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Saturday, February 25, 2017

THE LINKS OF A CHAIN

It's no secret that I love mountain biking.  It's also not a secret that like to ride in Michaux State Forest and that ultimately, no matter where I ride, all trails will lead me to ice cream.  Not just me though.  SOLO RIDES are few and far between...I love riding with friends. They are the ones that make every ride special...and over the years, their friendship, their personalities, their love of the outdoors, and their love for mountain biking have helped turned a hobby into a passion.  I'm so fortunate and privileged to have them in my life and out on the trails with me.

All the links of the chain:  Mark Lentz, Kristian Hains, Glenn Medice, Timmy  Sindlinger, Mikey Nardelli, Kevin Hardy, Bill Graves, Mike Alicea, Matt Linnane, Brent Shirk, & Chris Keller

Without my friends I'm not sure I would mountain bike nearly as much as I do...I'd be just one link of the chain. All of us, together, keep this thing moving.  I love Michaux, I love my Stumpjumpers, and I love going for ice cream afterwards...but I thought I'd get their input on a few questions and see what it is that they love.  Here are their responses in the order in which I received them.  Thanks for the assist on this one, guys!


BILL GRAVES

I've known Bill for over 15 years.  He and I started mountain biking together in 2006.  Top to Bottom//Left to Right:  Riding in Michaux State Forest (2009); Bill's "Frankenbike" at the M.A.S.S. Relay (April 3, 2010); Bill relaxing at the M.A.S.S. Relay (April 3, 2010); Riding Rocky Ridge County Park (August 10, 2011)

CURRENT BIKE:  Frankenbike built on a Sette frame. 29inch Cross Max wheels and a host of used/donated parts.

FAVORITE BIKE: The one I own.

FAVORITE PLACE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE or FAVORITE TRAIL: Crested Butte, CO. Hard, fast single track, beautiful mountain scenery, high altitude lung burn.

FAVORITE POST RIDE MEAL or TREAT: Ice cream, of course.


GLENN MEDICE

Glenn was introduced to our group by Mikey Nardelli.  Glenn, the eldest statesman of the group, was the first in the group to switch to 29 inch wheels loves to set mountain bike fashion trends!  Left to Right//Top to Bottom:  Glenn in Marysville, PA (April 4, 2009); Glenn on top of some God forsaken fire road in Rothrock State Forest (August 2007); Glenn in Michaux State Forest (June 2016); Glenn in French Creek State Park (March 14, 2009)

CURRENT BIKE:  Specialized Epic Hard Tail

FAVORITE BIKE:  Surly Karate Monkey 29er

FAVORITE PLACE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE or FAVORITE TRAIL: Rattling Creek, north of Harrisburg.  It's a challenging ride with a mix of rocks, rock gardens, and more.  An occasional fast, mossy single track provides a smile and some relief, but by the end of the ride I'm spent!  Great ride, though, and one of my favs.

FAVORITE POST RIDE MEAL or TREAT:  Ice cream, duh.


MATT LINNANE

Tim and I  met Matt while riding in Swatara State Park back in 2015.  He fits right in with the group!  Left to Right:  Matt in Michaux State Forest (August 4, 2015); Matt riding in Swatara State Park (September 5, 2015)

CURRENT BIKE:  Cannondale F29

FAVORITE BIKE:  Specialized Fuse plus size (don't tell my Cannondale)

FAVORITE PLACE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE or FAVORITE TRAIL:  Mt. Gretna/Governor Dick because it's an amalgam of adventure from rail trail to technical hard rock gardens.  I can take anything from an easy recovery ride with my daughter to a kick butt challenging technical ride that I feel the need to pad up for.

FAVORITE POST RIDE MEAL or TREAT:  Tie betwen sticky buns and BBQ.  Tough to choose because I really like to eat.


