Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Heading home from VA on a work day.
Skis and clothes still in the car from the long weekend
A free night since Kim and the neighbor took the boys to Hershey for the evening
Driving within sight of a ski area
season pass in possession
How could I not stop for some legwork?

Parked in a recently vacated spot in the first row
The lot was packed, but the lifts were not
The snow was what you'd expect after 50 degrees and sunny all day, then clear and 30s when I arrived. Yeah, it was fast, as they say in WV.

The fast and scratchy nature wasn't all that fun, and I thought I wouldn't even stay an hour.
Found some fun on the bermed sides of 2 large jumps in the terrain park, plus a short pump-track-like roller-berm-roller combo. It was like one-quarter of a pump track.

Whitetail built a new, short lift which just serves the terrain park. I rode that and just sessioned those berms 'till I was ready to leave. Was fun making big 180 carves on the banks.

I nearly undercut someone jumping off the side one time. Almost scary ugly. I looked before I went. There's a very small amount of token communication at the top of the park. Seems like 1 in 10 yell "dropping". People weren't expecting someone to hit that jump from the side like I was doing. The other berm/jump was more like a wide 1/4 pipe, and people were either launching straight off it, or using it like a 1/4 pipe. so my move wasn't so foreign on that feature.

Was imagining how much fun something like a high-walled S-turn section would be. Just 3 big turns would be plenty fun.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Xmas Day skiing

Bill, waving Merry Christmas

My friend Bill and I probably did this same thing 20 years ago on Xmas Day 1988. That is, leave your family holiday and go skiing. Neither of us has grown up much since then. We were partial to Timberline in those days, Whitetail didn't exist then. Now, we're both a lot closer to Whitetail.

New ways to hurt myself

Tim was working, but we never ran into him

Bonus gift: Mannke included some CDs in his xmas package from Boston. A live Meat Puppets show from 1993 which I highly enjoyed on the way to Whitetail, plus a Who bootleg from Isle of Wight, 1970 that I was dying to dig into as well. Thanks Mike!

Double Bonus: Demo'd a pair of World Pistes. Wider, stiffer, and a bit shorter than my Super Stinx. Liked them a lot, they skied really well. Might want to buy those at the end of the season.

More skiing today, gotta get it before the rains do....

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ray riding a well known section on the Weds. night ride.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Whitetail weekend

This was our weekend, pixels provided by our neighbor and Whitetail buddy Tim, and our old Virginia friend and 24-Hour teammate, Bill. Bill happily made use of that Dynastar snowboard I won at the Wild 100 a few years ago (and never mounted up). The board is now his, lucky I never got around to making a bench out of it. I guess the other part of that bench is now spoken for too, as Tim wants to try a free-carve board, and that's what I happen to have stored in the garage.

Amazed at Oliver's skiing. This was our 6th day this season, and there's a huge difference in today compared to Seven Springs the day after Thanksgiving. He really digs the new Sidewinder Trail at Whitetail. It has a high, long bank along the left side. The bank is pretty cool to get a little surfy on, and has formed lots of rollers and ramps with a sometimes difficult transition dip to get back onto the flat trail . Oliver goes up & down & up & down the first sections of bank, then just straight-lines the rollers of the bank the rest of the way down, and tries to hold his speed to hit a big whale at the bottom. I like how he's already discovered the fun little hits and sections off the edges of the trails. I like how he seems to be able to check his speed when necessary. I know when he's straight-lining it could go ugly in a nano, but so far....

That trail will only get better with more snow(making). Today, there were some rocks and dirt showing through on the high side. Was almost a like singletrack luge run to stay in the rollers that Oliver was skiing.
Oliver did ask to ride the high-speed to the top of the mountain. I was nervous about that, not wanting any straight-lining down that. He skied cautiously, making turns through the thick and surprisingly fun mashed potatoes. Got down with no problems and he skied right back over to the other lift, saying he didn't want to do the big one again. Was pretty happy about that too.

