Jackrabbit over Memorial Day weekend

Over Memorial day weekend some friends and me did a Mt biking – camping trip (back) to Jackrabbit campground in Hayesville, NC. This is such a great location to ride and camp at due to it also being directly on lake Chatuge.

Apollo is dog gone tired.

Ride report: Friday was Noon Dog loop out 2 Saba beach – unfortunately for Apollo I took a wrong turn and we ended up doing an extra 2 miles before actually getting to the beach – this had him tuckered out for the rest of the weekend! Friday afternoon the Faster group went out for all trails, followed by a lake swim.

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Friday evening there was some discrepancies about who’s campsite was where, and who had reservations and at what location (luckily we were not at all involved in any of this). The park rangers showed up and went about attempting to get things sorted out – luckily for our ‘camp neighbors’ it all got sorted out and they did not need to re-pack and move to a different campsite because they spent about 3 hours setting up their campsite. Yeah, they had a BUNCH of stuff – but hey, they are out camping w/ their kids and they were really cool about us having our dogs – so everyone was happy.

Saturday was ‘no drop’ on all trails, lunch, Faster group (all trails), lake swim, dinner & some folks went out for a night ride. (some folks didn’t tell other folks to bring their night lights).

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Sunday was Kid’s day – Dale brought up his 2 boys and we rode at their pace. 1 of whom had the most awesome crash that I may have ever witnessed. Coming off the blue loop there is a double hump, he rode the first 1 well, but the 2nd 1 threw him – somehow, he appeared to be off the bike landing hand first, which turned into a cartwheel, then flopped onto the ground – the whole time the bike soloed away from him for about 30 yards into the woods before stopping – it was the craziest dis-mount I had ever seen! He wanted to be upset about it, but we were all patting him on the back & cheering so much I think he ended up taking some pride in it.

We followed that ride up with another lake swim, then afternoon ‘no drop’ ride.
Sunday afternoon several people went back to Greenville for the USPro race – although I really wanted to go, I had been there the past 2 years, and since the campsite was all set-up ‘sleep-in & recover’ on Monday morning with out all the driving sounded a little more appealing.

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Monday morning my friend Carey packed up early and headed home, so I decided to go out and explore the surrounding area some more.

I headed out to check out a friends cabin that is in the area. I originally drove directly past it. Came to the end of the road and turned around and came back. The directions were go South on the road – green gate, before the bridge. So, I saw a gate, but it looked very unused, so I kept driving, and ended up going over the bridge before realizing that must have been the gate. I hiked in through the tall grass a little nervous due to the fact that there isn’t an address, so I wasn’t really sure if this was the correct cabin or not.

old cabin

I’m not sure how old the cabin is, but it was definitely rustic in nature. I was nervous when I walked across the deck. Each of the boards looked like they could give way at any time.
The nice thing about the cabin was that it was just up from a pretty good size creek. It looks like you could at least walk down to the creek and cool off if you wanted too – not that you could do laps or anything, but at least soak a little bit.

I ended up going for a walk with Apollo since we were on a quiet road. We went past the bridge and up the hill – Apollo was running from shade tree to shade tree now due to the sun. We were stopped under 1 of the big trees beside the road when I noticed a Solar panel in the pasture. This was the 2nd time on this trip that I had seen what appeared to be a field of solar panels.

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After I got back home, I did a little research into these solar panels in Hayesville, NC. I came across Green States Energy website which talked about 2 different projects in the Hayesville area – so I’m sure that I saw one of these 2 projects, but I can’t tell for certain which one…. although I would guess it was Hindsman, since the one I saw from the road was on a slight hill – unfortunately didn’t get a chance to get a picture of that one.

Waterfall near Unicoi.

On the way back from Jackrabbit I decided to stop along the way at the top of Unicoi gap and reheat some lunch. After eating, I took Apollo for another short hike and hiked back to a waterfall that I had been too before – I particularly like this waterfall because it has a man-made ‘basin’ near the base of it that fills with water and has a little run-off.

