Saturday, October 12, 2013

New River Rock Climbing (West Virginia)

Since our trip to Goshen Pass, I've been dying to climb outside again. Our crew from Peak chose to visit the New River Gorge, due in part to some of their experience climbing there in the past.

The route options were limitless. On Saturday our group of nine split into two. One group consisted of the more experienced climbers and the other, well, was where I found myself! Although we did meet other climbers on every wall, we still never had much difficulty finding an open route to try.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Mountain Bike Double-Header

This weekend was an official MOUNTAIN BIKE EPIC! Downhill riding at Snowshoe on Saturday followed by the Shenandoah 100 on Sunday.

Camping in Slatyfork was beautiful as always. Joey and I set up our hammocks in the mossy forest and grabbed a few hours of sleep before our first day of riding.

The trail crew at Snowshoe has kept themselves occupied all summer, and their work shows in the trail conditions. There is also a new trail being cut, but I doubt we’ll see its completion this season.

After we had our fill of DH at Snowshoe, we loaded up the Jeep and headed to the Stokesville campground. We arrived fairly late, but had decent luck finding a suitable area to setup camp. That night I registered and prepared my gear for the race before heading to bed. At the break of day (well, before then actually), I rolled out of my tent and cooked a protein-rich breakfast before heading to the 6am start.

As always, I wasn’t perfectly prepared for the race, but I suffered through the cramped muscles and loaded up on electrolyte pills at each aid station. The aid stations are really the key to the SM100 and its high completion rate. Each stop has a choice of food, drink, and nutritional supplements to keep riders sufficiently fueled for the long day.

Just after the eleven-hour mark I crossed the finish line. It was a long, but not necessarily painful day. I felt relatively relaxed at the finish – a contrast to years past when I’ve felt completely drained by the end of the day.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

North Anna Float (Doswell, VA)

When Joey and I purchased our season passes for Snowshoe this year, we were pleased to find that our passes also included three free days at Seven Springs (PA) and Mountain Creek (NJ). Duteously, Joey called ahead to confirm this with Seven Springs. He found out, however, that this didn’t include Saturdays, so we shortened our trip to a single day. This left me with one vital question – what to do on Saturday?

Immediately I remembered one crucial trip that we’d yet to make this summer…it was time to float the North Anna River! At the last minute, a group of eight friends agreed to meet the next morning to make the float. Along for the adventure were Rebecca, Alex, Jason, Mac, Virginia, Brett, Mark, and Catherine.

As usual, we had a slow start to the day and arrived at the put-in about an hour later than we’d hoped. Luckily for us, though, the water level was high and moving faster than I’d ever seen. The four-hour float that we’d expected flew by in just over two hours. The swift current also meant that the tubers scooted along just as quickly as the boats, avoiding the typical need for a tow rope.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Mary's Rock (Luray, VA)

This weekend I decided to visit Nat in DC. He, along with his roommate Jean Francois and I headed to the Shenandoah National Park on Saturday morning in search of our friend Jake, camped within the Mathews Arm Campground.

We searched the camp area for Jake's girlfriend's car until finally spotting it parked by the Traces Trail. We began up the trail and eventually spotted them near the trail's intersection with the Appalachian Trail. Unfortunately, Jake's girlfriend Dung (pronounced "yung") had injured her knee earlier and was not feeling up for any additional hiking. We parted ways with them after hiking back to the parking lot and continued on to find another trail along the Skyline Drive.

Jean Francois suggested we find the trail to Mary's Rock, so we did. Once atop the ridge, the view was magnificent! We celebrated our ascent with a beer, took in the view for a bit longer, then headed back to the Jeep. After that we headed into Sperryville to check out the Copper Fox Distillery, then back to DC. I dropped them off at their apartment and headed back for Richmond. Not a bad way to spend the day!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Goshen Pass (Virginia)

After nearly a year of climbing indoors at Peak, I finally had a chance to climb outdoors this weekend.

Joey, Tobje, and I headed to Goshen early Saturday morning, unloaded our gear from Joey's Jeep at the swinging bridge, and hiked in to begin our day of climbing. Once at the rock face, we set two top ropes and began taking turns tackling the ascents. The rain was nearly constant throughout the day, but the overhanging rock kept us dry. It was actually a very nice touch, keeping the temperature low and offering a soothing sound to the background.

At midday, we moved one rope to another location and attempted a more difficult route. It was unique from the other two due to its overhanging anchor point, which meant that a fall resulted in a lengthy swing away from the face.

That night we camped near Crabtree Meadows and the next morning we decided to drive Shoe Creek. Joey's Jeep handled the rocky trail in excellent form.

