I left Atlanta at 4:30am to start my 3+ hour drive to Tsali trail, nestled in between the NANTAHALA GORGE and the Smokey mountains in North Carolina. There is a road that runs high along the ridge line you see in the pics that is no longer in use (RT 711). This road is broken up a bit and not smooth enough for a road bike but a wonderful ride on a slick equipped MTB or Cross bike. I can give more details for those that want to do that ride too.
Western North Carolina, on the south edge of the Smokey Mountain National Park.
About 60 miles of fast single track with spectacular views. There are a few shear drops into the lake that are breathtaking. Rhododendron tunnels everywhere. Long climbs that are so well designed that you can't believe the altitude gain compared to the lung burn. And fast down hills that have to be managed, especially by newbies (like me).
Good Stuff. I am heading down the first week of November
Looks like you had a great time Mr. Scott as always!
OK so if you are real new to Mtn Biking -as in went once or twice..and hit a tree...(picked myself up and kept pedalling mind you) is this trail doable for lil ole Miss Bumble? I may have to take a road trip - oh yeah and I will borrow a friends mtn bike-but gosh this looks pretty - and I am not yet ready for long long road bike climbs up the gaps - is this an alternative for me to get into the Mtns?
(Now I know I may be gettin ready for a lecture - as in practice and ride and soon you will be able to road bike these roads and mtn bike...but hey the mtn bike trail looks pretty! Bumble hits the trail???)
Remember, you can always get off the bike and walk if things get a bit sketchy Bee. Tsali is a fast ride and while it does have some technical stuff it’s a pretty mellow trail considering all the hardcore stuff we have around here (Rich mtn/Stanley gap). I would suggest going to Yellow river or Blankets creek (local Atlanta trail rides) first to get an idea of what trail riding is like then go from there.
On a side note, I think if you can do the rides you have been doing you can and should be doing 3 GAP. The problem with the gaps is that the downhills are a tad bit scary and you really need to know how to sweep the turns. When you are ready I will take you up there and push you up the climbs if need be (been there, done that). I pass cars on the downhills but then again I'm freakin nuts on a bike... don't do what I do and you'll be fine!
On a side note, I think if you can do the rides you have been doing you can and should be doing 3 GAP. The problem with the gaps is that the downhills are a tad bit scary and you really need to know how to sweep the turns. When you are ready I will take you up there and push you up the climbs if need be (been there, done that). I pass cars on the downhills but then again I'm freakin nuts on a bike... don't do what I do and you'll be fine! -Scott
Y'all see how supportive and sweet the forum posters are! I just love this forum! Anyway....Thanks Scott. OK so what the heck does it mean to sweep a turn. I suppose it means to turn and stay on? How does a Bee practise that.
Also I will definitely try the Mtn Bike trails soon that you recommended in my spare time!
Sweeping the turn---You just have to let it all hang out and hold on. It's hard to explain but once you do it you will understand. Sorta like the way the Superbike guys hang the turns... set it up right and you 'll be feeling the G's for sure.