Wednesday, June 03, 2009

red hot in the blue ridge

hello, hello all you blog fans. i apologize for leaving you without any exciting tales or photos for the last six months. there has been no lull in activity, however; so i certainly have much to share.

lining it up in the heart of the kayaking leg during this year's baddle:

photo by james ewel brown hall
taking those big, long boats down the river is quite exciting. this spot here, the notch, is the entrance to the biggest rapid on the run, gorilla; so the level of excitement in this photo is peaking.
i don't even remember seeing jeb, who took the photo above, or anyone else in and around gorilla, as tunnel vision was in full effect.

i am very excited to announce that i won the jerry's baddle this april. after finishing 4th in 2007, 2nd in 2008, i am the 2009 champ. a dream come true and a result i trained very hard for.
i spent so many mornings, afternoons, and evenings on my bike high on the parkway or down at the french broad river training in the sun, rain, and snow.
it all paid off:

photo by melissa markis

the event involves two legs: kayaking down the narrows section of the green river followed by a 26-mile loop on a road bike.
my favorite part of this whole event is the feeling at the start line, immediately after the starter has finished counting down from 10. "go" hits your ears and the realization of all that you have in-front of you is fully realized. a solo river run negotiating heart of the green river's steepness, some grovelling through a long flat-water stretch, all before reaching your bicycle.

kayak the green, check. now to the bicycle:

photo by melissa markis

once out of the water, it's hammer time:

photos by shane benedict
the temperature and humidity on race day was intense, oppressive even. just a mile and a half into the race course, riders make their way up and out of the green river gorge via a steep, switch-backed road. that's where the helmet came off, but at the top it goes right back on as the speed picks up quickly.
here's a profile of the race course along the road ride:

getting a majority of the climbing out of the way early in the race is a relief. the switchbacks out of the gorge are daunting, while the descents on the backside of the course are fast, furious, with a couple tight and technical turns mixed within.
such a fun event. until next year...

in other news:
after many road rides together, my good friend tim koerber and i hatched the idea that we should ride round-trip from my house just outside downtown asheville to the summit of mount mitchell, the highest point east of the rocky mountains. mt. mitchell's summit sits at 6,200 ft, 4,000 vertical feet above our starting point.

photo by mw

tim met me at my house in the morning, where i was serving up egg sandwiches. neither tim nor i had ever done this ride, i had never even been to mt mitchell; so we were both anxious to get this bold undertaking started. we kept a good pace on the way to the top, hovering right at the top end of our comfort zone. the excitement of our mission did a lot to keep us focused.
at craggy gardens visitor center, with the majority of the climbing completed, we rolled along the ridge that takes you to the summit road. the road to the summit was 6 miles of sweating and suffering, matched only by the emotional boost of reaching the top.

i brought along the little point and shoot digital i found on the side of the road in norway to document our journey:

three hours of riding to the top:

photo by mw

photo by mw
barely half that time to get back down.

photo by mw

other than that, life has been pretty typical:

stay tuned. same blog time, same blog channel for more exciting adventures, and as always be sure to visit the photo gallery for more by clicking here: