Gaining as much elevation as possible before the inevitable descent

Discussion in 'Blogs & Bathroom Remodeling' started by rick81721, Oct 9, 2016.

  1. rick81721

    rick81721 Well-Known Member

    Yeah that knocks some of the climb off - I'm sure you can destroy my time on the whole thing. but I'll savor the 1st while it lasts
     
    fidodie, Kaleidopete and stb222 like this.
  2. rick81721

    rick81721 Well-Known Member

    Back in hot as balls Florida for the last 2 weeks so no new NJ parks. But since we were reasonably close to the eclipse totality, decided to make a ride/eclipse observe adventure out of it. Original plans were near Columbia, SC, then decided the east coast would be too crowded and weather more iffy. Then looked at Fontana Village in southwest N. Carolina, found some good trails around there too. But as we got closer, decided to stay a little closer - northern Georgia. Booked a hotel in Flowery Branch, northeast of Atlanta, and planned out multiple spots to mountain bike/observe from there between a 1-2 hr drive.

    Departed sunday morning and stopped in the hills section of central Florida - the biggest road climb in Florida (Sugarloaf "mountain") is here, found a figure 8 loop on ridewithgps that was 21 miles with over 1600 ft of climbing. Seemed hard to believe but as I drove there it seemed reasonable - if you were transported here you'd never guess it's Florida - rolling hills everywhere. Parked in a park lot near Clermont where many cyclists were finishing their rides. I got there later than I wanted so the heat was starting to cook but there were still lots of cyclists out there - singles, doubles, even a few long pace lines. After about 6 miles of rolling hills, I arrived at the "big one". The climb is 200 ft in 0.5 miles and it was funny seeing flatlanders struggling up it:

    [​IMG]

    Anywho, hit it fairly hard the first time (the figure 8 goes up it twice) and figured would take pics the second time. Another good segment was N. Buckhill road, with 3 or 4 good rollers over 2 miles. Fun ride overall and I'll be back here for some longer ones. Strava
    After the ride, it was another 450 mile drive to Flowery Branch, Georgia. Not a bad drive, little traffic and everyone drives 80 mph down here so it is fast going. Coming back was a different story tho. Next morning I got up early, out of the hotel by 7 for the 1 hr drive to Wiley, GA. The Chatahoochie National Forest is here and I found Stonewall Falls trails to ride pre-eclipse that I could ride to from the observation site. Got to the site with little traffic, and was surprised there were hardly anyone there. Apparently this county park was the best kept secret around, as public lots all around got packed later in the morning. Met a guy from southern Georgia with his two kids, chatted a little, then set off for the trails. Got a little lost as the road I was looking for (Crooked Oak) had two sections - I took the private one and ended up in some guys yard with a bunch of dogs barking, hi tailed it out and finally found the dirt road to the falls. Pretty nice spot:

    [​IMG]

    A lady saw me taking a pic and came over to talk - she's a trail runner and gave me the skinny on the loop - about 12 miles, some tech and climbing, and a few creek crossings. I headed out and it starts with a pretty good climb. The creek crossings were no joke - not very wide but they were all almost 2 feet deep - feet got soaked every time. I noticed mushrooms everywhere, finally had to stop for a pic of a quick collection:

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    About half way thru the loop I took another pic and realized there is no cell service - made me a little nervous as no one knew I was in there, and even my car wasn't parked anywhere near the trail heads so if I got into trouble I was pretty much doomed. Then I ran into a hunting dog who took off - never saw the owner but deliverance popped into my head. Made it out following the map on the wahoo elemnt - I don't know who said they were concerned you can't follow maps on this thing but if it works in this place it should work anywhere. Got out in one piece, took another look at the falls again. Really surprised how nice these trails were in a national forest - hikers and mountain bikers only, immaculately maintained, and fun - after the climb it was fast and flowy around several ridges. Strava

    Back at the observation site I was stunned that there were only a few more cars. Ate some snacks and got ready for the big event. As it started, the sun had the tiniest divot, then gradually turned into pacman, then just a sickle. As totality approached, the temp dropped, the sky darkened, and then the sun winked out completely. Wow, what a sight - perfect black circle surrounded by glowing white corona. Awesome experience, but when it was over, knew the traffic would be bad so took off quickly. And traffic there was:

    [​IMG]

