Monstercross in the Watershed

On Wednesday, I had a few hours to kill and thought a gravel ride through the woods, would be a great way to spend part of All Hallows’ Day. To try something different, I opted for a spin through the Port Jervis Watershed.

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Starting from parking lot 2, at the power lines, I headed down Skyline Drive to the campground (an old Girl Scout camp). From there, I sampled a little of Scouts Honor, some flowy singletrack, for a half mile and returned to the campground. I wound my way up to Point Peter, and back around to the gate and down Skyline Path, a beat up old road with more dirt and gravel than what’s left of decades old pavement.

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At the bottom of Skyline Drive, I made a left on Reservior Road and cruised over to the bottom of Deejay Downs. On the way back, I climbed Resevior Road to Box Baum Rd. The gravel is very loose on this road, making it difficult to gain any momentum on the way up.

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At the top, I took Box Baum to Academy Avenue and button hooked my way over to Peenpack Trail. Turning around again, I found my way onto Moranigan Trail, more singletrack with and few more rocks and roots, but very rideable. A right on Brant Path, an old Jeep trail, led me back to Box Baum and subsequently, back down Resevior Road. After climbing Skyline Path, I finished up by cruising down Skyline Drive to the parking lot.

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I see the potential to develop a good mixed ride of gravel, Jeep trail and singletrack. Can’t wait to put it all together.

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What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), today – Hall and Oates – She’s Gone

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Gravel, dirt, grass and a little pave

About 6 years ago, I decided that a cyclocross bike was  my alternative fall rig. Not to race, but to get off the beaten path. I know, I sound like every bicycle company’s mantra for their new gravel, all road or adventure bike. Every one of them will have you believe they invented this gravel bike or this incredible genre of riding. Truth is, people have been riding gravel and dirt roads as long as people have been riding bicycles.

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Since then, I can’t seem to get enough gravel. As a matter of fact, I can’t seem to get enough of the Delaware State Forest. So much so, you must be sick of reading my posts that include this swath of woods. Anyway, I’m sorry, but today, I rode with Joe and Jason and found an entirely new trail that is as amazing as every road, ATV or snowmobile trail in the forest.

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We started at my abode and pedaled about a mile, before entering a deer trail that led us to Five Mile Meadow Road. Heading towards Silver Lake, we made a right on Ben Bush Trail and followed it to Standing Stone Trail. Cruising through the deer management area, we turned left on Silver Lake Road and decided to take the Burnt Mills Trail for about 3 miles and connected it with Flat Ridge Road.

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Just as Flat Ridge comes to an end, we moved back over to the Burnt Mills Trail to ride through the section that includes a lot of loose gravel and large pieces of rip rap. This ends in a huge gravel parking lot along Rt. 402. From there, we usually ride on 402 to Pine Flats Road. Today, we hung a left onto the Pine Flats Trail. The first quarter mile was being logged. The rest was like gliding over some kind of magical forest. Lush grass on top of a hard packed surface made for a really cool roller coaster ride that eventually came out at the bottom of Pine Flats Road.

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As it was 35-40 degrees most of the day, we decided to head back via Bushkill Falls Road to Flat Ridge Road and took Five Mile Meadow all the way to my community.

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No, I don’t walk on water. It just seems that way!

It always seems a little difficult when you encounter the first really cold ride of the new season. But, it gets easier each time you go out.

What’s playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), today – anything Marvin Gaye. C7463DA2-71A0-444D-9E6A-19E5F093A457

 

 

 

 

 

Dehydration

Dehydration is a deficit of total body water. It occurs when water loss exceeds water intake. It’s usually caused by exercise, illness, or immursion diuresis. For this post, we will concentrate on exercise and dehydration from sweating.

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Whenever your in a hot or humid climate and participating in exercise, dehydration is lurking just around the corner. Beware: losing 2% of your weight in fluid equates to a 25% loss in performance. And performance is only important when your health is not at risk.

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So, if your busy and forget to drink or just don’t feel thirsty during a long ride or run, you will not be able to replace the water you lose due to excessive sweating and heavy breathing. When your dehydrated, you may feel dizzy or disoriented. You may have muscle cramps or headaches. You could also experience rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, confusion, irritability, dark yellow urine, dry skin or fainting.

