Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holiday Ride

Great time today with many friends.

DC Tony put a Sand Flats ride together today at 10 am. I Pulled in a little late, but was met with many friendly faces and a full lot. Bek, Skipper, Dave G., Lars Von Chambersburgen, Jules (not Verne), Ricky, better half, and MORE's Stoner. No Tony. We were joined a little later by the White-haired devil of Single Speed Outlaw fame. Todd, aka Skipper, helped me install the front disc pads Speedgoat had recently sent me - the ones that were sorely needed.

Feeling pressure from the ADD crowd and not willing to leave without Tony, I tinkered with my bike for a while to kill time, and then went for a short ride to relieve my GI tract. While crouched, I saw Tony speed past. Upon returning, I realised that we had lost Todd, Dave, and the girls, but the majority remained.

We hit Sally-mander, passed the Fridge, and reconnected with our inner Icebergs. Ran into some folks at the beginning of das Berg, and later Chris Eatough and compadre near Vulture Rock. Supersweet led us to Rock Candy (where we met up with Ernie, Liz and a bunch of dumbasses climbing up Rock Candy), we went up Trail of Tears to Sally-mander to finish.

I learned several things today: From Larry's sleeves, Swobo has got to cut them shorter; From the trail, WTB Weirwolf LT 2.55's fook'in rule; some pro riders still ride 26 inch wheels; From Ricky, red pants don't mean your gay; just because it's wet, doesn't mean you can't ride it.

Great times. I wish everytime I typed Ricky's name it would auto-link to his Flickr site and Larry's blog, and Single Speed Outlaw - can't one of my IT buddies take care of that?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Shed

Sunday was a beautiful day in the Shed. Cub came up and we enjoyed a nice cool ride in the sun.
Saturday, I took Thomas and his friend, Ian, up for a hike. It was only 25 degrees out, but we managed close to a 3 mile hike with some rock scrambling thrown in for good measure.
On the summit.
Ian and Tussey making friends.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Michaux

Nice wintery trip to Michaux with my DC/MD friends. Larry met us there and we enjoyed excellent trail conditions and little to no chance of heat exhaustion, mud, or mosquitoes.
Having destroyed nearly every form of eyewear I have ever owned, it came down to this pair of Bolle glacier glasses from the 80s. They were really dark, cosmetically devastating, and never fogged up.
Disembarking after parking.Some small batch tasties from Troegs (compliments of Brett). We hit a bunch of nice stuff and Lars Von Chambersburgen showed us a new piece from the Michaux Endurance Series 50 miler.
Gliding after riding - at the Chambersburg Pump Track.


We all had a really fun time. It was nice to be back at Michaux and in such good conditions. The snow was light and dry, not crunchy or sqeaky; it gave positive traction and made for that eeriely silent winter riding that I like so much.Never thought I would say that I was missing rocky trails after riding at Michaux, but well, I'm looking forward to some quality rock crawling in the Shed this weekend and the singletrack we hit up North wasn't particularly rocky.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

State College Thanksgiving

Happy Valley is full of traditions and at one time or another almost every member of my family has lived in State College. My first State College memory is of my father taking us to Rec Hall as children so we could shoot hoops and of him explaining how he used to sneak into the PSU basketball games while he was a student at Loch Haven by sitting on the girls bathroom shitter with his legs lifted up before the game. After their divorce, my mother commuted thirty miles one way from State College to teach in Huntingdon twice a day, every day, for over a decade in order to expose herself and her family to more culture and more opportunities. After she finally moved to State College, my brother became a star at State College High School both in football and in track - earning a well-deserved full-ride to the University of Tejas as a decathalete. My little sister also graduated from State High, SHBS, and was the first among us to start a family. My older sister returned to town soon after graduating college to utilize her degree in fashion merchandising, and then again much later with her husband to raise a family, grow the community, and her Silpada business. I attended PSU; learned to mt. bike, climb, and kayak; began a career, succeeded; began another, failed; moved away, graduated; started another, and now return as often as I can with my family - although there are no basketball hoops in Rec Hall today - I enjoy every trip.

This year was extra-special as my father, his wife, and my sister were all visiting from Idaho; my mother came in from Oregon; and my sister and her daugher flew in from Florida - a full house. Oh yeah, and I turned 40.

