Things are slowly getting back to normal around AVLUSA after the Hoth-like conditions of last week. It was so cold here I seriously considered finding and gutting a Tauntaun just to crawl inside to keep warm. But like Han, I don't care for the smell. A Patagonia puffy jacket will have to do instead...
The weekend hit with a little bit of a bummer. First It was only two days for me, which is one day short of my usual three day weekend. I know... only having two days off a week is awful and I should probably just kill myself... Seriously though once you get used to working four days a week you really start to appreciate that third day off. The icepocalypse 2015 had kept us out Tuesday and we had to make it up. Not all was lost though because K.A.W had some plans planned out to make those two days as rad as possible.
Many years ago a dude was born in Staten Island, NY. He was the son of a billionaire and pretty much fell into money once his father passed away. Somewhere along the way he decided to build a massive house in Asheville, NC and so it was that Biltmore was born. Many years later on a cold ass February day, K.A.W and I found ourselves standing in front of this monument to capitalism and narcissism.
|the house is so big it wont fit in the photo...|
George W. Vanderbilt II was a rich dude and could have built his home anywhere he wanted. He chose western NC and I can respect that. Even that kind of money cant buy the beauty of our mountains... but he surely tried. The Biltmore Estate is hard to describe in words or pictures. The best way I know to describe the level of opulence and the display of wealth is "stupid". That place is stupid opulent.
I'll spare you the pictures of the inside of the house because
A) they wouldn't do it justice and
B) I didn't take any.
However rest assured that its pretty bad ass what this fellow had in his home. Swimming pools, telephones, call buttons in every room. Even a damn fireplace you could park an F-350 in. Seriously I measured. All this was circa 1900 a.d. Not to mention his land holdings there were so vast that on his death, his widow donated it and it became the Pisgah National Forest which is now my favorite place on planet earth.
Plus he looks like someone who, when not monocle shopping, is busy tying damsels to train tracks...
After touring the home, K.A.W and I went to to what most folks who visit The Biltmore come to do... Get liquored up on free wine at the Biltmore Winery. Im not much of a wine drinker but free booze is free booze. After getting our fill we headed back home to sleep off the wine and plan where to put the butler's pantry and bowling alley in Greenview Manor.
Temperatures 'round the western part of our state were scheduled to creep up into the mid 50's. After the previous weeks cold I HAD to get outside and do something. I haven't been on a proper bikecycle ride in a long time and so I headed out to the N. Mills Rec. Area for some gravel grinding on my gnarcrossgravelgnar bike. I had wanted to ride trail but I knew by looking at the massive meltdown happening all around that the singletrack would be peanut butter soup. No fun at all. "Surely the gravel would be OK" I thought.
I thought wrong.
FR 1206 leading into the wilds of Pisgah was looking pretty terrible when I arrived. I thought to myself "F* it... I'll give it my best shot". I headed up the road spinning tires and slinging mud like a spandex clad Burt Reynolds (try to remove that visual from your nightmares). The whole way up 1206 was pretty much a mess. I kept telling myself that it would get better the higher I climbed. However the opposite seemed to be the case. I rode to just on the other side of FR 1206B and called it quits. Riding is supposed to be fun and this was not. In fact it was pretty damn sketchy and not in the "hauling ass down a mountain slope jumping rocks and roots" sketchy. It was the "I cant stop on this ice and I'm going to crash into a frozen mud puddle any second" sketchy. It was strangely fun descending on skinny tires through snow and ice. Not something I want to do regularly but it was that "riding on the wild edge" feel that is the reason I keep the wheels rolling year after year.
I only crashed twice but that was enough to have me soaked head to toe and freezing. I made it to the truck, changed into dry clothes, and high tailed it back to Greenview Manor. K.A.W was busy prepping the weeks super delicious and nutritious meals(she's awesome!) and after hearing about my awful attempt at riding she suggested a fix to my out-of-doors craving. Trail Run!
I washed the snowmud off my crossgnargravel bike and we drove out to Warren Wilson College to run the trails on campus. The trails were muddy but nothing like what I had just come from. We ended up running about five miles and got in some pretty nice river front scenery. I really like Warren Wilson because it reminds me so much of Union County with the rolling hills, cows, barns, and acreage of farm lands. But we don't have 4,000' mountains down there...
|not Union County.|
|oh you silly Warren Wilson hippies...|
|equivalent of "bike leaning on something" for runners?|
K.A.W even got a chance to air out her recent addition to the ever expanding art project on her back...
|Elephants never forget.|
This coming week looks to be more of the same. Cold, dark, wet, and sad. Hopefully we'll stay dry long enough for the trails to become ridable. I need to get out and soon or else I may go mad...
Two weeks until Daylight Savings.
Have a great week ya'll.