Sunday, December 31, 2006

holiday rides

Rode xmas-eve and new years eve with the Michaux crew,
once again, quite paced,
today started at the Teaberry lot and rode for 4 hours.
first part of the ride was on trails that most of our group of 12 had never ridden,
other trails that only get ridden once a year by this group,
this group, that rides Michaux every week, sometimes several times/week,
there are just that many trails here

holiday hikes

the "brave knight of history"

Tiffany on the rock

Tiff on the camera

Sunday, December 10, 2006

way fast

Wow, no more braggin' about hanging with the Michaux locals.
Today's ride was quite spirited. Was pretty much the same folks as the last few, just a smaller group size, and no one was doggin' or bailin' early today.
Andy came up for the fun, and he and I pretty much pulled the rear most of the day, except for a few uphills where we had no choice.

Yesterday, I took Oliver and his 11 yr-old cousin Tiffany skiing at Whitetail's opening day. They each had a 3-hour Kids Mountain Camp and had a blast. Was Tiff's first time on skis, and she did superbly. She's such a great athlete and could easily become an expert skier. I hope to take them a lot more in the next few weeks. I got to ski for 3 hours too. I'm wrecked, I need a couple easy recovery days in the computer chair.

That Mountain Camp is great concept. They take your kids either for a morning session, an afternoon session, or for a full day. They get the rental gear in advance and take care of gettng it on them, so you don't have to schlep thru the rental zoo. They also provide lunch and snacks, and have indoor play for the yung-uns like Oliver. He got a 1-hour lesson out of that 3, Tiffany got 2.5 hours.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

new default trail run

summer pic from

I've been trail running a few times since I've been here, in Michaux, on the Appalachian Trail, and on the Tuscarora Trail. All of them are great places to run, but I've been hoping to find something closer to town, or, even in town.

So this afternoon I wanted a fresh air break from working at the computer and decided to head out for a run in the neighborhood. Wilson College is 2 blocks away from our house, and I've seen on maps, a road that goes behind the college out into the rural area which is road biking territory. If there really is a road through there, then that's an even safer way to get out to the good road ridin' roads. So I decided to run over that way and see what I can find.

Since it's still during the workday, I carry my Blackberry along just in case anyone really needs me, and I was expecting a call from my old boss. I run the 2 blocks down to the campus, into the parking lots and out the back of campus. I find a campus map sign at one of the lots showing exactly the road I was hoping to find. I run through the huge equestrian complex, find that road with no problem, cross the RR tracks, pass the organic CSA farm, and then see...., what's this?? A singletrack? An interpretive trail along the creek? Sweeeeeet. This trail rolls and rises up and down the banks of the creek. Not a sole around but me. My phone rings and it's my old boss. I plop down on a log under the Black Walnut interpretative sign, and spend about 20-30 minutes talking with him. After the call, I see I have some e-mail that I also promptly take care of from the trail.

I finish out the singletrack and then loop back and head for home on the roads. I think I've found a new default loop to run, right from the house, no driving, and great cell reception. Life just keeps gettin' better and better here in Chambersburg.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

winter epics

Winter Epics is what we called the big GW Nat'l Forest rides we did every weekend for so many years. Nearly every Sunday, from hunting season through to spring race season, a group of us would ride somewhere in the GW. These were usually long rides, 4-7 hours or so, often cold & wet, and always rocky. The group was almost always drawn from the same pool: Jens, Glen, Mikes Capraro & Buchness, the Barrys Quigley & O'Melinn, Susans x 2, Junkins, Dan, Pooch, Andy, Nancy, and Steve (did I miss any one?).

I pretty much stopped doing these rides in 2002 when Oliver was born. At about that same time, I picked up single-speeding, and the local race scene grew significantly with the addition of the Cranky Monkey series, and a couple others held at Quantico. So most of my riding for the past 4 years was mostly short, local, and not mountainous. Rarely would I ride for more than 2 hours, except for a day in August in the Wild 100, and in Sept for the Shenandoah Mountain 100. I missed those winter epics, but I was having plenty of fun single-speeding the local stuff too, and it was usually helpful to be able to get home by noon after a ride.

