31 May 2011
27 May 2011
24 May 2011
18 May 2011
13 May 2011
(It looks like Blogger is down right now, so I'm going to try this straight into Facebook ...)
I've always been fascinated by maps. One look around my office, and it's obvious: On one wall, I've got a 780 map from PMBAR 2010, on the opposite wall three USGS quadrangles depcting various places in the Asheville basin. I think it all dates back to when I was a kid, and my dad read first The Hobbit and later the entire LOTR trilogy to my brother and I, just a few pages each night. I also got ahold of his original, hardbound copy of The Silmarillion, and spent hours pouring over the pull-out map in the flap.
And while I'm a stickler for accuracy, and it drives me nuts when maps are wrong, I love old maps that aren't quite complete. That take huge swaths of land, say, like the Old West, and just lump everything together as "Indian Country" or the like. The juxtaposition of detail and ambivalence is fascinating to me, and I imagine myself in the cartographer's place, trying to piece together a vital scrap of navigational excellence while working with incomplete and often contradictory source information. And doing so all in the name of helping prepare fellow travelers.
As you may have read, yesterday was a bit of a tough day for me. I really appreciate all the well-wishes from across the country and around the world, but deep down I was hurting pretty badly. Kim sensed this, and gave me a pass to hit the Forest -- despite some late-afternoon rain, the @Pisgah Area Cycling crew was headed up Clawhammer to Buckhorn Gap Trail, bombing a trail I've climbed several times but have never enjoyed going downhill. All the way out to @Sycamore Cycles I was prepared to bail -- my heart and head just weren't in it. But I went anyway.
So the ride started, and pretty quickly @Wes Dickson and @Dan Ennis and I separated ourselves up the hill. A stop to regroup at the entrance to Maxwell, and another at the entrance to Buckhorn, and then it was "all downhill from here" ... half-dry/half-wet, loose and rocky at first and then all-wet, all rooty further down, and still I couldn't shake the fog I was in. One guy took a header just as we got going, and I was pretty freaked out -- when I get strong feelings like that, it usually doesn't end up in a good way. But he said he was OK, and then it was time to roll.
Down we went, and I started to find a rhythm. We had a good-sized group, and so traded off places as we drove through hub-deep stream crossings, or walked, or took the bridges. I was about mid-pack, midway down, flowing nicely when Carlos checked up at a small drop -- what? Carlos, come on! This one is easy!
I should have known. I should have seen it coming.
Next thing I knew, I was dropping into the stream, and OHMYGODWHATTHEHELLOHSHIT!!!! There I am, mid-pedal-stroke, trying to clean out, and from my right comes this ungodly screaming and yelling as Wes and Dan launch themselves at me in an awesome display of trail banshee prowess. They had hidden behind a bush, literally sitting down in the stream lying in wait, until they knew I was coming. And then they attacked.
Thankfully, I managed my way out of the stream -- good thing, since the rest of the group was waiting on the other side, absolutely cracking up at my "misfortune." And of course Wes and Dan were laughing their assess off, proud they had pulled it off. And you know what? The spell was broken. I felt better. I started laughing. I punched Dan and promised I'd get him back someday. All of a sudden, I felt like it was my birthday, the way it should feel. And we drilled it back up to 477, and then out 276 to the Forest gate -- though I lost the sprint by a nose as Wes threw his bike from about 10 yards out. And it was good.
So this weekend is certainly going to be rough at times, but I'm in a better place to tackle it now, thanks to a couple of trail banshees and some good, old-fashioned, Pisgah-style fun. Even so, I think I'm going to take out my map in the next couple of days, find that stream crossing, and mark in big letters: "HERE THERE BE SNAKES."
Just so that next time, I'll be prepared.
12 May 2011
09 May 2011
- Start/Finish: Thrift Cove mandatory to/from Black
- CP: SMR at Squirrel Gap
- CP: Bradley Creek at SMR (FS5015 off-limits)
- CP: NMR at Trace Ridge (Fisherman's off-limits)
- CP: Laurel/Pilot Connector (directional -- no out-and-backs)
- CP: Daniel Ridge at Farlow Gap Trail
06 May 2011
03 May 2011
02 May 2011
- Upon learning that Squirt's due-date is two weeks earlier than planned, and just a week before Halloween, Kim looks at me and says, "Yes, you can still do Double Dare." Wait, what? What if you're late? "We'll figure something out." Dang.
- After I spent a week not at home, during which she and Kate traveled together without me, she let Greg and me go play in the woods on Saturday. We hit Big Creek again, and I think I may have a new favorite trail.
- Then, after just a few minutes at home, I went and played bike mechanic at work, with her blessing. She even waited dinner for me, and had the nachos baking when I arrived home.
- We stayed up a bit too late watching a cruddy movie, and then she put up with a full hour of me snoozing my alarm clock yesterday morning, nine minutes at a time.
- Then, she let me go play in the woods by myself for a little while. And it was good.
- We did get family time in the afternoon, in the form of a 3-year-old birthday party. I swear my kid has a better social life than me. (No offense, Greg.)