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Posts tagged “ohio

Beer:30…Rust Belt Brewing Co. Coke Oven Stout.

One amazing quality about craft beers, is that more and more, they are showing up in the most random of places. When I think of craft beers, one of the I places that I do not think of is Youngstown Ohio. More historically known for its former steel industry, I only think of it as the family lands of my wife’s side of the family. Now however, Youngstown has an up and coming brewery by the aptly named Rust Belt Brewing Company. Enter their Coke Oven stout:

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The term “coke oven” refers to Youngstown’s steel heritage, not the world famous soda. As a history buff, this little historical nod makes me happy. So let’s see how this stout fares…

The beer pours a nice oil black in the glass, with barely if any head. Scents of bitter malts, and a tiny bit of coffee flavors. Taste wise, roasted malts hit you first thing, with a tiny hint of chocolate bitterness. Not much really jumps out at me with this beer, very average at best for a stout. The big downer for me with this brew however, is that it tastes like a soda. The carbonation is a little high for my tastes in a stout. Maybe instead of naming this beer after the steel heritage of the city, they are actually referring to Coca Cola. Just a thought…

I love supporting smaller scale breweries, and from their beer list I will try their products again. However, when it comes to stouts, I will be passing on the Coke Oven. Be sure to check out their website here to see what else they have to offer.

Cheers!

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Just Riding Along… Bikepacking trip v1.0.

Finally, after quite a bit of preparations, I took the Troll on it’s maiden voyage overnight bikepacking trip. Not really having a route in mind, I set out from my family’s property in the Southeastern Ohio county of Vinton for a day long ride that would end at high point of the family lands. This kind of ride has been long overdue, so I took my sweet time with it and ended up with a 7.5 hour ride, that only covered around 40 miles. But what a sweet 40 miles they were, that completely wiped me out. The miles started in the woods, with some great mountain biking, a little bit of hike-a-bike, a rocky downhill straight out of SoCal, some back roads, some gravel grinding, and lots and lots of climbing. The Cincinnati area has nothing on this type of un-glaciated Ohio hills.

Enough with the words, I will let the pictures tell the rest…


I haven’t seen rocks like this since my trail time in SoCal… McGee Rd.


Self portrait at the end of McGee Rd.


County Rd. 17 in Vinton County.


Tar Hollow state park entrance.


Sharp turn at the top of a killer climb.


Gravel grinding on park rd. 9.


My new best friend, a Black Rat snake.


Gravel grinding continues on park rd. 39.


Black and white view of the forest firetower.


Final destination.

Even though it completely drained me, I wasted a set of brakes, and bashed my rear derailleur on a few rocks to push it out of line, it was a great way to spend the day. Some changes are in order for round two, when that day comes.

Almost forgot this short clip of loaded descending:

Just keep spinning…


Just Riding Along… Bike packing test run.

Next week I am planning my first off road bike packing trip, so this morning I was up at sunrise with the Troll fully loaded and out the door. My plan was to ride on different surfaces, and try to follow the Buckeye Trail as much as possible. If you are not savvy to the Buckeye Trail, it is a hiking trail that goes around the entire state of Ohio. Unfortunately, the trail is mostly on back roads, and very little of it is on actual single track. Furthermore, what single track there is, is usually off limits to bikes. But horses are allowed? Makes no sense to me, but I will save that rant for another day.

Luckily, the Buckeye Trail goes right through my little town of Milford, so I followed it east, towards East Fork state park. All on pavement until I came to the dead end of Ross Road, which is in the photo above. This was my first loaded off road section with the Troll, and it handled beautifully. This part of the trail appears to have been a completely usable road, that the county must have decided to let die. The trail was made up of broken pavement, dirt, and lots and lots of rocks. Very interesting downhill to say the least. This section made me realize that my brakes are very underpowered. After this off road piece, I was dropped into the town of Batavia and almost to my destination.

