Pennsylvania Single Track

Hoping everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend.  I’ve been on a road trip to the Northeast, attending weddings in Connecticut and Pennsylvania.  Of course, the mountain bike has also made the trek from the Midwest to the Northeast.  I grew up on the trails in Pennsylvania so I take every opportunity I can to get back on the home terrain.

Northeast Pennsylvania Single Track

Mountain biking is a little different in Pennsylvania as compared to Minnesota.  For one, there’s nothing like MORC in Pennsylvania.  There is no formal trail organization.  It’s just a handful of guys and gals cutting single track through the woods.  Because of all the hard labor they put into building these trails they are very reluctant to give out trail information to the general public.  One reason is to keep the dirt bikes and quads off the trails.  I don’t blame them.  But because of the secretive nature of the trail system you either have to know someone willing to divulge that information or go out on your own to unknowingly explore the woods.  Even if you get word of a good trail, finding the trail is another battle.  The trail head is often extremely discrete and hard to find.  While it’s great to have an organization like MORC constantly maintaining and marking trails, there’s some allure to a secret single track trail in the middle of the Pennsylvania forest that only a handful of bikers know about.

Pennsylvania has the old, worn down Appalachian Mountains so is, therefore, very hilly.  You feel like you’re going uphill 90% of the time.  We joke that you start your ride climbing and somehow end up finishing with a climb.  Pennsylvania also has some serious rock gardens, which I thoroughly enjoy.  All and all, it’s been a great trip home but I look forward to getting back on the single track through the prairie lands of Minnesota.

Just one of many rock gardens in PA

Back to Minnesota Weather

Even though this week has started off dry, runoff is still ongoing from heavy rain the past few days and flooding along our area rivers continues.

14-Day Radar Estimated Rainfall

Radar estimates pockets of 6-9” the past 14 days.  For comparison, the average monthly May rainfall for Minneapolis is 3.36”.  Everything is super green but the air is a bit cooler.  Temperatures should stay in the 60s all week with a gradual warm-up through the weekend.

CycleCast:

Wednesday- Broken sunshine.  Light showers expected late Wednesday night, especially across southern MN. H: Mid 60s

Thursday- Cloudy.  Any morning showers will end by afternoon. H: Mid 60s

Friday- A few showers and thunderstorms.  H: Upper 60s

Saturday- Nice day for riding.  Sunny and warmer. Low 70s

Sunday- Showers and thunderstorms.  H: near 80°

Sunday Severe, Then Smooth Sailing

This May might go down as being the wettest ever on record.  The Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport (where official records are kept) has received 8.18″ of rain so far making it the second wettest May in recorded history in the Twin Cities.  The wettest May was in 1906 when 10.33″ was recorded.  With more rain in the forecast this holiday weekend, the city may close in on the top spot.  Also, Chanhassen has received 9.22″ of rain which may get close to the May state record rainfall of 11.7″ in Winnebago in 1908.

May has also been fairly warm.  The average temperature so far this May is 5.5° warmer than average.  Each month, from October through March, has been at least 5° warmer than average.  The warmer weather this winter has helped to drive the insect population.  The warm winter combined with the wet spring may increase the mosquito population.  Also, people have been reporting more tent caterpillars in the Twin Cities this year.  The last time we had a big tent caterpillar outbreak was in 2002.

Afton Adventure

Tackling the terrain at Afton

I recently did a ride at Afton Alps.  As always, great descents will killer climbs.  I tracked my ride on Strava.  This is a great app that tracks your progress throughout your ride.  You can even compare yourself against others riders on the same trail.

CycleCast:

I’m sure there’s a lot of standing water out on the trails.  Showers and thunderstorms will redevelop late tonight with minor flooding a good possibility with the ground being already saturated from the recent rain.  Sunday is going to be hot with temperatures flirting with 90°.  The sun may peek out mid afternoon but severe thunderstorms will develop in western MN and work their way towards the metro late in the day.

Sunday's Severe Threat

Sunday: Partly cloudy morning.  Breezy and hot.  Highs pushing 90°.  Severe storms will rumble through the metro late in the day.

Memorial Day: Trails will start the drying process.  Partly sunny.  Nice day for barbecues.  H: Near 80°

Tuesday-Friday: Fairly dry and much cooler with highs generally staying in the 60s.

 

Sunday Severe

Storms via Visible Satellite in the late day sun

As you can imagine the trails got quite a soaking the past 48 hours.  The Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport received 2.13″ while Montrose got a whopping 5.20!”  Check out some other rainfall totals across the state here.

CycleCast:

Friday:  No rain but the woods will definitely need time to dry.  Good day for a road ride. H: Low 70s

Saturday: Showers and thunderstorms. H: Low 70s

Sunday:  I think most of the day will be dry, breezy and hot.  Highs will be pushing 90°.  Severe thunderstorms are likely late in the day.

Memorial Day: Partly cloudy, a dry day.  Good for barbecues.  H: mid 70s

Severe Threat Sunday