10/14  Slide Show





9/30 In The Bag

With the complete blowing off of the Revenge of the Rattlesnake Finale my race schedule is officially cleared. I missed that last race and threw away all the fame and fortune that could have gone with finishing 1st in the Ultra Series (pretending that I could have beat BK - ha!)

Racing is cool, but it is part of the reason I ride. First race I ever did (Beech Fork, 1991) was to see some where and how people ride these bikes. Now it is more of a social affliction. It was at a race that I got the invite from Pete up at Athens Bicycle for a little MTB tour, starting in Athens Ohio, crossing all of West Virginia and ending the next weekend at the Fall Festival, in Stokesville VA. Four days of self supported, real touring - then meeting up with Strawberry (support vehicle) at the top of WV just in time for some Gnarly-ness pre-Festivis.

In addition to riding my bike I have to cover the 3 basics each day; 


I have geared up for this one. There are real possibilities, of dealing with some rain and maybe heavy shower (not to mention low temperatures right around the temperatures rating for my sleeping bag). Hopefully not but I think I am covered well in the shelter aspect. Tent/tarp, bathtub floor, and blow up floatation pad for with to sleep will be compressed and strapped under and behind the saddle packed and strpped - under 3 pounds. Down sleeping bag, wool sleeping socks, camp pants, and 3 clean shammies in another bag on the handle bars, will balance out the load, right at 2 pounds.


I think I have the enough for 4 days, without have too much.  Open for options of finding food on the road, ya know.  But if I don't I think I can survive with what is in there.

Lots of oats.  Breakfast oatmeal, and a pound yummy homemade granola mix.  I will make how ever many sandwiches I can with all my left over turkey and Swiss, and some BP and honey.  Rice and Ramen that I hope I don't have to cook, but is light enough to not worry.  Two cans of sardines, one roll of dry Italian sausage and a wedge of parmesan.  No coffee yet but want to checkout Starbucks instant - seen something on the tube about it's new.    Plus a small bag of chocolate covered coffee beans.  I like my morning caffeine.  A couple of Cliff bars and some Hammer Gel and Endurlights, that never seem to find there way out of Camelback.   Doesn't sounds like much and I probably left something out, but that is it for now...


Come on, it’s me, this one is easy  - dryer lint 


9/24 WVMBA XC Series Final

                                                                                                               photo;  TJ Platt

Could I have stayed home?   Yes, I would have finished up the year in the series in the same spot as above.   At least I know the answer so that is worth  something.  I got beat up.  I hate racing at Coppers Rock, so I don't know why I bothered.  This race was never really in my goals for the year which that was to qualify in the series by doing six scored races and see where I finished up.  Then I got a win at the last race and well, that is no time to fold.  These two races are two are extreme examples of riding style and how it affect racing performance.  The Morgantown race is just a bit longer in the climbs, but mainly a lot of high power, speedy work to put in to keep moving over challenging, loose, rock surfaces.  Around here in the river valley it is akin to woods surfing.   That flow is what my riding is honed upon and what is interesting to me is not how it may hinder my performance when I am in the gnar, but how it affect others when they come down here and try to catch the tide.  I seen it not only on the results these past two races, but at other venues as well.  Or it may be the waking up at six and not racing till noon, drove up that day.  I never like that mentally, so it has to reflect somewhat physically.   When I have this racing thing figured out, I will be done with it.  So l will just like the mystery.

The next race is the Ultra Finale in Davis, WV.  I had a awesome ride on the Tour of WV, that I don't think can be beat.  I have already got my scores in this best three out four Davis.  Not any real incentive  to throw down against the same old guys, the weather is not looking ideal, so the chances of doing this last race is entirely open.  Not when details of the Fall Tour are starting to roll in.  might be good to have a weekend of prep before the the next ten block days of riding (whoo!) that is right around the corner.  A little different than below - taking a turn for the better, there around the 130 mile point..

9/19  Roughing it in

Maybe?   Just a start.

I don't have to sweat the details.

WVa border-to-border+

dreamy/couldbe? - there at Trappers ...

9/15  Revenge Links

Some details  about the upcoming Ultra Series final in Davis are starting to emerge.  xxcmag  Looks like 44 miles.   Mountainside Trail is back, so then  are the baby heads. 

