Monday, November 24, 2008

Tsali goes left, Tsali goes right

I rode the Tsali Left Loop and the Tsali Right Loop yesterday. It was a killer for me and certainly pushed my limits. I look forward to the day when I can do this kind of ride and not fell like I am going to die by the time I get back to the car.

Tsali is an IMBA Epic ride, and it is also described here (scroll down to #7).

I followed the ride description that can be found on the mtbikewnc web site:

  • Difficulty: Most Difficult
  • Total Length: 18 mi
  • Trail Tread Condition: Some Obstacles
  • Climb: Hilly
  • Total Elevation Gain: 900 ft
  • Ride Configuration: Loop
  • Starting point: Tsali Recreation Area parking lot.
Essentially the ride consisted of the left loop CW until it meets the right loop, then I rode the right loop CW from there.

Even thought it says 900ft elevation gain, it sure felt like a lot more. Maybe it felt like more because for every 50 ft you climb up the hill you were instantly rewarded with a 50 ft drop. The constant up and down on the left loop made for quite a bit of fun. The right loop went a little deeper into the woods, the climbs became longer, and the rewards became greater.

The trailhead pay station. Put your $2 in the envelope and keep the receipt with you. The left and right loops start here.

The famous chimney. An old house once stood here. Now the trail goes right through it.

The left loop follows the shoreline of Lake Fontana. The trail winds up and down through all the streams that feed the lake.

These are some people from Houston that I met with several times on the trail. They were king enough to take the next picture of me. Next time I'll take off the backpack so it doesn't look like I'm wearing a dress.

The trail gets much narrower than this in spots, and the hill to the right gets much steeper. You do not want to crash in some of these areas, which is exactly what I did. I took a really bad fall on one of these sections of trail. I was going a little to fast, the leaves were slippery, and I was falling of the edge of the path. I hit my brakes and went over the handlebars. This was the low point of the day. My rib cage has been very sore since.

At the end of a huge climb on the right loop it suddenly got very warm. Then I noticed the smoke and realized the area was still smoldering from a recent fire. I took these two pictures and then decided it wasn't good to hang out in all this smoke. Breathing became a little more difficult in spots. Note to self: Avoid biking in burning woods.

1 comment:

Erica said...

Cool. Sounds fun. But I'm getting alot more imformation about this fall of your from mom then I did from you. Like, for instnace, I just now, at 4:00 on Monday afternoon found out that you flipped over. Anywho, feel better and I'll talk to you tonight!