Trails I've Ridden

Mountain Bike Trails I've Ridden:

Ohio: The Biggest Little Mountain Bike Trail (Camp Tuscazoar)Medina Reagan, Royalview, Bedford, West Branch, Mohican, *Vulture’s Knob, Lake Hope, the shit in Columbus, Dillon, The Wilds, AEP Lands, Wayne National Forest/Marietta, Findley Michigan Island Lake, Highland, Proud Lake, Hickory Glen, Novi Tree Farm, Addison Oaks, Pontiac Lake, ***Potowatomi, Brighton, Yankee Springs, Fort Custer, **Big M, North Country Trail segments, *Copper Harbor, Boyne Highlands, High Country Pathway, Bass River, Stoney Creek, Hungerford West Virginia **Cooper’s Rock, **Davis, Slatyfork, Watters Smith, Big Bear, Mountwood, Kanawha, North Bend, Spruce Knob Pennsylvania Moraine, Brady’s Run, Laurel Mountain, Tomlinson Run, Quebec Run, *Apollo/Roaring Run, Northpark, Bavington, Allegrippis, Blue Knob, Rothrock/Cooper's Gap Virginia **Carvin’s Cove, Massanutten, Harrisonburg/Reddish Knob New York Ellicottville Maryland *Gambrill/Frederick Watershed North Carolina Dupont, Pisgah, Rocky Knob, *Dark Mountain, that trail with all the berms in Wilksboro Arizona Sedona California *Sequel Demo South Dakota *Storm Mountain, Tinton Trail

* My favorites

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Little Hike Around Rocky Gap State Park

A Little Hike Around Rocky Gap State Park  on my way back from DC. This is the second time in a month I've driven right on by some of the best mountain biking in the US without a bike. It hurt deep in my gut. Don't laugh - I'm serious!

Maybe a six mile loop around the lake that somebody has put put some time into. Plus some good old fashioned Maryland/WV haul roads that lead to who knows where and will require some badassery.

Cool info on the American Chestnut ^
I'll have two or three of these someday. ^
My buddy the turkey vulture. One winged and friendly as hell!

Hit by a car and never to fly again.

The park maintains a cool raptor aviary for injured and recovering birds.

 I'm thinking Rocky Gap will be a cool stopover point for a mountain biking trip to DC next time I go to see my son: Cooper's Rock, a quick loop at Rocky Gap, then Gambrill/Frederick Watershed, then either head back PA and hit up the stuff there, or go south to Harrisonburg and Roanoke. EPIC.

Pops is getting FAT
Here's my thoughts on my new fatbike:
  1. No way I'm spending $2000 on a fatbike
  2. Or even $1000 on a bike I'm not going to ride a whole lot
  3. I need a way to keep my dog in shape
  4. And now I can ride trails with her in the winter
  5. I'm not going to ride very far when it's really cold out
  6. So there's no need for gears
  7. A single speed will make me work my ass off
  8. Which is exactly what I need to stay in shape this winter
  9. I've got more miles on my bikesdirect cross bike than any bike I own: she's been a trooper
  10. And she only cost $500
  11. I can ride in sketchy conditions and not feel guilty
  12. All the cool kids in Michigan have one
  13. It should arrive in time for our New Year's trip up north
  14. I can put this thing on my hitch rack and not worry about getting derailleurs all funked up 
  15. The price fit my tightwad budget: $400 for this beauty! 
  16. Anybody want to buy a pair of cross country skis?

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Weekend in D.C.

So my wonderful wife was scheduled to present at the National Council of Teachers of English. I was a mere flunky along for the ride.
The Gaylord Convention Center at National Harbor is the biggest building I've ever been in. Met my newly-engaged son and his wonderful fiance in Old Town Alexandria and had some awesome seafood.
We met my wife's cousin for dinner the next night. At the end of summer, he did the classic 350 mile ride on C&O Canal Towpath/Railroad to Pittsburgh. Very cool to talk to him about it.
Woke up Sunday and rode from National Harbor across the 495 bridge back to Old Town, with the Washington Monument and Capital Building always in sight.
Found an original cobblestone street in Old Town.
Found a cool little park where the first surveying stone for the city of Washington DC is preserved. History at every turn. DC is an awesome place to ride.
Can't wait to get back there and do some more urban riding. The unexplored singletrack of Fountainhead Regional Park was only a couple of miles away from our hotel. Oh yeah, then there's Gambrill/Frederick Watershed on the way out, and of course, all the stuff in PA/WV in the way home....

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

If You're Gonna Be Stupid......

IT'S COLD!!!!!!!!!

