Showing posts with label Kevin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kevin. Show all posts

Saturday, January 21, 2017


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 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'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 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)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Ever since we began mountain biking Michaux State Forest in 2006 every single ride began the same way.  From the parking lot near the furnace at Pine Grove Furnace State Park we would take Benderville Road up the mountain and turn onto the ATV trails that began at the yellow gate just past the campgrounds.  The double wide trail that took us to the top of Piney Ridge forever became known to us as "the easy button"...a 500 foot climb, spread out over 3.3 miles, to the top of the ridge.  The perfect warm up for any ride.  From there we would assess our riding options.  All that changed in 2013 when Mark Lentz and I returned to the forest to do what we do best when it's just the two of us...explore.

Our explore parts of the forest that need exploring.  Dave Raymond & Mark Lentz on Woodrow Road -- June 1, 2013

Mark Lentz and Dave Raymond exploring Michaux State Forest -- June 1, 2013

The trails that Mark and I have mapped out for ourselves in Michaux are the result of three things.  One, purposeful exploring with the mindset that sometimes our rides will result in a lot of backtracking.  This was most evident on one particular ride in August of 2013 which Mark and I refer to as our "POSTED!" ride.  Every trail we tried...every turn we took..eventually took us to posted property.  On that day we rode, and then continuously had to backtrack, 18+ miles of the forest.  Rides like these can be a fact of life in Michaux...and ultimately they provide you with the knowledge of where NOT to ride.  Secondly, we began using STRAVA's segment finder to locate trails that had been ridden by others.  It's proven to be a great tool.  Finally...sometimes we just get freakin' lucky.'s a dynamite shack on Dynamite Shack Trail.  Dave Raymond & Mark Lentz -- August 21, 2013

Glenn would be proud...Mark using a trail map on an especially kool rock section near Ridge Road -- July 16, 2014

Riding the big rocks just south of Woodrow Road -- August 16, 20154

Dave Raymond and Mark Lentz exploring trails off of Ridge Road -- July 16, 2014

Our exploration during those two summers began to peel back more and more layers of the forest and unlock the magic that lies in Michaux.  Our rides now consisted of trails with names like TOM'S RUN & DYNAMITE SHACK.  I completely "got my nerd on" when Mark and I ventured into the remains of Camp Michaux.  We began to explore different offshoots of Ridge Road northeast from where we had always ridden...finding a lot of the super kool trails that have since become some of our favorites.  This spirit of exploration, which began in 2013, is ongoing.  The best part has been sharing it with others.  By the June of 2014, Mark and I had incorporated the best of what we had found into a "standard" ride...which we gladly rode many times that summer with Timmy, Kristain, Chris Keller, Mike Alicea, Kevin Hardy, and the Hake brothers...allowing them to experience same magic Mark and I had uncovered.  That special mountain biking magic you can only find in Michaux. 

To be continued...

The remains of Camp Michaux.  It was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression, served as a Japanese prisoner of war camp during World War II, and the was a church camp -- August 12, 2013

Left to Right//Top to Bottom: Tim Sindlinger & Dave Raymond; Mark Lentz, Kristain Hains, & Dave Raymond; Chris Keller; Dave Raymond & Mike Alicea; Mark Lentz, Nate Hake, Noah Hake, & Dave Raymond; Kevin Hardy -- All pics taken in 2014

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- December 13, 2016

Mark found more than ice cream at Mountain Creek Campground.  He found these super kool "old folks" sunglasses...which I guess we are just about old enough for -- July 16, 2014

GARMIN maps from a few of the rides featured:

Friday, December 9, 2016


It's a word that Mikey loves to use...SIMPLICITY.  Mountain biking stripped down to it's basic form. For four years, I'd had been riding a full suspension bike...and dealing with the mechanical problems that come with full suspension bikes. Early in 2011, I sold my 26 inch, full suspension Stumpjumper and purchased my first 29 inch mountain bike. Gone were the small wheels and rear suspension...replaced with a bike that I would ride the heck out of for next five years.  I was the last 26 inch hold out in our group...but simply stated...making the switch was one of the best mountain biking decisions I've made. 

My first ride in Michaux State Forest with my brand new 2011 Stumpjumper 29er.  An incredible ride which ended with an amazing view from the top of Pole Steeple -- July 4, 2011

My time in Michaux during 2011 and 2012 was spent mostly with Kevin Hardy, Tim Sindlinger and Chris Keller. Chris and I had met a few years before (my son and his daughter were in the same grade) and we quickly became friends.  Although his gentle and kind demeanor is what really sets Chris apart everybody else...there is no denying that the man has serious mountain biking skills.  He and I would spend the next few years riding and competing in adventure races together as TEAM WHITE SQUIRREL.

