Friday, June 10, 2011

Summer Hours!

Summer hours are the greatest American workplace invention since working from home. I left my office today at noon and headed out to Bernville to ride one of my favorite trails, Blue Marsh Lake. It was the first time this season I got to ride there. Thinking about it now, that's surprising. It wasn't the first time I was out there -- back in March, I tried to ride Blue Marsh, but wasn't thwarted by flooding in multiple sections of the park.

Section of Blue Marsh trail from March 13

With the recent weather we;ve had here, I knew that wouldn't be an issue.

Spillway 3/13 (left) vs. today (right)

So I headed up 422, past the Limerick hot zone for a ride on one of eastern PA's best.

Eastern Pennsylvania ... home to outlet shopping and meltdown risk ...

So why is Blue Marsh one of my favorite spots? Well, the trail itself is just a wonderful mix of everything you'd want to ride -- challenging climbs, super fast descents, miles of singletrack, and epic views that define PA riding. And to show what I mean, I took along my camera to capture a few representative shots from the 29 mile loop.

Early singletrack above the spillway ...

Pristine ribbons of dirt through a dense wood

This bridge is at the apex of a 180 degree switchback at the bottom of a steep descent. It's a recipe for a nasty wipeout when it's wet.

One of the many open field sections of singletrack arounf Blue Marsh Lake

Loose, technical descent

The lake is always busy in the summer

The longest, most difficult climb on the 22 mile loop (the loop is 22 miles if you skip the fall race course that brings you up the back of the old Blue Mountain Ski Area.)

And just when you think you've gotten over the toughest section, it gets steeper

The best line here is up and to the right all the way through the climb

Always be courteous to other trail users!

Several sections run right along active farms

Singletrack abounds in Blue Marsh

The climbs just keep comin'

Care for a drink?

Don't jump 20 feet into a shallow lake where fallen trees may be floating below the surface, okay?

Looking back on some shaded trail

The trail that runs parallel to Route 183 is super fast

This sign for a road is in the middle of the woods -- there is no road anywhere near it.I have no idea what it is referencing.

This is a brutally steep and loose climb. I have never even come close to cleaning it on the singlespeed and I have to granny it on my geared bike. If you;re looking for a singlespeed challenge, this climb is about as tough as it gets. It's not long, but it's ridiculously tough.

Running along the lake shore

The last climb of the day

The power line descent down to the boat launch entrance

Back at the start, the view of the lake from the visitor center

So there it is -- a quick photo tour through some of the attractions at Blue Marsh Lake. It'll make you earn it, but Blue Marsh always delivers a great ride!

It's serious business out on the trail!

But riding Blue Marsh always ends with a smile on my face.

1 comment:

  1. great report, thanks for posting. I need to check this place out.