Posts Tagged With: fatbike

Welcome Trans-Sylvania Epic!

At about 10am this morning, some of the best mountain bike racers in the United States will be converging on the Allegrippis Trails at Raystown Lake for day four of the Trans-Sylvania Epic Mountain Bike Stage Race.  This event, in its third year, is a project of The Outdoor Experience Organization, and has become wildly popular in the off-road bicycle racing community.

If you are in the area this morning, and would like to see the action, spectators will be allowed to drive in to sites 1-8 at Susquehannock Campground to watch the race.  This is the area where the start-finish line will be, and will also be the midpoint of the 2-lap stage.  Two years ago following the Allegrippis stage of the TSE, one racer proclaimed “This was the most fun I’ve ever had racing on two wheels!”

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Bicycling and tourism months converge in the RLR

Through the forest via Allegrippis by Abram Eric Landes

Through the forest via Allegrippis Trails (Photo by Abram Eric Landes,

The month of May is both National Tourism Month, and National Bicycling Month.  The tourism industry and the bicycling community have formed a fantastic synergy in the Raystown Lake Region of the Alleghenies.  In 2009, the area opened its arms to mountain bike enthusiasts with the grand opening of the 32-mile Allegrippis Trails at Raystown Lake, a phenomenal addition to what was already a very popular biking destination for both on and off-road riders.

In the past year, the US Army Corps of Engineers has estimated that the Allegrippis Trails system has attracted over 26,000 visits.  Assuming that the trailhead visitation mirrors the normal visitor trends at Raystown Lake, it can be safely estimated that about 9,000 of these visitors travelled more than 50 miles to reach the trailhead along Baker’s Hollow Road, and combined spent a more than $1.3 Million while in Huntingdon County.

Dirt Rag DirtFest at Raystown Lake photo by Ed Stoddard

Dirt Rag Magazine brings it’s signature event, DirtFest to the Allegrippis Trails at Raystown Lake for its third year in a row. (photo by Ed Stoddard)

The weekend of May 18-20, 2012, more than 1,200 mountain bikers will be converging on the Huntingdon/ Hesston area for Dirt Rag magazine’s DirtFest.  This will mark the third year in a row that the magazine has chosen the Allegrippis Trails at Raystown Lake as the location for their signature event.

The following weekend, begins the Trans-Sylvania Epic mountain bike stage race.  The seven-day race is based out of Seven Mountains Boy Scout Camp, and will follow routes through Bald Eagle and Rothrock State Forests, as well as remote starts in R.B. Winter State Park and on the Allegrippis Trails at Raystown Lake.  This event, also in its third year, will draw some of the top talent in mountain bike racing to our area for an entire week.

The Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau is asking any and all businesses in the area that have marquees to display a “Welcome Mountain Bikers” message for the weeks of May 15 through June 4.  We are also asking drivers to be extra-cautious on area roads, as we will expect to see an increase in bicycle traffic during this time.

The bicycling community has a strong track record of economically supporting the communities that are friendly to their sport.  Please join us in welcoming them to Huntingdon County, and inviting them back to ride again!


Matt Price
Executive Director
Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau

Categories: Events, HCVB News, Things to Do, Tourism Industry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From good idea to great trails – The Allegrippis trails at Raystown Lake

Publisher’s Note: This article appeared in the 2010 edition of the Raystown Lake Region/Huntingdon County Visitors Guide.  The Allegrippis Trails at Raystown Lake officially opened to the public in May, 2009, and have been wildly popular ever since, receiving national attention from National Geographic Adventure magazine, Men’s Journal magazine, Dirt Rag Magazine, Bicycle Times and many  more media outlets.  Frank Maguire is now the Mid-Atlantic Representative of the International Mountain Bicycling Association.

by Frank Maguire

Through the forest via Allegrippis by Abram Eric Landes

Through the forest via Allegrippis Trails (Photo by Abram Eric Landes,

If you have been coming to Raystown for years and have wondered what lay in the woods beyond the lakeshore, a new trail system will give you the chance to find out. The Allegrippis Trails offer a variety of experiences as they wind through old oak groves and young pine stands. From lakeside trails to breath taking vistas, the trail system rolls along the contours of the hills, never getting too steep to try.  But what is really different about these trails is that they are built to be enjoyed from the saddle of a bike.

