Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Up the mountain and down the tracks

Last Sunday, Cider Bloch and Chrissy met me in the Pyle for a long fat bike ride.

Actually, I guess I should preface this by saying that I'm riding a fat bike now. It's cool. Really cool. Possibly the best bike related purchase since my first mountain bike. More on that later.

fat bike

We head out of town, and start the long climb out of the valley. Since Ohiopyle is at the bottom of the deepest gorge in Pennsylvania, some of the biggest climbs in the area are around here. Chrissy has the heaviest bike of the three of us, and looks like she's feeling it.

"How far is this thing?" she says.

"Probably only another six miles to the top," I say. Groans all around.

The road eventually mellows out. Pass some hardscrabble houses, with yards full of sharp rocks and tired horses. A little beagle puppy runs out of a house and tries to sound tough. We laugh at him.

At the next house, we're charged by two fat muts, and a huge rottweiler. Don't laugh at them. They run onto the road, and the littlest and fattest charges Cinder Bloch. Nips the back of his leg.

"You little shit!" Cinder Bloch yells, and sprays water from his bottle. The dog yelps, turns, and runs into the other chubby dog.

After a while, we hit the first top. Drop back down a couple hundred feet, then back up some more. Past a cemetery where cows have their faces in a rusty hay bin. I pull out my phone to check the GPS. Only a little more climbing till we hit the trail. Finally, the top of Maple Summit.

"There's some sled tracks," I say, pointing to a chewed up piece of snowy road.

We turn onto the snowmobile trail. The snow is super slippy, and starting to melt. Cinder Bloch crashes into a snow bank. I laugh at him, then my tires slide out. Nuts. I'm laying on the road.

Drop tire pressure, drop it some more. Then more, till I can squish the big tire to the rim with my finger. Then I can ride. Sweet.

The suns starting to set, and we should probably figure out how to get back. I check the map. Looks like there's a pipeline that drops back down to the river.

"Looks like it gets a little steep," I say. The contour lines are scrunched tight together on the topo.

Cinder Bloch photo
 I start ripping down the pipeline, then the snowmobile tracks stop.

Fresh tracks
Cinder Bloch photo

Oh shit. I slide my bike sideways, and lay into the snow. The pipeline drops straight down the ridge. And the ridge is really steep.

Cinder Bloch and Chrissy roll up, and we stand looking down the drop.

"Well this'll be something," I say. Click into my pedals, and let off the front brake. I pick up speed, get way behind the saddle. Jesus this is steep. My back tire slides out, the bike goes sideways, but I stay on it. Snow sprays. The brakes heat up and start to scream.

Just don't hit a tree. Stay up. I crash through a pile of sticks, jagger bushes, and more undergrowth. Then I'm at the bottom. My leg twitches a little. Roll down the last drop to the rail road tracks.

I sit down there for a while, waiting. Nobody comes. I yell up the hill. No answer. Damn. I guess I better get my bike and start back up.

Then Cinder Bloch appears. Chrissy a little later. No broken anythings. Excellent.

We jump onto the railroad tracks, and start rolling back into town. One evacuation to let a train rumble by, and a few jarring miles later, and we're back. We go to the pub.

Riding tracks on fat bike


b said...

Sounds like a really fun ride! Jealousy!

Montana said...

It was pretty sweet. Especially for the end of January

Benton Taylor said...
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