Sunday, May 27, 2007

Reading Order

For the full effect - start reading at Bicycle Maintenance 911, then read Day 1, and finish on Day 2.

Grizvitational Day Two

Day Two was Bear Meadows/Tussey Mountain - Rothrock Classics
Getting our gear together for the ride. Jamie hones his Zen.This ride started near Bear Meadows and climbed up North Meadows Road to Gettis Ridge Road and then Bear Gap road to Wildcat, a memorable drop off the face of the earth. The view from North Meadows Road:Then up Laurel Run Road to the firetower and then down the Edge, another memorable drop. On my Garmin 305 the drops look like this: The first is Wildcat and the second is the Edge - they are both wicked steep. This is part of Wildcat: Karl was riding a sweet carbon Specialized unit to review for Dirt Rag Magazine. Rumor has it - he wants to keep it.
Regrouping at the bottom of the Edge and the beginning of Longaberger. Brother Griz, and Brother Nabil
Larry cranks it up a notch SS-style on a nice log ride near the end of Longaberger.
Keith proving that they ride big logs in Perry County too
Ray smooth as silk
Karl making it look easy
Nabil sneaks a peek at the landing prior to hitting the eject buttonWe looped back by the cars and dropped off a couple of riders then rode up the IMBA/NMBA constructed Tussey Ridge Trail to some new rocky alternative lines near the junction with Kettle. Click here for photos my brother, Nabil, took of this area: There were several other uber-technical alternate routes along the ridgeline; however, I pinch flatted three times and was playing catch up much of the time. This is a picture of the main trail:I did hear that the Dutch Eagle rode by far the most challenging of these puzzles; one I had stopped to marvel at back in April when I snapped this photo on a solo ride:It is a loose assemblage of log and stone that, if you use your imagination, roughly resembles a line. Word has it that Dean crashed in a spectacular fashion on his first attempt damaging both shoulders. The group then went to work reinforcing the logs to take the wobble out and spotted him for his second attempt. The Dutch Eagle nailed it on his second try - thus winning the coveted annual Hans Rey Trophy of Tremendous Riding (HRTTR). We hammered down the other Ridge extension to the gas line and as the raindrops began to fall we contemplated riding John Wirt in the rain. As the rain picked up, we decided to try to sit it out under a porch. John Wirt, the most technical trail of the weekend, is no bag of laughs when wet. Impatience got the best of us and we started out as the rain was still falling. About halfway in the rain did stop, but the rocks were already slicker than owl shit on a barn beam.Grizvitational Day Two
Total Time 5:00:03
Moving Time 3:38:25
Distance (mi ) 25.18
Moving Speed 6.93 avg. 25.4 max.
Elevation Gain (ft) +3,352
Avg. Heart Rate 126 bpm Zone 2.8

Temperature (°F)
65°F avg. 68°F high
Wind Speed ( mph)
W 13.4 avg.
W 16.1 max. The riding in Rothrock is, how do you say? Unbelieveable.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Grizvitational Day One

Twice a summer, once early and once late, my friend Rob aka Griz organizes a fantastic weekend of singletrack riding somewhere in Pennsylvania. Rob has literally written the book on mountian biking in Pennsylvania. The spring location is usually based out of Penn Roosevelt State Park in the Rothrock State Forest due east of State College. Rob and I both graduated from Penn State and spent a fair amount of time cutting our mt biking teeth on the Tuscurora sandstone that makes these trails so memorable. Penn Roosevelt is especially well-suited for a weekend mt. bike getaway because it allows you to ride the newer trails of the Cooper's Gap section and the Rothrock classics on the Tussey Mountain and Bear Meadows sections. Coopers Gap is unique in that all the trails were put in by talented trail-builder from Lewistown and designed specifically for mt. biking. The Rothrock Classics include one of the most technical trails of the east, John Wirt (Read: you don't want to do this one in the rain), and some newer lines and extensions of standard trails.

Day one was Coopers Gap:
From a group of satellites high above the earth the ride looks like this: From my garmin 305 it looked like this:
Total Time 5:08:05
Moving Time3:14:03
Distance (mi ) 24.08
Moving Speed (mph) 7.4 avg. 36.3 max.
Elevation Gain (ft) +3,889 / -3,940
Temperature (°F)
68.6°F avg.
69.8°F high
Wind Speed ( mph)
NW 14.9 avg.
NW 19.5 max.

Our motto is "safety first" and what a beautiful place to stop and check our helmets.
The trails were dry, fast, twisty, loaded with good flow and just enough rock to keep you honest. Dean and Rich climbing the stairway to heaven.
Pontzer riding the skinny
After 5 hours on the trail the Old Chub began to flow.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bicycle Maintenance 911

Having completely destroyed my bike at the recent Michaux 50 I had some work ahead of me in anticipation of the spring 2007 Grizvitational in Rothrock State Forest. What better time than the Friday night before a Saturday five hour ride to rebuild your bike? In the interest of full disclosure, during the intervening week, I drained my PayPal account ordering everything that could possibly be needed for the rebuild including: bottom bracket, cables & housing, grips, brake pads, pedals, lube, cleaners, and tubes - I even washed it.
So last Friday, the 18th, after arriving home late from work and seeing Michele, Thomas, and Henry off for a weekend with the Fisher family in Annapolis; I began the reassembly of my Moots. While many cyclists derive great enjoyment, even pleasure, from working on, building, fine-tuning, and tweaking their bikes - I am not one of them. For me, this is pure work and I put it off as long as possible.