Those winter epics with the big group have mostly died out for several reasons, though Mike and Susan are still out there gettin' it every chance they get. Glen moved to New Mexico > Colorado, Jens is now in New Mexico, Pooch and Susan now in Africa, Barry O had dual knee isues/surgeries, and like I said, I was out of the loop and quit scheduling those rides on the MORE calendar.

Now, I'm in Pennsylvania, and lucky for me, winter epics are every weekend, and they're just outside of town. And, like the GW, there are plenty of trails to choose from with a big group of core, committed, & interesting riders. Come take a hit.

pics of town

our place

the bike shop in town, has been here since 1912

a typical house in our 'hood

the YMCA where Oliver and I spend a lot of time. they have a great old school gym, weight room, and pool where O takes swimming lessons.

fixie practice

As many of you know, give me a drill, that will help me get better at something, and I'll do it over and over and over, for weeks, months, years even. This started way back in middle school when I learned how to ride nose wheelies on my skateboard all the way down our street.

This opportune pile of future utility poles lies a block away from our house, and is great practice for the fixed gear. I've quickly learned that getting up and over things on a fixed gear is quite different. I've learned that I have to get the front wheel up whenever my pedal rotation gets to the power spots, and often, that is much farther away from the logs than I'd otherwise choose. This is pretty tricky for me since I've never been too good at riding wheelies. So hitting this "log pile" I'm often wheely-ing into it from pretty far back, trying desperately to keep the front wheel up long enough to let it come down on the highest log, and then lunging forward to soften the blow for the rear wheel. Tricky, but fun stuff for only a block away.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

like yellow snow

This is our front yard.
It was green yesterday morning.
Our neighbors and the last owner told us these Ginkgo trees do their thing quickly. Meaning, they turn bright yellow, and then drop their leaves at once. They weren't kidding. When O and I woke up this morning, it was snowing yellow (click pic).

Sunday, October 22, 2006


I lay awake last night trying to decide not only where to ride, but what to ride. Now that I have another one-speed bike in the quiver, it adds new variables to my ride location choices. Should I go back to Michaux and try to figure out more of the Dark Hollow trails? Or, try the Tuscarora Trail west of town? I'd heard the Tuscarora Trail had been neglected for a long time, but had recently been opened up again by the PATC. I knew I'd be taking a chance on this trail, as I know it gets far less bike traffic than the popular Michaux trails.

Leaving the house, I pointed the Subaru toward the west, and the mountain gap on Route 30, between Fort Loudon & McConnelsburg. Getting dressed at the trailhead and ready to lock up one bike. Which bike? I still hadn't decided which to ride yet. I stall on that decision for a couple more minutes while loading up the camelback. Hmm,what size tubes to take, 29er or 26er? Finally made the call for the 29er, since I didn't know the trail or where I'd actually be riding, and rain was expected, I opted for the easier bike with a freewheel.

The Tuscarora is a mini Appalachian Trail, for bikes! It's 252 miles long from near Carlisle, PA to Skyline Drive in VA. It goes through the Sleepy Creek WMA near Winchester, above the Cove Campground in Gore, VA, through the Wolf Gap area, through Elizabeth Furnace, and ends at the AT in Shenandoah Nat'l Park. The Bear Wallow descent is part of this trail, as is the climb and descent of Shawl Gap.

This trail begs for further exploration and epic rides. The short section I rode today was very well maintained and recently blazed. There were numerous side trails for loop options, many of these were not on the map, even though they were named & blazed. It was rocky, technical, ridge riding, just as it is down in Virginia. If the rest of the trail is like this, I'll spend a lot of time on it.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

dinner with the new neighbors

Our new neighbors invited us over last night, and with the help of Tiffany's babysitting (again), we happily accepted. Somehow, we have ended up in a part of town with distinguished neighbors. The invitor has been a pharmacist in town since 1964. Their son is a doctor, and is Kim's mother's physician. His stated goal is to practice medicine and not have to charge anyone for it. He's leaving his current practice next year to work more towards that goal. The other neighbor & guest is also a doctor, and we have a Wilson College art profesor right across the alley from us. On the other side of us we have a truck driver & motorcycle rider, who also happens to be a Vietnamese soccer player. His job is to drive a double-trailer to Roanoke and back, 5 days/week. So I guess I won't be complaining to him about my 2-hour commute to VA. I'm hoping they all become good friends.