One tradition is a family hike and this year we had fun. I hiked two snowy miles in my red Dansko clogs while carrying Henry on my shoulders downhill.
Thomas found an "ice fossil" which he carried for about 1.75 miles and then I broke trying to hook it onto the roof rack.
A couple of cellphone calls later the ride was taking shape. Another tradition is to ride in Rothrock over the Thanksgiving holiday and I haven't missed one in years. Some were short, in the rain; some were long, in an Indian Summer; some were tough, some were easy - all were impromptu.

This year's ride followed the family hike and began, as usual, from the Tussey Mt. parking lot.
Despite the snow, the trails were open and rideable.
We were able to ride up Three Bridges, Longaberger, the entire Tussey Ridge, and back down Longaberger (chasing a six-point buck) two plus hours without much stopping and no waiting.
I am leaving out alot, there is always so much that happens there - great beer (we always go out one night), disc golf with the boys, college football, fun games, great food (turkey day is incredible), etc.
Special thanks to Aaron and his sister, Mandy, for taking care of Tussey for the holiday - she went on several hikes and enjoyed all the attention. Everyone should have a good friend from middle school as they are something else.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

4 bergs


Tussey and I hit Iceberg today. There was a little snow on the trail in the morning for the first run, but many tracks made it pretty nice. Ran into the MORE folks doing some major trailwork on Blue. After two laps, I dropped Tussey off at the car - and headed up for two more. Had a nice run on Grebeci with my only dab coming at the bottom of the S-Turn, clipped back in and rode the top clean - Jeez! Seems like a dusting of snow somehow helps.

Great conditions.

Monday, November 03, 2008

3 Bergs


The bar has been raised. Jonathan and Pat recorded three bergs on a single ride this past Sunday - one Grebeci, and two Icebergs. Do I hear four?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Children of the Corn

Thomas doing some quality straw bale jump'in.
Michele's brother and sister came dow to visit in warmer days. Fall was upon us and in Frederick County that means pumpkin shooting and corn mazes.
The Map.
H&D
Henry leading Blue Team Four through one of the mazes.
Michele and Alex through the eyes of a crazed corn stalker.
Alex riding in comfort.
This is the double-barrelled apple shooter.
Thomas takes the controls.
Takes aim and fires at the distant pirate ship. The apples could actually go all the way to the corn in the background.
Henry caps it all off with a straw bale jump of his own.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Boy Power





Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Bash

Of the many options available this weekend in September, the Bash is always a fine choice.
This weekend mt biking event is hosted by the Rattling Creek Singletackers Club at Camp Muckleratz in the beautiful Weiser State Forest near Harrisburg, PA. This year I drove up with my friend Tony, from DC. Yes, that Tony - the one who had his bike stolen and then bought it back. We were meeting up with friends from PA, Baltimore, and Frederick - including a bunch of Singlespeed Outlaws.
Check in for us was Friday evening - light rain and a fair amount of mud. We set up camp, met the whole Baltimore contingent, and settled comfortably into chairs and cold beverages. We kept hearing cheers, louds music, and seeing weird lights from across the field - so I went to investigate. The Lehigh Valley gang had built a disco nightclub complete with dancefloor, disco ball, strobes, smoke machine, sound system, and a live DJ. Who do I see in there ripping it up but a bunch of folks from LHORBA - including the Muckers. I think most of the Lehigh Valley folks were passed out by then as they had started much earlier. I went back to camp and got the whole gang to come down. This photo won't do justice to their spread, but suffice it to say it was the most impressive mobile party I have ever seen.We ran into Train Wreck from OH, Shawn from PA, and all partied like rock stars. The next morning we were a little slow in getting things rolling. Coffee, bagels, pancakes, water, Advil - repeat a few times, then sit in a chair. We missed the rollouts for all the group rides and were finally prodded into action when Shawn Withers rolled into camp. "You guys planning on riding?" I saw the opportunity here and helped to finally get things rolling. The opportunity was Shawn is a local, knows the trails, he's fast, and easy to get along with.
Turns out our group of almost twenty got pared down to six when the majority opted for taking shuttles up to the top. So our smaller group began the long doubletrack climb right out of camp that takes you up to the singletrack. Once up on top there is very little climbing. The rocks were still a little slick, it was really humid, and when the sun hit you it was actually damn hot. Joe had the first mechanical of the day, but by no means the worst one.
The singletrack looks like this and is great fun to ride. or, if your crankarm happens to look like this - to walk.
Tony's XT crankarm fell off as we were approaching the point furthest away from Camp. One mile into a five mile sweeping singletrack masterpiece, Rattling Creek Trail. It was an installation error and not field reparable without an external bb tool. So we waited at the bottom and arranged a shuttle to run him back to camp. Once back at camp we did some of this:
And later that evening some of this:
Sure am glad that photo turned out blurry because I thought it might have been my eyesight. They had four taps running Troegs, three bands, a chicken dinner, and a swag lottery (Griz's mugs were the first to go).
An old friend from the Thorpe area, Robin, aka Birdman - he welds the awards for the Rock's Ridge contest. Also spotted: Craig, Cathy, Mike, Brenda, Joe, Brett, Dona, Kristian, Don, Emory, Don, Pontzer, Jeff, Train Wreck, Mike S., and Keith.
Tony tending to his sheep.

