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Friday, December 30, 2016

BACKTRACKING -- A LOOK BACK ON 2016

It's been exactly two months since I've been on either of my bicycles.  That's quite the cycling hiatus for me.  I'll always remember 2016 as the year of my two back surgeries...the first in March and the second in November. I am, however; pretty amazed at all I've been able to do and see and experience in 2016 considering the amount of time I've been relegated to my couch the last nine months.  In between two significant recovery periods I purchased a new mountain bike, made almost a dozen trips to Michaux State Forest, hiked (and biked) some pretty amazing stuff in Arizona, made a couple trips to Patapsco Valley State Park, returned to Rattling Creek for the first time in five years, toured the Gettysburg National Military Park, hiked in the mountains of North Carolina and western Maryland with my wife, made numerous trips to Rocky Ridge County Park, and played on the Allegrippis Trail System at Raystown Lake.


One of my favorite pics of the past year...Tim and and descending into The Gut at Rocky Ridge County Park -- October 14, 2016

2016 started off on the right foot with a hike at Rocky Ridge County Park with my wife, Robin -- January 1, 2016

I borrowed my brother's old Cannondale for this desert ride in Mesa, Arizona -- June 7, 2016

What a difference a week makes!  Top:  Hiking in the Superstition Wilderness in Arizona (June 8, 2016). Bottom: Riding to the top of the Vista in Michaux State Forest with Mark Lentz (June 13, 2016)

Touring the Gettysburg National Military Park with Mike Alessandroni.  In my opinion, the best way to tour the park is on a bicycle -- August 3, 2016

Hiking Tumbling Run with my son, Alex -- June 22, 2016

Probably my favorite road ride of 2016...just pedaling around my hometown of Bedford, Pennsylvania -- July 6, 2016

Hiking High Falls & Triple Falls  in Dupont State Forest, North Carolina with Robin  -- July 21, 2016

In a year that forced me to rest and recover so much I still managed to get out an ride and enjoy the things I love...and I honestly can't remember the last time that I had so many people to enjoy these things with:  Mark Lentz, Tim Sindlinger, Kristian Hains, Glenn Medice, Mikey Nardelli, Billy Graves, Brent Shirk, Matt Linnane, and  Mike Alicea all hit the trails on their mountain bikes...Mike Alessandroni came out to  ride on the road with me...and I went on hikes with my son, Alex and my wife, Robin.  So yeah...let's look back on 2016 as the glass that was half full.  Sure, there was A LOT of recovery...but there was also a lot of fun, laughter, friendship, adventure, and love.  Here are my five favorite moments on the trails during the past year.  Enjoy!


#5:  AWESOME SAUCE! (Riding Patapsco Valley State Park with Kristian Hains) -- October 15, 2016


"FRIENDZ"  this pic says it all.  Dave Raymond & Kristian Hains -- October 15, 2016

Kristain Hains & Dave Raymond pedaling Patapsco Valley State Park -- October 15, 2016

Kristian Hains & Dave Raymond -- October 15, 2016

Dave Raymond riding in Patapsco Valley State Park -- October 15, 2016


#4:  SOMETHING NEW (Riding Swatara State Park with Mark Lentz) -- March 5, 2016


My first ride on my new 2016 Stumpjumper -- March 5, 2016

Dave Raymond & Mark Lentz in Swatara State Park -- March 5, 2016


#3:  TRAIL TALK (Riding Michaux State Forest with Mark Lentz, Tim Sindlinger, Glenn Medice, & Matt Linnane) -- July 26, 2016


Dave Raymond,  Tim Sindlinger, Matt Linnane, Glenn Medice, & Mark Lentz in Michaux State Forest -- July 26, 2016

Love this pic...Matt Linnane's introduction to Glenn Medice -- July 26, 2016


#2:  TURNING INTO SOMETHING AWESOME (Riding Rocky Ridge County Park with Tim Sindlinger, Kristian Hains, and Brent Shirk) -- September 23, 2016


An ordinary ride at Rocky Ridge turned into one of my favorite of 2016...it was the first time that this combination of guys (Tim Sindlinger, Kristian Hains, Dave Raymond, and Brent Shirk) ever rode together.  It brought up the rear of this ride and was totally mesmerized by watching the different riding styles of the three guys ahead of me.  It was super kool.  The ride was topped off with dinner at Rob Burrito's with Kristian -- September 23, 2016.


