Monday, February 8

Tests of all sorts

Desperate for a mountain bike ride (since I was denied over the past weekend) I started hinting around on Friday that I was desperate for dirt. The Tomato had something going on at Paris Mountain on Sunday, and Scott T from Zero Horsepower was gonna mount an assault on the sandy trails in Cheraw, SC, but Eric "PMBAR Honcho" Wever had the Pisgah on his mind. Eric lives about 30 minutes north of the actually forest so he wanted to get a first hand look at the conditions after the most recent snow storm we just experienced. With his next race coming up (he also promotes the Pisgah 36) he had more than a peculiar interest in the current trail conditions. Since I still have every intention to go to the race I figured it would be in my best interest to have a looksee myself.

Big Worm
and I met up with Eric, Mike Brown, and Eli at the fish hatchery just miles from the race venue. The road to the hatchery was hardly a good sign as it was covered in snow save for the tire tracks left behind by the hardy mountain folk that refused to let a little powder stand in their way of having a mountainy good time. Once we were prepared and assembled we headed out from the hatchery up Davidson River Trail. What were the conditions like?

photo cred Big Worm

According to my National Geographic Pisgah Ranger District Trail Map the trail is only about one mile long and maybe has an average grade of 1% (that's just my guess), but it musta taken us close to a half hour to get from one end to the other. The snow had turned into some nasty form of crusty, ice infused powder base that allowed a rider to sink into it and then refused to let said rider move forward.

From Davidson River Trail we headed over to the entrance ROAD to the Cove Creek Campground (venue for the Pisgah 36), and we PUSHED the majority of it. The road was severely rutted from whatever traffic had came down it when it probably shouldn't have, and the going was just as slow and painful as it had been on the trail. Once we got to the venue area we had a pow wow, Eli made use of an abandoned camping chair, and we decided to push on up to Daniel's Ridge as someone amongst us had suggested that the last time a major snow hit the area Daniel's was still in good enough shape to ride.

photo cred PMBAR Honcho

So much for that idea. We hike up the connector trail to find just as much snow (if not more) was awaiting for us higher up. More pushing followed, followed by an incredible amount of effort to lose elevation, and then a nice road ride back to the car riding in the slushy tire tracks back to the parking lot.

Downhill???? We still had to stop and take breaks as we descended down the double track road. Meh. The Death Stick was not put to good use.

photo cred Big Worm

We all agreed that it was a good thing that the Pisgah 36 was still two weeks away. Things will probably get a whole lot better before then, and they certainly couldn't get much worse. Eric and Mike Brown thought that maybe after two hours of pushing our bikes around in the snow that perhaps Big Worm and I might like to head over to West Asheville and get our bikes dirty on the new trails at Richmond Hill. Mike Brown and the folks at Pisgah Area SORBA have recently carved out some singletrack in a city park just miles from downtown Asheville. We elected to follow along as long as we'd actually get to see some dirt to reward our 2.5 hours of driving effort.

The trails were actually quite clear given all the snow that the area had seen recently, and we got in a couple laps on the four or so miles of trail the Richmond Hill has to offer. I also got some product testing done that I've been meaning to do for quite some time. There was enough mud at Richmond Hill for my test, but the speeds were kinda low for what I needed, so I had to get creative. Although the Death Stick came out plenty muddy it wasn't muddy enough for what I needed to do.

I've been meaning to put the Awesome Strap to the test... the mud test to be more precise. I've had quite a few folks ask me what happens when the tube and assorted sundrious gear that is attached to your post gets all muddy, and I wanted to find out for myself instead of hypothesizing and postulating. Had I the proper amount of forethought I woulda attached my tubes and shit when I did the short track race a few weeks ago since that's just about as muddy as you can get and not get arrested for murdering the trails.

photo cred Big Worm

Unfortunately I did the racer boy thing and left the unnecessary weight off the bike in a vain attempt to save weight in order to place slightly higher than mid-pack. Since the I couldn't seem to get muddy enough at Richmond Hill I had to stop and improvise before we got back to the parking lot.

photo cred PMBAR Honcho

In the interest of science I packed the crap outta it. I put what would probably be an unreasonable amount of mud on the strap, tube (with tools wrapped inside), CO2 cartridge, and tire levers. I think the doubters will be satisfied with the amount of work I put into assuring that the test would be thorough as possible without actually riding the mud into place.

Tomorrow I will post the results of the test, and you can see for yourself what happens when you use the Awesome Strap in extreme conditions.

Oh boy, you now have something to look forward to tomorrow. You're welcome.


WPG said...

That snow would have been awesome with some skis.

Luis G. said...


Blair said...

You need a motor for snow rides.

Karlos said...

Wonder if it would of been rideable on some snow bikes with super fat tires aka ala pugsleys?

Anonymous said...

Dicky, what would Jill in Alaska think of you if she read your post complaining about snowy trails??

dicky said...

Short of getting a sex change I don't believe anything could stop Jill from being infatuated with me.

WV: unpant

Anonymous said... hatchery.

Anonymous said...

Hikin and bikin, what fun that must have been.

adamC said...

Riding in snow pretty much sucks...

dougyfresh said...

I reckon there is more snow for the fishies than back in December.

A ton more snow than we have here. Weird.