MIKE ALICEA

Mike is my next door neighbor and loves to ride when he can.  He and I have been riding together for about three years.  Top to Bottom: Mike in Michaux State Forest (January 2, 2016); Mike in Rocky Ridge County Park (September 18, 2014); Mike in Michaux State Forest (June 14, 2014)

CURRENT BIKE:  2014 Excaliber 6

FAVORITE BIKE:  My 1991 Gary Fisher Tassajara was my all-time favorite bike.  I had it for 18 years and it never let me down.  I put that bike through hell!  Haha!

FAVORITE PLACE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE or FAVORITE TRAIL:  I love riding at Rocky Ridge County Park due to the close proximity to my home and the vast number of trails that really test one's riding ability.

FAVORITE POST RIDE MEAL or TREAT:  I usually eat a banana topped with natural peanut butter.


MARK LENTZ

Mark has been one of my best friends for a long time.  He and I both teach in the same school district and he and I share a brain about a long list of topics.  Mark's also been quite the mentor to me...I've learned a lot about mountain biking and the outdoors from Mark.  Thanks, bud!  Top to Bottom//Left to Right:  Mark in Swatara State Park (January 16, 2012); Mark riding in Michaux State Forest (October 30, 2016); Mark and his "dirty" bike in Michaux State Forest (October 12, 2015); Mark on one of his all-time favorite trails: Ridgeline in Dupont State Forest, N.C. (August 2008)

CURRENT BIKE:  Niner Carbon Air 9 & Steel Sir 9

FAVORITE BIKE:  A dirty bike

FAVORITE PLACE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE or FAVORITE TRAIL:  Any gnarly single track. Rothrock State Forest or western North Carolina or Wharton State Forest, NJ.  My favorite trail is Ridgeline in Dupont State Forest, NC because if flows like no other trail.  It is sex on two wheels.

FAVORITE POST RIDE MEAL or TREAT:  Duh.  Ice cream.


BRENT SHIRK

Brent lives across the street from me.  He's an awesome guy and a great family man.  Brent get's out whenever he can and as long as it doesn't interfere his two boy's sports schedules.  Brent and I have been riding together for almost seven years now!  Left to Right:  Brent in Rocky Ridge County Park (September 23, 2016); Brent in Patapsco Valley State Park (December 30, 2013)

CURRENT BIKE:  Specialized Stumpjumper

FAVORITE BIKE:  My current one.

FAVORITE PLACE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE or FAVORITE TRAIL:  Rocky Ridge County Park.  With my busy schedule it is where I usually ride.

FAVORITE POST RIDE MEAL or TREAT:  Nothing in particular.


TIMMY SINDLINGER

Tim's my original riding partner and one of my very best friends.  He and I have been riding together since the year 2000!  Top to Bottom//Left to Right:  Tim riding Rocky Ridge County Park (November 26, 2011); Tim riding GRAVE RIDGE in Michaux State Forest (August 9, 2016); Tim in Michaux State Forest (August 9, 2016); Tim showing off in Michaux State Forest (June 21, 2016)

CURRENT BIKE:  Niner

FAVORITE BIKE:  Niner

FAVORITE PLACE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE or FAVORITE TRAIL:  Michaux--the terrain makes you feel like you are down South with the foliage and creek crossings to the Midwest with the sandy soil and pine trees...all within just a few miles!

FAVORITE POST RIDE MEAL or TREAT:   Ice cream never tasted so good! (pretty much the only time I eat it)


MIKEY NARDELLI

Both of my children had Mikey as their second grade teacher.  He's a great teacher, great mountain biker, and great friend!  Mikey began riding with me in 2005.  Top to Bottom//Left to Right:  Mikey at the M.A.S.S. relay (April 3, 2010); Mikey in West Virginia (June 2007); Mikey in Patapsco Valley State Park (August 9, 2011); Mikey with his new bike in Michaux State Forest (July 5, 2016)

CURRENT BIKE:  State Pulsar SS 29er

FAVORITE BIKE:  Misfit Dissent

FAVORITE PLACE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE or FAVORITE TRAIL:  American Standard in Jim Thorpe, PA.  A good day ride and a variety of trails.

