Archive for October 2010

 
 

NCCX 3 – Hawksnest

Today’s ride is from Boone, NC, up through Seven Devils, to watch a cyclocross race at Hawksnest. A defunct ski resort. Andrew didn’t have room in his car for two people with bikes and all of his race stuff, but really, we wanted to tackle this climb and would have done so even if he had the room.



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11 miles to the base in a headwind on rollers and then about 3 miles up. One short downhill, no false flats, a little under 3 miles of pavement, and nearly 1200 feet of elevation change. An average grade of 8.1% resulting in a very hard Category 3 climb bordering on Category 2. At the top, ready to be done, we arrive at the day’s cyclocross race, 4200 feet above sea level. NCCX #3 @ Hawksnest aka Spooky Cross. A course of off camber sandy slopes, a pump track, a this year dry, last year muddy, run up. Challenging technical turns. A dynamic race paired with good music and free food.


Will Black and the leaders running away from the field and over the pump track.


The follow group trying to keep the time gap from growing.

MSG Series #5: Scary Cross

Pictures from the MSG Series #5 Cyclocross Race in Johnson City, TN.



Span Dex Man: Answers

The fourth episode of a series of Old Spice Man parody shorts. This is a parody of “Questions“.



Boone, NC

Fog that lingers through breakfast but quickly burns off as the day gets underway. It becomes clear and crisp. A reprieve from the dampness of the days before. Infinite visibility and a perfect temperature, but more importantly, dry, no chance of rain. Beautiful.

The three main climbs come and go. Difficult, but nothing close to the one to reach Peaks of Otter back in the beginning of our parkway experience. Open and closed woods. Gaps exposing closely cropped verdant fields with munching shaggy faced cows.

A second breakfast at Bluffs Lodge in Doughton Park. Eggs over medium, grits, sausage patties, and of course, coffee.

Slippery rock walls blasted to make way for the ribbon road. Ferns and moss cling to the shelves as water drips from the saturated soil above.

A straightforward day ending in Boone, NC. Our second rest station. A couple days rest a day or two behind schedule. This will be a chance to refuel our bodies and do some needed maintenance on our bikes. A through cleaning and re-lubrication is in order.

Roaring Gap, NC

We start with rain. Which grows into pouring rain. Which then becomes driving rain.

This is one of the low rain times of the year, from what I read, but we sure seem to be getting wet a lot recently for a dry season. Today is warm, maybe 70, and we are not being harried by the wind. So, that is an improvement weather wise. Soaked to the skin, but not uncomfortably cold.

The plan is a little unclear today. Dugsur, 221 to Hillsville, then 52 south through Fancy Gap to the parkway. We want make it to Boone, but I don’t see that happening. Over 100 miles is a bit much in these hills and driving rain just drags out the day. Yep, not going to happen in a soggy chamois. We are just going to ride until it feels like it is time to call it quits.

The rain comes in waves. A heavier storm is bearing tornado warnings, but, for the time being, the ridge seems to be safe. We are at the Sparta turn off which would require us to drop down off of the ridge into the valley, 14 miles. That seems to be a waste of 14 miles today and then another 14 miles just to get back on the parkway tomorrow. We take a risk and continue south over a couple of moderate climbs but nothing serious.

The Blue Ridge Parkway has limited options when it comes to places to stay and places to eat. 45 miles into a continuously rainy day and we reach the turn off to 21, the road to Roaring Gap. It is this or another 30 miles to the next possibility. No matter what we do today, it will have to be a two day run to Boone. Tomorrow is supposed to be dryer and clearer. Today seems like a good one to end early. Our first motel of the trip. Breaking another goal to stay on couches the whole way home. No matter. This is as good a place as any to dry off and for our kits to dry out. It is off season and in the middle of the week which results in us having the run of the place; an entire motel empty save for two wayward cyclists.

What we didn’t realize was that we were parallel with Sparta on 21. The first turn off was just a diagonal. It is 14 miles off of the parkway on 21, so the first exit, had we taken it, would have been bad riding on busy roads for many miles. Roaring Gap is only 4 miles east of our route, so it was still a good play. We didn’t end up going as far as we though we had, but at least we hadn’t gone that way. Ending early, and only 45-50 miles in, means that the three big climbs of this stretch still lay in wait.

A shower based laundry room. Soap up your kit, and then stomp on it like you are making wine. The gear doesn’t look particularly grimy, but the brown flowing from it with each step tells a different story. Lather, rinse, repeat until the water runs somewhat clear. Ring out as much liquid as possible so that the lamp shade drying rack above the wall mounted room heater has a chance at getting the remaining dampness out of it by morning.