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Monday, October 12, 2009

Tsali weekend report

Why is it every time I head off for a weekend with the boys I come back with a sore but and a bit hung over...

Nothing much going on in the days between the FTF and this weekends adventure. I pretty much just rested up for the riding to come. Work days were a bit longer to make up for lost time. I took Thursday and Friday off.

Alright, lets jump right into it. Lots of pictures. As usual, just click the picture if you want to see a bigger version of it.

Riding kicked off just Northeast of Chattanooga off the Ocoee River. First stop is Brush Creek, which is a fun out and back for a total of about 12.5mi. The trail itself wraps around a reservoir and hangs low to the hillside. Sorba Chattanooga also has some trail information. The trail is one that lets you set the pace. Go as fast or as slow as you like. There were mud/water holes all over the place, but other than them the trail was dry and good riding.

.4mi in from the parking lot

Pat climbing up to the sign

View from Boyd Gap trail head

This would be the cleanest my bike would be post-ride all weekend

We packed up and headed to our final destination Tsali

Tsali is another trail system wrapped around a reservoir, Lake Fontana. It has around 30mi of unique trail to it that can be linked together as desired.
We started off by running Thompson Loop. No pictures, guess we were a bit excited to hit the trails again. Thompson is about a 6mi trek, mostly uphill and meandering around the lake with a couple of fun dh descents mixed in.

Up top looks something like this

Clay grabbed a nice bit of video of me on the DH portion of the trail

Tsali - Last Mile of Thompson Loop from Clay Morgan on Vimeo.

Next Pat somehow managed to talk us into another loop. So out the Mouse Branch we went.

Clay climbing out one of the chutes

So how does 28mi for the day make you feel Clay??

View from the overlook

This extra loop put us into a bit of a bind. We finished up as darkness overtook the dusk. We were filthy, needed to wash the bikes, check in to the hotel, and get some dinner. After looping around Bryson City for about 45min we finally located a car wash that was closed down. Fortunately our quarters still fired up the pressure wash and we were able to hose down the bikes.

Then we scrambled off to the hotel The Gearhead Inn. Where we found out they provided a hose and towels for cleaning of cars, or in our case bicycles. Good to know. Of course after checking in everyone snuck in a quick shower. That put us ready to find some grub at about 9pm in a small town in the middle of nowhere. This should be interesting.

Fortunately Gauyuito's seated us. We had the restaurant to ourselves, which is probably a good thing as we were a bit loud. Nothing like a big mexican meal, magaritas, and some good stories to go with it.

Friday was more of the same. Up and going, to the trailhead by about 10am. The day starts with an 18mi combo of the Right and Left Loops.

A bit saddle sore, but with views like this it was easy to get rolling along

Trail leading to the overlook

One more for the record

Jeff, Larry, and Pat talking it up at the overlook rest stop

Renee, Macgyver with the camera (going to have to get his photo album, he took a lot of ride photos)

Nice looking trail

Clay snapped some footage of the Right Loop

Tsali - Right Loop from Clay Morgan on Vimeo.

Lunch break

Back up Thompson loop after lunch, gotta ride while the weather is clear. Forecast for Saturday is looking bleak. No rest for me, I headed straight to the top instead of taking the 2-3 breaks we had the day before.

Bike is a bit muddy

I am a bit muddy

Also a bit faded after the ~25mi for the day so far

Grabbed a few photos as the boys rolled up

Renee never did seem to get tired, this was only his second time ever on a mtb but he is obviously pretty fit.

Everyone gets a bit giddy when the trail is all DH and the day is almost at an end

Back to the carwash, Guayuito's, and off to the hotel to watch the video Clay shot during the day.

Saturday rain showed as we expected. We packed up and headed out. A bit of loitering around at breakfast and then at Nantahala. We were half hoping the rain would stop so we could ride Brush Creek again on the way home. At the same time half hoping it would continue as Clay and I were pretty worn out. We arrived back at Brush Creek to find decent weather and wet trails. We geared up and rode.

The bikes give testament to the wet trails

Overall a great weekend of riding. Made some new friends. Rode some nice trails. Saw beautiful scenery. Even got to do some sweet jumps. Total ride miles on the weekend was 66mi, all dirt. Thanks to Clay and the boys for letting me tag along.

one more for the road...

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