Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lord(s) of the Flies

The GPS had given up half a mile ago. I was 200 miles from home, somewhere in the forests of central Pennsylvania. The driveway was empty. Nobody answered my knock so I stepped inside the cabin. Lots of taxidermy on the walls - no doubt there would be a gun in here somewhere.

I saw some R/C stuff on the table and relaxed a little. (Rob had talked about bringing some toys). I was 60% sure I had the right cabin, but that would be little comfort staring down the barrel of a shotgun held by an irate hillbilly homeowner. I slipped up the stairs and peered into the kitchen...and when I saw the Peanut Butter Captain Crunch I knew I had found it. The Chalet (and The Cabin). Base of operations for over a dozen Downingtown area mountain bikers on their annual pilgrimage to the trails of Raystown.

Friday night festivities started that evening with carb loading at Boxers Pub.  It was kind of like home, the Y-bike still hanging over the bar, and the young waitress was still sporting those dreads. After dinner we strolled over to The Cabin to visit the other half of the crew and get jacked up about tomorrow's ride.  Martin laid down the law by calling for a 9:30am departure, and so we tucked ourselves in at The Chalet before midnight with dreams of mountain bikes and buff singletrack dancing in our heads.

The Chalet was stirring at sunrise. Two pots of coffee, a pan of pumpkin breakfast thing-a-ma-jiggers, and a monster breakfast fritatta later, we were loaded up and knocking on the door of The Cabin. It was 9:20am.  By 9:21 it was obvious we had a problem. The Cabin was in a different time zone (some still jockeying for the bathroom), probably hours from saddling up, so six of us headed to the trailhead.

The Raystown trails are deceptively fast. Long downhill runs that beg you to go a LOT faster than you should, and are loaded with back-to-back rollers and whoop-dee-doos determined to throw you over the handlebars.  The combination is lots of speed, short duration flights, giggles, and smiles. We rode the outer loops, all left turns.  I can;t remember the names of all the trails but we finally got the whole crew together at The Hydro Loop. After high-fives, some snacks, and a few laughs we rode the loop.  Fifteen minutes of mountain biking awesomeness with excellent flow and bermed turns that swept down near the lake and through loamy pine groves. It is an old growth forest, so the sight lines are fantastic.  From a pure flow perspective, this is probably the best singletrack I have ever seen anywhere. We hammered the heck out of that thing.

After lunch some of the guys took another spin on the west side of Seven Points Road, while others (myself included) spent the afternoon at Rothrock Outfitters ogling at the Salsa Mariachi frames and Pugsly demo bikes.  Later that night we drifted over to The Cabin for a bonfire, warmed ourselves with Root and Snap and whatever else was on hand, considered the flammable nature of magnesium bike frames, burnded about 2 cords of wood, melted a beer bottle, and marveled at Jesse's ability to speak "french" in her sleep.

On Sunday we were back on the bikes, hammering that sweet singletrack before the long drive home.

It was sort of a "Lord of the Flies" meets "Race Across the Sky" weekend.  Is it weird that I'm already dreaming about next year?


“Like dogs, bicycles are social catalysts that attract a superior category of people” 
      - Chip Brown

P.S. As much as we enjoyed the "toilet seat up" format for the weekend, the wives contributed in big ways. Like supplying us with loads of high-carb home cooking (think Fritatta, breakfast bread, lasagna, etc). And by giving us the go ahead to waste a perfectly good weekend acting like a bunch of 12 year olds.

1 comment:

  1. "12" would be rounding up.
    One of the <12 Crowd.