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Re: [mecklenbent-riders] Creeper Trail

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  • David Clark
    Sept. 19 and 20 would work fine for me for the Silver Comet.  I ll see if Marta is interested.  That is the weekend before the CNC ride so we may be consumed
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 9, 2009
      Sept. 19 and 20 would work fine for me for the Silver Comet.  I'll see if Marta is interested.  That is the weekend before the CNC ride so we may be consumed with trying to figure out what the heck we are going to pack and carry.  Might be a good last shakedown cruise.
      I'm planning on riding on Saturday if anybody is interested in getting together.  Probably about 40 or 50 miles.
      Jerry - I could meet you at your house if you're available.  I'm still interested in seeing if your bar end shifters are compatible with what I have.

      --- On Mon, 6/8/09, Jerry Morris <froglegz57@...> wrote:

      From: Jerry Morris <froglegz57@...>
      Subject: Re: [mecklenbent-riders] Creeper Trail
      To: mecklenbent-riders@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Monday, June 8, 2009, 7:25 PM

      Great report Dave,  Similar to reports I have read on the Trail.  Very busy, some rough tracks, tight spots but the beauty is worth it.  I have to do this trail this summer so let's plan it. 
      I did a wonder around the county Sat and ended up seeing Cabarrus, Union and Meck after 50 miles and a fair sun burn.  Had fun and checked out some new areas but had not intended to go that far.  Funny thing but once you get there I realized I had to pedal back home also. 
      Tim M thinks the weekend of the 18th in Sep will be a good time for the Silver Comet.  Everyone check your schedules and see if that works and by the weekend it will be official.  Hopefully we can get some support for this time since the daughter now has Keely and my sister is really busy on weekends with the real estate thing.  Short rides will be great and some of the shorties may be able to support the long riders for the day.  We can put people in my daughter's basement and if we need to their back yard is plenty big enough for tents.  I have a friend who may join us and she has a camper so that may also be an option. 
      If I do not go to Atl this weekend anyone want to ride?  I am up for just about any length and any day so give me a call or drop a mail here.

      --- On Mon, 6/8/09, David Clark <david_h_clark2004@ yahoo.com> wrote:

      From: David Clark <david_h_clark2004@ yahoo.com>
      Subject: [mecklenbent- riders] Creeper Trail
      To: mecklenbent- riders@yahoogrou ps.com
      Date: Monday, June 8, 2009, 1:02 PM

      In yet another surprising move related to cycling, Marta has bought a Trek hybrid bike and started to commute to work last week.  She decided she wanted to ride the Virginia Creeper trail this weekend so off we went Saturday morning.  We could only get her bike into our car so I decided to rent a mountain bike in Damascus which was simple, quick, and easy, and only cost $20 for the day.  This turned out to be the right thing to do.
      Official Ride Report:
      This trail is great fun!  We rode 17 miles up hill from Damascus to White Top.  It is a pretty continuous 2% to 4% railroad grade up to White Top.  Just enough to give you something to think about but not enough to be difficult.  We were not particularly tired when we got to the top, although we did take it very slow - about three hours to do the 17 miles which included lots of stops to sit on benches, enjoy the view, take pictures etc. The trail runs along a beautiful mountain creek most of the way and crosses it many times on wooden surfaced bridges.  You are in deep shade most of the ride up and since you end up at about 3800 feet the temperatures were cool and pleasant.  There are a couple of places to stop and buy a cold drink and a snack at some of the road crossings.  At the top you are at the highest railroad grade east of the Mississippi and the views are great.
      Coming back down was a 17 mile coast.  I actually got cold.  You have to peddle a little bit but you are not getting much excercise on the trip down.  We did it in about an hour and a half.  I ended up helping some folks with a flat tire and another group with a chain problem and then got to see how fast I could go trying to catch up to Marta.  You can go pretty fast down a continuous 2% grade!
      So - pretty wonderful. Now for the things to think about before everybody rushes off to Damascus.
      1. The trail is mostly packed gravel with sections of soft gravel, sand, a little mud, and a few spots of fist sized gravel and cinders.  Most of the bridges have bumps and drops to get on and off.  Road bike tires need not apply for this ride!  Marta was riding 700CX28mm tires and they were barely adequate to make it through the rough spots.  I'm surprised she didn't pinch flat coming off the bridge decks onto the gravel at speed on the way down.  I'd recommend something with at least 1-1/4" wide tires.  Almost everybody does this with mountain bikes and I sure appreciated the big tires and front suspension.  We did see two recumbents and talked to one of the riders.  She had a 10 year old, no longer in production short wheel base I've never heard of but it had a 700C tire in back and about a 20" in front - both with wide tires.  She was enoying the ride but was a little concerned about her small front wheel diameter in the gravel.  A friend of mine did the trail with a road bike several years ago and said it was nuts.  Very uncomfortable.
      2.  99% of the riders are shuttled up to White Top from Damascus and just ride down hill.  This is supposed to be a ride "anybody" can do because you mostly coast.  So - as we were riding up we were constantly dealing with very clueless riders coming down.  They were going too fast for their bike handling skills, were all over the trail, and some seemed genuinely surprised to see us coming up hill right at them as they careened around corners in the left (to them) side of the trail.  The worst were the cub scout troops of 20 barely supervised 9 year olds riding more or less out of control on both sides of the trail.  Marta was in front and for about 30 minutes as we faced a continuous stream of down hill folks she had to shout constantly to get oncoming riders to move to their side so they wouldn't hit us.  That was a little too exciting.  Marta and I decided that it would be best to start up hill at about 9:00AM or after 2:00PM to avoid the down hill crowds.  We rode down starting at 3:30 and their weren't a lot of folks at the top.
      3. The trail is generally 8 or 10' wide but sections are only 5' and some short areas go down to single track through deep grass.  A couple of the bridges have barriers that only allow one bicycle to pass single file.  I am not certain if a trike could get through and might require "special handling" up and over the barrier.  And a trike would be a tight squeeze in places with all the folks coming down hill.
      So - highly recommended.  Fantastic scenery.  Need something with wide tires.  Start early or start late to avoid the fool factor.  I would definitely want to do this again but would probably rent a mountain bike again rather than try and set my bent up with wider tires.

