Archive for the Category Boston->Austin

 
 

A Photo Recap

Thirty of my favorite photos from the trip.



Austin, TX

Back in Austin. A 26 hour all nighter. 5:30am up in Asheville and 7:30am down in Austin. It would have taken less time if we had decided we were going to turn a leisurely 3 day drive with sight seeing into a single shot b-line before we got to Birmingham and spent much of our daylight rambling about in the park of the Smokey Mountains. But, I guess all that would have done is changed the arrival time to 5:30 or something which is still driving all night. So, maybe we would have gone sight seeing anyway. It would have been a waste not to.

A night fueled by caffeine and a road obscured by the dark and the rain. An episode or two of mild hallucinations but when it is 4am and you are running on fumes, you are bound to be on the receiving end of some mental trickery. A safe arrival and some much needed sleep.

The tour is complete. Just not in the way originally envisioned. Planes, trains, and automobiles. Hitch hiking and some shorter days. But, in the end, still a bike tour. Close to 750 miles of riding covering something in the realm of 1200 miles to Asheville. The final 1160 miles by rental car. We are in one piece and so are the bikes. We are healthy and uninjured. We rode through some incredible terrain and met some amazing people along the way. A successful trip.

Asheville, NC

We hitched a ride with Frank Obusek. He had not met us, and we had not met him, before the end of his first cyclocross race. Still riding the endorphin wave of a top 10 finish, he became yet another person going out of their way to help us during this trip. Fortunately he had a roof rack with room to hold both of his race bikes because it took nearly every last square inch of space cram the split-in-half Break-Aways and his race wheels into the back of his car. With our backpacks in our laps, we drove, first to dinner, and then second to our host house in Asheville. We said goodbye to Frank and hello to Andra, Jeremy, and dinner number two. Black eyed peas, sautéed greens, and cornbread.

We had decided in Boone that we were satisfied with the tour, and that it was time to head back. Matt’s knee was still giving him problems, not to the point of injury, but it was running to risk of becoming tendinitis if we kept pushing it. Plus, the further south we head, the more spread out the facilities become and the further apart our way stations lie. The tour past this point just isn’t doable with out a support vehicle, a fully loaded touring bike with camping gear, or a drastic change to our route or schedule (adding at least a week to our time table). Better to get back to Austin healthy, happy, and early than hurt, haggard, and out of time. This is our last host and our last stop. The ride up to the race was a nice one to end it on. Super challenging and with a party atmosphere finish. An afternoon in the sun watching people clear hurdles and run up hills.

6:30am roll out followed by an hour and fifteen in 37 degree wind gets us to the airport. A quiet route with a mid ride sunrise. A Jeep Patriot rather than the compact we had reserved. The size of a mid-sized with less than a compact’s interior space. The bikes actually had to be put in on their side, one on top of the other to get them to fit.

A Will Black run in at Sunny Point Cafe, the day after his P12 win at the NCCX 3 (Hawksnest) race. In addition to getting to chat with a Texas transplant, we enjoyed another amazing breakfast before getting on the road. This time on the road was in a rental car rather than the road bike.

Endless rows of waves like the surf approaching the beach. A forest of trees revenged by beetle infestations and acid rain. New growth trying to outpace the two assailants. Bleached trunks jut skyward reminding of the growth that used to exist. Growth that used to requires ascension to the top of the viewing post to see the landscape that is no longer so throughly obscured.

A Korean motorcycle gang stroll up the sweeping ramp. Surveying the point of interest, Clingmans Dome. Over 6,600 feet in elevation and a 360 degree view. On the way back down I take their group photo for them. Like us, today is the last day of their tour. Strangely, one is from Boston, and two are from NY. Riding a similar path, we exchange stories of our individual adventurous. We are returning home south, and they are getting ready to head back to the north east.

Through the Indian Reservation and the last bits of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Past Blue Ridge Lake and the Ocoee Whitewater Center. Host to the 1996 Olympics canoe, kayak and slalom events. It is offseason, and the run is a field of boulders rather than rapids. The dam is not open, and the result is a small stream rather than a rushing river.



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.