FAVORITE POST RIDE MEAL or TREAT:  Roburrito's


KEVIN HARDY

Kevin and I have known each other since 2003.  Kevin's a super good guy.  Left to Right: Kevin riding at the Lakes in York County (November 7, 2009); Kevin taking on a see-saw in the Lehigh Valley (August 7, 2010)

CURRENT BIKE:  Trek Fuel EX6

FAVORITE BIKE:  Trek Fuel EX6 (only my second bike--but it's been heavily modified over the years)

FAVORITE PLACE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE or FAVORITE TRAIL:  Lehigh Mountain south of Bethlehem, incredible amount of climbing rewarded with a lot of gnarly downhill.

FAVORITE POST RIDE MEAL or TREAT:  Roadside pulled pork and potatoes.


CHRIS KELLER

Chris and I have been riding together since 2010.  He's also been a great partner and  a vital member of team WHITE SQUIRREL!  Top to Bottom//Left to Right:  Chris in Rocky Ridge County Park (August 9, 2015); Chris in Rocky Ridge (August 10, 2011); Chris riding the Lakes (November 26, 2011); Chris riding through one of the tunnels that travels under interstate 83 at the Lakes (June 4, 2011)

CURRENT BIKE:  Old.

FAVORITE BIKE:  One newer than mine.

FAVORITE PLACE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE or FAVORITE TRAIL:  I will take any dirt trail at this point.  My ride time is so minimal.  I'll take what I can get.

FAVORITE POST RIDE MEAL or TREAT:  As much as I enjoy eating ice cream with you...my preference, by far, is a craft brew beer.


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- February 25, 2017


I cannot leave out Kristian!  Arguably the best rider of the group and a super good friend!  Left:  Kristian riding Ridgeline Trail in Dupont State Forest, NC (August 2008).  Right:  Kristian likes ice cream...but he LOVES Roburrito's (September 23, 2016)

If you enjoyed reading this...by all means, please feel free to tweet it!  

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

August 9, 2016 -- Mountain biking in Michaux and Grave Ridge Trail with Timmy.

October 12, 2015 -- Columbus Day exploring in Michaux with Mark.

September 5, 2015 -- Mountain biking Swatara State Park

Friday, February 17, 2017

RIDING SOMEONE ELSE'S BIKE

The moment you get on your bicycle it becomes an extension of your body.  It becomes a natural part of you...and you a part of it.  A connection and a bond is formed.  Your bike personifies your personality and becomes part of your identity.  Heck, most of us even  name our bikes.  Which is why it feels so incredibly weird, awkward, and foreign when you, for one reason or another, ride someone else's bike.  I accidentally rode Mark's bike once.  We had matching 2006 Stumpjumpers.  His was a small frame and mine a large.  We didn't make it more than ten feet down the trail before realizing the switch...and sharing a laugh.

Dave Raymond, Mark Lentz, and our matching Stumpjumpers after the Terror At Teaberry Race -- September 2006

There have been times when I've been "between bikes" and needed to borrow someone else's bike for an event (thank you, Billy & Kevin!).  Once I even rode my son's bike in an adventure race because a teammate needed to ride mine.  Working at GUNG HO BIKES I rode a myriad of bikes...some were significantly "nicer" than mine...but none of them ever felt quite right to me.  Riding someone else's bike could ultimately have financial implications...just ask Glenn!  Kristian allowed Glenn to ride his bike on a section of the Allegrippis Trails.  Glenn ended up with a significant case of "bike envy."  Glenn's currently in between bikes!

Thank you, Kevin, for allowing me to muddy up your bike during the 2009 Wildlands Adventure Race! -- September 27, 2009

Thank you, Billy, for loaning me your bike for the 2009 French Creek Fling Adventure Race....and thank you, Butch Ulrich, for making me carry it half of the race! It was my first ever taste of a 29er! -- October 11, 2009

I needed to borrow my son's Rockhopper for a five mile section of the 2012 Wildlands Adventure Race.  Thanks, Alex! -- September 30, 2012

The look on Glenn's face is one of "bike envy" after he rode Kristian's bike for a short stint on the Allegrippis Trails -- August 2, 2016