The Race Course looks harmless enough.



9/14 Monday On The Mountain

short ride, one that included one 1500' ascent on the road.  With a playground on top.  Nice place to gather oneself.

 I am not supposed to be here

"This is straight up back country"

"Stupid, who said you can ride a bike here"



9/13 Down on the Farm WVMBA #14


Wow , the next to last race in the XC Series, then this week is the finale at Coopers, then the Ultra final the next weekend in Davis,  it seems to go by so fast.  Or is it ending early, wrapping up in September is okay with me, sometimes it is so much more fun just riding for the sake of riding. 

So I finished up with another class win, and plugging in the numbers in the Master's tally, it looks like a three way tie for second place, So basically it comes down to last race.  I hear that Coopers is going to be a lap race this year, which when it comes down to racing head to head, I will admit that I prefer that.  I usually don't do a pre-ride and figure I won't be pre-riding a course that is three hours away.  So, I don't really need to strategize beforehand, but react on game day to what needs to be done.  I figure I can throw down with the best of 'em on the rocks of Coopers.  Hang and maybe even open up gap on the climbs.  There was actually some power in the old legs during the last attempt.  But wait... sounds like strategy.

It's going to be a long week.  I am ready to go now...


9/8  24 Hour Challenge of 7 Springs

Here is 24 hours condensed down to about a minute:  Our team got second by more minutes than I cost the team by being a little sick in the 18 team field of the 8 man corporate team division.  That was good for fourth place overall and a funky little messenger bag for my back to school needs.  Plus there was an LED flashlight on the inside (sans batteries) so I can use it 'round the clock.   My under the weather feeling put a bit of a damper for what I hope would have been a festive weekend.  I picked up my own consolation prize on the way home, a case of Dogfish 60 minute IPA, so all was not a total loss. 

  Racing for Marra's Mountaineer Bike form Uniontown PA

 for the standings go to  www.allsportsevents.com  I had the slow day lap at 1:14 and the slowest night lap at 1:24,  Didn't really take any pictures either. 


Tour of WV conclusion

It is a pretty easy roll off from the town of Davis on the Blackwater Rail Trail.   A welcome contrast to the previous three days of challenging trails.   It is really all down hill to Hendricks then a little scoot over to Parsons.  There we picked up Shavers River Road, an isolated dirt beauty up the Shavers Fork River.  We didn't find our swimming hole, but the day was just a little brisk, so it wasn't missed.  What was missed was another turn, so we ended up exiting on the Cheat River side of Elkins.  Again not really a big deal - some new ground rolled on and good recon for a complete loop route (Spruce Knob is just 37 miles away from the rt 33 intersection). 

So that wraps up our little adventure in the mountains of WVa.  I was a really nice journey, the potential was there for some serious carnage, and we was lucky to make it out with just some cuts and bruises and one flat tire.  The sensations that started settling in after we split up and was removed from the comfort and safety that the automobile can bring, was that unique euphoric feeling that  I so search.  It got to the point that I didn't really want to get back.  I had everything I needed right with me and getting back to that car only defined getting back to reality.   Most of the time I can do without all the reality.  How 'bout you?



Link to chronologically corrected Tour of West Virginia


Slices of Trail Heaven (day3)


So I survived my first bivy night.  I wasn't too worried, I had an emergency contingency plans in place, mostly in case of some solid rain.  Basically involved boogying off the mountain.  I really liked waking up in the very spot that you will be starting your ride and starting that ride from right in the woods.  Today's start would be from the now-at-the-time <why did I type that? does it make any sense at all?> former WVMBA director's house JR Petsko.  We made for some low maintenance guests, I guess. For we high tailed it for Sirianni's immediately after finding the JR's empty domicile, when we hit town at about 5 or so.  That meal was the freakin high point of the whole tour.  Seriously, that good.  After that, I was a walking zombie in a food coma.  Morning brought another couple of breakfasts (one to eat and one two go) from the Rise and Shine (or something like that) B&B.

primo delicious from up in the Canaan Valley to Davis, WV

picasaweb album

 or was that a dream?

