When I was a kid, and I actually liked baseball, there was a show on Saturday mornings called This Week In Baseball. TWIB for short. It was a simple show, with highlights and a voiceover, nothing fancy. I’m stealing their name for my new version of TWIB, This Week In Biking.
I had an almost perfect biking week for the period starting Friday, May 23rd and ending Saturday, May 31st.
Friday, May 16th
Set off on a road/ride trip Friday morning with both bikes in tow. First stop was Paris Mountain in Greenville, South Carolina. Some awesome mountain biking trails at Paris Mountain State Park, I highly recommend paying it a visit if you are ever in the area. I would recommend asking a local rider for advice if you happen to run into any in the parking lot or on the trails. These trails are the dreaded bi-directional (riders can go in either direction at any given time), which I kinda hate. There is nothing worse than having your rhythm interrupted as you are flying down hill than to have to get off the trail for riders coming up the other direction. ANYWAY…the 16 year old girl that was working the gate to the park had absolutely no information regarding the bike trails, in fact, she seemed confused that I would be at the park to bike at all, and the map she handed me was different that the one i found on their website prior to my trip. The map gives no indication of what you are getting yourself into, or where to park/start your ride. Go all the way to the top of the mountain, DO NOT park at 5/6 and attempt to ride up Sulphur Springs trail, after the first mile or so you will be doing a lot of walking. A LOT of walking. This trail makes for a very sweet and technical downhill, but its basically impossible to climb. Of course if you decide to park at the top and downhill it you are left with the problem of getting back to your car, and they don’t call it Paris Mountain for nothing. These trails aren’t nearly as smooth as some of the older reviews would indicate, quite the opposite actually. I kinda doubt there is much trail maintenance at Paris Mountain. There were a ton of roots, which i dont really mind, as well as plenty of rocks, and some SERIOUS climbing. I was kinda priding myself on the fact that I had never used the granny ring on a trail ride since getting my bike back in February. Well…that ended at Paris Mountain. Not only did i hit the granny ring, but i hit the granniest of all granny gears, and still had to stop at one point, which i really try not to do. I was seeing stars. Dramatic elevation change in a relatively short distance. At least you are rewarded for the hard work.
Saturday, May 17th
Woke up and hopped on the road bike with my new friend Aurora to tool around Charlotte. Charlotte is a surprisingly bike friendly town. We checked out several local farmer’s markets before loading up the gear, and bikes, for our trip to Asheville.
Asheville, what a great town. Crisp clean air, tons of great restaurants and bars, and cool people to boot. Aurora and I checked into the hotel then hopped on the bikes to check out the town. We started around 4:30 and I dont think we got back to the hotel until sometime around 1am. I recall locking the bikes up in some very creative ways, and I remember riding through town drunk, but not much else. There was some really good food in there somewhere at Laughing Seed Cafe.
Sunday was spent in Hot Springs, NC, weather did not permit riding, it rained all day, and Monday was spent driving to Charlotte and then back to Atlanta.
Tuesday, May 20th
The Paris Mountain ride was my first really good trail ride since a biking accident had kept me off the mountain bike for about 4 weeks, and it really got the juices flowing. I was trying to plan a ride for Tuesday when I read that the Faster Mustache team won the 24 hours of Conyers. That was all the inspiration I needed. I’d been wanting to ride Conyers for awhile, this seemed like as good of an excuse as any.
Conyers does not disappoint, i understand why everyone raves about it. Great trail, and tough. I dont know how the Faster Mustache guys were doing sub 50 min laps. I’m setting 60 mins as a goal for the summer, but 48 mins is insane. I was totally digging the back half of the trail with all the slick rock, that’s the first slick rock riding i have experienced, and I’m addicted. It reminded me of my formative years growing up in Utah, I was having flashbacks. For the second time in a week i broke my longstanding policy of no granny ring/gear. I hit both on Conyers as well, it wasn’t until that last killer climb, but i succumbed. I also had to walk the last 30 yards or so of that last climb, i was kinda gassed. Not knowing what I was getting myself into I kinda pushed it on the front half of the trail, which is par for the course for me on any trail maiden voyage. Short story long, Conyers rocks, probably my favorite trail since i’ve taken up mountain biking, and it presents enough challenges that I don’t think it will get old anytime soon.
Thursday, May 22nd
I loaded up the relatively new Litespeed road bike and headed out to the Silver Comet Trail for the first time. I’m still totally in love with this bike. Thank you, Craigslist. Its kinda funny to ride the Litespeed where there will be other riders, it seems to get a lot of looks and quite a few comments. I’m not usually a big fan of unnecessary attention, but i really dont mind talking about the bike, and i usually end up learning something about it i didnt know previously, as it seems everyone on the planet knows more about my bike than I do.
Silver Comet Trail is cool for getting some pretty easy miles on your legs and grinding the big gears. I gotta admit, it gets a little boring though. I stopped around the 16 mile mark only because i was getting a little bored, once you get out that far you dont run into very many bikers, and there are very few intersections, so there aint a whole lot to look at. Stever Jobs, you are a genius, if not for my iPod i think i would have bailed much earlier. The numbers were pretty good for this ride:
total distance: 32 miles
avg speed: 17.5 mph
high speed: 27 mph
I did an all out sprint the last 3.5 miles to get the avg speed up. I averaged about 21mph over those last 3 miles. It was invigorating, but kinda backfired. I rolled into the parking lot and there was a super hot triathelete chick parked next to me getting ready to hop on her super sweet Cervelo. This chick was not biking-girl hot, she was just plain hot. A head turner. I rolled up after that all out 3 mile sprint a big sweaty mess and I was gasping for air, enough so that I couldn’t put two words together for what seemed like an eternity, and by that point I just kinda lost my steam. We all dream of finding a hot chick that is also into bikes, well, i was handed one on a Cervelo platter and I effed it all up. I think i’ll be riding the Silver Comet Trail a lot more in the near future…
Saturday, May 24th
Finally got the whole crew together for a trail ride at Fort Yargo, I’ll leave the details to Bob.
Those are my TWIB notes, great week of riding.