    Long story short, it took 9+ hours to drive 380 miles. Made it to Lake City, FL about 1 am, crashed and got up this morning for part 3, drive to Santos for the premier mountain bike park in Florida. Got to the lot about 10:30 and 2 women were just finishing, they gave me some recos. People ride here early, I didn't see a soul out there but wow what a park. 100+ miles of expertly maintained trails, some fast, flowy and sandy like Allaire, some rocky and rooty, and one I tried (Dr. Ruth) was rock everywhere - pretty challenging:

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    Some boardwalks, and some trails are one way only so you can really fly but I only found the entrance to one short one:

    [​IMG]

    I only scratched the surface here, will def be back. Anyone who claims to be a mountain biker and spends time down here within a 2 hr drive of this place is a fool if they never check it out. Enough said. Strava

    From Santos, only another 2 hr drive home. There are some other parks even closer - Mt. Dora for one. Much more exploring to come, plus plan to hit some places in NC and VA on the way home.
     
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  3. Kaleidopete

    Kaleidopete Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Moe Mountain
    Great recap, thanks!
     
  4. rlb

    rlb Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Bridgewater
  5. rick81721

    rick81721 Well-Known Member

    No need where I am but wind will be the issue. Probably see hurricane force winds - house was built to latest standards so I guess we will see how it holds up. We put up the hurricane shutters and left on Wednesday via auto train. Got back yesterday. Will watch the security cams as the lanai cage blows away like the wizard of oz. Hopefully the house stays put

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Zaskar

    Zaskar Well-Known Member

    Location:
    West Essex
    Best of luck to you guys. What town are you in??
     
  7. rlb

    rlb Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Bridgewater
    Did you have to custom order the shutters, or did the builder provide them with the house? Always wondered where/how people acquired the nice corrugated metal ones.
     
  8. rick81721

    rick81721 Well-Known Member

    Thanks - we are in Venice
     
  9. rick81721

    rick81721 Well-Known Member

    Builder provided. Surprisingly not that hard to put up - just time consuming. We have someone in our community who will take them down.
     
    rlb likes this.
  10. rlb

    rlb Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Bridgewater
    Good deal, hope all turns out well in your area!

    Edit: This just in, everything will be ok!

    FB_IMG_1504892464929.jpg
     
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  11. Flaubert

    Flaubert Formerly RobW

    Location:
    Hartshorne
    keep us updated with screenshots of said security cams
     
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  12. thegock

    thegock Well-Known Member

    We never talk anymore.

    Love,

    #wingman
     
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  13. Juggernaut

    Juggernaut Well-Known Member

  14. rick81721

    rick81721 Well-Known Member

    Not yet. Lost power last night so can't see anything on the security cams. But reports are starting to come in from our community - no flooding and very minor damage. She ended up going east of us, which was very good.
     
    thegock, FitmanNJ, rlb and 3 others like this.
  15. qclabrat

    qclabrat Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Warren
    good to hear all is well, when you planning to head down to survey the damage?
     
  16. rick81721

    rick81721 Well-Known Member

    If no visible damage from pics we won't go back until mid/late October
     
  17. rick81721

    rick81721 Well-Known Member

    Update: power restored and cams back on line. From what I can see, looks like nothing happened. No debris in the streets or yard, palm trees appear upright. Maybe a neighbors oak tree got pushed over. Lanai screen looks intact.
     
  18. Juggernaut

    Juggernaut Well-Known Member

    Sorry:oops:
     
    rick81721 likes this.
  19. rick81721

    rick81721 Well-Known Member

    Yeah what a disappointment - hurricane schmurricane. Seriously tho, some people in our community purposefully cut out sections of their screen thinking it would prevent the lanai cage from suffering damage. Oops!
     
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  20. stb222

    stb222 Love Drunk Jerk Squad

    Location:
    Jerksville
    Finally got out there in Caribbean Fall conditions. While I top 10'd it, I am still almost a min off of Gui's time. WTF. I have only ridden this a handful of times. I would say I can shave time off of this.
    Linvale-No-More-Rick.jpg

    Now the real stuff. Full Monty with the dirt section. On a good day I can probably take this KOM. Nothing suits me better than a climb with a dirt/rollers finish. I was reluctant to stand on the part where it ramps up due to my chainring issues. In any case, I fail to see you on the mtbnj top 10. It is in perfect condition if you want to try before you head south. Before you get all excited that you bested me in 2017 on the paved climb only...still have work to do there too.
    Mont-Where-the-F-is-Rick.jpg
     
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