Dirty Double Cross

  • By tom
  • 07 Dec, 2016

200 miles of dirt roads in the PA Wilds - 5am Sunday, May 28, 2017

So I was looking for a goal for 2017. I like to have something big and slightly scary looming on the calendar to keep me motivated through the cold, dark winters. I love me some Crush the Commonwealth but, you know -  been there, done that . I started to warm to the Dirty Kanza 200, then a scheduling conflict snuffed that flame. Trans Iowa sounds pretty cool too, but was already filled up. Nothing else really seemed nasty enough to be worth travelling very far for. Come to think of it, why travel at all when we have some of the most kick-ass forest roads right here in our own backyard? So I said screw it, I'll make my own ride, invite a few friends, and voila - we have the Dirty Double Cross.
Here's the route. It will not be marked. Put it in your Garmin or phone to navigate, and make sure you have enough battery power for 16-24 hours. I believe the cue sheet to be accurate too, but navigating by it solely could be challenging since many of the roads lack signage. A printed cue sheet as a backup, though, is always a good idea.

· It's not a race , it's a personal challenge. But we will keep track of finishing times for the sake of posterity and bragging rights.

· In traditional Oswald style, there will be no support or course markings. This is a YOYO (you're on your own) style ride. We will not be riding as a group. You must navigate by GPS or cue sheet. There will be local stores every 40-60 miles for food and drinks. One word of caution on this: the store in Oleona (mile 146) closes at 8pm . That means that if you don't average 10mph , including stops, you won't be able to resupply there. And that means you'll have another 50+ miles with no place to buy food or drinks. There are creeks along the way you could get water from if you have a filter, but that's about it. So if you think your might be  going that slow or slower, bring a means to filter water and make sure you leave Cross Fork (mile 101) with your pockets and belly  FULL of food .

· It will be the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend

· If you need accommodations, the  Mansfield Inn , the Comfort Inn  or the Microtel  are your choices. Camping is also an option at Bucktail , Tanglewood  and Hills Creek State Park .

· We'll get together for a pre-ride dinner on Saturday night and a post-ride breakfast on Monday morning.

·  Entry  - also in traditional Oswald style, there is no fee . But I do like good beer. You could bring me some if you want.

· Application - if you want to participate, send an email to tom@oswaldcycleworks.com . If I don't know you, include your RUSA number or a link to your Strava/Garmin Connect/MapMyFitness etc. Not trying to be exclusionary - I just want to make sure anyone who starts has a pretty good idea of what they're getting into and has a good chance of finishing. There will be no rescues!
If you want some idea of the terrain we'll be on, here's a photo gallery from a 150 mile ride I did in that area this fall:

For equipment, you're going to want tires 30-40mm wide. They don't need to be super tready, but totally slick isn't a great idea either. Tubeless is highly recommended. For gearing, you'll want a compact crank and a cassette with at least a 28t on it. A 32t would likely be welcome at times - it's going to be a long, hilly day. Also,  you will need lights and reflective gear . You absolutely will be riding in the dark at the beginning and again at the end.

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