Tuesday, September 6, 2022

A Not-Shenandoah Bike Weekend

I was all signed up for the Shenandoah 100km/100mi double-up when the email about camping at Stokesville being canceled came out. Oof. Not ideal, but Thad and I decided to split a hotel room along with Rob and Chrissy. 

The next day, I get a text from Rob saying "I hope that hotel was refundable".

I knew exactly what he meant, and I opened up my email to find that the Shenandoah 100 was completely canceled. Well, there goes my plans for the weekend. I guess the good news is that since Dicky and I won't be racing at the same venue with our similar full squashy abominations we call "sangle speeds", mebbe behk gods not so angry.

Note, this was not my plan for the weekend. But still a plan nonetheless.

Before long my phone was blowing with messages from people asking if I had heard the race was canceled. Somewhere in the flurry of messages I texted Will saying it was canceled, and it ended up working out for him to come up to my apartment in State College for a long (extra long because of Labor Day) weekend. As sad as I was about Shenandoah, a long weekend of Rothrock riding never disappoints.

On Thursday evening I rode with Thom Parsons (DirtWireTV) on the Bald Knob trails. To me, they're the rockiest and most fun trails mile-for-mile in the area. Unsurprisingly, Thom cleaned all the technical rock gardens, we rode the tougher alternate line on Bald Knob Ridge, and Thom even cleaned a steep rock garden that I've never seen anyone clean before. 

Thom eyeing up the steep rock garden, which he cleaned.

Later that Thursday night, after a beer and a long stand-around-in-lyra parking lot chat with Thom, Will got here (apparently goats do not work on Fridays, either). He was nice enough to bring up the frame and parts for my new Karate Monkey. Much excite. As soon as we got the stuff into my apartment, I tore open the box to check out the purple "organic eggplant" color of my new Karate Monkey. I like. I like a lot. In between watching the Penn State game and messing around with Will's Epic's handlebars, I got some of the Karate Monkey built up. But, the next few days were going to be shifty-bitch rides, so I wasn't in a huge hurry.

The new flying-purple-people-eater.

As a side-note, Penn State ended up pulling out a clutch win late in the 4th quarter over Purdue. The downside is that a 60-minute sportsball game takes over 4 hours, and we had to stay up until almost 12:30am to watch the finale. I'm not no mathematician, but that's long time for a football game.

I cut the [ripped] sleeve off my Syndicate jersey. Apparently it made a good dew rag for Will. And a carbon handlebar is a good bat.

Let the record show he only held this "wheelie" (if you could even call it that) for about one second

On Friday we headed out into Rothrock a little 3-hour MTB rip. We did a few of the classics like Tussey Ridge, and we tried out the new and (debatably) improved Croyle Run trail. Will was doing a workout in the ride, which for me basically meant 2x20 minutes of absolute pain up some long gravel climbs. After the ride we met up with Brad for pizza and beers, and got to watch him whizzing his FPV drones around his backyard. He's getting pretty fast with those drones, but we'll see if he can keep up with the Hamburger.

We got an early start on Saturday and did some ripping on Tussey Ridge. As I had predicted, we were on a Strava KOM pace until a pedal strike put an end to that. We rode John Wert backwards, Colyer Lake, Harvest Fields, and then pedaled back to my apartment to get some food and do some mid-ride bike work.
Not the usual lookout view from Tussey Ridge.

Back at my apartment, we realized I left my keys with my car in Rothrock. Fortunately, my window were unlocked and Will said he had experience climbing through the windows to unlock the door. Unfortunately for me, he said his ribs were still too sore to climb through a window, so I had to squeeze two-quarter pound patties through my bedroom window. Success.

We rode back into Rothrock, did a few Bald Knob trails, then met up with Brad and his friend Jeff for a Tussey Ridge loop.

Back at my apartment, Will was shooting down all my funny meme ideas. Apparently drinking two beers isn't enough to justify a meme about the state of my liver over Labor Day weekend.

On Sunday, we met up with Brad early in the morning to do some drone filming on Kettle trail and Upper Lonberger. After the filming, Will and I headed out to get some more singletrack in.

Brad getting his drones and cameras all ready for some filming

Waiting for Brad to get ready for the next video take. Inevitably, it will involve Will trying to drop me for the camera

We hit Tussey Ridge, backwards Wert, Thickhead, Dutch Alvin, Brush Ridge, etc, you get the idea. Lots of sweet trails. Plus, we even ripped a gnarly downhill from the top of North Meadows Road that was one of the most fun I've ever done. Since its not technically a "biking trail", I won't say the name, but... intersection of North Meadows and Gettis, check it out.

A great view from Wampler Road near Bear Meadows. The prominent mountain is Alan Seager.

Now, this is sort of off-topic, but I have to give a plug to my favorite documentary. Sunday night I made Will watch "Happy People: A Year in the Taiga", narrated by Werner Herzog. It doesn't relate to biking (at all), but still, it's a fascinating documentary and I'd highly recommend it for anyone. The life of the trappers in the frozen Siberia tundra is pretty spectacular. I guess in a way, the connection to nature it shows is a pretty big reason why I love mountain biking so much.

Monday morning was a little bit damp, but we still got out for an hour and a half cruise on some doubletrack and singletrack. The rain and fog out in the valleys made for some great views. 

The same view on Monday morning, the fog and clouds in the valley were awesome

The 4 day weekend ended up being super fun, and I think just enjoying some sweet rides with Will and not necessarily having a set game-plan was perfect. I'm looking forward to Marji Gesick, but all the same, I'm looking forward to more stupid and fun rides with friends.

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