The possibility of building trails designed for mountain bikes (but able to be enjoyed by many others) at Raystown Lake first came to light in 2002, when the Army Corps of Engineers and the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) signed a national memorandum of understanding. This MOU set the groundwork for future cooperation between the Corps and IMBA, and specifically mentioned Raystown as a pilot area. With its miles and miles of shoreline slopes, Raystown was the perfect blank canvas to become home to destination mountain bike trails.

“We’re excited to create a model trail system in Central PA.” said Rich Edwards, of IMBA Trail Solutions. “This is a notoriously rocky part of the state. These trails offer plenty of variety and will definitely help expand the riding scene”. What a model trail system means is that beginner, intermediate and advanced trails are all clearly marked, laid out as stacked loops. The beginner (or green) trails are closer to the parking lot, and it’s possible to ride these and get a taste of what the whole system holds. Off of this initial loop are options to extend the ride on intermediate (blue) trails, and further on to the black or advanced trails. The visitor gets to decide how much to bite off, and if they got more then they bargained for, the parking lot is just a short ride away.

But what about the fun? All the planning in the world is wasted if the trail is boring. Allegrippis doesn’t disappoint and as one person put it at the grand opening, “I couldn’t stop giggling.”  Evan Gross, President of the Raystown Mountain Bike Association and the trail guru, put it this way. “People have been coming from around the country and from all these different riding backgrounds, and each one gets off the bike smiling”. What causes the excitement is the flow of the trail, the feeling that you are on rails. The way the trail twists and turns, leads you to think that you are on a slot car. The best part about this is that each rider finds their magic speed, so no matter your ability, the sensation is the same.

At the heart of the trails is sustainability, both environmental and social. The trails are designed to meander about the hills and ridges, never running straight up and down the slopes. This means they will survive years of use without eroding, as erosion is a factor of water over time. Bicycle wheels and human feet just speed the process up when the trails aren’t designed right. One of the first things visitors notice about the trails are the grade reversals, the fancy term for the dips and bumps that gives the trails their rollercoaster feel. These act as insurance policies, so that water keeps moving across the trail, rather than down it. The social sustainability part of the trails is the fun. A visitor can decide to try out the trails and not fear getting lost or in over their head. By making trails that can be enjoyed by the largest number of users, and making a unique experience, the trails invite people to get involved and keep coming back. This is good for the community and the region as a whole.

For IMBA, this project has been a great chance to showcase our trail knowledge and provide a much needed destination. Mountain biking is one of the most popular outdoor activities, with some 1.4 million people riding trails at some point every year in Pennsylvania. Raystown was the unique chance to build close to a large portion of the US population in a place that has special natural beauty. Already in its first season, the Allegrippis Trails have been a huge success, with visitors coming from throughout the east and as far away as Hawaii and Scotland to ride.

Evan Gross with his custom fatbike, photo by Abram Eric Landes

Evan Gross with his custom fatbike. (photo by Abram Eric Landes

Evan Gross, after attending Juniata College, decided to call Huntingdon home and be a part of the burgeoning trails community. As President of the Raystown Mountain Bike Association, he is both caretaker and trail ambassador.  “It’s amazing to see the pull these trails have on people around the country” Said Evan, when asked what has been his biggest satisfaction with the trails. “It feels like Huntingdon is becoming a real trails town”.  If you want the local skinny on how best to enjoy your visit to the Allegrippis Trails, seek out Evan, you’ll be glad you did.

Categories: 2010 Visitors Guide, Things to Do | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bicycle Art Show to Feature Photography and Recycled Art

The Huntingdon County Arts Council will feature works of art relating to bicycles in April at its Art Space exhibit gallery in downtown Huntingdon. Photographer Abram Eric Landesof the Washington, D.C. area will be on hand with his sports photography, in particular action shots of bicyclist scaling various mountainous terrains, weather and obstacles that have propelled cycling into the realm of extreme sports. His work has been published in magazines, including Dirt Rag, Mountain Bike, and Bicycling Magazine.