Monday, December 08, 2008

sweet Woodward

This entire mountain bike park looks insane.
I love how they manual those rollers, especially that table-top one. Anyone who's ridden with me in the past few months knows that I've been trying to get the manual (and a decent wheelie while I'm at it). The problem with both of them, is my fear of the sweet spot. Or, more precisely, my fear of that place one degree beyond the sweet spot.

But, I just learned a couple ways to practice and get the feel of the sweet spot for fleeting seconds. And anyone who knows me, knows I'll drill the hell out of something if I want to learn it. One trick is to manual down any little drop. A ramp, a driveway, a dip in the trail, a roller on the pump track etc.. When my front wheel is in the air, and I hit the drop, there's a natural acceleration right into the sweet spot. The other trick is handy in the woods, and that's to wheelie over small branches, logs, and rocks. I get my front up, and pedal through the impact with the object. The natural tendency is for the object to slam the front wheel down as soon as the rear smacks, so to keep it up, I have to lean back into the spot. This could make for some entertaining moments for any riders following me. I know I had some moments at Raystown a few weeks ago.

Sunday, December 07, 2008


some family skiing on Saturday

Tony should've had a Tomi Ring


frosty ride
showed Big Dog that new trail from the 50
got to sketch across the slickest log in Michaux with a dust of dry on top
impromptu call to head for some post-ride Chambersburg chili thanks to Kim!
double impromptu bonus showing them the pump track and it was 28 degrees, frozen, and dry
quik pre-chili session ensued

Monday, December 01, 2008

Not many pixels to show for the past 5 days off work.
Fun was had, starting with what Kim says was her "best Thanksgiving ever".

a little more of this,
and a ride on some of the fine Norchaux
waiting for more snaux....

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Turns is Turns

A skillz session with MBM on Saturday.

a little of this on Sunday
Seven Springs
2 kids
no poles
no buckles
felt great to get that Keystone White coursing through my veins,
into the nervous system,
and straight to the brain
first turns out of the way
set the downhill hook a little deeper into unsuspecting kids.

Tiffany had just discussed alternative energy sources this week in school

Sunday, November 16, 2008

southerners to the Arctic

Plan was Hamburg > Grebeci > Salamander > Ijsberg> Hamburg

I took a lot more photos today, but for some reason, not many heads were captured in pixels. I wasn't just trying to protect the innocent. We sessioned Dirt Rag Rock for a while, though I wonder if it's also called Vulture Rock, since a very large one just sat on a rock about 15 yards away the whole time we messed around there.

Tom was the first single-speeder I ever rode with. Would that have been around 1998? I know it was in the Fridley Gap area of the GW. It was probably on that same bike. I think that was also the first day I rode with Glenn W, and remember thinking, holy shit, who in the world is this hammer??

On our Grebeci run, we encountered a group of riders at the Blue/Grebeci junction. They said/asked something about that being the exit. As we rode Grebeci (without that group), we encountered many many other groups, including a group containing 3/5 of the 2008 SM 100 podium. There was a DCNR Flagman out working the Table Rock section. We all had to wait our respective turns for a clean shot. Lots of giggles and gasps, a couple crashes, a flat, and lots of compliments to whatever mountain/trail/geologic meteorlogic or fuzzy logic force combined to arrange so many rocks in such a way. What was once the sole domain of raptors, rattlers, and bears is now attracting species from NUE studs to Sunday tourists.

So, we didn't make it back to Ijsberg the return way. Took Salamander to Sand Flats and worked back from there. These southerners will be back at the trough soon to try the other direction.

One other thing about the Shed: The fun:grunt ratio is so much better than Michaux or the GW. I always leave that place with a week-long grin. Almost as giddy as Raystown.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pump Track mashup

I'm gonna leave that map up on the right for a while.
If anyone can help me fill out the map with more public pump tracks, let me know. Send me a town name, address, website or whatever and I'll add it.

