Showing posts with label Stumpjumper. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stumpjumper. Show all posts

Thursday, November 15, 2018


People love Hershey, Pennsylvania.  It is, after all, designated as the "Sweetest Place on Earth."  Twice, within the past two weeks, I've made the thirty-ish mile trip from York to Hershey, to ride the area's sweetest new attraction...a brand new, super cool mountain bike trail system located directly behind the Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

My Stumpjumper resting near trail W3 on the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Trail System. -- November 3, 2018

Thanks to SAMBA (Susquehanna Area Mountain Bike Association)...the same group that put together the Parkway Trails in Harrisburg, PA...I now have another place to add to my list of local spots to mountain bike.  Tim and I made our first visit to the HMC Trail System two weeks ago.  Neither one of us knew exactly what to expect...but we  knew that this would be something special from the moment we left the parking lot.  The first thing we came across was an outdoor "lounge" equipped with chairs, recliners, a table, and trail maps.  The place brought a smile to our faces before we even got onto the single track!

Just a few feet out of the parking lot, you come across this super cool "lounge" just prior to jumping onto the single track. -- November 3, 2018

This ten mile trail system is compact, twisty, and  Speaking for myself, the most surprising aspect of the trails was the condition that they were in.  I visited the HMC Trail System the past two Saturday mornings...each of those mornings came after days of torrential rain.  I (and I assume Tim, too) expected an absolute mud-fest.  That's not what we experienced though.  Any water that may have been there the day before had drained off leaving the trails in great condition...another testament to the trail building skills of SAMBA.  The trail system is split into the East and West side...with the trails on each side numbered 1-5.  We came across a few rock gardens...but, for the most part, Tim and I experienced nothing but fun, fast, twisty single track that was nicely marked, labeled, and expertly built into the surrounding landscape.  

A map of the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Trail System.  You can view and download the map HERE

The twisty trail system in incredibly well marked.  The trails are categorized as BEGINNER (green), ADVANCED (blue), and EXPERT (black).  --  November 3, 2018

The build-ups along the trail system are consistently perfect. -- November 3, 2018

Tim Sindlinger and I pedaling down the single track that is expertly carved into the landscape. -- November 3, 2018

Tim took this pic of me on the HMC Trail System. -- November 3, 2018

Tim Sindlinger navigating the leaf covered trails. -- November 3, 2018

Tim Sindlinger and Dave Raymond enjoying the HMC Trail System.  -- November 3, 218

My Stumpjumper blending into the surrounding landscape. -- November 10, 2018

Two weeks ago, our time schedule didn't allow for Tim and I to ride more than half of the HMC Trail I headed back last week on my own to ride the rest of the trails.  What appeals to me the most about this new set of trails is that they are directional, well maintained, and meant for mountain biking.  I also noticed that the entire area was posted as NO HUNTING.  Please don't hate...(I'm not against hunting in any way, shape, or form)...but I am pretty excited to know that I  now have a local place for me to do my "thing" when the hunters are out doing their "thing."  And...if I have to drive to Hershey to do it...that's ok with me.  Those trails are pretty sweet.

Heading home after a sweet ride on the HMC Trail System. -- November 10, 2018

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- November 15, 2018

One of my favorite Hershey memories...back in 2013, my brother, sister-in-law, and my nieces & nephew were visiting from Arizona.  One of the must stops for the kids was Hershey's Chocolate World.  Left to right:  Jacob, Kristi, Isaac, David, Robin, Alex, Jackie, and Sophie Raymond.  -- July 5, 2013

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Here's the GARMIN maps and data from my first two rides on the HMC TRAIL SYSTEM.  Happy biking!

All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit the good folks at YOUR TRUE NATUREGUNG HO BIKESPENNSYLVANIA DCNR, and PA PARKS and FORESTS FOUNDATION.


