it out to partake in his first group ride in quite some time. His take on the day can be found right here
Bear Hollow; AHole real world testing the 2X single speed
The crew; Wes, JT, and 'Hole hiking Big Cabell
The custom Lynskey; just North of the Mason County line
2/19 Baby its cold out, but it is Winter, so deal with it. Times like these that makes me fast. Not ante faster than my normal plodding self but comparatively faster than those ski birds and faster than those that veg out thru most of the season. For just a little bit, then the time changes and it warms up and everybody and their brother is passing me by. It is no bother. I have lost the fascination with speed. Being an old Vet racer may have something to do with that. Racing for over ten years also may be a factor. But I suffered a lapse in a self imposed metal block this week , as of this year I can no longer be considered an old Vet Expert - I am a young Master. Shit. Ignorance is bliss and I like to be blissful. So now I ponder what it would be like to go for the fast old manpoints. Yeh. Ramp up on the WVMBA Series all hardcore again, try to dethrone that Marcus fellow a year before some of the other old Vets get young again. Or are they already? Already I yearn for the bliss, just go ride and see where I end up, whether it is how fast, how far, how long, how easy, or at all. It's really not about other people, that is something I cannot control. So, I will try and focus and control myself. Oh! by the way another Master candidate by the name of Gunnar something becomes eligible this year as well. Oh well.
2/12 on the river trail at one of the barer spots. Prime Winter track
One has to stick with it - a lot like the snow that is just hanging on for what seems like forever. At least for around these parts. I am not complaining, I have made the transition to the colder conditions and seem to have it down to a seasonal science. But sometimes it seems like it takes more time prepping to ride outside in the Winter than some of the rides themselves. One other choice is to hit the trainer, not that there is anything wrong with that but I have to have a flaming case of cabin fever before I even think about dragging out the rollers. Yet a consistent program this time of year is crucial, and you keep on keepin' on, making the small circles taht make the bigger circles.
It was god to see so many taking advantage of the snowy conditions in the park. Plenty of sledders, boarders, and even a lone cross country ski track around Lake William. A couple of tracks are now on the river trail, packing powder may see ideal conditions for an ice crit by Saturday ? ...
2/3 & 4 Superbowl Weekend Harrisonburg VA - From the top; Saturday climbing Dowells with Nate and Mike, Super Bowl ride along FR85 with top style honors for the homemade shoe covers, The hot spot on Flagpole, & Random rider off of Meadow Knob.
This annual Winter pilgrimage is a 50 mile MTB ride from downtown, most of it road riding with one big climb to 4200 feet on Flagpole Knob. The sketch is high along the ridge out past Meadow and Pond and the descent is a white knuckling, arm pumping experience (good for motivating on the free weights). Not once all weekend did someone ask me "why I wanted to ride in weather like this". Those 100 orso peoples that made all or part of the ride may not have known the answer, but a least no one asked the question. Wow - to be normal for a bit...
1/31 Bad Branch Falls, Whitesburg KY; A short hike on the lunch "hour" to check out the Winter show out the falls. The sounds of the water with randomly thunderous crashes from the ice breaking away, led to a bit of a leery feel but really help to lift the spirit on a work day.
1/30 The trails a firming up in the deep freeze - finally. Trail reports from B'ville Park are to "get it while you can". Laying down the fresh track is always exciting and some shelter from the cold wind in the woods can make sub freezing temps bearable.
I need more of them. Fixed on Friday. 50 mile 4 hour road ride on Saturday and a single speed coaster on Sunday. My legs had the most surprises in store for me on Saturday. I try not to be a bike hater, but I do have a tendency to neglect the road bike. Time to start making some bigger circles and finding those ever dwindling stretches of dirt roads. The Alps of Lincoln County are calling...
1/28 Ahole takes a picture of his bike on the KT. Thanks for the loaner so I could start the ride and coast! apparently fixies do take some maintenance
1/27 Taking it on the road in Ohio
this has been floating around in my head...
simply put moto-vate me
Get me that. What gets you up and out the door to ride your bike? Blue bird skies on frozen hard pack is an easy motivator. What about when it is some of the worst conditions possible such as freezing rain and slush at around 35 degrees? There was nobody to hook up with on a day like that, so it wasn't like I was blowing off the planned group ride. But later in the day Jeremiah provided my muse to get out and brave the elements. That would be Jeremiah Johnson, all he wanted was to be a mountain man. If Robert Redford can go face down into the storm then it should be a breeze with Gore-Tex. Include some fresh words on the magic of the way of the fixed cog by t he man working on his doctorate of curmudgeonry (Tomi Millar), and I was out into the day on the fixed geared mountain bike. A less than epic ride but discovering the control of the bike in slick stuff, surfing the sludge and being at one with my surroundings instead of dreading them - well it was something. I will let you decide what that something may be.
So whether you get your inspirations from some old movie, a computer screen, or any other manner, for that fact - get inspired and keep inspired.
1/7 Glady, WV; I always knew there was something good out that road from Alpena. Sunday's WVMBA meeting at the new president's house at Timberline was an opportunity to find out. Didn't start early enough to make it down the West Fork Rail Trail as far as I wanted, but taking the first trail I came to was perfect. Me and the rail trail was soft, squishy and slow. A stout headwind was blowing and the cold rain that was on the way would surely get me wet. High Falls Trail led up thru some huge old growth Hemlock and I got to the falls right at my cut off time for the out and back. I guess one can take a train to and from the falls from somewhere, but apparently it wasn't running that day. Very best solo exploring rocky rooty all new stuff ride of the year by far.
I would need what these guys got before the end of the ride ...
... A trail runs through it ...
if you can't feel the luv, can you see it?
As you can see things look a little different. Cleaning things up with the new year and going for a more efficient streamlined look. Everything that was bike bFAT can still be found in the archives at the link above. We will just have to wait and see what the final format will be. By eliminating the right cell, in theory can cut my workload by 30%. And you won' t have to read some lame Quip of the Month.
Beech Fork Association of Trails
Barboursville's Fun Awesome Trails
bFAT is an informal group of riders who appreciate the land and ride for a healthy well being.
Beech Fork is mostly a single track trail that follows around the lake leading into a combination of creek bed, hill climb, and fast downhill back to the lake. Barboursville's Park has some nice runs from the top with numerous scenic overlooks from the sheer cliffs and steep drops. The flat single track that follows the river and comes out behind the lake - is where the real fun can begin or end. Click on the link at top of page - above (right or left) to see a map! The Kanawha Trace and Adahi Trails are 32 mile and 17 mile multi user trails crossing over private land. Check with the Tri-State Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America for trail information and registration.
bFAT email groupo<----click here Become a part of an e-group forum that will let all subscribers communicate (free!). Send an e-mail with the word "join" in the subject or body and you'll get hooked up with other riders, to do fun group rides, get trail info and conditions, technical advice, etc.
for more info Michael Boyes