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What you need to do: First, drink a lot of water, every day! Then, drink 12 ounces of water 1 hour before exercise and 8 ounces, 15 minutes before exercise. During your ride, run, hike, paddle or whatever gets your heart rate up, drink 1 bottle (about 20-24 ounces) for every hour  of effort. In humid conditions, drink 1 & 1/2 bottles an hour. Add sports drink mix to every other bottle for efforts over an hour long.

What makes me such an expert. Experience. I’ve ended up getting carted to a hospital on 3 separate occasions in the last 14 years, due to severe dehydration. Each time, during humid weather, I simply did not drink enough before or during exercise. I felt weak and tried to push on. All big mistakes. The first two times, it took me a couple of weeks to recover. It happened again last weekend, Not because it was hot or humid, but because I did not drink enough and did not listen to my body. So drink, drink drink!

 

 

 

 

Solstice Campout

On Saturday, Steve, Jason, Darrin and I, ventured out on a bikepacking trip. June 23rd was the worldwide solstice bikepacking event and what better place to camp then the Delaware State Forest.

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We met up at the Rt. 739 parking area at 5pm and pedaled up Five Mile Meadow Road. A right on Ben Bush Trail to Standing Stone Trail brought us through the logging area and over to Silver Lake Road. A short climb and we hammered the 4 miles down Flat Ridge Road.

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We hooked up on the Burnt Mills snowmobile trail system over to Rt. 402 and dropped down to Pine Flats Road. About 2 miles in, there is a water source. This is convenient, because we were camping only about 2 miles further. We filled our bottles and headed to our campsite.

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I reserved the campsite from the PA DCNR. The Delaware State Forest has 29 designated campsites. Ours was perfect. With a stream running nearby, the campsite sat just off the gravel road.

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After setting up sleeping quarters and making a fire, it was time to prepare dinner. I opted for a quick dehydrated meal of Louisiana Red Beans and Rice, cooked expertly on a Jetboil stove.

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We relaxed with a few beers and enjoyed the incredible night afforded us by Mother Nature. The forecast called for a humid day followed by thunderstorms. What we got was a nice breezy day with perhaps a slight drizzle. Perfect weather for a loaded S24hour adventure.

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The next morning brought more beautiful weather. After breakfast, we packed up and retraced our route back to Silver Lake Road, where we turned right to take Five Mile Meadow all the way back.

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Sub 24hour adventures get you out in the woods without a big commitment. Give it try. Until then, check out more pics of our adventure.

 

 

 

Snowshoes, Ice & Darkness – 2018 Storms

This has surely been a week to forget. With about 2 feet of snow dumped on the area last Friday, most, including me, have been without power since.

In rural areas, power outages take on a whole different meaning. With the lack of central water and sewers, we rely on Well water and Septic. When there is no power, septic and water pumps do not operate. Internet went out with the power and cell service lasted 12 hours into the blackout.

Today, we were graced with another foot of snow. You simply have to make the best of it. I was lucky enough to get a little exercise, as I donned the snowshoes for a jaunt through the woods with my son.

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No pics of the damage (trees and wires down, cars crushed, homes destroyed). That’s for the news outlets. I just want to hammer home the notion that you have to be prepared. If you have the means, get a generator. Keep 20 gallons of gas on hand, safely away from the house. Store bottled water and canned food. Make sure you have matches and a good old fashioned hardwire telephone. Most times when power goes out, phone lines are in tact.

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A wood burning stove is a good idea. I was lucky enough to have a generator that powers my entire home and a wood burning stove with plenty of wood. I owe a huge thank you to a wonderful neighbor that trudged through the snow to turn on the generator for my wife while I was stuck on a closed road for 17 hours. What I lacked was gas. I searched every gas station in the area on Saturday and finally found enough to fill my containers.

This storm claimed many lives and many are still without power or running water. Please, if you know someone that is suffering because of this storm, reach out and help.

It’s no secret that weather patterns are changing. With that said, try to make the best of what Mother Nature serves up.

Feeling Spring

A couple of weeks ago, that dreaded groundhog saw his shadow. Whether that means six more weeks of winter or not, I truly do not know. What I do know is that these past few days have been warm, 50’s and 60’s. With a snow storm looming for Saturday night, the pressure was on to get a ride in.

Being sick since late January, has kept me off the bike. Feeling weak, with constant headaches and swollen legs, has kept me on the shelf and not thinking I could ride, until today. I peeled myself off the couch and ventured out for a short spin. I’m glad I did. With a 60 degree day, snow and ice disappeared and water was everywhere.

