Saturday, September 01, 2007

Warm up 12 mile loop Snaggy - Shull’s Mill

On a mission to discover some good trials leaving from the Snaggy house, Theresa used Google Pedometer to lay out a 10ish mile mountain bike loop ride on Saturday. This would be a good warm up ride, there are some climbs (this is the mountains you know), great scenery and matching downhills.

Starting from the Snaggy Mth house head right (South, away from 105). Quickly this turns into gravel then very steep rutted clay which is slick when wet. You have my permission to walk the steep part of this down and up when you come back this way. Theresa was unprepared for any technical trail this early in the ride so she stopped suddenly, her chain came off. When she tried to start again her peddles locked up and down she went with a high pitched scream! That’s gonna bruse! She hobbled the rest of the way down the shiggy where Kevin awaited shaking his head thinking, this is gonna be a long ride!

The road at the bottom, Russ Cornett Rd. is paved; we turned right on it and began a slow climb. Not much traffic here, but there is an occasional dog that may greet you as you pass. The road forks to the left, Diamond Ranch Rd is to the right, stay left still going up. This road boarders Moses Cone park to the left and is lined with farms and grazing live stock. Very gradual and scenic climb!

A gradual down hill takes you to a T-intersection with Poplar Grove, turn left and continue down hill. You will need your breaks as you navigate the curves on this steep down hill. A bit of payback! At the 3 mile mark there is another T-intersection make a very sharp left onto Shull’s Mill Rd still going down you can enjoy the effortless coasting.

Shull’s Mill now turns to a gradual but shaded up hill climb. You will pass various resorts, spa’s and hideaway restaurants. One we noted was “The Game Keeper Restaurant” which we looked up on the internet and plan to try it out sometime for a special occasion!

Shull’s Mill crests at a trail head for Moses Cone Park and then heads down hill towards the Blue Ridge Parkway. Just before the Parkway you will see signs for Trout Lake. Just past that entrance we took a left (eventually) onto Flannery Fork road (5.5 miles). We missed this turn as we were looking for Payne Branch (Google Pedometer did not have Flannery Fork), but we knew we needed to be on the East side of Trout lake. This road was gravel and we questioned if it was going to connect to Payne Branch but it was quite pleasant and meandered past Trout Lake and continued on past trail intersections to Moses Cone and on over one vehicle bridges. The tree canopy made this part of the ride shaded and the flat terrain with no traffic made this the best part of the ride! Soon we saw a large ranch on the left and wahh-la pavement! Had we found Payne Branch? Who cares, it was very scenic and we were after all heading in the right direction (we hope). After 3 intersections with only the name of the perpendicular street we finally got validation that we in fact were on Flannery Fork, and had reached our next landmark of Winklers Creek at the 7.5 mile mark. This road was a surprisingly nice down hill towards Boone, passing a reservoir, watching for dogs and our next turn 2 miles zoomed by. A sharp left on Russ Cornett was a very steep up hill then more gradual 1.5 mile climb looking for the right back to the foot of the Snaggy shiggy and back to the house. Kevin’s odometer measured 12 miles at 8.8 pace. This was a great warm up ride!