12 Long Haul Essentials for Mt Biking

Recently this year I have been doing much longer and often solo rides.
These are Mt bike rides in the Chattahoochee National Forest where I am out exploring new (to me) areas of the forest. I will look at a map of an area and sometimes wonder how to connect different sections of this vast forest, or I will see a trail/old logging road and explore where it goes. Often the only signs of life I come across are wild-life and Army Rangers in training. So far this year I have seen many deer, several turkey, a couple hogs and a bear.

As it was well phrased recently in Outside magazine: “No one knows the sorrow of being stranded without tools like a cyclist.”

For these reasons I realized that I needed to start planning out what I have in my pack that is not the norm for a 2 hour mt bike ride. But for those longer rides, I am adding some items that I deem necessary in a worst case situation. And since I’m in remote areas this means more self-reliance.

River crossing.

The norm for my pack is 70oz water, a pump (just more reliable and reusable than CO2), 2 tubes, clifbar, gel flask, salt tablets, Master Link, cycling specific multi-tool, a RoadID.

First thing – I always tell a friend that knows the general area, where I am going too and what area I’m planning on exploring and where I’m hoping to get back too a more civilized area. And I always let them know when I’m done!

1. Water tablets. I have gotten back to the car several times either with no water or very little left – and since we are coming into the hotter days of summer I figure that having iodine or water purification tablets in my pack might really save me from dehydration.
They are light, do not take up much room, and will be there when you need them – however, make sure you read the label before you have to use them. Most require 30 minutes to 4 hours to completely purify the water.

1A. Nuun tablets. A. I really like Nuun tablets that add a little flavor to any water – whether on the bike or not – but I strongly Dislike the flavor of Iodine – this is a good masking of it & bonus of added electrolytes!!!

2. Hemorrhage Control Compression Bandage – Something that has happened to a friend before was getting a pretty bad cut, and I know of a person that probably lived only because he was life-flighted out of an area. But imagine how scary that would be and how expensive the after-math was. What if all that could have been avoided? Having a compression bandage (and knowing how to apply it) can help stop the bleeding which will save your own or someone’s else life. When I did my CPR class recently Celox was highly recommended by the EMT teaching the cert. and I have seen it listed in many of the first-aid kits sold at local outfitters.

3. multi-tool – I know most Mt bikers carry a cyclist specific multi, but I also carry a regular leather-man multi-tool. They have pliers, knife, screw drivers, file, etc. Any of these tools can come in very handy to fix ‘on the trail’ problems.

4. Emergency blanket. seriously, these are very light and very inexpensive (about $7-15) and reflect 90% of your body heat. Even those hot summer days can end with really cold nights.
4A: I will often carry a windvest and even arm warmers, temperatures can change quickly on a mountain.

Mt Biking @ Lake Fontana, NC

5. compass or compass app. Although I have a good sense of direction and figuring out which way I need to be going – I usually do so based on the sun positioning. I have a back-up plan though – a Free compass App on my smart-phone. It is a great idea to learn how to use a compass in training before you need it in an ‘episode of lost’.

6. chain tool. and not just any chain tool, the Park chain tool that I used when I worked as a bicycle mechanic. Yes, it’s heavy. Yes, it will be worth lugging it around if I ever have to use it. I have broken my chain several times and the current multi-tool I have does not have a chain tool that works very well. This is a ‘better safe & be able to cycle 10 miles to the car than have to walk’ item. Besides that master link isn’t going to be useful if you don’t have a chain-tool.

7. Extra Food. Most anytime I get on the bike I have a gel flask and a cliff bar – when I know I’m going out for 4-6 hour ride, hike-a-bike, exploration trip – I will add a sandwich, an at least 1 extra cliff bar, a pop-tart or another kind of energy bar. I have found that I am more likely to eat and less likely to cramp if I have variety of things to eat.

8. Another ‘smart’ phone app is MyTracks When exploring I currently use MyTracks – and I try to remember to keep my phone is ‘airport’ mode to save battery. This is a great app that can help you figure out where you are and what direction you want to go and where you have been. CAUTION: using an app on your phone uses up your battery life which maybe precious in a bad situation. I have had to turn off MyTracks in order to save my battery life.