      --- On Wed, 5/27/09, Jerry Morris <froglegz57@yahoo. com> wrote:

      From: Jerry Morris <froglegz57@yahoo. com>
      Subject: Re: [mecklenbent- riders] rain
      To: mecklenbent- riders@yahoogrou ps.com
      Date: Wednesday, May 27, 2009, 3:48 PM

      Have a good weekend, wet or dry it is always better away from the home and in the woods.  Let's get together on the next Silver Comet Trail ride.  I would like a weekend in Aug/Sep.  If we get it set up soon we can probably get more participation.  I have made contact with an Atlanta Recumbent group and at least one lady would like to join us.  I would also like to set-up a summer (june/july) VA Creeper.  I think if we start in the middle at Damascus we could have two groups with one going in each direction and a couple nuts going both ways.(that would be me and you)  The only time I have committed is June 27th thru july 14th.  Everything else is open as far as i know.
      Maybe i will have some progress on the LWB by then.  Have you been pushing Marta towards the "right" way of biking?  We can try her on the trike just to get her hooked if you think she may like it.  How tall is she?  I am 5'10" and do not remember my x-seam.  I may not even have to adjust the boom.
      --- On Wed, 5/27/09, David Clark <david_h_clark2004@ yahoo.com> wrote:

      From: David Clark <david_h_clark2004@ yahoo.com>
      Subject: Re: [mecklenbent- riders] rain
      To: mecklenbent- riders@yahoogrou ps.com
      Date: Wednesday, May 27, 2009, 12:06 PM

      Yeah - this rain thing is getting way over done.  Looks like another rainy evening.  I'm planning on another camping expedition to the Smokys this weekend with Marta so a little sunshine would be a nice change.

      --- On Tue, 5/26/09, Jerry Morris <froglegz57@yahoo. com> wrote:

      From: Jerry Morris <froglegz57@yahoo. com>
      Subject: Re: [mecklenbent- riders] rain
      To: mecklenbent- riders@yahoogrou ps.com
      Date: Tuesday, May 26, 2009, 1:59 PM

      I could not stand it any longer....  Last evening i went for a ride around the area.  i knew i was going to get wet so i took the trike and although it was wet i had some fun.  The disc brakes on it worked very nicely but if i plan on doing this regularly i need front fenders.  every time i turned a corner i was getting soaked.   i even stopped under a big tree for a bit.  it was a pleasant ride but short.  I have to get a bigger ride in soon or i will forget how to pedal. 

      --- On Tue, 5/26/09, David Clark <david_h_clark2004@ yahoo.com> wrote:

      From: David Clark <david_h_clark2004@ yahoo.com>
      Subject: Re: [mecklenbent- riders] rain
      To: mecklenbent- riders@yahoogrou ps.com
      Date: Tuesday, May 26, 2009, 1:00 PM

      Definitely thinking about it.....