#1: GET A GRIP (Riding the Allegrippis Trails at Raystown Lake with Kristain Hains & Glenn Medice) -- August 2, 2016


Kristian Hains, Glenn Medice, & Dave Raymond on the Allegrippis Trails overlooking Raystown Lake -- August 2, 2016

Glenn coveting his friend's mountain bike -- August 2, 2016

Dave Raymond riding the Allegrippis Trails -- August 2, 2016

Top:  Kristian Hains in 2008...Bottom:  Kristian Hains in 2016.  The bottom pic was taken on the Allegrippis Trails on August 2, 2016.  Amazing.


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- December 30, 2016


Walking Back Springs Road on the ridge behind my father's house in Bedford, Pennsylvania.  This walked got me past the 1,500 total miles goal I had set for myself after my first back surgery in March.  Not bad.  As for 2017...my New Year Resolution is to have no more back surgeries and to continue to LIVE//LAUGH//LEARN//LOVE//BIKE!   Happy New Year! -- December 26, 2016

GARMIN MAPS and other DATA from the rides I featured:

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A DECADE OF MOUNTAIN BIKING MICHAUX, Pt. 5: MIRRORING LIFE 2015-2016

Something incredible happened in Michaux State Forest during 2015 and 2016.  It wasn't the amazing new trails that we found and explored...and it wasn't the revisiting of trails that we haven't ridden for many years.  These two things alone would have made the last couple of years of mountain biking in Michaux some of the best.  However, 2015 & 2016 stand out because they saw the  return of so many friends (as well as one new friend) to our riding group...and we all know that mountain biking just isn't mountain biking without friends.
Dave Raymond (and Tim Sindlinger) riding in Michaux State Forest -- May 30, 2015
Glenn, Mikey, Bill, and Kristian all returned over the past months ride with Mark, Tim, and I.  Matt Linnane began riding with us in 2015 after Tim and I made easy friends with him while crossing paths in Swatara State Park.  Together we laughed, talked, joked, and just rode.  It's greatest feeling in the world to have everyone back in the loop.  Over the past two years Mike Alicea, Chris Keller, Nate Hake, and Chip have also made their way over to Michaux.  Never have I been so blessed with so many friends to ride with.  Like I said...it's been incredible!

Mark Lentz, Kristian Hains, & Dave Raymond in Michaux State Forest -- October 30, 2016

The return of Glenn Medice!  The man has moves! -- June 28, 2016

Mikey Nardelli and Bill Grave in Michaux State Forest -- July 5, 2016

Mark Lentz, Dave Raymond, Tim Sindlinger, & Nate Hake -- August 16, 2016

Mark Lentz (and me in the back on the left) in Michaux State Forest -- October 30, 2016

Mark and Kristian chatting while riding some fire road in Michaux -- October 30, 2016

The original White Squirrel, Kristian Hains, in Michaux State Forest -- October 30, 2016

A cold first ride of the year in Michaux State Forest with Mike Alicea -- January 2, 2016

Chris Keller, Dave Raymond, Tim Sindlinger, & Chip at the end of Dynamite Shack trail -- August 23, 2016

Matt Linnane in Michaux State Forest -- August 4, 2015

The last two years of riding in Michaux have been a mixture of both the old and the new.  Tim and I spent time revisiting old favorites such as GRAVE RIDGE trail.  On our first trip back to the Big Flat area of the forest in many years, Mark and I were greeted with what seemed to be newly created trails that descended towards the Chambersburg Reservoir.  Combined with all the "new" trails that Mark and I "found" (more Mark than me) our rides have taken on a whole new life and energy that, I for one, have not experienced for quite some time.  It's been so much fun.


Tim Sindlinger & Dave Raymond after riding GRAVE RIDGE -- August 9, 2016

Tim Sindlinger taking on Grave Ridge -- August 9, 2016

Dave Raymond & Mark Lentz on our first Columbus Day exploration ride in Michaux State Forest -- October 12, 2015


 Dave Raymond & Mark Lentz on our 2nd annual Columbus Day exploration ride in Michaux State Forest -- October 10, 2016

Mark Lentz showing me the view from our new favorite vista in Michaux State Forest -- June 13, 2016

Possibly my favorite place in the world -- July 26, 2016

This newly logged area of the forest has become one of my favorite sections to ride -- June 13, 2016

Dave Raymond in Michaux State Forest -- October 30, 2016

What began back in 2006 as a Memorial Day ride with Mark and Tim has turned into something so much more to me.  Long lasting friendships have been forged here in Michaux.  Over the years, I've shared what I have learned about the forest and the trails there with my son and his friends.  I proposed to my wife in Michaux, too.  Both Robin and Alex love coming with me to hike and experience the beauty in the forest.  I cannot think of a single bad memory or experience in Michaux. That, in and of itself, is amazing.  After a decade of mountain biking in Michaux I can't help but think the forest, and my experiences there, mirror life. There's been a lot of peaks, some valleys, and a few rocky trails along the way...but the friends have been true and the ride has always been fun.  Let's keep pedalin' on.


