Saturday, November 19, 2011

Carolina availability updated.

I have the availability of each week now posted.  Only one week is totally booked but some are getting close and it's booking fast.  Hopefully we can fit everybody in that wants to come :-)


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Benno's coaching program......and more ;-)

I have decided to begin my own coaching program that I feel best represents not only what I can offer as a coach but also what is in the interest of  a good demographic of riders.  My focus is to provide clarity to those that are struggling with the intricacies of the sport.  I have been through the system very much on my own so I can empathise with those not understanding the next best step to take.  My program is suitable for anyone that wants to improve in the sport and have fun. 
So what does this all mean?  Well it means that I can assist in many different ways.

Let's get dirty

-Put fun first!
Let's be honest here, we are on this planet for a very short amount of time.  There is no point in taking something that is supposed to be fun and turning it into a big chore.  That is your fastest ticket out of the sport and won't leave you with too many fond memories.  There are a few main themes to maximising your success and enjoyment in the sport.  Obviously having fun is a huge part of the package.

-Be yourself
Hey there is nothing wrong with being competitive, wanting to win.  Inversely there is nothing wrong with being a passive participant.  I’ll take the time to figure out your style, there is no magic solution but there is a different solution for every type of rider.

-Alleviate stress (by having fun, duh)
Stop polluting your fun time by making it some big pile of stress.  Lets figure out what you enjoy about the sport and focus on those aspects.

-Build confidence
Whether it be your technical approach to riding a trail or your physical approach to training.  Your confidence is fuelled by the knowledge of knowing exactly what you are doing.  Bring the control back to your riding.

This is only a quick sampling of the different themes I have developed and continue to develop during my time as a coach, instructor, rider, racer, and athlete.

Breakdown of the program
-Daily online training plan utilising Training Peaks
-Analysis of heart rate files
-Unlimited Emails
-Unlimited text messages

The complete price for this program is $50/month.  You can pre-pay or post-pay within 6 months of the current date.  You can pause your program for a maximum of 2 months per year.  Any longer than 2 months and your spot will be back “up for grabs”. 

Suggested supplemental training tools
-Download-able heart rate device
-bicycle computer with cadence
-Indoor trainer
-private lessons are available at my normal rate of $25/hour.  Athletes of the program receive priority for booking lessons.
-blood lactate testing and analysis is also available

Training Peaks
Training Peaks is a very user friendly program that allows me to communicate with you very easily and efficiently.  You won’t get bogged down in a bunch of useless data, but it can also be as precise and in-depth as we want it to be.
Training Peaks is free or you can chose to upgrade your account to Premium status which gives a little more freedom (like planning future workouts, though even with a free account I can still plan future workouts for you).  Go and check it out for yourself
What we do is link your account to my paid coaching account (linking is free for you) and that way I have access to what you have been doing.  I will also post future workouts so you know what you need to do for the day.  The cost for Training Peaks for the rider is minimal to zero.

My Training
-Community Cycling NNCP coaching course
-NCCP Into to competition Part A and B
-FACT level 2 certified
-Hardwood DEVO high performance coach for 2 seasons
-Hardwood instructor for 3 years, beginner to advanced
-I am also committed to furthering my technical education by participating in as many NCCP coaching courses as possible.

You must maintain consistent feedback of workouts provided.  That doesn’t mean you have to do all the workouts, it just means you have to tell me what you did that day and why.  I am currently limiting the program to 20 people in order to spend the necessary time with each rider.  I reserve the right to dismiss any rider from the program who fails to maintain communication with myself.  It is impossible to prescribe a useful program without feedback from the rider. 

Joining the program
Best way to get started is to send me an email, text, or give me a ring.  Just like any new relationship it takes time to establish a connection but don’t worry it will all make sense eventually ;-)

Ben Dawson
705 229 6923 - Text or call

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bike for sale: Specialized Tarmac S-Works

56 cm Full carbon S-Works frame and fork
7800 Dura-Ace groupo
Dura-Ace Carbon wheelset (Tufo Tubulars)
Ritchey carbon seatpost and stem
3T Carbon bars
Specialized Toupe saddle
Asking $2500
Here we go again. Another Don special.   The wheels alone retail for $2500.  Don't be put off by the "older" generation of DuraAce components because the new generation of Shimano road groupos totally suck.  I would much prefer 7800 over 7900 DuraAce.
So again drop me a line at
if you want to steal this one away.

Bike for sale: KONA Kula Supreme - SOLD

sorry if you missed your chance.

20" Scandium Frame (XL)
XTR Shifters, crank, front and rear derailler
XT Brakes (disk), wheelset, BB, and cassette
Chris King Headset
FSA Carbon bars
Easton Carbon seatpost and stem
Specialized MTB saddle
My friend Don has this beautiful bike up for sale.  I tried to convince him to ask more money for it but I guess he was/is in a very generous mood.  So drop me a line at
if you want to pick up this amazing machine.  Did I mention it's SCANDIUM!!!  yummy

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hey kids, take my advice......

Those orange stickers on brake rotors with the picture of the exploding finger are no joke.

Monday was not a very productive day past 12:15 p.m.  After I was done passing out from being a big baby I got stitched up and can now be a great example of where not to stick your finger.  I am looking forward to it healing so I can go back to playing video games.  
On another note, South Carolina booking has begun.  Very shortly I will begin updating the availability of the weeks but I can tell you it is going to get filled up fast.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's hard to define genius

however it is quite simple to demonstrate stupidity. Though when it's all said and done, I definitely had a terrifying amount of fun in the process!
Watch the video

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Benno's Bicycle Service Garage - Forum Added!

Have a question?
I have created a forum where you can come for advice on bicycle mechanics. The main purpose is to have a place I can answer any questions you might have. Also you can post up any tips or projects or just about anything you want to share regarding bikes.
You can access the forum from any page on the blog. The link is located on the right-hand side of the page "Benno's Bicycle Service Garage".

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

News for 2013 - South Carolina

Ben's South Carolina 2013

This year I will have the place for 4 weeks in March and April. Weeks go from Saturday to the following Saturday and are only available as full weeks (come and go as you please any time during that week). Please quote the week number when booking since "last week of March" could potentially mean 2 different weeks.

Weeks and Availability - Booking starts September 4th, 2012

*Availability updated February 13th*

Week 1 March 9 - March 16 --------------- 3 Spots left
Week 2 March 16 - March 23 -------------- Full
Week 3 March 23 - March 30 -------------- 2 Spots left
Week 4 March 30 - April 6 ----------------- Full

House Info
Top Floor - 2 Bedrooms, one with a Queen and a Twin. One with a Queen and a bunkbed (Full and Twin)
Main Floor - 3 Bedrooms. Master Bedroom has a King. 2 Bedrooms have Queens.
Walk out Basement - 2 Bedrooms. One with a Queen and a Twin. One with a Queen and a bunkbed (Full and Twin).
-70" big screen t.v. in the great room with Blu Ray and I'll have my Playstation 3 :-)
-all rooms are equipped with a small cable t.v
-Wireless internet
-Pool Table
-6 bathrooms, 7 showers
-Fully furnished rooms and kitchen
-big dining room table
-on the water with a nice dock and deck
-2 car garage for bikes (and garage crit championships) and lots of parking outside
-full central air conditioning (yes we've used it before)
-gas fireplace
-2 refrigerators
-2 laundry rooms with washers/dryers
-towels/sheets/pillows included in each room

Pricing changes
Price is the same as last year.  $200/person/week in Canadian dollars.

So I have had quite a few people asking me when they can reserve their spot. Booking will commence September 4th, that way everyone has an equal shot. You will not be confirmed unless you are "cheque in the mail" status with your deposit. The deposit is $50/person/week with-
*total balance due Feb 1st, 2013*
 Your deposit and any money is fully refundable until Feb 15th, 2013. After that day there are no refunds.

As always contact me if you have any questions or suggestions. Is there something that you would like to see happen in 2013?? Remember this is just an update, the full monty will be posted shortly (and continually updated). Your input is greatly appreciated and I have really loved all the great feedback over the years.
705 229 6923

 Lots of room for bikes in the 2 car garage

Lots of singletrack at Issaqueena

A few unexpected features on the Foothills Trail


One of the 2 lofts with full ensuite bathrooms

Master bedroom.  Ensuite bathroom with Jacuzzi tub.

The pool room is just one of the many hang-out spots in the house.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Let me help you get your bearings

Just thought I would put a feeler out there for anyone interested. I plan on buying a cartridge bearing removal/install setup so that I can change bearings on dual suspension frames. As mentioned earlier in this post
The Big Problem with Dual Suspension Bikes
cartridge bearing are a regular maintenance item and should be changed at a regular interval to keep your bike working the way it was designed. I am thinking labour for this job would be $50 and then bearings would be extra. Most bikes use about $70 worth of bearings which makes this service relatively affordable at around $130. So drop me a line if you are interested in having this service performed. No commitment is necessary, just seeing what kind of feedback I get. The more people interested then the more motivated I will be to spend the money to buy the tools (they aint cheap). Also since my bearing supplier is based out of BC it would be better if I did a larger order from them to save people on shipping.
So send me a line and we'll get the ball rolling on this.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

South Carolina 2012

So I have had people asking about next spring. At this point it is a green light for 2012 and I will be offering much in the same as I have in the past. Pricing will likely be about the same (as long as my rent stays the same).
There are some improvements in store to make the best value spring cycling camp even better. Booking will probably start in September. So stay tuned and if you have any requests or suggestions then send me a message. I am always looking for ways to make this better.

Chef Jerome

Andy in the twisties

Friday, May 6, 2011

The big problem with dual suspension bikes

There's a big secret going on. As the years go by and I learn more about the intricate workings of the masterpiece that is the bicycle, something bothers me more and more.
Don't get me wrong, I have been riding dual suspension bikes for over 9 years and I loooooove them so very much. I have owned many different bikes and ridden many more. I stand firm on my belief that life is too short to ride a hardtail. Every time I head out on my dually it puts a smile on my face.
Each year there is a flurry of activity as companies release their latest models accompanied by unverifiable performance claims. Still there has been one huge nagging problem that for some reason seems to be ignored. I really have no idea why it has not been addressed by bike companies so I'm just going to complain about it for a little bit.

A failed cartridge bearing pulled from the X-Ben after about 10 months of use.
Bike companies insist on using cartridge bearings for the pivot points on their dual suspension frames. Boy do these things like to fail in a hurry. Imagine being in the bike store drooling over new bikes. Sure you expect that in the course of a year or two you're going to have to replace the tires, drivetrain, brake big deal, we're all aware of this. But what about rear suspension bearings? Look at that 3, 4, 5, 10++ thousand dollar dual suspension bike. No matter the price or engineering genius, each will experience bearing failure.
As far as I can tell the problem is that these bearings are being used in such a way that they were never designed to be used. Cartridge bearings contained in the rear suspension components move only a fraction of a revolution as the suspension is compressed. The ball bearings don't get the opportunity to rotate through the races as pressure and wear get focused onto one very small part of the bearing unit. Obviously in a perfect world a bearing is designed to equally distribute load onto each ball. They are an engineering masterpiece. However we live in the real world, the fact is that cartridge bearings will wear inconsistently.
All of a sudden your formula one designed super efficient trail warrior has been reduced to a squeaking, clunking mess.
How do you deal with replacing the half dozen or more cartridge bearings when they fail? How will you know when they've failed?

The one saving grace is that the majority of reputable frame builders have moved away from nylon bushings. They wear even faster and are much harder to replace than bearings because they are bike specific. Cartridge bearings are easy to source, are not proprietary to the frame or company, and not astronomically expensive.
It is disturbing to me the amount of dual suspension bikes being sold every year and how few of them have their bearings replaced. People just aren't aware of what is happening
It's not something you want to think about when you selecting your next bike, but you should.

So what can be done about this? When purchasing a dual suspension bike you should keep in mind that the cartridge bearings that make up the rear suspension linkage should be replaced at a regular interval like many other things. I have found this interval to be about 5000km's which for most is 1-3 years but obviously depends on riding conditions.
How much should it cost? Look to spend between $100-$200 to have this done, which is the cost for parts and labour.
The unfortunate part is that there are not very many shops that have the tools or know-how to do this job properly. Even at Hardwood we're not currently set up for this. I am just hoping to raise awareness of this issue since no one else likes to talk about it.
What is the solution to cartridge bearings? I really have no clue. If you can figure it out then send me an email and I'll split you on the patent for the first maintenance free dual suspension frame.
For now I'll just replace my bearings every fall and enjoy my buttery smooth suspension performance. I am hoping to get the tools to be able to do the service properly and professionally so probably the next $500 I get will be going to buying a good bearing press and puller.
What are your experiences with dual suspension bearings??

Monday, May 2, 2011

So I just rode through an Arctic wasteland.