Our neighbors and Kim already knew each other's families, and their connections astound me at every turn of the conversation. Kim, and they, are well-rooted in this community. A wonderful meal and setting was provided, along with great conversations about the overuse of farm chemicals in the valley; incidence of birth defects; homebirth midwives; hunting trips; cabins, farms; geography, and the people and places of the area. I think, we're in a fine place.

the new old bike

The Fat Chance fixed gear after it's maiden ride in Michaux yesterday.

Mountain biking with a fixed gear has always reminded me of this quote by an elite pro skier describing telemark skiers "I likened telemark skiing to purposefully cutting off a few fingers before rock climbing".

Fixed gears ruin the downhills I thought. But, I also knew it has to be a skill builder, and should provide me with good motivation to get out for short 1 or 2 hour rides in Michaux whenever I have small windows of time. And, with the nearest Michaux trailhead about a 15-minute drive from home, I'm hoping for lots of those windows.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

our big move

We're getting settled in a bit, having been here about 10 days now. This is a wonderful place, I've always liked it here, and to borrow a quote, "I'm not from Chambersburg, but I got here as fast as I could".

But, we left a great place too. At least, our little neighborhood in Centreville was great, which we never really discovered until having Oliver. We didn't realize what a great kid community was right there, or the value of having a school & playgrounds within easy walking distance. I also certainly liked my easy, safe, 10-mile bike ride to work at VDOT. Now, I'm about a 2-hour drive away, but am attempting to make that trip as little as possible and work from home most days. I'll also miss the great bike community there, especially, the Bike Lane folks, and even a certain trail that I wrote about a month ago in a sappy piece that I didn't post until now.

Oliver was not very happy on the move-in day. A whole lot of big changes his way in a short time. New school, new family, new 'hood, new rooms to play in. He would light up whenever I found a box containing some of his toys or beloved track & trains. As soon as he set up his first track, he started getting more comfortable. He turned 4, four days after we moved in, and Kim created a wonderful party with family and some of Oliver's numerous cousins and our new neighbors (who have 3 young boys).

this is Oliver's cousin Tiffany singing him a birthday song that she wrote herself.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

new e-mail

So, I tried to send a bulk BCC e-mail to everyone I recognize in my address book (hand selected of course), informing everyone of my new e-mail address in Chambersburg, PA. But, my new server (or maybe Outlook Express?) stops at each bad address, and there were many before I even got past the letter "C".

So, my address is here:
larry dot camp at comcast dot net

I've updated it on the various forums I use, so I can always be reached that way too, or from the regular work address.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


We just got word that the owners of this house in Chambersburg will accept our offer. We are thrilled to get this little house in town.

Use this map link to explore our new environment in Windows Local Live.
1 - our new house
2 - Ski Whitetail
3 - Michaux Maximus
4 - Curse of Dark Hollow
5 - Terror of Teaberry

Things are closer than they may look. For example, going from 1 to 3 is like going from Centreville to Reston.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

gettin' sappy

This is one of those "what do you feel", journal style posts. I know a couple people like reading these, though most couldn't care less what I think about things.

So, it looks like we have a good contract on the house, and will really be moving soon. So this is a sentimental post about a trail. What, you thought I was gonna write about something important or something? Kim slept during the day today for night shifts, and I put Oliver for a nap around 2:00. I then had a few hours free before needing to be home for Kim to go to work at 7:00. I couldn't really decide if I even wanted to ride, I thought about just taking a nap with everyone else. I thought about doing another trail run, but I did a long one of those yesterday and didn't see the need to do another one today, plus I'd already hiked this morning with Oliver. Where to ride, where to ride??? Fountainhead? Conway? Schaeffer? Wakefield? gravel roads from the house?

