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  1. #1
    robust, yet smooth
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    Tis a grim ting, that upon which we did…

    So, I’m heading to Roanoke, Virginia for to do TurkeyDayFest with my sis and her familius. I hooked up with Local Bike God Ashwin, Team MWC, FTJ, NGT (AA) from his cool arse blog http://ashwinearl.blogspot.com/ and he agreed to show me some VA biking. The kind folks at EastCoasters in nearby Blacksburg (Go Hokies! … Whadevadefork a Hokie is...) http://www.eastcoasters.com/ hooked me up with a new Trek Fuel EX-7 – schweeeeet – 4 inches of travel front and rear and disc brakes. …ummm, can you tell I’m an Old Skool hardtail, v-brake, short travel rider. Or have been up ‘til now.

    So day afore the ride AA calls and says, hey, my usual ride is in the National Forrest and the Boyz from the Deliverance Posse are alla over Bambi and his Crew. Let’s do Carvin’s Cove (http://www.eastcoasters.com/cove_map.PDF). Oh yeah, it’s gonna be in the 30s, drizzle-snowy and windy. But I’m game if you are. Should be about 2 hours.

    And of course, I are.

    So we get there, throw on as much over-engineered polyethylene clothing as we can find, stuff our pockets with carbs-2-go and go. To test out a “full” suspension, I ride it down the stairs from the rest-room (“caution – restroom uses Lake water. Do not drink the water.”) This is probably not the way to acquaint ones self with the joys of dual boingers, but I’ve been dying to try steps steeper than my HT can handle. The bike handled it pretty good, but truthfully, when a FS hits a series of sharp bumps, you can get some serious see-sawing going on - this was probably the hardest “technical” thing I rode on a ride with some great tech riding.

    Cool.

    The trail starts off w/ 4x miles of rolling gravel fire road. AA is manualing over every dip. I *may* be in trouble.

    We hit the single track and I watch AA disappear in a cloud of flow while I (a slow-to-warm rider on the best of days) sort out a new bike, new geometry, higher riding position, and mondo breaks. Buu-bye, AA. Send me a post card; I’ll catch up.

    First impression of VA trail. Excellent! Single track thru pine and hardwood forest, lots of minor log crossings and V log-ramp crossings. And creeks, stream, and friggin rivers. AA makes it gracefully across the first stream. I put a footie in the waddie. Nice warm start for the ride.

    So then we get into some more technical descents. Now, I’m a mid-30s dude with 2x kiddos and a job and Johnny-***-lately to mtb. Other than riding when I can and a mtb clinic with “Gene, Gene the Dancing Machine” Hamilton of BetterRide fame (http://www.betterride.net/ - very cool. I highly recommend), I’m used to riding a HT and am pretty slow on rocky descents. Ummm, *very* pretty slow on rocky descents. “It’s a poor craftsman that blames his tools” and alla that, but that boinger bike had me bombing down leaf covered rocky trails, bombing into stream crossings, and grinding out the other side. Schweeet.

    I *may* be saving for a FS.

    Well, then AA is looking at the map and says we’re on the wrong side of the forest to really “get a feel for VA mtb”, so lets do this “1000’ Climb” (that’s vertical, Gentle Reader, not horizontal), and hit some real down hilling. So off we grind the gravel road – up, up, and away. Then we hit the trail. Cobble sized rocks hidden under 2 inches of wet leaves, with an almost sheer drop to the right. AA is long gone – I think you could see the smile on his face from the back of his quickly disappearing head. I was doing pretty well until I realize I’d been sliding for the last 40 feet. Dude. I get it back in control and we’re into gravely, eroded, and exposed single track with tight and totally exposed switchbacks. I am not afraid to admit I walked 2 of them. Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.

    Then we woosh into this woody area, swooping around trees and under low lying branches and over logs, and thru streams and generally friggin great stuff. I’m whooping here and there. It’s like the forest planet from the old Star Wars movie. Good Stuff.

    By now our 2 hr ride is turning “epic” and our legs are shaking involuntarily. At the base of the descent we dive into another trail and, ironically, as the log crossings get bigger, our energy is quickly waning. We finally reach an unrideable stream. Fortunately there are two 10-12” trees parallel across the stream. So we start across using the bikes in the stream for balance. Until the handle bars go under water. Ummm, this is *not* the place to fall in. Nope, not a good fall at all. AA grabs up his bike on his shoulder cyclocross style and dances across the logs. The Capt shimmies and sways like an old man with failing legs until he reaches the safety of the other side. I did *not* crawl. I have my pride.

