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Wisp XC Challenge

JR Petsko sent out this message, and I thought I would share it with you guys:

Special thanks goes out to, High Mountain Sports and ASCI! With out their help this event would not be possible!

Race Update: (Course Map)
Here is a basic map of the course for this weekend. I am still doing course work all this week so some spot may change slightly. (Course Map) As this is a ski resort the course will consist of MANY fire roads and double track section, rocks and long climbs. We are committed working with Wisp and ASCI to building more single track on the mountain so this event will become better each year. We are here for the long haul!

Parking and Start/Finish Location:
Please note that the event location is at the TOP of the mountain, NOT in the Wisp parking lot at the base of the mountain.(Directions here)

Event goes on rain, snow or shine!

Event Sponsored by:
Appalachian Bicycle Racing Association
Tomac Bikes
High Mountain Sports
Wisp Resort
Adventure Sports Center International
Dynamic Physical Therapy
Performance Coaching Service
XXCmag.com

Classes:
21 Mile Classes
Men’s Pro/Expert
Women’s Pro/Expert
Men’s Expert Vet (35+)
Men’s Expert Master (45 +)
Men’s Junior Expert (Under 19)
Women’s Junior Expert (Under 19)
Single Speed Open

14 Mile Classes
Men’s Sport
Women’s Sport
Men’s Sport Vet (35+)
Men’s Sport Master (45+)
Men’s Legend (55+)
Women’s Vet (35+)
Clydesdale
Men’s Junior Sport (Under 19)
Women’s Junior Sport (Under 19)

7 Mile Classes
Men’s Beginner
Women’s Beginner
Just for fun!

The Wisp XC Challenge is located at:

Wisp Ski Resort, Deep Creek Lake, MD
296 Marsh Hill Road
McHenry, MD 21541

Time: Saturday, May 7 · 12:00pm – 3:00pm

Course:
Fast, fun and exciting new course at Wisp Resort that you are going to enjoy. Look for the course to include long sections of single and double track, challenging rock gardens and of course some thrilling descents! We are putting together an awesome XC loops that we have you asking for more!

Location:
Wisp Ski Resort
296 Marsh Hill Road
McHenry, MD 21541

Preregister on Bikereg.com for only $25. Race day registration will be $35.00 and will open at 9:00 AM and closes at 11:45 AM.

No Racing License Required!

How to get there:
From Pittsburgh(via Morgantown, WV)
1-79 S to I-68 East towards Morgantown. Take Exit 4 (42 South) at Friendsville, MD to U.S. 219 South 1 mile to McHenry. Turn Right on Sang Run Road. Follow signs 1/2 mile to Wisp on Marsh Hill Road.F

From Pittsburgh (via Uniontown, PA)
U.S. 51 South to Uniontown, PA. Take U.S. 40 East to Keyer’s Ridge. Take U.S. 219 South 16 miles to McHenry. Turn Right on Sang Run Road. Follow signs 1/2 mile to Wisp on Marsh Hill Road.

From DC Metro
I-270 to Frederick, MD. Take I-70 West to Hancock, MD to I-68 West and Cumberland. Take Exit 14A to U.S. 219 South 16 miles to McHenry. Turn Right on Sang Run Road. Follow signs 1/2 mile to Wisp on Marsh Hill Road.

From Charleston, WV
Take I-79 North to I-68 East in West Virginia. Take Exit 4 (42 South) at Friendsville, MD to U.S. 219 South 1 mile to McHenry. Turn Right on Sang Run Road. Follow signs 1/2 mile to Wisp on Marsh Hill Road.

No refunds starting two weeks before event date.

Online Registration Closes Thursday, May 05, 2011 at 8:00 PM ET
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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~ 😀

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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After finishing a scheduled appointment in Elkins, I pulled out the cross bike that I ever so conveniently stashed in the vehicle the night before and headed off to complete the Elkins to Parsons section and turn around. I had been on the rail-trail once before, with a friend of mine, and we pedaled at blistering speeds. he ended up taking a corner in the gate sections too hard, and ended up crashing.

