Friday, December 28, 2007

MBM has a State Champion!!!

Joel Moats recently won a PA Cyclocross State Title.
Below is his race report.

Congratulations Joel!!!!

PA State Championships/Wonderland Cyclocross---Lancaster,PA

Way before the alarm went off, I awoke realizing that today was the last race of the 2007 cyclocross season. I lay thinking of earlier races, rolling the highlights over in my head. Thinking that I hadn’t really had that race where everything came together. There were some good races, like Granogue and Wissahickon and there was a few I would rather forget---Fairhill CX. Recalling last years race at this venue in Lancaster, I began making mental laps of the course until it was time to rise and shine, and begin the Prerace Ritual.
I picked Nathan Goates up in Shippensburg and after some ice dancing , we headed to Lancaster County. I had heard from a co-worker , that Lancaster didn’t get any snow.------WRONG.--------We arrived to see the course covered with about an inch of icy slushiness with temps in the upper thirtys. I new right then the technically skilled racers would have the upper hand. As I readied my bike and body for the pain train, the early races turned the course into a brown quagmire. “Definitely going with the Mud 2’s at about 28 psi.”We yelled as Cathy Large raced to a 2nd Place Overall and Silver Medal for the PA State Championship in the B Women category.
After a pretty good warmup session on the trainer, one tall dark, half a can of Monster Energy drink, half a powerbar and a bottle of Cytomax, I made my way to the start area. I stripped off all the layers down to the skinsuit and arm warmers, the Icy-Hot finally steaming “hot” after an hour. There were no call-ups and attentively , I got a good start position amidst the 17 entries for the B Men contest.. Sitting on the top tube several minutes waiting for the official, I really wanted to get on with it. My “dangling carrot” was 2 positions to my left, we are in the front row. The plan was to try to hang with him……….
The whistle blew and off we went. I was in one too hard a gear and didn’t get the jump I normally get out of the start and ended up around 6th or so into the first turn. In which some knucklehead darn near took out my front wheel. As we got to the muddier off-camber section, I made some passes by keeping down close to the trees and hopping the log that was obviously left there on purpose.The next turn and straight were rideable but way faster to run---keep in mind this is flat ground with 4 inches of mud. Next came a rideable turn into a straight section with a set of barriers. At this point my heart rate is thru the roof and breathing is fast and furious, but I’m hanging with my carrot…….the rest of the race is a blur of numb feet, searing pain, mud, sand, and trying to stay upright…..Until I realize I’m in 4th.I passed into 3rd on a sweeping, off-camber right that led into a sharp climb into a set of barriers.After that stuck, I set sights on 2nd place(my “dangling carrot”) and started gaining on him. I’m riding the sand pit and gaining a couple seconds each time.Two laps to go and I’m within 5 seconds! Now I’m really pushing it---Michelin’s barely hanging in the turns---------I thought “Don’t’ want to go down now!” Ten seconds later-------too much rear brake and I’m on my can. The “carrot” must have seen me go down, because he has opened up an attack and added 15-20 seconds to his lead. Back on and still charging, we get the bell lap and I give it as much stick as I can --whenever I can. Once again I started to close the gap, but there was not enough turf left to catch him. I pushed on to the line were I was met with applause and the “carrot” saying, “Way to go dude, you got the State Championship.” Turns out 1st place was from Delaware and “the carrot-Chad” is from New Jersey.
That is my story of how blind pigs do find an acorn now and then.-----------Joel Moats


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Upcoming Rides

Friday, Dec. 28 - Mont Alto @ 9 a.m.

Sunday, Dec. 30 - Old Forge @ 9 a.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 1 - Caledonia @ 9 a.m. (hangovers welcome!)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Trail Work

Hey!! I think I got this thang worken. Thanks Paul. Paul and I got turtle open also.

Mont Alto Trail Update 12/24/07

I went for an early morning solo ride at Mont Alto today. Cut open some more stuff. Things are really starting to get back to normal. Also talked to Curt Finney in the parking lot and he's been doing a ton of clean up work also.

An update to the trails post below:

Four Logs - open
Lower Charcoal Hearth - open
Upper Buckets - open
Lost Creek - open
Wayne's Highway - open
Wayne's Trail - open
The Shelf - open

Also ran into Joeltrain, Paul Doty, and Bucksexy out for a ride. It was good to see Chuck back on his bike, and recovering quickly after his dreams of playing in the NBA were cut short...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Trail Update

Yes indeed, there are some big trees overturned at Mont Alto!

