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  1. #1
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    4/3/10 Gosh Golly It was Rothrock

    I'm too tired to say much right now, but...

    ... two boys, two steel weapons, no shocks, no sense ...

    Vital stats: 9 hours on the ride ( almost 8 of it in motion ), almost 6500 ft of climbing, 37.93 miles total distance. Riding up, down, rocks, dirt, pave, rocks, wet, hike-a-bike, lost, found, starved, sated, starved, ready for bed.



    More to follow, Sunday evening.

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    You sir are a machine!

  3. #3
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    I was out there a few years ago.....basically the Tussey Mountain area...great riding...however, the John Werth...Worth..however you spell that...path was a killer, yet low * behold there were guys flying thru it on rigid single speeds.

    Left me amazed!
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    thats a big single speed ride.

  5. #5
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    Oh, no illusions please, we had gears.

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    Though I ride a single speed, I can't imagine being on it for 9 hours!! My back hurts just thinking about it!

  7. #7
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    4/3/10 Gosh Golly It was Rothrock

    Bear, that is freakin' awesome...you are The Man!!! I couldn't even imagine a ride like that...heck, I am ready for a nap after reading about it. Way to go, my friend!!!
    Waging war on my pedals every chance I get!!!

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    That would be....

    ....an IMBA Epic! Nice going guys!
    There are two paths you can go by but in the long run........

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    I was the other fool involved in this. I'll add a few teasers for fun before Bear comes up the pictures and other details. We both started with 148 oz of water. Which in my personal math adds up to 7.5 hours worth. You really get sore carrying a bike for two miles. It's worth trying the big skinny at the 35 mile mark, but don't expect to make it. 38 miles on duct tape grips isn't so bad.

  10. #10
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    I did finally get the pictures set aside from the group, working on the writeup. Too tired after the day of geocaching yesterday, including the three mile hike with 1000ft climbing (I *am* apparently stupid) at Bushkill Falls, or I'd have the writeup done.

    But ...


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    Lol..."Determination!!
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    Did you ride the R3, or did you choose your own trails?

  13. #13
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    We ATTEMPTED to follow R3. We FAILED in two significant places, best I can determine. Once by choice (too wet), once by fatigue (I'm betting). I'm planning on posting the writeup tonight.

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    Wow bear, you did that on a single speed..........

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by wyatt79m
    Wow bear, you did that on a single speed..........
    yeah, I used one of my 18 choices at a time.

    19 if you count the walking spaces.

    come to think of it, most of the day was spent either climbing a crazy long stretch, or coasting downhill, so a singlespeed may not be too bad out there.

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    4/3/10 Gosh Golly It was Rothrock

    Quote Originally Posted by bear
    I did finally get the pictures set aside from the group, working on the writeup. Too tired after the day of geocaching yesterday, including the three mile hike with 1000ft climbing (I *am* apparently stupid) at Bushkill Falls, or I'd have the writeup done.

    But ...

    That is a great pic!!! You and Chriffer definitely are full of grit and determination!!! Working on getting some for myself!
    Waging war on my pedals every chance I get!!!

  17. #17
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    writeup part 1

    Chriffer and Bear's R30 Epic Interpretation
    A Flight Into Idiocy

    ( authored strictly by Bear, Chriffer may have his own comments to make )

    As some know, I was in for completing an epic MTB ride on Saturday.

    I wanted a change of venue, somewhere away from home.

    I'd been down to Roaring Creek twice in two weeks and while I know there's lots of trail nearby it's not all necessarily connected such that I could hit a Big Ride without hitting pavement betwixt - or at least at my level of knowledge of the trails.

    Apparently, nearly everyone in the great state of PA was tied up with Easter obligations and the only person I got who was interested was Chriffer and he was leaving up the planning to me.

    Okay, so lots of surfing later, and some responses filtered from the forum, and I had it narrowed down to Michaux or Rothrock. Both notable trail systems and good reports, however still it was challenging to find trail map coverage of either. Some ride descriptions, sure. If I wanted to start at 11am I could probably find a trail map and then get to the trailhead, sure. Starting so late in the day would only leave four or five usable hours, which is a fair amount normally but when you are self-navigating on trails of unknown marking, not a lot.

