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Sunday, January 28, 2018

TRAIL ACCOMPLISHMENTS

There's a fire road over in Michaux State Forest named Dead Woman's Hollow Road.  It's tough.  I'll never forget the first time I rode up it with Mark.  It seemed impossible...but I just put my head down and pedalled. To this day...I always approach Dead Woman's Hollow with the mindset that "this hill will NEVER end."  As long as I do that...I don't get disappointed with each false horizon.  I don't hate the hill...actually, I love riding up it.  An incredible sense of accomplishment engulfs me each time I conquer that road.

Taking a breather at the top of Dead Woman's Hollow Trail -- June 23, 2012
I've accomplished a number of goals and passed a lot of milestones while biking and hiking.  Most of them personal and relatively small...but each had their own special meaning to me.  Sometimes those goals are things I set out to do at the beginning of the calendar year...such as distances I want to ride or hike.  Sometimes I simply set a goal to ride or hike a certain hill or trail or obstacle.  A good example was when I made it a point to climb Ohiopyle Road between the main falls in the state park and my campground last summer.  It is the absolute most obnoxious hill I know...ascending 700 feet in less than two miles!  I managed to do it...on my mountain bike.  I'm still pretty stoked about that.   


Taking it all in after climbing Ohiopyle Road in Ohiopyle State Park. -- June 15, 2017

Deep down we all have personal goals and achievements that we are proud of.
With that in mind I sought out the help of my friends and asked them these questions:  "What was the coolest, or most personally significant, goal or milestone that you have achieved while biking or hiking?  It could be a distance ridden, hill climbed, etc.  How did acheiving it make you feel?" 
A big shout out to Tim, Chris, Randy, Mike, Brent, Derrick, Glenn, and Alex for helping me out with this one....Thanks guys!


TIM SINDLINGER

My favorite pic of Tim.  Riding Rusty Chair Trail at Rocky Ridge County Park. -- November 12, 2011

"For me it was 'The Wall' on trail 9 at Rocky Ridge County Park.  I felt I could climb anything after conquering that!" -- Tim Sindlinger


CHRIS KELLER

Chris Keller and I trudging through the 2011 Wildlands Adventure Race -- September 25, 2011

"What comes to mind is the Wildlands race that we participated in right after a major flood.  The ride, even on the flat land, was grueling...like riding all day in quick sand.  And we kept a fast pace...I believe I was the 'old fart' of the team...but I dug in super deep to keep the pace.  We did a great job and I was super proud of that." -- Chris Keller


RANDY BENNETT

Randy Bennett near Washington Four, MD. -- October 26, 2017

"Every hike has a unique moment that adds to the breadth of experience I'm gaining as a section hiker on the Appalachian Trail.  Recently, I completed a section hike from the Pennsylvania border south through Maryland and into West Virginia.  Each State on the Trail has its unique challenges.  What was most challenging about Maryland was that it feels like you are hiking in a dry creek bed for 40 miles!  My most memorable day on this trip was my last.  I had initially planned to do the 43-mile hike over five days, as only 6 months ago I had ankle reconstruction surgery (and my 65-year-old dad was hiking with me).  The surgery corrected a service-connected disability from my service in the Marine Corps over 20 years ago.  My ankle often buckled whenever I made sudden movements, and was often re-injured.  I was concerned about how I might perform on a longer hike (as most of my hikes in the recent past were never longer than two days).  My reconstructed ankle held up great on this hike, and when combined with a weight loss of 90 lbs., allowed me to accomplish my first 16-mile day...finishing this hike a day early.  The last four miles of the hike I had to finish without my dad.  His back was in bad shape when we came off of the mountain.  We called an Uber, and once my dad was in the car I told him to order a pizza and I would be at the hotel in 2 hours.  The last four miles were beautiful as I hiked along the Potomac towards the sunset and crossing the footbridge into Harpers Ferry and finishing in front of the Appalachian Trail Headquarters.  The time I had alone was an opportunity to worship God and give thanks to Him for how He brought healing to my body and soul...and for the awesome time I had playing with my dad in the woods." -- Randy Bennett


MIKE ALESSANDRONI

Mark Lentz, Mike Alessandroni, and David Raymond.  A well deserved break after climbing Sky Top in York County. -- June 24, 2011

"One year to the date after having my left hip replaced, I successfully climbed Sky Top on my bike.  It was a beautiful day and I took a picture from the top and posted it on Facebook to share this milestone with family and friends.  It was an awesome experience." -- Mike Alessandroni


