Monday, October 3, 2022

Losing the few brain cells I have

It was my family's annual trip to Ellicottville, NY, where the trails are extremely rooty and rocky. Sounds like the perfect opportunity to ditch my flaccid fjork (trademarked) and take the rigid. After all, bouncing around on some roots and almost certainly causing head trauma won't hurt me any more than Dahn Pahrs did at the Onion last fall (which he kindly reminded me of on a Facebook birthday post). In case you missed it, I can't really tell you what happened. That's kinda the point of the story.


I got up to Ellicottville late Thursday night after a Physics midterm, and my brother and I planned a cool ride for Friday before meeting up with my family for the rest of the ride.

On Friday, my brother and I rode up Eagle Trail (bueno) and headed over to Little Rock City to hit the rockiest trails around. On the way, we hit Black Trail, which is sort of like Ellicottville's version of John Wert trail. My brother did surprisingly well on the Black Trail, which is to say he and his behk made it through in one piece.

Little Rocky City is a separate state forest from where most of the trails are in (McCarty Hill State Forest). It's a pretty special place with rocks the size of houses and more technical trails than you can shake a stick at. Well, really only four technical trails, but I'm not very good at shaking a stick.

I brought my filter with me in order to drink from the streams below the logging equipment, making sure to get my daily dose of diesel fuel and gasoline run-off.

But seriously, they are logging a lot of the forest right now which hurts me in the feels. I understand that logging is an important part of the economics of state forests, but still, it's never nice to see forests being cleared.

The good news is that the logging disrupted the trails very little, and it seems the loggers made an effort to keep the trails in good condition. As you can see, the trails are totally covered in roots, and it's a pretty unique part of Ellicottville. Sure, other trail systems have roots, but I've never ridden anything like Ellicottville.

We had a full crew out in the woods with my brother, my parents, and two of my uncles. It's always fun to ride with the family, and it's a good refresher to just purely for the sake of having fun. No worries about "training" or any other silly words I sometimes get caught up in.

On Saturday, we did another fun family ride in the trails before the Penn State game. I made sure to get a solid rip in on the last downhill of the day, Eagle Trail (a 5-6 minute descent), to test how I'd compare on my rigid singlespeed on the Strava leaderboard. Not enough for the KOM, but I snuck out a 3rd all-time on Strava out of about 900 people. I swear, I don't really care that much, but still, it's sort of cool to bomb down a hill on a rigid bike and see how you stack up.

On Sunday, we changed up the route a little bit and did some exploring around the Holimont Ski Resort, and then headed down a descent on the Holiday Valley Ski Resort that crosses a few ski slopes. Unfortunately, the trail has sort of fallen into disrepair, but it's still a cool view on the way down.

I had packed up my car before the ride, so I was able to head straight back to my apartment in State College Sunday night after the ride. The weather turned out to be fantastic the whole trip, which was an extra bonus considering Hurricane Ian was crushing most of Pennsylvania with rain for the weekend.

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