Saturday, November 11, 2023
Friday, November 3, 2023
Tuesday, October 10, 2023
When it comes to east coast riding, there are few spots that rival the ruggedness of Pisgah. In Pisgah, you never know when a tame-looking trail will suddenly point down at a 30% grade with washed out ruts, and to me, that's what makes it special. My brother had never been to Pisgah before this trip, and when he was asking what Pisgah was like, that's how I described it: it goes from 0-60 in the blink of an eye. Just ride down Turkey Pen Trail, or hike your bike up Middle Black Trail, and you'll know what I mean.
Alright, so now to the actual race. The Pisgah 111 is Pisgah's endurance MTB race, and it get's its name form being roughly 111 kilometers, or 68.9722 miles for those who don't habla. Actual distance may vary.
In terms of average speed, it's the slowest race I've done this year, except for maybe Stage 5 Wheeler Pass of Breck Epic. Even Marji Gesick, which with a wheel sensor is 115 miles, took me 11.5 hours, meaning an average speed of exactly 10 mph. The Pisgah 111 took me 7 hours and 23 minutes, and being only about 67 miles (with a wheel sensor), that's an average speed of just north of 9 mph. Like I said, Pisgah is very tough.
|Left to right: Chad, Chris, Hamburger, Ryan|
Monday, September 25, 2023
Wednesday, September 20, 2023
|The buckle class of 2023|
Wednesday, September 13, 2023
Tuesday, September 5, 2023
|Dan, me, Stick|
Monday, August 28, 2023
Alright, so maybe it wasn't all party, but it was pretty dang fun.
Picking up where I left off, it was now time for stage three. This is the day I crashed on last time, so in the back of my head, I just wanted to finish this stage strong. There's nothing particularly crazy in terms of danger about this day, but still, I was getting in my own head. Luckily, all those feelings immediately go away when I put my leg over the bike on the start line.
|The Pittsburgh (plus Ohio) singlespeed gang on Boreas Pass. One of the best memories ever.|
I don't want to over-hype this stage, but to me, stage three is certainly the hardest day. I kept this in mind as we rolled out of the start line, and I did well managing my effort on the first long climb. It was mostly rideable with only a little hiking, which meant I stayed in good position going into the big climb up French Pass.
Tuesday, August 22, 2023
Friday, August 11, 2023
The first real destination for the family trip was the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Zach and I were determined to do a ride from the park, so we set off on a dirt (well, actually, sand) road toward Medano Pass. It ended up being a lot more challenging than anticipated, and we had to hike quite a bit in the sand. After airing my tires down to about 10 or 12 psi, I was able to ride a little bit more, but there was still a lot of hiking. Thankfully, the road got more hard-packed as went along and we were able to ride most of it as we approached the pass itself. The road kicked up quite a bit – probably around 20% grade – and I had to briefly get off and walk. That being said, I surprised myself with how much I was able to ride, especially at nearly 10,000 feet elevation.
|Patch of snow just below Rolling Pass, a good cover picture|
Thursday, August 10, 2023
I was halfway up Boreas Pass Road, sitting on my cooler on the side of the road with my guitar in hand. A woman in a car came driving down the road from above and slowed down when she saw me. Long hair, a guitar, an unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt, and a dusty Subaru Outback with two bikes on the back: I was certainly a sight to behold.
The lady’s window was down, and she yelled out to me, in a friendly way, “you’re doing it right!”
I just smiled and said, “thank you”, and she continued her way down the pass.
It got me thinking, though, about how fortunate I am. As I write this now, I’m sitting on the side of Boreas Pass Road – perhaps a mile below where I was playing guitar – and staring out at vast mountains and the town of Breckenridge in their shadow. I’m lucky to be able to do this. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve saved up money, I’ve planned out these trips for months, but still, there’s a big part of me that realizes how out-of-the-ordinary my life has been these past few years.
|My view from where I was writing|
Of course, there’s always two sides to every coin. Most times when you see people out traveling – or biking – or whatever – you only see what they want you to see. You see the magnificent views, the pristine singletrack, and clear sailing ahead. What you don’t see is not taking a shower for a few days, not eating a meal at a restaurant in the same time, and spending nights camping off the sides of forest roads to save money on campsites.
That’s not to downplay how much I’m enjoying the time I’m spending, and it's not to justify my life to anyone. I love those forest road campsites, and cooking ramen on a jet-boil in the evening is oddly satisfying. Even the ultimate dirtbag move, not showering for a few days, is something I’ve gotten used to and it’s become part of the routine. Now, trust me, the second I get a chance to shower, I take it. I even use soap, too. It’s not like I’m a dirty person (despite what my mom says), but when I’m out traveling, I’ve learned that I can sacrifice many comforts of civilized life to stretch my budget a little further, and the more I travel, the more I realize there are a lot of people with that same mindset.
This is all very situationally dependent. I’m in college (yes, still) and I save up as much money as possible during the school year so that I can travel in the summer. To me, money is limited, but in the summer, time isn’t. But as I said, it’s situationally dependent. When I get a job and have more responsibilities of adulthood, time won’t be quite as abundant. My hope, though, is that money might be a little bit less scarce. If that’s the case, I probably won’t be sleeping in my car at rest stops or eating tuna packs and tortillas for lunch. My hope is that even if time becomes more limited, having just a little bit more money can help pay for expediency. Instead of driving to California, maybe I’d fly there and rent a car. More expensive? Sure. But it saves time. I guess what I’m trying to say, and I’m telling myself this as much as I’m writing it for the reader, is that I feel confident that I will never let the feeling I have right now slip away.
Thursday, August 3, 2023
|Blogger chooses first picture to be the thumbnail, and this is a pretty cool picture of Agate Creek Trail off of the Monarch Crest|
Monday, July 31, 2023
Hundred-mile mountain bike races are pretty cool. That seems like such a platitude, and it is, but still, it feels worthwhile to say. It's the perfect mix of physical suffering, accomplishment, and hanging out with friends old and new. The Wilderness 101 is the epitome of those feelings, and it's a race that will always be special to me.
If you don't want to read any of my pre-pre-amble, you could scroll down to the race start line photo for the actual race recap. But, I would encourage you to read on. Or not. This website actually costs me money, and the more views I get, the more it encourages me to keep spending money on the domain. So actually, maybe stop reading now. Bless and thank. But anyways...
Chris Scott and Shenandoah Mountain Touring do a phenomenal job of turning the sleepy little town of Coburn, Pennsylvania into a mountain bike party for the better part of three days, and with the strong field of riders and countless friends that came this year, it was an especially rad party.
|100 mile SS podium, from L to R: Joe, Kevin, me, David, Nate|
Sunday, July 9, 2023
|Mid Mountain Trail (L); climbing up to Mid Mountain Trail near the Olympic Park (R)|
Sunday, July 2, 2023
My next destination on the road trip was Sundance, Wyoming. It’s a small town in the western side of the Black Hills, only a few miles from the South Dakota border. My drive there took me through South Dakota (my first time ever in SD!) and Montana before making my way into Wyoming. The drive was actually interesting, and it included around 30 miles of driving on a gravel road in Montana. I even stopped at Devil's Tower in Wyoming to do a little hike and check out the unique rock formation.
Once I got to Sundance, I grabbed some ice from a gas station for my cooler, and made my way to a national forest campground. I got set up, and then went out for a little ride. I was extremely, let me emphasize, extremely, tired from my rides in North Dakota.