BRENT SHIRK

Brent Shirk riding Rusty Chair Trail at Rocky Ridge County Park. -- September 2, 2013

"Being able to conquer an obstacle like dropping off of the big rock at Rocky Ridge County Park for the first time.  I remember the fear I had of falling but afterward realized that you just need to have confidence, maintain your speed, and let the bike do the work." -- Brent Shirk


DERRICK RORRER

Derrick Rorrer riding (flying) at Patapsco Valley State Park, MD -- July 2, 2013

"I have a slight twist for you.  There isn't a particular goal or milestone that comes to mind.  For me, it's yearly...and how much better I get each year.  It's looking back at some of the longest rides, the hardest lines, or biggest jumps I did that year.  My goal is simply to improve and become a better rider." -- Derrick Rorrer


GLENN MEDICE

Glenn Medice riding at the Lakes. -- April 19, 2017

"It's never been about distance.  I rode the Maximus series at Michaux twice (50 miles each), but never thought that was a big deal.  To me, getting better technically over time has been important to me.  I remember carrying my bike over logs in my early years.  So nothing real specific, just riding over many years, along with the new technology that's come my way, has made me a better rider.  Switching from a 26 inch bike to a 29er was HUGE for me.  I'm able to ride over, and through, obstacles I never thought possible in my 30s." -- Glenn Medice


ALEX RAYMOND

Alex and David Raymond -- April 16, 2017

"The day we went on the 30+ mile bike ride.  I had never ridden that kind of distance before...and I was getting tired toward the end.  I remember you telling me that I needed to eat during the ride...before I got hungry...and if I did get hungry during the ride I would stay that way.  I'm pretty sure that we went down a big hill during that ride and I reached 41mph!  That was the fastest I had ever ridden." -- Alex Raymond



2,640 miles.  It's the distance (along the 39th Parallel...which runs through York County, Pennsylvania) from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.  That's my goal for 2018.  Time to start riding.


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- January 28, 2018

15,000+ total miles on my road bike!  I accomplished that on November 14, 2017.  Super cool.


Here are the GARMIN maps and data from the rides featured in this post...








Interested in biking or hiking some of the trails featured in this post?  Check out the TRAIL MAPS and TRAIL HEADS tabs on the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website.   

All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit HIGHPEAKSHIKING.COM and

"WRITE SOMETHING WORTH READING OR DO SOMETHING WORTH WRITING..." Ben Franklin

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

FIRST TRACKS

Back in August, while visiting my family in my hometown of Bedford, Pennsylvania, I took a hike on the trails near the Bedford Springs Hotel...the same trails that I use to explore as a kid.  I made a promise to myself that I would revisit the trails around the historical resort with my mountain bike as soon as possible.  The opportunity came around this past weekend when I travelled solo to Bedford to visit my dad who recently underwent knee surgery.  

Pausing in front of an ice covered Davey Lewis' Cave. -- January 14, 2018

When I woke up in Bedford, PA on Saturday morning there was a fresh coat of snow on the ground and the air temperature hovered in the single digits.  Nevertheless, I pulled on the cold weather gear and headed out on my Stumpjumper for, what I estimated would be, an hour.  My ride Saturday would be a first for a number of reasons....it was my first ride of the new year, it was the first time I ever mountain biked in Bedford, and (because there weren't many people out in cold air) my tracks would be the first in the fresh snow!  Leaving my father's house I had to ride only a mile on the paved streets to reach a trail head on the Bedford Heritage Trail...a walking and biking trail that connects downtown Bedford, PA with the Bedford Springs Hotel...which would provide the perfect conduit to the trails I wanted to explore near the Bedford Springs.

To get to the trails at the Springs I rode, for the first time, on the Bedford Heritage Trail which connects the Springs Hotel to historic downtown Bedford, PA. -- January 13, 2018

To get to Davey Lewis's Cave you have to cross this small stream (which flows off of the hillside and into Shobers Run).  The morning sun shining on the untouched ice and snow was absolutely beautiful. -- January 14, 2018




The first hill I climbed in 2018!  In the distance, off to the right, you can see another trail which winds back towards the trailhead near Shobers Run and the Bedford Springs. -- January 13, 2018

Kneeling near the limestone springs. -- January 13, 2018

I paused at an intersection to orientate myself and decide which direction I wanted to ride.  Typical of me...I chose to head up the snow covered trail visible in the picture.   A good climb is the best way to stay warm in the cold.  -- January 13, 2018

Taking in the morining sun and admiring the view of the numerious trails that are on either side of the valley.  -- January 14, 2018

 I rode both Saturday and Sunday.  The extreme cold limited my time and my willingness to explore too far away from the trailhead near the Hotel.  The only knowledge of the trails I had was from a handful of short hikes I had taken there over the years.  Saturday, I just retraced some of the trails I have previously hiked...only to deviate once.  The trail I took led me down the ridge and towards Springs Lake....not far from the Heritage Trail.  On Sunday, I set out to explore a trail I noticed while hiking back in August that apparently leads to a scenic overlook on top of th ridge...but the extremely icy conditions made the journey up the ridge impossible.  I'll get there next time for sure.  

