This last Friday I left for Blue Knob State Park with some hesitation. I was heading towards CAMBA's Summer camp out. It was first camp out on a new trail system. I made the long drive out there and I was rewarded with a weekend of fun.
Friday night we checked in and got settled in to our respective cabins. The camp provided ample sleeping quarters with cabins of all sizes. Some larger cabins with electricity that slept 8 or so, down to two person primitive cabins. After dropping off our gear we convened in the dining hall and sat around the fireplace, caught up with old friends and heard of adventures on the trail this year. It was a great bonding experience sitting down and talking to all the people I've met over the past year I've been with CAMBA, people I've ridden with, but haven't really gotten to meet, and people I've never met before, because our paths never crossed.
We all returned to bed early to get ready for the next day. I woke up early to a beautiful sunrise over the mountains of Blue Knob state park. I took a second out on my porch and took in the beautiful scenery. Visited another cabin and watched a baby bird take flight for the first time. What an amazing area. Helped cook the opt-in breakfast, and went and got ready for the ride.
We all assembled outside the Dining Hall and had a short meeting describing the ride. The local club ,LHORBA, came out and planned our rides and led us. They planned for every skill level and had a ride for everyone, from riders who've only been out on the trail a couple times, kids, intermediate riders who want to practice their skills and the seasoned racer. There was apprehension to go into the Expert and soon the intermediate advance group was formed with the expert group. I won't go into much detail of the actual ride, since each was different. The trail was fun to say the least, we a lot of descending and even more climbing. The paths took us up to a beautiful outlook over the entire valley and to the top of the ski hill. There were plentiful rock gardens to test your skills. Even hills that made you lose your lunch, and I'm not talking about downhills. I guess I should explain. The first climb of the day took us up a grueling hill climb. I really pushed myself hard up that hill and half way up had to stop and lost part of my breakfast.
We came back around 5ish and took a shower and ate our dinner. We all sat around for a while and old of tales of our rides. Later a roaring campfire was built and we sat around and made smores. We all slowly made our ways back to our cabins and I fell hard and slept like a log. I had done around 16 miles and 3,000 feet of climbing.
The next morning we woke up ate breakfast, which I went a little easier on, and headed out for another ride. The next day we broke into smaller groups as some riders had to head home early. My group consisted of Brett Z, Mike Farley, Neil M and our rider leader. It was a good matching as we all proceeded about the same pace. We completed a loop of the "race course" which is one of the most extremely rocky courses I've have ever encountered. It was a day of friendly trash talking, pushing each other to push harder. We ended out day with another grueling hill climb. Mike F started climbing fast up the hill, and I soon caught up, wanting to relive Tour De France history he gave me "the look" I let him roll for this for a little bit keeping him right in my sights until the climb started to get steeper and I Knew we were near the top. This is where I attacked, closed the gap and crested the climb first. We rode back up to the look out, and rode down a stair step rock garden which was a blast. We ended the day with a blazingly fast downhill that topped 27mph back into camp. Showered, finished packing, said our goodbyes and headed home.
Overall, it was a great weekend, I made many new friends and had a great time. Bill Braum did an amazing job at putting this together and it's truly appreciated. Big thanks to Brian Jay for putting together the menu and cooking and finally a thanks to LHORBA who did an awesome job of leading us around the mountain. Make sure you mark your calendars because it's a week end you don't want to miss.