    Ahhhh, the fire road home. Finally. And I do mean finally, as I’m toasted. We’re at 4 hours and this last 4 miles will take me another 30 minutes. I’m down to zero water, sucking my last gel with nothing to wash it down, in the Granny of granny gears. I walk a long, steady hill just to use different muscles. AA has gone on to start the car warming (and end the Death March, no doubt). I’m fine really. I’m in “endurance” mode. I have no doubt that I’ll get out, it’ll just be a slow and steady plugging along.

    4.5 hours. I’ve never ridden more than 2-2.5. Finally off the bike we head in search of calories and heat. Ahhhh, blessed Hardee’s. It’s been almost 2 decades since I was so glad to see it.

    Biggie props to AA for being a gracious and funny-as-shiznit host with some mad skillz, to VA for some sweet singletrack (and some brutal fire roads), to EastCoasters for trusting me with the Bling ride, and, of course, to the Letter A-Z and the number 4.5 (which of course, superseded the number 2!).

    Later-

    -capt pearl
    Excellence is an art won by training and habituation.
    We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.
    ~ Aristotle

    "Faster equals more funner" -Ashwinearl

  2. #2
    I throw poo
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    I've just recently moved to va, and have indeed done the 4 hour long 2 hour ride. Walking makes me slow.
    Dang it, now I'm running a coolness deficit for sure.

  3. #3
    Freshly Fujified
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    Excellent write-up

    Very descriptive. Felt like I was there. This is the kind of post that defines the Passion Forum, IMO.

    Bob
    'If Wal-Mart sold parachutes, who would jump?' Frank Havnoonian (quoting his father) Drexel Hill Cyclery

  4. #4
    paintbucket
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    Nice post. We won't tell EastCoasters about the unrideable stream crossing part.
    When the going gets weird its bedtime.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
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    Great post, thanks for sharing!
    We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.

    www.mtbnj.com

  6. #6
    Cheezy Rider
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    Puts the passion in Passion. Good post.

  7. #7
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    Now that you've enjoyed Carvins (sweet downhill.... eh?)... Imagine being low on water, tired, and deciding that "Hey it's only like 3 in the afternoon, we can sneak in a ride at Pandapas." That was the last time I biked in the Blacksburg area... I thought my legs were going to completely seize and I was delusional from dehydration. Don't get me started on the stream crossing below Jacob's Ladder... you had 2 trees... there's only 1 there.

  8. #8
    wg
    wg is offline
    Fermented Grain Sampler
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    Great write up. Thanks for the hit!
    Don't harsh my mello

  9. #9
    robust, yet smooth
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    Quote Originally Posted by pipedream
    Now that you've enjoyed Carvins (sweet downhill.... eh?)... Imagine being low on water, tired, and deciding that "Hey it's only like 3 in the afternoon, we can sneak in a ride at Pandapas." That was the last time I biked in the Blacksburg area... I thought my legs were going to completely seize and I was delusional from dehydration. Don't get me started on the stream crossing below Jacob's Ladder... you had 2 trees... there's only 1 there.

    sweet. I'd be crawling that log!

    thanks for all the kind words.

    best,

    -capt p
    Excellence is an art won by training and habituation.
    We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.
    ~ Aristotle

    "Faster equals more funner" -Ashwinearl

  10. #10
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by capt pearl
    So, I’m heading to Roanoke, Virginia for to do TurkeyDayFest with my sis and her familius. I hooked up with Local Bike God Ashwin, Team MWC, FTJ, NGT (AA) from his cool arse blog http://ashwinearl.blogspot.com/ and he agreed to show me some VA biking. The kind folks at EastCoasters in nearby Blacksburg (Go Hokies! … Whadevadefork a Hokie is...) http://www.eastcoasters.com/ hooked me up with a new Trek Fuel EX-7 – schweeeeet – 4 inches of travel front and rear and disc brakes. …ummm, can you tell I’m an Old Skool hardtail, v-brake, short travel rider. Or have been up ‘til now.

    So day afore the ride AA calls and says, hey, my usual ride is in the National Forrest and the Boyz from the Deliverance Posse are alla over Bambi and his Crew. Let’s do Carvin’s Cove (http://www.eastcoasters.com/cove_map.PDF). Oh yeah, it’s gonna be in the 30s, drizzle-snowy and windy. But I’m game if you are. Should be about 2 hours.

    And of course, I are.

    So we get there, throw on as much over-engineered polyethylene clothing as we can find, stuff our pockets with carbs-2-go and go. To test out a “full” suspension, I ride it down the stairs from the rest-room (“caution – restroom uses Lake water. Do not drink the water.”) This is probably not the way to acquaint ones self with the joys of dual boingers, but I’ve been dying to try steps steeper than my HT can handle. The bike handled it pretty good, but truthfully, when a FS hits a series of sharp bumps, you can get some serious see-sawing going on - this was probably the hardest “technical” thing I rode on a ride with some great tech riding.

