Old Man Winter

A little update…

Since the end of CX season I have been trying to spend some time off the bike doing some activities that aren’t full blown training but will keep me active enough so that I wont be completely out of shape and useless for when I get back on the bike for real, which is about now.

I have managed to get on the western NC ski slopes. I hit Sugar and Beech over the last month and a half. Since the beginning of February the Appalachians have been getting some good snow and it was nice to get back to the Blue Ridge area for some icy turns. Though, it has really only made me miss Colorado more. I guess I have a “bigger is better” mentality when it comes to mountains, but when life gives you lemons… Sugar installed a new lift this year, finally, a lift as fast as the ones in the West. In 3hrs you can do the whole mountain more than once, which makes for a good day trip or night session. 

The other thing I have been trying to do more of, which has been hard because the ground has been so wet, is get out on my moto. The majority of the time it just sits in Kerry’s shop and begs me to ride it! So I take it out once or twice a week behind Shields’ Sign Shop and play around the wood pile. I draw inspiration from Graham Jarvis, Johnny Walker, and Colton Jacker,  popping over logs and working on technique, honing my clutch skills for that highly anticipated day of sunshine when I head to a trail system and get it in third gear proper! I did get to go to Brushy Mtn one Sunday and play around in the mud. That was actually pretty rad since the only conditions I have trail ridden in has been the dry dusty scree of the Colorado Rockies. Consequently, I still yearn for more. 

Valentine’s Day weekend was bone chilling, though Emily and I made the most of it! We headed west to our alma matter and started our weekend off with a hike up Profile trail, on the North slope of Grandfather Mountain.

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The conditions weren’t ideal but it was still great to be outside hiking on familiar trails. We pushed through to the Grandfather trail and made first tracks up top.

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Our ultimate goal was to reach the swinging bridge, however, the snow up on the ridge made for some questionable stability and traction, therefore, the going was slow. Not to mention it was 10º and the Donuts we got at Local Lion on the way only kept us warm for so long.

 

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The views we did manage to take it were beautiful. I have witnessed these views in a few different season but never as snowy and icy as we did on Valentine’s Day weekend. 

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After the hike we warmed our bodies with a few beers and games of pool at Flattop Brewery in Banner Elk before heading up to beach to meet the Lees McRae team coach and our host for the weekend, Tim Hall. 

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We popped in to say “hi” to Tim then headed immediately to Beech Mountain for the Night Ski session. We promptly headed to group sales where I met a friend of mine that I haven’t seen since I was in school at Lees, Sean Ross McCoy. He is a retired old man trapped in a 30 year olds body but recently moved back to the mountains to work at beech from Fort Lauderdale, very wise decision in my opinion. I then headed to the Beech Brewery about 100 yds away to see another friend who took over Head Brewer in May, Barefoot Billy. He treated me to a Belgian double he just brewed up, which was pretty darn tasty. We started chatting and it was very cool to learn he got engaged and was getting married in Yosemite in May! That will be one bad ass wedding. 

We skied until our fingers were numb then it was back to Tim’s for Chili, the Westminster Dog Show, and highly anticipated Super Cross Round 6.

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Sunday we woke up and Tim pulled me “Shots, Shots, Shots, Shots, Shots, Shots!” of espresso… After breakfast we loaded up for the grand finale, a Pisgah Wilson’s Creek MTB shred. It was cold as hell again and we figured it would warm up some as we descended the mountain. Unfortunately, it didn’t warm up much at all. We left the car for our ride in 20º so we changed our 35mi ride to a more manageable 20 mile ride.

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Climbed up to Brown Mountain started to do trail #9 but Emmy got to cold so we hustled back out and hit Sinkhole on the way back to the car. Still fun and totally worth it!

We capped off our trip with a stop at “Cook Out” for a much needed shake and fries. Then hopped on I-40E for Winston and we were home in an hour. Thanks to Tim for letting us crash at your place! I will be back for a spring time training camp, once the snow melts and the temps go a steady mid 50’s. The best thing about the weekend was seeing old friends , which made me miss BE even more.

On a more somber note… Another main focus these last few weeks have been hunting down a team for next CX season. Raleigh-Clement and I have parted ways, which is saddening. I really loved the structure of the team and mostly the members we were a big family and I will miss them. However, we may not be on the same team but the relationships we made this past year will linger forever and I am looking forward to seeing them on the circuit soon. 

Until I figure something out for this upcoming CX season I do have some bike racing plans. I signed up for the Pisgah Stage Race in April. Also, the Transylvania Epic, which I have been wanting to do since I was a wee little junior-x rider in the Mid Atlantic Super Series. Mike Kuhn is the guy in charge and he has been doing a lot of good for PA Mountain Biking over the last couple years. He heads a non-profit raising money for PA trails and the PA Interscholastic league in conjunction with running TSE. I can’t wait to see NICA be a bigger organization here in the Mid Atlantic area. I would have a bigger push into the sport of cycling when I was in high school.

With that said, if you want to help out and donate, to support Pennsylvania’s Interscholastic Cycling League follow this link “DONATE HERE!”


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