Thursday, February 19, 2009

"Punk'd" Agin...

I guess its been exactly a year since I returned, as I attended the SSPBE last year on my first weekend back in town. I didnt know what I was in for and was somewhat disappointed to find out it was a race. However, this is a race in the loosest sense of the word which makes it pretty cool. Heckling is encouraged as well as drunkeness (keg included)if thats your thing, so I figured I would attend again this year to do some riding, heckling, and maybe get a picture or 2, as my racing years are long behind me. The event took place in the Fredrick Watershed and there was a fresh dusting of snow in the mountains. I showed up on my '88 Specialized donning a Briko hairnet and specs, ready to do business.

The event kicked off with a le mans start which led to a short climb up to fire road. I got balled up early trying to pimp someone in the first turn and got stuck in traffic having to take some creative lines to pass.


(Jay D. photo)

From there we went to the towers and dropped down and climbed to Lawnmower Man and decended. A nice long stage where some creative line choice on the descent paid off by passing 4 peeps. On the short climb to Lawnmower Man, another creative line, this time through the trees allowed me to pick up 2 more spots. Things went downhill from there as I sketched out several times and once again fell back back to fill the pack.

Stage 3 dropped down to blue and I was off to a good start, balling up some of the fast guys which had been my plan all along. Here I do battle with fast guy and overall winner Jeff Schalk...


(Ricky D. photo)

Stage 4 was another le mans start, however this time bikes were hung in trees or piled them on top of one another. This didnt slow anyone down as folks just grabbed the easiest bike to get off on. I ended up on fixed gear contraption which made things interesting seeing as my shoes werent compatable with the pedals. It was no surprize to see my bike was one of the last chosen. The madness begins...


(photo by I)

Things got hazy at this point as I resorted to taking pictures, none of which are very interesting. The halfway point was at the top of the old freeride stuff and I sat by the fire and had lunch while other congregated by the keg. Here I have fun on what is still one of my favorite trails out there...


(Jay D. photo)


From there we did a group ride down Upper Canaan to Lower Canaan where a technical challenge was set up. 10 points to clear it, zero if you dab. Here a rider circles the drain...


(Jay D. photo)

Here are your overall winners for points and cutest couple. I have this picture in a heart shaped frame on my nightstand.


(Joe W. photo)

Snow Day Fun + Photo Dump

It has been a while since I have checked in around here, but that doesnt mean I havent been riding. I figured I would take this opportunity to post up about a great day of riding (actually, anyday spent on the bike is pretty good in my book) while it is still fresh in my head. I spent much of monday piecing together my new ride which happens to be this fine example of an '88 Rockhopper Comp.





Tuesday brought snow and offers to ride from 3 different groups throughout the day, and with the day off, I figured what the hay, I will just ride with all 3. I arrived at Patapsco State Park at 12:30 to find no sign of group #1, so I rode solo for about an hour before heading back to the car for a gearing change and some food. 4:30pm and no sign of group #2. I finally rolled out solo again (apparently there was some cornfusion about the meeting place) and this put in 3 hours with the wheels turning which landed me back at the car at 7:35, leaving me exactly 25 minutes to hightail it over to Fairland for ride #3. Of course I am pretty nackered by now, but there was Andy and Will all geared up and ready to roll. A loop through Fairland and The Pits lands us back at the car at 11pm, homeward bound for rest and nourishment.

the mud tires hooked up great all day...






the view from the cockpit...







Andy and Will along the power lines in The Pits...




Will on the move...


...with Andy in pursuit...



over I-95...


dropping back into the pits...


Andy rolls across one of the many large, frozen puddles, hidden under a layer of snow, which claimed many a victim that night in The Pits...




under I-95...


check the cable dingle...



I will also take this opportunity to dump some other images taken from recent rides.

Dont let this big tree skinny fool you. Poz can drop the hammer and hang with the best opf them. Note the concentration and take into consideration he is squeezing by a smaller tree and there is some idiot in his face taking pictures...





A couple weekes back, a group of us had planned to do 6+ hours in Gambrill and the Shed, but mother nature had other plans. Freezing rain made going slow and interesting to say the least. 3 of us did put in 5 hours in the heinous conditions. The crunching was loud under foot and the movement of frozen foliage was like jingle bells. Roger ducks under some weighed down foliage...



climbing steady...


Rewind another couple weeks takes us back to Michox in Pa. Some snow on the ground and ice on trees made things both beautiful and exciting. We ran into some locals who showed us some of the gems Michox has to offer.






a frosty spider web...



Rewind yet another month takes us to Elizabeth's Furnace in the GW forest. Most of the pics were crummy (camera settings off) and I had a difficult time capturing just how technical the riding on the ridge is. I must also admit, I was getting in the zone and to get off the bike to capture the moment would be to lose the moment altogether. Regroup atop one of the steep climbs...



this is the second time someone has broken out with this endangered species mid-ride...



Will in a steep, rocky chute, which appears nearly flat in this photo. The tricks you can do with cameras today...

Election Day Coverage...

