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Sunday, May 14, 2017

MOUNTAIN BIKING YORK


  I discovered my love and passion for mountain biking when I moved to York County, Pennsylvania in 1995.  That love and passion was born and nurtured, in no small way, by the availability of nearby parks that provided me with the opportunity to ride.  With multiple State and County Parks, providing miles and miles of trails, York has become a main destination for mountain bikers in South-Central Pennsylvania.  Here are just a few of my favorite places to mountain bike in York County!

ROCKY RIDGE PARK

Trail Rating:  INTERMEDIATE/DIFFICULT
Probably the most popular mountain biking destination in York County, Rocky Ridge (located northwest of Hellam) offers 750 acres of forest and over 12 miles of fun, technical, and challenging mountain bike riding.  This York county park features a multitude of rock gardens and super cool trails with names like Broken Arrow, Rusty Chair, and The Gut...just to name a few.  On the most challenging of the trails you can expect to climb an average of 100 feet per mile!  Oh...and don't forget the rocks.  They are endless!  If you are up for a challenge...then Rocky Ridge is the place for you!

Dave Raymond and Tim Sindlinger riding Rocky Ridge -- October 14, 2016
Riding the rocks at Rocky Ridge Park -- September 23, 2016

CODORUS STATE PARK

Trail Rating: INTERMEDIATE
Located in southwestern York County, near Hanover, Pennsylvania, the 3,500 acres of Codorus State Park have been traditionally known for boating on, and fishing in, Lake Marburg.  Recently; however, Codorus State Park has become more and more popular with mountain bikers.  With almost 15 miles of trails (which also network with XC-ski/snowmobile trails) it is possible to put together some crazy fun loops.  With minimal elevation change, you can expect a twisty and fun ride.

Riding Codorus State Park -- May 9, 2017



WILLIAM KAIN PARK

Trail Rating: INTERMEDIATE
Over 12 miles of marked trail loops around the two lakes (Lake Redman and Lake Williams) that make up William Kain Park.  These trails offer spectacular views of the lakes as well as challenging climbs, sweeping singletrack, and two tunnels that make their way underneath Interstate 83!  If you have the time to spare, you can easily spend hours looping and criss-crossing the trail system of William Kain Park.

Taking in some of the beauty of Lake Redman -- October 5, 2016

Riding the Lakes -- April 19, 2017

HERITAGE RAIL TRAIL

Trail Rating: EASY
This 21+ mile, 10 foot wide, ADA trail runs though scenic sections of southern York County.  The trail is popular with cyclists, joggers, walkers, horseback riders, and even cross country skiers.  The Heritage Rail Trail covers more than 170 acres and runs north to south connecting historic downtown York and Maryland's Northern Central Rail Trail.  While riding the trail visitors can see and experience a multitude of historic sites such as the York Colonial Complex, Howard Tunnel, and Hanover Junction Train Station.  It doesn't matter if you're riding for exercise or pleasure, alone or with your family, relaxing on a day off or commuting by bicycle to work...the Heritage Rail Trail has something for everyone!

Nothing like a lunch time ride with my buddy, Tim, on a random day off from school! -- May 9, 2017

Stopping to look at the lawn decorations near Glatfelters Station on the Heritage Rail Trail -- May 9, 2017

Tim Sindlinger and Dave Raymond on the southern side of Howard Tunnel -- May 9, 2017


Life is a journey...not a destination.


David A. Raymond -- May 14, 2017

One of my favorite post-ride ice cream stops in York is the Bobcat Creamery.  No ice cream today...I had to try the deep fried Twinkies!  They got a thumbs up! -- May 12, 2017


Here are the GARMIN maps and stats from some of my recent rides at the parks featured in this post:





Saturday, May 6, 2017

MOUNTAIN BIKING IN YOUR OWN BACK YARD

If we didn't live in York County my friends and I would probably would drive for hours on a summer day to mountain bike at Rocky Ridge County Park or the Lakes.  Actually, another riding buddy, Matt, who lives in the Harrisburg area, thinks nothing of the sometimes nearly hour long drive down Interstate 83 (depending on traffic) to ride the trails at Rocky Ridge.  Having places like the Lakes and Rocky Ridge County Park in my own back yard makes mountain biking an every day possibility.

