Sunday, July 29, 2007

Heaven or Hell

My brother, Nabil, was down yesterday so I threw an impromptu ride together on his behalf. I wanted to show him Heaven or Hell. Larry and Martin came over to help ready my bike which is still having issues. Once we thought we had it back together, we headed out to Mont Alto State Park. About 50 meters into Park Trail, I realized I was in for a rough ride. My chain was jumping, shifting poorly, loose hub, etc. - you know same as HO-fest and the Stoopid 50. I hobbled up the buckets, broke a quick link, fixed it, then Larry and I took Staley over to upper Turtle. Nabil and Martin rode Charcoal Hearth over to Staley. Larry let me sample his SS 29'er on the climb up Turtle to Wayne's Highway. Survey says: incredible. Had to climb out of the saddle because of the set-up - which meant fast. The big wheels were awesome, throw some gears on there and wow! I broke my chain again going down the Middle Narrows, this time we didn't use a quick link and it was much stronger for the duration. Lee's Rocks over to Heaven or Hell. The Gate was unrideable for me given my gear situation but everyone else rides it. Nabil rode it clean on his first attempt - something noone else has ever been able to do! Martin was liking HorH much more this time than his previous run. Nabil rides the ramp (above). Nabil at the foot of the ramp
Larry tries the lower level of Hell, how many levels did Dante say there were? He almost makes it - but not quite.

Taking advantage of the horsepower on this ride. We stop to build a little optional rock thing about half-way down that I have been thinking about for awhile. We have a blast riding pretty much everything else clean. The lower section by the river is all rideable, a little obscufated in places but several of us clean it.

We session a bit at the final river crossing. Nabil survives what could have been a horrible crash down the rocky stream bed and gets back up to clean it on some ridiculously high route with a 90 left-hander in front of the cliff face.

At the end, we play on some recently cut logs near the mushroom pavillion, wish we had brought beers, and reminisce about the fine riding we just had. I go home and later, after dinner, purchase a whole new drivetrain.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

5 Kings

A very nice 90 mile jaunt around Franklin, Cumberland, and Adams Counties that included five 900+ft climbs and grades over 20%.
Summary Data
Time: 5:20:09
Distance: 90.09
Moving Speed: 16.9 avg. 62.1 max.
Elevation Gain (ft): +8,160
Avg. Heart Rate
137 bpm Zone 3.4

Temperature (°F) 79.1°F avg.
Wind Speed: SE 8.9 avg. SE 11.5 max. Only one adjustment and no mechanicals.
Hills, hills, and more hills.
Chuck was losing some sodium chloride.

Ok. More than a little.
Joel back at the ranch 90+ miles later. Cathy Large joined us in Caledonia and rode over to the base of Timmons with us before peeling off to go to work. We ran into "Fast Eddie" from Carlisle as we began the climb up Timmons. On this ride I drank nine full bottles of water, peed only twice, and burned 7,243 calories.

Monday, July 02, 2007

HO-Fest 2007

We drove to State College this past Sunday for HO-Fest. HO-Fest is an annual cycling event put on by my friend, Aaron. HO is a rather obvious and adolescent shortening of his last name, Hofelt; but it was a cool nickname and it has stuck. We have been friends since sixth grade - long before mountain biking was even a twinkling in Joe Breeze's or Gary Fisher's eye. Our friendship has weathered middle school food fights, high school ski trips, college frat days, many girlfriends, rooming together, marriage, divorce, Dead shows, rock climbing trips to Kentucky, epic bike rides, horrendous camping trips, and much much more. Not to mention this video we once watched that his dad was allegedly previewing for the english course he was going to be teaching at Juniata College on Arthurian Legend - yeah right: Here is a review:
The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea is a film of contradictions. Beautiful and disturbing, erotic and psychotic, this melodramatic thriller is a film of unsettling dichotic elements. Quite an infamous film in its day (due to its shocking subject matter and modestly explicit sexuality). Just be prepared to file it in the "oddest films I've ever seen" category of your mind.
Trust me due to the aforementioned subject matter we filed this baby time and time again.

But life with HO has always been like that, odd and cool.

HO-Fest begins starts from Black Moshannon State Park west of State College, PA. The black part refers to the coloration of the lake due to the high level of tannins in the water; the moshannon part is a derivation of "moss-hanne" Native American for moose stream.
Henry and the tannins. HO-Fest begins with 15 riders who travelled in from all around Pennsylvania.
Including some of the Perry County boys: Ray and Dave.

From the HO himself:

"Here’s the recap: Kberg paced us up Dry Hollow to the gasline, where an unnamed local blew past the gasline.""After a quick direction correction, we dropped the wicked Rattlesnake trail to Benner Run. We climbed up the fire road to the gasline.""Despite the recommendations to the contrary, an unnamed local led us on the gas line where we encountered high grass followed by a grunt of a climb (not fun)."

"Unnamed local then blamed poor trail judgement on Yoda who magically ‘appeared he did’ at the Rock Run trail head." (Yoda in green)

"The easy part over, we followed Rock Run over rocks (HO above) and drainages and abandoned rail beds.""Allen and Don took the ‘large cahuna’ prize for riding the sketchy bridge across the creek. We climbed the rail bed up the switchbacks to the AFT."

"This marked the beginning of a rash of mechanicals: Ray, Dave, and Darius all ended up with chain problems." - like this one wrapped around the seat stays.

"We passed the normal bail-out point at Moosehead lane and continued on downstream where an unnamed local had knowledge of perhaps the sweetest piece of single track in the forest."

-I swear that unnamed local is flipping me the bird.
-Yoda rides the bridge he does. After this nice bridge ride, the group split up; half going up a nasty double-track hike-a-bike to a fire road.-The other half taking a sweet piece of singletrack down by the creek with challenging uphills and rock gardens. "As the rest of group delighted in the challenging rocks and beauty of this trail, Rich found that he had somehow snapped his frame between a rock and his grundle??? "

-Fortunately, there is no picture of his grundle.

"We regrouped at the crossing of Black Moshannon then either went upstream (or uphill) to the AFT/Shingle Mill intersection. The group, now weary from the days’ unrelenting technical tortures, drew its last ounce of strength to face the daunting Shingle Mill trial. This trail is always difficult and can take the best riders out of their game and have them screaming for their mothers. At the end of a long ride the group did a terrific job of taming this trail."

"Kudos to everyone who met the challenge – it was a great day to be in the woods on some great trails." -
a great group of folks to ride with durable, amiable, and skilled - like Jedi. After the ride we headed down to HO's house for a picnic and some cold refreshments. It was Canada Day and HO had hockey pucks to grill (inside joke on his grilling skills). Thanks for another great ride HO - you have come a long way since Mello Yellow and holding your rear deraileur on with a drywall screw.