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Well, as everyone knows… having a big fire is priority #1 after getting camp set up, and riding until tired. Last night, Tiffin, The Girl™, and I went out to the flats for a jaunt of night riding and camping. The night riding was fantastic! Being a little disoriented as to where you are is an interesting feeling. Without daylight, the same locations we always ride around look and feel a little bit different, but not scary different. Without being able to see as well, we ended up taking stray trails, which have not been ridden by bikes (ATV trails, dirt bike trails, etc) for months, if not years.

After riding around for about an hour and a half, we started to set up camp Just like past cyclocamping posts ere on WV Cycling, we used the same gear, same tents, so not a lot to report there. I did end up packing an abundance of leaves under my Tyvek ground cloth. This was free padding, and significantly made an improvement in comfort and happiness! I suggest everyone to do this when weight-weenie camping!

camp fire fire pit

We started setting up a fire in a nice little firepit that we dug up the night before. Fire was a-blazing for a good two hours. We roasted hot dogs, and Tiffin tried to make popcorn by breaking open a package of microwave popcorn and placing them in a espresso milk frothing mug.

espresso frothing mug coffee milk

The oils got so hot in the stainless steel mug that they ignited, he had to blow out the fire before he could eat the popcorn…  Such a bad idea…

fire popcorn

popcorn fire smoke microwave campfire jiffy pop

Our campfire was so warm that I had to move my stump bench away from the firepit. When I was scooting it away, I saw a Red Salamander. He was a very shy little reptile and attempted to hide back under something immediately. I was lucky to nab a photo:

red salamander

Sleeping was very much more comfortable, just as I said earlier. Having the leaves, a foam pad, and a light sleeping bag really made a difference. Maybe being a weightweenie camper is as fun as being a weightweenie cyclist.

 

 

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This weekend was a blast; it consisted of some mountain biking, cyclocamping, and going out to Philippi to ride Thad’s Singletrack again. (You know, the WVMBA #6 race I covered)

Laura’s roomate, Amanda, bought a mountain bike over the summer; (probably peer pressure from Laura) and is riding occasionally now. We also had a few other pals come along who rarely ever ride or haven’t ridden in a long time. This has taught me that going fast is easy, but staying back with the pack, and reassuring them on how to control their bikes is difficult, or at least taxing. It is sometimes easy to forget what parts of a trail you had issues with, or how you learned all of those little techniques that allow you to bomb through the singletrack.

Being able to convey those things to other people in layman’s terms without scaring them by saying something like “But don’t go into a really deep, dry rut, since if you oversteer you will crash” will have your bordering on a very thin line… You just can’t say those kinds of things. Yes, they are going to happen, but you don’t want to scare them, yet you want them to develop the skills to still ride with you, and keep the collegiate cycling lineage going. We ended up doing six miles in like an hour and a half. I kept telling myself:

“Stay calm and friendly, don’t scare off the newbs.”

Later that evening, after gathering some supplies and camping gear, Jeff, Laura, and I went back of the woods for a nice little cyclocamping trip. Grant Peterson would have been proud of me, since I came in normal clothes, didn’t wear my cleated-shoes; just my boat shoes, and brought a wool sweater to sleep in. I’m sure his heart would feel warm if he ever read this. Oh, I also decided to bring my cyclocross bike, since I knew I could do all the trails on it, and I could latch on my rear rack to strap all of my camping gear to it. It rocked. I felt like a BA being on a cross bike, going over roots, and hills, and being able to hang with the MTB’s 90% of the time. Good stuff.

We set up camp pretty quickly, and right after that, it became cold. Really cold. Colder than that one ex that cheated on you, then told you about it straight to your-face-cold. What else did you expect us to do other than to sit around a fire, and throw stuff into it while hanging out and talking for a few hours? Check the footage to see the rip-roaring fire~ :D

Once again, the Wenzel tent used was comfy cozy warm, and did its job well. When I woke up in the morning, I tried to make instant pancakes, but the little optimus pan kept sticking so bad it wasn’t funny. I gave up and ate the rest of the trail mix I had brought. I was really missing the conveinances of a teflon pan right about then. Later that morning, we all hopped out of the woods, went on our way and planned on meeting back on Sunday.

After church, we all met up at Gene’s shop to load our bikes and gear. I brought an icebox full of water bottles, and towels; planning to jump in the Tygart River after the ride. I knew the course was going to be intense with Gene coming with us, but I never expected a pentagenarian, let alone someone a little older than that to slay us… without noticing it! His Gary Fisher HiFi Full suspension devoured the terrain, and left us in his dust.

Almost makes me want to get a full suspension… *suppress such thoughts, be a man!* Maybe I should just HTFU and learn how to ride and control my bike.