Why? I don't really know why. It seems like an interesting use of Google, and I know I asked that question at least once myself.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


View Larger Map
This map breathes. Push your mouse around a bit. Thanks SSO for the GPX.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Saturday, November 08, 2008

now this is a fast berm

I like how there's no bottom flat to ride. You're either on the wall, or you're not riding it.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Edit: I did not make the cartograms shown below. I found them on the site of Mark Newman from the Univ. of Michigan Physics Dept. His site has had 500,000 hits this week, and he included an FAQ, as well as a link to the free software he used to make these. If I get any data, maybe I'll try to make that education map that Darius mentioned. I've been curious about that variable as well.

View Larger Map
The only 3 precincts in Franklin County

Popular vote cartogram above

Electoral College above

by County

2004 Popular Vote

Sunday, November 02, 2008

we found another interesting contribution

there goes my excuse

sessioning Ego Rock

Uncle Don found an interesting line on this rock,
with more rock time

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Weds nite ride in NorChaux
and a little Adirondacks Oct. stoke below

Sunday, October 26, 2008

early in the ride
still smiling

there are several ways to cross this stream
none of them good

Thursday, October 23, 2008

7-11 election map

Seen this? It updates in real-time as people buy coffee from 7-11.
Apparently 7-11 coffee drinkers like the Obama blue cups. I wonder what the Starbucks map would look like?

Didn't know so many states didn't have 7-11s. They are more than ubiquitous in the 5 states I've dwelled in. I wonder if Starbucks has any dark states?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

a fun looking neighborhood

"... Some parents build their kids basketball hoops, some build batting cages, in Vancouver, they build the kids their first stunts: ...."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Iron Cross

I spent the day before Iron Cross, at Iron Cross "Lite" entering the world of food service in an attempt to raise funds for MBM and the pump track. It was a fun day, and I had great help (thanks Kim & Michele). I understand better now why the restaurant business is so hard on new entries. While serving up BBQ and soup all day, I listened to dozens of friends talk of the fun of the big race the next day, and wonder why I had never done it. So, even Kim encouraged me to leave the family for another day and do it.

So, got home early evening (after stopping off at first Buchness' campsite, and then Buck's for beer and story) I got home and went to work on my ghetto-'cross bike ($130 frame & fork). Heavy, oversized, over-built aluminum. Used as a commuter for several years back in VA, but hasn't been used much here in PA. Front wheel was bought from BPooch for $10 at the MORE winter party about 4-5 years ago. It pulses when I squeeze the front brake, hoping the pad doesn't bust through the rim on one of those long gravel descents.... Shifters and cables were a mess. Bottom bracket dirty, loose, and creaky. I didn't know this until 2-miles into the race, and it creaked with each pedal stroke for 5 more hours.

OBSERVATIONS of the day:
I liked having gears. A lot. I had a triple, and didn't hesitate to drop into it.

Was really fun riding singletrack on a 'cross bike. Kinda that same do-more-with-less thing like the rigid single-speed. Lippencote was particularly fun. So was Lower Rattlesnake and cleaning the new deer fence trail.

Seeing that sand quarry is never a good thing on a ride that starts anywhere inside Michaux's boundaries. Hogshead Road sux, no matter what kind of bike or gear you're on.

The wool socks are a cool thing to get in your registration bag. They'll be well used.

Props to MBM/YBR's Chuck Bucksexy and Albert Greene for doing *all* of the Iron Cross races. And Buchness, is he possibly the only person who's done every SM 100 and Iron Cross??? If Mike reads blogs, maybe we'll find out.... He even got a call-up to the front row!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

scenery change

A rarity for me in Pennsylvania.
A marked, named, blazed trail, that you actually want to ride on.

DCNR saved a lot of money by making all these bridges with only one rail. Good for handlebar clearance too.

Insert caption here:

Things got interesting after this.