Out of Bibs


I arrived for check-in for the MS-150 ride. I did not see then had to ask for a bib to make “I RIDE FOR…” I was told they sent their supplies to another event which did not return any. I was disappointed.

This is how we connect with people. I wanted very much to ride for my daughter, Bethany, Kayla Bracken, and Kristi Wallace. Seriously, how can they be out of the bibs? Press “Order Here.” Without the bibs it is just another group ride. I took out a Sharpie and wrote their names on my bib.

I was delayed. Two groups, supposedly of 100 riders each already left and it looked like ours was the last group.

What starting last looks like

I had been thinking about going over Locke Mountain instead of going to Roaring Spring with the group. Has I been in the front group, or second group, I may have rethought this. But I figured starting last or next to last, I would have to chase to catch the earlier groups to ride in a pace line. And since the pace lines would have already formed, I would be trying to bridge up to the pace lines.

Up Hill Drive. Made me giggle.

Still, I didn’t make the decision until I was on the road. I caught the tail end of the third group then, when it was safe, started to make my way through them. I had three decision points where I could make the move.

West Loop Road. I have no idea what this bicycle route is.

Coming off Frankstown Road was Locke Mountain Road. But there was construction and I wasn’t sure I could get there. Plus there were volunteers manning the intersection. I was past Tel Power Road before I even realized it. On Reservoir Road I continued to work through riders and may have caught some from the second group. As I signaled (bell) I was coming by I passed a guy and his wife. After I passed them I head him say “Wow!,” in apparent reference to my speed. I was doing 18 mph which isn’t exactly fast.

That probably cemented my decision. I really didn’t feel like hearing comments from riders as I passed them (although that may have been a compliment).

Looking out from near the top of Locke Mountain

I came to Loop Road, didn’t see any volunteers, and had gapped any riders behind me. I put out my left arm then turned on Loop Road. I didn’t want any volunteers to see me for fear they may chase me to tell me I was going the wrong way.

Trout Run where it enters Spruce Creek

The pavement on Loop Road was new asphalt. It was sweet riding. Apparently I was on a bike route – it appeared to have a clock tower although I haven’t figured out what it is or where it goes.

BBC Riders on the road

I came to Locke Mountain Road. It was all uphill from there. Most of the lower section, and indeed, most of the climb, showed 14-15% on my GPS. That may have been overstated though – it only felt like 12-13%. There were gnats around my eyes and I continually had to use a free hand to swat at them. Very annoying.

Lunch at Camp Kanesatake

I worked hard. I was soaked in sweat. On the descent I really couldn’t see clearly. Still I had a top speed of 45 mph.

Lunch at Camp Kanesatake

I followed some back roads to Williamsburg. I did not want to be the first rider at the second rest stop. I know there were some people hammering the course and I had cut 13 miles from it. Although I started much later than they did and had to get my fat butt over Locke Mountain I still felt it would be close.

Lunch at Camp Kanesatake

As I came to the end of Shortcut Road I saw a group of six go by. And they were apparently the first. I rolled in and spent a lot of time at Rest 2, mainly because I popped a lens out of my glasses trying to clean them.

Camp Kanesatake

I saw some riders from the Blair Bicycle Club roll in and reintroduced myself to Leslie, a woman I rode 100 miles with in October last year at the Sea Gull Century. They rolled out and I wasn’t too far behind them.

Disc golf at Camp Kanesatake

In addition to Leslie, I rode next to Aurora, another rider I rode with last year, although I did not recall her name (until referring to the entry from last year). I integrated with their group of five until we came to the first of the uphills. I pulled through with the intention of pulling but instead rode them of my wheel.

Volunteers thanking riders at the Cookie Stop

On US 22 I soft pedaled some, waiting from them to come back but they never did. I caught Pat, another BBC rider, on the run in to Spruce Creek. He too, was part of our century group from last year, although I forgot. We talked for a little bit but as the road went down I took off (serious descending advantage – see “fat butt,” above).

Volunteers at the Cookie Stop

In Spruce Creek I deviated onto a side road for photos then when I came back I caught the Leslie group. Once again I road with them until we came to a chip and tar road and they slowed down seriously.

Lunch was at the beautiful Camp Kanesatake. I sat down on the bench and left a giant wet mark. I checked where others were sitting and didn’t see any wet marks. I won the sweating contest.

