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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 07-05-11, 07:41 PM   #1
kinetic
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Tsali......What a Ride

255lb Clyde here. Decided to hit a mountain trail for the first time in 14 years.....and it was so worth it.

Rode the Mouse Branch Loop with the Overlook Extension. It was definitely a challenge considering I have only been biking seriously for a month, and live in Florida (no hills).

Some very fast downhills and tricky turns, plus some lung busting climbs- but- a few hours later I feel less gassed than a 25 mile flatlands ride in Florida. I think most Clydes could do this with just a little extra training for the sustained uphills. The hardest part for me was the technical and fast downhills- specifically the jumps. I ended up riding over most of them, but that almost dumped me a few times- probably easier in the long run to try and jump them.

I leaned today that Slow and Steady wins the race. You gotta take her easy on the way up, you'll need strength and concentration on the fast downhills- plus you will have to re-climb ridges on the way back around. I am definitely a tortoise, and frankly, screw the hares, I'm in it for the view

I rode it on my KaiTai with the standard narrow 29'er tires. A couple guys looked at me funny in the lot

My wife and I are going back on Thursday to do one of the longer loops. Today I had to hustle as she was watching our daughter at the parking area/walking trails. We are going to make a half day of it and take our time.

If you are in the Western NC area find a morning or afternoon to do this. Gorgeous views, lots of wildlife (saw a bear and a big armoured lizard), and some very fun downhills.

Feel free to ask me any questions and I'll do my best to answer them.

Here is the track:
http://maps.google.com/?q=http://sha...10705-1517.kml



View from the overlook
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Old 07-05-11, 07:56 PM   #2
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The idea of jumps doesn't bother me so much. But I'm relatively sure that, upon my landing, they would change the name of the park to Crater National Valley. lol
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Old 07-05-11, 08:37 PM   #3
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Heck Yeah!!!

I have rode all 4 Tsali trails many times and I never want to leave. Last Sept. I popped 4 spokes just before reaching the Mouse overlook at 7pm.....by myself Needless to say, the 4 mile walk out, with a GT Peace 9er as a backpack was not part of the plan. When it got dark, every twig that snapped or rock that rolled past was (in my mind), a bear getting ready to eat my arse

The picture below was the next day. I went down to NOC and they re-built my wheel and rented the bike you see here to finish Mouse the right way.

i have to say that my favorite of the Tsali trails is Thompson by far. Ridden counter clockwise, the climb is long, but hardly noticeable. Near the top there is an area that is almost magical (i know that sounds silly, but it is). It makes you think you in a much more "western region of the U.S., and the downhill at the end is like nothing I can describe.

Please make sure and share the rest of your rides there. I am going down the first week of Sept for 4 days of riding and again the first week of Nov.

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Old 07-05-11, 09:19 PM   #4
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Thompson sounds great....maybe we'll do that on Thursday.

Is it dual track, or do you just grab it's exit point?
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Old 07-05-11, 09:37 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by kinetic View Post
Thompson sounds great....maybe we'll do that on Thursday.

Is it dual track, or do you just grab it's exit point?
Take the same route that you took across the parking lot to Mouse. When you get to the part where the double track turns to single, there will be a sign post with "Thompson Trail" pointing left. Take that and just stay right from that point on. If you were to go the wrong way (clockwise), you will be greeted with a very serious uphill that will make you want to sell your bike

Here is a Contour GPS video that will give you a preview. At the end, you will here the guy keep saying "rooty rooty" the last mile of downhill is awesome, but there are a lot of rocks and roots that I think were planted by the tooth fairy

Enjoy.

http://contour.com/stories/tsali-thompson-loop-trail
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Old 07-05-11, 09:43 PM   #6
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Wow, you were up there on a nice clear day! I like your tree of choice for the picture too =)
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Old 07-05-11, 09:46 PM   #7
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In your post you said you find the Mouse/Thompson to be more technical than the old loops- how would you describe the Left and Right?
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Old 07-06-11, 05:25 AM   #8
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Left and Right both are faster and flow much better then Mouse or Thompson. Not as technical in nature and not the climbs for the most part, though the left and right each have a lung busting climb, the majority of the ride is more flowing.

the left loop has a stretch about a 1/4 mile long that is very narrow single that is almost a straight drop into the lake. Kinda disconcerting the first time you ride it. I walked it the first time. Now I don't even think about it.

Enjoy.
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Old 07-07-11, 09:58 AM   #9
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They don't call it the best Mt biking on the east coast for nothing.

The first time I went, I became the worlds best Mt bike pusher!
I was not ready for those hills in the rain.

The downhills were GREAT! Like I always say, beware of a fat guy going down hill!
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Old 07-07-11, 11:50 AM   #10
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The first year i rode the TSALI trails, I spent most of my climbs, hiking. I was on a 26" with front suspension (locked out on climbs). In fairness to the bike, I really did not have a clue what I was doing. The second year was on the same bike, and I probably walked up hill half as much (i will chalk that up to experience).

The third and forth years were on a rigid 29er. I don't remember if I walked any the 3rd year, but i know I never left the seat last year

I think experience is a factor. Not to get into the 26 v 29 debate, but I personally know there is a difference. In my case, the 26 was a bad fit from the get go.

I also think it matters where you are from. Where I live, you are either climbing or coasting. I would not have it any other way. Having said that, I noticed the other two posting here are from flatter regions and I can only imagine what that must feel like the first couple miles into any of the TSALI

But, we are all brothers with different mothers when it comes to downhill
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Old 07-08-11, 10:40 AM   #11
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We did Jackrabbit Trails yesterday- a new set of trails put in by SABAcycling.com this year in NC. A bit more mellow than Tsali, but plenty of fun, fast downhills. We had a great time! Here is my track:


http://maps.google.com/?q=http://sha...10707-1333.kml
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