West Virginia life

Today in Davis it was another caught in a T storm out in the open ride. Oh, watched a black bear sow & twins from maybe 50 feet away. We were just across the Blackwater river from Davis. She was more protected than we were during the storm. Further on the ride I spied one up in a tree and that is where it stayed.

Today i drove from White’s run outside Seneca Rocks, WVA wandering miles of back woods dirt followed by narrow 2 lanes. Small communities sprung up, faltered, and failed. Residents now drive great distances to jobs that aren’t on the land and learning life skills. How to farm instead of running a drill press or clerking in a store. Had to resource extraction of some kind and it played out or lost customers. Steep hillsides in grass. Some cattle grazing but no tillage. Would be small farms. Could you start your own city today? Own the land, sell lots, name it after yourself?

Stopped @ Blackwater bikes in Davis to chat and plan a ride. Learned that there is a 10:30 ride and I was going to be late. geared up and made shop while riders gathered. Todd led it, Brian an electrical engineer working for federal energy dept, Duane active in clubs & organizer near Marietta, Ohio, and another guy whose name I never did catch works for EPA. Riding here is on resource extracted scared land. Todd led out on trails that were new to me. We rode into the forest over some of the nastiest stuff I have ridden all at once: Rocks were sweating wet when not covered w/ moss, roots as it mats, w/ some wet pits mixed in filled w/ black mud. No Sedona step ups but I used Sedona skills. Another plus comment about my Turner DW 5 Spot. Fall of ’08 I rode other trails on my former TNT 5 Spot. This DW allows me to pedal over the stuff while allowing me to sit & spin. I can loft the front end easily. Rocks were subdued here but roots made up for loss. Rode lots over way overgrown railroad lines w/ lumber ties decaying, and logging roads. Some single track but old stuff rode like mild ST.

Ride was shortened by T storm. Wet & muddy again. Being drenched negated the sweating wet from the humidity. My bike has spent more time in the rain being ridden than on the back of my van.

Drove van to front of bike store for pictures for shop web site. Got out of van and a wet rider approached me and said he just read about me. He is a local. He said he is 2 high school graduations away and he is gone. He is a heavy equipment operator that gets sent around the US to work and he always has his mtn bike. As a result he gets to ride distant places to compare to his home turf. Riders like us are rare as most riders stay within so many driving hours, certainly lesser than days.

Meeting sharing locals sharing all kinds of ride ideas is rewarding, sometimes overwhelming. Too many places to ride and so little time. Hopefully i will ride w/ a young local on secret handshake trails. More T storms are forecast.

N of Davis is a wind turban farm.  Sue Haywood has a home here. She is a Turner sponsored racer. I met her in Harrisonburg in ’08. Grace raced here several times and knows Sue.

Rambling: July issue has blurb on Grace. She has bike national recognition now. We are now identifying who knows both of us. Grace said someone befriended her that knows us. During Grace’s & my telecon late this afternoon we started rattling off names of people we both know, they are all from the South. Grace & friend John drove to French Lick, IN for a race last weekend to get out of rain in Huntsville.

Drove out of town to another camp down by the river. Settled in when a T storm struck. Then a sucker hole followed by a flat out violent downpour T storm.

Spent last night outside of Seneca Rocks, WVA along Seneca creek, a TH of Allegheny trail I rode earlier, and a trailhead. Gravel road went up creek canyon w/ no off the 1 lane road pullouts. Place turned out to be active w/ several cars b4 dark. After dark a car pulled in, people w/ headlamps & barking dogs took off. They left a dog behind that voiced it’s disapproval of being left behind like almost in my van. Oh well, best to stay inside and go back to sleep. This AM rigs were in b4 I got out of bed.

Sunday i notched another IMBA epic @ Spruce Knob. I parked @ Big Run TH and rode 8 miles of gravel then pavement to top of Spruce Knob, highest point in WVA @ 4836. ST starts on Huckleberry trail on top of ridge hidden by spruce trees. Some sections of flat out nasty rock gardens. DW success again. 3 miles later the trail drops off the ridge down into typical broadleaf forest. Crossed Seneca creek & climbed up Bear hunter trail in a creek canyon. Joined Allegheny trail on ridge back to TH is just an old road: boring. Don’t know how epic status is given. Can’t see it after my ride.

Took 1st solar shower yesterday @ TH. Drove down mtn to Seneca Rocks. Plan is to check out potential rides from the climbing store there. Met Tom the owner. He told me that for a 6 back  someone would drive my rig back to town after dropping me off @ upper TH. Ride down was a mix of msih mash followed by a pipeline descent. Decided to pass on it for what I was to experience later in the day.

Sat night after Slatyfork I drove E towards Seneca on rt 33 looking for FS access for sleep spot. Picked 1st gravel road to the South.  Passed on cty road and infrequent houses until FS land. I located my sleep spot by GPS and plotted it on NAT Geo Topo scanned USGS maps. Research revelaed that I could drive to Spruce knob on the road I was on. Headed out Sun AM. Increasingly narrow dirt road passed former farms w/o electric. Saw several solar panels. Road cut into mtn side creating no camp spots. Found spur road w/ locked gate that allowed me to get 50 feet from road which had some traffic on it.

Moonshine is not uncommon here but try as I might none has made it into my possession. I nipped on a Pisgah stash served from what else? A fruit jar.

Back outside Davis for the night.

Country roads West Virginia

But internet and cell phone coverage has not met the backwoods.

Friday i rode Douthat SP in VA.Nothing tech but lots of climbing and the resultant downhills. Good trails, low down soem machine cutting replaced the old hiking tread. Above that it was the old slightly rooty hiking trails. Overgrown thru lurel slicks. Crossed a stream and a snake fell out of a tree and slitherede away b4 I could identify it. It was black which is safe. Copperheads like h2o and are very hard to see and make no sound b4 the  fangs break the flesh.

