Thursday, October 15, 2009

Iron Cross 2009

My 4th year of doing Iron Cross didn't disappoint as every year its different and special. This year would be especially challenging, no longs ride in the legs - a potentially fatal error with such an undertaking but heck, whats the worst that could happen - stuck in the middle of nowhere or a drive back in the meat wagon.
Procedure was the same, get up at 4am, meet George at 5am for a 3 hour drive to Michaux State Forrest, the starting point. I think next year I'll go the night before to save having to get up so early.
300+ of us started on a glorious fall day in the Spiral of Death. After getting kicked out of the spiral the ride dumps us out on a smooth gravel trail for about 10 miles with only a sandy beach to that had us dismount. Smooth sailing - till the 1st of many hills. After going up a long hill on the gravel we get dumped out onto the road for some up and down for 7 miles. At 16 it's into the woods for the 1st of a number of knarley mountain bike sections. The 1st starts easy enough, slight uphill single track over rock gardens then it's downhill a steep rocky trail with riders lining the sides. Are they resting or watching the carnage?, I never did figure it out. Happily out of the woods intact onto some smooth pavement for a couple mile long downhill that was tempered by a stinking cross wind, but heck at least it was going down.
Now for the guts of the ride as that was the last easy part. Long fire road climbs, mountain biking takes us to the infamous 'walk ups". The 1st is especially steep and long that gets your heart rate to red line the whole way. Once at the top it's down a sandy trail to another one that has a welcome check point at the top, not as bad but difficult just the same.
At this point the legs are starting to feel the effort and worry sets in - still 35 miles of ball busting terrain to go! Eat, drink, go easy up the hills and maybe you'll have a chance to complete this ordeal says the little man on my shoulder.
The little man was right and hacked through the next 30 miles including the 5 mile never ending gravelly climb. This was the next to the last worst section leading up to the last "walk up".
But wait, there's more. Long zig-zaging single track sections through the woods, cross a couple streams, some more climbs, by this time it's a blur. Yipee, long knarley up hill opens up to the last walk up. When you have to crane your neck to see the top you know you're in trouble. It's different this time, vegitation is growing and looks normal, not like a luner lanscape devoid of any green or growth. At the top is's a long, fast descent on the road with a couple small climbs back to the start that are quite a chore due to limp legs.
Happy to finish this ride again without mis-hap and even enjoyed the scenery at times. Those of you that want a cycling challenge that has it all, check Iron Cross out!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ride to see the Acela

As a fan of big fast things I figured it would be a neat thing to combine a bike ride down past Morrisville on the canal trail to see these big suckers fly by. For those that are wondering the "Acela" goes from Boston to Washington, DC and is the fastest train in the US and can go upwards of 140mph on certain stretches of track.
From Morrisville the canal trail breaks up here and there but if you just go around the break it starts up just fine. Just about 2 miles south of Morrisville the train seems to dead end at a junction of train tracks. The track that the Acela runs on is to the left and about a 10 yard walk down to the tracks.
1st a woosh then a rush then its by you and you're stairing at tail end of this rocket ship of a train - quite impressive. Tried to take some pictures but the darn thing was too fast, I'll try next time. I want to go for a ride some time!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Chilly Cheeks trail run 2008

You're probably thinking what is a cyclist doing trucking through the woods without pedals between his legs. One word sums it up - challenge.
Chilly Cheeks trail run is another perverse product of Ron Horne, race organizer from based in the Reading, Pa area. There's a whole series of them with wacky names, Chilly Cheeks, 7 miles or so of hills hills, hills.
Starting off with 462 runners, the 27 degree January day was perfect for a run through the woods. The fun ends when ascending one of the many long hills that has everyone panting with delight. Some ice and snow made for some interesting footing but heck, if I wanted safe conditions I'd go for a run around my block.
All in all got through the run intact and even saw the famous Reading pagota (I ran past it previously and didn't notice the 10 story pagota due to my delerious state). Only fell once witch is good.