Sunday, January 24, 2010

Michoux Madness

Im feeling pretty nackered as I didnt get a minute of sleep last night before heading out to meet the gang in Waynesboro, Pa to do some riding in Michoux Sate Forest, so please forgive me if I ramble. 14 of showed up today to ride on the lovely , cold and misty morning. On the first climb, Poz declared it an official snow ride as both wheels rolled through a small patch of the white stuff. We got turned around at some point, and ended up on a different ridge so we spend a good deal of time trying find our way back to familiar ground and ended up taking the road around so we could ride Mackey's, a slow techy ridge trail that offered up numerous spots to play on the rocks. There were a couple of mechanicals including a der hanger that was torn off by a renegade stick and my rear tire's Columbian necktie style sidewall tear after dropping onto a leafy surprise, finding a sharp rock beneath. It was good to spend some quality time in the woods with some familiar faces I hadnt seen in a while as well as a couple of new ones.

Tony on the coals...


A heavily load Poz pushes past a ghostly tree...


Good to ride with Ted again...


A blurred Jimmy T keeps the feet dry...


Focused...


Proof that it was indeed a snow ride...


Don makes it look pretty...


Potts puffer...


Poz was testing out a prototype tire design here, similar to a small block 8, but with soft, green elevated knobs in between...


Tony was killin' it...


Regroup...


This price of this picture? One Bontrager tire, 2 tire boots and dollar bills...


Poz off the same drop...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Winter Canal Trip

Day 1:

I awoke at 3AM sunday morning, loaded the car, and headed for Cumerland, Maryland and C&O Canal's terminous. I began my trek while the deepest blues still hung on the horizon, with a mix of hiking and biking through 6"+ of crusty whiteness. Five miles in, I got my one and only flat tire; the result of two old thorns and frozen tire slime. With high tempsin the teens, my bare hand burnedas it contacted the metal surfaces. After patching the tube, I made slow progress, but as I entered Old Town, the deep freeze left the canal with ice up to 8" thick which made for easier riding. I spoke to a couple locals who were ice skating on the canal that pointed me in the direction of the School House Cafe for a hot meal. The cold weather hike-a-biking was a constant reminder of my once broken hip and the metal that still lay deep within, as a dull pain nagged for much of the day. I pushed on and set up camp just south of the Paw Paw Tunnel as the sun set over distant hills. A measly 30 miles for the day. Overnight temps hovered right around zero, as I was lolled off to sleep by the constant crunching of crispy fringed floes, floating slowly toward Washington, DC, which still lay some 150 miles downstream.



Click to enlarge...


A frosted forest...


Keeping the core temp up...


Some were here before me...


Point of lift off...





Self portrait...


Fresh tracks on the frozen canal...


The sun dips low on the far side of the Paw Paw Tunnel...


Ice formations...


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Long shadows...


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Day 2:

I was slow to rise but eventually rolled out of the sack just as the sun rose over the river. The tea I had prepared before bed stayed warm in the thermos I stowed in my sleeping bag, so I sipped a bit and made my way to Little Orleans on an empty stomach and took an executive lunch at Bill's Place, a bar/ store which lies on the site of an old canal warehouse, which is owned and operated by an 86 year year old local and history buff. I chatted with Bill for a while over the T-one, taters and coffee before getting back in the saddle, headed for Hancock, where one of the good locals there put me up for the night.

Sunrise from camp 1...


Derelict tressel...


Worth the trip...



An old lock house...



Day 3:

I found it difficult to pull myself out of the warmth and comfort of a bed to head back into the cold, so i got started a little late, but there was much less snow on the tow path below Hancock. I saw a couple of guys ice fishing near Big Pool before stopping for another long lunch at the Desert Rose Cafe in Williamsport. I enjoyed the warmth, conversation and pulled pork sandwiches before moving along. I topped off my tea in Shephardstown, West Virginia at sunset, passed Anteitan Creek at dark, where I paused and contemplated camping. I wanted to get some more miles behind me, so i rode by braille, negotiating the chicanes at Harpers Ferry, making my way to Brunswick, where I had a burrito and camped on the banks of the Potomac just outside of town.
Behind the back...


Gettin' a little dirt action above Dam 4...





Riding by braille...



A lock just above Harpers Ferry...




Day 4:

I woke up to a gorgeous mild morning, the sun already high above the river valley. I made the quick trip to Point of Rocks where I picked up some coffee, a sandwich and 2 cans of Yoohoo. The snow cover faded considerably so I inflted the tires for less resistance, rolling them into familiar territory. as I crossed the Monocacy Aquaduct, I heard the bellowing horn of a distant freight train, and those night hanging out on the tressel visible to left came to mind. This place of water and stone has a unique way of making one remember, as well as forget. Troubles, washed away by the rumble of the rushing river, replaced by thoughts of times along these banks, on the water, andthose that shared them with me. As I make my way through more "civilized" areas on my approach to Washington, I notice the smiles and nods of approval I once encountered through less developed areas, now have turned to look of contempt, as if to say "Look at that bum, living on his bicycle." i dont let it get to me though. Something about this journey, having nothing to think worry about other than the basics: food, water, warmth and shelter keeps things in perspective. i pedaled into the Georgetown Waterfront around 3PM and stopped ofr a coffee before moving north up 14th street headed for home.

Home, sweet home...


The view from Indian Flat...



Must be cold out on the water...


Close to home...


Rollin' down "L"...



more photos... http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/album.php?aid=141718&id=784379014&ref=mf

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Deep Cold

I was awakened periodically during the night by gusts of wind dislodging dead tree branches and relocating trash cans throughout the neighborhood. When I awoke at 6am, still wind burned from the previous nights commute, I was half tempted to bury my head in the covers and attempt to re-enter my slumber, as the gusts continued to roar. I made two thermoses (thermi?) of hot tea to carry on the bike, grabbed coffee and donuts for the drive and made my way toward Frederick. I met some of the fellas at Sand Flats where my thermometer read 7 degrees at departure time. On the ridge the gusts howled at 25+ mph making for a pretty chilly ride, yet the whole crew was pretty well prepared and we all managed to stay pretty warm. 2"-4" of snow fell on New Years Eve so we were laying down fresh tracks for most of the day. There were some spills and only a couple mechanicals, including Don's front flat, Rick's froze hose (camelbak) and Don and I both experienced temperature related camera issues. The early morning sun made for spectacular sights and difficulty holding a line, as it was easy to get distracted by the surrounding beauty. Regardless of the snow and ice, we rode the usual suspects including, Skink, Iceburg, Newburg, Pit/ Viper, Ridge and Salamander with some big moves made and even bigger moves attempted but foiled by the slow and slick conditions underfoot. We ran into a fattire friend along the way toting a containing coffee he had Irished up to keep warm. We spoke briefly and were once again on our way. I was laying with some features on the camera so in addition to it freezing up, I missed several shots, as I wasnt used to the equipment yet. Anyway, enjoy...



Don on the move...





This is Iceburg...



Mr. Potts sporting some fresh pogies...



I caught Jimmy T with his hose out...



The roads were kinda hairy...