    So, between the two, Rothrock held an edge - thanks to Nittany MBA I could get my electronic hands on some good topographic trail maps. In the end, these proved to be quite handy. With the Stoopid 50, the Wilderness 101, and the forthcoming Transilvania stage race happening down here there had to be "something going on" so here we went.

    To have a hope of stringing together a fair ride, I ended up using a description of the IMBA R30 Epic. In the past I've ridden some good IMBA trail, and known of some really good other ones. I was a little concerned about the age of the info, but with two or more mapping GPS, maps in ziplocks, compass, lots of daylight, and two idiots with a will to Go I figured we'd be in for an interesting day no matter what.

    I actually found a "route sheet" if you will, or "ride map" - on The Web which gave what appeard to be lucid directions. I knew that there would be major doubletrack/dirt road based upon the description, but I also had heard that the trail in Rothrock tended toward the rocky (Rock Rock?) so to get great mileage and climbage and singletrack in quantity together this seemed find to me.

    The route sheet went something like this ... adjusted by looking at some currently retreivable maps ...

    - Start at Parking near Tussey Mountain
    - Take Laurel Run Road up to the Shingletown Gap trail turnoff
    - Do a "lollipop" and return to Laurel Run Road
    - Continue to and turn left onto Bear Gap Road
    - Turn left onto Gettis Ridge Road (which is really more of a wide doubletrack/forest-reclaimed road)
    - Jink right at Gettis Ridge / Wampler Rd intersections, and elft immediately onto a steep technical trail (name?)
    - Left onto Ridge Road to
    - Left onto Bear Meadows Rd to
    - Right onto doubletrack named Detweiler Trail, at the left-hand switchback
    - Right onto doubletrack named Thickhead Mountain Rd
    - At bend in turn down the hill, shoot off right onto Long Mountail trail, watch out for steep portage to top
    - At top, continue on singletrack up and over the mountain, this will bring you back down to...
    - Stone Creek Road, a PAVED road, which will intersect eventually with SR 4006, which itself takes you back to...
    - Bear Meadows Rd, back up past the switchback and the connection with Detweiler Trail,
    - Continue up and over the mountain, staying on Bear Meadows Rd
    - Take a quick left at North Meadows Rd,
    - and a quick right onto Longberger Path, which brings you back down the mountain to ...
    - Laurel Run Road, which takes you back down to the parking area

    [ After the fact, a better option than the lollipop off Laurel Run would be to go down Bald Knob trail (same turnoff as Shingletown Gap, just right-ish instead of left-ish) until you can turn left onto Sand Spring trail, and continue on that back to Laurel Run Rd. This would swing you around the end of the mountain and flip time from road- to trail. Of course, this could be Stupid Rocky trail for all I know. ]



    I knew from the ride profile information that I had seen before, and from looking at the topographic maps that I had at home (and online) that there would be plenty of up and down, and probably more on the extended type. Fine. Sounds perfect.

    Chriffer, bless his soul, completely trusted to me making the decisions. Whether that happens again I don't know, we'll find out in a couple weeks.

    We met up and loaded out at 7am sharply. Fueled up the car. Stopped for some provisions, and hit the road.

    We drove direct to the parking area just past Tussey Mountain Ski area. It was very easy to find, complete with trail leading from the parking lot. This was a great omen for the day.

    The temps were perfect, just cool enough to be a little cool at the start, knowing that it was going to warm up a bit. Naturally it was All Uphill for a while, but what the heck, we had a 2 hour ish drive to shake out and what better way to do that than easygoing dirt road.

    After a couple miles we finally made it to the first turnoff, for Shingletown Gap loop (m 2.x). According to my info this would be what I called a 'lollipop' - an out and back with a loop on the end. I wasn't IN LOVE with just coming back to the road and continuing up, but what the heck. Try the IMBA route, right?

    We had a good roll down the hill, but it got wet fast, unsurprisingly.

    Hard surface wet, lots of rocks and roots, but lots of running water. Once we got to the first lowland it was obvious that we would need to avoid these type areas as things have just not dried up enough yet. It was not as bad as I thought it could be though, there was a LOT of rock-work present, so it was possible to ride/walk through without digging into mud. Less trail harm is good. Before half way across though we decided to alter things a bit, and headed west out of the meadow on the blue trail (m 3.7), walking out until the tread dried up enough that we were sure not to be harming anything.

    This gave us some good, but tight, singletrack. Plenty rough and rocky, but we had expected that. It is still PA after all.

    But not long enough, shortly the trail turned up, and up, and up, and into a portage (m 4.7), and into a steep portage, and eventually dumped us out at the top (phew) at the intersection of Roman Tower and Mid-State Trails (m 5.1). This was good because we knew for sure where we were, this was bad because Mid-State was our direct line back towards our planned route but it was a hiking-only trail. Sure, it was pretty bikeable, but we Played Nice and portaged our steeds for two miles across to Sand Spring trail.

    Approximately mid-way through the hike we stopped for a quick break (our shoulders were tired of carrying bikes) and enjoyed the view to the north. The views from altitude were not bad at all this day, even with the early-spring not-green forest and the humid-hazy air.

    At this point (m 7.0) we had a stern conversation with our steeds, imparting until them that at this point they had received the Easy Side of the stick and it was now their turn to Portage us. So we romped down Sand Spring trail which was a great half-mile (?) littered with fallen trees, some of which were rideable (not built-up, just small enough), some of which were EEEK STOP!!!

    We got to the bottom safely, and found two different ways of crossing the creek at the bottom while keeping our feet dry. Although I had spare socks Chriffer didn't and it seemed awefully early to be using them. This dropped us out by the Sand Spring Camp cabin that was road-side. A quick toodle uphill brought us back on-track with R30 and found us heading up Bear Gap Road. Onward and upward.

    This brought us to the top at our high point, with one great view to the west along the way (boo on haziness), and to the turn off for Gettis Ridge Rd. This road is gated, so it's easy to pick out if you know you're looking for it. It's a really easy roll up n over, and when it starts down it REALLY starts down. You've got about five miles of continuous downhill here to work with. The real hazards on this stretch were speed and winter blowdown. The final gate blocking road access isn't truly needed as the road levels out a bit at that point.

    Unless you're Chriffer, who just flies so fast he can't see the signs.

    We had just burned off about 1200 ft of elevation in mere minutes. Top speed over 30 mph easily. Very rough on the rigid bikes!

    After we pulled Chriffer's bike off the gate, we had a brief rest to allow the sensation of touch to reassert itself into our hands and feet, and have a snack. While we were here a nice older (than us) guy named Ray came cruising by and stopped to chat a bit. Cool dude. He was smart though, he was turning left to get back to trail more quickly, we were turning right in search of "difficult steep chutes" off the trail.

    Sadly, we didn't find them. They would have been fun and rewarding, if not hospital inducing based upon what we saw of the rocky hillsides from below. Still, we were enjoynig the extra mile of downhill crusing as payback for our climbing to date. This of course would bite us in the butt.

    One more road connection, turn left onto Bear Meadows so that we could connect with the doubletrack uphill at Detweiller Run. It was a bit of a cursable steep road section, a bit rude at this point really, but we were still cruising well and easily and not spending all our time in the granny gears, yet.

    The turn onto Detweiller Run trail was also gated and easy to find. More doubletrack climbing. Relentless climbing. You get about a mile of gradual slope here, followed by a bit over three miles of more aggressive slope. Thankfully, I managed to wedge a rock into my front derailleur which forced an extended break when I had to take the device completely off the bike in order to clear the rock. I gotta say, that was the most wierd spot I've every wedged a rock into on a bike.

    Approximately a mile in we crossed what looks like power-lines right-of-way, and had the thought that we could have a ripping good, if not lethal time, on our FS bikes bombing down that stuff. This was the first time we hit this cut, the second was later on when were lost on the top of the other mountain.

    After what was probably another aeon of climbing, we got to the intersection where we would again ponit ourselves downhill and took a well earned peanut-covered slightly-squished donut break. I know that there are Special Devices for keeping bananas from gettnig crumbled in backpacks, but I think someone needs to make one for donuts. I don't know if it's the nearly perfect sugar-fat-protein balance of the Wegman's Peanut Crusted donut or what, but boy-o was it good tasting.

    This was yet another great fun stretch of downhill, with various winter blowdown. Most of it easily nagivable one way or another, however watch out for bunny-hopping stuff at this point as a high-speed crash here is going to SUCK (after 20 miles of riding, after all)!

    We found the turn, and started up Long Mountain Trail. This was refreshingly narrow singletrack. One would almost say un-maintained. I'm guessing it's just post-winter. There was definitely some notable blowdown on this, before it got to the steep part. Once you hit the steep bit you'll have no choice but to portage unless you're some kind of inhuman mountain-goat biker. Loose scree, leaves, twigs, maybe a 15 or 20% slope (or more). Rugged.

    But, whence we got to the top and the big tree blown down it was refreshingly obvious that we were idiots. Here the trail was barely discernable - again I'm assuming lack of use over the winter - but we did find it and start our way down. After a brief (half mile?) sojourn down some nice trail we popped out into the continued powerline cut.

    This really threw us, and based upon time (it was between 5:30 and 6:00pm) and fatigue I think we made our only really bad decision of the day. Maybe. We chose here rather than going onwards and downwards on the singletrack to instead go back. We were feeling that it was going the wrong way, even with looking at our maps and devices. Blame fatigue, stupidity, whatever. We should have continued on the trail. Possibly.

    The trail may have been great fun, but it very likely would have had notable blowdown on it. It would surely have been a few miles at LEAST of singletrack before it bottomed out. There's a lot of opportunity for pain at that point of the day, probably seven hours in, and over 20 miles in. So we chose Prudence and headed back road-ward. At least with fading warmth and light that would be more safely navigable.

    So, we ended up back tracking. Back towards and down the crazy steep portage. We rode a bit of it but it quickly went beyond what was even only "unreasonable" for our bikes so we walked. Once we hit the road again it was an uneventful, and once we popped beyond the gate it was a silly smooth five or six miles of downhill. Just cheating I say to you.

    This led us to the lowest (altitude) point of the day, naturally. Right around mile 29 of our journey we had to start the climb to get up from about 1000 ft elevation and over 2200 ft eleveation and past Bear Meadows Natural Area. This would be about a five mile climb, which we ended stopping for breaks about two or three times. All dirt road, all the time.

    I'm not proud enough to NOT say this was a major pain in the butt.

    But, whence we crested, the pain was almost done. We had decided to not let the hill escape without yield up SOME more singletrack, so immediately after Bear Meadows we jumped onto Longberger Path.

    Longerberger Path did not disappoint. It immediately went up a slight grade with great RockRock behavior, whch in my state of energy depletion was walk-inducing. Really. At this point I pretty much had NOTHING in the tank to push up a hill. Maybe I could have done a road climb, but forget this rocky trail stuff. Still, in a sick way, I did manage to ride some of it uphill, and once it leveled out I was okay, and once it started down I was downright happy.

    Aside from feeling like we were racing sunset (we were) and the unknown to us trail (har) it was a great six miles of eleveation loss. Marred by only one near endo (Chriffer managed to bail without endo) and no pain from attempting the big log ride.

    Phew. Finally back to the car.

    GPS recorded 37.9 miles (Chriffer calls it 38, I'm not arguing).

    Two satisfied rides. Undamaged steeds. Five hours in the car. Nine hours out with the bikes, only about 1 hour of it recorded as "stop" time so that's pretty good.

    A quick drive into State College for burgers and stuff to fuel our drive home, and we were gone. Not so quietly into the evening.

    I think we both would have been happier with more singletrack. But, for a self guided 1st time ride with B-grade maps I think we did really well.

    If we had just made that one long section I think it would have felt balanced, alas, we'll just have to return later on in the year.

    After the trees have popped, I think.

    I can see a case for a suspension fork, but I'm not caving.

    I'm also starting to mark out my interpretation of the Stoopid 50 route.

    Thanks for reading.

    Thanks to Nittany MTB for the maps.

    Thanks to IMBA for the inspiration. I think you need to update your R30 ride though, it needs more singletrack, and it's out there to get.

    Where would we be without pixels, eh?



























































    update: I re-found the route sheet that we were working off of. It's only ten years old...

    Last edited by bear; 04-09-2010 at 06:13 AM.

  18. #18
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    4/3/10 Gosh Golly It was Rothrock

    Awesome post, Bear! I think that ride would have been the death of me...but you and Chriffer are lunatics like that...LOL!!!! Thanks for sharing the experience!!!
    Waging war on my pedals every chance I get!!!

  19. #19
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    Good stuff.

    The Stoopid 50 is harder than all the 100 mile MTB races I've done. I certainly wouldn't want to be riding rigid around those trails

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6thElement
    The Stoopid 50 is harder than all the 100 mile MTB races I've done. I certainly wouldn't want to be riding rigid around those trails
    Have you done the W101?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by bear
    Have you done the W101?
    The Stoopid is still a really rough race, I'd say the trails are tougher than the 101. 101 has the distance and the climbing, but it's a lot of fireroad.

    You rode UP shingletown off of Laurel Run? Jesus. Not something I'd recommend, but kudos for doing it, though.

    Here's my favorite:

    From the Tussey lot, climb up Laurel Run to the start of Lonberger at the base of Old Laurel Run trail at the hairpin on Laurel Run Road, Three Bridges/Lonberger comes off of the elbow of the hairpin. Take Three Bridges to Spruce Gap, down Spruce Gap to Lonberger, right on Lonberger. Follow Lonberger to Bear Meadows Road, climb Tuxedo to the Tussey Ridge trail, ride the ridge eastward until you hit the Tussey Extension, take the extension down to Thickhead Mtn. road, and follow until John Wert path.

    Take Wert back to Bear Meadows, climb up Gettis Ridge to Bear Gap, take a left on Wildcat. Bomb down Wildcat to Laurel Run Road, right on Laurel Run, climb up the mountain until you see Little Flat Road on your right, climb Little Flat to Old Laurel Trail, make a left on Old Laurel and follow to the base where Three Bridges/Lonberger split off, and take Laurel Run Road to the bottom and back to the parking lot.

    Should be able to fit in a lot more trail and a lot less road riding this way.

    In fact, I just might do that route this weekend... I'm in need of a good Rothrock epic.
    Last edited by Zillon; 04-08-2010 at 03:59 PM.

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    Wow. That looks a lot different then the time I was there. Yeah, myself and two friends went camping there this past winter. And wouldn't you know it? We got the blizzard that weekend! LOL Had a great time but I wanna get back up there when the area is more passable. I will have to post some pics up soon.
    Nice pics and great ride.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zillon
    The Stoopid is still a really rough race, I'd say the trails are tougher than the 101. 101 has the distance and the climbing, but it's a lot of fireroad.

    You rode UP shingletown off of Laurel Run? Jesus. Not something I'd recommend, but kudos for doing it, though.

    Here's my favorite:

    From the Tussey lot, climb up Laurel Run to the start of Lonberger at the base of Old Laurel Run trail at the hairpin on Laurel Run Road, Three Bridges/Lonberger comes off of the elbow of the hairpin. Take Three Bridges to Spruce Gap, down Spruce Gap to Lonberger, right on Lonberger. Follow Lonberger to Bear Meadows Road, climb Tuxedo to the Tussey Ridge trail, ride the ridge eastward until you hit the Tussey Extension, take the extension down to Thickhead Mtn. road, and follow until John Wert path.

    Take Wert back to Bear Meadows, climb up Gettis Ridge to Bear Gap, take a left on Wildcat. Bomb down Wildcat to Laurel Run, right on Laurel Run, climb up the mountain until you see Little Flat Road on your right, climb Little Flat to Old Laurel, make a left on Old Laurel and follow to the base, and take Laurel Run to the bottom and back to the parking lot.

    Should be able to fit in a lot more trail and a lot less road riding this way.

    In fact, I just might do that route this weekend... I'm in need of a good Rothrock epic.

    This is the correct introduction to the Tussey Side of Rothrock. The GF and I are going to do this ride this weekend. It's where I learned to MTB and how to ride a single speed. Great Fun. Be sure to spend the night at Zeno's before heading out in the morning.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by agentorangemen
    This is the correct introduction to the Tussey Side of Rothrock. The GF and I are going to do this ride this weekend. It's where I learned to MTB and how to ride a single speed. Great Fun. Be sure to spend the night at Zeno's before heading out in the morning.
    Maybe I'll see you out there, what day are you riding?

    And yes, a stop at Zeno's is mandatory.

  25. #25
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    Rocksylvanian...

    ...man those pics show lots of rocks....i thought it was rocky out our way! Thanks for the great story and pics. Ride On!
    There are two paths you can go by but in the long run........

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