"Here eat this..." With that, I devoured the mashed up marshmallow and peanut butter sandwich that Mark had pulled out of his Camelbak. It was, to the best of my recollection, the only time that I have ever truly "bonked." Halfway up a seemingly endless fire road on a mountain near State College, Pennsylvania I got off of my bike and laid down. No mas! I had nothing left and I needed something to eat...now. In those early years of what would become our "big rides" I really didn't have much of an idea of how to properly eat before a ride and what to pack for the ride. Hence...there I was lying wasted on a dusty fire road eating my friend's peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich!
Over the years I perfected my morning pre-ride meals...trying everything from pancakes to strawberry Pop Tarts. I've landed on scrambled eggs and a bowl of Cheerios with an apple, a banana, and black coffee. For the actual ride, I've learned (after trying Power Bars, Cliff Bars, and so many other things) that simply packing plenty of almonds, beef jerky, and water will sustain me for a long time...even while hiking for hours in the 115 degree Arizona heat! Each one of us is unique in what we pack for a ride...Timmy wouldn't be Timmy without his gummy snacks...Kevin always had his sandwiches...Bill introduced me to Nature Valley bars...Kristian carries bacon jerky ...and thankfully, on that one day, Mark had a peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich stashed away in his pack.
|Mikey and Kevin feasting on beef jerky and Nature Valley bars while taking a break on American Standard Trail -- 2008|
|Kristian and Glenn pausing to eat while riding the Allegrippis Trails near Raystown Lake -- August 2, 2016|
|Kevin eating his brown bag lunch at the base of Telephone Trail in Rothrock State Forest -- 2008|
|Bacon Jerky...Kristian's snack of choice. Michaux State Forest -- October 30, 2016|
|Matt and Glenn filling up in Michaux State Forest -- July 26, 2016|
Like bears in the woods, we've searched and found sustenance, too. I've reluctantly filled my water bottles with garden hose water from random cabins we've stumbled across...praying that I wouldn't be accused of trespassing or stealing..and that I wouldn't get horribly sick! On hot mid-summer days there's nothing like taking a break in a ride to go scavenging for the wild blueberries that can be found near the trails in the mountains of central Pennsylvania.
|Mikey and Mark eating wild blue berries in Raymond B. Winter State Park -- July 13, 2011|
Sustenance; however, is always more than plentiful on our camping trips or time spent at Mark's cabin in State College. At best, we come away from those trips "calorie neutral!" If Mark is along with us he takes charge of preparing food for the entire group. From venison steak in West Virginia to bratwurst in North Carolina...it's outdoor cooking at it's finest! Enough to fully satisfy a hungry group of friends after a long day of mountain biking. And, sometimes...like bears venturing out of the woods and into backyards of housing developments searching for food...we stumble across amazing places to eat in the local communities near our campgrounds...finding plenty of sustenance all around us.
|Bill, Mikey, Dave, & Glenn waiting for Mark to finish preparing dinner on our first camping/mountain biking trip together. This dinner was most remembered for the tame deer residing in the campgrounds watching us eat venison for dinner! Blackwater Falls, West Virginia -- June 2007|
|Mark preparing dinner in Raymond B Winter State Park -- July 13, 2011|
|Mark and Dave enjoying dinner and a camp fire at Mark's cabin near State College, Pennsylvania -- June 28, 2014|
|Finally a skillet worthy of Mark's skills! -- April 19, 2014|
|Bill and I stumbled upon an all-you-can-eat buckwheat dinner in Ohiopyle, Pennyslvania. Just what we needed after a day of mountain biking the Sugarloaf Trails in Ohiopyle State Park -- April 2009|
|Sometimes food is the reward for the ride! All of Butch Ulrich's adventure races had plenty of catered eats at the end of each event. I happily ate up the post-race food after the 2010 French Creek Fling in French Creek State Park -- October 10, 2010|
For me, all trails DO lead to ice cream...but sustenance can be found in a lot of places and forms along the way. Yep...even in the form of a smashed up peanut butter & marshmallow sandwich. Yum.
Life is a journey...not a destination.
David A. Raymond -- November 27, 2016
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For trail maps, directions to trail heads, favorite ice cream shops, & all of our ride pics...be sure to check out the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website.