Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I Think I Have a Problem

My brother and his friends journeyed from Georgia to Pennsylvania during the 4th of July weekend to spend some time at the Seven Springs Bike Park. The following is a guest article about the trip written by Michael "Hak" Hakala, with photography by TJ Kearns (Timothy James Photography). 

Hak's version of riding 7 Springs

Those of you that know me would most likely agree that there are very few things that I love more than mountain biking and everything riding a mountain bike entails. It’s taken me to some of the coolest places I’ve seen in the United States, introduced me to some of the best people I know, and basically allows me to enjoy each and every day I travel around our sun. 

Another element of my life that I truly love is my family. What better way to combine things that I love; riding my bicycle (awesome, fun, painful, rewarding, frustrating, painful, epic, and good for the soul) and family (insert same adjectives as from above…interesting) than to visit my awesome geoscience-national boarder cross silver medalist- great party throwing-mountain athlete sister Ale Hakala of daybreakcarve.com?

That is exactly what I do. Grab a few of my best riding buddies, hop in the car, drive 12ish hours to the place where the beer flows like beer and any form of fried potato flows like the salmon of Capistrano? Yea that’s right I’m talking about a little place called Pittsburgh, which is conveniently located about an hour and change from Seven Springs Bike Park (if you don’t miss the exit off the turnpike and end up having to back track through Somerset, PA).  Have a lift take TJ Kearns (of Timothy James Photography), Chuck Taylor a.k.a. Charles, and Scott ‘Mediocre at’ Besst, and myself take us to the top of the mountain and we just get to shred-n-flow down?  

Getting ready to shred at Springs

There is something serene and peaceful about riding the lift. It’s a different kind of quiet when you are in transit on one of those things. Then as you approach the top it gets a little bit louder, and your heart rate increases. Get a sick decent without having to pedal? ‘Merca! 

The descent. 

Put the full-face on, everyone shreddy? Let’s do it. Then for the next 3-4 minutes there is another kind of quiet. Not a volume quiet as the dirt and mud are squishing and crunching under the tires, hooting-and-holler from yours truly, and that thumping of your heart in your chest as you realize you went into a section way too fast but were somehow able to walk away. For me that quiets my soul. Nothing is better for someone who loves to spend time on a mountain. 

What’s even radder? (Yea I typed radder on purpose.) After spending an entire day flying down the mountain with some great friends, getting a severe case of the claw (basically your hand is locked in the position of gripping your handle bars), and a case of lead legs (pretty self-explanatory) driving back to my sister’s place for some burgers and beer by the pool. Freaking awesome day if I don’t say so myself. Ale put out an amazing spread, we all ate till we could barely walk, watched a few 4th of July fireworks between downpours, and almost passed out from the pain as I laughed to tears watching Ninja Nick PhD attempt barrel rolls (not sure if it was from the laughing or the sheer pain I was experiencing with my ribs). 

Definitely some great riding, great friends and family, and eating a pound of cheese burger; yea that is awesome but could it get better? 

I am glad you asked. 

TJ Kearns whipped out the camera during the last half of the trip and documented our epicness. Scott and Chuck Taylor sending it, my attempt at some gnarly rock, and some random people who could send it like it was their job. If you want to see some awesome photos  of the great outdoors and mountain biking check out the Timothy James Photography page on Facebook.

Scott sending it. 

Chuck sending it. 

Hak's attempt at gnarly rock. 

I guess to sum up my four days in Pittsburgh and hitting the bike park in Seven Springs would be to say that it is nothing short of AWESOME. I would have to say there is nothing like hanging out with my big sister, her husband Ninja Nick, and some of my best friends. Definitely in the works for becoming my new 4th of July tradition. Maybe next year I can complete riding the park without sustaining broken ribs, a messed-up shoulder, and a banged-up knee. Despite the pain and gnarly rain storms between Georgia and Pennsylvania on the drive home, I have to say I am further hooked into the niche of lift access riding. I think I may have a problem….

Everning view of the Mon

Hak is a mountain biker from Atlanta, Georgia, who spends most of his time riding at Blankets Creek during the week, the north Georgia mountains on weekends, and (whenever he can) his favorite in the southeast: Pisgah National Forest. He enjoys making ridiculous BBQ ribeye, making fun of his awesome sister, and chasing the flow. You can follow him on Instagram @nomadflow

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