Saturday, September 24, 2016


I might anger a few of local mountain bikers in York County by saying this...mountain biking at Rocky Ridge, at least for me, is kind of like eating frozen pizza:  it's never my first choice, but it's convenient when in a pinch.  And it's not that Rocky Ridge County Park isn't is.  I always tell people that, if I lived far away from York, I would drive hours to ride there.  It's some of the most technical and challenging riding around.  If you like rocks and hills and single track...Rocky  Ridge is your place.  If you can mountain bike can mountain bike anywhere!  I really believe that.

Friday's ride introduced a completely new was the first that this group...Brent, Kristian, myself, and Timmy...had ever ridden together.  It was a great afternoon on the trails at Rocky Ridge County  Park -- September 23, 2016

Why is it never my first choice?  I guess it's because...after 20+ years of mountain biking...I pretty much have every trail, every turn, every hill, and every rock garden of the 750 acre park blazed into my memory.  It's become so monotonously familiar to me.  It's become that place to ride when I'm short on time (the park is only 7 miles from my house and from where I teach in Manchester) or when I just want to get a quick ride in after school.  Then, yesterday's ride happened...

Tim, Brent, and Kristian getting acquainted with each other in the parking lot at Rocky Ridge County Park -- September 23, 2016

Kristian's first flat tire in years!  We weren't even a mile into the ride.  He wanted to just walk out and let us finish...but hey, "No Biker Left Behind!" -- September 23, 2016

Keep on pumping! -- September 23, 2016

I had been itching to get back out on my mountain bike since my SOLO RIDE last weekend.  It's been nearly a month since I've ridden with any of the guys.  Actually, I haven't seen Timmy since our last TUESDAY RIDE of the summer.  Tim's been texting me each weekend for a month trying to get us out on the trials together...but schedules just haven't been aligning.  So, I figured, that...again, even though it wasn't my first choice...Rocky Ridge would be perfect on Friday.  It was easy for each of us to meet there after work...and it took very little convincing to get Brent and Kristian out, too!

Brent Shirt taking on the single track at Rocky Ridge County Park -- September 23, 2016

I haven't been to Rocky Ridge since I was there with Mark Lentz and Nate Hake back in June.  Brent, who happens to live across the street from me, has been telling me about a new trail he's been riding at Rocky Ridge.  In my mind, I was having a hard time pinpointing exactly where he was talking about...but hey...if it's there, I want to ride it.  Less than a mile into the ride we had our first flat.  Amazingly, it wasn't mine!  Kristian's rear tire was the victim of the relentless rocks that live in the park.  Not even half a mile from the parking lot, he was ready to do a "hike a bike" back to the car and head home.  Totally unkool.  Literally, I told him that I had been looking forward to riding with him all week and I wasn't about to let him walk out of the woods alone.  When riding at Rocky Ridge, we rarely carry a lot of tools with us.  At any point in a ride there you're never more than a mile or two from the parking lot...but between the four of us we managed to produce a tire lever, tube, Park Tool, and pump...everything needed to get him moving forward again.  

The new trail that Brent introduced us to was totally awesome.  On STRAVA (which, trust me...I have zero KOMs), the trail has been named FRESH AND TWISTY.  Fresh it was...and it never seemed to end.  I was 1.2 miles of extremely fun single track that twisted and turned and looped naturally through the top of the ridge.  It was just as fun as Brent described it.  I brought up the rear of the group on this trail.  It was really interesting to see the dynamics and different riding styles of this group.  Brent is such a determined rider.  His style of riding reminds me of my own.  Timmy...well, Tim is the steady rider.  He mostly rides in one gear...and it really works for him.  Kristian's so nimble on his bike.  Effortlessly bounding from rock to rock.  It was really fun to watch.

Kristian Hains -- September 23, 2016

Dave Raymond -- September 23, 2016

Yes...that expression on Kristain's face is the joy of mountain biking -- September 23, 2016

It was an amazing day to be out on the trails at Rocky Ridge County Park -- September 23, 2016

Left to right...Kristain Hains, Tim Sindlinger, Dave Raymond, & Brent Shirt -- September 23, 2016

This ride at Rocky Ridge, which at first was just convenient, was turning into something special and amazing.  A beautiful day, combined with a completely different group dynamic, and some really cool new trails (and yes...trails is plural...we ended up meandering around an area off of FORBIDDEN FOUR that was super fun) turned this ride into something special.  For all four of us...our Friday afternoon at Rocky Ridge ended up turning into something awesome.

Life is a journey, not a destination!

David A. Raymond -- September 24, 2016
All photos courtesy of SQUIRRELS WITH CAMERAS

No ice cream today...Kristian and I replenished some calories with a post-ride meal at ROBURRITOS -- September 23, 2016