So far, Dave and I have had an awesome time over the first two days of our trip in Asheville.. We are staying in a cabin in the Pisgah National Forest pretty close to Mt. Pisgah.
151, the “Pisgah Highway,” is out of our front door and leads straight up about 1400′ to the Blue Ridge Parkway. We found this by accident last year on our only “easy” day off the trails but it is a super fun road to ride. The whole road is switchbacks and there are a bunch of small waterfalls and amazing views along the way.
It was lightly raining pretty much all day yesterday, so we decided to spend some time exploring the scene downtown and the different neighborhoods north and west of Asheville. I highly recommend the Early Girl Eatery if you are ever in the area! Asheville has pretty much everything: mountains, an expansive art and music scene, great shops and restaurants, an awesome Farmer’s Market and, oh yeah, some of the best cycling on and off-road in the country!
Upon returning to the cabin, the rain subsided for a bit so we suited up and took out the road bikes for a short ride up and down the mountain. It would have been nice to continue the ride along the Parkway but that section is still closed from the winter storms. The top of the ridge was encased in clouds and it started raining again once we were close to the top. We put on the layers and got ready to practice our descending skills! Strangely enough, I am totally fine bombing down steep rocky descents, berms and drop-offs, but fast descents on the road kind of freak me out. I am getting better though and I didn’t really have a choice once it started pouring on us! I was freezing but fortunately I was wearing wool and a nice hot tub was awaiting me:
We spent three hours riding the southwest trails, starting up Big Rock and straight down the steep end of Cedar Rock trail. These trails are mostly slickrock trails that are only marked with cairns..nothing like anything I’ve ridden before!
From there we continued along Little River to Burnt Mountain. With Dave’s exceptional navigation skills we descended Burnt Mountain the technical way:
Corn Mill Shoals Trail crossed a river and we continued on Shoals to Laurel Ridge to Mine Mountain trail, around Fawn Lake. To get to the Bridal Veil Falls Overlook, we descended the rollercoaster that is Airstrip Trail. This trail is incredibly well-designed (was built by IMBA) and is totally awesome featuring some tabletops and berms!
We returned via Corn Mill Shoals Trail to Little River up the northern half of Cedar Rock and finally down Big Rock. The descents were wicked and I felt totally at ease on my new Felt hardtail. Last season I had 4″ of travel on my old bike and it rode quite differently. My 6 LTD climbs like a dream and I can get out of the saddle and not lose any power. This is my first time ever riding a carbon bike and I am impressed that it is very responsive, handles and accelerates so quickly! My suspension, shifting and braking is dialed in; I have always ridden and been pleased with Shimano’s dependable components, and the Magura Marta SL brakes are super plush, light and strong! I was impressed how fast and easy it was to set those up with the Magura Durin SL fork. Stay tuned for an in-depth tech report before the first WORS race next week!
Big thank you to Mafia Racing, Felt and Dave for showing me how to build my bike and helping me out with the fine tuning! Can’t wait to ride it more in Pisgah tomorrow!