kimsey mtn loop

after living up here for nearly 2 years, i finally connected with zeke for a ride. i originally met him many moons ago at a race somewhere – adventure race or mtn bike race, i can’t remember which. after our first meeting, i ran into him again and again, always greeted with a big hug & smile. it was good running into him at the cohutta race, to reconnect and plan.
hiwassee river
our plan today was to ride about 5 hrs in cherokee national forest. finally, i’d be riding much of the adventure24 race course i sent many folks out on. we parked at gee creek campground, right off the hiwassee river. two of zeke’s riding buddies also joined us (chris & jason). i tend to get a bit nervous riding with people i don’t know –  hoping that i don’t hold them up too much. luckily jason & zeke were tapering for the mohican 100 next weekend (so their taper made for a solid ride for me :)
i really should have busted out the camera earlier, as there could have been some great shots. to start, we had a choice of 3 routes to get us to the apalachia powerhouse bridge: a road that would take us 5 miles out of the way; an overgrown rutted out road with “puddles like la ruta”; or a train track. the latter won out. it wasn’t a long section, but time passed so slowly when i was on there. train tracks are anything but smooth! most of the time it was just bumpy, but when the tracks spanned a bridge over a feeder creek, the gravel inbetween the trestles had washed out a bit causing an awful jarring. add to that trying to keep your ears alert for any oncoming trains and panic nearly sets in – yes, NOT the time to stop for a kodak moment! thankfully none decided to ruin our parade. the moment we could get off the tracks we did. phew! nice way to get the heart rate up quick! (needless to say, on the way back, i chose the ruta road. it wasn’t all that bad… i did have to portage the creek which came up to my hips, but after 4.5 hrs of riding it was rather refreshing.)
our course was a lollipop. once we crossed the bridge (seen below), zeke led us on a great loop that i will have to check out on some maps for future rides (i remember FSR 66, 80, 68…. and a sign for lost creek campground). there were 2 pretty significant climbs, lots of rollers, and gorgeous scenery everywhere. we passed a few creeks that got chris and jason excited as they belong to the crazy cult of creekboaters (honestly, that seems like a death wish….) 
in all, i had a great ride. zeke commented on my solid climbing skills; i interjected with “but my descending leaves much to be desired”. “you took the words right out of my mouth.” of course i did. how many times have i heard this? well, at least i’m aware of my problems and maybe one day i can overcome them. (definitely one day!!) luckily i didn’t keep them waiting too long – it gave them a good excuse to find some shade and wipe the sweat off. today was by far the hottest day of the year – i felt like my face was dripping off sometimes. i easily drained my 100oz bladder, and had only a few sips left in my bottle. 
we finished up with a quick dip in the river too cool off – the water was freezing so i didn’t stay in for long. refueling at the ocoee gondolier completed the days adventure.
some totals:
4:38 ride time
54 miles
elevation gain in dispute…. zeke thinks it’s around 5500′; my watch showed 3500′. but i haven’t calibrated in a long time and i’m not sure how this affects tracking…  regardless, a solid effort!

zeke & jason

Comments

2 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. While we are happy to have folks brag on the Hiwassee River I must tell you, riding on the railroad track is both illegal and dangerous. I work for the Tennessee Overhill Heritage Association. We own the track, which is an active railroad. We have passenger trains, maintenance equipment, and freight movements on the line. This is the same as putting bikes on a Norfolk Southern or CSX Railroad line. It is extremely dangerous. We love mountain bikers and welcome them to our area. And we are happy to provide good information on places for them to ride, but the Old Line Railroad is not one of them. Please know that you are trespassing on an active railroad and in violation of state and federal law. There is the additonal risk for the people who invite people to ride bikes on the railroad in terms of liabilty. We want you to have fun but in a responsible way. Contact us at 423-263-7232 or on the web at http://www.tennesseeoverhill.com and we will help you plan a biking adventure in our area, but not on a private railroad.

  2. whoa, i had no idea! i knew of some races up in NC where there was some traversing via railway (can’t remember if it was biking or on foot); it didn’t even cross my mind. no worries though as that is not something i want to do again!

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