Chris Keller, Glenn Medice, and Dave Raymond taking a break after riding up THE GUT at Rocky Ridge County Park -- April 27, 2017
The option to ride locally makes it easy for us to meet up after work, in between our kid's baseball games, and family responsibilities.  It gives us the chance to unwind, decompress, catch up with each other, ride our bikes and be home in time to maintain domestic tranquility.  Glenn and I managed to squeeze in three local rides after school within the last two weeks...two at the Lakes and one at Rocky Ridge (it feels great to be back on my bike again).  As an extra-kool bonus...Chris Keller (who is now his own boss and works a mile from my house) was able to join us.  

Chris Keller, Dave Raymond, and Glenn Medice at the Lakes -- May 2, 2017

I've never seen Lake Redman like this.  It is completely empty and drained do to the construction of a new pumping station.  Visible, in the top right, is the East Branch Codorus Creek...which, when dammed, is the main water source creating Lake Redman -- May 2, 2017

Dave Raymond riding the Lakes -- April 19, 2017

Chris Keller at the Lakes -- May 2, 2017

Glenn coming out of the south tunnel which passes under Interstate 83 -- April 19, 2017

Glenn is all smiles for this "steam crossing."  He claimed I was channeling my "inner Mark" when I made him navigate this. Mark would have been so proud -- May 2, 2017

Glenn Medice and Dave Raymond at the Lakes -- May 2, 2017
Summer's almost here and I'll once again be blessed with the gift of time. Before you know it, I'll be back in Michaux with Mark, Timmy, Kristian, Glenn, and rest of the guys...but until then I'll just keep on squeezing in local rides when I can...exploring and enjoying the miles and miles of trails right here in York County.  It's great to have the option to mountain bike in your own back yard.  After all, you never know what you might find.  Just ask Glenn...


Glenn pointing out the "elk" tracks at the Lakes.  Yes..he educates America's future. -- May 2, 2017


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- May 6, 2017

No ice cream...but the weather has been great the past two weeks.  Perfect for back yard fire pits, mountain pies, and smores with my son, Alex, and his bud Devin, as they wind down their senior year of high school -- April 28, 2017

Here are the GARMIN maps and stats from the rides featured in this post:



Do you have a favorite place to ride locally?  Love to hear about it in the comments below.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

THE SIMPLE JOY OF RIDING A BIKE

Late last week I got the news I'd been waiting (and hoping) for.  With the blessing of my surgeon and family doctor I was given permission to get back on my bicycle!  I'll admit that I've been just as nervous as I've been excited.  I was told that I could "ease back into it" by my surgeon, Dr. Salotto.  My wife, who is pretty convinced that I'm incapable of easing into anything, held her breath as I clipped in for the first time in six months.

A little pre-ride celebration!  My first ride since October...and I wouldn't have done it with anyone else!  Thanks for coming with me, Sweetheart! -- April 9, 2017

I think she was surprised when I suggested a short 3 mile ride home from the middle school where I teach after we dropped my truck off for my son.  As far as I'm concerned...that's "easing into it."  What a feeling it was getting back on my bike.  I really missed this...the sense of freedom...the wind in my face...the simple joy of riding my bike!  I made that trip from school twice this week...the second time coming when I commuted home from school on Wednesday.  


The best 5 miles of mountain biking ever!  Mark, Glenn, and I at the Lakes.  Thanks for waiting for us, Mark! -- April 11, 2017

The real test came on Tuesday when I met Mark and Glenn at the Lakes for the best 5 mile mountain bike ride I've ever taken.  Pulling into the lot near the Lake Redman dam I could feel the nervousness in my stomach.  An easy ride home from school is one thing...but a trail ride (even the easiest trail ride I could possibly imagine) is a whole different beast.  Mark, Glenn, and I took trails 4 and 2 around Lake Williams with no problem whatsoever.  