Sunday, October 21, 2018


2.1 miles into our Friday afternoon ride at Rocky Ridge, Tim and Adam found me dazed and sitting on a bench  located on Trail #2 at Rocky Ridge County Park with a look of exasperation on my face.  2.1 miles into our ride...and I had twice already ended up sandwiched between my bike and the rock gardens that make up trails #8 and #9 in the lower sections of the park.  No ride is a bad ride...but some are, as we all know, rougher than others.  2.1 miles into this particular ride I seemed to be doing everything wrong...the lines I chose to ride were questionable and any level of mountain biking skill I've acquired through the years mysteriously seemed to have taken the afternoon off.

My Stumpjumper resting on one of the hundreds of boulders that make up the landscape around trails #8 and #9 at Rocky Ridge County Park. -- October 19, 2018

I'm really not sure what I expected.  I had been on those very trails a few weeks ago and I knew the condition they were in after all the flooding that occurred here in York County last month.  When Tim and Adam caught up to me and found me sitting there on that bench I was taking a breather, trying to compose myself, and half-heartedly contemplating a nice leisurely hike-a-bike back to the Cruz.  Looking up at my friends, with a stupid smirk on my face, I asked them if they wanted to ride that first 2.1 miles again.  

Tim took this pic of me...looking a little shaken...sitting on Trail #2 at Rocky Ridge.  No ride is a bad ride...but some are rougher than others. -- October 19, 2018

Tim and Adam navigating a rock garden at Rocky Ridge County Park. -- October 19, 2018

The second half of our ride was a little less technical. -- October 19, 2018

I'm not one to ever quit anything...let alone walk away from a mountain bike we pedaled on....putting those first 2.1 miles behind us.  The next four miles flowed much more smoothly than the first two and seemed more typical...albeit, a little slower than usual.  In my head, I had plotted a route back to the parking lot that would maximize our fun and eliminate any major climbs (my body was beginning to feel the effects of hitting the ground twice).  With just a mile to go we crossed paths with another mountain biker, Justin.  It was his first time on the trails at Rocky Ridge and he needed directions back to the parking lot.  Tim, Adam, and I introduced ourselves and invited him to join us on our last leg...and he did.  I hope we run into him on the trails again soon.  It was a super cool way to end a ride that began so ominously.  I was feeling so much better than I was just under an hour ago... sitting on that bench...2.1 miles into our ride.

All smiles...just moments before the first of my two "accidents" on Friday.  Tim Sindlinger, Dave Raymond, and Adam Zeigler -- October 19, 2018

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- October 21, 2018

I spent my Saturday relaxing....the most physically taxing thing I did all day was a little pumpkin carving with my good friend, Mike Graham. -- October 20, 2018

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Here's the Garmin map and data from my rough ride at Rocky Ridge County Park with Tim and Adam...Happy (and hopefully, smooth) riding!

All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit the good folks at YOUR TRUE NATUREGUNG HO BIKESPENNSYLVANIA DCNR, and PA PARKS and FORESTS FOUNDATION.


Friday, October 5, 2018


Today was an uncharacteristically bad day.  I really do live a charmed life....I have an amazing wife, awesome family, good friends, two great jobs, and plenty of time to ride my bike...but today was unusually rough.  As much as possible, I try to start my weekend off with a ride (road or mountain...doesn't matter) but today, when I got home, opened the garage door, and walked passed my bike I wasn't finding my typical motivation.  For half an hour, I putzed around the house before I had the motivation to even walk back into the garage.  The ironic thing is that I KNOW that a bike ride ALWAYS makes me feel better...but I was having a such hard time getting out for my usually Friday afternoon ride.  Then, a thought flashed through my head..."You know, that bike isn't going to ride itself."  So, with that, I slowly gathered my stuff and headed over to Rocky Ridge.

I was having a hard time getting motivated to do anything today.  Walking into the house I had to pass my bike hanging in the garage.  It wasn't going to ride itself... -- October 5, 2018

Typically, I love mountain biking with my friends...but today I was solo and looking for a little calm.  I set out for a slow ride on some of the easier trails in the park.  A few miles in, I found a spot to sit, decompress, soak in a some Vitamin N, and call my  wife.  After a few minutes of seclusion, cool October air, and encouraging words from Robin,  I was feeling much better.  As usual, a little mountain biking therapy did the trick.  Putting my helmet back on, I looked over at my bike and thought...again..."Well, that thing isn't going to ride itself."  Off I went, pedaling back towards the Cruz, finishing my ride in much better spirits than I was previously in.