Well, things are shaping up in the Michaux State Forest. Most of the damage was in the drainages near water so areas like Park Trail and the Narrows were pretty rough. Still lots of work to do but here is the latest:

Caledonia
Upper Connector - open
Lower Connector - ?
Breast - totally open
Abigail - bottom open, upper section likely ok
Lollipop - ?
Camp I - ?
Camp II - ?
Camp III - ?
Camp IV - ?
Stinger - ?
Wildcat - ?
Yellow Ridge - ?
Blue Trail - ?
Secret (sssssh) - ?
Ditch - ?
Canada Hollow - ?

Mont Alto
Park Trail (top part above picnic area - open
Park Trail (bottom section) - ?
TV/Cable line to Narrows - open
Heaven or Hell - open
Middle Narrows - open (need to move cut logs)
Upper Narrows - open (one big log remains at bottom-don't remove!)
Lower Buckets - open
Lee's Rocks - open
Upper Buckets - ?
Charcoal Hearth - ?
Waynes Trail - ?
Waynes Highway - ?
Turtle - unknown, likely not open at bottom
Black Andes - open to Buckets, upper unknown
The Shelf - ?
Sawmill - ? (top part was logged before storm and is in bad shape)
Crumble - ?
Four Logs - ?
Col. Weistling - logged
Spooge - logged
Sweeper - ?
Short ripper - ?
Upper Hearth - ?
Fire Tower - ?
Curran - ?
Raccoon Run - ?
Lost Creek - ?

Old Forge
Rocky Ridge - ?, Travis Coldsmith was working there today
Larry, Moe, Curly - ?
Stick - probably pretty bad
Soggy Bottom - ?

Pine Grove Furnace
Look for an update from YBR soon.
Heading out the Narrows after a few hours of trail-clearing in the rain. Look for good things, some trails will actually be improved by the required re-routes.

Christmas Eve Day Mtb Ride @ Mont Alto


Hello and Happy Holidays.
I'll be riding at Mont Alto tommorow 12/24/07 @ 1000 am.
It's going to be a good day to ride.
See you there?

Joel Moats

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Mont Alto cleanup

Bruce Kessler, Morgan Styer, Steve Seeber and I went up to Mont Alto this morning to ride and see what kind of clean up needs to be done after last weekend's ice storm. Our hopes of ridng were quickly snuffed out. The place looks like a war zone. There are trees down everywhere, even across Staley Road.

Portions of the Park Trail need to be rerouted due to trees being uprooted. There are just large craters where the trail used to be.

Thanks to Bruce's chainsaw and our other wood cutting weapons we were able to reopen all of Lower Buckets. It took us about 3.5 hours just to get that done! It's going to take awhile to open all the trails around Mont Alto if the damage we saw today is spread throughout the area.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Chainsaw?


I attempted to ride Mont Alto today but wasn't even able to finish Parking Lot trail before throwing in the towel due to all the down trees. The Ice and wind storms from last weekend have left the place a mess. There are probably a 1/2 dozen trees blocking the first section of parking lot trail. I didn't venture up the mountain any farther so I'm not sure what it looks like up there. I think that this will call for some trail work days over the winter to clean it all up. Chainsaws would be of help if anyone has any.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Night Ride Fever

Michaux's winter Tuesday night rides have begun. Powerful lights, warm clothes, and advanced riding abilities are a must! Every Tuesday throughout the winter at 6pm - email or comment for details. To give you a rough idea - we ride up Connector, up Abigail, back Camp 2 and Camp 1 (backwards) down Lollipop in the dark during snowstorms. Great trails, great times, suit-up and come out.

There are also indoor winter training rides in Chambersburg on Tuesdays & Thursdays; and, of course, regular Sunday morning MBM rides; again, email for details.

Cheers.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sunday Ride - 12/2

Old Forge State Forest Picnic Area @ 9am

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Buck Season


PA Buck Season has begun (Nov. 26-Dec. 8) so please be careful out there !!!!!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Grave's Ridge Ride - Thanks Dale!

Here's to you Mr. Fitzsimmons!



For leading an excellent Grave's Ridge ride today! It was a big MBM ride with several other fun-loving local riders joining in. At the start of the ride we were somewhere near 18 riders! I haven't seen numbers like that in quite awhile. Must have been the warm weather that brought 'em all out (ha!).


I don't know the trails around Pine Grove to give a good "play by play" of the ride, but I can say we rode some great trails today. There was even some residual snow from the little cold snap we've been having. Ride was about 3 1/2 hours long.


Thanks again Dale for leading us all around the woods today and not losing anyone.


