Lots of catching up to do. The last week (ok, 9 days) really flew by. I think the pick-up point is Austin?
I only have a couple photos from Austin, because I got rained out. Actually, "rained out" doesn't tell the whole story. There were flash flood warnings. It was DUMPING. But that was just Friday. The sky cleared up on Saturday and I was able to go explore & everything, but that night's rain meant the local trails were not going to be rideable while I was there.
So here's what I ate:
- Breakfast Tacos
- Wood-fired Pizza
- Vanilla Stout Milkshake
- Donut with Nutella and Strawberries
From Austin, I continued into Louisiana, ending up at a place called Lincoln Parish Park. This turned out to be a neat sort of family camping/cabin/RV destination, with a lake & other such outdoor attractions. It was also hot as balls.
Fortunately, there were plenty of trees, providing critical shade. It was also super cool to be able to camp for the night, wake up, and just hop on my bike. That is now one of my new favorite things.
The riding itself was fine - the "advanced" cross-country loop was a pretty tame, flat 9 miles, and it started to feel like only a matter of time until I swallowed an obnoxiously large insect, so I did two laps and called it a day.
The next stop was Mississippi, in a MTB-specific riding area near Brookhaven called Mt Zion. I was looking forward to this spot, and the trailhead/parking area looked promising. Lots of weird paraphenalia laying around, in that very granola, 90s-facial-hair, teva-wearing kind of mountain biker way.
The trails themselves COULD have been absolutely amazing. There were really interesting sections, some fun drops & wall rides, but it was all ruined because most of the trail was just concrete with a few scattered pine needles. I'm sure there's a good reason for this, but it just didn't feel like mountain biking.
I did spend the rest of the day in Natchez, which was annoyingly scenic & evidently one of Mark Twain's favorite places. It's easy to understand why.
Next stop was Alabama, in a state park near Birmingham called Oak Mountain. This turned out to be another camp & ride situation (yesssss), and turned out to be a super fun one.
This ride suited me perfectly. It starts with a flat, mild doubletrack that helps get the legs warmed up. Then it was a long fire road climb to the top of the mountain (more of a big hill, honestly), and then you get to point your bike downhill and go for it. It was also a gorgeous, dense, very green forest with great soil. Velcro dirt. I wish I could rig a microphone to my back tire.
The two trails down from the top were called Thunder & Lightning, and they were super fun. Felt a lot like the flow trail in Santa Cruz, just not as long.
Again, it was very hot & very humid. I actually wrung my shirt out after this one. There is video, but I'll spare you that.
I'm writing this from a coffee place in Asheville while doing laundry. Pisgah is supposed to be amazing, so I'll bring the good camera and do my best to capture it.