18 April, 2011

Springtime in Pisgah

Spring has brought forth its typical spread of wet weather. As it always seems to go in this land of the lush, the rain places itself nicely between the weekends, allowing us all to get outside and see how Friday's torrent has changed our landscape.

The on and off deluge that started Friday afternoon, extended into Saturday and threatened our riding plans. Wanting to DO something, I got up early and went to CrossFit. I believe this is this blogs introduction to CrossFit, something I've been doing since last September. It started as a Steve House inspired way to train for the climbing in Ecuador. Its continued beyond that as a way to train anaerobically, put on some lean muscle, work on flexibility, and stay in touch with my coaches on nutrition and stress management. CrossFit Asheville is one of the more complete CrossFit programs around from what I can see, and its more than just a bunch of people grunting out lifts.

Anyway, Saturday, 8:00 am was a "longer" CF workout, 15 minutes of work across 5 different stations. I bumped everything up; weights, jump heights, target heights for the workout so I was doing the prescribed workout, rather than scaling it. I was planning on burying myself and then crawling back home to enjoy a rainy Saturday. I finished the circuits and was shaking so bad my hand writing was illegible. Making breakfast seemed like an attainable goal.

Kicking back was the plan; until the email chain started going out for a late morning ride of Heartbreak. So 11:00am at the Dripolater in Black Mountain. That's a good 60 minutes of recovery. Perfect. Second new introduction; the Niner build. After four good years. and one tragic UPS accident that they denied over and over again, the Dieringer cracked, quite anticlimactically, on Sidehill Connector a few weeks back.
Thanks UPS. Everyone should be wary of paying for "insurance" when shipping; its a scam. So anyway....
Called in a favor over at Niner, and got myself a shiny, not quite new, Sir9.
The crew gathered, and took off on the rather flat road towards Montreat, and the Rainbow Road approach to Old Toll. Having complained about starting on the singlespeed from Ridgecrest, which throws you cold at Rattlesnake's steepest pitches within a mile, I wanted to try this more gradual approach. Just to get it out of the way; I'd rather do Rattlesnake. This is too long, too flat, and especially annoying after cresting the climb to Ridgecrest and then having to spinspinspin back to Black Mountain on 70.
Theme for the blog, now many paragraphs in: water. Old toll was a running torrent in most places. "Lines" where they do exist in the rockier sections were all loose, baby head rocks having been deposited in a new home overnight on Friday. When it wasn't running, it offered the more juvenile among us the opportunity to play puddle splashing games. This resulted in about thirty sprints as folks jockeyed for position to launch themselves into a puddle on the right or left track, splashing anyone behind them or caught off guard next to them.
"Hey Ed, where's that point on the ridge that I'm going to, in a stupor that can only be achieved by hours of anaerobic work sans breakfast, make a wrong turn and add the penalty lap?""Right about there"

After two of our party flipped their ride, enjoying a very wet descent down Old Toll, Ed and I continued up. The early part of the Heartbreak descent was as fucked up as ever, and now wet as well. The ridge proper was in great shape. Tight tunnels of rhodo and mountain laurel occasionally giving way to gaps of blue sky. The Niner seems to descend well, and I'm loving my Manitou Minute on the front. It swallowed all the quick little roots of Heartbreak, and at 80mm, feels more stable on steep stuff than my old 10mm fork. On the way down, Ed had earned a little gap on me as a looked across the valley in a site seeing effort. In that same effort, I came up to Star Gap and dropped left. Something felt a little off, but this trail, new to me as a ORAMM virgin (I've saved enough to buy a new bike), felt a similar enough to the end of our normal Heartbreak loop that I didn't question it. Dry, woodsy, switchbacks, full shade, descending. Yep, this must be it. Dump out onto some grassy fire road: Nope, this ain't it. Back up all the switchbacks, found Ed at Stargap assuming I had suffered a skull fracturing crash, he had also climbed back up from the "true" end of the ride. Ahhh penalty miles. Wet, and getting colder, we dodged aggressive traffic up Mill Creek, and pedaled 32x20 and 32x22 (i'll claim the softer of those gears) along 70 back to Black Mountain. Clouds looming, a 40 mph wind reminded us never to use this modified route again on the single speeds. A decision that hardly effects my geared bike-less quiver. Goodbye Rainbow Road, it was nice to meet you.

Sunday I finally headed up to Shortoff to climb, something I've been wanting to do for the past 6 months. More on that later. This is too long as it is.

1 comment:

dougyfresh said...

'Greg' no more? (tears)

Hope you like the new ride. I miss those trails and riding together.

Crossfit is tough stuff.