As some of you may know, the place I call home is Washington, D.C., the city sometimes referred to as the "most powerful city in the world." For the past several weeks the city has been buzzing w/ political discussion and debate as to who is going to be "the next leader of the free world," and for those who know me, know I tend to avoid such controversy and keep my opinions to myself. As I sat at my desk on this mild, grey election day, I noticed much activity in my email box; talk of a night ride going down. The forecast looked grim, and I had my doubts as to whether this ride would ever get off the ground, and by the time I left work it had been drizzling for a solid hour. At home I checked my mail once again and everyone seemed to be pumped on getting out on the bike. Bob scooped me with barely enough time to shovel some food in my mouth and we headed out to Fairland where the dirt is tacky but the roots are wet with many hidden under a blanket of yellow leaves. Then we made our way into the Laurel Pits, which is where I really caught the MTB bug back in the mid '90s. There has been a lot of development back there in recent years, but Andy was still able to put together a good loop, my first time back there in at least 8 years. Five of us headed out, all using different lighting configurations. Everything from Planet Bike Beemers to the exotic Topeak Moonshine were tested and compared. One rider aquired the name "tea light," as his light was more of just a way for us to find him in the woods. I arrived home after our ride to find our country would have a new leader. When I awoke the next morning and left for work, I thought for some reason things would be different; that I might see people move a little slower, be a bit more courteous, and have a new vision of hope now that the election chaos had passed, but then I realized this was only true for me as I headed back to work, still smiling from the previous night's adventures.

Bear with me as this is the first time attempting to take pics at night...

A rider under the high tension wires...



Chuck aka "Tea light" on the move...


Andy in the tunnel...




Chuck under I 95...



Two riders climbing along the interstate...

A Fine Fredrick Fall...

It has been 5 years since I have experienced an east coast fall and I had obviously forgotten how fantastic they can be.This past week, I magically got 3 days off from work so needless to say it has been a heavy week of riding in wonderful weather. Today was just the icing on the cake, so we will start there and work our way back. I sent out an email on Thursday saying I would be out riding The Shed and got a couple of responces from the regular crew. I expected 4 or 5 guys to do nice casual ride, but 15 showed up and the pace was brutal from the time we entered the woods. We started at Hamburg Road, hit a little freeridey diversion to the blue trail, where we then made our way out to Salamander which we rode in its entirety before doubling back to hit Iceburg and topping it all off with Supersweet. Ride time was right around 4 hours. Distance means nothing when the riding gets slow and technical.

A foggy morning view from the overlook...


Where the fun begins...




Ben making his way up the easy part of a tecnical lttle grunt...


The mid-atlantic is known for being technical and rocky and the Iceburg trail does a good job of showcasing this with sharp rocks thrusting themselves 8-10 inches out of the ground. There is some fantastic work done on this trail with large rocks moved to form shelves and such in sections. This trail is a full body workout and can be frustrating if you dont keep on your toes. You either love it or hate it. Today the Iceburg claimed its usual victims of both man and machine.

Patrick parts a sea of stone and stranded riders on the infamous Iceburg trail...



Chad rides down a slab atop the 'burg...




Ben at the same spot...



At the end of Iceburg we stopped to regroup and gas up before heading over to Supersweet. Today, it wasnt my choice in fashion that everyone poked fun of, but my choice in refreshments. Cookie dough and chocolate milk kept enough juice in the tank to get me through the day. I put the camera away and tried to keep pace as we made our way down Supersweet and eventually back to the car. Along the way, I ran into a rider from my freeriding days and we were talking about old faces and the name John came up who I hadnt seen in at least 5 years. Upon my arrival at the lot there was John, getting ready to head out with Woody, another familiar face so I tagged along for another couple hours and hit some of the old school freeride stuff for old time sake.

Woody turnbars a man made stunt...



See you next time...



Last Sunday, Ted and Pottsie invited Bob and I to come out to Waynesboro, Pa and ride in Michoux for the day. We met Steve and Teresa in the lot and we began our climb. I was just along for the ride as I had no clue where we going but it was a fantastic day for sure.

Climbing in the colors...


Red, green and gold...


After locating Pottsie, we decend...



Tuesday was a night ride I saw posted on MTBR by a fellow named Ed, who had also spent a period of time on the west coast and come to find out, we had some riding buddies in common. We rode at Patapsco with about 6 others and it was a blast. First night ride I had done in several years. As things got a bit dark, it was time to decend to the dam. I went to activate my poor excuse for a riding light and the top popped spitting 2 AA batteries out in the leaves. I found the top and one battery but after several minutes of looking for the other, I called off the search and we began the sketchy decent. i sucked Ed's wheel as to be as close to the light as possible and made it down without incident. The climb back up the other side I tried the same technique, but the rider in front of me dabbed and now I was riding more or less by feel. Another riders freehub body took a dump which brought back memories of a ride in Tahoe where the same thing happened 22 miles from the car and left me hitching my way out. Met some great folks and talented riders. Bummed I left the camera at home.

Wednesday Fredders starting in Gambill and heading out to The Shed via the yellow trail before hooking into blue and riding Iceburg which Andy wanted to check out. He hated it. A couple flats slowed things down a bit, Bob burned through his food and water as I patched leaving us out until dusk. We took the road back and it started to get chilly, but so long as Bob was more miserable than I, all would be well.

Bob and Andy on the Gambrill side...

Some colors in Gambrill...



A leaf in the water...



Things get tight on Salamander...





Andy makes his way through some fine trail work on Iceburg...


Thursday was back out for another night ride with Ed and the gang on my new jalopy SS with camera in hand. About 20 minutes in slipping bars would lead to broken stem and the end of my ride. I said so long and began my hike back to the car.

I found this Specialized Rockcombo in the trash, put a seat my Machine tech stem, Ringle cages and Regal saddle on it and stripped the gears and such...

Here is a photo I found from 20 years ago on my first mountain bike, a Specialized Hardrock comp, in Boone Co, Ky. As you can see, not much has changed since then...