There are some things that I DO like about getting the chance to ride someone else's bike...Tim and I rode our first recumbent cycle while fixing a mechanical in Patapsco Valley State Park...we met a nice gentleman, struck up a conversation, and he allowed us to test out his bike.  I rode my first tandem bike with Mikey after the two of us tuned it up on an evening that we were both working at the shop.  I was the last in my group to make the switch from a 26 inch bike to a 29er...borrowing Billy's bike for an adventure race played a big part of that.  
So yeah...I guess I could say riding someone else's bike ultimately put me on the bike that I'm on now...the very bike that's become an extension of me.

While Mikey and I fixed the brakes on my bike...Timmy and Mark took turns riding a kind stranger's recumbent bike.  Super cool! -- August 16, 2011


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- February 17, 2017

Mikey and I had a great test riding a tandem bike we fixed while we were working at Gung Ho Bikes -- August 2013
If you enjoyed this...by all means tweet it!

Here's the GARMIN stats and map from a ride featured in this post:

August 2, 2016 -- Mountain biking the Allegrippis Trails with Kristian and Glenn


Friday, February 10, 2017

MORE GROUP THERAPY

Glenn and I met for dinner at a local Thai place this past Tuesday.  It was great to get together and catch up with each other.  I've not seen Glenn (and most of the other guys...with the exception of Mark) since my surgery in November.  Dinner with Glenn is always a good time and the conversation is easy.  On Tuesday we talked about school (we're both teachers), about our health, and...surprise, surprise...Glenn's new mountain bike. (We all knew, after he rode Kristain's bike for short while back in August, that Glenn would be upgrading!) As we talked mountain biking the conversation naturally included a lot of reminiscing about places we've been and the amazing friends who shared those experiences with us. Without friends there would be no mountain biking...for me, the two things go hand in hand and it's why I love it so much.   Yes...GROUP THERAPY is, in my opinion, the best kind of therapy.
Almost a year ago I wrote about this subject and I posted a few of my favorite group photos...but those who know me know that my collection of pictures is seemingly bottomless!  So...in no particular order, here's dozen of my favorite group pics.  Get ready for some MORE GROUP THERAPY.  Enjoy!

ROCKY RIDGE COUNTY PARK -- SEPTEMBER 23, 2016

Brent Shirk, Kristian Hains, David Raymond, Tim Sindlinger
A beautiful September afternoon and a perfect way to end the work week!
ROCKY RIDGE COUNTY PARK -- YORK, PENNSYLVANIA

DUPONT STATE FOREST, NORTH CAROLINA -- AUGUST 2008

Glenn Medice, Kristian Hains, Dave Raymond, and Mark Lentz
The four of us enjoyed an amazing week of riding in, and around, Pisgah National Forest & Dupont State Forest, North Carolina.
DUPONT STATE FOREST, NORTH CAROLINA

MICHAUX STATE FOREST -- FEBRUARY 28, 2009

Mark Lentz, Dave Raymond, Mike Nardelli, Kristian Hains
Taking a break during a cold February ride near Gargamel's Trail.
MICHAUX STATE FOREST, PENNSYLVANIA 

ALLEGRIPPIS TRAIL SYSTEM -- AUGUST 2, 2016

Kristian Hains, Dave Raymond, Glenn Medice
It was the first time the three of us had ridden together in years...and we picked the perfect place.  Smiles from ear to ear as we navigated the Allegrippis Trails near Raystown Lake.
  ALLEGRIPPIS TRAIL SYSTEM

BLACKWATER FALLS, WEST VIRGINIA -- JUNE 2007

Bill Graves, Mark Lentz, Dave Raymond, Glenn Medice, Mike Nardelli
Our first big trip as a group.  Mark and I had matching bikes...all of us were still riding 26 inch mountain bikes...and Glenn came home with a different bike than what he went there with!
BLACKWATER FALLS, WEST VIRGINIA