Nearing the end of my ride on Saturday, the trail dumped me off near a frozen Springs Lake.  -- January 13, 2018

Three days later I can't seem to stop thinking about these two rides near the Bedford Springs.  Sure, there's the novelty of riding somewhere new and there's the coolness factor of riding trails that I explored when I was a kid...but I don't think either are the reason I keep revisiting the weekend in my head.  I think it was the beauty of the whole thing.  I'm not a fan of winter and I usually only like snow for 5 minutes...then plow comes down the street and turns it gray.  But what I experienced while mountain biking this past Saturday and Sunday was completely different.  Away from the main roads, and almost as soon as I headed into the woods, the winter sun melted through the trees and glistened off of the snow...all around me, icicles dangled off of rocks and caves...the air was crisp and clean...and for those two hours, on those two days, I experienced a landscaped seemingly untouched by anyone other than me and the local deer population.  The whole experience was really quite beautiful and, yeah...it was super cool.

Riding back from the Springs, I decided to take an alternate route and pass through the alley behind the house that I grew up in.  The same alley that we would ride our bikes on as kids.  What an awesome surprise to run into  my childhood bud, Rob Clark.  Great to see you, man! -- January 13, 2018

After my super cold ride on Saturday, I drove to Pittsburgh to have dinner with my son, Alex.  We were joined by my good friend and college roommate, Chris Lowe.
After some of the best wings in the 'Burgh we headed to the Milk Shake Factory for dessert. -- January 13, 2018


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- January 17, 2018


The day before my arctic rides in Bedford, Mark was riding at Tuckahoe enjoying the 70 degree weather that temporarily brought a "Spring like" feel to south-central Pennsylvania.  70 degrees one day...single digit temps the next.  Crazy! Pic taken by Mark Lentz. -- January 12, 2018

Here are the GARMIN maps and data from the rides featured in this post...




Interested in biking or hiking some of the trails featured in this post?  Check out the TRAIL MAPS and TRAIL HEADS tabs on the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website.   

All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit HIGHPEAKSHIKING.COM and

"WRITE SOMETHING WORTH READING OR DO SOMETHING WORTH WRITING..." Ben Franklin

Monday, January 8, 2018

WINTER MOUNTAIN BIKING

Winter is a fact of life if you if you live in Pennsylvania.  The coldest and snowiest months tend to be January and February...but I've seen snow on the trails as late as mid-April.  I'm not a skier...and I'm not a fan of snow or cold...but I do like winter mountain biking. Without the foliage on the trees, it's possible see much more of the landscape, making the forests seem much more immense.  The frozen trails make the riding fast, fun, and downright exhilarating!

Riding the Parkway Trails in single digit wind chills. -- December 28, 2017

Mark Lentz and I riding Gifford Pinchot State Park in full winter gear.  -- December 27, 2017

Years ago...when I first started riding...mountain biking was seasonal for me.  I rarely (if ever) hit the trails during the winter months.  As my passion for mountain biking grew...so did my desire to keep turning the pedals no matter what time of year it is.  I've always had limits to what I would ride in.  Ice is a deal breaker for me.  But as long as I have my head covering, winter gloves, GORE jacket, and toe warmers I can tolerate below freezing temps for about 90 minutes.  I've learned quite a lot while mountain biking in the winter.  For instance, it's easier to ride on frozen trails when it's 25 degrees outside as opposed to riding on cold muddy trails when it's 35 degrees outside.  Experience has also taught me that if I plan on sipping from a camelbak while riding, the nozzle will freeze over unless I blow the remaining water back into the the bladder.   Finally, I now know (and all my friends love to remind me of this) if your derailleur freezes over and you can no longer shift gears, the best way to thaw it out is by urinating on it!

