This past weekend I went to North Carolina with Keith and Christian from my cycling team here in Gainesville. These are the same two knuckleheads that I have traveled with for many races this past year and a half, including; Tallahassee, Louisville, Orlando, Miami, Tampa etc… They prove to be good company and excellent bike racers.
I had never been to Asheville before so you can imagine the excitement I had when we finally rolled up on the city. They have a ton of brew pubs, cool restaurants, mountains and beards. Yes, beards. I would think that you could say 70% of eligible beard grows elect to grow a beard in that town. Nonetheless, Asheville is quite the town and I can’t wait to return next year and in a few years after for cyclocross nationals. It is an amazing city.
We rode a ton of mountain bikes. I got in a total of 15 hours of riding in Asheville, including a spin at the Bend Creek Experimental Forrest which featured some of the best singletrack I have ever ridden. I can’t wait to go back there again next year. I also got to ride Tsali. Actually, I rode quite a bit of Tsali, over and over and over and over.
Tsali is a fun trail about an hour west of Asheville and features about 1000 feet of climbing per lap, which is a lot for a Florida resident. Nonetheless, I competed in the 12hour race and ended up 13th overall and 5th in the Single Speed category out of 55 and 10 competitors, respectably. I am fairly happy with this result, but a little bummed that I didn’t make the podium (I was 15minutes down on 3rd going into the final lap, when I decided another lap wasn’t going to bring it back).
One thing I did learn this trip is that North Carolina has a pretty cool little region in the Smokey Mountains.
Can’t wait to go back.