All smiles with Glenn at the Lakes...Glenn because he had a new bike and me because I'm back on my bike.  It's great to be out riding! -- April 14, 2017

2B (or not, 2B).  Yep...let's ride trail 2B at the Lakes.  Glenn Medice & Dave Raymond -- April 14, 2017

Glenn and I returned to the Lakes on Friday morning for another ride.  The pace was slow...but the ride was amazing.  We rode the same loop the we took with Mark on Tuesday and added a little more to the mix.  I was happy to be out and not in pain...and Glenn was happy to be out on his brand new carbon Epic 29er (which, he claims, will be the last bike he buys...this year!)  Ultimately, we added an extra 3 miles to the 5 mile loop we did earlier in the week.  It was a perfect morning to be out on the trails mountain biking...and, with each pedal stroke, I could feel my confidence growing and my nervousness dissipating.  


First ride on my Roubaix.  A quick 7 mile ride around Manchester, PA -- April 13, 2017

The view from my road ride up Starview Road.  Through the blossoms on the trees you can spot Three Mile Island (on the left) and PPL Power Plant (on the right). -- April 15, 2017 

My road bike managed to come down from the wall in the garage this week, too!  Again...not many miles...but who cares.  I forgot how amazing I feel, both mentally and physically, when I'm on my bike.  I made it out for two road rides.  On Thursday I managed to sneak in my first ride since October before my son's baseball game.  It was an easy 7 miles around the industrial parks near my house.  Today, I got out for an easy 10 miles...highlighted by the view of the blossoms in full bloom in the orchards overlooking Three Mile Island nuclear power plant and PPL Power Plant.
  Spring is definitely taking over south central Pennsylvania...bringing with it a sense of new beginnings.  I can't help but see the parallels.  This Spring season I can definitely feel a sense of renewal and rejuvenation.  A kind of rejuvenation that only comes from the simple joy of riding a bike.  It's great to be back!

I've been allowed to ride my bike now for a week.  I managed to turn my pedals 6 of those 7 days.  I couldn't think of a better way to end the week than to take a bike ride to the BOBCAT CREAMERY with my wife, Robin, and my son, Alex, for one of the Creamery's amazing root beer floats.  Yep...ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM! -- April 15, 2017


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- April 15, 2017


Yep...it's great to be back.  Just soaking it all in at the Lakes. -- April 14, 2017


Here's a list of GARMIN maps and stats from a few of the rides featured in this post.  I know they are short (mileage wise) but hey...I'm easing back into it!

April 11, 2017 -- Best 5 mile mountain bike ride...EVER!  With Mark & Glenn at the Lakes.

April 13, 2017 -- First post-surgery road ride on my Roubaix.

April 14, 2017 -- More mountain biking fun at the Lakes with Glenn.

April 15, 2017 -- Road ride up Starview Road to the orchards.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

I LOVE MY BIKE

"Bike Envy" isn't something that I get.  Sure...I might do a double take at the latest bikes on the floor of Gung Ho Bikes...but it's not like I ever get that "I need to have that and I need to have it now" feeling.  If you are that person (Glenn, I'm speaking to you) then March and April, when all the new bikes are on the floor of the shop, have the potential to be better than Christmas.  Last March (2016), for the first time in five years, I purchased a new mountain bike...and I love it: 29 inch wheels, hard tail, carbon fiber, and orange.  No sir...I don't think I'll be experiencing any bike envy this year. 

My 2016 Stumpjumper on it's maiden ride in Swatara State Park -- March 5, 2016

That's not to say that I haven't had my fair share of mountain bikes over the past 22+ years.  They haven't all been Specialized...but they ALL have been purchased at GUNG HO BIKES...the BEST BIKE SHOP AROUND.  Over the years, my bikes and biking gear have run the gamut from no suspension to full suspension to some suspension...bright colors to flat black and then back to bright colors...biking gear straight out of a Seattle grunge scene to spandex to baggies & t-shirts.  I've had some really great bikes, a couple that I absolutely loved, and two that I couldn't wait to rid myself of...but each has a story to tell.  Here are, in the order I owned them, the mountain bikes that have taken me on more journeys than I can count.  Enjoy...

1995 GT TIMBERLINE

My first mountain bike was a 1995 GT Timberline.  No suspension...but after a massive crash in the summer of 1996 I added the front suspension (visible in the pic on the right).  I owned the bike until I donated it to charity in 2006 -- Left: Riding now "Forbidden Four" at Rocky Ridge County Park --1995.  Right:  Riding Rocky Ridge County Park -- 1998.