I finally decided on Fountainhead, because this actually could be my last ever ride there, other than for the annual Cranky Monkey races. Fountainhead has been my default trail for 11 years. I was there for the opening day in 1995. I've helped build trails there, and maintain them. I've mapped and GPS'd them. I've raced there, won races there, and always had a whole lot of fun there. I also decided on Fountainhead today because I thought I might run into some friends there, as I usually do. I like the social aspect of Fh, even though it's a pretty anti-social trail in general. I mean, you drop in, you reach max heart rate in about 30 seconds, and unless there are some really new people out there, you likely won't pass or be passed for the whole lap.

My luck couldn't have been any better. I passed Jim Harman and Dan from EX2 Adventures
at the picnic tables. I was on my 1st lap, and they were headed out on their 2nd. I finished my first lap, with a minimum of playing around, hoping I'd catch back up to them. I did, again at the picnic tables as they were stopped, talking with a couple other riders. So I finished the second lap riding between Dan and Jim. It was a real pleasure getting to ride and chat with them. I never get to talk with Jim, because when I see him, he's usually hard at work organizing, or it's at a trailwork session. He and his EX2 crew have provided me with many happy riding hours over the past 4 years. I'm so grateful for them for starting the local race series in my home county.

As we finish and climb up into the parking lot, we run into Randy Smith and Dave Simpson just getting started. It's funny, how I run into one of these guys 9 out of 10 times I ride Fh. I like riding with these guys a lot. They're both older than I (in their 50s), and they're both tough as nails and competitive Masters racers. They're so old school cool, that I bet they've never read a blog, so I can write whatever I want and they'll never see it. I think they are a couple of the coolest guys I know in Northern Virginia.

Ok, so now I'm getting sappy about some people. The truth is, I'm going to miss all of those guys. They have been a part of my life here in NoVa for many years. I look forward to seeing them back here for the NoVa races in the years to come.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

nice wave Jake!!!

Our great-nephew Jake Lahr made the local Ocean City surf site w/ this sweet wave from Ernesto

Jake and his brother Ryder live in OC, Md and have become really good surfers and body boarders the last few years, now stepping in to the local contest circuit. They enter longboard, shortboard, and bodyboard, and came away w/ a few 1st's in their opening contest of the season.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

SM 100 report

Another uneventful Shenandoah Mountain 100 for me.
My favorite kind.

I don't like "events" like crashes, broken chains, flat tires, broken derailleurs, stomach problems, or the myriad other things that can go wrong at this 100-mile mountain bike epic.

I started slow (intentionally), finished strong, rode with many many friends all day, and had a blast as always. This was my 4th year doing it on a single-speed, and first doing it with a rigid fork. The fork had been a concern of mine, as I wondered if it would take the fun out of all the downhills, and add a new level of fatigue to the body. I didn't really enjoy the descent on Tea Creek Mountain Trail a few weeks ago at the Wild 100 because of the rigid fork. Well, the descents at the SM must be a hell of a lot smoother, because I had no problems at all. I felt just as confident as with a shock almost everywhere on the course. Particular highlights were the descent into CP-4 with Albert on my wheel, and the descent into CP-6 with MattyD and Mark Wigfield (2 guys that I seem to spend a lot of time with at the end of this race every year). Another highlight was pulling into 5 and seeing JoeP break into a big "I'm gonna beat Camp" grin. He left as soon as I got there, as I began searching for some chamois lube. One of the biggest highlights for me is having enough gas left to climb the Hankey > Lookout fire road the second time, and passing lots of geared riders. It was here that I passed Matt and Mark for the last time, and briefly passed my friend Frankie Maguire from Mt. Nittany. We chatted for a while on the Lookout trail until it dropped downhill, and I pulled off to let him fly it.

