Thurs, Fri, Sat

Posted by on 14 May 2011 | Tagged as: Summer 2011


Today I reported in at 8:30am. The mission for today was to get the yellow house turned into a rental house and the hut turned into the office. NROC’s office should have been done a few weeks ago, but with construction you just never know.  (Today they were working on the roof of the new office.) The hut, from this weekend, until the new office is complete, will be the office, gear shack, and headquarters for the whole NROC operation.  We all worked together moving gear up to the hut, cleaning the hut and yellow house, and moving unwanted stuff from the hut to the yellow house. We then went in the basement of the yellow house and took apart a solid wood bunk bed. After it was apart we brought it up to the room where the old office was and assembled the bunk bed there. The rest of the day I did some more cleaning around the house.

Beau and I drove over to the shop which Louise Bowers owns to try to find out about her rental trailer. We had no luck finding her, but we got her phone number and when we returned to Nelson we left her a message.  Beau left for some climbing and I connected to the outside world. On the drive back to the trailer I took my time and drove around Circleville and route 28 past Snowy Mountain roads. Before heading back I stopped by D&K grocery store. I looked around and bought a frozen pizza to cook up for dinner.  It was probably bought at Wal-Mart just like the Great Value brands which were being sold in the store.  I checked out the oven in the trailer and cooked it up.  When Beau and Justin came home they were jealous. (I gave them a few last bites.) Currently there is a thunderstorm lighting up the land.



Today is training day on the North Fork Canopy Tour. Training is pretty vague around here. I have been down the zip once before and learned a good deal from Beau. On this day we had many more people and everyone was bouncing ideas back and forth trying to come up with a perfect way to handle everything. Throughout the zip lines I worked on communication between the other guide and clipping in and unclipping others. Once back on the ground we met up with Gaten. He sat us all down and went over the projects for the summer and the status of NROC. We all talked and brainstormed on how operations could be run as smooth as possible.

I hung out at the hut for a few hours. I talked to Kellee about possibilities for a project. We discussed how the Canopy Tour has no emergency action plan and how it would be a good thing for me to work on. Justin and Adam came back and we talked about how to avoid any accidents on the Canopy Tour.  I then finalized with Kellee on where and what I will be doing at Horizons tomorrow.

For the rest of the day Beau and I tracked down Louise. She is our new landlord. Finally we were able to contact him and we met her at her Maxwell Mart. There she drove us over to view the trailer which is for rent. Beau and I liked it but wanted to make sure Matt B. was in too. We drove back to the trailer after some long talks with Louise and took some pictures of the trailer to send to Matt. Then we drove to Seneca (around the corner) to call Matt and make sure he is in with us. After he said yes we headed back to find Louise to tell her. She didn’t say much to us besides that she will keep it for us and for us to contact her next week. Beau and I then did some sightseeing on the way back to Judy Gap.  For dinner at 10pm we made some Mexican mash potatoes, and Mexican flavored fish.



Today I woke up at 6ish to get on the road before 7am. I had to drive to Riverton, WV to get gas before heading up over a few mountains to get to Harrisonburg, VA. Once I found Horizons I waited around for a little bit until I met Gary and Wayne. Wayne is the head of the Outdoor Learning Center which is based here at Horizons. NROC is also managed by Wayne. Gary and I will be leading the mountain bike program for the Girl Scouts. In the morning we checked over all of the bikes, inflating all of the tires and running through the gears. Then we rode around on some of the dirt / gravel roads around the camp. I tried to understand the Paint generated map, but it was pretty poorly done. The trails were also pretty overgrown.  We tried to find some single-track trails but could only find a really short one. We had a nice lunch with the Girl Scouts. I had a huge salad, and it was amazing. (Oh, and also grilled cheese and a chocolate chip cookie) After lunch we headed back to exploring some trails until 1pm. From 1-2pm we packed our bags and were ready for the girls to arrive. When they started to arrive we did some intros and I led an instructional bike overview. I went over parts of the bike, braking, shifting, body positioning, trail etiquette, trail hazards, and then we sized the girls for a bike. Once everyone had a bike we told them to ride around in the parking lot of the center. Once we were confident everyone had some skills we headed up the hill. At least half of the girls struggled up the slight hill. I stayed in the back instructing the girls on how to get started again, and how they need to keep pedaling and keep your eyes on the clear section of trail. The ride sped up a little on the flatter section. Many of the girls were very uncomfortable on the bike. Gary led the ride and stopped periodically as I brought up the rear trying to teach those in the back. We rode safe and sound back at the adventure center, and everyone was beat. After all of the bikes were back in the center Gary and I had some time to hang out before dinner. Before dinner I talked to Wayne some more talking about the whole Endless Horizons operation. It was good to know what else is tied into this whole operation. After dinner I walked around a little and spent some time on the laptop writing this up.


Tuesday, and First day on the Home Front

Posted by on 12 May 2011 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

Tues 5/10/11

Beau and Justin left to climb at Nelson and I did some housekeeping organizing of my own stuff in the trailer. I finished up reinforcing the tent and moved most of my gear inside there. It should be a lot better after my cot arrives.  Then I ate a bowl of oats and raisin bran for breakfast. I organized more of my stuff and took some pictures of my tent. I then took to the road on my red bike toward NROC. Thirty minutes later I was at NROC looking for some internet access. Finding no one which new the password, I headed down the road to Seneca. About 11.5 miles and 45 minutes later I arrived to reconnect to the outside world. I hung out at Seneca for a while, checking email and talking to whoever came by. Then I introduced Nicole to Seneca. We hiked up the East Face trail, aka cardiac hill, and then took a break to enjoy the view from the north summit. On the descent we walked down the closed tourist trail. The trail was very washed out, full of rocks, and the steps were removed – making for a difficult scramble down.  After the hike we went to the Gendarme to see if it was still open. I wanted to try on some 5.10 shoes and Nicole wanted to buy a locking carabineer.  Massey was there to let us in. After some of his great guacamole dip and some chips he offered to drive me back to the trailer. I was not going to turn down a ride when I knew I had about 20 miles to ride, and some clouds were rolling into the valley. It was certainly a puzzle trying to get my bike into his car, but eventually made it work after taking both wheels off and lowering the seat all of the way. Once back in the trailer I made myself a peanut butter and jelly for dinner.

Wed 5/11/11

This morning the alarm went off at 7 and my first day of work was about to begin. I arrived at 8:30 willing to do whatever I was told to do. The first thing that Kellee asked me was, “Can you drive a tractor?” I then asked if it was manual or automatic and she mentioned clutch and I then told her that I am willing to learn. Jim then taught me what I needed to know and we did a practice session driving the trailer up to the top of the canopy tour and then back down. All went well and Jim told me that I was just as good as he is.

Kellee sent me up to work with Jim with doing some constructing up at the hut. We had to carefully remove everything from the walls and then add some hooks for the canopy tour equipment to be hung from. Jim then had to get ready for an 11am tour.

Once back at the yellow house Kellee had Beau go up and give Nicole and me a run through of the Canopy Tour. For time sake, and for ease, I drove my car up the hill and we started. Beau covered how to set up the trolley on the cables and where the lanyards go while zipping.  We took our time on the Judy zips and then flew through the Nelson zips. Beau had to be back at the yellow house at 1 to get ready for a tour so he was a little rushed. Once we were back Nicole had to drive me up to the cabins so that I could retrieve my car.

At 2pm there was a big group of Habitat for Humanity workers which came over from Franklin, WV. The 24 of them filled both the canopy tour along with the Via Ferrata. A maximum for the canopy tour is 10 participants and 2 guides and the maximum for the Via is 14 participants to 2 guides. I watched as Kimmy and Adam led the canopy tour. After they had their equipment on they loaded into the golf cart trailer attached to the tractor and I hopped into the driver’s seat. The driving went well until the left hand turn up the hill. I was trying not to make it too jerky for the riders in the back and I took it too slow going up and stalled the tractor. The tractor shut off and started to roll back a bit until I slammed on the breaks. Justin was there and he helped me keep my cool as I started it up again and put it in low gear, instead of medium. I gave it full throttle and we chugged our way up the hill, almost at walking pace. After that, I know that there is more to learn when it comes to pulling a large group up a steep hill.

At the top I listened in on their briefing before the practice zip. Once Adam zipped on down I headed back to the tractor and drove down to the midway station. I was given by Kellee 3 Master keys to find one which would unlock the ladder to the 1st sky bridge.  Thankfully 2 of the keys that I had worked for that lock and I didn’t have to rush down and then back up to try to find a key to unlock it before the group arrived.

I parked the tractor out front and had enough adventures on that for the day. Kellee sent me over to the post office to mail some gloves back to Liberty Mountain. The post office in Circleville made me think that I was living a few decades ago.

At 4pm Kellee had a conference call with the accounting lady and a man from the software program company. It was good to get a little insight of the program which they use for accounting and reservations for the tours.  When the canopy tour came back I helped them organize and put the gear back on the living room floor.

I made a quick run over to Seneca to try to find some information on a trailer over there but had no luck in finding the woman who I needed to talk to.

After I came back to NROC, I helped organize the Via Ferrata gear when that group came back. Everyone was heading off at that point. Beau and I talked about some bikes as we installed his new front tire. We then spent some time connecting with the outside world and then he rode with me back as we left his bike and my red bike in the yellow house garage. (Beau rode my red bike in today)


Summer 2011 PICTURES

Posted by on 10 May 2011 | Tagged as: Summer 2011

The Adventure Begins

Posted by on 10 May 2011 | Tagged as: Summer 2011

The journey begins as I pack my car and finalize what I think I will need. I was planning on being on 79 heading south before 9pm, but I did not even leave UVSR until 9:18am. I used my fuel perks at GetGo and saved 10 cents to top off my car at $3.89. It was then onto West Virginia.

The drive was good, very good weather, almost too good to be driving weather.  Gas prices rose as I headed south. I topped off in Elkins for $4.14 (I should have waited until I arrived at Seneca as the price here is 3.89).  I stopped at NROC to tell them I was here. I was told to enjoy the weather and settle in, but it will not be until Wednesday morning when I start working. Next step involved finding my home.

I found the hidden driveway with ease and turned in. The adventure began just driving up the driveway as the car slid and eventually crawled its way up. I knocked on the door (knowing that no one was home) and then walked in. I explored the trailer and the surrounding land of what I will be calling home for the next few months. After familiarizing myself with the place (but I still had no idea who was staying where, what the rules were of the place, etc) I moved some of my stuff into a corner in the kitchen and some of the bigger stuff I left out back. I swapped the tires on my red bike for some road slicks and rode around on Snowy Mt Road. It was around 4ish when I hopped in my car and drove to try to find Beau.

I drove past NROC and then through the valley to Seneca.  I had no idea what type of car to look for or when he would be where.  I drove around Yokum’s campground and met up with Tom and Molly. Tom introduced me to Matty, Apple, and a few others who were building a very long slack line. I watched them as they tried different methods of tightening the line with the Ford Escape. They eventually got it tight after the z drag and 4 wheel drive.

It was then back on the road to the trailer to see if Beau had returned. I drove up the driveway and still no one was home. I did another little ride of the bike on Snowy Mountain Road. At 9ish I drove back to NROC to see if Beau was there looking for me. Once I turned around in front of the yellow house a truck drove up and it was Beau and Justin. I followed them back to the trailer where they told me all about their long day at Seneca.  Justin then informed me about the trailer and how he needs to have some rules and regs written up.

Beau and Justin helped me set up the old Keyes family tent in the back. Justin, who just learned what an iphone was, doubted the durability of the canvas cabin tent. I spent some time reinforcing the tent with some nylon cord and duck tape, before crashing on the floor of an empty bedroom.


The Journey Begins at SRU

Posted by on 22 Aug 2010 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

This summer I worked at HSR and that sums up everything from the last post.  Before camp began and during some of my days off I did some climbing at Ralph Stover an then at Birdsboro.

I also set my new record for road bike distance with 143 miles in one day.  (Records are meant to be broke.)

This weekend I moved to Slippery Rock, PA.  I am staying at The Ivy, which is said to be “Slippery Rock`s premier off-campus student housing option.”   I just took and uploaded some pictures for everyone to see what the room looks like.


Picture 1 of 15

Wed – Fri June 2-4

Posted by on 04 Jun 2010 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

All day Wednesday I spent organizing my room and figuring out where stuff belongs. I did do a good run around Immaculata with the Herrings. Watched the Flyers win. Then on Thursday I went on a run around Ryers Hunt and then a little trail run back the power lines onto Dunwoody and back through Weston. I drove over to Bike Line to catch up with a few things and then drove back home and did some more relaxing – hung out with the Venture Crew that night and did some city driving around dub c.

Friday I have been writing this all day long – it is up here and here are a few links for everyone to check out about the race which Matt, Scott and I did.

The results  from the race:

A blog from the winning team : Trakkers –

Event website:

Checkpoint Tracker website:

Some pictures:

Some more pictures and some of the same:

Tonight I am heading down to Shoe for the day Saturday (OA weekend) and then I have a family reunion on Sunday.

The next week I plan to do some climbing at Ralph Stover SP and get back on my bikes – I think my ass has had enough recovery time.

June 19th I head down to camp for the summer.  I get one day off a week and I am trying to do a bunch of mountain bike and trail run races on those days off to keep motivated to stay in shape.

I will try to keep up with this on more of a weekly basis from here on out.

Mon May 31 & Tues June 1

Posted by on 04 Jun 2010 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

Woke up in the morning with the sun beating into the car. Matt and I hung out in the CAOS parking lot until he decided to head off to Seneca. I told him that I was going to head down Tuesday morning and spend 2 days with him down there.  After he left I drove down to Oakland and hung out with Lisa and met her friends from home which were up for the memorial day weekend. When I drove by the lake I was taken back by all of the activity on and around the lake. It must have been a holiday. From Oakland I drove over to Herrington Manor SP and met up with Jeremy S. and Jane R. They were loving it working for the park and we chatted for some time.  Steve K. got in town and I drove back to CAOS to meet up with him and then he hopped in my car to drive over to Coopers.  I warned him that I was going to be slurring my speech and not talking right all day because of my weekend. We hiked around and I showed him all of the climbing areas at Coopers and then we set up one TR over at the big wall by the furnace side. We could feel a storm rolling in so we quickly packed up and we drove to Morgantown to do some sight seeing. After that we drove back to CAOS where we ate some food and then hung out in the hallway of CAOS while a storm passed by.

Tuesday I was planning on waking up – doing a nice short easy jog – and then cleaning up in CAOS – and then going to Seneca. Day instead went like this:  Woke up really late – called up Erin and we scheduled a run at 10am. I talked to Mike L. about the race and then went over to Erin’s to run but she was doing some cleaning / organizing before we could leave so we ended up leaving closer to 11am.  We jogged down to HMS and then back – didn’t walk too much.  I felt really good the whole time. I got back to CAOs and no one was there. I waited for Scott R. to show up and then I got a shower and checked my email. Matt left me a message telling me that he was not feeling good and decided to head home.  I then had to figure out what I was going to do. At 4ish i decided to head home so I ran around the rental center grabbing my bikes and a bunch of other random stuff which was around. I went down to Laker Hall and said a final good bye to Kate and Kailee. Finally I  did a final sweep and said  goodbye to Scott R. and Steve K. and headed over to BP for some air in my tire and some gas and drove home.

The drive was good – no cops – no big rain storms. I got home and unpacked my car and relaxed.

Wild Wonderful Fri-Sun May 28-30

Posted by on 04 Jun 2010 | Tagged as: After Graduation Living May 2010

Friday morning Scott, Matt and I all had  a good breakfast and a calm start of our day at Scott’s place. Then we headed over to CAOS.  This was around 10am.  Matt and I then went through the checklist of personal gear and group gear to make sure we had everything.  We had a choice between 3 different day packs to choose from and Matt decided to go with the lightweight Vaude Trail 15 while Scott and I packed all of our stuff into a Black Diamond Hollowpoint.  Scott helped us out by making a bunch of sandwiches with all of the bread that we could find in the rental center. We packed wetsuits and booties in a large canvas bag and then a bunch of gear and food into a 33gallon tote. I also brought along a cardboard box full of bike lights and miscellaneous other tools and spare parts.

We were hoping to be on the road by 12 but at 1pm we ended up finishing the last little bit of packing to head out. Some pictures were taken of us before we headed out and then we drove into the storms that were rolling past.

We tried to sleep on the drive down but it was not too easy for all of us. Somewhere down on route 79 we stopped at a rest stop – which was one of the nicest rest stops I have ever seen.

We turned off of 79 onto route 19 which headed down toward Summersville.  I was wondering where Wintersville was located because it was starting to get pretty hot out. We saw off of the road some of the huge lake and all of the massive cliffs which are known for some pretty sick climbing. (all you need is a boat and a pair of climbing shoes)

Kept driving own 19 until right before the huge bridge. Scott wanted us to see where we would be rafting – or at least a short section of it. We hiked down the observation steps down to the last observation deck and checked out the bridge and water below.  Next we had to hike back up – this was not the best for our legs which we were trying to rest up before the long day Saturday.

Next we headed to the motel / Quality Inn we were staying which was just a little bit more South on 19. We checked in there and then dropped a few things  off and then headed to ACE Adventure Resort. From the Main street in Oak hill we followed some tight twisty road down hill toward ACE following their signs. We got there and someone pointed us in the right direction for registration.

At the tent we were lost – had no idea what to do until a girl, with a Odyssey Volunteer shirt on, asked us for our team name and she gave us a slip of paper. She told us that we had to start at the one table and head around the tent to get everything signed off.  The first table was a bunch of liability papers then had to get all of them checked. We then got our Race numbers and some t-shirts and the of course our maps all  in a roll. We received 3 maps and 2 papers with rules and the route, and then also the passport – which we had to mark at each checkpoint. We headed back to the Van and thought of what to do next. First thing we did was get our bikes ready and handed them over to 2 (very attractive looking) girls in the U-Haul truck. Scott and I put MTB shoes on the bike and we all hung our helmets on them. Scott R. took us over to the dining hall / restaurant that they had there and as soon as we walked in we headed out due to the high price and lack of selection of their salad bar.

We drove off back up to the Main Street and headed down the road a little bit to an Italian Restaurant. (I think the name of it was Gino’s Pizza & Spaghetti House, but I am not sure) I tried to look at the maps and figure out what all of these numbers with a N and the end and then a slash and a bunch of numbers with a E at the end meant. Matt ordered for the 3 of us and then Scott R. got something else. Once the food started coming I had to put the map away. We all decided that we were going to do the mapping and all of the plotting after the meeting which was at 8:30pm.  After dinner we headed back to ACE

At the meeting we learned how many teams there were and who our competition was.  Ron – the race director – also told us a little about the course and all the fun he had making it. After a bunch of questions from other teams and Ron thanking all of the sponsors and ACE he told us that we had to be back at the same tables at 6:45am and the buses for WW rafting were leaving at 7am.

We quickly left and headed out before the traffic got too bad in the parking lot. Then we drove back North on 19 toward our hotel looking for a place to stop for breakfast in the morning.  We stopped at a large Shell gas station/ convenience store – bought some gallons of water and some Gatorade. We needed some sort of makers to mark the map so we headed to Walmart which was just a little up the road and bought breakfast, highlighters, markers, duck tape, and I think that was all.

Once we got back to the motel we unpacked everything into our room and Scott took a few things into his room and that was the last we saw of him until the morning. We spent a few hours getting stuff ready and mapping all of the coordinates on the map. All of our bags we packed into the large canvass bag and then in the tote we packed a bunch of water/ Gatorade and food.  We finally got to bed at 1:30ish and I set an alarm for 5:10 in the morning.

In the morning I showered while the other guys tried to get as much sleep as possible and at 6am we left the motel. We drove down to ACE – put our tote in the staging area and then carried our large canvas bag up the hill to the tables we were at the night before.  At 7ish they told us to hike further up the hill. Our team was performing right off the bat by having a good rotation with carrying the bag up the flights of steps. At the top of the hill we had to go into a building which we were handed PFDs and had to grab helmets and paddles (our weapons for the first section).  We then handed a man on a truck our canvas bag with all of our day packs and running shoes in it.  We then loaded us on the bus.

On the bus we got the safety talk like usual and then after some backing up and doing some 3 point turns to get around a bend in the road we got to the put in. We all took a pee break and then all of the teams were called over to the parking lot. They called off team numbers and put them in different rafts – there were 5 rafts in each heat and 3 heats of boats.  We were called very last and put on the last boat in the 3rd heat. Our raft included us, another 3 person team, and 2 soloists oh and the guide. The girl on the other 3 person team did the race last year and knew about the start and volunteered to do it. Matt was trying to get the job from her but she was willing so he let her. The start had one person from each raft run up the steps and then down the road/parking lot to the other end and then down a trail to the river. Then they jumped into the New River and swam downstream to the boats. Once the swimmer got in the boat the engines were set to full throttle forward. Our crew got to watch the other 2 heats head off down river with 5 mins in between each heat.  At the end of the race our finishing time was at 9:10. (1st heat’s finishing time was 9am and 2nd heat’s finishing time was 9:05am)

Our swimmer was first to the rafts and we were off. Throughout the rapids and the flat water we were tied for 1st or at times a little behind in 2nd. Our raft guide did not do that well making us spin around twice and not keeping us in the moving water.  Our captain told us to use a 4 on 4 off technique to battle through the flat water. The front 4 paddled while the back 4 took a break and then switched after 10 strokes.  It was key for us to keep in rhythm with everyone so the boat was moving together. There was a few times while rafting that our raft and the other raft that was a head of us were neck and neck literally pushing into the other boat. I kept my paddle going even if it meant hitting other paddles from the other boat out of my way.  There was no way we were going to finish 2nd. At the last rapid we passed them and then they fell back even more.. we outlasted. Our whole focus on the rafting was to pound through and get to the end asap – there was no care in about picking the right lines and we were smashing through some class 5 rapids. The waves on some rapids were over our heads but we kept paddling like it was just another day.

Matt led the crew in cadence – especially when going under the bridge where Ron was watching.

At the end of the rafting we had to help get the raft onto the truck and then we went over to the other truck where we dropped off our life jacket and helmet. We then found our pack in the craziness of everyone changing and getting their stuff together. We stripped off our wetsuits and booties and dried a little, put our socks and shoes on, Matt handed our passport to the volunteers (sitting in beach chairs enjoying the show) for it to get signed ((CP1)), and then we threw our wet stuff in the bag, handed our bag to the man on the truck, and ran off. We were hasty through this transition but very sufficient.

Ron (the race director) asked us where our map is and we told him we got the first section memorized and that it was in our bag. He gave us a look like ??okay?? – he knew that this was our first adventure race and was glad that we were wearing orange so his search teams could find us.

Running up the road on the East side of the gorge we ran for 1:30min and then walked with a good pace for 1:30min. This off and on let us pass a bunch of teams  – most of them were in the first 2 heats of rafts. We noticed other teams heading down on a lower trail and we decided that it was best to head down so right off the bat we were scurrying down a steep hill with loose rocks.  We found CP2 and then the rest of the race was on.  From here on out the race was on.

We continued on the trial until it took a sharp curve down hill where we decided to bushwhack up the hill.  We got to a climbing area and followed a trail from there to the power lines.  Then we took the power lines West to find CP3.  It took us a while to get there and we were not certain where we were along the power lines. We followed a road that intersected the power lines for a bit until we found a big metal gate where the checkpoint was just on the other side of. At this checkpoint we had to sign our team name in and we could see that we were surprisingly in the top 10. (or just other teams did not sign it)

We then headed by a new house and pond with some really nice landscaping but could not find the trail that we needed to find. We picked a line and bushwhacked toward the top of the hill. We ended up intersecting another trail and headed toward the top of that and then off of that trail to bushwhack up to the top of the hill where CP4 was located.  We ran back down retracing our steps and took a little break of on the side of the trail for some lunch.

After shoving down some food we ran on down the trail across the power lines and found CP5  at an overlook. We met up  with a Calleva team there and they were busy on their way out but for a while there we were one right after the other finding the CPs.

CP6 was not too easy – we were following the cliff top but it was difficult with all the rodos and other vegitation. We were with a soloist at this point which said he was going in circles but eventually we found some clear marked trails which led us up the hill to the Overlook at Wild Rock.  It looked like some new roads were there and some new homes being built. At the checkpoint there was a nice patio overlook with some lawn chairs, but we had to keep moving.  We followed the new road out to the main road and we were going to follow it do the parking area/CP8 where our bikes were but a team told us that there was a trail just up the road the other way to go down to CP7 – optional checkpoint down on Mill Creek. We took their advice and headed up the road and into the woods on the trail. We got to the power lines and there was a bunch of poison ivy but we kept huckin it down the trail and found some tributaries of Mill Creek.  We met up with a few other teams and we all ran down this hill to a nice opening by the stream for CP7.  It was a very nice area there but we had to go and hike back up the hill to the power lines and then we took those right back to CP8 – the transition to biking.

We handed the volunteers our passport where they signed it and highlighted our team off of their list. Then we found our bikes and suited up – Scott and I put our running shoes in our bags and we were on the bikes down the road.  We rode up and down hills through Ames Heights, Grayden, and Lansing. Our first bike checkpoint was at the New River Gorge Campground CP9 which was just on the other side of route 19. (Team 57 was right behind us and they were in our same division – we knew we had to turn up the pace) There we had the chance to and we did fill up our water bottles. From there we headed down route 82 down the gorge. We took one slight mis-turn and when we stopped to correct it a bunch of motorcyclists roared on past us down the road where we were to go. We followed them on our breaks the whole way down the hill and across the river on the smaller bridge.  There was 3 bikes in front of us and 1 behind us on that descent.  When we were biking back up the other side of the gorge on Rt.82 we passed some bad ass old school biker guys and one of them said, “chug-a-lug, chug-a-lug” and then gave us all high fives when we passed.

After the next switchback we hoped onto Fayetteville Trail and rode that up hill into a maze of a bunch of other trails.  We made some wrong turns in there and we started to head down toward wolf creek without finding the parking area for CP10. The Mims saved us and we headed back up to the last intersection and made a left to follow it around to the park. Got CP10 and headed back where we came from and down a nice descent to cross over Wolf Creek. and head up a trail to the Kaymoor Top parking area CP11.  Once there we met up with Ron (race director) and he was surprised that we were up in the top of the pack kickin some ass.  At the park there we were told there was water to load up but we opted out because the Mims were right infront of us and we needed to stay with them. We passed them on the trail because of our athletic ability and no fear descents. The raod made a tight switchback downhill and we stopped to look at the map to figure out where we had to go. The trail was not listed on the map and there was no trail signs or markers along the way. By the time we pulled out the map to try to figure out where we were the Mims flew past us.  Matt looked at me with the map and told us to follow the blue aka Mims. We were happy with staying right behind them. The ride had some very beautiful overlooks and it was mostly downhill even though we were going upstream.  Matt even offered to take their picture with the jungle of vegetation overlooking the gorge in the backdrop. The Mims stopped for a long food break and we had a short one and kept going without their lead. The vegitation changed and the trail had more turns in it and then it dumped us out on a road right outside of Cunard. We took a break in the shade to look at our map to figure out where we were and where to go next.

We met up with a soloist and he told us we were heading in the wrong direction so we turned around and headed up the stone road, past a few trailers and some chained up dogs. There was a gate we had to go around and then there were a few teams heading up the hill. We passed everyone in sight and kept biking up the hill until the Yellow Gate CP12. Once there, it was a manned CP, we were told we were the 1st in our division to check in and the 6th team overall.  We were surprised but also determined even more.  The focus of the 24 hr race turned from just finishing to finishing high up in the rankings.

Matt led the way to Confederate Rock overlook which was CP13. The pace was pretty good but our water levels were pretty low. We took the trail right to Confederate Rock and punched our card and went back to the main trail and up some old coal roads to a turn in the trail where the team ahead of us bushwhacked one way while we bushwhacked a slightly different angle.  The team ahead of us was a little more on their game with navigation but we passed them later on. We spent a while bushwhacking but then eventually headed straight up the hill to a road. We took the road to the right a little – found an intersecting road which we took to the Vista View Overlook CP14. It was a bare spot of land and had steep sides to both sides of it with 2 great overlooks.

Matt led again the way to CP15 – I was a little tired and was hanging in the back but I managed to stay with the 2 runners. After some steep climbs in the beginning it was mostly flat and fast. A guy on a dirt bike came roaring toward us on the trail and he yelled to us “3 more.” We kept going after he passed but then shortly following was a guy on an ATV.  Not knowing where the other 2 were we kept going, passed the Calleva team doing yoga in the trail and got to CP15.  From there it was a fast descent into the “town” of Cunard. On our way down we found 2 ATVs about ready to start up – they were taking up the whole trail but we could scurry around them.  I guess they had to make a beer stop before catching up to the 2 others up ahead.

Once on the road in Cunard we politely asked the men on the porch of their trailer for some water and they told us that we were crazy and to use the spicket on the side of the building. They were very nice people and we were very happy and gracious. Matt headed to their backyard to get CP15A which was a Power Pole with some numbers and we had to find the middle letter. (which was A) (The Trakkers trekked out of the people’s yard just as we were trekking in)

We then ran up down the road – passed some people pumping water from a stream- and then went around the gate and hiked and jogged up the hill back to yellow gate CP12/16.  Once there we were told we were in 3rd place overall and the Trekkers were right ahead of us in 2nd. (so at that moment we were technically tied for 2nd because we were standing right next to the 2nd place team)

We mounted up on our bikes and headed down the road toward Truman Lake.  It was a really good ride there but then the puddles in the trail/road kept getting bigger and night was fast approaching.  The Trakkers passed us backtracking telling us that they didn’t find anything. We turned our bike lights on and our headlights but we were still disoriented – our map placement of the CPU was not accurate. We biked around a little and then passed the lake we think – there were a ton of frogs. We were up near Maggies trail and then came back looking but since our placement on the map was not correct we were looking in the wrong place. A soloist which was done – dropping out – passed by and we tried to get some help from him but he did not have it correctly mapped on his map either. I tried not to get down but it was hard to keep the head in the game/race. I was about ready to take out everything and re-map the CP. A female soloist came up and she told us that it was just down on the other side of the lake and that there was a team there right now.  We quickly got on our bikes and headed for it CP17. Found it no problem and realized that we passed it and were standing right next to it not too long ago. We then headed straight for HQ / CP18.

We checked in at HQ and then got ready for the mountain bike time trial. They also took our passport and gave us a new one. After a little bit of food recovery we headed out.  We didnt need to carry anything but decided just to carry all of our gear and the ACE map which we highlighted the route – the route was marked with orange flags and blue arrows. We also taped the small batteries to our bikes because we knew each battery was only good for maybe 3 hours. The ride was very fun and easy according to me.  Matt – “Cross country mountain biking is gay”  Anyway, Matt’s chain got stuck between the frame of his GF Tassajara and the cranks. We tried to backpedal it out but I decided to just break a link out of the chain and use a SRAM masterlink to put it back. Everything was great until I tried to put it back together – there was so much mud that it did not want to get locked in. Eventually we got it together and we were back on the trail.  We passed a few teams that passed us while we were stopped. At one point we thought we were doing the loop twice – maybe we made a wrong turn and were just doing laps. I looked at Matt for the ACE trail map and he realized that it must have fallen out of his sternum strap somewhere along the ride. We just kept going. Not too long after that we saw a big finish sign and we hit the road with full steam ahead down to HQ. All of the mud was flying out of my tires and into the air – I had my glasses on but still a big piece got in my eye. I had to cry it out and with everything covered with mud it was not easy. I got it well enough to kind of see out of it and headed the rest of the way back to HQ CP19.

Upon arriving and checking in at HQ with our new passport they gave us a half sheet of paper. I took my biking stuff off and tied into my running shoes. Matt sweet talked someone into giving us a new and the last ACE trail map – much needed save. We mapped out the 2 mandatory CPs and the 3 optional CPs and told them that we were leaving and left out into the night/morning on foot. It was pretty foggy but we could see 2 people on a trail off in the distance and followed them. We got to the first checkpoint which was titled Reentrant.(CP20) There was a lot of stinging nettle but with all of the mud on my legs I really did not care. I toughed it out and we passed the 2 man team which was out in front of us.

CP21 was titled Hilltop/Power Pole and we ran into another team there backtracking. Matt made the crucial find of the small trail that led up to the power lines. Scott and I followed Matt and his tune of J-Jumping in Shadows, J-jumping in shadows. the 2 man team took the lead once and we jumped in their shadows to the power pole which they found. They told us the number which we needed from there – 7, but we ran up to double check. He headed down the trail back to the main trail where everyone else was heading to HQ / or at least back the way we came.  We chose the way which would take us to the optional checkpoints.  We got half way there and the headlights were turned off because we could actually see where we were going.  The trail was very, very muddy and we were spending more time finding dry routes around lakes of water in the road/trail then actually moving forward. It was going to be another mile out to the checkpoint and then a mile back and the team was not feeling 100%. Soo.. we turned and saw Truman Lake and headed to HQ.

We made a huge error by  taking a road down hill which took us 90 degrees in the wrong direction (South). About a mile down we realized and took Cuncho cut off to trek back to where we wanted to head. This then took us back to HQ.

Once at HQ CP25 we were given CP26-33. We had to kick it in gear and move fast to finish on time. Thankfully we decided that at this point our goal is to finish the race and skip all optional checkpoints. We were in fast mode – Scott and I got our bike shoes on and Matt was getting hte UTMs plotted. We left for the biking just before 7am while the cut off for leaving for biking was at 7:30am. We biked to the radio tower and then did some hiking when it got steep. I got the number off of the trailer and then we biked/coasted down hill back to HQ, out around the climbing cabin/entrance to ACE, and then onto Arbuckle trail. Arbuckle trail had a lot of loose big rocks and it was all down hill following a creek. The trail eventually ended right on the creek and I was looking around for where to go next and Scott and Matt pointed across the river to the CP27. I dismounted from the bike and rock hopped across wearing biking shoes. The female soloist was there and she was taking off her shoes to climb a boulder slab but I just used all hands to get up it. I punched it and headed back a different way across the creek which was a little dryer.  Once back to the bike I started hiking back up the trail pushing the bike. Matt had already started up and Scott was right behind me. We were all in pain.   We finally hit the road and got on our bikes to make the last little surge to HQ – CP33.

We had just finished the most grueling race any of us had ever done.

Time to do some relaxing – but it was not even 8:30am.

Scott and I changed out of our biking shoes and then we moseyed on around – going to the bathroom, and then went to the dining hall/ restaurant where there was a free buffet for us. We all ate a lot – biscuits, sausages, pancakes, eggs and some OJ.

We then took all of our stuff to the van and grabbed some stuff for showers. Scott R. loaded the van while the 3 of us hiked up a hill to where we got our PFDs and helmets and they had showers at that building.

After a long shower we walked down to HQ, said bye to Ron – received our Odyssey visors, and headed in the van to go back to Garrett.

We all slept on the van ride back – at one point Scott R. stopped for some food and I guess he offered but either I was full from breakfast or I was too tired I don’t remember.  The next stop we took I made sure to get out and get some food. The van smelled so bad of all of our gear and rotting bananas.

Once back at the school we had to unload everything and clean up the bikes. Scott R. had to go so he took the van once we put the 2 benches back in and left me to lock up the rental center. This was at about 2-3pm.

Scott Hess left to go back to his place after he cleaned up his stuff and I put his clipless pedals back onto his road bike.

Matt and I hung out in the rental center; slowly cleaned up, checking the internet, and doing some wash.  We ate some more food and did a lot of chillaxing.

Matt and I finally got in our cars after I locked up and fell asleep.

Thurs May 27

Posted by on 27 May 2010 | Tagged as: After Graduation Living May 2010

Woke up to the sun shining in and making the car very hot inside – it was only 8am. Hung out at the CAOS building for breakfast and found a pair of pants to use my $30 credit on from ASI orientation back in the fall of 2008. I then drove down to Wally to get my hair cut and buy some groceries (cereal and bananas) Then headed north to Lowe’s to find reflective tape (required gear for the race to put on helmets) They did not have much of a selection but it will do. Arrived back at CAOS a little after noon and did a little jog over to the school where I used the computers in the library and then ran back over to CAOS. I hung out and relaxed at CAOS – rode some bikes around, got the lights ready, and threw some seat bags on all of the bikes. I then just hung out, showered , and killed time trying to chillax.

At 5pm or so Mike L. came in asking me to label/number a few riverboards and swim fins.  They are going to be going up to ASCI for the summer and this weekend they are having a demo from a rider who is sponsored by Carlson.

While working on that Andy and family came by to rent some stuff for a weekend of camping – and Scott and CC came back from a facilitator training at WVU/Coopers.

Now I am packing and getting supplies ready for this weekend.  Next post will most likely come on Tuesday or so – I hope that all goes well.  You should be able to follow us on:

I will be heading down to the New River Gorge on Friday afternoon and we will get back sometime Sunday afternoon.

I am planning to do some climbing out here that week and then come home Thursday or Friday and then head to the OA weekend.

Wed May 26

Posted by on 27 May 2010 | Tagged as: After Graduation Living May 2010

Got up, had breakfast in the faculty lot and killed some time in the library.  Some lady (I think she works in the Business office) she was yelling in the parking lot about some one’s truck that was backed in covering the curb.  She made everyone that was coming to work know that she was angry and was going to find out whose truck it was.  She really did not want to get her feet wet by walking on the grass … and then I heard her say something about if she was going that way.  So she was not even on the sidewalk to really have to change her path.  THE SIDEWALK IS TO WALK ON. – She got her anger out.   Anyway.. I was trying to keep from laughing.

I went on a slow run around DCL SP with Erin. We probably only did 4 miles or less but it was good just to do a slow run. I then got to the rental center – got a shower and worked on the bikes for a little bit.

Steve and I drove up to Fork Run to meet up with Adam to do some climbing. Before starting the hike over to the Boulders I had to dig out my climbing duffel bag from the bottom of my car. (It felt good to use stuff from deep in the car’s luggage) When we got there Adam was there along with Lee and Andrea and they had a few climbs set up at the Boulders – good warm ups to start with.  After climbing those we went over to the Ledges and I set up 4 climbs with my 2 ropes and then Adam came over and set up one more.  Steve, Adam and I had a good time climbing at the Ledges and we were all spent by the time we finished – well idk about Steve.

After packing up and loading stuff into the car I found my running shoes and socks on the top of my car – I guess they spent some extra time airing out on the drive from CAOS to Fork Run.

I showed the picture of the geocache site to Steve and we drove over to Swallow Falls.  We hiked down river right and tried to find the rocks that were in the picture – no luck – but.. we looked across the river and saw some bigger rocks that looked like it could be it.  So.. we hiked around and down to where we thought it might be.  I then had to traverse along the river’s edge to a rock which was at water level.  From there I looked in front of me and found the same rocks as in the picture – perfect match.  Steve and I saw the crack that anything could be hiding in and went for it.  it was probably 7-8 feet up so we had to do some climbing up with wet shoes to get up to it.  Pictures will follow.

After signing the log and taking more pics we headed back out.  On our way back out we stayed along the water and climbed up right next to the falls on a very vegetated scramble.

We headed back to the school for the night and some food. After eating some we decided to go to the CIRCUS!!  We walked over to the fairgrounds and walked over to the circus and we saw a camel ride, elephant ride, and a pony carousel (poor animals)  But when we got there everything was getting taken down and last call for rides were being shouted.  A one day Circus.. wow  – what will Garrett County come up with next???

We headed back and hopped in the vehicles to sleep.

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