For the past two seasons Dave and I have come to western North Carolina for our own spring training camp..now that we live here, I guess it’s just “training” now! No need for a vacation as I only fall more and more in love with the mountains and trails in my backyard.
Over the past week I was out of town for work–a new job, and limited to riding the trainer in hotel rooms. I do value the trainer for specific workouts (even in summer), but after a week straight of it, nothing beats fresh mountain air for the soul!
This weekend I rode my favorite loop in Bent Creek: up Wolf Branch>up Ingles Field Gap>up Little Hickory Top> down Green’s Lick>up Sidehill>down Ingles Field Gap>down Wolf Branch. It is just a nearby, fun rollercoaster ride that I can fit in when I don’t have enough time for a monster Pisgah endeavor..
On Saturday morning I did a Kitsuma out-and-back. It was misty, cold (yes, the south has made me soft and 50 degrees is cold!) and overcast at Kitsuma–actually just what I needed in the morning. I was comfortable once I started climbing and alone to enjoy the peace and quiet. I actually found some company on the trail as two dogs decided they wanted to climb switchbacks! Once we passed the summit they were smarter and turned around. No way were they going to climb any more. I had more fun descending Young’s Ridge than last time in the dark without a light; I could really let off the brakes and fly down! Then at the Old Fort picnic area I turned around and up…wow, Young’s Ridge is a tough climb! It’s not very long, just super steep!
Here is the elevation profile:
Usually one would continue back to the trailhead on Old 70 as THIS ROUTE suggests, but I turned around around mile 4.5. Having done both, I can say I won’t climb back on the road again! On the ridgeline climb I had a chance to enjoy the incredible views for once and am well on my way to becoming a switchback master! Plus the descent down Kitsuma is super fun and well worth the extra climbing!
I now feel recharged and rejuvenated; I was bummed to miss the first two rounds of the Pro XCT and will actually miss Sea Otter again… I had my heart set on the national series, but it just does not make any sense for me to travel SO far to race, especially when it’s on my own dime and this early in the year. However, I will have my chance with UCI events a bit later in the season! It is all about balance and I feel like I’ve written a solid race schedule. I am feeling positive and really looking forward to my first SERC/US Cup race at Tsali this weekend! Should be a fun time.