I stopped a few miles into my ride at Rocky Ridge to take a break, decompress, and call my wife.  It was some good...and much needed...therapy. -- October 5, 2018

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- October 5, 2018

It's good to have Alex home from school this weekend.  By time I got home, he was pulling a couple pizzas out of the oven for the two of us.  I'm happy to be spending a relaxing evening at home with him.  -- October 5, 2018

Feel free to give me a FOLLOW on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM

Here's the GARMIN map and data from my much needed therapy at Rocky Ridge County Park...Happy riding!

All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit the good folks at YOUR TRUE NATUREGUNG HO BIKESPENNSYLVANIA DCNR, and PA PARKS and FORESTS FOUNDATION.


Sunday, July 30, 2017


When one thinks of mountain biking...Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is not the first thing that comes to mind.  About a year ago, when Mark told me that there was single track along the Capital Area Green Belt, I was more than a little skeptical.  Over the last two years, SAMBA (Susquehanna Area Mountain Biking Association) has converted the wooded areas around the Green Belt into the Parkway Trails Network...some of the most surprisingly cool mountain bike single track in the area!  There's definately an urban feel to it...nearly 10 miles of trail, which enter and exit from the Green Belt, ranging from intermediate level to expert.  The Parkway Trails blend the natural, wooded areas along Spring Creek with the urban setting of Pennsylvania's capital city, Harrisburg.  After adding the rail trail section of the Green Belt (which connect the trail network) you can easily pedal for more than 15 miles!  

My 2016 Specialized Stumpjumer resting on the wall next to the railroad tracks in Phoenix Park...part of the Capital Area Green Belt -- July 26, 2017

Mark (front) and Glenn riding out Phoenix Park on the bridge overtop of the railroad tracks.  Glenn's taking notice of the "High Voltage Do Not Touch" signs posted on the sides of the bridge. -- July 26, 2017

Riding a super cool section of the Green Belt near the Harrisburg Incinerator -- June 27, 2017

Near the Harrisburg Incinerator we spotted a few deer along the fence -- July 26, 2017

Probably my favorite trail along the Green Belt, SAMBA did an excellent job carving PAX 4 into the side of the ridge.  Mark Lentz can be seen in the distance riding the trail -- July 26, 2017

A memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr is located on the Cameron Parkway East section of the Green Belt.  The only way to access the memorial is via the Capital Area Green Belt...which provides a quite setting for visitors -- June 27, 2017

Mark checking out the view above Spring Creek along the Cameron Parkway side of the Geen Belt -- June 26, 2017

Glenn is all smiles after his first ride on the the Green Belt.  No doubt that we will be back! -- July 27, 2017

For sure, there's no day dreaming on these trails. Along the way you will climb, descend, ride build ups, navigate switchbacks, and pedal slippery stream crossings.  Mark, Glenn, and I rode inches from industrialized areas of Harrisburg yet we observed three dear within feet of us.  I'm no longer skeptical of the single track in Harrisburg...and neither is Glenn (who is skeptical of anything "new" Mark brings to the table).  The uniqueness of the trails (blending the best of all worlds), the proximity to home, and the shear joy of riding along the twisty and smooth trails carved into the city have made the Green Belt and Parkway Trails one of my new favorite destinations.  It's a safe bet that it won't be long until we'll be back in Harrisburg for some more urban mountain biking.  

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A.  Raymond -- July 30, 2017

According to Mark, "S" is for Specialized and "N" is for 'Niner.  The South Harrisburg Wall Project near the tracks in Phoenix Park were funded by the Penn Cumberland Garden Club -- Pics taken on June 26 and July 27, 2017

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

Saturday, April 15, 2017


Late last week I got the news I'd been waiting (and hoping) for.  With the blessing of my surgeon and family doctor I was given permission to get back on my bicycle!  I'll admit that I've been just as nervous as I've been excited.  I was told that I could "ease back into it" by my surgeon, Dr. Salotto.  My wife, who is pretty convinced that I'm incapable of easing into anything, held her breath as I clipped in for the first time in six months.