so vague

The Dream Begins

Day Two Agenda;  coffee, breakfast, break base camp, load and run the shuttle.  Fifteen miles of biking up to the North Mountain Trail through the remote Germany Valley.  25 miles of gnar gnar gnar.  The working stiffs would finish up at the car at the end of the at the Smoke Hole, while e and me would restock and switch gears, if you will, for here on out we would be carrying most of our supplies and all our camping gear.  This would be my shakedown ride, my first sleep over bike ride out in the woods.   It was nice getting some advice and expertise in how to lead a fat hobo lifestyle.  e has got his gear tight (he should tell you about it sometime), and he carried more than his share of the light load for the two of us. 

 Roll Call - just a little tardy

Beautiful day for a ride

taste of Autumn

with early season flavor

 no need for concern

its all down hill

                                                                         photo: Andy Cremeans

till we are two

off the map




e's take of the day


Stepping Back

So much of what we do is mimicking others.

photo taken from The Tour Divide

The photo above oozes inspiration from yesteryear 

photo Dave Layman

Seneca Rocks;  With camp set up and breakfast prep - coffee, eggs, bacon and Joey's pastry-like French toast to fuel our journey we head out for our meandering ramble on the face of the Eastern Continental Divide.  Pavement now leads all the way to the top, which really doesn't help anything but increase the speed of the fossil fueled vehicles that we must share the road.  But the advantage of the ability to escape the cars and motosickles, for the rocks and roots that fall all the way down to Seneca Falls is why we are here. 

The early Tour shakedown started on Lower Timber Ridge Road, with e on his simple fixed gear bike setting the lead out tempo way out in front, out of sight.  The younger Dave kept it in check for bit before regrouping for water at the spring right before the Eastern overlook, Andy and J O E filled out the group.  Onto the top of Spruce for the gratuitous tourist activity of being at the highest spot in WV.

This is not racing but there is a natural pecking order that needs to be established in just about any group.  I try to stay out of that, but it is so easy/fun to get caught up in, when dirt is the game.  Till someone gets hurt.  It was just a little launch over the bars, but I was the first one to hug the rocks, some bruises, and scrapes.  Laugh it off.  Get that out of the way, I say.   Get back in line.  Do it again.  A little further down the trail, a little more fresh scapage and a little more bruisage.   I think it sinks in this time - I am out here for four days.  Not only do I have to make it, but so does my bike.  Got to get that in my head.

Pop up onto the Allegheny, blow past the spring on the Horton hiker.  Cool temperatures and dark but dry threatening skies continued to push any sense of humidity away, so water refueling was not in high demand.  Then I about rode over a fire pit in the trail.   Other than that, just your normal seven hour ride.  Dave pulls off for the homestead and four weary but happy riders return to base camp for a little salad, and our fill of burritos, pizza and beer.  For tomorrow we ride!

day one photos


Tomorrow – Just Ahead



With all the extra time there is from taking a break from the WVMBA racing scene, I managed to stir up a little tour.  This one has been incubating for a couple of months.  The all "new" rage across the country is stage racing, multiple day, costly productions, and there was a buzz going on for a Tour of West Virginia, and being a West Virginian I asked myself what would be MY ultimate tour of the Mountain State?   Start it off at the 4863' high spot in the state and the boo-ya! Huckleberry/Allegheny combo.  Then follow that the next day for the gnarly North Fork.  Base both those from camp at Seneca Rocks - makes for a really nice weekend of a 100 miles and more trails than you can shake a stick at.  Then think more days of equally high caliber trails, see what is close to ride, step up over to Canaan Valley to fit that trail bill.  That is doable still.  There is pesky little Wilderness Act, that likes to keep simple bicycles regulated to criminal activity, to skirt around in the Dolly Sods area.  Connecting Canaan Valley SP to Blackwater SP is easy enough, when they include more Allegheny then Plantation, Davis, and Yellow Birch, you know, easy.  Finish up in Elkins for day four with the Blackwater Canyon Rail Trail and Shavers Fork river road, dirt.  All dreamy stuff – start flavoring it up with local eateries, at least 2 bike shops for unexpected repairs and/or overlooked needs, throw in some bikepacking,  see what shakes loose.