MICHAUX STATE FOREST -- JULY 10, 2014

Mark Lentz, Nate Hake, Noah Hake, Dave Raymond
Teachers & Students.  Mark had Nate in class and I was Noah's teacher.  Pretty cool!
MICHAUX STATE FOREST, PENNSYLVANIA

PATAPSCO VALLEY STATE PARK, MARYLAND -- AUGUST 16, 2011

David Raymond, Tim Sindlinger, Mark Lentz, Mike Nardelli
Cascade Falls provides the perfect backdrop for an "almost post-ride" pic in Patapsco Valley State Park.
  PATAPSCO VALLEY STATE PARK, MARYLAND

MARYSVILLE, PENNSYLVANIA -- JULY 2008

Kristian Hains, Glenn Medice, Mike Nardelli, Dave Raymond, Mark Lentz
Ok...not an actual ride...but a break in the action at a M.A.S.S. race in Marysville, PA.
MID-ATLANTIC SUPER SERIES

FRENCH CREEK STATE PARK -- MARCH 27, 2010

Kevin Hardy, Tim Sindlinger, Bill Graves, and Dave Raymond
French Creek is a difficult place to ride...but judging by the smiles on our faces the four of us didn't seem to mind!
FRENCH CREEK STATE PARK, PENNSYLVANIA

MICHAUX STATE FOREST -- JULY 26, 2016

Dave Raymond, Tim Sindlinger, Matt Linnane, Glenn Medice, & Mark Lentz
  Enjoying the view from our favorit vista.
MICHAUX STATE FOREST, PENNSYLVANIA


ROCKY RIDGE COUNTY PARK -- AUGUST 24, 2013

Mike Nardelli, Dave Raymond, Tim Sindlinger, Chip Fissel, and Chris Keller
All smiles after climbing up trail #9 at Rocky Ridge!
ROCKY RIDGE COUNTY PARK


DUPONT STATE FOREST, NORTH CAROLINA -- AUGUST 2008

Glenn Medice, Dave Raymond, Kristian Hains, & Mark Lentz
The four of us spent the better part of our last day in Dupont State Forest riding (and re-riding) Ridgeline Trail.  One of my all time favorites!
DUPONT STATE FOREST, NORTH CAROLINA

Life is a journey...not a destination.


Mike Nardelli, Bill Graves, Glenn Medice, Dave Raymond, Mark Lentz
Blackwater Falls, West Virginia -- June 2007


David A. Raymond -- February 10, 2017
To see other group pics check out GROUP THERAPY (originally posted April 3, 2016)


If you enjoyed reading this...by all means, please  tweet it!  

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

July 26, 2016 -- Mountain biking in Michaux with Mark, Glenn, Tim, and Matt

August 2, 2016 -- Mountain biking the Allegrippis Trails with Kristian & Glenn

September 23, 2016 -- Mountain biking Rocky Ridge County Park with Brent, Kristian & Tim


Friday, February 3, 2017

BEYOND THE TRAILS

The ride winds down...the bikes are loaded up...ice cream is on our minds...but the day's adventure isn't always over.  So many times we find ourselves mountain biking in locations that are full of history, beautiful scenery, and hidden surprises.  These post-ride field trips add to the mountain biking experience, form lasting memories, and strengthen bonds of friendship. They are proof that there is more to see beyond the trail and, just because the the ride has ended...the adventure doesn't have to.  Here are just a FEW of the excursions, sights, and "nerdiness" that have highlighted our mountain biking trips over the years.  Enjoy!

After riding some pretty swampy and humid trails (Plantation Trail comes to mind), Mikey, Glenn, Billy, Mark and I took in the sights of the waterfalls near our campsite at Blackwater Falls, West Virgina -- June 2008

Wrapping up a cold, January ride in Governor Dick park near Mount Gretna, Pennsylvania, Mark and I took time to climb up the fire tower on top of the ridge.  So super cool! -- January 21, 2013

After riding in Governor Dick, Mark Lentz and I stumbled upon this ultra cook Eagle Scout project.  This young man made fiber glass reproductions of how local lumber was converted to charcoal for the iron furnaces -- April 1, 2013