Near the completion of the 4x4 trail, we spotted a decent water hole and chose to brave the cold water before heading to pavement and back to Richmond.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Bryce (Virginia)

Joey and I left Richmond on Saturday night for Harrisonburg. We studied the NatGeo maps during the highway sections of our drive and scouted for a camp spot until we found a decent clearing.

The next morning we headed to Bryce to find a very impressive new bike park in its inaugural season. The trails were groomed similarly to Diablo with jumps, berms, and tabletops on nearly every track.

We shredded all day and kept bumping into familiar faces from Richmond. It seems that Bryce may become the “nearest favorite” after noticing just how many Richmond riders there were.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Shenandoah River (Staunton, VA)

After a day at Smith Mountain Lake, trolling around on a pontoon boat, Crystal, Katie and I joined Katie’s in-laws for a trip down the Shenandoah River.

The river had a relaxed pace with a few sections of rapids to keep the float interesting. We had paddles, but put them to very little use the entire time.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Snowshoe (West Virginia)

Ian, Joey and I set out for West Virginia on Friday afternoon with pleasant weather in the forecast. Ian, a seasoned XC rider, was trying downhill for the first time during this trip.

Snowshoe is offering a great deal on its season pass this year, so Joey and I ponied up the cash and purchased one each. The season pass includes a "friend pass" so Joey and I gave both days to Ian in exchange for covering the trip's fuel.

After our first day of riding we explored the fire roads around our campsite and stumbled upon a couple of stunning ponds.

The trail crew at Snowshoe was hard at work this spring. They’ve manicured their existing trails and added some trail features as well. In short, we plan on several return visits this season.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Slaughterama 10

After successfully removing Slaughterama's mass appeal during 2011's Knot-a-rama and 2012's Sort-a-rama, we decided that the tenth year of our event was a good time to bring it back full-force. Christian found a great new spot and Zach created a new event - Hungry Hungry Hippos.

The club didn't hype the event much, just sending out a last-minute blast to the teams about when/where to meet. Friday's scavenger hunt went well, with about 8 teams representing. The course covered the entire city and ended at Skateland, where we tallied the winners and skated until gnarly blisters formed.

Saturday kicked off with a ride from Shiplock Park to the official Slaughterama location (not that I'll disclose it). The crowd was smaller than in past years, but perfectly comprised of teams and kids on bikes - no more overflow from VCU and most importantly - no drum circles!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Mill Mountain (Roanoke, VA)

Tessa and I loaded up the Jeep and headed to Roanoke on Friday night. A late arrival meant a late morning the following day, but once we mobilized, we headed to Mill Mountain to ride to the Roanoke Star.

The trail was short, steep, and rocky. In little time we were on top of the mountain, looking out over the Roanoke Valley.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

White Rocks Campground (Blacksburg, VA)

Since nearly losing Tim to exposure during our cold weather camping trip to Spy Rock, our ragtag crew has not officially taken a trip together. This year, however, Jeremy assembled the boys for a trip to his new hometown - Blacksburg, VA.

John and I set out in my Jeep while Ellis drove from Richmond to Charlottesville, where he retrieved Tristan. Our final two members, Andrew and Brian, made the drive from DC.

After a night at Jeremy's house, we studied the Nat'l Geo maps and decided to try to reach the White Rocks Campground within the George Washington National Forest. The drive was snowy and we left vehicles parked at varying "depths" along the way. Brian's Honda met its match early on, so we parked it at Mountain Lake Hotel, the location of Dirty Dancing.

Ellis muscled his Honda through snow, mud, and a few streams before finally succumbing to the elements. His Honda threw in the towel about two miles from the campsite. I continued in my Jeep to the campsite, dropped off Jeremy and John, then returned for the rest of the group. It was a lot of driving, but sliding along the snowy roads was great fun.

Once assembled at the campsite, we set ourselves to the task of building a fire and setting up tents. Jeremy set himself to the task of drinking, and subsequently passed out around 7pm! Luckily, however, Jeremy did begin his famous beef stew before retiring. We tended the stew and promptly devoured it as we sat by the fire.

After the stew, we hiked along the camp road, placing the first footprints in the snow. The next morning we played on dual slack lines before packing up and transporting members to their respective vehicles. One last meal in Blacksburg was our jumping-off point, from which we headed home. >br>

Thursday, January 10, 2013

OAP Winter Trip (Colorado)

When I heard the deal that the VCU Outdoor Adventure Program (OAP) had secured for their winter trip, I hurried to sign up. The five day, six night trip included everything, including four days of lift access at Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail, and Beaver Creek.

Conditions weren't phenomenal, but despite the few bare spots the riding was great!