See how the tables turn? Friday, Kicking ass. Sunday, Ass = kicked.

Gene did help us out a ton on descents, switchbacks, and the rock gardens that I call Indian burial grounds; they’re mounds and piles of rocks built up in order to ruin your pedals when you climb up them. Video below.

Mouth of the Buckhannon River as it issues int...

Wonderful Scenery

Our trip was a success, and we ended up reinforcing our tradition of jumping in the river. It was much colder than it was

on Thursday (Did a reconnaissance ride with Laura), and I can only imagine it will get colder and colder until it is unbearably frigid, and we all get hypothermia walking back to the vehicle. Jeff on the other hand is a competitive swimmer holding records for the state of WV, and whatnot decided to swim across the river, back, and then all the way out again. He is not human; must investigate further.

All in all, this was a jam-packed weekend that really shows that WV is the place to be to have tons of outdoor activities in your backyard. While the scenery and environment was great, going out and doing things with your friends is better. Building camaraderie, and testing each other’s legs through little camping trips or race courses is a blast.

I hope all of you readers get a jeep full of people out this next weekend and plan something great. I’m sure you deserve it!

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This post will be permanently shown under the My Bikes page, above.

Despite one’s appearance, a person who’s been looking for something their whole life, may one day turn out to be much more; in the world of cycling is where that can happen.

The bicycles below are the current ones I hold in my quiver and are listed chronologically.

Dawes Lightning Sport

Dawes Lightning Sport

  • Frame – CrMo
  • Fork - 1″ Threaded CrMo
  • Bottle Cages – Bontrager 5mm Hollow Aluminum Tubing
  • Headset – 1″ Threaded
  • Stem – ITM Stem 110mm, 74*
  • Handlebar – Kalloy Aluminum
  • Brake Levers – Cane Creek SCR5c
  • Shifters – Suntour Stem Shifters 7-spd
  • Bar Tape – Two Layers Foam/Cork Tape
  • Cables/Housing – Bontrager
  • Brakes – Rebranded Tektro R320
  • Wheels – Alex R500 700c, Sealed Hubs
  • Skewers – Classic Skewers
  • Tires – Michelin, Bontrager 700 x 28c
  • Bottom Bracket – Shimano UN-26
  • Cranks – Shimano Forged Aluminum 39/52T
  • Front Derailleur – Shimano FD-050
  • Chain – SRAM PC-1070
  • Saddle – Bontrager Inform Race
  • Seatpost – Kalloy Aluminum
  • Seatpost Clamp – Generic
  • Pedals – Shimano PD-A520
  • Cassette Shimano 7-spd
  • Rear derailleur – Shimano RD-050
  • Rear Rack – Blackburn MTN-2

This bike Started my journey into cycling; it was the first, if you could call this serious, serious road bike. Many things have been changed, removed or modified since it’s original out-of-the-box condition, but it is still holding up well. I tend to use this bike for around town riding, grocery getting, camping, and taking it places where my typical road bike should not go. With the addition of my cyclocross bike, this may end up getting less usage than before the new steed arriving.

Dawes made a terribly cheap bike that has to my amazement, held up very well, even while learning how to upkeep something like it. Unfortunately, the frame has started to rust on the inside, and there have been occasions where the stem or seatpost have seized up due ot the rust (I am unable to raise the stem at all). This bike is comfortable with the steel frame (dead feeling) and 28c tires, which allow me to go nearly anywhere that will not bend or taco the wheels. It is now my rain bike.

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I love the idea of bike camping, cyclocamping, velocamping, or whatever you want to call it. I’ve even bought special gear to go out and ride as far as I want to and settle down for the night. The only problem is that I’ve only gone out a few times.

It not because I am not experienced at camping, nor is it that there is a lack of places I could set up camp at… it’s just camping isn’t fun all by yourself. And really… who the hell wants to just go ride somewhere with twenty or thirty pounds of supplies so you can sleep on the ground and cook hot dogs.

Bringing people creates comradely and great stories  This post is becoming Grant Peterson’s wet dream in the making. Proof of this Here and Here.

Surprisingly enough there are a lot of sites with sections dedicated to bike camping. These dudes are pretty extreme. I chatted it up with a few of them a few years ago. They have logged many hours and miles doing things like this. Like I said, I’m savvy and interested… but still wet behind the ears. Some people live out on their bikes with camping supplies enough to be misjudged as homeless folk. Seriously, and they love it. I don’t think I want to be one of these guys either. I just want to be able to bring an overnight backpack and be able to drink and chill with some friends.

Take a look at how many places there are around here:

(more…)

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