Wednesday, May 15, 2024

PMBAR '24 The Actual Enchilada

I could already hear sprinkles on my tent as I dazed in and out of sleep. 

"So it's going to be one of those kind of days", I thought to myself.

By the time I fully woke up, though, the rain had stopped. I crawled out of my tent and reached my phone to the sky in search of enough cell service to check the weather. Miraculously, my weather app loaded: rain starting at 9:30 AM. 

"Well, at least we'll have a dry start", I thought.

One-by-one we emerged from our tents and ate breakfast and made last-minute preparations for the race. I had my usual pre-race breakfast of peanut butter on bagels (yes, plural, two full bagels) and some Diet Coke. Mmmmm, I love me some Diet Coke.

With the forecast originally calling for rain in the morning, I had planned to wear my rain jacket, but with dry weather (for now), I had to stuff it into my USWE pack, where it just barely fit.

Saturday, May 11, 2024

PMBAR '24 Preface, Prologue, and Foreword

One by one, the rest of the Yinzers arrived. Well, actually, it wasn't that dramatic. Rob got there, and then a bit later, Montana and Colleen pulled up in their yellow Scrumbler (a Jeep). It was just those three, but I've always wanted to use that "one by one" bit.

The first order of business was getting tents set up, and then we sat around for a while delaying the inevitable 1,000 foot climb up to Black Mountain on our afternoon ride.

Monday, May 6, 2024

Pre-PMBAR in North Carolina

I love mountains. It's probably one of the most cliche things you can say, and I think every-other Subaru you see at a Starbucks has a bumper-sticker saying something similar. But still, I do. The Appalachian Mountains - which I'm fortunate to live relatively close to right now - are super rad. You've got the ridge-and-valley region in Pennsylvania characterized by huge synclines and anticlines, you've got the Blue Ridge region further to the south, and well, you get the point: there's a lot of variety. I'm no geologist, and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but I really enjoy studying geology in my free time. It makes me a lot more appreciate of all the mountains I ride my bike in.

North Carolina has the tallest mountains on the east coast, and unlike central Pennsylvania, the mountains near Asheville have defined peaks - more similar to out west - as opposed to the ridges and valleys near State College. 

I drove to Asheville Monday morning - leaving home at 5am - and I did my first ride in Pisgah Bent Creek in the afternoon. Compared to the Pisgah trails near Brevard, Bent Creek is super easy. It isn't very technical and the climbs are pretty mellow; I cleaned everything on my 32x19 gearing. Of course, it's still super fun and my driving-weary legs liked it a lot. I don't have a total mental picture of the Asheville-area yet, but if Asheville is in a big valley of sorts, then Bent Creek is sort of like the foothills before getting to the real tall mountains.