[insert some poached pics here when I find 'em]

I finished in about my usual time, with the same group of riders that I usually finish with. And this year, I also came close to another goal I always have: that of drinking one beer for every hour I spent on the course. I'm not sure if I made it to 10, but I tried. That's my incentive to do it in 7 hours. I know I can easily drink 7 beers, especially with all that extra time.

I was most impressed with many of my friends: JoeP climbing like a goat on testosterone; Andy Neal (pic) rocking on a fixed gear and being the talk of the SingleSpeed brethren; Steve who finally had a mechanical-free 100 and beat the 10-hour mark, and Brian from Bike Lane (aka 'BLS') who shows up on a borrowed bike 5 days after getting back in the country from Afghanistan.

Lookin' forward to the next one already!

Friday, September 01, 2006


CLICK the pic.
This was taken from the playground of Oliver's new school in Chambersburg. The mountain bike mecca of Michaux State Forest is only a few miles away.

Assuming we ever sell our Centreville house and actually move there, my plan is to tele-work from home back to VDOT. I would also be taking O to school, and picking him up each day.
I wonder if I'll ever be late getting back to the home office?
I wonder what the teachers will think seeing my bike on the roof so often?
I wonder if riding solo, w/o all my NoVa friends will be as fun?
I wonder, with the SM100 11 months away, if I'll even be motivated to ride?
Whatever, I'm just eager to get there and see...

This is Kim pointing out that some of her favorite people are also Montessori alums. Her all-time fav, Julia Child, plus Jackie Kennedy, Katherine Graham, Einstein, Graham Bell, Jeff Bezos among others.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Quantico mountain bike racing

There's a mountain bike race next weekend on Quantico Marine Corps base, which I'm really hoping to compete in. Quantico will be like a homecoming for me, it is where I began mountain bike racing, in 1991. Yes, 1991. That's the same year Kim and I were married, and I remember nervously racing at Quantico the weekend before our wedding. This is our 15th year of marriage, and I've been racing mountain bikes for that long as well.

I'm looking though shoeboxes for an old photo from that race (we had film cameras then). I'll post it it I find it.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Wednesdays at Wakefield

The local race series is over for this season

Wow, since this blog was plugged in Spokes Magazine, I guess I better get busy with some more worthwhile content eh? The Spokes article used all my good quotes, so I guess I'll just write some words about the Single-speed races.

Last year, I won the overall series, and won a couple of the individual races (when Jason wasn't there). I had such great success last year at this event and the Cranky, that I actually thought I might be sandbagging. HA ha, nothing to worry about anymore. Last year, I thought the main reason I was fast at Wakefield was "gearing". I was out-gearing all the other SSers. With my 29" wheels, I was using a 34x16 gear, and was easily gapping folks on the flat cinder trail and the powerline sections. After the series, last Fall, the trails at Wakefield got a lot of work from IMBA, Larry Cautilli, and MORE. The Phase 2 sections took out some rutted fall-line trails, and replaced them with the new "rollers". Word was that the new course this year would be even faster.

So, I put on an even larger gear than last year, a 34x15 for a pre-ride the week before the series started. Yikes!, that gear was way too sluggish (or was it me?). I changed by one for the opening race, a 34x16. I got the hole shot, as I would for most of the races, and had my best finish of this season, a 2nd to StevieD. After the race Stevie tells me my gear is too hard, that he won by using a lower gear. So, I believed the logic, and went down another gear for the next race to a 34x17. Again I got the hole shot, again I died on the last lap, and finished 4th this time.

Anyway, to shorten this story, for each race including the Cranky's, I went down a gear until I was finally running a 32x17, a far cry and downright "Ricky" gear compared to the monster masher gear I started with. My last laps got better, but I never cracked the top-3 again.