9. chem-light – this is something I watched the rangers use. They store for a long period, but you just pop the middle and they light up for about 8 hours. This is a great tool if you get lost and people are attempting to find you. I wouldn’t say that it doubles as a flashlight by any means, although if tied to a walking stick (as I’ve seen the Rangers do) it may aid you if you are walking and there isn’t any worries about batteries dying on you.

Long haul home

10. para-cord or similar string – I know that many people are wearing the para-chord bracelets, but if you are really in the outback wilderness, there can be many uses for such an item. Tying a splint to hold a broken bone in place or a twisted ankle, tie a sling in case someone breaks a collarbone, tie down broken shoe straps, tie down things onto your pack.

Originally designed for paratroopers, paracord is a kernmantle rope: a braided sheath over a bundle of seven inner cords. This mantle makes paracord very resistant to abrasion. 550 paracord is rated for 550 pounds: 300 pounds for the sheath and 35 pounds for each strand. The cords can be removed from the sheath and divided into two strands if finer string is needed.

Read more: 550 Paracord uses

11. Matches. If you get turned around/lost or have to settle in for the night lighting a fire will cause smoke to rise – which can keep you warm and also been seen for over a mile.

12. Know how. Ok, maybe this isn’t something you pack, but it is something that helps – it is practice for using all the things that you pack, and face it, if can have all the tools with you, but what good is it if you don’t know how to use them.

For me, several seasons of camping, reading books/articles, CPR certification, shared knowledge and experience have helped me put together this list. And the list changes occasionally.

Anything I missed?? I would like to hear your input and specifics of what you pack for your longer ride/adventures!

Why dieting causes you to loose power

I hear many times from athletes that they can not get too low in weight because they loose power. But if the main factor in cycling is power to weight ratio – and that ratio increases if you lost weight then how can you also loose power?

I think that there is a point of minimum bodyfat where someone would loose strength or reserves. However, if that is the case, then what about all the Pro racers that come out of stage races with less than 5% bodyfat.

My hypothesis is that when people are dieting and do not eat as much for meals ‘reducing calories’ then when they go out for a long or hard training then they do not have enough nutrients in their body and they do not ingest enough calories too keep them going. Once the body runs out of nutrient supplies then it doesn’t function optimally – they loose energy (power).

Now take the same ‘reduced calories’ and factor in the high intensity of training and/or racing and the body is in a depleted state WHEN beginning an event – and since it is difficult for most people to ingest enough nutrition during an event, they eventually ‘loose power’.

Something I tell my clients is to ‘feed your training’. In other words you must eat according to what you are planning to do. If you are going to hang out on the couch then you can/should consume less food. But especially consume less food that the body would use immediately for energy. This is a good time to consume foods that the body would use as building blocks or repair.

When you have a long training day or race day, now is the time to ingest more foods that the body can and will use for energy.
This past weekend I was leading a group ride – I got up 30 minutes earlier just so that I could prepare some Belgium waffles with maple syrup. Less than 2 hours later we were all on the bikes and riding a few miles over to a 3 mile climb – I had a great day, which started out with a meal that was going to fuel my activity.

This morning I was in a meeting for a couple hours and have been working on some research and getting some ideas on paper. For breakfast this AM I had an omellete with chicken, salsa and guacamole. Foods that I wouldn’t get a burst of energy from, but food that will keep a steady stream of nutrients with out an insulin spike.

Want to really find out all the details of nutrition and proper dieting, check out my EbookSupport independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

Remember: Feed your training.

Does Protein intake improve cycling

An interesting Does protein intake improve cycling“>article + discussion.

I’m a fan of eating a higher protein diet after hard rides for muscle recovery and repair.
This does not negate the need for simple sugars and carbs immediately after a ride – then my next meal will usually be more focused on protein. BUT keep in mind that I am a protein metabolic type. Meaning that I do well eating meat, steaks, chicken, fish, beans. Some people don’t feel as well on a diet like this, but eating ‘more’ than usual would be helpful.