The heat and high humidity are beating me.

I am in a laundromat parking lot catching up on posting while the machine does the dirty work. Another week of clean riding clothes.

Monkey butt cleared up back in Brevard using bag balm b4 and after ride. Not needed b4. I have a hard ass.

Today i tried the IMBA epic @ Slaty fork, WVA again. Last night I studied the map and directions. Today i visited Elk River resort and talked w/ Greg, their mtn bike man. I learned that nobody had reported trail conditions.  I set out hoping that on a Sat of a 3 day weekend I might hook up w/ other riders. At the TH the overgrown grasses were unbent from vehicle tires. Up @ 4000′. Headed out on old logging / coal hauling / railroad beds that held mud bogs. I suffered about 2 miles when I decided I had enough. I just had no desire to ride in the glop. I drove back down mtn to river and rode the short beginner trail. This area was strip mined long ago and clear cut logged. Broadleaf forest. The strip mines were made by way old machines that just made like road cuts along the mtn side. The high walls are mostly recovered.

Back @ Elk River I spoke some more w/ Greg. Small circle: Rich Edwards of IMBA trail Solutions used to work for Elk River. A guy came up to me and commented about seeing me in the BikeMag article. He got a picture of me at the back of my van. From Cincinnati, made his day.

Heading over to Seneca Rocks ndew IMBA epic and then down to Harrisionburg, VA b4 heading north to state college and another new epic, then Pitsburg area then to Ohio by June 15.

Over & out. Hope to get out of heat by heading east over the divide.

Full moon over Damascus, VA

And down by the river 1 block off main drag.  The Appalachian trail drops right thru downtown. Town is wrapped around tourists riding the Virginia Creeper trail, a rails to trails success. There might be 10 businesses renting bikes & driving shuttles for 35 mile 1 to 3% downgrade along Whitetov Laurel trout stream. All kinds of riders and bikes pedal the trail which is still rideable gravel.

Today i drove from Boone, NC area after riding Warrior Creek and staying in an Army Corps XG. Very mountainous, scattered modern houses in woods. Lots of acreage in christmas trees on slopes too steep to cultivate. Not much farming. Old homesteads tucked back in the hills. Stores that supported them are all gone, new people drive miles to a city for supplies or on way home from work. RT 58 travels ridges & drops down into a hollow & climbs back.

Hot place to ride today was Iron Mtn, an introduction to west riding as the only ST was on downhill after road climb up, and it was short lived. Met Greg, a native of South Africa. He said the movie Invictus was true and that he was in the stadium for the  match or maybe scrum. He laid out a loop consisting of 11 miles uphill of the Virginia Creeper, several miles down rt 58, up FS road 90 to finally the ST. I am liking old hiking trails & Sedona biker made trails over the machine cut trails.  Mtn bike trail designers put an awful lot of creative energy into trail design creating flow for a bike rider. The tread is all but pavement smooth. What becomes challenging are the berms and grade dips. Warrior creek loop had so many bermed switchbacks in the drainages to shed the water per that designer’s perspective. Actually becomes boring. Give me a day of Pisgah @ Brevard to enjoy my squishy bike.

The spin on the rail road grade was enlightening as that it was all spinable and I don’t spin. The AT shared some of the same trail and there were numerous vacant hiker camps. Short story, climbed out of creek bottom, rode down rt 58 & climbed up FS road to Iron mtn trail, 6 miles to town, last 2 miles was an old eroded logging road. The hillsides were stripped by 1920 and reforested. Too short a piece of ST for effort. Once on it I was all alone.

Parked in a lot signed Public Parking, no mention of no overnight camping which I will attempt. Don’t try this at home. Cop has cruised me 2x and I am kitty block from the police station.

Yesterday I bid Bruce adieu and drove to Boone, NC to find a ride. MTBR forum listed maybe 8 rides out of Boone. I found Boone bike & touring store, met Joseph who immediately set about to line up a ride for the next day. He set me upon Warrior creek east of town. It is a machine cut trail snaking along the shores of an Army Corps of Engineering man made reservoir. Rained recently leaving questionable traction @ the bottom of the grade dips. I slithered several times to convince myself that traction is sketchy. I got splattered & coated w/ woods mud as did the bike. Both were showered, albeit different times.

Paid $22 camp fee as the $18 primitive campsites have been converted to power & h2o. Included shower. Drove by historical plaque for the song Tom Duley grave site a mile away. The song is real.

Monday I left Brevard after a cranial treatment by Kim. She was able to lessen the pain in my SI. Picked up my warranty replacement shoes from Sycamore cycles & said goodbye to Wes. Stopped @ the Hub for a chain and said good bye again. Drove to Asheville to a chiro adjustment by Robin. Today my body found a new stasis. Hung w/ Bruce. Again, helmetless & lightless we pedaled to his friend Niccole’s house. We stopped for a half rack of Miller bottles and split it between our 2 packs and continued to Niccole’s. She will not drink craft beer. No breakers. I step up climbed the 3 steps to her porch. Bruce was impressed. Yesterday he rode the Pisgah Bad Ass race course, some 60 miles on a rigid single speed. Quite an accomplishment. Ate dinner. Much later after the rain let up we rode back to Bruce’s in the light rain & wet streets.

Scrape on my shin is quite painful sitting here typing.

Made Spanish Bulghur for dinner tonight. It is spiced w/ Cayenne. I was parked in the sun making me very warm to start. The pepper made me sweating hot.

Need to research for tomorrow.