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Saturday, January 21, 2017

THAT'S RIDEABLE

There's a small section of trail located at the base of trail #7 at Rocky Ridge County Park that I have NEVER successfully ridden.  As a matter of fact, the only person that I've ever seen pedal over that rock garden is Mikey Nardelli...and he made it look like child's play.  There are some trails and obstacles just aren't worth it.  I think the older I get the more I appreciate my health, my body, my family, and well...my life!  A good sense of fear can sometimes be a good thing and I find no shame in sometimes saying, "I'll hike this one."  

Riding a log build up at Patapsco Valley State Park, Maryland -- July 19, 2011

Through the years, all of our skill levels have increased exponentially.  I can remember, years ago, watching Mark and Tim descend down hills that I never in my life would think were possible to ride. I've seen Kristian hop his mountain bike from obstacle to obstacle with incredible grace.  I've witnessed Mikey ride, as smooth as butter, some crazy cool rock gardens.  Me?  I tend, along with Mark, to lead the way...willing to let others in the group prove to me that something is rideable.  Logs.  Hills.  Rocks.  If you can think of it...it's a pretty good bet that we've tried to ride it.

Mark, Mikey, and I came across this wooden bridge while riding in Bald Eagle State Forest near Raymond B. Winter State Park.  Mikey was the first to brave it. -- July 13, 2011



I was in awe of Kevin Hardy as he played effortlessly on this teeter-totter in the Lehigh Valley -- August 7, 2010

This steep hillside in Dupont State Forest, NC was scarier looking than it was scary.  I just put my chest on my seat and held on tight! -- August 2008

Kristian makes EVERYTHING look easy...especially these logs in Patapsco Valley State Park -- October 15, 2016

Near Cascade Falls Trail in Patapsco Valley State Park this steep cliff is now closed off...but before they rerouted the trail with these "mountain bike friendly" steps I would often ride down it...and then turn around and come back up! -- All pics taken in 2012

Nothing beats a well placed rock to make the ride a little easier.  Michaux State Forest -- April 7, 2012

This washed out mess next to an exclusion fence in Michaux State Forest made for some pretty tricky mountain biking -- May 8, 2010

Riding this dry creek bed (turned rock garden) in Michaux State Forest is a piece of cake for Kristian -- August 28, 2016

Well placed logs smooth out this section of the ride at Rocky Ridge County Park -- September 18, 2014

These table rocks at Rattling Creek are a natural part of the trail.  Clockwise starting top left: Dave Raymond, Mark Lentz, Tim Sindlinger, Kristian Hains -- March 7, 2009

Tim has no problems whatsoever with this pine tree build-up in Michaux State Forest -- June 28, 2016



Riding the rocks in Rocky Ridge County Park -- September 23, 2016

Look at Glenn go!  Not bad for a man who can use his AARP card to get us discounts on ice cream!  Michaux State Forest -- June 28, 2016



Often, it's best to stand back and watch how the guy in front of you gets through the rock garden.  Left:  Chris Keller in Michaux State Forest (August 25, 2015).  Right: Kevin Hardy in on Indian Trail in Bald Eagle State Forest (November 2008)

Common sense has long since replaced peer pressure.  It's an unwritten rule within the group that no one has to "drink the Pabst" and feel pressured ride what they aren't comfortable with.  We've all become pretty good at spotting "easy buttons" to get around the trickiest of trails.  Shortly after he began riding with us, Matt Linnane told Tim and I that he loved that our rides never turned into races or pissing contests.  It's one of my favorite things about the guys I ride with and it helps to make all of our rides rideable...for everyone involved.