Or was it the back roads and concessions of Oro-Station? Either way it is good to be back. The roads are shitty, flat, boring, the weather sucks, and it's good to be back.
Seriously though I made it back alive from my adventures in SC. I unfortunately didn't get to ride my super epic mtb ride through the Foothills Trail. The timing just didn't work out for me. The drive home was uneventful save for the tornado wreckage for about 5 miles in Tennessee, that was intense. I tried to snap a few quick photos but they didn't really turn out. The Pulsar decided to try being a hybrid for little while, a few tanks I made 500km's which is roughly 200km further than I was getting while participating in some "spirited" driving in the mountains.
Was back at work today and it felt good. Lots going on at Hardwood which is nice to see. I now enter the season of perpetually dirty hands.
Stretched the legs out today after work and headed out on the TCR. Stopped by the post office and picked up my package of new Comply foam tips for my Ultimate Ears. Holy crap I must say that changing these out at regular intervals really does improve the sound of the headphones big time. Old ones were pretty sad and worn out. New ones show off the mad bass.
Dinner time.

Stu and I head up to Highlands and melt some rubber
Some tornado damage in Tennessee

Nice roads for the drive home

My smorgasbord. Beef jerkey, fruit punch, animal crackers, pineapple, cantaloupe, easter candy, grapes, strawberries.

I'll try not to drive in your blind spot for very long

Some vehicle LOL

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sooo I guess it is the logical next step

My time here is coming to and end. I roll out on April 30th but I guess I'll have to do one last thing before I go.
Some time next week I am going to ride the Foothills trail from Rocky Bottom back to the house. I estimate this will take around 12 or 13 hours. Should be a good time.
That is all.

Friday, April 8, 2011

It was terrifying but it was awesome and had to be done.

It all started a couple years ago when I learned about this rather long trail that conveniently starts (or finishes, depending on your perspective) about 20km North of the South Carolina house. I have ridden the trail somewhat regularly as there is a great 12+ minute singletrack climb that I use for hill repeats which is about a 40 minute ride from the house.
It's called the Foothills Trail and was built by the good folks at Duke Power (Nuke Plant) probably in a bid to offset the impact of the thousands of acres of forest land they flooded in the process of building the multiple power plants that exist in Northwest South Carolina. Politics aside what it means is that there is about 80 miles of trail which branches just North of the house all the way over to Caesar's Head.

For some reason I have found myself very motivated to explore this section of trail this spring but the problem is that it is a point to point. It is a very different experience riding this trail. There is a fair amount of hopping off the bike to march up or down steps since it is a hiking trail but if you take it in stride (no pun intended) then you can get a really good flow going and have an amazing experience.
Jerome and I drove out to Whitwater Falls a little over a week ago to explore the West section of the trail. We intended to ride out 2 hours and then back. I was hoping to meet up with a section of trail I had ridden before since I have ridden out 2 hours from the start of the trail a few times and it was good riding. If I could link it all up then it would make a great ride.

From the parking lot we could see that is was 28.3 miles, piece of cake. About 1.5 hours in we kept seeing regular mileage signs and the riding was good so we decided to leave the Teg at Whitewater and ride the trail all the way back to the house. Figured it would be about 3.5 hours to the West end of the trail which would be perfect because I only had 2 bottles. Then 40minutes back to the house from the end of the trail would make it just over 4 hours which was perfect.
Well we just kept riding and riding, looking for the section of trail I had ridden before which was about 1.5 hours from the end of our ride and mostly downhill. We rode, and rode, and rode some more but still the trail did not look familiar. Luckily we kept crossing some roads which had mileage signs telling us how far until the West end of the trail.
It was exciting and a little scary at the same time because we were pretty committed. At the same time we knew that we could bail at any time and take the highway home from the nearest road crossing. Ended up reaching the West side after about 5 hours of singletrack and then another 40 minutes on the road home meant that I had gone a looong way on 2 bottles. Luckily the temperature was very nice, about 18 degrees, and we had a tail wind on the road back to the house arriving just before dark. Wow what a great ride, was epic. From that point on I started planning our next leg of the trail.

With the West side of HWY 130 or Whitewater Falls conquered I set my sights on the much more ambitious section of trail that stretches from Whitewater Falls over to Rocky Bottom, or HWY 130 to HWY 178. I was trying to get as much information about this trail as possible. Luckily I found some great stuff on the ultra runner websites. Seems they have a race on this section of trail (although it turns out they cheat and skip a bunch of the trail by following an access road).
A few consistencies started appearing. Reports containing words like "epic", "mountainous", and even "gauntlet" to name a few. Needless to say I was getting nervous about the ride, even second guessing myself. I decided to go ahead with the planning. Jerome and I picked a day that fit in with our (his) training while still making sure it would not only be sunny on the day but sunny for a few days leading up to the ride to make sure the trail was dry.
We headed out at about 9am that morning after planning to leave for about 8am, perfect timing in my books. I had budgeted for this to take us up to 10 hours which meant we had to start riding at around 9am to be back safely before dark. We dropped the Teg off at the finish line, HWY 178 aka Rocky Bottom aka Laurel Valley then drove with the bikes in the Pulsar over to the start line at Whitewater Falls aka HWY 130. Jerome looked very optimistic at this point and not at all concerned about the hard interval ride he had done the day before. Perhaps he was much more oblivious to the magnitude of the task ahead of us than I.

We unloaded and geared up. I brought a pack with 3 bottles and some food as well as a bottle on the bike making 4 bottles (durr math). I planned on using a bottle every 2 hours. At each 2 hour interval I grabbed a quick snack and a new bottle. It was now 10:40am, almost 2 hours late, story of my life...

Below is the sign that marked the beginning of our trail. It was the only real information we had to go on. We knew if we headed down in this direction and followed the trail markers that eventually we would come out the other side, probably where we had parked the Teg. That was the great thing about it, the not knowing. I think it was had me addicted to exploring this trail. It wasn't about the training, or heart rate zones, or perceived exertion, it was about survival. It was a freeking adventure!

The trail markers were simple and effective. Small white rectangles painted on trees at regular intervals. We did come to a few intersections or open patches of campground where the direction of the Foothills Trail was not entirely clear, so we would look for the markers. Without fail there would always be an indicator of direction if you were of sound mind to be paying attention.
About 20 minutes into the ride it was not going well. In fact it was going just about how I had thought it would be going. It was rocky, steep, slow going. It was the Gauntlet! It took 5 minutes in our slippery cycling shoes just to navigate the boulders up to this bridge. One of the 2 dozen or so bridges we would encounter in this ride.
About an hour in things were actually now going very well. We had left behind the rocky river bank of Whitewater Falls and settled into some more cycling friendly terrain. Don't get me wrong, it was very mountainous and strenuous but most of it was ride-able which was more than I was expecting. At this point I felt very relieved and a sense of excitement. We might actually make it! And whats better we were experiencing one hell of an awesome trail.
It was steep on the way up, it was steep on the way down. The views were spectacular. The weather couldn't have been better. We kept a good rhythm even when encountering some of the rumoured 500 stairs on this segment of trail. We rode what we could and swung a leg off the bike to zip up (or down) parts not ride-able (or not smart to be ridden). We got pretty good at it and it all felt natural. Especially after our experience the week before with the Oconee section of trail, we developed a strategy to riding this type of trail.
Vegetation was fairly sparse near the peaks of the mountains and jungle-like at the bottoms of the valleys. Jerome kept hearing monkeys, I told him to keep drinking water.
We reached the Horse Pasture River and from a story on one of the Ultra Runner websites it seems it might have been around the halfway point. That was good news since we were 3 hours in. A 6 hour ride would be perfect though I think Jerome was starting to regret the intervals of the previous day. We started estimating ride times, Jerome said 5 hours 30 minutes, I said 5 hours 40 minutes.
Shortly thereafter we arrived in an open area with a few different directions (where they went I have no clue) and some mileage indicators. It had indicated to us that Whitewater falls was only something like 12 miles in the direction we had come from. Really?! 12 miles in 3 hours? That was not good. For the next 2 hours or so I would be doing the calculations in my head and convincing myself there was no way we were averaging 4 miles per hour. How could that be? The majority of the trail up to that point had been ride-able and at a pretty good pace. There was a fair amount of logging road were we had ticked away some good mileage.
Can you see the fear in our eyes in this photo? I think I was pretty nervous about our undertaking at this point but I knew that if the trail continued the way it had been for the first 3 hours then we would be fine, we were covering a decent amount of ground despite what the signs may be telling us.
As we slogged on the talking diminished and the initial excitement completely evaporated from my system. My saving grace was that Jerome was now a hurtin' unit so continuing at our pace was not hugely taxing for me.
Salvation! After just 4 hours of riding we reached the shore of Lake Jocassee. It was beautiful by the lake and we figured it must start flattening out soon. I had heard reports from the runners that the last 8 miles was super easy and flat. We were looking forward to that.
The sign at the lake informed us we had something like 15 miles to go. Piece of cake. I grabbed my 3rd bottle and had a quick bite to eat. We were off with renewed optimism. I figured maybe one more mountain then flat open pastures with snaking singletrack.
A few miles down the trail we crossed over the Northern tip of Lake Jocassee on this huge swing bridge. It was an awesome sight to behold in the middle of nowhere. What an epic ride!
It has some nice swing to it. Like a carnival ride. Was high up too, didn't realise until I was about 1/2 way across. Probably over 100 feet off the ground.
Well if we only had one more mountain to climb did they ever make it count. Holy crap talk about the Gauntlet! A couple hundred stairs met us on the other side of the bridge, some so steep it was pretty much a ladder propped on the side of the mountain. What little upper body strength I posses was definitely put to the test here. You know it's serious if I actually have to stop for a few seconds to catch my breath. Jerome soldiered on and I snapped a pic at the very top of what had to be 20 minutes of stairs. We descended almost as quickly as we climbed to the top. Although luckily most of it was ride-able so it was a nice break. The brakes were smoking by the bottom for probably the dozenth time by now. We were greeted at the bottom by yet another mountain climb, I guess we were a little hasty in our celebration.
Minutes turned to hours, the trail continued around the next bend, over the next mountain, down the next fire road, by the next campsite, again and again. We were now at survival pace, a pace we could maintain for possibly many more hours to come. We were waiting for this easy 8 mile stretch, where was it?
We were now legends in our own minds. The subjects of exaggerated campfire stories for all those hikers passed.
"hey did you see those mountain bikers out on the trail? I heard they rode the whole trail in one day and were 10 feet tall and were from a galaxy far far away!"
It's funny how everyone thinks they are exceptional in their act of conquering this trail.
"How long you guys been at it?"
"4 days, we're doing the whole trail"
Somehow each hiker we encountered seemed dissatisfied at the realisation that hey, everyone on this trail is experiencing an epic adventure. All egos are equal out here.