      --- On Mon, 5/25/09, Jerry Morris <froglegz57@yahoo. com> wrote:

      From: Jerry Morris <froglegz57@yahoo. com>
      Subject: Re: [mecklenbent- riders] rain
      To: mecklenbent- riders@yahoogrou ps.com
      Date: Monday, May 25, 2009, 2:53 PM


      --- On Mon, 5/25/09, Timothy Marshburn <Timothym@medic911. com> wrote:

      From: Timothy Marshburn <Timothym@medic911. com>
      Subject: Re: [mecklenbent- riders] rain
      To: mecklenbent- riders@yahoogrou ps.com
      Date: Monday, May 25, 2009, 11:08 AM


      Glad to hear that your OK after the crash. Sounded like it could have turned out a lot worse. I know it's a pain to replace parts, but you can't be replaced.

      Wet roads are the pits. Hopefully you can figure out how to improve your braking in wet conditions.


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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: mecklenbent- riders@yahoogrou ps.com <mecklenbent- riders@yahoogrou ps.com>
      To: mecklenbent- riders@yahoogrou ps.com <mecklenbent- riders@yahoogrou ps.com>
      Sent: Sun May 24 22:13:21 2009
      Subject: Re: [mecklenbent- riders] rain

      I decided to go out for a quick 25 miles before driving to Atlanta Saturday morning. Got caught in heavy rain coming back just a mile from home. As I turned on to Deveron (one block from home) I was heading too fast down hill when I saw an oncoming car coming around a parked car and taking most of the road. I tried to brake but the rims were soaked and couldn't I get any friction. I tried to head to the inside of the parked car into a front yard but was still going too fast. I locked up the front wheel, then managed to get it rolling again but still straight towards the parked car. I then completely locked the rear wheel and the bike did 180 degree turn skidding on the rear wheel as it flipped out from under me. I ended up in the gutter on my right side right in front of the parked car and the other car drove off into the rain. Probably never even saw me.

      Damage report: bent rear derailer. Lots of scratched up chrome on the rear shifter and brake lever. Damaged shifter lever. Seat frame bent off center. Mangled quick release nut. Rear wheel bent. I've got a nice case of road rash on my ankle, knee, a good chunk of my right butt cheek, and lots of right elbow. Ripped a 3" diameter hole through my shorts over the butt cheek. Had to walk home bleeding in the rain because the rear wheel wouldn't turn. Which was probably as good a way as any to rinse the blood out of my clothes. Yikes! I would not recommend this as an entertaining way to spend Saturday morning.

      So - cleaned up, put tegaderm bandages over the road rash and drove to Atlanta with my daughter. Pretty stiff by the time I got out of the car four hours later to meet my son.

      Drove back (through a lot of rain) today and spent about three hours tonight getting the bike back into ridable condition. I put new brake pads on the front and took sand paper and deglazed the braking surfaces on the rims to see if I could get better wet stopping. That's the part that concerned me in all of this - the critical moment with no braking and then it was just too late to do anything except try to avoid hitting the big stuff.

      If the weather's decent I'll try to get out for a few miles tomorrow just to see how the bike does. Hopefully I can get into, and more importantly, out of, a pair of cycling shorts without doing too much damage to the road rash. My daughter thinks I should wear the pair with the 3" hole but I think she's enjoying all this way too much...

      So - I'm starting to feel a little more philisophical about this but at the time I was pretty well pissed off. My daughter was laughing at me the whole way down to Atlanta because I was obviously worried way more about the bicycle than my own minor damage. I told her that skin grows back but bicycle parts cost real money.....

      Any advice on better wet weather stopping techniques?


      --- On Sat, 5/23/09, Jerry Morris <froglegz57@yahoo. com> wrote:

      From: Jerry Morris <froglegz57@yahoo. com>
      Subject: [mecklenbent- riders] rain
      To: mecklenbent- riders@yahoogrou ps.com
      Date: Saturday, May 23, 2009, 2:32 PM

      Jeff and I tried to get a ride in this am but we got to the gas station and a bit further before it began to pour. Those quart sized raindrops we have here. We scooted back to the BP Station and waited out the rain but even after it stopped the weather looked real bad. We got back to my house just in time to miss the second round so the day was a waste as far as biking goes.
      I will try the VA Creeper tomorrow and send a report Monday.



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