The Blizzard of 2016 led to multiple snow days.  I was able to venture out of the house and take a ride to check out a snow encased Northeastern Middle School. -- January 23, 2016
So...with the arctic winter air firmly entrenched over south-central Pennsylvania I thought I'd enlist the help of my friends and ask them to share their own winter riding knowledge and advice.  Here are their responses in the order that I received them.  Thank you, Mark, Mike, Glenn, Tim, and Matt.
Stay warm everyone!

MARK LENTZ

Mark Lentz "thumbing his nose" at the Bomb Cyclone that hit the Northeast.  Photo by Mark Lentz. -- January 4, 2018

WINTER RIDING THRESHOLD:  Below 30 degrees F. 1 hour 15 min  

ADVICE FOR WINTER RIDING:  Just try it.  Experiment with clothing.  You will most like not get it right the first time.  Layer so you can peel off...sweating is not good.

WINTER RIDING GEAR YOU CAN'T DO WITHOUT:  Winter shoes.

MOST MEMORABLE WINTER RIDE:  Two hour delay rides at Rocky Ridge...then going to work.


MIKE ALICEA

Mike Alicea taking a break during a frigid January ride in Michaux State Forest. -- January 2, 2016

WINTER RIDING THRESHOLD:  Extreme wind and cold rain will definitely halt any planned ride.

ADVICE FOR WINTER RIDING:  Always consider and prepare for all the elements you are going to endure prior to riding in the winter.  Sometimes it's just better to postpone the ride for another day.

WINTER RIDING GEAR YOU CAN'T DO WITHOUT:  Ear covers, full finger gloves, & wind proof socks.

MOST MEMORABLE WINTER RIDE:  My most memorable ride was last year...a few days before Christmas.  I was riding at Rocky Ridge and I was the only one riding at the time.  It was very peaceful, but at the same time, eerie...due to Christmas music being played slower than normal over the loudspeakers near the Christmas lights display.  It gave me a "Jason Vorhees" type of Halloween feeling. 



GLENN MEDICE

Glenn Medice in Rothrock State Forest. -- February 2008

A picture of the snow covered trails in Michaux State Forest.  Taken by Glenn Medice on a recent winter hike. -- January 5, 2018

WINTER RIDING THRESHOLD:  30 degrees, I guess.  Below that, too much work and too much clothing to stay warm and dry.

ADVICE FOR WINTER RIDING:  Plan ahead.

WINTER RIDING GEAR YOU CAN'T DO WITHOUT:  For me...an extra pair of socks and gloves.

MOST MEMORABLE WINTER RIDE:  Jim Thorpe, 2001.  First-ever winter ride.  Very cold, lots of snow.  More work than fun...but lesson learned!  Came back  later that Spring and had a blast!



TIM SINDLINGER

Tim Sindlinger in Rocky Ridge County Park. -- January 19, 2013


WINTER RIDING THRESHOLD:  30 degrees.

ADVICE FOR WINTER RIDING:  Cover your ears and make sure your hands & feet are warm enough!  Everything else will warm up during the ride.

WINTER RIDING GEAR YOU CAN'T DO WITHOUT:   Ear covers, full finger gloves, and wind proof socks.

MOST MEMORABLE WINTER RIDE:   I rode in a blizzard once.  It was stunning to look down and see the snow piling up on my thighs!  


MATT LINNANE

Matt Linnane loves to build snow caves with his kids.  It doesn't get much more cool than that! 


WINTER RIDING THRESHOLD:  90 minutes at 15 degrees...with toe warmers.

ADVICE FOR WINTER RIDING:   Layer correctly...balaclava to keep your face warm.

WINTER RIDING GEAR YOU CAN'T DO WITHOUT:  Balaclava, toe warmers.

MOST MEMORABLE WINTER RIDE:   Mt. Gretna.  Leaves off the trees and fresh tracks made it easy to find some hidden gems that I otherwise would have passed up.  Whether it be riding, ice climbing, or teaching my daughter to ski -- I LOVE WINTER!


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- January 8, 2018
What advice do you have for winter mountain biking?  Feel free to post it in the comments.

What's the best dessert you can find during the winter months in Pennsylvania?  Take a trip to the PA Farm Show in Harrisburg.  The milkshakes are unbelievable! -- January 8, 2017


Here are the GARMIN maps and data from the rides featured in this post...










Interested in biking or hiking some of the trails featured in this post?  Check out the TRAIL MAPS and TRAIL HEADS tabs on the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website.   

All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit HIGHPEAKSHIKING.COM and

"WRITE SOMETHING WORTH READING OR DO SOMETHING WORTH WRITING..." Ben Franklin