    Cool.

    The trail starts off w/ 4x miles of rolling gravel fire road. AA is manualing over every dip. I *may* be in trouble.

    We hit the single track and I watch AA disappear in a cloud of flow while I (a slow-to-warm rider on the best of days) sort out a new bike, new geometry, higher riding position, and mondo breaks. Buu-bye, AA. Send me a post card; I’ll catch up.

    First impression of VA trail. Excellent! Single track thru pine and hardwood forest, lots of minor log crossings and V log-ramp crossings. And creeks, stream, and friggin rivers. AA makes it gracefully across the first stream. I put a footie in the waddie. Nice warm start for the ride.

    So then we get into some more technical descents. Now, I’m a mid-30s dude with 2x kiddos and a job and Johnny-***-lately to mtb. Other than riding when I can and a mtb clinic with “Gene, Gene the Dancing Machine” Hamilton of BetterRide fame (http://www.betterride.net/ - very cool. I highly recommend), I’m used to riding a HT and am pretty slow on rocky descents. Ummm, *very* pretty slow on rocky descents. “It’s a poor craftsman that blames his tools” and alla that, but that boinger bike had me bombing down leaf covered rocky trails, bombing into stream crossings, and grinding out the other side. Schweeet.

    I *may* be saving for a FS.

    Well, then AA is looking at the map and says we’re on the wrong side of the forest to really “get a feel for VA mtb”, so lets do this “1000’ Climb” (that’s vertical, Gentle Reader, not horizontal), and hit some real down hilling. So off we grind the gravel road – up, up, and away. Then we hit the trail. Cobble sized rocks hidden under 2 inches of wet leaves, with an almost sheer drop to the right. AA is long gone – I think you could see the smile on his face from the back of his quickly disappearing head. I was doing pretty well until I realize I’d been sliding for the last 40 feet. Dude. I get it back in control and we’re into gravely, eroded, and exposed single track with tight and totally exposed switchbacks. I am not afraid to admit I walked 2 of them. Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.

    Then we woosh into this woody area, swooping around trees and under low lying branches and over logs, and thru streams and generally friggin great stuff. I’m whooping here and there. It’s like the forest planet from the old Star Wars movie. Good Stuff.

    By now our 2 hr ride is turning “epic” and our legs are shaking involuntarily. At the base of the descent we dive into another trail and, ironically, as the log crossings get bigger, our energy is quickly waning. We finally reach an unrideable stream. Fortunately there are two 10-12” trees parallel across the stream. So we start across using the bikes in the stream for balance. Until the handle bars go under water. Ummm, this is *not* the place to fall in. Nope, not a good fall at all. AA grabs up his bike on his shoulder cyclocross style and dances across the logs. The Capt shimmies and sways like an old man with failing legs until he reaches the safety of the other side. I did *not* crawl. I have my pride.

    Ahhhh, the fire road home. Finally. And I do mean finally, as I’m toasted. We’re at 4 hours and this last 4 miles will take me another 30 minutes. I’m down to zero water, sucking my last gel with nothing to wash it down, in the Granny of granny gears. I walk a long, steady hill just to use different muscles. AA has gone on to start the car warming (and end the Death March, no doubt). I’m fine really. I’m in “endurance” mode. I have no doubt that I’ll get out, it’ll just be a slow and steady plugging along.

    4.5 hours. I’ve never ridden more than 2-2.5. Finally off the bike we head in search of calories and heat. Ahhhh, blessed Hardee’s. It’s been almost 2 decades since I was so glad to see it.

    Biggie props to AA for being a gracious and funny-as-shiznit host with some mad skillz, to VA for some sweet singletrack (and some brutal fire roads), to EastCoasters for trusting me with the Bling ride, and, of course, to the Letter A-Z and the number 4.5 (which of course, superseded the number 2!).

    Later-

    -capt pearl
    Great write up. Thanks for the compliments, though I'm just middle of the road skills for around here. I mailed your pedals but skimped on the weight of the box so they might end up in some warehouse. Let me know if you don't see them soon.

  11. #11
    robust, yet smooth
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    excellent

    Quote Originally Posted by ashwinearl
    Great write up. Thanks for the compliments, though I'm just middle of the road skills for around here. I mailed your pedals but skimped on the weight of the box so they might end up in some warehouse. Let me know if you don't see them soon.
    no pedals yet, but I'm looking.

    thanks again for the great ride.

    -capt p
    Excellence is an art won by training and habituation.
    We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.
    ~ Aristotle

    "Faster equals more funner" -Ashwinearl

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