Monday, May 22, 2023

Mohican 100 plus more Ohio domination

My alarm went off at 4:55 AM, and I immediately heard the sound of rain on my tent. I was expecting that, so at least it wasn't a surprise. I ate breakfast still in my sleeping bag and I contemplated life's many mysteries, like why I was going to crawl out of my dry tent into the rain before sunrise to get ready to race my bike all day.

After getting dressed in the campsite bathroom, I rode down to the finish line area in the campground, where I met up with Thad, Simon, Anthony, Joe, and Joe Sr. I forgot my ankle timing monitor (how the race records your finish time), so I had to race back up to my campsite to grab it from my car. After I got it, I met back up with everyone at the finish line, and then we rode the two miles into downtown Loudonville for the start of the race. Of course, it was pouring down rain all the while.

The Mohican 100 mile singlespeed podium

Monday, May 15, 2023

Gradumication (noun)

I graduated from Penn State last week. Well actually, the official "graduation" was last Saturday while I was racing PMBAR in North Carolina, but I guess they'll mail me my diploma? Bless and thank.

Edited to add: damnit, sorry, this post got pretty long and out of hand.

Either way, four years of Penn State is over. My official degree is a B.S. in General Science with a minor in Mathematics. But please don't ask me to do maths. I forgot already.

It's not really as dramatic as some college graduations, however, because I'm not really done yet with college. I want to be a high school math teacher, which means I need to go back and get a teaching certification before I can officially become an adult and get a jerhb. Just kidding, I will never be an adult. But I will get a jerhb as a math teacher.

For now though, I need to figure out where to get my teaching certification. Most likely, it's going to be somewhere close to home. There are several reasons for this, not the least of which being that living at home will save over $10,000 in housing. Plus, after the difficult winter (for mountain bikers, that is) they had out west, it seems less and less appealing for me to go somewhere for school where I can only ride my bike on dirt for two weeks out of the year.

But enough about looking ahead. Let's look back, because hey, tomorrow is tomorrow and yesterday is today. Mebbe? I don't know, but either way, it seems like an appropriate time to look back at my time at Penn State. Surprise, it's mostly about bikes.

When I chose to go to Penn State, I really had no idea that Rothrock was such a good trail system. And plus, the first two years of college I lived at home and went to Penn State Beaver, a branch campus only 25 minutes from my house. When I applied to Penn State in high school, I didn't even apply to main campus. In fact, the only place I applied to at all was Penn State Beaver. I got accepted like a week or two after I applied, and that was that.

One of the first rides I did with Will, photo courtesy of Simon

Thursday, May 11, 2023

PMBAR '23: Part 2, the first place loser

I stared blankly down at the map as Cinderbloch raced to locate the checkpoints. I nodded my head and occasionally let out an "uh huh", but to be honest, I was just the pretty face in this operation. In the words of Schultz from Hogan's Heroes: I know nothing.

At Buckhorn Gap (I think)

But seriously. I did know nothing. After a few minutes of map reading, Cinderbloch seemed confident (enough) on where to go, so we headed off down Buckhorn Gap Trail. If you didn't read the first post, or forgot what PMBAR is, it's an adventure MTB race that requires you to navigate on your own to five checkpoints in Pisgah National Forest. Oh, and you don't know the checkpoints until the start of the race, and you can ride any route you want. But anyways.

Monday, May 8, 2023

PMBAR '23: Part One

"You've never been there?", in an incredulous voice, is the usual response I get from people when the topic of Pisgah comes up. It's true. I've been fortunate enough to have ridden in well over 20 states, bikepacked the Great Divide, but still, I've never been to Pisgah. So, when Cinderbloch texted me back in February about being his partner for the PMBAR race, it was the perfect opportunity. In case you're wondering, Pisgah is a National Forest in western North Carolina, and it's the home of a huge network of trails.

I finished my last final exam at Penn State on Wednesday, and it went well, which means I unofficially graduated from Penn State. I guess they'll mail me my diploma? I dunno. I now have a B.S. (which mebbe stands for bullshit) degree in general science, and a minor in mathematics. I still have to get a teaching certification if I want to teach high school math, so that'll be one more year of school, but at least I'm one big-ish step closer.

But anyways, I drove home from Penn State Wednesday evening, hurriedly packed up everything I needed for a weekend of camping and bicycle racing, and went to bed as early as I could. Cinderbloch and I left around 7:30am on Thursday, bound for Pisgah, and got there just before dinner time. It's actually a pretty cool drive; the mountains on I-26 between Johnson City, TN and Asheville, NC are really something,

Once there, we set up camp (which for me consisted of my teeny tiny bikepacking tent), and then pedaled into town for dinner. We went to a BBQ place called "Hawg Wild", and before long, I got a text from Dahn Pahrs with a picture of him in the same restaurant when he did PMBAR a few years ago. He was bragging to us about how much food he ate. I guess you need a lot of food when you're Dahn Pahrs.

Hawg Wild with Cinderbloch; the picture Dahn sent me to brag about how much food he ate

Monday, May 1, 2023

Crushed by the Commonwealth 2023, i.e. a DNF

I rolled over on the cot in Cinderblochner's spare room and looked at my phone. It was 3:30 A.M., and time to wake up. I went downstairs and drank my morning Mountain Dew and ate my morning Nutella-covered bagels. Combined with a bunch of pizza and late-night chocolate the night before, I was feeling quite stuffed. But in a good way. Well, I guess not in a good way, but in a good-for-a-long-ride kind of way.

The squad