The Single Speed class has become quite strong and competitive. Pearce spent the previous 10 months pulling heavy cargo around in a bike trailer on the streets of DC. Pierre swims and runs triathlons, and works out on his local trail at Fountainhead, RickyD has turned into Mr. Epic. Stevie has stopped road racing so much and his dirt speed is way up. Marathon man & log hopper Frasketti is always in the mix now. Nick and Dave are always tough, and of course, Jason can beat any of us when he shows up. Anyways, congrats to all the strong and fun single-speeders out there and huge props to PVC for putting on this great event. It is the thing I will miss the most about moving to PA. Maybe I can arrange to have work in NoVa for 4 Wednesdays next summer?

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Cape Hatteras

A nice time as always on Hatteras Island with Kim's niece and family. Barry Quigley also joined us for a few days. Ridable surf for 7 straight days, from small and glassy like below, to bigger and choppy.

Oliver talkin' story with the big boys. They had a lot of fun (and tolerance) with O. All of these kids are great young surfers. They all live in Ocean City, MD and really enjoyed the warm clear water (we could see shells on the bottom 6' deep), and lack of crowds. Of course, clear water also means we saw all of the wildlife swimming around us, some of those big rays were cause for minor alarm.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Friday, June 23, 2006

neighborhood bike race

How cool to come home from work and see this note taped to our window. One of the neighbor kids was inviting Oliver and me to his neighborhood race. I'll sure miss these kids.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Well, this ought to get the word out,
if anyone looks at this blog....

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

longboardin', most fun on 4 wheels

I've been amazed lately at the number of kids I see on my bike commutes out riding longboards, and skateboards in general. My ride takes me through an older-style neighborhood where the majority of the kids seem to walk, bike, or skate to their elementary and middle school. I've been seeing several different pockets of skaters each day lately, most on longboards.
Speaking of longboards, the other day I was in Eastern Board Sports getting new wheels for my longboard, and tried out the CarvStik. Talk about fun! This thing sticks to the turns like mad. You can really put your weight into it, and you can keep yourself going by gyrating as long as your legs can stand it. The most fun I've found with 4 wheels for sure.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

a short,, solo GW ride

words over here

Bike to Work Day

For the past several years, I've worked one of the pit-stops for VDOT on Bike to Work Day. This year, we had plenty of people willing to work the stops, so I decided to try to get some new riders interested, and offered to lead a group ride from Centreville in to Chantilly.
The weather was far better than last year, described here in one of my first blog posts. Michele and Randy met me in different parts of Centreville, and we had a pleasant ride in and home. Randy bought his bike last week, just for this event. Three other VDOTers biked in from Vienna and Falls Church. The bike rack held a record 6 bikes yesterday.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Oliver on the bike

This is definitely not a, like father like son thing. I've never owned a trainer, and Oliver has never seen me or anyone on a trainer.

Now this one, maybe is imitation.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

race season has begun...

Most tales will be told over on the Bike Lane blog, though nothing really to tell yet. Two races, two fun days, maybe something after this weekend's 12-Hour race with my ol' Woodbridge buddy Bryan Sims.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

lost and found

I rode to work today, a beautiful clear & calm 25-degree start.  But, that isn't the story today.  In the locker room of the Health Club where I shower, I find a wallet in an empty locker.  A leather wallet, stuffed so fat that it can't fully close, bills thick enough that they're poking out the edge.  So I grab it and take it to the Manager, and she opens it to find out who's it is and says she'll call him.
After I shower, while I'm getting dressed, a guy comes in, goes straight to the locker where my stuff is now stored, looks in, turns around and leaves.  I asked him if he was looking for his wallet, and he said yes.  I told him I took it up to the office.  He said, in an annoyed tone, "thanks".
I guess I expect too much.  Most people in this office park health club know, or at least recognize, everyone else.  This guy is new there.  I guess I expected a more hearty thank you, and maybe a "nice to meet you".  Seems like that would've taken a lot less energy than having to reclaim your life after an identity theft.

Friday, February 10, 2006

where are the posts?

Anyone who actually comes to this blog to read my bike/outdoor tales will find most of them now on the new BikeLane Blog where like-minded folks put their words too.

This blog won't die, but will probably continue to have fewer posts, unless I can think of interesting non-bike stuff to post...