Monday, January 29, 2007

Camp's Camp Penn Ride

Sunday, January 28th my friend Larry and I led a ride for a group of his Virginia friends from Old Forge State Park/Camp Penn in the Michaux State Forest. Most of these folks had previously ridden or raced in Michaux knew that it would be a great day of technical trails. At the ride start the temps were in the upper 20s, but we had some climbing ahead of us that would warm us up. We started up Swift Run Road to the fire tower where we ran into the Sunday morning MBM group ride.

It was great to see so many folks out enjoying the trails during winter. Our group took off down the fire tower trail to Carumble and then over to the start of Lee's Rocks. I wanted to show this group Heaven or Hell but I haven't ridden it since last fall and knew it would be full of sticks and leaves. We did it anyway. The beginning rock move or "gate" was icy and unrideable, the rest was very leafy and hard to follow, and there were a couple of blowdowns we had to step over. Despite this many folks rode some of the more technical sections including the first and second successful attempts at the only section that have never been ridden before, a technical rock ledge drop into a 90 degree left hand turn on the edge of a cliff. I rode it Sunday after countless attempts and then Larry nailed it the first time he ever saw it.

Heaven or Hell Trail

After Heaven or Hell, we went down the Narrows to Staley Road, then climbed up Black Andy's to the Shelf trail. We rode up Sawmill all the way to the gas line then took Deer Bone down to Staley (really faint). Charcoal Hearth was a nice and fast way back over to Staley which we took up to Rothrock, and then Rothrock back up to Curran's Road past the firetower, and down to the cliff overlooking Old Forge (Chimney Rocks?). To finish up, we blasted down the blue trail all the way. Larry showed me a section near the bottom with some great technical moves that I have never seen before.

Larry and Roger chillin at the vista.

Great group of folks, and a great ride.

Friday, January 26, 2007

WETA Pledge This :(

Tuning into WETA the past few mornings before 8am I couldn't help but notice that there have been some changes. Not a slight tweak of the format, but rather a radical regime change. Leaving in its wake BBC World, World Have Your Say, and other perspective-broadening programs.

Many friends have offered their own explanation/rationalization for the change; however, I find them all somewhat irrelevant as I drive along sipping my Starbucks, scanning the radio spectrum for options offering ojective reporting and insightful, yet balanced, interpretations of the day's events. Seems like my options are the "blank" and "blank" in the morning shows who prefer to talk about last night's mind-blowing episode of American Idol using naughty words whose meaning can be misconstrued into something dirty or the Christian news channel spoon-feeding me why what happened yesterday harkens the impending apocolypse of tomorrow.

But are they my only options?

For years and years I have had the mantras "commercial free" radio, "listener supported", "fair and balanced" hammered into my head during annual pledge drives. Until recently, this has been true. However, the corporate sponsorship tag lines have grown longer and longer sounding suspiciously like commercials, there is nothing "fair and balanced" about classical music (it takes no positions), and as for listener support - only time will tell. What is clear is that with satellite radio there are truly commercial free options available- no longer does NPR have a lock on that commodity.

Having access to news and information from outside the US provides a different perspective, a self-awareness, that is not available from the media outlets within the US. These have grown more entertainment-oriented, commercially influenced, and polarized. When masses of people are tuning in Jon Stewart's Daily Show to get a fresh look at political events - we are lacking for independent media. For me, the BBC provided that fresh look at the US's standing in global affairs. Programs like World Have Your Say shared the opinions, beliefs, biases, prejudices of folks around the world offering access to primary source sentiment. Rather than having some talking head explain to me what folks in Belgium are thinking, we could hear it for ourselves - from them. WETA successfully provided this service to those in and around the DC beltway for years - sadly they have moved on.

xm radio offers BBC World for a mere $142.95 annual subscription that is under $12 per month and they'll throw in a Car Talk mug for good measure.

I know where my pledge money will be going - how about you?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Snow, Dog & Bike

My dog, Tussey, and I got out today for a nice two hour ride in the snow. We rode a loop from Caledonia State Park around the Long Pine Reservoir and back. The trails were really riding very well and the views from around the lake were amazing. The beginning section was a long forgotten trail around the empty Chambersburg reservoir that I recently reopened.

Here is a piece of trail around Long Pine.

This is on the newly reopended section of Connector Trail around the empty Chambersburg reservoir.

Tussey waiting for me on a fire road.