Up another climb and around the bend we came upon a really cool waterfall. Was a much bigger drop then the camera gives it credit for. Not sure if Jerome was impressed, I think this picture illustrates his thought process of trying to decide whether or not I was consumable.
After another mountain climb from hell, this one entirely ride-able but incomprehensibly steep and long, we started criss-crossing along a gravely road. The trail crossed it a few times and I knew we must be getting closer to the Laurel Valley parking lot. And just as suddenly as we had entered the wilderness, it conceded. There was no easy 8 mile stretch, those runners were on meth.
The end was instantaneous and glorious. It was just trail, trail, trail, trail, BAM civilization. 6 hours and 40 minutes ridden. 6000 feet of climbing. Probably around 55-60km.
We could finally relax, we had ridden the trail. That was it, we started in one place and made it to another. Simple, the way cycling should be.

Jerome "dude show me on the map where we started"
Me "uh it's not actually on the map"
Jerome "oh shit"

For the photo I got him to place his left hand approximately where we had begun our adventure and his right hand at the finish.
Crack the wine Jerome. We made it alive!
I have that "I just rode a long freeking way and now I am gonna eat all the junk food I can get my hands on" look on my face. We loaded up the Teg and drove back over to pick up the Pulsar, all the time reveling as we glanced to the North realising that we had conquered that area of mountainous wilderness.
There she was, looking fine. Was funny to think back to the morning when we had set out. Seemed like it had happened on a different day then when we finished. We drove back to the house for pizza and beer and I went back to figuring out where to explore next.
This was pretty well the only map I had to go by. From the SC 130 and West is the Oconee section of trail. To the West of SC 130 and to US 178 is the Laurel Valley section. Where section 5 ends and 6 begins is where we hit Lake Jocassee with the huge suspension bridge.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I didn't die

Well actually for a time there it would have been for the best......
Arrived in SC after a somewhat uneventful drive. Got stopped at the border for about an hour because of the RHD. It was a "step out of the car please" endeavor but ended well and I was on my way.

The first few days were nice and hot and sunny though unfortunately I decided to roll around in a poison ivy field for a few hours and got it pretty bad. I have never had any sort of contact with the stuff down here so I was totally taken off guard when I got it. After 2 or 3 days of lying in bed all day and feeling quite sorry for myself (along with being in agony) the nasty stuff started to subside. It has mostly cleared up now and I am loving life again. The warm weather has returned and the riding is phenomenal as usual.
Shined the GTi-R all up and washed away any remnants of winter. I've been able to take her into the mountains a couple times and it is a ton of fun to drive.
I did actually get my mountain bike finished before I came down. It turned out very well and rides just as well as I remember. The Magura fork was a little stiff when I first started riding it but has broken in again after sitting all winter and rides nice and plush now. The polished frame is getting scratched up which is a shame but inevitable so I will just have to re-polish at the end of the season.