Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Roller Coaster Ride

Wow, it's been almost TWO months since my last post.  It's not for lack of things going on, but mostly just a lack of time!  But I'll try to hit on a couple of the high points of what's been happening lately.

My good looking kid on the night of the 8th grade dance.

Re-reading the last blog entry I see it was the high water weekend, when I kayaked Bear Creek, and was planning on hitting Deer Creek the next day.  Interesting story there...

I did head over to Deer Creek, and was elated to find that it was at absolutely prime water level for a run.  So I left the boat stashed at the put-in by the hump-back bridge, left the bike at the top of the hill, and headed back to the take-out to park the car. Then it was just a matter of hiking 3/4 mile up the 300 foot tall ridge, getting the bike at the top, and coasting down the hill to the put-in.

Within a couple of minutes I had the bike hidden in the brush, and geared up for the run.  I was fairly upset to find out that I'd apparently left the GoPro turned on the night before when I double-checked to see if it had a full charge - and now the battery was dead.  But the video was just gravy, the run was the meat of the day - and boy was it good!

Deer Creek is about 3.5 miles of class II read and run whitewater, through an isolated valley.  There are 23 class II rapids on the run, so you're always either in a rapid, just leaving a rapid, or just heading into a rapid.  It's a really great run that hardly anyone ever paddles because it's remote, rain dependent and doesn't have a decent USGS gauge correlation.  But it's one of my favorites in the area, and I always keep it in mind when there's a bunch of rain.

My run was pretty much perfect.  I managed to read and run everything, which wasn't too hard because there was barely any wood in the creek.  The creek has a bunch of islands, and I managed to pick the good side every time, and had a blast on all the little rock gardens and pour-overs.  Even though I was fairly conservative at times, I managed to have a good time and even got in a little bit of surfing down on the tasty double surf wave near the end.  I finished the run without incident, packed up the boat, retrieved the bike and headed home, tired but happy.

Coffee Run during the high water weekend.

It gets interesting the next day.  I woke up with a headache, feeling lethargic and kind of dizzy.  But Diana had the day off, so we headed out to do some stuff together.  Throughout the day I felt progressively worse - more dizziness, no appetite, and trouble thinking.  I went to bed very early and woke up feeling slightly better the next day, just in time to go see the doctor.  He took blood, did a bunch of tests, and came to the conclusion that I had a low blood sugar incident, complicated by dehydration.  He added that he has to tell most of his patients to get more exercise, but he told me that I need to remember that I'm 52, and can overdo it a lot easier than when I was younger.

The moral of the story I guess is to pay more attention to what your body is trying to tell you.  I know I have dehydration problems, but had no idea that by burning off a bunch of extra calories and then eating light afterwards I could be shortchanging my system that much.  And I'm sure that my diet that mostly excluded processed sugar didn't help.  But I did find out that I'd lost about 8 pounds in 3 months, so that was good.

In the two months since then I've continued on the diet and exercise regimen that I started in February.  I can definitely tell that I've lost more weight, as my clothes fit differently.  And when the trails are dry enough to ride I notice that my mtb skills seem improved - either by adding muscle from weight lifting or carrying less weight around, I don't know which.

In motion shot on Little Beaver Creek Greenway, OH.

I've managed to keep up a pretty good number of bike rides too.  Checking with mapmyride, it looks like I got in 126 miles in April and 172 in May.  Most of that was paved riding, but there were at least 8 mountain bike trail rides, including West Branch State Park, Beaver Creek State Park, Quail Hollow State Park, Rimrock Trail in Allegheny National Forest, and North Road Nature Preserve here in Warren.

Love the colors on this - first night ride of the year at West Branch.

Kenny went camping with the Boy Scouts the last weekend in April, and while he was out with them Diana and I took the opportunity to get a cabin at Cooks Forest State Park and spend the weekend over there.  I really love the Cooks Forest/Clear Creek/Allegheny National Forest area, and we had a great time getting out and having some quiet time.

Diana on the hikers bridge over Tom's Run.

We even headed up to Rimrock Overlook for a while - and I managed to get in a ride on the shortest loop at nearby Rimrock Trail.  Those rough trails over there are a treat to ride.

Kinzua Reservoir from Rimrock Overlook, PA.

The trails at West Branch State Park opened up a couple of weeks early this year, and I headed out that first day after work to get in a night ride.  The local mtb club, CAMBA, did a bunch of work out there again last season and the trail system is better than ever.  Now if it would only stop raining for a while I'd be able to get out there and enjoy them!

The West Branch skinnies are a bit mossy after a long winter.
Memorial Day weekend all three of us managed to get away for the weekend, to go back-country camping at Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania.  We got one of the dispersed campsites up above Loleta, with the East Branch Millstone Creek right beside our tent.

Our Memorial Day campsite.

Saturday we wandered around the area and had a nice lunch up at Marienville before heading back to relax at camp.  We took bikes, so Kenny and I got in a couple of forest road rides through the woods. The scenery is amazing over there, and even on a busy holiday weekend there was almost no traffic.  We had a great time and I hope we get the chance for a couple more long weekends together in the next couple of months.

Ken leads the way on the fat bike.
Here are a couple more photos from the adventures of the past month.

Rainbow on a Little Beaver Creek Greenway ride, on the road section near Lisbon.

Ready to head downhill at Beaver Creek State Park.

Hickory Run, a secret gem of a creek right by the OH/PA line.
And to end this post, here's a little video clip from a ride around town with Kenny.  The cottonwood seeds were blowing through the sunlight at Perking Park, so I whipped out the trusty smartypants phone and shot a little clip.

Only a couple of weeks of spring left.  Hope you all enjoy your summer!!!


  1. NICE! Glad to see you are getting out there and I am truly jealous of the trails you've gotten to enjoy.

    1. Thanks Dan. Gotta say, after travelling a bit out west last year there is no way I could ever move somewhere without forests. Put some tree canopy over my head, add some bird song and I'm good for the day.

  2. Good riding Steve! And, I am glad the medical thing turned out OK. Same sort of thing happened to me. I was playing golf in our weekly evening league and about mid-round I was dizzy and short of breath at times. I got to thinking back and I had not eaten anything since breakfast and not really had any water. As we age we have to pay better attention to stuff like that.
    Good job staying with the weight training