Thanksgiving 2015 started out with a mountain bike race on Long Island, 6 hours of Cathedral Pines. Signing up for this sounded great idea in the spring. Despite a few minutes of anxiety in the morning, the race did turn out to be a great idea! A bunch of folks from my bike team showed up and it was awesome to have a late season race to bring everyone together. I found some great pictures from the event as well.
After the race was over I headed south to my eventual destination: North Carolina. I stopped in Lebanon, PA for the night at Stoever's Dam Park. When I pulled in the lot there were hundreds of geese walking around honking. I figured they would be flying away soon so proceeded to set up my tent. Well all night the geese honked and made noise. I did get some good rest but every time I woke up they would be out there honking. There was a train that would go by every hour or so as well and blow it's horn. Quite a loud place to sleep but it was very convenient.
I made the great decision to list a bunch of stuff on eBay right before vacation. My auctions ended and I had to ship the stuff out while traveling. I had boxed everything up at home so it was easy to use Staples and OfficeMax to ship my stuff. I shipped the UPS stuff at Staples and used OfficeMax to print USPS labels and have the store ship them for me. Roanoke, VA had the stores I needed so I also did a bike ride in town after completing my errands.
In Roanoke, I rode at Mill Mountain. It is home of the world's largest man made star! I don't believe this is the world's largest man made star because it's not that big, but that is what the sign says. Either way it's pretty awesome looking. I parked at UnderDog Bikes as they have a parking area for cyclists using the recreation path along the river. The wrench in the shop helped cut and cap my rear shifter cable. What a nice guy. Definitely the friendly shop they say they are.
The trails here are the usual combination of fire road, doubletrack and singletrack that you get in many places. There were tons of leaves on the trail and I was happy to have created a map. Looks like there is a bunch more to explore in this trail system but that will have to wait until next time. I just realized the picture above is the same as another picture in this post but this one has a bike. How exciting!
My knee hurt a bit on the way up so I rode very mellow. I wore knee warmers but I think a combination of the cold weather and doing a 6 hour race the day before was too much and my body needed a break. It felt good to spin a bit but I shortened my ride to prevent any injuries. Despite what the picture shows the area had a lot of folks walking around and checking out the city from way up on this hill.
I headed out from Roanoke in the evening and set my sights on Davidson River Campground. I arrived late, paid my dues, took a quick shower, set up my tent, and went to bed. I woke up in the middle of the night shivering so threw on my long johns and passed back out warm and cozy. This is a beautiful and quiet campground. The moon was so bright that I was casting a shadow at night. Quite awesome!
So the shower in this campground is free but it has a five second timer. You hit the button and it goes on for five seconds. I ended up doing a shower dance. Wash my hair a bit, then hit the button, then rinse it off, then hit the button, then armpit #1, then button, then #2, then button, then butt, then button and so on. It was kind of fun and may have beat the 4 min timed shower excitement I experience out west.
I heard that the DuPont State Forest has some great riding so I headed there for my first North Carolina ride (of this trip). There are awesome trails here! None of the climbs are gigantic, which was fine because my knee was bugging me a lot. I stopped every time it remotely hurt and stretched a bunch. I'm not sure the stretching for 10 min or simply not using it is what helped but I was able to finish my ride pain free. The trails consisted of fireroad and really well build singletrack. My favorite section wound through a pine forest and was a what one might call a flow trail. Berms, jumps, and smoothness all over!
DuPont State Forest has tons of waterfalls to see while you are riding. They are usually only a short ride and/or hike off the main route. While the woods was beautiful, the folks I met friendly, the trails awesome and well built, the waterfalls loud and spectacular, and the signage well done I kept thinking of Foxcatcher. I realize this area doesn't have much to do with John E. DuPont but I kept thinking of that movie and how strange it was. Just thought I'd throw that in here. Not sure why. Great biking. Great forest. Thanks DuPont!