Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Western Pennsylvania Singletrack

For the past couple of days I have been hanging out at my parents home in Northwestern Pennsylvania. Though I grew up here in the quaint and very small town of Meadville my cycling heritage is very Colorado centric. I spent 4 summers during high school riding my mountain bike in Colorado. Because of this I have never really known where to ride in Western PA, until about 2 years ago.

2 years ago on my way through town I knew that I would be stopping by for a week or so and couldn't imagine a week without mountain biking. First things first, rolled down to the local shop and asked where to go. Answer: nowhere.

Ok, that doesn't really seem true, we're in the middle of the Allegheny Mountains only 30 or 40 miles from the Allegheny National Forest, hmm....

After a quick internet search I found this place called Moraine State Park outside of Slippery Rock, PA (BTW there is a really good brew pub there if you are ever in that neck of the woods that is worth checking out if you are into amazing craft beers!) I loaded up and headed down with the intent of getting pretty lost in the woods, and I did so.

Since I knew I would be coming back through town for almost a week I figured this would be the perfect way to prepare for Mount Snow and Windham, ride super sick and super tech trails. Well to say the least my memory was a little foggy from 2 years ago of what the trails are like here and man are they tough, but that makes them fun!

What is interesting is that for many areas of the network the trail is really just a series of rock bridges from one van sized boulder to the other. During a dry summer this isn't so bad, you just have to have some good point and shoot skills while you bounce around and try to float. This summer has been exceptionally wet and with the thick foliage cover the rocks (covered in a slick lichen) have not particularly dried at all, making things very interesting!

To say the least I love trying to ride these trails. There aren't the ripping fast descents or the high alpine singletrack that has made Colorado famous, but you can never go wrong with a slow techy ride where just cleaning a 10 foot section of trail is all the exhilaration you need!

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