Hiking Dead Woman's Hollow Trail with Robin -- May 12, 2013

Alex and David Raymond hiking Tumbling Run -- June 22, 2016

Life is a journey...not a destination



David A. Raymond -- December 22, 2016

A decade of mountain biking in Michaux State Forest then & now.  From top to bottom: Dave Raymond, Mark Lentz, Glenn Medice, Kristian Hains, Tim Sindlinger, Mikey Nardelli, & Bill Graves
GARMIN maps from a few of the rides featured:


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A DECADE OF MOUNTAIN BIKING MICHAUX, Pt. 4: UNCOVERING MAGIC 2013-2014

Ever since we began mountain biking Michaux State Forest in 2006 every single ride began the same way.  From the parking lot near the furnace at Pine Grove Furnace State Park we would take Benderville Road up the mountain and turn onto the ATV trails that began at the yellow gate just past the campgrounds.  The double wide trail that took us to the top of Piney Ridge forever became known to us as "the easy button"...a 500 foot climb, spread out over 3.3 miles, to the top of the ridge.  The perfect warm up for any ride.  From there we would assess our riding options.  All that changed in 2013 when Mark Lentz and I returned to the forest to do what we do best when it's just the two of us...explore.

Our mission...to explore parts of the forest that need exploring.  Dave Raymond & Mark Lentz on Woodrow Road -- June 1, 2013

Mark Lentz and Dave Raymond exploring Michaux State Forest -- June 1, 2013

The trails that Mark and I have mapped out for ourselves in Michaux are the result of three things.  One, purposeful exploring with the mindset that sometimes our rides will result in a lot of backtracking.  This was most evident on one particular ride in August of 2013 which Mark and I refer to as our "POSTED!" ride.  Every trail we tried...every turn we took..eventually took us to posted property.  On that day we rode, and then continuously had to backtrack, 18+ miles of the forest.  Rides like these can be a fact of life in Michaux...and ultimately they provide you with the knowledge of where NOT to ride.  Secondly, we began using STRAVA's segment finder to locate trails that had been ridden by others.  It's proven to be a great tool.  Finally...sometimes we just get freakin' lucky.

Yep...it's a dynamite shack on Dynamite Shack Trail.  Dave Raymond & Mark Lentz -- August 21, 2013

Glenn would be proud...Mark using a trail map on an especially kool rock section near Ridge Road -- July 16, 2014

Riding the big rocks just south of Woodrow Road -- August 16, 20154

Dave Raymond and Mark Lentz exploring trails off of Ridge Road -- July 16, 2014

Our exploration during those two summers began to peel back more and more layers of the forest and unlock the magic that lies in Michaux.  Our rides now consisted of trails with names like TOM'S RUN & DYNAMITE SHACK.  I completely "got my nerd on" when Mark and I ventured into the remains of Camp Michaux.  We began to explore different offshoots of Ridge Road northeast from where we had always ridden...finding a lot of the super kool trails that have since become some of our favorites.  This spirit of exploration, which began in 2013, is ongoing.  The best part has been sharing it with others.  By the June of 2014, Mark and I had incorporated the best of what we had found into a "standard" ride...which we gladly rode many times that summer with Timmy, Kristain, Chris Keller, Mike Alicea, Kevin Hardy, and the Hake brothers...allowing them to experience same magic Mark and I had uncovered.  That special mountain biking magic you can only find in Michaux. 

To be continued...


The remains of Camp Michaux.  It was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression, served as a Japanese prisoner of war camp during World War II, and the was a church camp -- August 12, 2013

Left to Right//Top to Bottom: Tim Sindlinger & Dave Raymond; Mark Lentz, Kristain Hains, & Dave Raymond; Chris Keller; Dave Raymond & Mike Alicea; Mark Lentz, Nate Hake, Noah Hake, & Dave Raymond; Kevin Hardy -- All pics taken in 2014


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- December 13, 2016

Mark found more than ice cream at Mountain Creek Campground.  He found these super kool "old folks" sunglasses...which I guess we are just about old enough for -- July 16, 2014

GARMIN maps from a few of the rides featured: