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Showing posts with label American Standard Trail. Show all posts
Showing posts with label American Standard Trail. Show all posts

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

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

BEAR NECESSITIES, Pt. 2: NATURE CALLS

American Standard Trail, located near Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, is one of the most famous mountain biking trails in Pennsylvania.  Mountain bikers from all over the world make the pilgrimage to ride this rocky, twisty, 18+ mile single track just to see (and more than likely take a selfie with) the American Standard urinal that somehow managed to find it's way eight miles deep into forests of eastern Pennsylvania!

American Standard Trail.  Dave R, Glenn M, Mike N, Mark L, Bill G, & Kevin H -- 2008

Needless to say...it's not everyday that  you find a "bathroom" in the middle of the woods...and it's the reason why I've come to appreciate trailheads that have public facilities.  Spending as much time as I do in the woods, I fully understand that the restrooms in state forests, state parks, & county parks can be sketchy at best.  My first memory of experiencing a DCNR (that's Pennsylvania Department of  Conservation & Natural Resources) bathroom was as a small child growing up in Bedford, Pennyslvania.  In the summertime my mom and dad would take my brother and I to Shawnee State Park.  We would spend long, hot days there swimming in the lake and playing in the sand.  At a very young age, I learned quickly, if at all possible, to avoid the cinder block bathroom up on the hill which emanated a smell that seemed unnatural.

That old cinder block bathroom at Shawnee Lake is on the left.  This pic was taken in 1973.  My mom (pregnant with me) is on the left.  I assume the little girl in the middle is my cousin, Kristen.  My Aunt Deb is on the right.

More than 30 years later I would come across that smell again.  This time at Pine Grove Furnace State Park.  We joked (half seriously) that you could SEE the smell surrounding the green "bathroom" located adjacent to the remains of the old iron furnace.  Whether the green hue was real or imagined...there was no denying that smell was real.  Adding to the charm, we entered the facility armed with our own paper, a flashlight, and a can of hornet spray to fend off dive bombing bees and wasps as we completed our business.  That structure is no longer there...replaced by a modern facility...which is much cleaner but somehow lacks the same character as it's predecessor.  

The facilities (old and new) at Pine Grove Furnace State Park.

Just down the road from Pine Grove Furnace State Park, located in the heart of Michaux State Forest, you will find the Big Flat parking lot.  The facilities there leave a little to be desired.  I have no idea why they even bother to label them male & female.  Does it really matter? -- August 12, 2016

Up until two years ago there were no public facilities at Swatara State Park.  To hit the trails, Tim and I would usually just park along side the highway and hope that nature didn't come calling.  Now, at the TROUT RUN TRAILHEAD, you will find a new restroom.  I have two comments...1. Thank you, DCNR.  2. The baby changing station is darn close to the hole. -- March 5, 2016

The facilities at the York County Parks range from this super huge restroom at Rocky Ridge to this outhouse tucked away underneath a wooden shelter at the Lakes.

Nothing but an old school outhouse at Mark's cabin near State College, PA.  It also came equipped with a ladle shower! -- August 2007

Wherever we go I just expect the worst...and frankly, I'm not sure if anything could ever be worse than that old green building at Pine Grove Furnace.  Ranging from old to new, filthy to "it's not so bad", cramped to "Hey! I can move around in here"...we've experienced it all.  Yes, every once in a while we find ourselves at a trailhead without a bathroom.  In that case, the old male saying "The world is our urinal" holds true.  And remember....if nature calls and more than a urinal is needed...the second tree to the left and out of sight usually works out just fine.*


Just be discrete...like a bear in the woods.

Life is a journey...not a destination.


David A. Raymond -- November 30, 2016
*In all seriousness...if you need to do your business in the woods be sure LEAVE NO TRACE and follow the guidelines set up by the Center For Outdoor Ethics on how to properly dispose of your...uh...poop.

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Suitable for some serious  GROUP THERAPY...you'll need to travel all the way to Jerome, Arizona to find this set of outdoor thrones -- January 21, 2014

Sunday, November 27, 2016

BEAR NECESSITIES, Pt. 1: FINDING SUSTENANCE

"Here eat this..."  With that, I devoured the mashed up marshmallow and peanut butter sandwich that Mark had pulled out of his Camelbak.  It was, to the best of my recollection, the only time that I have ever truly "bonked."  Halfway up a seemingly endless fire road on a mountain near State College, Pennsylvania I got off of my bike and laid down.  No mas!  I had nothing left and I needed something to eat...now.  In those early years of what would become our "big rides" I really didn't have much of an idea of how to properly eat before a ride and what to pack for the ride.  Hence...there I was lying wasted on a dusty fire road eating my friend's peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich!

Like bears in the woods, we all have different ways of finding sustenance on the trail.  Pictured from top left to right (top row first): Glenn Medice, Tim Sindlinger, Mark Lentz, Kristian Hains, Dave Raymond, Mike Nardelli, Bill Graves, Matt Linnane, & Kevin Hardy.  

Over the years I perfected my morning pre-ride meals...trying everything from pancakes to strawberry Pop Tarts.  I've landed on scrambled eggs and a bowl of Cheerios with an apple, a banana, and black coffee.  For the actual ride, I've learned (after trying Power Bars, Cliff Bars, and so many other things) that simply packing plenty of almonds, beef jerky, and water will sustain me for a long time...even while hiking for hours in the 115 degree Arizona heat!  Each one of us is unique in what we pack for a ride...Timmy wouldn't be Timmy without his gummy snacks...Kevin always had his sandwiches...Bill introduced me to Nature Valley bars...Kristian carries bacon jerky ...and thankfully, on that one day, Mark had a peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich stashed away in his pack.


Mikey and Kevin feasting on beef jerky and Nature Valley bars while taking a break on American Standard Trail -- 2008


Kristian and Glenn pausing to eat while riding the Allegrippis Trails near Raystown Lake -- August 2, 2016


Kevin eating his brown bag lunch at the base of Telephone Trail in Rothrock State Forest -- 2008


Bacon Jerky...Kristian's snack of choice.  Michaux State Forest -- October 30, 2016


Matt and Glenn filling up in Michaux State Forest -- July 26, 2016

Like bears in the woods, we've searched and found sustenance, too.  I've reluctantly filled my water bottles with garden hose water from random cabins we've stumbled across...praying that I wouldn't be accused of trespassing or stealing..and that I wouldn't get horribly sick!  On hot mid-summer days there's nothing like taking a break in a ride to go scavenging for the wild blueberries that can be found near the trails in the mountains of central Pennsylvania.  


Mikey and Mark eating wild blue berries in Raymond B. Winter State Park -- July 13, 2011

Sustenance; however, is always more than plentiful on our camping trips or time spent at Mark's cabin in State College.  At best, we come away from those trips "calorie neutral!"  If Mark is along with us he takes charge of preparing food for the entire group.  From venison steak in West Virginia to bratwurst in North Carolina...it's outdoor cooking at it's finest!  Enough to fully satisfy a hungry group of friends after a long day of mountain biking.  And, sometimes...like bears venturing out of the woods and into backyards of housing developments searching for food...we stumble across amazing places to eat in the local communities near our campgrounds...finding plenty of sustenance all around us.  


Bill, Mikey, Dave, & Glenn waiting for Mark to finish preparing dinner on our first camping/mountain biking trip together. This dinner was most remembered for the tame deer residing in the campgrounds watching us eat venison for dinner! Blackwater Falls, West Virginia -- June 2007


Mark preparing dinner in Raymond B Winter State Park -- July 13, 2011


Mark and Dave enjoying dinner and a camp fire at Mark's cabin near State College, Pennsylvania -- June 28, 2014


Finally a skillet worthy of Mark's skills! -- April 19, 2014


Bill and I stumbled upon an all-you-can-eat buckwheat dinner in Ohiopyle, Pennyslvania.  Just what we needed after a day of mountain biking the Sugarloaf Trails in Ohiopyle State Park -- April 2009

Sometimes food is the reward for the ride!  All of Butch Ulrich's adventure races had plenty of catered eats at the end of each event.  I happily ate up the post-race food after the 2010 French Creek Fling in French Creek State Park -- October 10, 2010

For me, all trails DO lead to ice cream...but sustenance can be found in a lot of places and forms along the way.  Yep...even in the form of a smashed up peanut butter & marshmallow sandwich.  Yum.

Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- November 27, 2016
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For trail maps, directions to trail heads, favorite ice cream shops, & all of our ride pics...be sure to check out the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website.
Glenn found the ice cream! -- August 2, 2016

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

THE WONDERS OF THE WOODS -- April 27, 2016

Nature is amazing and mountain biking has given me an incredible mode in which to experience it.  I've seen an owl swoop down out of a tree and attempt to pick up a red fox.  I've seen a hawk come out of no where to snatch up a black snake that was sunning itself of the trail.  I've seen deer and black bears.  I've watched a snake eat a toad and wild turkeys run defiantly thought the woods. I've watched Tim play with turtles and Glenn throw rocks at rattlesnakes.  I've videoed dung beetles rolling a chunk of crap across a trail and even taken selfies with horses.

I yielded the trail to this horse and it's rider.  After a nice conversation (with the rider) the horse seemed comfortable enough with me to take a selfie -- June 1, 2014

There is no shortage of deer in Potapsco Valley State Park, MD -- July 10, 2012

Timmy likes his turtles -- July 20, 2010

This black snake was so large (approximately 5 feet) that, until I ran over it while riding at Rocky Ridge, I thought it was a branch laying on the trail -- August 19, 2015

I hate snakes.   There's no way for me to over state that.  I can recognize black snakes...but when I see something like this I run like a little girl.  Timmy and I saw this one coming out of the tunnel at the Lakes -- April 18, 2015

Yes.  This is a rattlesnake attempting to eat a toad.  I did not stick around long enough to see if he finished his meal -- June 28, 2009

Billy found jaw bone of a deer at the top of Dead Woman's Hollow Road in Michaux State Forest -- May 22, 2010

Billy, Tim, & I paused for a few minutes to watch these two dung beetles roll their prize across the trail...no shit.  Check out the video below!  --  May 22, 2010

You would expect to find deer and snakes and even dung beetles in the woods...but it's the man made structures, objects, and oddities that have intrigued and perplexed me.  As a history teacher, I'm completely taken back by, and appreciative of, the amount of "lost history" that can be discovered (and sometimes uncovered) in the woods.   Thanks to my friend, Mark, I've learned how to spot what is left of a lot of these structures.  The wonders of the woods aren't limited to just the wildlife.  Sometimes they open a window to the past and the people who lived and worked there.

A spring house located in the mountains near Raymond B. Winter State Park -- July 14, 2011

While biking in Raymond B. Winter State Park, Mark, Mikey, and I came across this huge amphitheater built into the mountainside -- July 13, 2011

A stone fountain that once greeted visitors (or Japanese prisoners in WWII) coming into Camp Michaux.  Located in Michaux State Forest -- August 12, 2013

Remains of a structure on the grounds that once were Camp Michaux.  Located in Michaux State Forest -- August 12, 2013
For a map of a self-guided walking tour of Camp Michaux click here.

Somebody build this Lean To on the ridge near Chickies Rock in Lancaster County, PA -- April 13, 2014

A water spillway built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.  Located in Penn Roosevelt State Park -- June 27, 2014

Abandoned structures litter the hillsides above the remnants of an old flour mill in Potapsco Valley State Park, MD -- December 28, 2015

These old abandoned houses can be found in the middle of Potapsco Valley State Park, MD -- December 30, 2013

On Dynamite Shack Trail you will find an actual dynamite shack.  Located in Michaux State Forest-- August 21, 2013

This barren spot in the hillside is a charcoal terrace.  A charcoal platform (or terrace) will appear as a flat area, usually 10-15 meters across.  They were active in the mid-to-late 1800s and early 1900s to make charcoal to use as fuel in iron furnaces.  The technique was to cut cord wood in four foot lengths and stack it in a sort of tepee arrangement.  A hole was left in the middle of the stack for a chimney.  The whole stack was then covered in dirt.  Burning logs were thrown in the chimney, and the pile of wood cooked for about two weeks until is was turned into charcoal.

What remains of the Pine Grove Iron Furnace.  Located in Pine Grove Furnace State Park -- July 2014

This is salamander...no not a little green animal...but the waste residue that would build up in the bottom of an iron furnace.  That's some heavy metal!  Located in Pine Grove Furnace State Park -- July 2014
There is more though.  More than the animals you would expect and the man made structures from long ago.  Every now and then, while mountain biking, we come across something that just makes us scratch our heads.  Things that beg the question, "Who the hell put this here?"  These are the things that sometimes bring the biggest smiles to our faces.

Merry Christmas...mountain biking style!  Brent and I came across this random tree, deep in the woods of Potapsco Valley State Park, all decked out for the holidays -- December 28, 2015

I still have no idea what this is...but Tim, Billy, and I found it east of Piney Ridge in Michaux State Forest -- July 20, 2010

I know that we are just one of many groups to take American Standard Trail to find the urinal nailed to the tree.  Located near Jim Thorpe, PA -- July 2008

Mark Lentz and I found this old gas pump deep in the wood of Potapsco Valley State Park .   I'm convinced that, if Mark could have fit it into his Camelbak, that pump would be at his house! -- August 13, 2015

Someone found it necessary to carve seats out of these tree stumps in Potapsco Valley State Park, MD -- August 2, 2011

My all time favorite find...this golf cart is located in Potapsco Valley State Park, MD.  Next time I drive, Tim! -- June 26, 2012

Life is a journey, not a destination.


David A. Raymond -- April 27, 2016

The last thing I ever thought I would find in the woods...my mountain bike with a sign that read "4-SALE or Trade for Russian Bride & Dog."  Thanks Mark, Glenn, & Kristian!  August 2008