Saturday, September 23, 2017

Bryce (Mt Jackson, VA)

With the season coming to an end, we're making the most of these fleeting opportunities. One of the last holdouts will be Bryce, letting us ride right up until they begin snow-blowing for their winter season.



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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Nicaragua

Being a weekend warrior means driving to most of our destinations. It allows us the ability to bring along as much gear as we need and, most of the time, the dogs. It doesn't, however, allow us to stray too far from home and rarely the opportunity to leave the country. With that in mind, Rebecca and I knew from the start that we were going to use our week-long honeymoon to explore a foreign country instead of staying within the confines of the United States.



Rebecca found an amazing AirBnB for our time in Nicaragua - an off-grid house perched high above the jungle.



We were set to land in Managua late on Monday night, so Rebecca booked a second AirBnB in Grenada. When we reached our connecting flight, however, we received a message that the water had been shut off there and our host had most graciously booked us a room at the Hotel Plaza Colon instead. We were amazed by the gesture and gladly changed our plans for the night.



The next morning we woke to the sounds of wild birds, emerging to the balcony to watch shop keepers and horse-drawn carriages prepare for the day. Once checked out, we sought out breakfast and toured the plaza before continuing South.



Our final destination was in Iguana, Nicaragua, so we set off from Grenada midday with plenty of time to reach the house before sundown.



The drive was pretty interesting, sharing the road with every conceivable vehicle and even the occasional herd of livestock.





Along the drive to Iguana, we stopped at a fruit stand to load up our pantry.



The best part of the drive to our AirBnB was the final jaunt up the mountain. Our little Jimny handled it wonderfully, scooting through mud holes and up the rutted mountainside.



We took daily trips to explore different beaches such as Playas Popoyo, Gigante, Maderas, and Majagual.



Majagual was our favorite, though, with an isolated feel and beautiful scenery. Our best meal was there, also, at Matilda's.





At Playa Maderas, we rented surf boards and spent some time trying to catch waves.





On our final day, we took the scenic route back to Managua. At one point, we reached a bridge yet to be completed, so we found passage around by driving through the river it was meant to circumvent. Once back on the main road, we set our sights for the Maderas Volcano.



The next morning we flew out of Managua. Although it was a spectacular trip, we were both happy to return home.

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Big Sky (Montana)



During my second day in Montana, I decided to ride at the Big Sky Resort.



With three lifts running during the summer, access to the sprawling trail network was impressive. The two high-speed chairs were running at full speed, a welcome change from most resorts that slow the cables during the summer season.



My favorite trails trails were "Snake Charmer" and "Joker Lips" - two tracks featuring jumps and berms over technical rock gardens. I did ride plenty of other trails, but the layer of loose dirt created a feeling of unpredictability, so I quickly returned to the more heavily-ridden jump lines.

On my way to the airport that afternoon, I stopped along US Highway 191 to take a dip in the Gallatin River before heading east.



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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

West Yellowstone (Montana)



When we received word that a machine we'd produced had broken down, my boss immediately decided to send someone to rectify the situation. When I heard that the machine was located in Big Sky, Montana, I jumped at the opportunity!



On Monday afternoon I raced to the airport, bound for Bozeman, Montana. On Tuesday we tackled the repair and had the machine running properly by 1pm. With ample time left in the day, I decided a trip to West Yellowstone was in order.





The sights were amazing! I was blown away by the vibrant colors produced by reactions beneath the surface.



One of the main attractions, of course, was Old Faithful. By complete chance, I arrived just moments before the next eruption, which fully met my expectations.



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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Chickahominy River (Lanexa, VA)



With my previous board beginning to delaminate and take on water, it was time to retire it for a new one. Once the Hyperlite Franchise board and Remix bindings were in, I was itching to get onto the water to test them out.



Even though we had minimal weight in the boat, the board performed well - giving me decent pop off the less-than-superb wake. I can't wait to try it out once we load the interior with friends!



One of the highlights of the trip was the fact that we took the motorcycle there. Rebecca and I strapped the board in place of the center box and it actually worked rather well. We took Route 5 as far a Charles City Courthouse, then north along 151 to Providence Forge. The stretch on Route 5 is beside the Virginia Capital Trail, passing vineyards and old plantations along the way.



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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

James River (Buchanan, VA)



For my friend Jeremy's birthday he decided a float on the James River would be best. He works as a chef in Charlottesville, VA and his schedule allowed him the chance to celebrate on the actual date - which turned out to be a Wednesday. Since the rest of us have nine-to-five's, finding participants was a challenge and the group for this outing ended up being Jeremy, his father, and myself.



Now that I've sold the Jeep, I have no way of carting my canoe, so Jeremy's father Stan transported the boat for me while I rode the motorcycle to Buchanan, VA. I took the direct [but slower] route of 360/460 while Stan took the highway to scoop Jeremy. Our timing was perfect - arriving at the take-out at nearly exactly the same time. I left my motorcycle there and we drove to the put-in together.



The fish weren't biting that day, but that didn't keep Jeremy and Stan from trying.



The float lasted about four hours, passing under I-81 near the terminus and giving us an auditory cue to press on.



