Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Forbidden Fruit...

Today was back to the Pits and I ran into Andy early on scoping this one section where some trees have been randomly cut down. Not 5 minutes after my arrival, a tractor came rolling into the woods from the golf course and we dipped out. Still clueless as to why they are back there. Anyway, we rode some new loops and decided to cross the road and taste the forbidden fruit of some old stuff where construction of the ICC is in full swing. Rolled right in like we owned the joint. Blackberries were hittin' and we ate many. Then we cleared some new sections including one in the pine barrens. A good day for sure. After Andy saw how well the Pug handled the sand back there he became borderline obsessed. Discussion of 2-wheel drive insued and it looks like this could be next progression for the wasteland warrior. I returned home 8 hours later. Didnt get much done today, but had another great day in the wasteland...

Pits boss...



Why am I even posting this...



Out in the open...



Another relic...



The Pine Barrens...



This will be fun at night...



Bet you wish you were on the Pugsley right now...



ICC ball-up. We greeted one of the workers who said "How do like these trails we are building you?" Personally, I liked them better before...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

More Images from the Wasteland...

Early morning in the Pits brought some new sights seen and fresh loops explored. My weapon of choice in a fern grove along some fresh trail...



Things left behind...



Not quite a full pull...



Lodging available...



Wildlife abounds...



Refreshment stand...



Invasive species are creeping in...



Another pits pond...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Another Patapsco Tour

Another sunday, another tour around Patapsco. En route, I snapped this pic of what used to be the largest section of the Pits, which once housed the 2nd gen dual slalom course and miles of single and double track...



There were several groups heading out, so I figured I would see who I could drum up to head out towards Mckeldin. The plan was to meet Don and his crew, who would be riding Avalon, meeting at CCBC at 8, then heading out to meet up with Steve who would be riding towards Mckeldin, departing from Hilltop road at 8:30. It seemed everyone canceled due to the prior night's rain in Don's group, with the exception of Jason, who had planned to stay in Avalon due to time constraints, and Poz walked up with the dogs and showed off his knee stitches telling us of others who bailed out. At Hilltop we picked up Steve, Art, and Ed and began our journey. This was another picture takin' ride as the pace would dictate. We found the little single track by the farm area which was nice to finally ride. Nothing special, but good to know its there.

Here a rider passes the old car on the way to the dam...



Ed had a leaky tubeless tire so he put a tube in it at the dam and in the process, a brake pad fell out. How many guys does it take to install brake pads?



Under route 40 and down the slow single track, we passed this guy and several of his friends...



Once you pass under interstate 70, there is a huge fern grove which is now beginning to turn brown. Don keeps an eye out for snipers in the bush...



Along the way, Art got a flat while the rest of talked camera gear and techniques for shooting. A less than choice picture while giving advice. Go figure...




Ed crosses to Mckeldin..



Ed bailed at Mckeldin informing us that he has heart issues and needs a pacemaker. If i had known the severity, I probably wouldnt have dont this ride with him. Kind of puts the group in a position of responsibility in the event it gives out. Whatevs, it didnt happen and I enjoyed his company. In an effort to foil doing this ride as a complete out and back, I got us lost. Don pushes on...



Art entered the slum zone once we got lost, but pushed through that and the cramps, finishing in fine style, however not before taking a digger trying to eat a Gu on the move...





Art ridin' the rails...



Monday was back to Schaffer, but I rode "Old Schaff" for a change since I have been hearing so much about the corn out there. I wanted to see what all the hype was about and to my suprise, it was kinda cool. The single track on the yellow loop goes right through the middle of 2 corn fields, where the corn was over head high. I waited for an hour or so to try and capture a pic of someone riding through it, but to no avail. Here are some pictures of corn...