From Batavia I rambled along St. Rt. 222 to Elk Lick Road, which then connected to Green Briar road. The Buckeye Trail follows Elk Lick to another dead end, but I continued up the hill on Green Briar to see if I could find a campsite in East Fork state park. Green Briar dumped me onto Old Rt. 32, which connected me to Zagar Rd. which I found a single track trail that should have put me at a backpacking campsite. Unfortunately, I could not find the campsite, so I turned around and found this gem of a road:

This old dirt road off of Zagar Rd. was a broken down gem. Broken pavement, gravel, and ended as a single track, and put me back onto Green Briar Rd. Very interesting to see roads fall off of repair, and get turned into trails. Also, pretty interesting to see how quickly the marks of man gets erased off of the planet in such short time. Makes me think of the book, “The World Without Us.” Definitely worth the read if you are into that sort of thing. Anyway, once back onto Green Briar, I followed that back into Batavia, retraced some of my tracks, ended up on US Hwy. 50, then back to the comforts of home. Total saddle time of almost 4 hours.

Things learned from this ride:

1. My brakes need upgraded. I am running Avid BB5s, which I am thinking of switching to Avid BB7s. I am most familiar with BB7s, but I also am thinking of switching to hydros, but they cost way too much, with too much maintenance for my taste. Anyone have recommendations for a good, economical set of hydraulic brakes? I’m all ears.

2. I need to rethink my packing. I am only planning an overnight, but I found myself running out of room for gear. I might still have to use a backpack, which I was trying to avoid. Now that they seem to have come back into stock, I will be picking up a Salsa Minimalist rack to run on the rear to add a bit more cargo space on the bike.

3. I love my Brooks saddle.

Not a bad way to start the day, next week should be an adventure!

Just keep spinning…


Just Riding Along… Do not trust wet wood.

Since I have been out of town for work, I have been off of single track for a couple weeks. My plan for the day was to be out before the sun rose and riding at East Fork state park. Unfortunately, there was a quick downpour that delayed my start time, but I still was on the trail by the late morning. While East Fork drains very well, and Ohio has been exceptionally dry lately, I figured that the rain would be soaked up by the extremely parched Earth which would leave primo trails. And primo they were, nice and tacky, with pretty amazing traction.

One part of the system that did not soak up the rain however, was the multiple bridge crossings. So the photo above shows the aftermath of a tight corner, taken a little faster than it should, and sliding off of the bridge. After doing a somersault off of the obstacle, checking that the bike and myself were okay, (Yes, in that order) I was back on the velcro like trails laughing to myself.

The point of all of this rambling: Do not trust wet wood.

Just keep spinning…


Just Riding Along… Donut ride.

Quick ride on the Little Miami scenic path this morning. Thought I would use the Cannondale today, one, to see if my rear wheel is holding up, and two, to see if I could fine tune the shifting a bit. But, the main reason for the quick jaunt today was to get donuts. After my quick spin, I headed down to Ms. Cheri’s in downtown Milford for a few amazing donuts for breakfast. Such a great place if you are ever in the area.

Great start to the day!

Just keep spinning…


Just Riding Along… Landen Deerfield.

Quick ride tonight at Landen Deerfield park. Small trail, but a pretty solid one nonetheless. It is amazing how much trail that was squeezed into one small area, tucked inside a neighborhood. Definitely not a destination trail, but if you are in the area already, it might be worth your time. Only around 3 miles or so total, so it is a good system to roll some laps.

Here is a video of their tiny rock garden, next time I am there I will try to film the upper area of this section, which is a little tricky. The video makes it looks simple. Thanks to Eric for filming this spot!

Just keep spinning…


Just Riding Along… Day 1 of vacation…

Started off my vacation the only way that I know how, with a nice MTB ride. The plan for the morning was to be up and out before the sun to ride the entire system at Caesar Creek state park. Unfortunately, my alarm did not wake me. That cut out a bit of time from my riding time, so I settled for East Fork once again. Luckily, it is a great system.


Action shot, still trying to figure out my timer.

Great way to start the vacation, more riding to come…

Just keep spinning…