Then the call; our favorite rambling rambelour rider e would be blowing through town from Denver and wanted to hit the KT.  No You Don’t.  I got this thing – plotted out a quick map my ride tentative route and pin-pointed some dates, sent out the word.  The incubation period was over and was hatched, and then this thing took on a life of its own.  The amount of time for just prep, not only physically but mentally, fretting over every little known and unknown details, packing unpacking repacking, was in scale of the rides that was be taken upon.  For e its was just another week in e's world

So that is what this Tour of WV came to be

to be continued...


Wilderness Act Map

8/24 Tour of WV

I don’t believe it, that yeah, this one is going together.  Gathering up an intimate group for what will be a staple of WV prime cut - the classic Spruce Knob and North Fork double header weekend.   Then taking it up a notch into some unknown territory - hoping to creep into the Sods and sleep with da bears for one night (pending arrival of 1 Big Agnes’s Pitchpine). Some new stuff for me, sure, but I think I can keep us on track - living off the land, my friends, and a credit card.  I will have a big bag and traveling light.  

Friday 8/28 - Car drop in Elkins


Day 1.  Spruce Knob, Huckleberry, High Meadows, AlleghenyStart and Finish at Little Princess Campground in Seneca Rocks. Food/fuel options onsite post ride, but probably will do some pre-cooked meal for convenience and predictability.

50 miles 8+ hrs.   10:00 AM ride time



Day 2.  Seneca Rocks, Germany Valley, Rt33, North Mountain Trail, Dolly Sods


Run shuttle vehicle(s) to Smoke Hole (store-yes/restaurant - maybe) for full tourer’s restock, and weekenders return to Seneca.  Scenic Germany Valley road approach (never been) to North Mountain Trail to Smoke Hole.  Bid our adieu’s for THE overnight bivy in the Sods.  Jordan Run Rd and up FR19 (map is wrong).  Also have Airstream camper available on Laneville Road on base of Mountain near Canaan Valley SP. Breakfast is not served at the restaurant in Seneca

52 miles 8+ hrs + another hour+ for the Sod finish.  9:00 AM ride time

Day 3.  Dolly Sods Wilderness - Canaan Valley SP – Allegheny – Plantation – Davis
Ride from the Sods to CVSP to Blackwater Falls SP.  End in downtown Davis.  Feed at Sirriani's. Overnight in Davis somewheres. ~25+ miles many options and different/sweeter routes off the mountain that I may or may not know about.

7:00 AM moseying time

Day 4.  Davis – Moon Rocks –Blackwater Rail Trail - Elkins
Hit Hoo-Do and Moon Rocks (guide?)  before dropping off on the Blackwater Canyon Rail trail "not your typical rail trail" never been on it - heard it is awesome (for a rail trail), to Parsons w/lunch options or better yet,  pac a Hell Benders Burrito in the bag . Shaver Fork dirt road to Elkins. 60 miles easy mostly along the twisty Shavers River.  

9:30 ride time or when ever

Day 5.  Elkins - Wednesday #14?

Added this in at the last minute, because it would be rude to leave a day before the Riddle’s weekly ride, even though that day off from work has not been sealed.  Hell, I think I will ask for the whole week.


this map my ride is kinda like the ride






go on back







Barboursville FAT Tire Brethren

Beech Fork Association of Trails



bFAT is an informal group of riders who appreciate the land and ride for a healthy well being.



Beech Fork is mostly a single track trail that follows around the lake leading into a combination of creek bed, hill climb, and fast downhill back to the lake.  Barboursville's Park has some nice runs from the top with  numerous scenic overlooks from the  sheer  cliffs and steep drops. The flat single track that follows the river and comes out behind the lake - is where the real fun can begin or end. Click on the link at top of page - above left to see a map!    The  Kanawha Trace and Adahi Trails are 32 mile and  17 mile multi user trails crossing over private land.  Check with the Tri-State Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America for trail information and registration.


bFAT email groupo<----click here  Become a part of an e-group forum that will let all subscribers communicate (free!). Send an e-mail with the word "join" in the subject or body and you'll get hooked up with other riders, to do fun group rides, get trail info and conditions, technical advice, etc.










for more info  administrator at bike bFAT