The game plan was to freeze our knobs off at VK. It was a bit chilly. All the pansies stayed home. In the duty of common sense, we decided to choose a "less exposed" route and head toward the Mighty Tuscaroras Towpath. I've somehow gravitated lately to the Mighty Tuscaroras River, having done a ride just two weeks ago at the Biggest Little Mountain Bike Trail around, Camp Tuscazoar.

Windchill was around 0 degrees.

We lost our way and ended up riding on some railroad tracks.
Egg stood still for a couple seconds and found himself frozen solid to them. Couldn't move an inch. I left him there to die. It was every man for himself, I tell ya.

I found a nice cozy place down by the river and had my domestiques gather fire wood.
The wind was trying to howl cold, but the best campfire of the year was downright indomitable. Made me completely forget about Egg. Good thing I took the opportunity to steal his bottle of highly flammable REM oil before I abandoned him; it proved invaluable to my domestiques' initial failed attempts to generate life-giving fire. I am reminded at this point of Jack London's short story, "To Build a Fire" in which the central character's fingers were too frozen to open his Lime-a-rita, and he quickly perished. Foolish man. I quickly went back to Egg and took his Lime-a-ritas and bike, lest they go to waste.

My humble bumcamp.

On the journey back to he car, I knew that all I had to do was ride north. I stopped back to check on Egg, and he still hadn't moved, but I could hear the faintest murmur issue from somewhere 'neath his frozen beard: "head south." Clearly, the compass shown below is pointing north. So once again I chose to ignore my friend's heartfelt but perpetually erroneous instincts on time, direction, the amount of fish in Lake Erie vs. Lake Michigan, etc. etc.

Good thing I did.
For I survived.

When I got back to the car, I found some frozen fool trying to spot weld a singulator to the wrong side of his bike, or something. I don't know. It was cold.
But I stayed toasty and affable because I was wearing........

For years, Egg had tried to talk me out of buying winter boots, but I finally saw the light.
No more frozen feets for me. Winter: BRING IT ON!!!!!!!

Monday, November 10, 2014

AOA Halloween Ride at The Wilds

 AOA Halloween Ride at The Wilds
Dave is a Dill

It had been quite a while since I had made it down to an Appalachian Outdoor Adventures event. Some of my best mountain biking memories (however foggy they might be) come from the old Muskingum Mayhems and Halloween Rides. The last one I went to was the infamous Terry Ride. Terry, the guy Jay brought, "Terry, we lost your skewer", Terry: wrrraaaaawwwggggaarrrrrr!!!, Terry - the drunk who wouldn't die.
They've got to invite that guy back.
This year's ride was every bit as fun. Heath and Rae and the AOA people sure know how to put on a mountain biking party.

A total of seven of us each drove down separately, and although it made a mountain bike convoy to be proud of, we all agreed we're idiots.

We warmed up with a vigorous ride at Dillon, which has more rocks and punchy climbs than any of us remembered. I got first prize for stupidest crash: for some reason I just wasn't paying attention to one of the wooden jumps, and I rolled right up to the edge thinking there would be a "roll down" ramp. There wasn't and brake as much as I could, my front wheel rolled over the lip and I ate shit.
Then it was on to the Wilds.

Timber doing his cupacabra impression. I like that dog. Supe had to stay back at the car and miss out on the fun. (You just need to get in better shape, girl!)
There were no Grassman sightings.
Brandon Le was SO CRAZY!!!!
Gus was hammered.
Dave was a Dill.
Mike got Spun on Heath's carbon Bronson
Jay and My Skinny Son Adam rolled singlespeeds, and Jay was PHAT.

The night slowly got blurry. The Wilds is no place to be if you forgot your headlamp, as Peter Dragon found out.
^This sums it up: a bunch of people riding out in the middle of the southern Ohio hills, drinking too much and having a blast. Oh yeah, and there was probably between $200k and $300k worth of mountain bikes lying around.

This was the finale. Those with balls hit this jump after rolling down through an awesome ravine with a couple of big, swoopy wall turns.

My balls are just not that large.

I only came for the beer
^This kinda summed it up, too. One of the best things about AOA rides is the Sierra Nevada.

The Macho Man held court. Dave and Adam became a two-headed monster, which is ok since they both swam out of my sack.

Back at the campsite, SOME of the 2Ton cars rolled out. We will not mention those who were WITHOUT CAR.

^Oops, forgot the costume contest. Personally, I think Joe Dirt should've won.

We all woke up the next morning a little worse for wear and tear. Breakfast at the Cracker Barrel, I threw up, then Gus, Mike and I hit Camp Tuscazoar, "the Best Little Mountain Bike Trail Around." I have to agree: it's my kind of riding: all the climbing comes at you in big chunks: we recorded about a 1000 feet in 6 miles, which will definitely put balls in your sack. The Dirt Line crew has done a ton of work there. It looks like it's gonna get better and better. This shot is from Buzzard's Roost, a nice rock out crop with a view.
A good weekend with good humans.
And a dog.

