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


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.