2001 GT AGGRESSOR 2.0 

 2003 GARY FISHER TASSAJA

Two of my least favorite bikes.  Top:  My second mountain bike was a 2001 GT Aggressor 2.0.  It was too big and cumbersome for me (for some reason I purchased an XL frame).  I have no pics of me actually riding the bike.  I sold it to some college kid back in 2003.  Bottom: My third mountain bike was a 2003 Gary Fisher Tassaja.  I didn't hate it...but I had no love for it.  For some reasons (and my friends will have a hard time believing this) I have zero pics of this bike.  I sold it on EBAY in 2006.

2006 SPECIALIZED STUMPJUMPER COMP

One of my all time favorite bikes...and I parted with it too soon.  I bought my first Stumpjumper in July of 2006.  It was the first bike I raced with and it helped me navigate the swamps of West Virginia in June of 2007.  It had a SIMPLICITY about it that I loved and that I missed when we parted.  Pic:  Sugar Loaf Trail in Ohiopyle State Park -- 2007


2006 SPECIALIZED EPIC COMP

The only time I was talked into a bike was in the summer of 2007 (not that it was anyone's fault but mine).  I purchased a 2006 green Specialized Epic that the bike shop used as a demo bike.  It was a step up from Stumpjumper and it was the first full suspension bike I owned.  I raced that bike hard and it served me well. Left: my new 2006 Epic in the back yard.  Right: racing in the 2007 M.A.S.S. Relay Race in Marysville, Pennsylvania -- April 2007

2009 SPECIALIZED EPIC EXPERT CARBON

My 2009 carbon Epic was the first carbon bike I owned, up until that time the nicest bike I had owned, and by far the most expensive bike I have ever owned.  I can trace my love for red and black color schemes back to this bike.  I had the bike for a little more than a year....for that was the year that a s**t load of personal problems took center stage.  I parted with it in September of 2010 for far less than it was worth. Left:  Bringing home my new carbon Epic -- April 2009.  Right:  Riding the rocks in Michaux State Forest -- May 2010.

2010 SPECIALIZED STUMPJUMPER FSR

I hated this bike from the moment I brought it home.  It was a shadow of the red carbon Epic it was meant to replace, it constantly had mechanicals, and it was the last full suspension bike I would own.  I parted with my black 2010 Stumpjumper FSR in June of 2011...brighter and better days were ahead! --  Left: resting on the Cumberland/Adams County line on the "Easy Button" in Michaux State Forest.  Right:  Coming through a waterlogged tunnel at the Lakes -- May 2011.

2011 STUMPJUMPER 29er COMP

Back to the basics!  My 2011 Stumpjumper 29er brought me back to the days of hard tail simplicity.  My first 29er...and yes...I was forced to admit how much better it was than all my 26 inch wheel bikes.  I rode this mountain bike more miles, through more mud, up more fire road, and over more rocks than any other bike, to date.  I loved how it rolled, how it moved, and how it looked.  This bike gave me 5 years of mountain bike bliss...it was a bitter-sweet moment when I parted with it in April of 2016.  After five years, it was time for something new... Left:  My 2011 Stumpjumper resting on the Deadwoman's Hollow Trail sign in Michaux State Forest -- May 5, 2012.  Right:  Riding rocks in Michaux State Forest -- April 12, 2012

2016 STUMPJUMPER CARBON COMP

...and now, the new.  Well...new last year.  My 2016 Stumpjumper Carbon Comp is hanging in the garage and has patiently been waiting for my back to heal.  I was pretty nervous about parting from my 2011 Stumpy...but one ride on this bike cured me of that!  I'm completely blown away at how smooth this bike is on the trails.  No regrets and absolutely no bike envy lurking on the horizon.  Left:  My final ride on my 2016 Stumpjumper (in Michaux State Forest) prior to my second back surgery -- October 30, 2016.  Right:  Riding down through THE GUT in Rocky Ridge County Park -- October 14, 2016.

With high hopes of of getting back on my bicycle within the next month (it's been a long road) I can't help but feel grateful, hopeful, and a little humbled.  Sitting on my butt for the better part of the past year has really made me take stock of all that is good surrounding me.  I'm a pretty fortunate guy with a lot of good things all around me and a new appreciation of it all.  I love my wife...I love my family...I love my friends...and yeah, I love my bike.  I'm really looking forward to that next first ride.

