I felt like 2016 was a hectic year. Looking back through my rides and photos, I realized that it was indeed. While I didn’t log nearly as many skymiles as, say, Greg, I spent plenty of time riding in new places, meeting passionate riders, and even exploring close to home. Below are the highlights from my year behind bars!
January – 260 miles
I got 2016 started on the right foot with a New Year’s Day ride at the Green River Game Lands in Saluda, NC. My friends Kurt and Gwyn had recently completed their mountain house and invited a bunch of us up to christen the place. Considering the amount of beer, whiskey, wine, and champagne consumed on New Year’s Eve, it’s surprising any of us made it to the trail the following day.
February – 372 miles
February is always a tough one. Even those that love winter are getting pretty sick of it by the time this month rolls around. Most of my February was spent indoors on a trainer, but I did venture out a couple times. Early in the month, I returned to Western North Carolina to ride the rowdy – but often overlooked – Heartbreak Ridge. I followed that up by racing the 50-mile version of the Snake Creek Gap Time Trial the next weekend.
March – 500 miles
As my training plan ramped up, I again spent many hours riding nowhere on the trainer. To get a break from the grind, I visited Charlotte, NC, for the Faster Mustache Tour de Charlotte. Half race, half rolling party, the Tour had us riding random bits of urban singletrack spread across the city.
I also had the pleasure of introducing our contributor Helena Kotala to some of Georgia’s finest singletrack.
April – 400 miles
Springtime in the Southeast is hard to beat – warm days, cool nights, and everything in bloom. With the Maxxis Appalachian Summit, Sea Otter, the #BrutalLoop, and a buddy’s bachelor party, April was action-packed!
May – 460 miles
More great times were had in May. A number of our contributors joined us in Pisgah, NC, for a long weekend of bikes, beers, and chilling. And, with spring in full-swing, I ditched the trainer for the open roads and trails. With the Trans-Sylvania Epic just around the corner, I did some local races to get warmed up.
June – 370 miles
TSEpic time! The Trans-Sylvania Epic is a 5-day stage race held in Central Pennsylvania each summer. After mixed results in 2015, I wanted to come back with a vengeance – hence the training plan. I surpassed my expectations, claiming two 3rd place finishes along with 4th overall for the week. At the end of the month, I spent a few days checking out Santa Rosa, CA, and all the town has to offer.
July – 460 miles
I’m not one to let the oppressive heat of summer keep me off my bike. Much of the month was spent getting prepped for the Off-Road Assault on Mt. Mitchell. I started the race strong – too strong – and ended up bonking in spectacular fashion on the 10-mile climb up Curtis Creek Road. In a world of hurt, I laid in a ditch until a kind stranger gave me a ride back to town.
August – 360 miles
With ORAMM behind me, my race season was finished. Time for some fun rides! I kicked things off by touring Industry Nine’s and Cane Creek’s offices near Asheville, NC, and riding their local trails. Later in the month, I headed up to Snowshoe, WV, to ride their bike park and check out the backcountry singletrack. I went in skeptical, but left enamored. Snowshoe is rad and I’ll be going back.
September – 320 miles
Apart from the yearly trip to Las Vegas for Interbike, September was a chill month. Most of my rides were on local trails or on the road. The highlight of the month, however, had nothing to do with bikes. Thanks to a gift from my lovely girlfriend, I got to drive a NASCAR race car around the Atlanta Motor Speedway!
October – 250 miles
Usually, October is the best month to ride in Georgia – it’s cool and dry. Well this year, summer ran a bit long. Much of the month was above 80 degrees and the region was in a drought, which baked the trails rock-hard. It was the same story in Charlotte when Jeff and I visited Interbike’s new East Coast event, titled Fall Cyclofest.
November – 415 miles
By November, it was finally starting to feel like fall. After taking it easy for a couple months, I packed on some good miles. On the day after Thanksgiving, my buddy Christopher and I tackled Farlow Gap in Pisgah. It’s the most technical trail in the Forest, and that’s saying something. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures as I was just trying to make it down in one piece. But, I did get some good shots out at Coldwater Mountain in Alabama.
December – 200 miles
With the holidays – and all that goes along with them – December is a notoriously tough month to get rides in. The fact that it’s cold, damp, and dark when I get out of work doesn’t help either. Doing trail work has been a good change of pace. My Faster Mustache teammates and I cleared some trail for an urban mountain bike race, and my buddy Chris and I have resurrected an old local trail that had fallen into disrepair. Night rides are the name of the game now, although they’re more about goofing off and camaraderie than racking up the miles.
Looking ahead, planning for 2017 is going well. I – along with the rest of the Singletracks team – will have plenty of bike-based adventures to share with you.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!