Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Continued Climbing Success

This afternoon I rode again at Whiting and Webster Park.  After my success on the Red trail this weekend, I was kind of psyched up to try to ride the White trail and try to claim I can climb every hill at Whiting.

I can't recall the last time I was on the White trail.  I knew there was something of a hill on it, and that it led to Pellet road, but that's about it.

So when I headed there this afternoon it was like riding a new trail.  The trail is nothing crazy except for the single up and over hill.  Up wasn't too bad, though still challenging.  Down had a couple of switchbacks that are pretty tight.  I felt proud that I made it to Pellet Road with no dismount.  The way back was harder because those switchbacks are steep and sharp.  I was one root away from making it my first attempt, but only succeeded after 3 or 4 tries.

So I can now officially say that I've climbed every hill in Whiting!  Someday maybe I can ride every trail in both directions with no dismount.  That would be tough.

Webster Park has many trails but I tend to follow a single path through it.  There are a few challenging hill climbs going counter-clockwise, but I make them all most of the time.  Today I rode clockwise because I knew of one hill that I had never successfully climbed.

It's pretty steep and has some tricky roots. I saw three paths to try, and graded them as gold, silver, and bronze.  I failed gold a few times, and worked on silver probably about 10 times.  I was so close, but I decided it wasn't in the cards today.  I went for bronze and made it my first try.

Along the way I saw two small snakes and a small snapping turtle.  I removed the turtle from the trail and put him in some nearby water.  I also unblocked a section of trail by removing a small tree that had fallen.  I brought my folding saw in my pack because I noticed it on my last ride.

I feel like I've leveled-up in my climbing ability today.  I also had about six successful side hops up onto bridges.  These might only be about 8" high, but I was successful and consistent.

Muni at Whiting and Webster Park - 2012-08-28

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Final Red Hill

This morning I rode at Whiting Road Nature Preserve and Webster Park.

Towards the end of my ride I encountered Jeff, the Trails Chair of the Friends of Webster Trails.  We chatted a bit and headed over to a brand new boardwalk on an unopened section of the Green trail.  Even though I'm involved with FWT trail work, there is so much that happens thanks to the other members.  One of our members has organized an astounding amount of work that's been done by scouts and high school seniors.

Bridges, boardwalks, and new trail clearings magically appear!

The new boardwalk I saw today looked awesome, and I bet I was the first wheel and first unicycle to cross it!

Afterward, I headed to the Red trail from the north, to make an attempt at a tough hill climb.  This is the last hill on the Red trail that I haven't been able to climb..  It took me close to 10 attempts, but I finally made it!  Finding the right path and avoiding a pedal strike in one section was key.  Otherwise, the incline isn't that bad.  I avoid a crazy root section by riding along a narrow bypass along the edge of it, which feels a bit like cheating.  I may work on side-hopping those roots someday.

Now the only part of Whiting that I haven't successfully passed is a log-over on the Red trail with a step on each side, and the White trail.  I've only ridden the White trail once or twice because it leads to the Gosnell Big Woods which are off limits.  But I'll give it a try next time.

Muni at Whiting and Webster Park - 2012-08-26

Monday, August 13, 2012

Harrisburg Vacation

The family and I spent four days at in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, meeting up with some relatives for a reunion.  Since muni riders are hard to come by, I made some plans to meet up with some riders during my trip.

On Saturday I took an excursion to Germantown, Maryland to do some muni riding with a few riders from that area, Chuck and Claude.
We rode at Black Hill Regional Park and Hoyle's Mill Connector, about 11 miles.  We were all feeling somewhat spent, but because I had driven so far, I pushed to ride more.  So we drove back to Chuck's house, refilled with water, and rode to a trail not far away.  We added another 5.5 miles to our ride.  I had a great time.

I had ridden with Claude in the 2011 Fat Tire Challenge, but racing and riding with someone are two different things.  I like riding together as a group better.  He's a very strong rider and throws some tricks into his ride too... like occasionally riding with one foot.

Chuck hasn't even been riding for a year yet, but he's already quite impressive.  In places I was sure he'd UPD, he rode like a pro.  Nice riding Chuck!

Back at Chuck's house, he treated us to some homemade pizza!  It was SO good.

Monday was our last day in Harrisburg.  On our drive home we made a stop at Danville, PA to meet up with Sundy, a unicyclist from Mocanaqua, PA.  He drove a bit and met me at Geisinger Trails, so I wouldn't have to drive too far off my path to home.
It's a small world.  Back when I had my Schlumpf hub built into a wheel, the bike shop owner told me about a local unicyclist.  I remembered he said his name was something like Sonny, but that was the last I heard of him.  It turned out that Sundy was him!  He had previous gone to school in Rochester at RIT.  He's an experienced unicyclist, but hasn't been riding muni and this was an opportunity for him to get into it.  He happens to be deaf, but could talk very well.  He was able to lip-read and interpret my gestures enough to communicate.

For someone who hasn't been riding much, he did very well.  Geisinger Trails turned out to be very hilly but I enjoyed the challenge.  We rode the Bear trail and managed not to get too lost.

Thanks for the ride Sundy!

Muni at Black Hill Regional Park - 2012-08-11

Muni at Geisinger Trails - 2012-08-13