Love my road bike, too!  My 2012 carbon Specialized Roubaix...super sweet ride!


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- April 2, 2017

Thou shalt not covet thy best friend's mountain bike...unless that friend leaves it in your garage overnight! Thank, Mark! -- November 2016

Do you have a favorite bike (past or present)?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

Here's a list of GARMIN maps and stats from a few of the rides featured in this post:

MARCH 5, 2016 -- Riding Swatara State Park with Mark.

OCTOBER 14, 2016 -- Riding Rocky Ridge County Park with Timmy.

OCTOBER 30, 2016 -- Riding Michaux State Forest with Mark and Kristian.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

RIDING IN STYLE

Glenn showed up to ride Michaux with Tim and I this past June with a button down short sleeve "hiking" shirt.  It was a new look for Glenn.  Gone were the bibs and super cool cycling jerseys.  He said he was going for comfort.  (Personally, I'm convinced his new mountain biking gear is doubling as his "teacher" gear!)  Let me be clear...I'm definitely not making fun of Glenn.  I have absolutely NO room to talk when it comes to mountain biking fashion (if you go back and read THOSE FIRST TRAILS you'll know exactly what I mean).  Glenn wasn't the only one who was sporting a new look last summer.  With the purchase of my "highlighter orange" Stumpjumper, I completely updated my mountain biking look and decided to move away from the red and black color scheme I'd been sporting the last few years. 

Showing off my green Brevard, NC t-shirt while riding Patapsco Valley State Park, Maryland -- October 15, 2016

Last summer marked the beginning of a new chapter for our group...so I thought, like Glenn, I'd make a fashion overhaul.  Bag to baggies (super comfy gray and black shorts that could be worn with just about anything), a new florescent green helmet, and whatever t-shirt grabbed my fancy that day.  I don't worry about matching my bike anymore....but it's still ALL ABOUT THE COLOR.  As for the rest of the guys...Kristian loves sporting the camo shorts (and, for one ride in August, a new mohawk hair style)...Mark's sleeveless cycling shirts will be all the rage with the kool kids this summer...and Timmy wins the award for "MOST CONSISTENT FASHION" with his white tank tops.


Glenn riding the Allegrippis Trails in his button down dress...uh...mountain bike shirt -- August 2, 2016

I have always been jealous of Kristain's desert camo cargo shorts! -- October 15, 2016

Taking a break in Michaux State Forest.  The most consistent of us all...Timmy and his white tank tops -- June 28, 2016
Today is Timmy's 44th birthday!  Happy birthday, bud!

Mark's fashion is all about comfort.  Whatever works, my friend! -- July 26, 2016

Mikey is the "King of Kool Cycling Shirts"...but my favorite is his "I JUST WANT TO RIDE MY EFFIN BIKE" t-shirt!

So, with winter fading away...with Timmy's recovery from shoulder surgery winding down...with my back getting stronger and stronger after my last back surgery...with Glenn now in possession of his brand new mountain bike (we ALL saw that one coming)...and with more of Mark's cycling jersey sleeves left lying on his living room floor...it won't be long before we will be back out on the trails.  We might not be riding fast...but one thing's for sure:  we'll be riding in style.


Life is a journey...not a destination.




David A. Raymond -- March 26, 2017

Oh dear, God...this summer may be interesting.

GARMIN  MAPS and other DATA from the rides I featured:

-Michaux State Forest with Timmy and Glenn (June 28, 2016)

-Michaux State Forest with Mark, Glenn, Timmy, and Matt (July 26, 2016)

-Allegrippis Trails with Glenn and Kristian (August 2, 2016)

-Patapsco Valley State Park with Kristian (October 15, 2016)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

SOUTH JULIANA STREET

I had a good childhood.  A really good childhood.  My mom (God rest her soul) stayed at home with my brother, Jake, and I.  Dad says she did a great job raising us.  Dad was a high school teacher and also worked evenings at the Gateway Restaurant in Breezewood, Pennsylvania to make sure that my mom, brother, and I had everything we needed.  He's happily retired now (and recommends retirement for everyone).