Grips first, adjust the levers and shifters, so far so good; then, BLAM! I break off the aluminum screw that holds on my deraileur hanger. It broke off so there isn't anything to grab onto to remove the remaining piece stuck in the threads. I call my friend Chuck and pray that he is home. Chuck restores muscle cars, has a garage full of specialized tools, and is very adept mechanically. If he can't remove it - I hold little hope for others. After confirming that he is home, I throw the frame into my trunk and drive over to his house. He successfully removes the offending aluminum shard and after checking out his 'Cudas' I head back home.

As I turn onto King street, I can see my friend, Larry's Subaru wagon is parked in front of our house. This is a good sign, Larry is one of those riders who enjoys working on bikes and can help move things along. He is understandably a little nervous that it is pushing 10pm and my bike is still in pieces, but graciously agrees to help for a few minutes. We get the bottom bracket in, the new disc brake pads installed, drink a couple stouts, and agree on a departure time the next morning, 8:30am. I assure him that I will get some more work done after he leaves - I don't. As I go to install the non-drive side FSA carbon crankarm, it becomes apparent that it has delaminated and is totally shot. Hmmm, no other ISIS cranks in the house, my old Race Face square taper cranks use a 72mm BB shell and my Moots a 68mm, it appears that I am totally fooked. Wait! We have a late ride start in the morning because of turkey hunting season which ends at noon. My friend, Aaron, will be driving right by a bike shop on his way to the ride - there is still hope. I call Aaron and ask him if he would swing by and purchase a new set of carbon cranks on his way in - he says that he will try. After hitting that iceberg, my cruise liner was slowly sinking, the rescue boats had been notified, there was nothing left for me to do but clear the decks - so I packed up some junk and went to bed.

As you probably know, sleeping before any kind of big event is like trying to meditate during a Bob Hope telethon - always a struggle. Friday night, not knowing if I was going to be able to ride, it was especially tough. I awoke about an hour earlier than necessary so I went to the Butcher Shoppe to pick up some food, tanked up on gas, hit Starbucks, loaded the car, and waited for Larry to arrive. Larry pulled in on time and as we loaded his stuff into my car I broke the bad news about crankarm and explained my last ditch effort to salvage the weekend. He expressed amazement that none of my cables were even hooked up yet.

We drove to Rothrock on back roads through Huntingdon and Mifflin Counties. As we entered Big Valley (Amish Country) I received a call from Aaron. He was at Mt. Nittany Wheelworks in State College and they didn't have any high-end cranks in stock available for purchase. He put the owner, Frank, on and I explained the situation: FSA delamination, likely warranty issue, need cranks or at least a non-drive ISIS for a couple days. The reception was poor, breaking up, and alot of static; but as I hung up I was semi-confident that he understood the situation.

We stopped by an Amish roadside stand to purchase some moon pies, scallions, and Larry bought two whole pies. My goal had been to arrive at the Penn Roosevelt State Park at 11 am for a 12 noon ride start. Knowing that my bike needed some work and Aaron would be delayed by this bike shop diversion. R=D/T so T=D/R to decrease T one must increase R - so be it.

We pull into the parking lot at 11am. Folks are milling around, getting their gear together, and loading their bikes, their fully assembled bikes, onto their cars for the short shuttle to the Cooper's Gap ride start. It doesn't take long before they realize that Larry and I are somewhat distracted and that my bike is somewhat assembled. I explain the situation and that Aaron may be bringing the part I need. No-one is too annoyed, this is a resilient group of riders and we have all day to ride. Larry, Jamie, and I go to work on my bike setting the cables up. At this point, I am taking some good-natured ribbing for my lack of planning and maintenance ability, Jamie is working magic on my brake cables, and Larry has skillfully adjusted my rear deraileur. As he tighens the clamp on my front deraileur, he over torques it and breaks off the head of the screw. Again, the screw has broken off clean inside the threads, but this time Chuck is nowhere to be found.

I am trying to adjust to the idea of riding two five hour rides on a 1X9 as Aaron pulls in, and like mana from the gods, unveils a beautiful non-drive side Bontrager ISIS crankarm - I am saved. The 1x9 is no problem, I am in business now, screw it in, test drive, and I'm off to the Grizvitational.

Many kudos to Frank and the gang at Mt. Nittany Wheelworks in State College, they apparently took a crankarm off a bike in their shop to save my weekend. This is a great bike shop run by a great bunch of folks - well worth a visit anytime you are in State College.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

All work and no play

76 miles, 4,855 feet of climbing solo yesterday. It was a little on the hot side, but nice to be out there.