Monday, September 28, 2009

CX time in TN

It's been raining...lots. You're inside. You need a cross bike.

Go Mom!

Thanks to Kevin for the invite, hospitality, and a memorable weekend.
Check out his races...

Thursday, September 10, 2009


So far this summer I had been lucky enough to somehow miss most of the major greenway flooding. I either was running from encroaching storms or just getting rained on as they started most of the summer. Today a thunderstorm sat over west/downtown knox for about 30 minutes dumping a sizable deluge right before I left work. While the 3rd Creek greenway was relatively flood free I was met with quite the river on the west Knox greenways. I now know why the damn cement paths are so slick.

The pot O gold is the First TN headquarters. Unfortunately you can't have rainbows without "rain".

Ride started out as just another damp drizzle ride.

Don't usually see water this high out west...this is where I started to wonder what it was going to be like ahead.

Squeaky brakes.

Now I knew something was a miss. The stream had clearly recently been out of it's banks and I saw two muskrats fighting the current and trying to get out of the water.

At this point I was a bit intimidated but decided to ford.

About halfway through I decided this might have been one of those times where I should have taken the alternate route. Much like the Oregon trail I was at the mercy of the water. Did I mention every time I ever tried to ford in Oregon trail Jimmy fell off and drowned? I still remember my swift water rescue course and found myself questioning my decision to ford over and over. I figured as long as I could guess where the pavement was and stayed up right I should be ok...

The water stayed about 6-10" deep until the last segment where the water level rose enough to put some buoyancy pressure on my panniers (18"?enough to keep my complete pedal stroke under water), which amazingly are well sealed with the welded seams and stayed dry.

Approaching land.

Whew made it!

Riding through puddles in the dark not knowing the depth is always fun. Lots of leaves on the G way, it's prime season for breaking bones on the greenways be careful out there it's going to be slick in spots the next few days.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Rocky Fork Exploration #1

I’ve been drumming up Rocky fork as a legit mtn bike destination for some time now. I used to get up there with my best high school friend and dad a reasonable amount back in those days. With a recent land acquisition Rocky Fork was again thrust into the news and it seems finally this pristine area is now under the watchful eye of some people who won’t develop it. Abby and I took off for a day to do some exploratory riding in the old stomping grounds.

One thing I failed to recognize is that in 10 years a lot can change on trails. New ones are opened and old ones are allowed to revert back to a more primitive status or disappear completely. The latter was true of much of my childhood memories for the day, but now I have a good feeling for the lay of what is still a viable option and what is not for riding. I’m hoping to lead some folks around in a month or so to check out what the area has to offer. One word of caution I will offer is that Rocky Fork is not for beginners, especially some of the older trails. I become intimately familiar with what a true rock garden and creek bed riding is by the close of our riding. Flowing single track and easy riding are not hallmarks of this primitive wilderness’s trails system. That being said the ride was a blast and the lush forest was a welcome change to the norm.

We met my parents at the trail head and they went for a hike with our dogs as we proceeded to ride on old loop I remembered doing.

A brief discussion with my dad over a topo map and we knew it was going to be interesting.

The trail starts at a tame gravel access road following the creek bed, but this is a farce.
This area also has a natural trout population that's pretty stout this year.

First of many creek crossings.

One offshoot of the main trail follows Rocky Fork Creek.

Which in some place has become the creek as the trails has been so eroded that it's actually lower that the level of the creek bed.

This is when things got interesting. Mistakes to the center of the "trail" were always big and wet.

We finally turned off of the creek trail and headed up to the ridge. It's called the stairway to heaven here for a reason. This steep grade is probably not ridden/ hiked much because of it's difficulty and as such had lots of overgrowth on it.

And lots of stinging nettles.

We finally cleared the wet areas where the nettle was prolifically spread and enjoyed a few miles of ridge riding before dropping into the next water shed area.

The trails here were far less overgrown and had a scattering of trees to skirt every so often.

Tame trails compared to the creek areas.

Back down into the water shed.

This was interesting we saw plenty of fresh bear scat and prints, but never the bears. My parents on the other hand had a close encounter with a bear when our dogs treed a cub and the mother nearby became very agitated. They had to run for about a mile to get away from the area and luckily everyone was ok.

Picking lines is very important at the fork.

On the upper slopes signs of older logging operations from the previous owners are still around.

Descending back down to our start through some of the tricky creeks.

Lots of rocks.

Dad and dog#1.


We both got owned by the last measly creek crossing. Rocks were slick though.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

2 years and Opening Day

9-1-09 Wedding anniversary (2years). I'm still in love and Abby in camo added a nice touch to a traditional Chandler non traditional celebration of tying the knot. I'm sure a nice dinner is in order sometime soon, but incidentally opening day of dove season in TN is on the 1st so we went out to Forks of the River with Boogs and Chris. Had an absolute blast...

This was Boogy's first hunt and we were a little worried about him maybe being gun shy. A hard fear to break, I was a bit nervous going out there with him. I've got him trained to run to my side when we're defending the yard from house eating squirrels or starlings with the air rifle, but shotguns are much louder.

And then there was the whole house dog laziness issue we had to contend with.

First order of the day was to look a flight patterns and try to sit where the birds were coming in. Hard to find spots when every person that hunts in Knox county converged on the fields. It was unbelievable to see and hear the number of shotguns.

We eventually settled on a thin line of trees bordering the large main fields and a back field where some guy was using a "roto dove" decoy.

An hour or so in...Ahh smell of cordite and a little blood means things are going well. We held our own against the onslaught for a few hours.

Dove hunting is mostly waiting followed by intense sessions of biological bombardment which inevitably involve a few "Kevlar" birds and lots of laughing.

Boogy soon learned where all the fetch fodder came from. We also found out that he is definitely not gun shy...falling asleep once between volleys.

"Comon you guys could have shot that..."

On the retrieve.