North Carolina 2.0

Wow, it’s been over a month since my last blog entry… guess I have some catching up to do! I’ll start with the trip Andrea and I took the weekend after Homage to Ice.

As I mentioned in that entry we were headed down to North Carolina on Easter weekend for a week of cycling. The plan was based on an invite from Jennifer & Jamie, volks we met down there last year and had a great time with. This year we opted to bring our mountain bikes as we got the impression the trails around Brevard were “good”. Boy were we surprised!

To be fair, Andrea did bring her road bike along so she would have the option to get some extra rides in. As it turned out she never used it, preferring to ride some of the trails a second time instead.

I loaded up the camper and picked Andrea up at the end of her work day. Plans to leave early didn’t materialize so we were caught in rush hour traffic on our way out of town. After a long, slow drive to Hamilton traffic finally opened up and we made it to the border as darkness was setting in. Normally I prefer to be looking for a place to spend the night around that time but we still had a long way to go so we pressed on for a few more hours.

Based on a recommendation from Greg Potts we tried a route that took us near Cleveland and then south. It’s a little longer but avoids some of the hilly part of the Pittsburgh route. Once we crossed into Ohio we pulled into the first rest stop and spent the night there (it was around 11PM when we parked). It was cold enough that I put on the SunLite catalytic heater… it was enough to keep the inside at around 15C overnight while it got down to 0C outside. The morning was bright and sunny and frost-covered. A quick coffee and on the road…

I-90 Ohio Welcome Center

A few stops along the way, including getting some credit to use on the Virgin Mobile MiFi I have for broadband in the States (more on that later!), and again it was getting dark with a ways to go. Andrea called ahead to see about a late arrival at the Davidson River Campground only to find out that it was full up that night (turned out to be the first day of trout fishing season). Some looking around on the ‘net led us to Lake Powhatan Recreation Area Campground just south of Asheville. We got there about 10 minutes before the gates closed, were able to get a campsite and some firewood and so we settled in for the night. It was still cold enough that I put the SunLite on.

In the morning we headed to DRCG hoping to be able to find a campsite. There were a few empty ones when we got there so we picked one in the first loop. Turned out to be just a few sites away from Jamie, Jennifer & Jeff…perfect! After we got settled in it was time to get ready for a ride. When we got to The Hub (a great bike shop, I highly recommend it) we found out that it was a Scott demo day. They had dual suspension Spark Elite 29ers available sporting Rocket Ron tires. Andrea was interested in checking out the tires, I was happy to give a 29er a try so we signed up and off we went. Jeff and a friend were our guides… and what an introduction to the Pisgah trails! Steep! Even Steeper! After about 1/2 hour of climbing we finally got to enjoy the trip down… it was a perfect trail to try out the Scott and I can see why people like the big wheels. The “Twinloc” really impressed me too.

Back to the shop in a about an hour really feeling the effort, it had me wondering what I was in store for! As if that wasn’t enough… we went for another two ride in the DuPont forest in the afternoon. Ouch! When we got back from that ride I saw a team kit I recognize; the Scott 3Rox women’s race team. I say hi to Amanda and give her a minute to connect the dots, no way she was expecting to see a Canadian photog down there. A good chat with Amanda and her husband Kaesy, then a pint of Fat Tire Amber ale in the Pisgah Tavern (part of The Hub).

The Pisgah Tavern full of Canadians

A few more days of riding after that… the trails just kept getting better and better. There’s a lot (A LOT) of tough climbs, with the reward of flowing descents. And I know we only scratched the surface, although our “3 Js” made sure to get us to some of the best ones. I have a few of the rides up on Garmin Connect, feel free to take a look (and see just how slow I go!)

The Sunday morning was one of the main reasons I got some internet connectivity… it was Paris-Roubaix race day and we wanted to watch the live coverage. I got the laptop set up, we got coffee made and settled in to watch this awesome race. What a great race for Boonen!

I think I got my P-R route sign pointed the right way

All too soon the week was coming to an end. One last ride, then into the camper for a night at EveryBus in Greensboro. It just happened to be the same weekend so it worked out great!


The only not-great part was that I noticed the tailpipe was coming loose from the muffler. I gave it a temporary fix in the morning and it held up ok (had to re-do it once along the way but it made it). After we got back I had a friend try to weld it back together but it wasn’t to be. I got an extra week out of it and then did the right thing… so Babe has a new look in the back.



I have a few more photos from the trip online, here’s a link to them.

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