Riding my bike behind Harry's barn.  Just beyond me is the Henderson's yard.  The tall bushes belonged to Mr. and Mrs. Brown.  Love the "All Kids 12 and Under free Pirates Hat" I got at Hat Night at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh.  I still have it and it is still my hat of choice. Let's Go Bucs! -- 1980

I grew up in Bedford, Pennsylvania.  South Juliana Street to be exact.  We rented a house on the south corner of South Juliana Street from Mrs. Witt.  Harry Keller lived next door to us.  His house (which my parents would buy in the  early 1980s) was the original farmhouse in the area.  He had a barn in the back yard with a large driveway behind it.  Harry worked for Bedford  Borough and, based upon how he treated my mom and dad, was a really good man.  Going down the street...the Henderson's lived next to Harry...Mr. and Mrs. Brown lived next to the Henderson's...Mrs. Witt lived next to Mr. and Mrs. Brown...the Showalter's lived next to Mrs. Witt...the Heming's lived next to the Showalter's...the Clark's lived next to the Heming's...and the Corle family lived on the north end of the block.

Harry and Francis Keller -- 1977

David Raymond standing in front of Harry Keller's house on South Juliana Street.  The sidewalk on South Juliana Street would be the place all the neighborhood kids rode bikes on long, hot, summer days -- June 1976

Jake and I weren't the only kids on the street.  Beau and Lacey Henderson lived two doors down and Robbie Clark, Chris Corle, and Heidi Corle lived at the end of the street.  Robbie, Heidi, and I were the same age.  Rob and I played high school football together.  Two years behind us were my brother Jake and Heidi's brother Chris. Beau was one year behind Chris and Jake in school...and Lacey was two years behind Beau.  There were other kids in the area, too.  Charles and John Koontz lived near Jake and I.  Shannon Rogish lived near Robbie, Heidi, and Chris at the other end of the block.

Jacob Raymond, Beau Henderson (sporting IRON MAN Underoos), Robbie Clark, David Raymond -- Summer 1979

Jacob Raymond (yes...ROBIN Underoos), Robbie Clark, David Raymond -- 1979

Mom would allow us to sell the cucumbers she grew in the garden to people driving by on South Juliana Street.  10 cents each.  What a bargain!  Lacey Henderson, David Raymond (wearing ultra-kool AQUA-MAN Underoos), Jacob Raymond, Beau Henderson -- August 1980

Top Row:  Beau Henderson, Jacob Raymond, Sheila Rogish, Lacey Henderson, Heidi Corle, Shannon Rogish
Bottom Row:  Chris Corle, Robbie Clark, David Raymond

My first real bike was  sparkly blue and had a red banana seat.  I loved that bike. We kids would spend our summer days riding bikes "down the hill" from my parent's house to the Clark's house.  We had a Big Wheel, too!  The kind that had a side hand break...which allowed us to spin in circles as we careened down the side walk!  To this day, I still remember how uneven and bumpy the sidewalk was in front of the Showalter's and Heming's house.  We'd ride the sidewalk...our own little piece of South Juliana Street...all day long.  Over and over and over again.


My father, Dave Raymond, resting  behind Harry's barn -- Summer 1977

Thanks, to Harry, we weren't just regulated to the sidewalk.  Harry gave us permission to ride our bikes "behind the barn" on his big driveway.  Sometimes mom and dad would come back to supervise...but not always.  Hell, it was the 70s and 80s...we drank out of garden hoses, let our feet dangle from the back of pick up trucks, and used Big Wheels with side brakes...none of which killed us.  Yeah...I had a really good childhood.  Parents who loved me...friends to hang out with...neighbors who were good to us...bikes to ride...ice cream cones...push up popcycles...and a street that connected all of it together.  Growing up in Bedford was really good.  Growing up on South Juliana Street made it extra special.

David Raymond in the Henderson's back yard.  You can see part of Harry Keller's driveway on the left.  Loving my authentic YODA t-shirt -- 1981


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- March 19, 2017

David Raymond (age 3).  Riding my tricycle on South Juliana Street -- September 1976

Where did you ride as a kid?  Tell me about it in the comments...I would love to hear your story.