Sunday, December 14, 2014


Woohoo! For only the second time in over two months I felt strong on the bike today, or at least strong enough to really enjoy riding it. But, more importantly, for the first time in over two years I felt comfortable ripping singletrack.

I had a free afternoon today and made my way over to (guess where...) Blankets Creek.

Somebody had gotten a little festive with one of the little pine trees in the lot. Unless that's a hemlock. I didn't notice at the time and it's hard to tell in the picture.


Well, either way, it is getting close to Christmas and it made me smile.

I wasn't there to admire the decor though. I meant to ride until I felt good riding. Turns out that was from the get go. I was a little over-excited at first though. Had to roll it back a notch to keep from blowing up, but once I'd rolled it back a notch, I was ripping singletrack, comfortably, non-stop, for about two and a half hours. I hadn't felt that good on the mountain bike in years. Literally years.

But it wasn't all shred. I did take in a little scenery. The lake was low and strange looking and it fascinated me.


Some older guy was walking around in the draw near the beginning of Dwelling (going counter-clockwise) with a shovel. I later saw him walking out with a bucket full of what looked like 4-inch, round, flat stones. Maybe they were clams or something though. Are there clams in lake Allatoona?

I also ran into David Sagat! He was riding out when I was riding in and we were like "Mr. Muuuuse!!!!!" "Heeeeyyyy!!!!" but then we both kept going. Later I saw him near the front of the trail though and we got to talking for a while. He used to rock this triumphant stache, but now he rocks an even more triumphant long-hair/full-beard combination. It's good that I ran into him again too because I might not for a while. He's apparently living up in Asheville now, riding for somebody up there that I've forgotten now, dangit. He, and who might been his girlfriend, Sequoia, whom it was really nice to meet, were just in town for the weekend. It seemed odd to me that if they were just in town for the weekend that they'd be at Blankets of all places, but they get to ride Pisgah so much, they were missing that in-town shred. Yep. I know how that is.

Later, I realized that I think the last time I saw him was actually at Blankets, a few years ago, at the Race to Sunset. We pitted together, then during the race he lapped me and I followed him out of the woods on my last lap. Ha! Good times.

In other news, I think it might be time to do a little work on the bike. My rear brake has to be bled a lot and today it eventually became totally unusable. I've got a whole set of XT's in the garage. I guess it's finally time to upgrade.

I only got to ride for like two and a half hours, but it's the quality that counts, right? And it was some high quality riding, to be sure.

Yep, feeling pretty good. Feeling pretty good.

I hope the feeling lasts.

Monday, December 1, 2014


My parents and my brother Daniel were in town for Thanksgiving and we spent several days feasting and making merry. I dare not even imagine how many calories I consumed.

On Saturday, it had been a few days since I'd last coughed and though my busted finger was still weak, it wasn't hurting all the time any more. Things were looking up. My dad brought his bike with him from Dallas, though he might have been a little hesitant to ride. He'd crashed on either the day of or the day before my last crash and fractured his hand. It was about as well healed as my finger.

Something had to be done though. That turkey wasn't going to work itself off, and those stiff joints aren't going to get better sitting around either.

We arrived at Blankets Creek around 3PM. Almost immediately I ran into Dave Greenwell, followed almost immediately by Tim Winters. They both seemed to be doing well, but also seemed ready to get going so we didn't talk for long. I was jealous. They both looked fit. I remember being as fit as they looked. Maybe next month.

The padre and I got going as quickly as we could.


The trail was really nice. It was the first ride I'd done since the leaves fell and the scattered abundance was still novel. Nobody had yet been out there with the leaf blower and that little pine-needly, leaf crubmly layer still lay on the trail.

Down by the lake, someone had recently added a flag pole and the flag was bumping around a little. I guess it was added recently. I don't remember ever seeing it before, but for all I know it's been there a while and I just never noticed it. I noticed it on Saturday though.


The lake itself was low. Really low. Like you could probably walk out into the middle of it without getting your knees wet low. The old creekbeds were prominent and the creeks were low in them. I wondered what the fishing was like when it's low like that. The fish would have to be concentrated into 1/20th of the water. Is that good? The weather's been nice, maybe I'll go find out.

We spun a lap around Mosquito Flats and Mosquito Bite, then up Shultz's Chute and back down the abandoned return, then a lap around Dwelling. My finger was a non-issue. I worried that it would be weak but I didn't notice at all. My Dad's hand was another story though. His thumb was going numb.

We spun another lap around the front.

Dad Crossing Blankets Creek

It appeared that someone had been out there with the leaf blower in between our first and second laps.

By the time we'd finished the front section, most of his hand was numb. Probably still some swelling in there. We decided that it would be better not to push that and called it a day.

So, not a lot of miles, but no crashing, my finger was good enough if not well, and I didn't start coming down with cold symptoms that night. It's been a few days and I still feel fine. I don't want to jinx it, but I might finally getting better. It might be time to start feeling like a cyclist again. Maybe. I'll see if I can get some miles in on the road this week and see how that goes.