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- January 21, 2017


Not everything is rideable....just ask Timmy! -- July 12, 2016

If you enjoyed reading this...by all mean, please tweet it!  As always,  here's a list of GARMIN maps and stats from a few of the rides featured in this post:

Riding Michaux State Forest with Glenn and Timmy (June 28, 2016)
Riding Micahux State Forest with Kristian (August 28, 2016)
Riding Patapsco Valley State Park with Kristian (October 15, 2016)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

ADVICE FROM A SQUIRREL (or...THE MOUNTAIN BIKER MANTRA)

With new cycling socks in hand, and heading for the checkout at Hunters & Gatherers, I spotted a brown sign on the wall.  "ADVICE FROM A SQUIRREL." It wasn't the only sign of the kind...apparently you can get advice from just about any from any furry, four-legged creature...but, seeing that I was in Brevard, North Carolina, a mecca of mountain biking (and the home of the White Squirrel), this sign, in particular, grabbed my attention.


These seven simple sentence, provided by a squirrel, could be called "The Mountain Biker's Mantra." They reminded me of why I love mountain biking and it instantly became obvious to me how each of them are relevant to my passion.  Seven pieces of wisdom that I believe...if adhered to...could have the ability elevate an ordinary ride into something extra special.   So...without any further delay...here is some advice I accidentally learned from a squirrel.  

LOOK BOTH WAYS BEFORE CROSSING THE STREET

Not something you would think of when mountain biking...but trails often intersect with main roads.  This simple advice, which we all learn in kindergarten, will keep even the best mountain biker from ending up as what squirrels fear becoming most...road kill.

Taking a break to look both ways before crossing the main road at the Lakes.  Mark Lentz, Kristian Hains, Mike Nardelli, Brent Shirt, & Tim Sindlinger -- November 26, 2011

There's no way for Tim to avoid a highway crossing while riding the 30 mile look around Blue Marsh Lake -- September 2009

PLAN AHEAD

Even Mark believes in maps...especially in unfamiliar territory.  Planning ahead also means having what you need to keep your bike MOVING FORWARD.  No one wants their ride to turn into an all day HIKE-A-BIKE.

After a long day a riding near State College, PA, Mark gets out the trail book to prepare for tomorrow's ride -- June 28, 2014

Mark taking time to make sure we are still on the correct path on a "new to us" section of trail in Michaux State Forest -- July 16, 2014

Planning ahead also means bringing what is needed to keep your bike moving forward -- August 2, 2016

I always carry plenty of CO2, extra tubes, and just anything else needed to keep my ride from turning into a hike-a-bike -- August 9, 2016


STAY ACTIVE

Tim and I once wondered if we would still be doing this when we hit the age of 30.  Over 15 years later we all are going strong.  In my mind, staying active is the key to life.  Every day you just have to keep on moving.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that exercise increases brain activity and is beneficial in so many ways.  Mountain biking is just one of the ways that I combat my massive case of adult ADD.

More than a decade of riding together and no signs of slowing down...top left, Glenn Medice; top right, Mark Lentz; center, Kristian Hains; bottom right, Dave Raymond; bottom left, Tim Sindlinger -- All pics taken in 2016

EAT PLENTY OF FIBER

I love food.  I try to eat it at least three times a day.  That includes while riding.  Whether it's FINDING SUSTENANCE on the trail, packing plenty of beef jerky, or taking time for a picnic afterwards...meals bring people together.  Even while mountain biking.

Mikey and Mark taking time to eat the wild strawberries in Raymond B. Winter State Park -- July 2011

There is something super kool about picnicking after a ride.  Our usual parking area near the furnace stack in Pine Grove Furnace State Park offers an awesome place to hang out and relax -- July 24, 2014

Count on Kristian to carry bacon jerky with him.  Yes...bacon jerky!  So freakin' amazing! -- October 30, 2016


SPEND TIME IN THE WOODS

Spending time in the woods and mountain biking go hand in hand...but the best trips are the ones span multiple days.  There's nothing like a good  meal and relaxing around a campfire with friends after a day of hard riding.

