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2002 Edition, Nov 8 - 10

As you know I cancelled the August event that I had planned because of lack
of participation. However, some folks were interested in a weekend later in
the fall.

Bent Creek Lodge, the host B & B the last two weekends, have rooms available
for the weekend of November 8-10, 2002. This is also just in front of the
Veterans Day holiday that some of you might have off. However, it is also
the first weekend of the Biltmore House Christman season, and Joddee
Sellers, the innkeeper, is rightfully hesitant to hold rooms open for us too
long in these uncertain economic times. She will be out of town that
weekend so we will be on our own for dinner Saturday evening, which will not
be a problem.

So please consider a weekend trek to Asheville, NC in November. There are
seasonal trails open at Bent Creek Experimental Forest that we have not ridden in
the past, and we will also spend a day at DuPont State Forest , which is a great place to ride. Paul Borer emailed me the other day and said he and Jody were there in June and had a good time. If you want to make reservations at Bent Creek Lodge you may contact them at, or by phone at 1-877-231-6574. The sooner the better. If Bent Creek is booked, there are other accomodations nearby. Comfort Suites at Biltmore Square Mall, about 2 miles from Bent Creek. 828-665-4000. Hampton Inn near Biltmore Square MAll. 828-667-2022 Another option is the Trails End house, owned by Mike Nix, owner of Liberty Bikes. It is a residence hey rent out that is ride-in-ride-out from the trails at Bent Creek without having to deal with traffic. Check it out if you have another couple to split the cost with. This is an event that can handle as many or as few as show up. So just let me know and I'll have some great trails picked out to ride, and a great restaurant picked out for dinner on Saturday evening!

David L. Lee

Contact David Lee for more info

Western North Carolina - Off Road Tandem Weekend

August 24 - 26, 2001



David Lee's annual Western North Carolina Off-Road Tandem Weekend was held once again at the beautiful Bent Creek Lodge [], just South of Asheville, NC, on August 24 - 26. Since this was our first time, we didn't know what to expect but were enthusiastically looking forward to it all summer long. The drive up was about 200mi and took about 3.5hrs; however, we took the "back way" up from the Northwest suburbs of Atlanta via Ellijay, GA, and Murphy, NC, and it made for an easy drive.

We arrived at the Bent Creek Lodge around 5:30pm and were the last of the out of towners to arrive -- noting that several of the other couples had already ventured out for a short ride around the property. As for the property, the Bent Creek Lodge sits on a 5 acre lot, nestled in the woods of a very large, relatively pristine wooded development located between the Blue Ridge Parkway and French Broad River, adjacent to the Bent Creek Research & Demonstration Area and Pisgah National Forest. The lodge itself and the setting are spectacular, both inside and out. The lodge was designed by Doug Sellers who, along with wife Jodee and Kathy Courtney, are the Bent Creek Lodge's creators and innkeepers. As a new structure, the lodge provides guests with all the creature comforts that they would expect to find in a first class hotel; but, with warm and intimate guest rooms, common areas, porches, and grounds. As you can tell, we really enjoyed our stay at the lodge.

Anyway, back to our arrival. We were met by Jodee and Doug when we checked in who informed us that our fellow tandem teams were already out riding. After getting settled into our rooms we found Paul Borer -- a friend from Atlanta -- relaxing on the front porch and waiting for his lovely wife Jody to join him. As we got reacquainted with the Borers on the front porch Jeff & Julie Denning -- along with son Kirk -- from Gatalan, TN, rode up with Marv & Miriam Rubenstein of Tallahassee, FL, not too far behind. As it turns out, we had previously met the Rubestein's and Dennings at previous road tandem events in the Southeast which just goes to prove once again, the world of tandem enthusiasts is a small one. After everyone got their bikes put away and themselves cleaned up we headed over the a new, local restaurant called the River Market Grille that came highly recommended by our innkeepers. Wow, what a great place! I think it is safe to say that everyone had a great meal. We returned to the lodge and finished off our first evening together taking turns shooting pool and otherwise shooting the breeze in the wide open commons of the lodge before retiring to our rooms for the evening.

Saturday morning found several of us on the back porch sipping various forms of hot and cold caffeine as we chatted and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. Around 9:00am, we all sat down for the first of several wonderful meals at the Lodge -- a gourmet breakfast featuring an elegant presentation of fresh fruit, eggs, baked goods and potatoes. David Lee, our host for the weekend, arrived around 9:30 to join us for some pre-ride coffee and breakfast. Shortly thereafter we headed upstairs to don our cycling togs and then outside to get the tandem ready for our first day of riding. In addition to the out-of-towners, several Asheville cyclists would be joining our group for the ride as well. When the day started our full contingent including the following folks:

David Lee & guest stoker Peggy -- both from Asheville -- who were on board a silver Burley Rock & Roll with Girvin flexstem. Brian & Diana -- also from Asheville -- who were on board David's "old" mountain tandem, a rigid custom silver & burgundy FLYE 26" off-road tandem which, as we later learned, was David's previous off-road two-fer. Marv & Miriam Rubenstein from Tallahassee, FL, were aboard their red Rodriquez mountain tandem with a Marzocchi single crown Atom Bomb (?) suspension fork. The rest of the folks were all aboard Ventana El Conquistador de Montanas: Jeff & Julie on a gunmetal grey ECdM with a Stratos FR4 fork; Paul & Jody on an Electric Green Metallic ECdM with Marzocchi Jr. T fork; and Mark & Debbie on board their Trans Red Metallic ECdM with a Stratos FR4 fork.

We had our riders meeting out in front of the Bent Creek Lodge at about 10:00am, posed for a few pictures and then headed down the driveway towards a short stretch of NC 191 along French Broad River. We headed North for about a mile along NC 191 that took us to the entrance to the North Carolina Arboretum -- a front door to the trails at Bent Creek. Along the way we ran into friends of David & Peggy who were out for a ride on their road tandem, and then quite a few other solo cyclists and runners along the multi-use trails near the Arboretum. It's worth noting, while Bent Creek has a vast network of trails, many of the more interesting single track is off-limits to cyclists from October 16 - May 14 [Trail Map:!.htm]. If memory serves, we ventured out from the Arboretum along Bent Creek Road and eventually ended up at the North Boundary Road gaining about 650 vertical feet of climbing along the way. These trails and "roads" were a mix of double track / service roads, paved nature trails and hard packed single track -- all well suited for recreational riding. Along the way up to North Boundary Road the Borers and then the Dennings opted to take alternative service road routes. In regard to Paul & Jody, they were leaving for a two-week long cycling tour in Europe the following week and didn't want to tempt fate on the single track. As for Jeff & Julie, the pace of the adults was a bit higher that what their young son Kirk was able to comfortably maintain.

The climb up North Boundary Road was a 2 mile aerobic workout that added another 500 vertical feet to our pre-lunch ride. However, the pay off was a rather spirited descent to our lunch stop along side Lake Powhaten. Lunch consisted of turkey sandwiches, fruit salads, pickles, chocolate chip cookies and an assortment of cold drinks that was brought out to the lake and set up for us by Doug, Jodee and Kathy from the Bent Creek Lodge. We'd accumulated about 14 miles and 1200 vertical feet over 2 hours of riding and thus far the group had avoided any mechanical failures or fall-overs.

After lunch Paul, Jody, Jeff, Julie & Kirk again headed off on service roads while our group headed back out on a similar mix of double and single track, in some cases back tracking over the trails we'd come in on. Several of the single track segments were absolutely picture book quality runs, with at least one or two spirited sections of single track. Our final climb of the day was a 1.5mi segment up to the Blue Ridge Parkway on Hard Times Road. We then exited the trails for a swift descent down the paved Blue Ridge Parkway to a road marker for the short trail that would take us off the parkway and down to our lodge. By the end of the ride we'd accumulated about 24 miles and some 2,400 vertical feet. All and all, I think everyone had a good time and enjoyed having the opportunity to spend the day more or less riding as a group.

Since Saturday evening's dinner was being prepared by Jodee and Kathy at the Bent Creek Lodge, the afternoon's pace was pretty laid back. As everyone finished putting bikes up and getting cleaned up I decided to tackle a noisy bottom bracket on our Ventana. In the process, I screwed up both the left adjusting cup and the eccentric when I failed to realize the UN-72 BB cartridge had fused itself to the adjusting cup. Fortunately, David guided me over to the Liberty Bike Shop -- a very nice shop with a very capable staff -- where they were able to chase the threads of the eccentric and pop in a new UN-72 bottom bracket.

When we got back to the Inn everyone was in various stages of relaxation, enjoying cocktails and either sitting on the porches or knocking around on the pool table. Around 6:00 dinner was served. Our evening meal was gourmet quality spaghetti feast. After dinner David played his fiddle a little bit and then just about everyone except for yours truly and wife Debbie headed down to Asheville to take in some Bluegrass at an outdoor festival called "Shindig". We, on the other hand, did what we never do at home: absolutely nothing.

Sunday morning started off with another great breakfast that was interrupted by a power outage. As it turned out, a rather large tree fell onto the power lines along NC 191, knocking out power throughout the area and blocking the road. Oh well, chalk it up to "acts of God'. As for the ride plans that day, the group somewhat splintered into various different directions. Paul & Jody had brought along their road tandem and I believe they planned to get in some riding along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Dennings went off to explore the new trails at DuPont, purported to be "The Slickrock of the East". And we decided to stop off at Tsali -- about an hours drive to the West of Asheville -- on the way home to get in about a 20 mile ride around Right and Left Loops. So, that pretty much sums up what we know about Sunday's activities. Based on a post from David it sounds like the folks who rode at Bent Creek on Sunday saw the power come back on about 1:00pm -- which should have roughly coincided with the end of their ride.

All and all, a very fun and relaxing weekend at a beautiful lodge with wonderful hosts. What more could you ask for in a mini-vacation.

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