Beaver Stadium, PSU

The BBC group left and I found myself catching two Old Men On Bikes from Allentown. I really never integrated with them except I did without trying. We caught he BBC group and rode together. About four miles from the next rest I went to the front and pulled.

At the rest, two of the five riders went on and three stopped. They left about two minutes ahead of me, never offering for me to join them. Funny how these things work. I never really was part of their group.

I soloed onto State College, never catching or being caught by anyone. Instead of heading to the finish I went onto campus and stopped at the famous Berkey Creamery. I didn’t see a safe place to leave the bike (it is a college campus) so I decided to move one. After all, it’s just ice cream.

Refreshing mister at the finish line in State College

Throughout the day we watched the weather. The forecast was for thunderstorms and once it got dark. But I beat the rain by more than an hour. After I showered I looked out my window and saw riders finishing over the next 2-3 hours. In the rain. I had a good ride.


Three Mountains


Exploring. I enjoy riding new roads and sometimes just will map out a new ride and go exploring.

Starting in Sproul, Pa., which I guess is a suburb of Claysburg (this is humor, folks), I mapped out a route over Blue Knob, down to Newry, then over Locke Mountain, through Martinsburg, then back over Sproul Mountain. I knew the course over Blue Knob then down through the valley. In all, I was familiar with 24 of the 57 miles so 33 of the miles would be exploring.

I started at Sheetz. (Where else?) I requested and received permission to park my car to go for a bike ride. I was hoping for four and a half hours.


I left Sproul, went through Queen and into Blue Knob State Park. This route was new to me. There was a nifty little 1/2 mile climb at 15-17% at Mile 5. Unexpected.

This was followed by a one mile climb into the forest and Blue Knob State Park. Then there was a one mile descent to Pavia at which time I realized my brakes need changed. Oops.


In Pavia I turned right and was back in familiar territory – the climb to Blue Knob. There were long sections of 12% grade and it was buggy. In the shade, which was plentiful, there were flies and gnats around my eyes. Damn insects.


I had mapped my ride to continue to Knob Run Road but at the last moment, turned right to climb all the way to the ski area. It was very windy at the summit, in fact, even at 70 degrees, I was starting to get cold since I was in a soaking wet kit (with sweat).


Back on course I saw the sign – “Fresh Oil.” Oh boy. A fresh tar and chip road. It wasn’t bad and ended when I crossed Johnstown Road (164).


I descended Knob Run Road, the same road that Chelsea Johnson, Chey Hillsgrove, and I climbed last week, being chased by a storm. I had better weather today and I was going down – not up.


I turned on Tel-Power Road and was surprised when I passed Winsome – a gated house, which is really, a gated horse farm. Sorry, no pictures.

I came to Locke Mountain Road and looked at the ridge which I knew I would cross. I could see a tower at the top and a cut in the mountain which I knew was the road. OK.


Once the climb began in earnest, my GPS was sort of stuck on 12% for two miles. And using numbers from the road itself I calculate the climb was 10.2%.


Over the top it was a nice descent, although with squishy brakes. I turned on Pa. 866 which was a signed Pa. Bike Route. No shoulders but light traffic. It was a seven mile run-in to Martinsburg, sort of lumpy, passing corn fields most of the way.


In Martinsburg, I stopped at Subway, mainly to refill my water bottles but I also bought a Coke and a cookie and sat down to eat it. The “water” lever on the soft drink machine is shared with Lemonade. I think the line had Lemonade in it because one bottle tasted more like Lemonade than water. And I didn’t want Lemonade, but I’m not mad.


I watched my Garmin as I navigated to Sproul Mountain, swearing every time I saw a rise ahead. Sproul Mountain wasn’t long but it was steep, especially the lower slopes. I passed the KOM-9 start, assume it was there from the Central Pa. Century Challenge, run by my friend, Richard Fiore.


The climb is one mile in length. I calculate it to be 7.6% with the lower section steeper than the upper portion. Over the top I got in a tuck and hit 48 mph (47.95). I probably could have pushed it to 50 but remember the advice of Wayne Stetina who told me two years ago he never bombs a descent he doesn’t know. Speed was not an issue today.


I finished at Sheetz and my legs felt like they have been through the wringer. Either 5800 or 5900′ of gain over 57 miles. Only Grand Mesa, in Colorado, was harder this year. This ride, simply, was a good challenge.