Thaddeus Stevens Blacksmith Shop is located in Caledonia State Park west of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  Thaddeus Stevens was a "Radical" Republican and on of Pennsylvania's members of the House of Representatives during and after the American Civil War.  He was a vocal voice for the rights of African Americans.  Mark Lentz and I checked out this area after a day of mountain biking in the southern part of Michaux State Forest -- October 12, 2015

If you ride anywhere in central Pennsylvania, chances are you will ride near an old iron furnace.  Greenwood Furnace is located in Greenwood Furnace State Park near State College, PA.  The remains of the furnace represent what is left of a thriving village that surrounded the iron furnace from 1834-1904. -- June 28, 2014

After riding in Ohiopyle State Park you cannot help but take time to go explore the main falls in the center of Ohiopyle.  Just up the road you can hike down and explore Cucumber Falls.  Any trip to Ohiopyle isn't complete without a ride through the natural waters slide. Check out the video below.  -- April 2009



Just down the road from Ohiopyle State Park is Fort Necessity National Battlefield.  It was here, in 1754, that a young George Washington was forced to surrender (the first and only time in his career) to an overwhelming French force -- April 2009

Left:  Glenn Medice and Mark Lentz exploring the covered bridge at the top of Triple Falls in Dupont State Forest, NC.  Right:  Triple Falls in Dupont State Forest, NC -- August 2008

During our ride in the Lehigh Valley, Kevin Hardy and I came across the "Star of Bethlehem" that sits on top of the mountain overlooking Bethlehem, Pennsylvania -- August 2010

Riding at Mount Penn near Reading, PA, Mark Lentz and I stumbled upon Kuechler's Roost.  Jacob Kuechler lived on top of Mount Penn in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  He would serve food, drink, and conversation with people who visited the area.  So cool! -- July 2, 2014

Mark and I also visited the Pagoda and fire tower which while riding in Mount Penn.  Both structures overlook the town of Reading, Pennsylvania -- July 2, 2014

Riding near Raymond B. Winter State Park, Mark Lentz, Mikey Nardelli, and I came across an ultra cool amphitheater (top) and a spring house.  Both located deep in the forest --  July 13 & 14, 2011

I've written about it so many times...but I cannot leave out our constant exploration of Camp Michaux located near Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Michaux State Forest.  It served as a CCC camp, a WWII prisoner of war camp, and a church camp.  What an awesome place to explore! -- July 24, 2014

Mark Lentz and I spent some time exploring Penn-Roosevelt Lake in Penn-Roosevelt State Park near State College, Pennsylvania.  The lake was created by the Civilian Conservation Corps -- June 27, 2014

After mountain biking the Allegrippis Trails near Raystown Lake, Mark Lentz, Mikey Nardelli and I picnicked in, and explored, Trough Creek State Park.  We found this really cool (literally) ice cave -- October 14, 2013

After the ice cave, Mark, Mikey, and I hike to the top of ridge to check out the balancing rock hovering over Trough Creek State Park -- October 14, 2013

Yep...taking time out after a ride at Chickies Rock in  Lancaster County, Pennsylvania! --April 13, 2014

Life is a journey...not a destination.


David A. Raymond -- February 3, 2017


It's not nature...nor is it historical...but it's pretty cool!  Welcome to Dillsburg, PA.  After a tough ride at Camp Tuckahoe, Mark Lentz and I made it a point stop and take a pic with the Dillsburg Pickle -- July 3, 2013

If you enjoyed reading this...by all mean, please  tweet it!  

You can find all of our ride pics and trail maps on the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website and, as always,  here's a list of GARMIN maps and stats from a few of the rides featured in this post:

(January 21, 2013) Mountain biking at GOVERNOR DICK with Mark Lentz 

(October 14, 2013) Mountain biking the ALLEGRIPPIS TRAILS with Mark and Mikey

(July 2, 2014) Mountain biking at MOUNT PENN with Mark Lentz 

(June 27, 2014) Mountain biking in ROTHROCK STATE FOREST with Mark Lentz