A little pre-ride celebration!  My first ride since October...and I wouldn't have done it with anyone else!  Thanks for coming with me, Sweetheart! -- April 9, 2017

I think she was surprised when I suggested a short 3 mile ride home from the middle school where I teach after we dropped my truck off for my son.  As far as I'm concerned...that's "easing into it."  What a feeling it was getting back on my bike.  I really missed this...the sense of freedom...the wind in my face...the simple joy of riding my bike!  I made that trip from school twice this week...the second time coming when I commuted home from school on Wednesday.  

The best 5 miles of mountain biking ever!  Mark, Glenn, and I at the Lakes.  Thanks for waiting for us, Mark! -- April 11, 2017

The real test came on Tuesday when I met Mark and Glenn at the Lakes for the best 5 mile mountain bike ride I've ever taken.  Pulling into the lot near the Lake Redman dam I could feel the nervousness in my stomach.  An easy ride home from school is one thing...but a trail ride (even the easiest trail ride I could possibly imagine) is a whole different beast.  Mark, Glenn, and I took trails 4 and 2 around Lake Williams with no problem whatsoever.  

All smiles with Glenn at the Lakes...Glenn because he had a new bike and me because I'm back on my bike.  It's great to be out riding! -- April 14, 2017

2B (or not, 2B).  Yep...let's ride trail 2B at the Lakes.  Glenn Medice & Dave Raymond -- April 14, 2017

Glenn and I returned to the Lakes on Friday morning for another ride.  The pace was slow...but the ride was amazing.  We rode the same loop the we took with Mark on Tuesday and added a little more to the mix.  I was happy to be out and not in pain...and Glenn was happy to be out on his brand new carbon Epic 29er (which, he claims, will be the last bike he buys...this year!)  Ultimately, we added an extra 3 miles to the 5 mile loop we did earlier in the week.  It was a perfect morning to be out on the trails mountain biking...and, with each pedal stroke, I could feel my confidence growing and my nervousness dissipating.  

First ride on my Roubaix.  A quick 7 mile ride around Manchester, PA -- April 13, 2017

The view from my road ride up Starview Road.  Through the blossoms on the trees you can spot Three Mile Island (on the left) and PPL Power Plant (on the right). -- April 15, 2017 

My road bike managed to come down from the wall in the garage this week, too!  Again...not many miles...but who cares.  I forgot how amazing I feel, both mentally and physically, when I'm on my bike.  I made it out for two road rides.  On Thursday I managed to sneak in my first ride since October before my son's baseball game.  It was an easy 7 miles around the industrial parks near my house.  Today, I got out for an easy 10 miles...highlighted by the view of the blossoms in full bloom in the orchards overlooking Three Mile Island nuclear power plant and PPL Power Plant.
  Spring is definitely taking over south central Pennsylvania...bringing with it a sense of new beginnings.  I can't help but see the parallels.  This Spring season I can definitely feel a sense of renewal and rejuvenation.  A kind of rejuvenation that only comes from the simple joy of riding a bike.  It's great to be back!

I've been allowed to ride my bike now for a week.  I managed to turn my pedals 6 of those 7 days.  I couldn't think of a better way to end the week than to take a bike ride to the BOBCAT CREAMERY with my wife, Robin, and my son, Alex, for one of the Creamery's amazing root beer floats.  Yep...ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM! -- April 15, 2017

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- April 15, 2017's great to be back.  Just soaking it all in at the Lakes. -- April 14, 2017

Here's a list of GARMIN maps and stats from a few of the rides featured in this post.  I know they are short (mileage wise) but hey...I'm easing back into it!

April 11, 2017 -- Best 5 mile mountain bike ride...EVER!  With Mark & Glenn at the Lakes.

April 13, 2017 -- First post-surgery road ride on my Roubaix.

April 14, 2017 -- More mountain biking fun at the Lakes with Glenn.

April 15, 2017 -- Road ride up Starview Road to the orchards.

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.