I’ll sadly admit that I also hit a car barrier when I clipped one of palisades with my MTB handlebars, and ate dirt; it was not a pretty sight. To my defense, my handlebars were (I’m guessing..) 76 cm apart, when my handlebars were 60 cm wide… Yeah…

This most recent ride on my cross bike with 42 cm wide handlebars made cruising all around a breeze. Little hesitation was taken for slowing down for these barriers, and I was fortunate enough to not see another bicycle on the trail the entire time. This parked Jetta was as close as I came to passing another two-wheeled object on the trail:

There were many people jogging and walking on the trail, and even a family pushing their gaggle (three) baby strollers along a paved section. Being on the rail-trail is a desirable thing not only of exercise, but due to the scenic nature and geographic variety along the way. Most of the path follows the river, and you also ride past a lot of farm land with different kind of animals; I like making noises at the cows… but they too often run away in response 😦 Several spots along the trail were also carved out of a hill or mountainside, displaying jagged rocks, or layers of history to be seen and appreciated.

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The photographic opportunities on the rail-trail are limitless. I only brought a Kodak Zi8 portable webcam with me, but I was still able to get some great footage/shots of the area around me:

Video:

Macro:

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This looked like I could eat it! 😮 Spring Garden Mix, I say!

Bike Photo-ops

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Right before reaching Parsons, you come across a small industrial complex with the smell of pine, then you see a mountain of sawdust and wood mulch. It might have been the biggest mulch pile I have ever seen in my life…. I want to say it was 9 to 12 meters high, it was ridic. This was all behind closed gates for the Kingsford corporation! That’s right! The little charcoal briquettes that people use for campfires are made in West Virginia! This alone was worth the trip!

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I finally made it to Parsons, and I know this by seeing the Sheetz. Several people replied to my question of “What is there in Parsons?” by saying: “Sheetz.” I’m sure there are more interesting places to go and visit, but my lycra-clad self wasn’t interested in romping around off the bike for too long.

The ride back to Elkins was met with strong headwinds which were more demoralizing than anything. I was ready to get back to Elkins and scarf down some Taco Bell. Since it was an out-and-back, not too many things were worth highlighting or speaking about that were not yet covered. I did see a creepy old waterworks plant with an open door. I was tempted to go in, but there might have been some Parsons equivalent of Crazy Carson in there or something…

I also saw another place which I swear had to be a crack house or something. There is always a nice Nissan 350Z parked by it, but the trailer is so crappy looking… Must be a meth dealer or something 😮

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All in all, the ride was great. The terrain is very forgiving, and about 1/5th? of it is paved. Pace on a mountain bike can be kept at about 24 kph, without overexerting one’s self. I would suggest anyone looking for a good recovery ride to come and try it out; or if you are wanting to make a day out of it, ride all the way to Thomas!

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I have found out in the little bit of time I have lived in West Virginia so far that residents of this area are very protective of their land. I understand this fully since you cannot grow land for lack of better terms. Hunting is also a big part of West Virginia Culture. For two months out of the year, you have camoflague clad hunters out in the cold waiting with an itchy finger to shoot some kind of live animal. If you’ve ever stepped into West Virginia at all, I am more than sure you have seen a No Trespassing sign posted somewhere.

I full and well know the potential reprecussions of crossing boundaries posted as such, but typically they do not concern me. Curtis Seltzer stated this, and it rung pretty loud with me: (more…)

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Went out yesterday for the best ride of the month. It hit 54*F, and I swear… I must be of european descent, because once the weather gets warm all I want to ride is my road bike. No one else showed up at the bike shop with a road bike, so I led a pack of MTB’ers to the base of Stonecoal Wildlife Reserve, and spun around while they did a tempo run up Widowmaker.

Took a neat photo out on the road, too 🙂

Unfortunately all I had brought with me was my cell phone. It was disappointing. There was this awesome ice tower and the photo doesn’t do it justice. Justice…. just ice… haha.

I’ve also really been thankful for the days becoming longer once again. Sunlight was out ’til like 6:00pm or so today. I can’t wait for weekend rides lasting three or so hours.

I’ve also put a little banner declaring ad space for sale on the site. If you’re a LBS or small business wanting some of the best web publicity involving West Virginia cyclists, there is no better place to lay your money down at but here.

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This is the first year that I have owned a mountain bike. I’m pretty surprised how certain techniques and skills seem a little more fluid or take less time to react as to when I was just road cycling by itself.

  1. Handling Skills This is a given. Mountain biking involves paths and trails a lot tighter than the streets utilized in road cycling. You are capable of maneuvering your bike around in a more dynamic fashion.
  2. Opportunity Windows With mountain biking in West Virginia, there is a trail sometimes even in your own back yard or less than five miles away. With the shorter distance, you are more willing to go out for a mere  45 minutes or so… The opportunities capable of being taken for mountain biking are  easier to use than when preparing for a road cycling ride that you may start planning for the next day since it will be a three hour ride. Its okay to go out for just thirty minutes, if need be. (more…)

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