Friday, November 6, 2009


This week has been an outstanding week for getting some rides in at lunch. The skies have been clear, some color from the fall season remains, and the temperatures have been just cool enough to energize you initially and just warm enough to break a good sweat during the ride.


UpperCrabtree01 (Upper Crabtree Road – Thursday lunch ride.)

I was joined on my Thursday ride by Big Ben, who is in the process of building a new home and changing work schedules. His riding time has been cut short lately so he was eager to take advantage of this new riding schedule to get some miles under his saddle. I could tell he was eager to ride as he set a pretty good warm-up pace as we left the busier town streets behind us. He was also wearing his snazzy new bibbed cycling tights. (How much that added to his eagerness to ride is unknown to me although he did say he “really, really liked them!”)

We headed out our favorite north Haywood County road NC 209 and turned into the Upper Crabtree section. This departure from NC 209 comes at about the 11 mile marker from my office. The road is a gentle 2 lane route through some beautiful agricultural land. Traffic is typically fairly light and the drivers in the area have always been courteous to me as we ride along. The road travels 5 miles up the cove before the pavement terminates. It is mostly river grade with a slight incline until about the 4th mile and then you get some mild to moderate increase in the grade.

We were enjoying the “spin and chat time” as we headed up the road past barns, churches, and livestock. I spotted our favorite Australian Blue Heeler as we went up the road and warned Big Ben to be on the look-out as we descended. I know well that this 4 legged “pal” likes to try and herd us as we go by. Sure enough, we rounded the curve on our way out of the cove and here he came! Knowing he was headed our way made it easy to avoid him and we were by him in a jiffy.

Upper Crabtree_Zeke(Zeke on the way up the cove)

Mother Nature had “treated” us to a 10 to 15 mph headwind on the way out of town making the ride out a pretty good workout. Once in the cove, the winds had abated somewhat. We were hoping that “Mom” would keep her winds blowing in the same direction when we made our way back to the office.

On the way out, I noticed the early afternoon sun was shining upon an old tobacco barn just right and asked Big Ben for a proper pose to go with it. I mean after all, he had on those snazzy new riding tights!

UpperCrabtree_BigBen02(Big Ben and the new riding tights!)

As you can see, he granted my request and helped me grab this little shot of Southern Appalachia culture. I liked this photo and have submitted it to EcoVelo’s current photo contest. We’ll see if it gets selected for a submission.

Our ride back to town continued in a very pleasant manner and the tailwind we were hoping for granted us some speedy times back. Lots of folks were out enjoying the fall weather at Lake Junaluska as we traversed South Lakeshore Drive. Big Ben and I parted ways near town as he headed to meet his contractor and I headed back to my desk. Another day and another great 28 miler was complete.

Check it out…

My friend and fellow blogger, Jim Artis, is working on quite the little project. Jim is known for his attention to detail in all of his projects. Check out his latest at CYCLING EXPERIENCES.

Here’s hoping that your riding conditions are great this coming weekend and beyond!

Until later,

- Zeke

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