Monday, October 20, 2014


A Weekend at Lake Michigan Rec

(once again, I downloaded in the wrong order and it's too much of a pain in the ass to do it all over again, so you might want to scroll all the way down to the bottom if you want to read chronologically)

Capper's Corner and a view that rivals Rattlesnake Hill on the High Country Pathway.

Only had time for a quick spin, so I took Double Bit to Catamount to Capper's Corner, then back to Catamount and around to the parking lot. About 100 feet average climbing per mile. Awesome.

As we were driving down a forest service road through some falling leaves, Karen said it was like standing in a money machine. I agreed. Riding through those money machines at Big M was priceless.

The huckelberry/blueberry swamp across the road in the wilderness area. Kinda impenetrable.

Sunday morning at Whip Poor Will Hill.

The backyard.

Early morning after a near confrontation earlier in the darkness with some bowhunters. I think we were in their spot, and they didn't spend a lot of effort to make sure we weren't startled.

Csabs found a porcupine tail but didn't get poked.

It took some doing to get there, and it was our the first traverse of the entire valley.

Here is that beech tree, now giving life and slowly sinking back into the earth. Once as much of a living creature as any of us, she has become something of a totem for Karen and I.

^Karen is in there somewhere.

This is an older pic, taken probably a year or so after the event. It was a humbling scene of crazy devastation. We could only venture out to the broken beech tree, which required some scrambling over the tangle of twisted, fallen trees.

The descent into the Blowdown.

This is the same white pine, and Csabs seems to sense the spirits. Rogue was right: it's a nice place to lie beneath and escape the wind and feel the peace.

This is an older pic of Z and Rogie next to the white pine that served as Rogie's refuge when he got anxious up on the ridge.

^This is the maternal beech tree that got snapped off in the massive downdraft seven or eight years ago, and was once just about the only thing that seemed upright and visible in the whole valley.

Like two pine cones in the Sierra Nevada, two mushrooms sprouted from the sand on the ridge where you can see, hear and feel Lake Michigan in the distance.

Our pilgrimage to what we call "The Blowdown."

Cool wood grain against a sassafras leaf.

Csaba beat us to Nordhouse Lake when we stopped to see if he would come back for us on his rush down the trail - he didn't. Apparently, he found himself confronting some backpackers and decided that the world is a big place and he'd better low-tail his kangaroo ass back to find Mom and Pops. We were pissed for about one second total when he returned. Little Big Man learned a big boy lesson, and after that decided for the rest of the day that it was a good idea to stop every ten feet or so to check to see if we were there!

I know they're destined for harvest someday, but their symmetry is oddly peaceful.

^A cathedral.

The roar of Lake Michigan is always in the background and the dunes are never far away.

^ The tannin-brown water of Cooper's Creek.

Pretty damn cool.

My Manistee Masterpiece. I've linked up forest gravel, two track and some small pieces of singletrack to create a nearly 20 mile loop that is, to borrow another trail's name, Just Outstanding. I don't know if anyone else would feel that way about it, but that is entirely their problem.

^We saw a panther stalking us from the dune grass. He had nasty puppy teeth and used them on us every morning.

I like the thought of the thousands of creeks perpetually emptying into the lake.

^The outlet of Potter's Creek. The Csabs and Super Duper were having a grand time - after Csabs decided that the water was safe (he had a rough time with a crashing wave a couple of weeks back and was a little less bold than usual).

The beach. I can't say it was Superior's Witch of November, but Lake Michigan's Winds of October are like a scrub brush for the soul.

Labatt Blue bottle caps provided a measure of safety to the nether regions. No reason to snag anything important.

Karen didn't like this intrusion on our paradise, but I thought it was ingenious and well-hidden. And, may I say from experience, quite comfortable.

The aspen and oaks leaves were the last to fall. I never realized how many aspen trees there are in the forest. Their leaves take on a variety of amazing colors, from dark purple black to high lumen yellow.

We endured a bit of cold rain the first day but the effects were worth it.

^We both agreed that the tent thing was gonna be too much of a hassle, and we had slept the previous weekend in the Element comfortably, so Element camping it was!! We left Hazaroosky in the kennel, and Supe and Csaba didn't seem to mind cozying up to our sleeping bags when things a got a bit chilly in the middle of the night.

So we get to the primitive campsite we like to call "Whip Poor Will Hill" and found it amazing as usual. The browns of the ferns made everything glow sherbert neon. (I mean "sherbet", of course)