Relaxing by a campfire in State College, PA with Mark after an amazing day of riding -- June 28, 2014

Bill Graves and I managed to snag one of my favorite tent sites (Hickory Loop site 180) in Ohiopyle State Park -- April 2009

A week of camping and mountain biking in Pisgah National Forest,  NC with Mark, Glenn, & Kristian -- August 2-5, 2008

Our first mountain biking/camping trip as a group.  Mark, Mikey, Glenn, Billy, and I spent 4 adventurous days mountain biking around Blackwater Falls, West Virginia -- June 2007


GO OUT ON A LIMB

Literally...climb a tree.  What was fun when we were ten still is fun as an adult.

Bill Graves in Ohiopyle State Park -- April 2009

Go out on a limb...even if you look ridiculous.  Dave Raymond, Kristian Hains, Glenn Medice, and Mark Lentz in Dupont State Forest, NC -- August 2008


IT'S OK TO BE A LITTLE NUTS

Mountain biking affords me the opportunity to do what 99% of the human race (more than likely) would never attempt...so let loose, hang on tight, and enjoy the ride!

Going nuts!  Clockwise starting top left: Dave Raymond (2016), Mark Lentz (2006), Kristain Hains (2016), Glenn Medice (2008)

A below freezing December ride in Patapsco Valley State Park, MD ended with a ride down Cascade Falls Trail.  With only half a mile to go I did my own "polar plunge".  Brent Shirk thought I was a little nuts! -- December 28, 2015




Glenn Medice "Going A Little Nuts" trying a stream crossing above Triple Falls in Dupont State Forest, NC -- August 2008


Mikey didn't just GO nuts trying to ride this log in Patapsco Valley State Park, MD...he ended up CRUSHING his nuts.  Love you, Mikey! -- August 9, 2011


The only things in my bag when I walked out of Hunters & Gatherers that day were multiple pair of white squirrel socks.  I had decided against purchasing the sign (I did; however, take a pic of it).  The advice, though, wasn't left in the store.  Those seven sentences...

LOOK BOTH WAYS BEFORE YOU CROSS THE ROAD
PLAN AHEAD
STAY ACTIVE
EAT PLENTY OF FIBER
SPEND TIME IN THE WOODS
GO OUT ON A LIMB
IT'S OK TO BE A LITTLE NUTS...

provide a mantra not just for mountain bikers and mountain biking...but for just about anyone regardless of their passions.  Sometimes the best advice can come from the least expected source...in this particular case...it came from a squirrel.

Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- January 15, 2017
If you've enjoyed reading this...please feel free to TWEET IT


 Left: the ADVICE FROM A SQUIRREL sign hanging in Hunters & Gatherers in Brevard, NC which provided me with so much inspiration.  Right: One of the three pair of white squirrel socks I purchased.  You can never have too many pair of white squirrel socks! -- July 22, 2016
ADVICE FROM A SQUIRREL is credited to Your True Nature.  Check out their website:  yourtruenature.com


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

Riding Rothrock State Forest with Mark -- June 28, 2014
Riding Michaux State Forest with Mark -- July 16, 2014
Riding Patapsco Valley State Park with Brent -- December 28, 2015


Friday, January 6, 2017

BICYCLE BREAKS

I'm probably the most focused when I'm on my bicycle.  Still, even when I'm turning the pedals, MY FASCINATION WITH SQUIRRELS often pulls my attention towards unexpected roadside attractions.  It's okay...I don't ride for KOMs (that's "King Of The Mountain" for those non-STRAVA people out there)...I ride because it's a passion and I want to have fun.  Pausing to investigate all the stuff which is often easily missed by those who fly past it the highway allows me the opportunity to get engage my inner-nerd, enhance my ride, feed my passion, and add to my enjoyment. 

So, in no particular order, here are just a few of the super kool (and sometimes completely unexpected things) I've come across on my many bicycle breaks.  Enjoy!