Sue - I can't wait to try the new Fox RP23 that Mike is buying you after the "stuck down" incident today :)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Ride Report: The not-so-secret Secret Trail

Riders: Chuck Bucksneezy, Don Pagano, Brian Kane, Dale Fitzsimmons, Jason McConnell, Dan Summers, Rick Michael, Sue Witter, Chris Bratthauar



What a day for a ride in the woods! The trails were in good, fairly dry condition after last weeks much needed rainfest. Yesterday's windy weather really helped dry out the trails.


The crew rolled out of the parking lot a little after 9 and headed out on the park trail regrouping on Staley Road. I've been contemplating picking up a singlespeed hardtail as a low maintenance bike to ride in the winter. Luckily, the climb up the cable TV line punched me in the face and reminded me once again that I'm not worthy of such a rig. Of course Pagano made me feel really bad by leading the group up this trail on his singlespeed 29er...


At the top of the trail it was an easy spin down 233 to Racoon Run trail. This gnarly, rock garden filled trail was enjoyed by all. Rick Michael showed us all up by riding an endo wheelie through one of the rock gardens and finishing with the awe-inspiring "Crouching rider, flipping bicycle" get off.


From Racoon Run we crossed 233 again and set out Secret Trail. What a great trail this is. Every time I ride it I enjoy the flowing singletrack all the way into Caledonia. Traction was excellent today and the whole group rode strongly all the way out to the theatre in Caledonia.

Chuck was feeling extra spunky and demonstrates once again how he earned the nickname "Bucksexy".





We refueled at the theater in Caledonia and decided to make it a true "out-and-back" ride. So we turned around and headed back from whence we came. All that glorious singletrack we flowed down into Caledonia was now facing the other way. Translation: lots of climbing back to Racoon Run trail.

On the way back up we ran into MBM'er Mark Shoap out for a ride in the great fall weather.

The temperature was perfect and the legs were feeling good, so the climb back out was great. No dabs and a feeling of accomplishment for me. After sitting out for the last few months with a bum wrist it feels really good to be back on the trails with the MBM'ers.



Here's Dan leading half the group on the last climb back up to 233.



We spun down 233 and turned left back into the woods at the deer fence. From there we headed up the trail toward Lee's Rocks but took a quick right turn (yes Dale, that IS your RIGHT) onto the connector trail over to the Cable TV line. We bombed down the Cable TV climb and called it a day back at the parking lot.

My watch had us at just over 3 hours ride time. A great day and a great ride.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Back on the Singletrack (sort of)

Well, it's been a while since I've been able to ride my mountain bike. Contrary to popular rumor, I did not hurt myself with improper latte drinking form. A seemingly minor incident in Gambrill a few months ago has sidelined with long lasting wrist issues. Luckily, I bought a road bike shortly before injuring my wrist and I've been able to put in quite a few miles on it over the last few months.

Yesterday I just had to test out the wrist on some tame singletrack so I talked the long, lost Brian Peretin into joining me for a mellow spin around Mont Alto.

We started about 9:30 am in the parking lot and crossed over 233 to the doubletrack that leads up behind the campus. We headed up the fire road to Lost Creek and then back down to 233. From there we spun up Snowy Mountain Road to the bottom of Crumble. Turned right and followed the singletrack down through the woods and up to the Dog House. From there it was a fun, fast descent down Wayne's Trail back to the park. All in all the wrist feels pretty good, still hurts a bit, but better than a few months ago.

The singletrack may be short-lived though, as I have an MRI coming up to determine why I am not back to 100% yet. Could surgery loom in the foreseeable future? Hopefully not.

Hope to join you all on your next ride from Mont Alto (so I can wimp out and leave early if my arm can't handle it)

Happy Trails!

P.S. Charlie Toth's big white monster car was in the Mont Alto parking lot with bike rack attached when we finished our ride. I think he is secretly planning his return to the front of the MBM singletrack pack...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Hunting


Last Saturday marked the beginning of hunting season in Pennsylvania. Since many of us hunt, and all of us value our lives - please be careful out there. It is only archery season now. Bowhunters do not have to wear blaze orange, generally are up off the ground in tree stands; and as they do not have the range and knockdown power of rifle hunters, they place an emphasis on positioning and stealth.

With that said, there are State Game lands that are designated as "hunting only" the State Forests are public lands with many shared user groups. In order to be respectful, here are some things to consider:

  • Wear bright colors and make noise (they can see you and deer don't make noise)
  • Be polite if you interact with hunters (usually in parking lots)
  • Don't ride alone
  • Night riding is really good
  • Sundays are totally open
  • Don't ride during "Buck" season (except at nite or on Sundays) - it's their week
  • Remember many hunters are also mt. bikers
  • State Parks are ok, no hunting in State Parks
  • If you see some joker set up on a trail or 100 feet off a road - wave hello
  • Saturdays are the busiest for hunters

That said, Martin and I logged close to 20 miles yesterday from Caledonia and didn't see anyone. Be careful out there.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday MBM ride from Caledonia

Great weather, perfect temperature, ideal trail conditions - enough said we had 20 miles of paradise today. He is me on my 26" wheels riding a big rock off of ridge road. The route: Thaddeus Stevens, 40 Foot Log Ride, Blue Trail, Stinger, Lollipop, Camp I, Camp II, Camp III?, fire road to the reservoir, Connector back to Caledonia State Park.
Taking a break.
Rob just chillin.

Bruce cleaning a rock garden on Camp Trail Deux:

video

Rob hurt his arm after pushing the eject button on a steep descent and landing in a pile of rock. No mechanicals and a great time was had by all.

** don't look for much more video posting from me. As you just witnessed my camera/phone/mp3 pretty much sucks for video.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

MBM Trail Work Day

Saturday, September 8th we set out to repair the Middle Narrows trail which had become all but unrideable due to two collapsed bridge structures and the usual plant growth. This section of trail is on the upcoming Teaberry race (part of the Michaux Endurance Series) which is next week.
I stopped by the DCNR office Friday and they kindly agreed to give us access to Wayne's Highway so that we could drive in rather than carry tools and supplies for over a mile. We had Martin's pickup truck lined up for the work day; however, due to a miscommunication the truck went into the shop early Saturday morning. So we loaded the bridges and tools into our VW wagon and headed out to Mont Alto.
Martin, Michele, Thomas, Henry and I met up with Larry and his son Oliver at the Mont Alto State Park. We drove up Staley and then across Wayne's to the dog house. Here we discovered that while both wagons were all-wheel drive, Larry's Subaru had tons more clearance. We transferred all the materials into and onto his wagon and then continued to the grassy field/former orchard where we unloaded and prepared to hike into the work area.
The old bridge had collapsed, creating a rather effective dam, which channeled the water onto the trail tread turning it into a gooey pit of mud.
After removing the collapsed bridge it wasn't particularly pretty - unless you are a frog. This water exists despite very little recent rainfall.So we set to work: lopping, digging, rock-picking, cutting, shoveling, raking, and finally setting the bridge into place.We then spent some time leveling it, stabilizing it, and surrounding it with stone.
We lined the trail tread with flat stones then built it back up with dirt and pea gravel.
It looks great and I can't wait to ride it. On the way out we lopped the trail open, removed downfall, loose rocks, etc. from the trail.
Oh yeah, and we fixed that other broken bridge area too.
The one that the horses smashed up and everyone has just been riding the bank. Well it was taking a pretty good hammering and wasn't going to withstand much more abuse without turning into another mud pit. So Martin and I rebuilt the old collapsed bridge from the previous site, grabbed some large stone and went after it.
It turned out really well. After about six hours of trail work we were all bushed. So it was back to the cars, down the mountain, to Cokes and pizza at Frank's in Mont Alto.
See you next time.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Strange Things Afoot in Michaux

Sunday, August 26th We rode from Big Flat at 9ish am. There were new trails to be seen and we were prepared to see them. As riders continued to trickle into the parking lot, we prepared ourselves for what would inevitably be a damp ride. We warmed up on the rocks near the parking lot:At the start we had: Larry Camp, Martin Kell, Sue Witter, Dale Fitzsimmons, Mike Steininger, Darius Mark, Dave Kegley, ?John? from Shippensburg, and Rob Mazzei (if I forgot anyone - forgive me it was a few days ago). Larry led us out of the lot on a that took us over to the powerline downhill of Birch Run Road.

Martin and I showed everyone some really strange rockwork we had found the week before. These are some really well-placed stone towers that at balancing near a fire ring and camping area. This whole area is spotless and well-cared for. The rocks are balanced on eachother in a fashion that must take hours to complete. This area is a little creepy, but very cool - Martin calls it Roswell.



We then navigated (and I mean navigated) our way over to the bottom of Wildcat and the beginning of Abbey. Several of us cleaned the new tight switchback that Tommy M. and YBR put in to alleviate the erosion of the old fall-line climb - very nice work. We then hammered down to the reservoir. My ride at the reservoir:

Rob waits for the rest to arrive.

