DCMTB-retreat Day 2-Southern Traverse

The Boys of DCMTB
From August

We got down to Harrisonburg and got our camping spot setup up on  helopad area near Tood Lake.  Mike K. had a huge tent and Leland, Mike, Ian and I all slept in it.  It was big enough for Mike and I to have to full size sleeping mattresses and the other guys were on their own bedrolls.  Best comment of the night was in the morning when Mike said we are some quiet ass sleepers.  None of us are snorers which was nice.

So in the morning the weather was total crap, it had been raining the whole night, and it was not looking great for riding.   Kevin, and Matt B. stayed at a hotel, and joined us, and Jonathan got down to the area around 10am.  
We decided to do the Southern Traverse because we thought we might get out of the lite rain we were in.  We were kinda right.  We got to the start of the Southern Traverse and it was a little misty, but as we climbed the ridge to get to the single track we basically climbed into a cloud.  This would be how the rest of the ride would follow, we would go up, down, going left and right of the ridge line and would get less rain or more.
After the ride we did yesterday, I was not feeling as spunky.  I felt I had the endurance to ride just not the snap.  I ended up riding mostly with Kevin, and Matt B.  Matt was having some issues getting used to the rocks we have here in the east coast compared to UK where is from.  The front guys would wait up for us, even though I told them to just go ahead.
After we did the big downhill, we were going to do the 16 mile slog back on the road.  I had told Kevin I would ride with him back on the singletrack if he wanted.  In the end we all decided to take the road.  Chris D. was riding strong, I ended up catching up with him, and pace lining with him for like 10miles.  He lead most of the way I tried to contribute when I could.
We went out that night to the greek place in Harrisonburg, and had some laughs.  I ended up going back that night with Kevin, which had I known I was going to do that I would have done the singletrack back instead of the road.  Hopping we can do this again next year, and there is some better weather.

Kevin got this for X-Mas I thought it was a joke. but it is real.


DCMTB-retreat Day 1 Liberty Furnace.

Boys on the Lookout
Almost there, it was raining in DC, and sprinkling here, luckily on the trail totally dry
Leland was leaving the area and I wanted him to experience some of the big up, and downhills that he never got to ride during the various races.  Four of us were taking Friday off to do Liberty Furnace, and we would meet up with more of the DCMTB crew on Friday/Saturday to do a ride in the Stokesville area.

I will not lie this ride has some major climbing......   as you can see that first 3 miles is a whopper!  Some in the group were not happy about it, but Ian and myself we fine to try and climb what we could and walk the other stuff.   We got the first climb and descended the fire road to the rocky downhill trail. We then took a right onto a trail I had not done, but it part of the Big Schlosh loop.  There were some rocky sections, and a full on rock mine field in the forest that we had to go through.  I did my rendition of a hail mary, superman endo going through the rock garden.  Had to deal with that bruise the whole weekend.

Yes, that's a trail. See the yellow blaze
We took the road to trout pond, in the future I will do the double track by the general store.  Ian and I had a good challenge up this climb, and I think we might have made it, but there was a tree down so it was not to be.  On the ridgeline, Mike finally seemed happy, and I was just happy to be riding my HT OK here, since I am used to having my dual suspension bike with me.  The downhill was too much for me, I didn't take it as fast as Young Buck and Mike.  The ride was good, minus 25minutes of Ian fighting a UST tire that had a sidewall gash.  A big THX to Mike for the post ride Burritos!


OMG-No Shepardstown w/Coxy

The Boys and I 
The Route

I've done this ride once a year for the last four years or so. This year, I was doing the ride with a smaller group and it was a little more relaxed. We started off, and at Hamburg, we all went our own pace. It was very interesting because having done the climbs out in Boulder recently, I was able to compare and contrast them with the Frederick climbs.

I do quite well on a climb like Hamburg, which is pretty steep--being 3 miles and 1168ft of elevation. The difference between this ride and the ones I'd done in Colorado was that even though there is a good amount of elevation gain, there are spots of flats or a lesser gradient where you can catch your breath. I finished the climb a little bit before Chris and Jonathan, and then we worked our way down Highland School, getting to some high speeds. My bike wasn't feeling quite right, and I realized once we got to the bottom that my tires were a little overinflated. Right before we got to Harp Hill, Jonathan had a flat that we had to change. This took a little bit longer than usual, but while we were there, I used the stop to deflate my tires a bit and get more grip on the downhills. I was the last to leave, and a lady in a minivan said to me, "You can't delay the inevitable," before I started up the next climb. 
 Going up Harp Hill, I caught up to Jonathan and Chris, who had gotten pretty far up the road already. I did the climb at a pretty good clip, using my technique of attacking at the super steep parts to keep my cadance high. We worked our way down to the first rest stop and bought some extra water.
On the way to the Gapland Climb, the scenery was nice, but we were a little exposed to the heat and sun with the 90 degree temperature.

At the top of the Gapland Climb, which is very steep at the beginning but mellows out after the initial push, there is a park that is a great rest stop with bathrooms and water. After a discussion with the group and a look at our watches, we decided that we didn't really need to go all of the way to Shepherdstown. I came up with an idea for a route that would add a climb and allow us to get the same elevation as going the extra 20 miles to Shepherdstown and back. I decided that we would take a little northern detour and then hook up with Dogstreet Rd. to then hit the Reno Climb that we would normally hit on the route from Shepherdstown.
We did the Reno Climb, which is always an interesting one because of the super sharp kicker in the beginning--after which you lose all of that elevation and have to go up again to go over the real ridge. We didn't get to enjoy the full downhill of the Reno Climb because we needed to take the left-hand turn to Foxgap Road that would lead us to an extra climb. We went back over the ridge that we just came down on Alt. 40, which was a little crowded but had a shoulder.
What is nice about the Alt. 40 climb is that it is graded for trucks and so it's a gradual ascent and you just need to keep a good rhythm to get up it. Once we got to the saddle of the climb, we went further north up the ridge on Monument Road. At the top, we waited for Jonathan, who was kinda cramping by that point.

We then did another road called Michael that I'd never done before that is a super fast downhill and has two or three tight corners. I was leading, and I had two little surprising moments. I yelled out to warning to the guys about the turns, and I believe Jonathan actually ended up having a two-wheel drift skid. We made it down the descent and then continued on Monument to the prior rest stop, where we had stashed our extra water. Jonathan had put too much mix into his drinks and wasn't at his best, but he still said he would make it through and do Coxy Brown, which he had not done in two previous attempts.
We left the rest stop and worked our way to the Mother Coxy Brown. Coxy Brown is a very interesting climb. It seems no matter how many times I've done it, I still have my "come-to-Jesus" or "am-I-going-to-get-off-this-bike-and-walk" moment on it. I have done the climb enough to know that it's gonna hurt, but I know I can do it. I realized I'd gone out a little too fast on the first part when after the flat middle part, the second seemed even harder this time despite my past experience with it. All three of us made it up the climb, and what goes up must come down. The downhill back to the cars on Gambrill/Shookstown Rd. is a blast, and you can coast all the way back to the cars.
So we ended up with 68 miles and about 300 ft. less of elevation game than if we had done the full 83 miles of the original route. In some ways, I like this route better, but I do like that bakery in Shepherdstown.