Mountain bikers riding through abandoned railroad tunnel in Coburn, PA by Abram Eric Landes

Mountain bikers riding through abandoned railroad tunnel in Coburn, PA by Abram Eric Landes,

A 2005 Penn State University graduate with a BFA in Printmaking with Honors, Landes maintains local ties with bicycle enthusiasts. “Whether the job ahead of me is a wedding, a mountain bike stage race, a family portrait session, or an architecture shoot, I enjoy it all and strive to make the best images possible. I do not settle for mediocre ideas or photos lacking in technical quality. I work my hardest to make sure your experience with me is positive and wonderful and that the products you receive in return are well worth your resources. Most of all, I enjoy meeting new people and seeing new places – and any day I work with a camera is a great day.”
Evan Gross, whose college days as an environmental science major with a secondary focus on art were spent at Juniata College in Huntingdon, will be the other featured artist in the exhibit. More recently, Gross is known as one of the faces at Rothrock Outfitters‘ bicycle department. An avid bicyclist, he enjoys the connection of lifestyle choices and the arts. Coming to full circle, he has been creating mobiles made of bicycle parts. “It’s all about revolution” Evan says, referring to gears, recycling, bicyclingand healthy living on a local level.
An artist reception is scheduled for the second Friday, April 13, 2012, from 6 to 9 pm.  The exhibit will be open to the public April 10-24, 2012. Open hours are Tuesdays 2 pm to 6 pm, Thursdays and Fridays 11 am to 6 pm, and Saturdays 11 am to 4 pm, and by appointment other days.
The Art Space is located at 212 Fourth Street, Huntingdon, PA 16652. Call (814) 643-6220 for more information.

The Huntingdon County Arts Council is dedicated to providing art and cultural opportunities in Huntingdon County. Our programs are designed to provide enjoyment and enrichment as well as educational and professional opportunities to the general public, students, amateur and professional artists.  The council’s website is:
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Six More Weeks of Winter? Happy Groundhog Day!

This morning, the eyes of the world were on Pennsylvania, and a celebrated rodent named Punxsutawney Phil.  Our beloved groundhog emerged from his burrow, saw his shadow, and proclaimed there will be six more weeks of winter.  Coincidentally, the calendar says the same thing!  The Raystown Lake Region has been experiencing an unseasonably warm winter so far, exemplified by the last two days with temperatures near 60 degrees.  Let’s assume that Phil is right, and that the winter weather is still to come.  We at the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau say: “bring it on!”

Most people think of our area in terms of summer, when our number one activity partaken by visitors is swimming.  Others really enjoy the fall when the leaves reveal their dramatic colors, and temperatures cool slightly for enjoyable hiking and biking.  Still others look forward each year to the redbud trees in bloom in the spring, and the advent of fishing seasons.  But winter can be just as fulfilling and refreshing in our little niche of The Alleghenies.

When the snow falls, our area is perhaps at its most beautiful, whitewashed with brightness.  A clear, moonlit winter night with snow on the ground is a great time to experience the trails in the area without need of a flashlight.  Many of our privately-owned vacation rentals are open year-round, giving you the opportunity to rejuvenate cuddled up by the light of a fireplace after a day of sled riding, shopping, snowball fighting, snow fort making, etc.  And as a bonus, winter produces the least crowded conditions at our restaurants, shops and recreation areas.

Here are a few suggestions of things to do during a winter Raycation:

  • Ride a Bike!  We’re not kidding, and neither are the folks at Rothrock Outfitters.  Rothrock Outfitters rents and sells a line of Fatbikes with wide, low PSI tires that are perfect for riding on snowy trails, lake ice, frozen streams and more.  Layer up and ride!  It’s also likely that one of the employees will ride with you if you’re a little tentative at first.
  • Throttle Up! Bring your snowmobile out for riding on about 200 miles of legal roads and trails.  Download a map of the main trails in Rothrock State Forest, or of Rothrock’s Trough Creek Wilderness trails, and get your motor running.  If you’re on your motorsled in the area of Whipple Dam State Park, we recommend a stop at Doan’s Bones Award Winning Barbecue for a warm-up lunch or dinner.
  • Warm the heART! Take a ride through the area on the Route 22 heART of the Alleghenies Artisan Trail, or the Art Thrives on 45 Artisan Trail.  These two driving routes through our region feature unique artists, galleries, and marketplaces to buy from local artists.  Huntingdon’s 4 and More Cultural District is an emerging cultural arts colony in the downtown area with unique programming at a variety of venues.

As always, you can plan your Raycation at our website:, or give us a call at 888-RAYSTOWN (888-729-7869)

Happy Groundhog Day!


Matt Price
Executive Director
Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau


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