Larry, I never have a mechanical, Camp had several mechanicals and gracefully bowed out at the reservoir - he actually had another engagement as well. We rode Breast Trail and then climbed up Birch Run road, to Milesburn Road, to Ridge Road (bypassing Lollipop). From here we took Camp Trail 1 and Camp Trail 2 which dropped us out at Forest Road which we climbed back up to the powerline and then took a new, technical descent, crossed a stream, and suffered up a red-line, granny gear climb. This climb took us back up to Roswell and we returned to the Big Flat lot by the same trail we came in on.

No Wildcat from Big Flat - a major upgrade, not to mention all the new trail.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Ride Report

Sunday August 19th
Ride Leader: Dave Wilson
Arrived at Mont Alto parking lot with a mild drizzle starting. Forecast showed rain for the entire day. The lone member of my ride group was Jason McConnell--new to MBM, having just met Sue the week before. After waiting a few minutes for stragglers (there were none), we headed up the road to begin our ride with the rain becoming more steady. The ride leader was the only one who knew the trails so we were limited in the trails at our disposal. We ascended what i know as Lower Buckets up to the gasline. The weather was really cooperating, just a slight drizzle with little effect on the trail conditions. We proceeded to cross Hearth Trail and head up the roads to descend Four Logs and what i know as Wayne's Trail--i think i may have missed a turn somewhere in this section, because we finished that pretty quickly. We then climbed Turtle and headed back out to Staley for a trip back from whenst we came--across Hearth and down Lower Buckets. It was a beautiful morning for a ride with no mechanicals and only one wreck (me, on hearth . . . but i think i'll be alright, if you're worried--thanks for being worried . . . but really, i'll be fine, and my bike is ok, too . . . ). New guy Jason was a great ride partner--be sure to meet him in the future--and Sue, i think we've got him for the Iron Cross. I'm hoping to be more regular at rides now--was a busy summer for everyone, i believe. Hope to see you all on the trails!
Dave Wilson

Monday, August 13, 2007

MBM @ LHORBA'S Picnic

Yesterday, several MBM members traveled to Blue Knob State Park 1.5 hours west of Chambersburg to join the Laurel Highlands On&Off-Road Bicycling Association at their annual ride/picnic. The event drew over 50 people and featured road and mt. bike rides for all ability levels. Riders came from all around PA including members from the Rattling Creek Singletrackers (RCST), Nittany Mountain Bikers Association (NMBA), and there were six members representing the Mountain Bikers of Michaux (MBM): Aaron Hofelt, Emory Ehrenfeld, Mike Mucker, Darius & Michele Mark, and Martin Kell. Mike is the President of LHORBA, and with much help from LHORBA member Cathy and others, they put on a first class mt. bike event.
Here is Mike explaining the mt. bike ride levels: "my ride will be a Bataan-like death march, entirely uphill with few rests, we will visit every inch of rocky singletrack in the kingdom.........at least once - any takers." Sadly, a few of us who knew better, thought he was kidding.
Thomas had heard of my recent spat of mechanical troubles and decided that he would check my chain; Henry, prefers just to yank it.
Even nicer conditions than usual - the Blue Knob trails were in great shape and very dry.
We ran into the ride that had the wiser riders and stopped for a chat.
That is Cathy in the yellow jersey and body armor.
Then rode some great, technical, rocky singletrack - uphill.
A wicked steep granny-gear climb (we would ride twice this day) deposited us in a roundabout way at a classic Blue Knob vista where we linked up with a third mt. bike group,
And took a rest,
And some more rest,
We could see quite a few windmills off in the distance.
A self-portrait overlooking the Laurel Highlands.
A fresh log got the better of many riders. We climbed back up to the ski area, and after a brief mutiny led by yours truly, agreed to head back down (which was somehow to include more climbing) and drop off a batch of weary riders. This downhill is one of the finest in PA, Rock-n-Ridge. I exceeded 33 mph on the open section, bunny-hopped the first rock garden, and hit the short climb with speed. The trail then snakes its way down the ridge with miles of fast switchbacks.
Once we were back at the Pavia Run picnic area, a bunch of us stayed to eat, swim in the pool, chat with the other riders, play with kids, etc. Many mountain bikers of tomorrow were also in attendance.
Mike lubing each link of his chain individually in preparation of climbing back up the mountain.

Epilogue: Mike took some suckers back up the mountain, under what was undoubtably a blistering climbing pace, all but two (one who was fresh) bailed halfway and returned to both their senses and the picnic area. The others returned some time later. Mike and Yoda from NMBA logged close to 5000 feet of climbing on the day-Blue Knob style.

Additional Blue Knob Mt. Biking Photos here