Sunday, July 3, 2016

Cochran Mill

Backlog number 4 (of 4)...

Ha, ha! This one I actually did today! Or technically yesterday, as it is presently past midnight.

All last week I felt good. Not 100%, but maybe 95%. I'm still coughing, but I can work hard all day and I don't get more sick. I tried to sleep well too, but that was hard, given all the work catch-up I needed to do. Every day, I felt like putting in some road miles, but I fought the urge, figuring I needed rest more than miles.

Friday though, it seemed like a good idea and I spun out 30 or so between here and Powder Springs. I ran into a guy I knew too, who was "taking it easy" because he'd hit it hard the day before and wanted to hit it hard again the next day. I passed him at first, but then about 5 minutes later he dropped me so hard that it was upsetting.

So, I've got some work to do, it would seem.

Some of that work, I did today though. I met the frere in the vicinity of Cochran Mill and we put in about 25 miles in and around the park.

The Frere

Man, there are some nice trails out there.

The woods is beautiful this time of year too.

Cochran Mill Woods

And there are several water falls on Bear Creek.

Bear Creek Falls The Frere at Bear Creek Falls Bear Creek

One on the lower creek and one further up where the mill itself used to be.

The requisite mill ruins litter the woods nearby too.

Cochran Mill Ruins

And part of the mill dam still stands

Cochran Mill Dam Ruins

We did 2 lollipops. One on the southwest side of the property and one on the northwest side. The trails on the southwest side were either beautifully manicured dingo trail, or perfectly worn-in hand-cut bench. There's a big, rocky hill on that side at the end of the "stick" of the lollipop that we rode in both directions, first one, then the other. In one direction there's along gradual climb, and in the other there's a fairly steep climb with a long descent. Tons of fun in either direction.

I started wearing down on the way out though. At the time I couldn't tell why, but it seemed to be related to hydration. I'd been drinking like mad, but it wasn't working. At home later, I would pee the darkest pee I've ever peed. Pee which burned my eyes so badly I worried I might miss the toilet.

I kind-of held it together for the rest of that lollipop.

On the way out we passed 4 riders on horseback on their way in, several hikers, several other cyclists, and a guy running. All of the trails in the park are multi-use: bike, hike, and horse. In the lot there were like 8 trailers that hadn't been there when we arrived and umpteen cars with bike racks.

John apparently knows the guy who built the trails, or maybe Glen does. Some guy named Paul. Paul gets several high fives if I ever meet him. Me and John have talked about this before, re. the trails he built at Clinton... It's one thing to build some trails that you and your buddies ride. You intend to improve the situation for those guys, and it's great when that happens, because you meant for it to, and it worked out. But it's this whole other level when it turns out to have an unexpectedly positive impact on other communities, like the local cross-country running teams, or day hikers, or geocachers, or the local equestrian community. Judging from today's turnout, the trails are clearly great horse trails too. And they're not just riding the old trails that were there from before. There are probably 30 or more miles of trail now, and it appears to be a destination trail system, for all users.

The second lollipop had a bit more of an I-build-this-trail-recently feel to it. It still had those high frequency bumps that wear in eventually, but can really take a while. It was a stand up and crank trail, rather than sit down and spin. At that point, I had very little stand-up-and-crank in me and I cratered pretty badly.


I tried to make the best of it, and push where I could, but it was really, really bad.

At the back corner, there's a spur-lollipop off of the main trail that leads to the other side of the falls we were at earlier. We went that way and ran into some buddies of John's. They were out on a TNGA training ride - partial Dirty Sheets loop + some number of miles around the park, and back. I think they were doing 70 or more, total. They'd been at it since we started, but had really just arrived at the park. They hadn't done the south loop yet.

We rode back out with them, and at one little stream crossing, ran into this Eastern King Snake stretched out at the edge of the water.

Eastern King Snake

Damn phone! Come on. Focus!

I swear I'll never figure out how to get it to focus correctly. The little yellow square was on the snake. What else do I have to do?

He was totally happy lying there and had no interest in moving. I didn't want him to get hit though, so I pinched his tail a bit to get him to scrunch up, which he did, and eventually slithered a bit forward, into the water and presumably out of danger.

I held on through the rest of that loop, but John described me as having the Death Stare, which sounded accurate.

We crossed the road and hit some trails on the Mill side with some good technical kicks in them. It felt like climbing in Pisgah. All I could do was sit back and crank. I couldn't carry any good speed. I certainly didn't climb with any authority. Around the Mill itself, when I took those photos, I was lightheaded and dizzy. I worried for a second I'd fall off of that mill dam.

No falling though. We eventually climbed out, ended up at the back of the Nature Center, and took the gravel roads back out.


25 miles, but it felt like a tough 40. Actually, I knew it would be bad too, because it was 70 degrees when we started and I felt comfortable. Last year I was so acclimated to the heat, when it first dropped to 72 I was cold.

Work! I need to put in work! 120 miles this week - 40 each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And, an epic next weekend. That's what I need.

That's what I need!

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