Thursday, August 19, 2010

summer doldrums

all of the folks from BCC seem to be traveling to Denver, so i decided to check it out. and while other folks feel the need to ride bikes there to fully experience the mile-high city, i figured i could adequately assess it from the airport. flying in from the Salt Lake City, i somehow only saw vast, brown flatness through my tiny window. but after a quick turn, i did see the majesty of the Rockies off in the distance. and yes, while Denver is right at the foot of some big mountains, it still looks like a long way up to the peaks. 

i was out west for a little backpacking trip in Wyoming, which was a lot of fun. it still boggles the mind that you can take horses through national wilderness areas, which rip up the trail and drop shit everywhere, but the idea of riding a bike is totally off limits. these notions didn't bug me too long--it was plenty hard walking up the trails, pushing a bike would have been pointless. i was curious to see if stomping around at 9,000 feet with heavy boots, a tent, and a portable espresso maker would give me mad power. sadly i don't think it did. 

tried my hand at the Apex (that's a suburb of Cary (which is itself a suburb of Raleigh), for our non-NC readers) road race. with over 50 starters packed to the right-hand side of the yellow line, i figured the pack was no place for a sane individual. attacked early, attacked often, but not often enough or strong enough to get away. no one else was interested in going on a little adventure with me and around 23 cooler heads trounced me in a bunch sprint. Corey was also out, enjoying the action in what i believe was his first official non-criterium road race, and he fought admirably. 

but the other thing happening with my cycling has been a renewed excitement about mountain biking. and what can be more exciting than the lure of new trails. Linus heard from Brian II that there were some fancy new TORC-constructed trails in the Briar Chapel community (a pseudo-suburb of Chapel Hill). we first got semi-lost on a dirt road which was apparently only intended for construction crew access. we then passed Endor Drive, which of course is named after the home planet of the Ewoks, so i was getting ready for a fast and nerdy land speeder-esque ride (possibly sabotaged by rebel forces

long story short: we found some heavy mulch walking trail, eventually found some decent mountain bike trails which turned into fun mountain bike trails which turned into boring fire-roads and lots of dead ends. there's about one or two miles of well-built trails out there, another couple of miles of decent trails, but weak connectivity, no signage, and no legible maps. plus, riding on that super rough mulch was slow. until it gets a lot more broken-down, i may need to find some terrain-specific tires. perhaps the Michelin Mulch II. if anyone has any tips on riding these trails, please let us know.

furthermore, it was hot. we both ended up sweating a lot and Linus, who had apologized earlier about the smelliness of his shoes now found said shoes were drenched with sweat. when i returned home, i inexplicably (or, easily explicably) i found that my shoes now had a terrible shoey smell to them. i'm not sure how i caught Linus foot-funk, but needless to say, i'm a little sad. sad shoes. 

okay, that's all i got for now. cyclocross "practices" have started (Wednesdays at 6:30pm and Saturdays at 9:30am at Forest Hills Park) and i think i'll drag the mountain bike to the Race at the Reactor this weekend, just in case there's a meltdown and radioactive pollution gives me mad power. fingers crossed...


Anonymous said...

HI there - I loved your reference to Endor Drive and the Ewoks! Bear with us as we are a newly constructed community and our trails (both hiking and biking)are in the process of connectivity, signage and all of that good stuff. We work very closely with the TORC team to build these trails and we should have most completed by the end of this year. We have a trail map on our website that may be helpful, but of course, any of the TORC team are a great source of what's out there for challenging riding. Don't miss the Endurance Race out here with TORC on 10/16!

co2cycle said...

Thanks for the info! I hope I wasn't too negative in my post. As I mentioned, the trails that TORC has constructed are really nice. Briar Chapel will be a great local destination for mountain biking once everything gets finished up. I was lamenting more about our experience there, since we didn't really have any idea what we were doing or what to expect. And it was hot and my shoes ended up smelling bad. Oh, and the bug bites--riding through the grass gave me chiggers! Can TORC do anything about that?!?
Props to TORC!

hollywood said...

Coincidentally Briar Chapel was one of the last projects I worked on in my former life in Durham as a planner. We worked on the overall master plan for the trails and such in Briar Chapel. I spent the better part of a few weeks with a GPS unit in the woods....before roads, houses, and anything of sorts. Just me, the chiggers, beavers, snakes and frogs and maybe a Yeti. Glad to hear that things are finally beginning to take shape.