You'll find this grave of an unknown Confederate soldier along the Susquehanna River in York County, Pennsylvania just north or Wrightsville.  The solder would have been a member of Jubal Early's division and was killed just prior to the Battle of Gettysburg -- April 6, 2014

It's impossible to miss this monster size quarter along the highway near the town of Everett, Pennsylvania -- September 20, 2014

The Tin Man sits and contemplates life across the street from the Strand Capitol Theater in York, Pennsylvania -- September 5, 2016

This amazing mural depicting a young George Washington serving in the French & Indian War is located on Pitt Street in Bedford, Pennsylvania -- September 20, 2014

Alex and David Raymond next to Codorus Furnace...one of the best preserved iron furnaces in Pennsylvania.  It is located in York County along the Codorus Creek -- June 20, 2014

I had to take this pic of the bison along side the road near York Haven, Pennsylvania for two reasons:  1. the Bison was my high school mascot and 2. I was, that particular week, teaching about the destruction of the North American buffalo herds in my history class -- June 8, 2014

This random historical marker is dedicated to Gifford Pinchot, the 28th governor of Pennsylvania serving from 1923-1927 and then again from 1931-1935.  It is located on the northern end of Bull Road in York County -- November 8, 2015

Taking a bicycle break at the Coffee Pot on West Pitt Street in Bedford,  Pennsylvania with my son, Alex -- July 4, 2014

This 17th century Spanish anchor is located near Jupiter Inlet in Florida -- December 2, 2015

Sachs Covered Bridge is located just west of the Gettysburg National Military Park -- August 3, 2016

You can't go wrong riding along rural Route 30 in Bedford County! -- July 10, 2015

Penn Common is located in the center of York, Pennsylvania.  The park has served many uses throughout it's history including being used as a camp for Revolutionary War soldiers and a hospital for Union soldiers in the Civil War -- August 30, 2015

Apparently, there was a Battle of Hanover.  Who knew?  Not I...and I teach this stuff...which makes this all the more interesting to me! -- October 18, 2015

The Gate on the the north side of St. Augustine, Florida...the oldest European settlement in North America.  So super kool -- November 29, 2015

You can ride (or carry your bike through) this tunnel to get to the other side of Interstate 83 in north York -- October 8, 2016

If you ride through York City you will find this motorcycle artwork along North George Street -- September 2014

Taking a ride to the light house in Cape May, New Jersey with my wife, Robin -- April 11, 2015

If George Washington slept here...I'm getting a picture taken here!  The Espy House in Bedford, Pennyslvania served as President Washington's headquarters during the Whiskey Rebellion -- July 4, 2014

This Gazebo, which for some reason now sits in Reservoir Park located in York, Pennsylvania was a gift by the Chinese government to the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition -- September 5, 2016

This reconstruction of Fort Bedford is located alongside the Raystown branch of the Juniata River in Bedford, PA -- September 21, 2014

The Marquis de Lafayette permanently raises his glass to General Washington outside of the Gates House in York, Pennsylvania -- September 5, 2016

The Bedford Springs Hotel once served as the summer White House for James Buchanan, the 15th president of the United States -- July 6, 2016

It is nearly impossible for a passer by to miss the Haines Shoe House located near Route 30 east of York -- August 15, 2016

Mark and I took a bike through Wrightsville, PA  to see the swollen and flooded Susquehanna River -- March 12, 2011

Living in York County means living in the shadow of Three Mile Island nuclear power plant.  The best view is from the top of the hill near Haring's Tree Farm in York Haven, PA -- August 7, 2015

If I see a blue Pennsylvania historical marker I have to stop and channel my inner-nerd!  This one is located on East Pitt Street coming into the town of Bedford, Pennsylvania -- July 4, 2014


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- January 6, 2017

If you enjoyed this...feel free to Tweet it!

Now I'm getting geeky...what a cool bike ride through Philadelphia and to the top of the steps of Art Museum.  There I saw the Chuck Taylor footprints of Rocky! -- September 2009

A  list of my GARMIN maps and stats from a few of the rides featured in this post: