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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Murrsyville Cyclocross November 30th

The guys from Freddie Fu are hosting the 2008 Murrysville Cycocross. If you raced the M.O.M. last year you probably saw quite a few of them but they were a little scarcer this year. Sunday November 30th. Cat C race fires off at 10:00 AM

Didn't think I'd be a cyclocross fan, when I first heard about a half road, half trail, part running type bicycle race it really didn't have much appeal to me; but then I turned out for the first race of the 2007 Month of Mud series (Month of Mud is a mostly mountain bike part cyclocross local race series). I got to tell you I really dug the cyclocross and I didn't think I would; so much so that I was down right disappointed when the Mammoth race didn't show up on the 2008 M.O.M. schedule. Really looked forward to the Grove City race in this years series. Even bought a pair of cyclocross tires for my 29er. They fit perfectly on the rims but a full suspension mountain bike looks absolutely ridiculous with a pair of skinnies on it. Hey I work with what I got.

I don't know exactly what it is but I really like these races. Maybe I like riding with the other guys and mixing it up. It's fun getting in there passing, making your move. In a mountain bike race passing is more of nuisance. Trying to pass on single track just gets damn frustrating. Now if we could knock each other off the trail all speed racer like then maybe it'd be more fun.

Cyclocross is cool for the spectators too because hey they get to see you more than just five seconds during a 2 hour moutain bike race. I really dig it too; at the barriers you get these little cheering sections and when you make that perfect dismount, gracefully hurdle the barriers and swoosh back onto your bike in a 'yeah I've been doing this all my life' kinda a way; it feels awesome. Sometime you even get a 'nice job', yeah it's cool.

No guarantees, Thanksgiving weekend might be a little tough but I'm definitely going to try and make it out there November 30th.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ghostly Gray Cross Country Saturday October 25th

The Ghostly Gray Cross Country Mountain Bike race will be held Saturday October 25th at the Lutherlyn facilities outside of Butler, Pennsylvania (not too far from Moraine State Park). Start time is 10:00 AM registration starts at 8:30AM. This is the first year for this race and I'm one looking forward to seeing the course. The race will be three laps on a five mile cross country loop.

Entry fee is $20 and the race will benefit the Troop D Camp Cadet youth program.

Address for Lytherlyn facility is 500 Dick Road, Butler, PA 16001

They will also be holding a 5k walk and 5k run with a children's trick or treat parade at noon.

More details at

Click here for the race application and flier

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rider Up! - Moraine Race Recap

To all the guys that I passed on the rocks, no apologies, if you can't ride the section of trail then move aside and get to the back of the line. This is a race, it's not a group ride. Still plenty of good spirited riders out there, for all of you guys; thanks for stepping aside. I know I'll see you on the climb and I'll be plenty obliged to let you by me.

I really appreciated the course reroute this year. Instead of ramming us into the single track a couple of hundred yards into the race we started with two fire road climbs. This spread things out much nicer this year. Still traffic jams in the rock gardens and technicals are to be expected.

Moraine State Park, Month of Mud 2008 Race Recap

I pushed hard at the start but still quite a few riders got out in front of me. Spent the first lap making my way through the pack in the rock gardens. The pace of the pack through the technicals for me was slow, but the upshot was it gave me a chance to recoup. The break was welcome, I had pushed really hard on the climbs at the start; hard enough to make myself nauseous. By the time we hit the power line I had managed to loose most of the pack and Josh (3rd place sport) was the only rider in sight. I got past him before the downhill and from there I just took off. Josh's comment: 'I knew when you passed me you were gone, there was no way I was catching you'. Well I was pretty sure I was going to see him again eventually but not as soon as I did. The trail was free and clear, I knew I had left the pack behind and was catching up with the leaders. Half way down I could hear the sound of bikes clanking a head of me and I was gaining but half way down the hill I road over a a stick laying across the trail found it's way into my spokes and derailleur parts. This little event tore my cable housing apart. I knew the damage was bad when I felt my bike drop into it's biggest gear. I finished the downhill and hobbled through the rocks and stopped after the spectator section to assess the damage. Cable housing was shredded; the race was a wash. I could have tried to turn her into a single speed but frustrated I just called it a day.

No luck fixing the cable

Bushwacker posted some photos and a nice series recap on the PORC boards.

Results posted on West Liberty Cycles the official home for Month of Mud 2008

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bring on the rocks! - Moraine M.O.M. Approaches

Moraine State Park Month of Mud #4 is approaching fast and I'm getting anxious. I love the rocks; so this is easily my favorite venue in the series. A few of us road out at Moraine after the Grove City race. I forgot just how much I love the place. Can't believe Matt and Jason road it on their cross bikes and still managed to leave there with their bikes still intact! We went out and road last years course but I'm not sure what the race course is going to look like this year. I know they laid down some new trial and I don't know if any of that is going to be incorporated into this years course. Last year I the course ran 2 laps and I believe went ten miles but don't under estimate it. This may be the toughest ten you've ever ridden. Here's a couple of Moraine videos I found on YouTube:

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Grove City Results Posted

Grove City Month of Mud Race #3

This years course layout was very similar to last years, it was missing a turn somewhere that I just can't figure out. Last year there was a 180 that hooked you up a little bank, you needed to be the right gear or you would be left in a lurch.

Not a cross bike owner but this year I came a little better prepared. Put a set of Continental Speed King Cyclocross tires on my 29er. A full suspension mountain bike with a set of little skinnies looked absolutely ridiculous but it got the job done. Looked like my poor HiFi got neutered. Still very effective, it's like I cut my 29er loose and set it free can't believe how much faster these roll on the hard stuff and they corner in the grass like you are on rails, even better than a mountain bike tire but hit some loose dirt or gravel and you are going down.

Still no substitute for a cross bike. Mountain Bikes are are built to handle well on the trail but they are just not aerodynamic. When you are riding with your chest up catching the wind like a kite it's going to slow you down. Even in the grass I'd still be pushing 15mph, at that point air resistance really starts to matter.

[Grove City's Results posted on West Liberty Cycles]

Here's Arron's race report and some nice photo's to boot:

[Aaron's Race Report and Race Photos]

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Month of Mud #2 Brady's Run

Results for Brady's run are are posted! [Click Here]

Wow! What a change up from last year! I love Brady's run and last year's race was good, but the people from B.A.B.E just keep pouring it on. The B.A.B.E. volunteers (Beaver Area Bicycle Enthusiasts) added several miles of trails making this year's race a single twelve mile loop. Last year's course served as the finishing miles.

There's so much I like about Brady's, fast winding single track, technical roots and logs and big steady climbs, these make for a classic race and the new trails just added it on.

The race started up the road and across the street from last years start line; adjacent to the playground. The course shot out over the lawn and through the creek. From there we headed up a long steady double track climb that finished up on the road. This did a lot to widen the field and when entered back into the woods, riders were spread out nicely. A race is so much better when your not all jammed up in the woods. From there we were lead through miles of windy single track and up several climbs. Wow so much new trail has been laid out here. The race went twelve miles with the average sport class rider finishing between 1:20 - 1:35.

I just want to extend a big thanks to B.A.B.E and all the volunteers from me and the racers. So much work was put in to getting the trails back in shape after the storm. Much appreciated!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bavington Time Trails 2008

Bushwacker brings us a nice race recap and some great race photos on his post on the PORC message boards. [Click Here]

Bavington was the first race in this years month of mud series. The time trails started a little after 10:00 and from there everything went off like clock work. Beautiful day and dry trails made for a fantastic race.

This race was grueling. Eight miles sounds like a walk in the park as far as mountain bike races go but this race was a sprint from start to finish with not a moments rest. I don't think my heart rate dropped below 90% for anymore than a minute the entire time. My lungs hurt, I don't thing my lungs have ever hurt after a race before.

One of my race buds didn't fair as well. During our pre-race warm up, going into a sharp turn he washed out on a log crossing and drove his elbow into his side ending up up with a cracked or rib and tweaked front derailleur. Give him credit he came in with a respectable time, bruised rib and mechanical issues aside.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Last Years Bavington Race Course

I don't know if the race course will be any different at Bavington this year but this was the course for the time trials for Month of Mud last year. The course is on fast tight windy single track. I recommend walking the one extremely steep section where the section that was new for last year end. You'll only loose a few seconds and it's not worth the fall. The course runs about 8 miles and for the average racer take about an hour to complete it.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Peanut Butter Festival Mountain Bike Race Saturday Septerber 13th

I haven't done this race but Brian did this race last year and had all kinds of good things to say about it. He said it was a ton of fun. Not all that far from Pittsburgh, New Bethlehem is an hour and ten minutes north east of Pittsburgh. The race is part of the towns annual Peanut Butter festival. Take Route 28 North for 59.9 miles and you are in the heart of New Bethlehem. Registration is 9:00 AM in Gumtown Memorial Park on Water Street and the race start is at 10:30 AM. More info can be found here, scroll down to Peanut Butter Festival:

The Mountain Bike Race covers about 15 miles through the countryside, up and down hills, through a lighted tunnel with some single track and a wide variety of conditions. The scenery on the single loop track is terrific. It’s a fun, but challenging ride. Previous riders have commented that it is their favorite race, they appreciate the number of volunteers on the course and find the course well-marked. There are five checkpoints and water stations, and a number of road crossings where riders can make a right to come back into town early if they wish to do so. All racers are asked to check in at the finish line so that we can account for all participants. Participation is at the rider’s own risk.

A single speed class was added last year. New this year is a shorter, approximately 7-mile course for novice riders that still provides a good variety of conditions and challenges. Awards and cash prizes will be presented in an Olympic Style format after the race on the stage in Gumtown Park to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place overall and in each class. Shirts and pins are guaranteed only to pre-registered riders who register by August 4, 2008 at the reduced rate of $20. The registration fee is $25 after August 4th through the day of the race. More information can be found on the registration form which can be downloaded from this website. Come to the race with your friends and family and enjoy the 13th Annual Peanut Butter Festival, including the parade at 3 and fireworks at 9 PM!

Race report by Justin
from Dirty Harry's

Race Results:

Monday, September 1, 2008

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Month of Mud 2008 Schedule

Got this info thanks to Don Powers . This was from Gary Bywaters today.

Here is the 2008 MOM schedule :

  • Sunday Sept 21 - Bavington State Game Lands (ATB time trial)
  • Sunday Sept 28 - Bradys Run Park (ATB)
  • Sunday Oct 5 - Grove City Park (Jungle 'Cross)
  • Sunday Oct 12 - Moraine State Park (ATB)
See you there!

Gary Bywaters
MOM Founder

Month of Mud is a series of Mountain Bike and Cyclocross races that take place in Southwestern Pennsylvania showcasing some great riding destinations in the regions surrounding Pittsburgh. Month of Mud races are generally shorter than traditional cross country races, most races averaging around 8 - 10 miles.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

2008 Tour De Strongland Mountain Bike Race at Roaring Run

Tour de Strongland Mountain Bike Race
Saturday September 6th
Roaring Run Park in Apollo

This race takes place on the rugged single track mountain bike trails in Roaring Run Park. For intermediate racers this may be the toughest 11 miles you've ever raced.

Distance 15 Miles
Age Requirement 18+
Race Time 10:00 AM
Registration Time: 9:00 AM

Distance 11 Miles
Age Requirment 15+
Race Time: 11:30 AM
Registration Time: 10:30 AM

Distance 3 Miles
Age Requirement 9+
Registration Time: 11:30 AM
Race Time 12:30 PM

Early registrants post marked by September 2nd, receive a free T-Shirt. Entry fee $20.

Race Info and Registration forms:

Sponsored by National City and Strongland Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Month of Mud 2008

Word has it the 2008 Month of Mud schedule is due out soon. The rumor is this year will be a shortened schedule, 7 Springs and Mammoth are not on the list, but Moraine is definitely part of the itinerary and the series will probably begin the last week of September. Know any other rumors or premonitions please comment.

Month of Mud is a series of Mountain Bike and Cyclocross races that take place in Southwestern Pennsylvania showcasing some great riding destinations in the regions surrounding Pittsburgh.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Roaring Run: Epic Ride

Road out at Roaring Run Apollo and I can't say enough just how much I love these trails.. This time of year when the canapoy is full and everything is all grown in, it just feels like you are in some other land, some other time.

My uncle said best after returning back from Colorado and being away from Pennsylvania for a few years: 'This place is a jungle'. And moreso on wet river hillsides along the Kiski.

Despite all the water we've gotten of late; the trails were pretty much mud free. This is one rocky place and the trails are built up out of the soupy muddy areas (mostly).

Some of the unofficial trails were overgrown but the 'Moutain Bike Loop' as I
remember was pretty much clear of undergrowth.

Maybe it was just that I had been off the bike for nearly a week but Monday's ride just felt good.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Absolut Hydration

I finally got the opportunity to utilize some of the 300 cubic inches in my CamelBack M.U.L.E. I knew all th extra space would come in handy. Liquor run! Er liquor ride. The Wine and Spirits conveniently located next to the Trek store, so I came home with 3 shifter cables and a liter of vodka.

A friend turned me on to the light refreshing goodness of vodka,tonic and I lime; so I took a break from the usual brew.

But these things go down way too easy, head ache will most certainly ensue. Damn her! BTW What is M.U.L.E. an acronym for?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Learning to Fly, White Oak WVMBA #6

My Juicy's were a little out of adjustment when I started the race and from there they just got worse. By the race's end they were really sketchy. Not that they didn't work, they stopped me real good, they just had this huge dead spot until you got them the whole way back to the bars, and then they grabbed like nobody's business.

Near the end of the race at that downhill section they were getting bad. I thought, 'self you don't have much in the way of brakes maybe you should take this one a little easy, just a hair more cautious perhaps?'. Bahhh do ever listen to that little voice. I couldn't help myself: fist this was a race, and second this down hill was fun! fun! fun!

I kind of remember it as a hump, like a table top but with a short approach and really steep long landing. I layed on my front brake before the launch but there was none, I don't know what happened for sure, after my front break didn't respond I may have tried to grab a really good handful while my bike was in the air, I was going too fast for this section and desperation set in, I was just thinking about nose diving into the bottom of this drop and really wanted to slow myself down. When I touched down I probably compressed most of my forks travel and then it was total ejection. My bike landed 20 feet off the right of the trail but nearly even to the spot I ejected, I mean how does that happen? I landed way up the trail, past the bottom where the trail started to rise again.

That is one strange feeling, the way the ground looks when it's coming up at your face, it sticks with you and it's not soon forgotten. I recall that feeling very distinctly, I was 15 and we were riding ten speeds up an old abandoned railroad bed. The bag I was carrying found it's way into the spokes and lodged between the fork and wheel. I believe it was actually the fishing real in the bag that stopped me so dead. It got really ugly after that. Helmets are good, they keep your head off the trail and give you something other than your face to skid on. Bad things happen when you use your face to brake across gnarley rail bed stone and cinders. What followed was about 2 1/2 hours of very intricate exacting surgery. Dr. Falcon if you ever find your face in a seriously bad way. He's awesome.

So I got up, checked all my parts, nothing major, took a few seconds to collect myself, retrieved my bike and went on my way. Where was that guy I passed near the top? Still no sign of him.

At the finish line a race official inquired how the leaves and mud ended up in my helmet. Plowing up the trails with my head does that count towards trail maintenance?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Bavington and 27 Miles of Sweet Single Track

Bavington is one giant single track feast and Sunday I set out to explore all the places I haven't ridden and ended up riding one gigantic 27 mile loop. Today wasn't going to be any sort of race pace ride, just a steady all cardio calorie burning pace to try and build up stamina. No matter how in shape I seem to be, at the races I really start to die at mile 13. I figure a consistent steady endurance building ride is what I need to help me make it through those last four miles of the race.

So started on the east side over by the old airport. This is the first time I've been over here, I've ridden almost every yard west of the creek but for various reason never ridden the east side.

I completed ten miles over there, did the figure eight trail, thorn something loop and the single track half loop over by the old airport. Made a right onto the jeep road crossed the old airport airstrip and got over to the old airport parking lot. Off the parking lot managed to find the trail that takes you down to the big creek crossing. After this I started heading for the stuff over by Haul road. I felt pretty good and today was going to be the day to do it. I'm going to ride the whole damn thing. I crossed the big creek at about mile ten, did one giant loop covering everything except for a small section I skipped east of Haul road that didn't quite fit in. When I looped back to the big creek crossing I was at mile 26.

So to try and answer the often asked question: there's about 27 miles of single track at Bavington. If you plan on making the attempt give yourself at least four hours and start earlier than I did. It was nearly dark when I made it back to the car.

Cyclometer Log
0.0 Access Road to figure 8 loop
4.2 Crossed Knowlton road did the 'Big Thorn' loop
5.7 Down the road toward Knowlton building
5.8 Right into crude parking lot
??.? Took access road that heads towards old airport
6.1 Right onto single track traveling loop counter clockwise
8.7 At field right onto access road eventually crossing old landing strip
9.1 Old airport parking lot found the single track trail near beging of lot
10.4 Big creek crossing at trail intersection took left towards haul road
10.8 Old truck
11.0 Left onto double track
11.1 Right onto single track up the steep climb
??.? Left at T onto single track loop
??.? Out onto Haul Road
??.? Up switchbacks at 5 Points Extension Haul Roading Parking area
??.? After several miles cross haul road back onto single track
19.2 Intersection Kramer and Haul
??.? Entered Lost Watch loop at sharp bend on haul road
20.4 Finished Lost Watch loop taking single track towards RC airport
??.? Went up airport driveway entered single track at visitors parking lot
24.3 At airport entrance crossing Kramer road headed for big creek crossing
25.2 Big creek crossing
26.3 Old airport parking lot

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Spirt of Mountain Biking Henry Clay WVMBA #4

The Henry Clay WVMBA #4 at Coopers Rock State Forest, West Virginia. What a day for a race. The trails already muddy and more rain arrived even before the race began. The rain let up before the race started and the clouds let the sun show for a little while but half way through it all started back up again. Mud, wind, rain, thunder, lighting, the sound of tree branches snapping overhead, and wet muddy rocks.

Now most everyone prefers the trails dry and fast but 'A little rain never hurt no one', (excuse my urge to quote Tom Waits) or even a lot of rain, but rain it's just no reason to take your bike and go home. This is what Mountain Biking is all about. Riding trials has always been about adversity, challenge and pushing yourself. There's a reason mountain bike races run seventeen miles, it's about the challenge, both physically and mentally. Think back when you first started: there were all the hills that we couldn't quite climb, logs that we couldn't make over, rocks sections that we couldn't quite ride. Everything a challenge; so I view this race as more adversity to overcome. For me seventeen miles is quite long, I tire at about thirteen and the last four miles I'm really straining to push myself to the end; but slogging your bike through 17 miles of muddy trails and wet rocks, now there's a challenge. I could whine and complain about the conditions or I could just go out there and deal with it. I was up for a challenge.

This was my first time on the trails at Cooper's Rock, and in spite of the mud the trails were a blast. Race highlights:
  • Stick in my eye! Next time I make a pass I'll think twice about riding through an over hanging tree branch. A broken branch pointed in my direction deflected off my glasses and found it's way underneath. Scratched my lower eyelid and then catching on the rim of my upper eye socket. I can still see; mostly, it's all good.
  • Nearly riding off a 20 foot span and the one handed seat post save to keep my bike from going over. Now I know what combining wet wood with rubber tires gets you; that bridge deck might as well have been ice but I'm obstinate; I wasn't getting off and walking. I made a feeble exhausted attempt at squaring off my turn to get a straight on approach but I was a little crooked when I pulled myself up on the bridge deck. Shwing there goes the bike flinging over the side, myself, I just focused on staying 'on the bridge', quick reflexes and a left handed grab and I keep the bike from going over the side, not letting that bike go over was paramount. I was exhausted and the last thing I wanted to do is go down there and fish my bike out of a creek bottom; Earned a nice whack on my shin off the edge of the bridge deck. It's amazing how during a race you can maul yourself like that and not even notice. At the end of the race I look down at the huge goose egg and scrape on my shin and think, I have absolutely no idea how the hell that happened. Couldn't recall, not once, crashing the entire race... oh yeah the bridge deck.
  • Then there was the roadie that would let me blow by him every downhill, in seconds I was gone, totally out of sight. It felt good to look back and see that he was absolutely nowhere to be seen. The good feeling short lived because 3 minutes later he'd catch up to me on every single climb. I gotta say letting me pass was much appreciated. Muchos gracious amigo.
  • There was the single track that tunneled it's way through thick interwoven mountain laurel almost tight enough to block out the light. I've never ridden through a cave but this has to come pretty close. What a cool section of trail!
  • Then the fast section at the base of the giant rocks. They had to be stories high but who's looking up, I was moving fast as hell through there. Eventually the trail pushed through a narrow crack between two squared off building size boulders, at that point the trail was maybe four feet wide with rock walls on either side. Unnerving, but how cool! It ended in a steep section where we grabbed our bikes with one hand and crawled up out. Now that was the sweetest section of race course I've ever ridden!
In spite of the conditions I finished under two hours. I should be happy with my time but I feel like I could have placed better. More training, more training.

Gregg's Recap of 2008 WVMBA #4 Henry Clay at Cooper's Rock
Aaron's WVMBA #4 Henry Clay Blog Entry

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Racing: What It's All About

The Big Bear Lake Classic XC Race, in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia is coming up in less than two weeks, and I'm looking forward to it. I heard the trails down there are great. Got my new bike, been training all winter and hoping to finish better than I did at the end of last season but none the less I'm giving it a go.

Now I never thought I'd ever finish last in a mountain bike race. This was years ago but my first race ever I kicked ass. I entered the first timers category in the Buffalo Creek Race in Colorado. Placed 5th out of 100 beating the crap out of a ton of sand baggers; this only a few weeks after my first time on a a mountain bike. I followed this up with a my very successful race season 'one of the top novice class riders in the area.' Ha ha ha, my big mountain bike claim to fame, woo hoo, local rookie of the year with two 5ths, a 2nd at Seven Springs, a first at the Raccoon Township race, and a myriad of DNF break downs.

So several years of dormancy and spending most of my work and leisure time behind this keyboard, I'm in such sorry shape. Me poor aching body too weak to support me bones. A race schedule was exactly what I needed to keep me riding and get my awful pitiful self back into some kind of shapeliness.

So only ten weeks after my feet clicked back into peddels I was at the starting line of the first month of mud series race in Mammoth, PA. I'm obviously at a cyclo-cross with race with a mountain bike, here with the wrong equipment but why not, what the hell, a lot of other month of mudders out here with their mountain bikes.

Now my retro Raleigh John Tomac had been pretty good to me all summer but this would be the exact hour, the exact minute that my middle chain ring teeth decided they didn't have enough metal to hold against the chain torque. Repeatedly they let go of the chain and leaving my knees to slam into the stem. Ow, ouch, ... ow! Quit the race?!?! Really now, I had a perfectly good granny gear and a big ring. It was clumsy trying to switch between them, and the course went up and down constantly, and the derailer just didn't want to kick all the way over leaving me climb in too big of a gear or just stall out, but I gave it hell anyway. Now I've never been in last place or anywhere near it, and now not for a minute was it my bikes fault. My bike had nothing to do with the sorry sappy rider in sorry sappy shape sitting on top of it. I own up to my sport class last place and I gracefully accept it.

It was just good to be back in the saddle, pushing myself as hard as I could go. I love the adrenaline; I love the rush; I love training for races. I've always ridden to race. Every ride pushing myself physically, pushing my skills, searching my limits and crashing a lot. It's my incentive to go out and give it hell every single ride that I do.

Shift ahead four weeks later and I am riding the legendary rock gardens at Moraine State Park in the last Month of Mud race. Doing better but I'm still among the back of the pack. I have total respect for every rider that gets out there and gives it a go. I see these guys back there and I know they are not the most technical riders to grace this trail and the course is brutal; but they are there giving it hell anyway, smashing down on rocks, slugging it out all the way, not giving in. These people earn my respect, every one of them.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Roaring Run Apollo


Roaring run is a great place to ride. There are at least 15 miles of trail in the Roaring Run area with a ton of fantastic single track. The trails run along side the steep and rocky slopes of the Kiskiminetas River and offers a challenging as well as scenic ride. Zig Zag Trail the start of the Blue loop is one of those trails and offers miles of technical and challenging terrain.

This trail is not for the faint of heart; Roaring Run features one of the most rugged single track loop in the region only rivaled by the mountain bike trails at Moraine. The loop trail at Roaring Run does not let up. It's an unrelenting eight mile mountain bike slug fest.

When I say technical I'm not talking about five foot drops or ultra steep slopes; ! though there are a few cliffs along the trail !The best way to describe RR's technical nature, is just rugged. Tough sections of trail that require good bike handling skill coupled with strength and endurance. Lot's of interesting features to steer your bike up over and through; Roaring run is my favorite trail system in the area.

Roaring Run Apollo should not be confused with Roaring Run in Champion Pennsylvania near 7 Springs. Roaring Run in Champion is a protected watershed and designated wilderness area and is closed to Mountain Biking.

Roaring Run Park is managed and owned by the Roaring Run Watershed Association. A non profit group that oversees the park.

Getting There
Roaring Run is along the Kiski River about two miles outside of the downtown area of Apollo. If you are coming in via route 66 North, cross the bridge into Apollo make the first right onto Astronaut Way. If you are coming in the other direction make a left on the last street in town before you cross the Kiski River bridge. After a mile the road will veer left up the hill and become Cherry Lane Road, instead of going up the hill keep right and go along the river merging onto Canal street. Canal street continues for another mile and ends at the Roaring Run parking area.

The Blue Loop
Roaring run has some the most well marked trails in the area so it's easy to come out and find a great ride even if you are not familiar with the park. The most well marked and easiest to find is what's know as the blue loop, as it as well as other trails in the area are demarked with little plastic blue squares and flags.

Getting to the blue loop is easy, follow the rail trail up river for about one mile, cross the bridge over Roaring Run and turn left. The first thing you'll see is a trail off to your right. This is where the blue loop ends; continue past this and you'll find the well marked trail head straight ahead of you. Though it might be compelling to just jump on the trail off to your right and ride the loop backwards, the signs posted recommend riding the loop clockwise the way it was designed.

The ride starts off on Zig Zag trail and starts out climbing a set of switch backs.

After a few miles a climb takes you up to Red Town Road. Across the road is Cave Bear trail. This is marked expert. There is a marked bypass that takes you around this section but I recommend you check this trail out. Even if you walk your bike don't miss this section. The trail weaves between rocks, boulders and along cliffs and is quite scenic. It's a very neat kind of place.

After about 300 yards the bypass trail meets back up with you. Another quarter mile and the trail doubles back and begins a downhill taking you back down to the rail trail. Take extreme care and resist the urge to bomb this section. In places the rocky trail runs only a couple feet from a cliffs edge.

At the bottom of the downhill, take a right on the rail trail and start heading back down towards the parking area. Look for a dirt road entering the trial trail and make a right. Look for a trail on your left. From here on out, in several places the blue loop will join back up with the rail trail and then divert back into the woods.

The Trail Leading to the Loop
If you head straight up the rail trail to the blue loop you'll be passing up a great trail. There is great trail that takes you right up to the blue loop trail head. This trail runs parallel to the left of the rail trail and heads for the blue loop trail up the left of the rail trail.

To find this trail, start up the rail trail and look for a double track service road off to your left. Head up the road for about 200 yards and just as the grade begins to let off a little there will be a trail that cross over the road. Make a right onto this trail. It will take you down a very steep rocky section of trail; it's an intimidating slope, walking down this section is not a bad idea. This trail levels off about half way down and then runs along a bench between the rail trail and top of the river hill ridge.

This trail runs along the rail trail for about a mile until it enters the Roaring Run valley; at this point it turns left and follows the valley contours. It continues up the valley for about a 1/4 mile until it doubles back on itself on a steep down hill. After this it runs beside a paved chipped walking trail that runs down the valley, eventually dumping you out onto it. Continue down the chipped trail a few yards to where it intersects the rail trail. Make a left and cross the bridge over Roaring run to the blue loop.

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