When we reached the Buchanan Boat Ramp I rode my motorcycle to retrieve the truck. Once loaded, Stan delivered me to the moto and we each set off independently for home.



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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Massanutten (Virginia)

Since the last round of the DHSE Series, I haven't been out on the DH bike. In a way, I'm glad to return to a bit more of the XC riding in order to improve my stamina & strength. In fact, this weekend I brought along both bikes to get some XC in at Preddy Creek as well as a sampling of the western slope trails at Massanutten.



On Friday night I rode at Preddy Creek before staying with a friend in Charlottesville. The next morning I finished the drive to Massanutten and met another friend, Matt, for runs at the park. I spent the majority of my time on their jump trail, Creamy.



That night I stayed at the Swift Run Campground in Elkton. I was pleased to find out that it was karaoke night, with the faint sounds of folk country tunes in the distance as I drifted off to sleep.

The next morning I drove to the ridge overlooking Massanutten Resort. I took the Pink Loop for a short 4 mile circuit and was amazed by the technicality of the trails. It was a rocky paradise, challenging the rider to find the best line through a maze of boulders.



By the time I returned to the car, I was fairly spent, but forced myself to get back on the DH bike in order to ride with yet another buddy, Charlie. He and his friend Conner joined me for a few laps down Creamy and the World Cup Course before I loaded up and headed home.



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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Stokesville (Mt. Solon, VA)

Just a few feet from our campsite at the Stokesville Campground in Mount Solon, VA. The campgrounds are home of the Shenandoah 100 and located in the middle of a phenomenal system of trails within the George Washington National Forest.



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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Chickahominy River

My friend Pete put together a short video of our day out at the Chickahominy River. I was amazed at how well he put together the scattered footage that we collected that day. It's no surprise, I suppose, given his talents.



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Friday, May 26, 2017

Nozarks

The original plan was to ride to the Ozark National Forest to meet my friend Rob. He was setting off on a ride from Birmingham, Alabama to the Yellowstone National Park, so I decided to join him for a segment within the Ozarks.

My ride began on Thursday afternoon - catching up with a rainstorm near Radford, VA. After a few hours of the wet ride, I was finally in Townsend, Tennessee to stay the night with friends. The next day I rode for about four hours to Montgomery Bell State Park near Nashville.



I unloaded my gear and headed to the trails. Although there were frequent trail markers, I found myself riding in circles and eventually decided to backtrack before becoming totally lost in the woods.



Once I was packed up again, I scouted out my lodging for the night - a backcountry shelter along one of the park's hiking trails.



As I sat by the shelter, picturing the next day's 8-hour ride, I decided I'd rather not continue any further. I was burnt out on the highway and certainly not looking forward to the return trip of roughly 20 hours on the asphalt. With that in mind, I chose to hike back to the bike, pack my things, and begin the drive east, going as far as I could before finding a roadside motel to crash for the night.

Although I'm slightly disappointed that I canned the trip to the Ozarks, it's quite a relief knowing that I didn't have to endure another second on the long, boring highway. Rob understood too, as he's giving himself much more time to complete his ride, allowing for some rural routes and a more enjoyable pace. I think I'll revisit this trip in the future - only if I'm able to allot more time to its completion.



On the way home I decided to visit another new trail system since I had the mountain bike with me. I jumped onto MTBProject and found the Crystal Springs Recreation Area in Wytheville, VA. The trails were decent and the springs were an excellent reward after the ride [both on the mountain bike and the motorcycle].



Rebecca and I tried to rendezvous along the Blue Ridge Parkway to camp that night along my ride home, but the lack of cell reception and some misdirection resulted in a delayed meeting around 8pm.



She hadn't had anything to eat since breakfast and we'd still need to take several trips up a Jeep trail to the campsite I'd chosen to relay our gear, so we decided to can that as well. She took off east towards Richmond while I made one more run into the woods to retrieve the gear I'd stashed at our campsite.



Eventually I was packed again and rolling home. I can hardly remember a time I'd wanted to be OFF the bike more.

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Dirt Rag Dirt Fest (Raystown Lake, PA)



After last year's event was rained out, I was eager to get back to Raystown Lake in order to receive my fair share of time on their trails. I was delighted to find agreeable conditions all three days of my time there.



Camping accommodations fill quickly at the Susquehannock sites, but I was lucky to find the nearby Trough Creek State Park only about 45 minutes away from the venue.



It was actually one of the highlights of the trip, with hiking trails and the beautiful creek to explore.





This year I rode three consecutive days - testing the trails on A Giant Trance, Yeti SB5, Transition Throttle, Evil Wreckoning, and Pivot Firebird. I'm quite happy with my Canfield Nimble9, so I wasn't riding with the intent of buying. Still, it was fun testing my hand at new suspension designs and the 1x12 gearing that most new rides have adopted. Although I didn't stay within the same "range" of models, the clear favorite was the Evil Wreckoning. What I like most about my Nimble9 is that it hides the fact that it rolls on 29" wheels, still providing a quick, snappy feel in the corners. This attribute seemed present in The Wreckoning also - and it did so with 160mm of travel front and rear.



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