976F6BC2-F011-4229-A476-6CC207727830Streams and creeks appeared in culverts and roads. It was a lot of fun. The pace was slow, the bike got real dirty and my backside got wet. I hope this is a sign of things to come. I would like to stop talking about how cold it’s been and start detailing new rides and adventures.

Whats playing, (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), today – Foreigner – Feels Like the First Time

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2017 in Review

Year end posts should not be about what a remarkable year you had. Instead, they should celebrate all you’ve learned in the previous 12 months and how you can use that to be a better person and make a more positive impact. Taken from the saying, “it takes a village to raise a child”, I like to remind myself and arrogantly others, “be the village”. You see, for years, I have thought of myself as  the village. Someone who is so above help that I pass judgement on those who seek out and accept help. In reality, I’ve just been fortunate in some areas of my life.

That said, Happy New Year!

2017 was a year of fantastic riding. We had our first hill climb challenge, road a lot of dirt and gravel and I really learned to appreciate any time I can be on a bike.

In 2018, we are going to put together Some cool new challenges to keep everyone riding strong. Another hill climb challenge, an off road challenge and maybe a 30 day mileage goal. While a challenge really keeps you motivated and pushes you to reach new heights, just riding your bike on most days is enough!

So, enjoy your day of rest today and get back on your bike soon!

I leave you with a pic of what hopefully your future rides do not look like or maybe they should!

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Again, Happy New Year!

 

 

 

Update: Photo Contest Winner

Thank you for submitting your photos. There were some really beautiful shots and I hope the contest got a few people outside with their bikes, when they would have otherwise been in the warmth of their homes. 15032667_10209315403894708_1102839465245136816_n

The winning photo was submitted by Sean of his Masi cyclocross bike by a lake, on November 17th. Congrats, sunglasses will be coming your way shortly.

Tifosi Sunglasses Giveaway/Photo Contest

e91399a9-0ac6-4bd1-9966-4175f85a068dTo commemorate the 1 year anniversary of ridingmilford.com, we are having a photo contest, with the winner getting a set of brand new Tifosi Optics Lore multi lens sunglasses, in beautiful metallic red. A $70 value. Included are amber, smoked and clear lenses, soft and hard cases.

To enter: reply/comment to this post with a new photo of your bicycle in nature by this Saturday, November 19th, 2016 at 4pm. Winner will be chosen and contacted on Monday, November 21st, 2016.

 

 

 

Mid Fall Classic

As the days get shorter and the weather gets cooler, I try to make the most out of every ride. Today, I met up with John and Eric and raced the moon around the Walpack loop and back to our starting point in Sandyston, NJ.

It was a crisp, mid fall day. A little cold for short sleeves, but too warm for a jacket. Perfect cycling weather! This being the time in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, that hunters are roaming the woods and gunshots can be heard throughout the day, it’s a good time for a road ride. img_0082

Riding through the Walpack Recreation Area has it’s advantages. Besides the incredible scenery, it’s usually traffic free. Pedaling out, it is always cool to see the Walpack Inn packed with cars and smoke coming from the chimney.img_0083

With a few weeks to go before the real cold weather kicks in, I hope to get a few more longer rides in before retiring the road bike for my gravel bike. Who knows, maybe a few more mountain bike rides to get me through the winter.

What’s playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) today – Styx – Loreleiimg_0084

 

 

Morning Gravel

Every now and then, you are presented with some unexpected free time. What you do with that time is totally up to you. You could do some yard work, catch up on sleep or depending on the weather, crank out some extra miles. I took the day off from work today, to accompany my wife to an out of town, late morning doctor’s appointment. When my alarm went off at the usual 6am, because I forgot to reset it for later, I hopped out of bed, grabbed a quick cup of coffee, splashed some cold water on my face and jumped into my cycling clothes. img_0063

I won’t detail my entire ride, just that I pedaled out to Five Mile Meadow Road for a morning gravel spin. I touched Standing Tall Trail and attempted to ride up to Minisink Lake via Flat Ridge Road. That did not happen, as a Road crew was spreading some fresh gravel across the road. The new stuff was too soft, like riding on sand. They said that after Flat Ridge, they were going to hit Five Mile. It will probably be about a week to 10 days before the stone is compacted enough to ride on. I spun around and headed home, satisfied with just over 22 miles. With this week’s Indian Summer still hanging around, any ride is a good ride! Get outside and take advantage!