Left to right:  Chris Keller (April 7, 2012), Kevin Hardy (July 4, 2011), Dave Raymond & Kevin Hardy (July 4, 2011), Tim Sindlinger & Dave Raymond (May 5, 2012), Chris Keller (April 7, 2012), Chris Keller & Tim Sindlinger (April 7, 2012) -- All pics taken in Michaux State Forest

For the most part, I was just loving life again...and loving how my new bike handled the trails (and the rocks) in Michaux State Forest.  After years of depending on my rear suspension to get me over the technical stuff, I was now, with my new bike, just simply (there's that word again) rolling over everything in my way.  As for our rides...I was keeping things simple and focusing on the trails that I already knew.  Michaux is so damn big...and even though I knew that there had to be other stuff out there waiting to be ridden...I made up my mind that, for the time being, I would stick to what was already mapped out in my head.  The only difference now was that I had decided to do everything possible to maximize our fun...piecing together trails in an order and direction that gave us the most bang for our buck.

My 2011Stumpjumper rolling, with ease, over everything in it's path -- April 7, 2012

Descending off of Pole Steeple -- July 4, 2011

During these two years, there was one ride in particular that sticks out to me.  It's the only ride that deviated from my "maximizing fun" philosophy. For the past two years I had been dating  my now amazing wife, Robin.  Earlier in the month I had purchased a ring and planned to propose to her at the top of Tumbling of the most beautiful and scenic places in the forest.  But first, I needed to check something out.  Five years prior, when we first began riding in Michaux, Mark, Tim, & I had explored Dead Woman's Hollow Trail...which eventually wound it's way to a big rock outcropping with a nice view.  I hadn't been there for years and I wanted to make sure that Tumbling Run really was the place I wanted to propose to Robin.  On the morning of June 23, I picked Chris up at his house and explained that, unlike our recent rides at Michaux, this time I had a mission...and it wouldn't be easy.  Our ride took us out GRAVE RIDGE and then up Dead Woman's Hollow Road...a 600 foot climb in just over ONE mile!  After all that effort...and despite the nice view from the rocks at the end of Dead Woman's Hollow Trail...I decided to stick with Tumbling Run.  The ride down was pretty damn steep.  Near the bottom, Chris and I couldn't find any SIGNS OF MAINTENANCE and we had to bushwhack our way through the forest until we found Mountain Creek and trails we were familiar with.  Mission accomplished.  On the way home, we enjoyed some well earned ice cream and, the next day, I ended up with an amazing future wife.
Simply awesome.

To be continued...

Taking a well deserved rest at the top of Dead Woman's Hollow Road before turning onto Dead Woman's Hollow Trail -- June 23, 2012

Riding Dead Woman's Hollow Trail.  I forgot my gloves that day...which made a challenging ride even more difficult -- June 23, 2012

Dave Raymond & Chris Keller at the end of Dead Woman's Hollow Trail.  It's all down hill from here! -- June 23, 2012

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- December 9, 2016

I'm happy to say that, at the top of the rocks near Tumbling Run, she said "YES!" -- June 24, 2012

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Hitting rocky trails on a mountain bike is expected (especially when riding in Michaux State Forest).  You could say that Michaux is an 85,000 acre rock garden...literally a mountain biker's playground.  It's a place where grown men can ride their bikes, cast away worries, and become kids again.  Most of 2009 & 2010 was spent riding familiar trails and roads that our group had pieced together the previous three years.  One notable exception was a trail that led to a rock outcropping southwest of Forest Road.  This proved to be an extremely cool, although accidental, find.  In searching for an alternate route to the top of Tumbling Run, I stumbled upon a system of rocks that provided an amazing view of the valley below.  For the next few years this became my "standard ride" at Michaux. 

Riding "Gargamel's Trail" in Michaux State Forest.  Mark Lentz, Dave Raymond, Mikey Nardelli, & Kristian Hains -- February 2009

Our group.  From Left to Right//Top to Bottom:  Mark Lentz, Glenn Medice, Kevin Hardy, Tim Sindinger, Bill Graves, Mikey Nardelli, Kristian Hains.  I'm the squirrel with the camera! -- May 9, 2009

Tim and I getting ready to ride Michaux.  In the background you can see the remains of the iron furnace for which Pine Grove Furnace State Park gets it's name -- July 14, 2009

One of my best looking for an alternate trail to the top of Tumbling Run I came across this rock outcropping with a spectacular view -- June 7, 2009

Dave Raymond and Tim Sindlinger -- July 14, 2009

The only pic I have of me riding my carbon fiber 2009 Specialized Epic  -- July 14, 2009

Bill Graves, Dave Raymond, and Tim Sindlinger -- July 20, 2010

Riding Bear Knob near Piney Ridge -- July 20, 2010

As I look back on these pics from 2009 & 2010 I can't help but notice the smiles on our faces.  It shouldn't surprise me...we were in our "playground" after all.  What you can't see in the pics is that, for the better part of those two years, I was internalizing some personal rocky trails that I found myself on.  Our group, which had been so tight, began to unravel.  I know now that we would eventually come back together...with deeper, stronger, and more mature friendships...but it didn't make it any easier at the time.  If there is one lesson I've learned from riding in Michaux it's this...when faced with rocky trails just keep on pedaling.  You'll eventually come through safely on the other side.  We all did.

To be continued...

Friendships (and smiles) that have survived rocky trails and the test of time.  All pics taken in 2010.

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- December 7, 2016

Yes...I teach American History.  I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that today commemorates the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  If you know a World War II vet be sure to thank them for their service.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


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'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 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.


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