The whole event was extremely well run - without feeling pressured things just unfolded as if they were unplanned but not unintended. Credit to the RCST gang (Rick, Jill, Keith, et al) for pulling off another great weekend.


As things wrapped up on Sunday, we reflected back on seeing many old friends, making many new friends, miles and miles of high-quality singletrack, no major medicals, and few mechanicals - we grabbed some fine local pizza and parted ways.

Until next year.
Epilogue: Tony's bike was repaired by the onsight wrenching provided by Spokes, the same shop that helped him recover his lost Sheep in DC, and in the Saturday night swag lottery he got a Spokes work shirt - Karma?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Michaux to Gambrill

Photo of second half (Blue Ridge to Frederick)

My friend Joe has been itching to do this ride for over a year and convinced Jay and I to tag along with him. Normally, this would be a fantastic road route; however, we were going to do it on mt bikes and incorporate as much quality singletrack as possible. Starting at the Totem Pole in Caledonia with some Michaux friends (Brett, Donna, Zach, and Larry) we climbed Secret, Raccoon Run, Snowy Mt., double track up to the Fire Tower, then Blue Blaze past the shelters down into Old Forge. Larry had stashed some beer here and we were joined by Travis. After a quick nip, we climbed up Sucker Punch, a new way to upper Rattlesnake Road. It was soft, but much better than the alternatives - that is unless you are continuing on to Frederick. We then rode Mackey Run, a nice technical piece of singletrack recently added to the Michaux portfolio. This dropped us out near Blue Ridge Summit where after a little road cruising, we tanked up on water and took a brief rest. This middle section featured some paved road cruising, steep climbs, a fire road jaunt near Camp David where we saw the fake pine tree bristling with electronic devices. Finally, we entered the Shed via Tower Road and a hike a bike. We had a beer to celebrate and then started on our way to Hamburg and beyond. Salamander, Sand Flats, Blue and we were back at Hamburg Road where I got some more water from a guy who was finishing his ride. He asked: "where did you guys start from - Gambrill?" I replied: "Caledonia State Park in Michaux." "Oh", he replied "is there trail the whole way?" Joe led us back to Gambrill State Park via Blue, Sheldon's Trail, Dave's Trail, Yellow. There was no Iceberg and no descent into the Valley this time - perhaps next time. We hit 44mph on the paved descent back into Frederick even on our Kenda Nevegals. Great ride, great company - see you next year.
I ate 4 cliff bars, two mini Milky Ways, six electrolyte capsules.
I drank 300 oz of water, one Dale's Pale Ale, and one Ten-Fidy & peed alot.
50 miles, 8 hours, around 6k of climbing (still working on that stat)
I forgot my phone/camera, but there are some photos here.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Thomas' Pit Bike

My friend Phil, former owner of two bike shops, "sold" me a pit bike for Thomas' school commute. Thomas has outgrown his old bike and is riding pretty consistently back a forth to first grade so an upgrade was in order. This Haro bmx bike is a fully rigid steel single-speed with a rear brake - no coaster brake, smooth tires and is built like a tank. Phil, an adult, raced this thing a couple of times -so it is totally bombproof.
Tuesday and Thursday mornings I run with Thomas to school (he rides his bike). The first day on the new machine we were late because he wasn't used to stopping with his hands, but it was a blast. Thanks to Phil for the great deal and to Thomas' principal for understanding.