Tuesday, September 27, 2011

North Park PA Ride

This weekend, the family made its way back to Pittsburgh to enjoy a little family time and catch a family reunion on Sunday.  Since I was going to have the entire day to myself on Saturday, I decided to take the Giant with me and do a little riding.  After carefully reviewing all of the trails available, I decided on North Park.  It had the most information on line in terms of trail maps, and helpful hints, and it was also the closest to my in laws house.

I was on line at Pennsylvania Dirt and found this blog about one of the best ways to ride NP, so I decided to follow Shred's advice and give it a try.  Since I was going to be riding this by myself, I wanted to make sure I had a good map and reasonable directions, just in case I got lost.  Turns out, Shred had some pretty good thoughts on how to ride this.

This was also the first time I got to try out the new set up on the rear end.  I upgraded to a Shimano 11 34 cassette.  It was a bit different than the stock 11 28 that came with the bike, definitely better on the climbs.  It just took a little time to get used to using different gears when going down hills and during ridge rides.   It was however, awesome to not be constantly fighting the gear slipping that had been plaguing me for the last two months!

The ride itself started out with a bridal climb straight up the hill, followed by a nice trip around the golf course.  Some single track through the woods followed by some nice little up and downs and then back across the road onto some serious ridge riding.  This section actually had me hiking the bike a bit, as I am a bit out of shape due to lack of riding.  Some nice trails, then back across the road onto some more trails circling the golf course.  From here, I crossed over onto another series of trails and started some serious switchbacks up the N Ridge trail.  I met up briefly with some locals on niners (single speed rigids); got some tips and was then left behind on the hills.  This trail was a pretty sweet ride, lots of ridge riding and a few nice downhills.  Also hit a couple rock gardens on a down hill which provided some sweet opportunity for some jumping, then into some more awesome forest.  Did I mention all of the animals?  Deer, squirrels, birds, ground hogs, chipmunks, more deer and I think quite possibly a bear (ok, maybe it was me making all the noise and not actually a bear).  This sweet trail led back across another rode to another trail system, which had an awesome double downhill that I bombed!  At the bottom, there was more trail to be had, but quite honestly, I was not quite sure where it was, I was getting a bit tired, and I was actually a little lonely. So I jammed to Park roads back to the parking lot and called it a day.   All in, 16 mile ride, not sure of elevation change, and a nice energizing ride!  

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let er rip, tell me what you think!