Everyone loves butterflies...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Back to the Wasteland

Stayed pretty local this past week as I had planned on a shorter ride Sunday with a buddy which never panned out so I spent an hour or so at a local jumping spot. Nothing big, but 4 sets in a row to brush the cobwebs off on my Van Dessel 29er dirt jumping special. Also got in a dawn tour of the monuments and such around town, which are pretty cool on Sunday mornings with the city to yourself. At dusk, I took the Pugsley out on a ride down the railroad tracks by my house.

Tuesday night rides are getting fired off again and Bob and myself got a lap in at sunset around Fairland and the Pits, burning in some new single track that has been cut in the Pits. On our way back, we ran into some hood folk walking in the Pits with a dog and rifle which was a bit unnerving. Loops out there are much shorter than in the winter as the controversial ICC project is in full swing. We got back to the lot and to meet some others but the things got squirrly so BOb, Will and myself headed out for lap 2. on our way back we ran into Andy who was out looking for us so we rode a bit more. We got to a four way and Bob was pressed to get back however Andy didnt appear to be in any hurry. We rode out and Bob grew irritated, but second guessed his instinct and followed us as we bushwhacked for a minute and hooked into a legacy trail. Bob rode off without us and Andy highsided while crossing an angled log, falling about 10 feet, before getting caught up in a net of briers, inches from the creek. He needed help getting up but not after a few pics. Apparently, Bob worked himself into a frenzy and somehow ended up at the furthest point in the park and riding the road back. We caught up with him by riding the dirt out. Will Andy and I talked in the lot for a bit, before Andy and I made our way to Barnsides diner. Home at 2AM.

Next morning was out to Schaffer, Hoyles Mill, Connector, and Black Hill to spin out the legs. stopped off to check out the scenery at the lake before heading back. A few photos to wet your whistle...

Ridin' the rails...



Makin' tracks...



Sunset in the wasteland...



Will eyes up the pug...



Bob on a roll...



Dramatics...



Yeah, there's a guy in there somewhere...



What was once woods and trails...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I Been Slack

Havent posted in a while. but that doesnt mean I havent been getting out in the sun for some fun, so i will take this opportunity to recap the last week of adventures and possible post an image or two. Last night, was my first trip out to Fairland and the Pits since winter and the ICC construction project got under way. Andy, Bob, Nate, Jom and myself departed at dusk and kept a pretty fast pace. It was good to be back out there and Andy played the role of a good host, showing us some new trail and has obviously been hard at work doing some clearing of old stuff. The Pits loop is much shorter due to construction and police patrolling, but that doesnt mean there is not some fun to be had. The pugs proved to be a very worthy pits bike, floating nicely through the sandy and muddy bits, but I am definately going to have to invest in a better light as I sketched out on the regs due to me out running my light. A shorter loop than I had hoped, but folks were on a tight leash and had to roll out. It would be nice if we could make this a regular tuesday night thing.

Sunday was back out to the G-dub, starting by climbing the Signal nob single track track to Maneka peak, before dropping down Bear Wallow aka 31 Flavors, then crossing the valley and climbing Sherman Gap to the ridge then dropping down Shawl Gap. Pat, Tony, Andy, Ann and Tim were in attendance and Tony and Andy headede up the climb first as they were on single speeds. I was with them for a while, but dropped back to play on some of the tricky sections and snap some photos along the way. Tons of hikers were out there and several groups passed us and were surprised to see us on bikes. Flat #1 for the pugs on the climb up Signal. Ann took several gnarly crashes, but shes tough and just shook them off. Rumor is, Tim took a bad one too, but I was elsewhere at the time. Bear Wallow is a fun descent with a bit of everything to satisfy all. One flat for Tim and 2 for Tony here. Lunch and water refill in the valley before heading up Sherman. It started off fairly mellow, but as you climbed further, it got steeper and rockier. Flat #2 for the pugs on the climb, but it was mostly hike a bike so I hoofed it to the ridge and patched up there. Not 5 minutes into the ridge ride flat #3 which took all the wind out of my sails. Three holes in the tube and I just bummed one off time as there werent enough patches to go around. The ridge was over grown with thickets and poison ivy that we had to walk through as it covered the trail in spots. I pumped up the tires hard and suffered on the descent. I was able to clean all of the stair sections, which was cool, but I hated the rest of it. At the bottom we all scrubbed off in the stream, which seems to have saved me from reaction to the poison ivy. Wasnt feeling super inspired, but I got a couple shots to share.

Tim working his way through the climb...



A tricky section gets even trickier when everything is out of focus...



Pat assesses the damage done by briers on the ridge...



Last monday, I headed out to Shennendoah National Park to hike with Raeray. We decided on Whiteoak Canyon Falls which is a steep up along waterfalls, then we hiked across the Whiteoak Fireroad and down Cedar Run Trail. A good day out for sure, other than those awful sandwiches we bought from Wawa. We saw 3 baby water sankes along the trail. Never noticed the youger ones have a gold band around their necks.

Having fun on the falls...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tour de 'Burg: Massenutten Time Trial

This was my first trip to check out the Tour, but there were many familiar faces from SDS and other trips to Harrisonburg. I missed out on the Hoo Ha earlier this year, so I wasnt familiar with the riding on Massenutten's western slope. Much work has been done creating a base by moving large rocks as well as laying rock to form large berms. I checked it all out during a practice lap. Climbing was out of the saddle on the single speed 90% of the time until you reached the ridge where I got to spin along the access road for a few before dipping back into the woods and riding along the rocky ridge for 5 minutes or so. Then you drop into the sweetest descent I have ridden on the east coast. It starts off with tight berms that you can really jam into, which then leads into really fast, buff single track, which twists through trees and over rollers and compressions for around 10 minutes; with the occasional rocky compression to keep you on your toes; before you dump out on an old double track and then a gravel straight away which leads you back to the start. Somewhere along the way, I lost my multi tool, which got me to thinking about the next stage: 50 some odd miles along the SMT.

I chose to bury the saddle in preparation for the downhill. This would give a disadvantage during some of the easier climbing, but I figured I would make it up on the descent. I got off to a good start, and reeled in a rider early on, but as the climb got steeper, I heard a "ping" come from my rear wheel and then "rub, rub, rub." I was being reeled in as well and I checked my rear wheel and found a spoke had broken, making my wheel out of true and rub the stay. Aggravating. I decided to push on. I came to a tough section of the climb riddled with rocks and roots where it was tempting to get off and run, but there was a cheering section there so I kept it together a rode on through. I stepped off on each of the uphill berms to conserve a bit of energy and arm strength. I reeled in another rider here. Rain began to fall and my grips were getting wet and slippery so during one of my dismounts, i reached down and got a handful of dirt and sand to rub in to give me some grip once again. I flowed the rocky ridge pretty well, dabbing once at one of the tight notches toward the end of the technical stuff, then it was on. The lower seat allowed me to really move around on the bike and let it move freely and independently below. About halfway through this section, I passed two riders who looked to be fixing a flat. I was in the groove and kept it moving pumping and wheelieing through the compressions. Another cheering section was at the gravel road, just before the final run out of the woods so I got my sprint on to the finish. At the bottom I was chatting with some guys who asked if I had seen someone stopped. Come to find out, a rider had crashed somewhere along the descent, breaking both bones in his arm and removing all of the skin below his nose and mouth. Word is you could see the muscles moving as he tried to talk. How'd I do? Who cares. It was another funday of riding down in the 'Burg.

Dinner and bevs were on Carp' at the Little Grill Collective, a cool little hippie joint, with cute hippie chicks, where everyone fellowshipped and the jerseys were handed out for the leaders. Carp' also announced that there would be a 1 minute bonus for best haircut so everyone headed over to Carps house for the insuing haircut party. Ill let the pictures do the talking... (photos coming soon...)

I decided it best to pack it in, as the next day would be around 6 hours on the bike, and I had some stuff to do for work, not to mention I would be riding without a tool. If you get a chance, check it out next year. For the price, it definbately is cheeper than living. My best to Rueben on a speedy recovery.