What’s playing (What am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – The Doobie Brothers – China Grove

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Press Release: Erie 80 Mountain Bike Race

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The City of Port Jervis Holds Erie 80 Mountain Bike Race in City Park before Halloween

Port Jervis, NY – The city is working hard at showcasing the new trail system in the newly opened Watershed Park which will host the Erie 80 Mountain Bike Race on October 29th.  The race will have three distance options for participants including a 12 mile, 25 mile, and 50 mile course.  Trail crews have been working hard to build a fun, challenging, fast, and technical course attracting mountain bike riders and racers of all abilities.  Racers will face single track terrain with rocks, logs, roots, and water crossings.

The start of the race will take place on Front Street with a police escort to Brewers Reservoir.  From there, racers will give it their personal best and finish the course in the fastest time possible.   Racers will be categorized by age, bicycle type, and ability level.  Prizes will be distributed to all of the top 3 finishers within each category.

The City of Port Jervis has had a tremendous amount of help and support with the organization of the Erie 80 race.  Dejay Birtch is heading off the event and has designed the course.  Other sponsors include Action Bikes and Outdoor, Polar Bottle, Dark Horse Cycles, Fox N Hare Brewing Co, Joe Fix Its, BTI, Honey Stinger, Swift Wick Apparel, Newburgh Brewing, Dumonde Tech Racing Oils, Stan’s No Tubes, Port Jervis Brick Oven Pizza, Advocate Cycles, and Shop Rite of Montague.

Registration is open now on Bikereg.com!!   Information and registration is also available at http://www.discoverportjervis.com.

Group Rides

It’s that time of year. Action Bikes and Outdoor are starting their group rides for the summer season. Officially kicking off this holiday weekend, with their Memorial Day sale and many events:

A 25 mile road ride will depart the shop at 5pm tonight. It will be at a moderate pace (14-16 MPH). No one gets left behind!

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Tomorrow morning, another road ride will depart the shop at 11am. This time, 35 miles, but also at a moderate pace. No one gets left behind!

Tomorrow at 12pm (noon), the shop will be giving a flat tire clinic. Don’t get left out on the road waiting for a ride, because you can’t fix your own flat. This 45 minute clinic will give you the skills and know how to get rolling again.

Tomorrow at 1pm, an 8 mile trail ride will leave the shop and roll through Milford and onto the Mcdade trail and back. All abilities are welcome. No one gets left behind!

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Tomorrow 2-6pm, it’s music time – Fantasia Project will be playing on the patio at Action Bikes and Outdoor.

Tomorrow night, Action Bikes and Outdoor will have a Drive In Movie at sunset. They have secured a radio station for audio and will be showing “The Great Outdoors” (rated PG).

Sunday at 10am – The Frisky Goat Coffeehouse is sponsoring a beginner road ride. This ride will be led by Becky! It will be 12 miles long. All riders and all bikes are welcome. This is the perfect ride to get started this season or try out that new bike! No one gets left behind!

Sunday, also at 10am – There will be a Port Jervis Mountain Bike Ride. Come  check out what all the excitement is about.  If you are a mountain bike rider, you must attend this ride! Meeting at the end of Reservoir Avenue in Port Jervis at 10am. The address is 71 Reservoir Ave. Port Jervis, NY 12771. Once you arrive, bear left on the dirt road for a 1/4 mile. Park in the small parking area on the right hand side.

No excuses, get out and ride!

 

Rain, Rain go away!

No riding today, it’s raining again. I’m not up for another rain ride. Thursday afternoon, I rode from Dingmans Falls to Bushkill on the McDade Trail. I was not totally prepared for the rain and got soaked. Although wet, it was very meditative as I did not see a soul on the trail. I think my 50 year old body is still drying out.

Green woods on a rainy day

I’m not complaining, as we need the water. With a milder than normal winter, and not much rain so far in the early spring, multipe day forest fires have been popping up all over the Poconos and Catskills. So, with an end to the fires, the below photo is how I’m feeling right now!

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Gene Kelly making the most of the rain!

A quick check of the weather and it’s supposed to rain for the next few days. Ok, enough! Tuesday morning road ride from Action Bikes and Outdoor in Milford 7am, rain or shine.