Vultures Knob MTB weekend

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After first seeing someone post here about a ride area in Ohio called Vultures Knob nearly a year
ago, my attention piqued and set out to find some information on this area. It wasn't untill about
two months ago that I remembered I had found a webiste on the area about 6 months prior. When I
rediscovered the website, I found a festival was scheduled there for the weekend of May 2-4. This
was my first MTB festival. Furthermore, the website stated that Gary Fisher, Trek, and Klein
mountain bikes would be they for the festival goers to demo. I posted on here about three weeeks ago
asking anyone wh had put in ride time there what to expect. I had heard from a couple of people that
it was unbelievably technical, and even read one person commenting that it had a bit of North Shore
riding thrown in too. Living in Pennsylvania all my life, only 35 miles from the Ohio border, I
couldn't imagine a tough riding area in Ohio, just because of the relative flatness of the state. I
knew there was a bit of technicality down in the southeastern part of the state, where PA, OH, and
WV border, but Vultures Knob is only around 45 miles south of Cleveland.

I went against some advice that was emailed to me, and took the hard tail and single speed. I got
into Wooster, OH around 2 pm on Friday afternoon. The festivities were to start at around 4. I
remembered a shop from Wooster being mentioned on the website, and thought it's name was "Eddies
Bike Shop", but after looking through the Wayne County phone directory, was reminded it was called
"Ernies Bike Shop" I gave them a quick call and asked about the schedule of events, and eventually
took a ride over to the shop. Let me get a bit ahead of myself and first say I have never been in a
shop with such friendly, knowledgable, and courteous employees. They welcomed me hand and foot, and
were excited to know I drove the distance I did to ride there. After talking to some of the guys,
the vibe they gave off was that the trails were "hair raising"; ok, so now I'm really wondering. Ate
a quick lunch at Subway in Wooster and then loaded up and headed to "The Knob". I knew I had the
directions correct, after all, all it was was a left turn out of the town and virtually straight
out. I thought maybe I had missed it, but caught up to a Chevy Cavillier with a hardtail on it's
rack. I no sooner caught up with him and he turned into the entrance. I quickly parked and unloaded
the Rainier. It had been a cloudy, overcast day, to the point where I debated buying a new rain
slicker at Ernies, but blew off that idea. It did end up raining a bit, but not nearly enough to
dampen my spirts. The friendly gentleman at the gate said I was only the fifth vehicle there so far,
and if I wanted to demo the bikes to get to it now, because they expected a huge crowd Saturday. I
did take one quick trip on the Rainier, and even though it was just a short loop, it gave me an idea
of what was ahead of me.

Vultures Knob ride area is built on an old landfill. If I am correct, I believe one of the bike shop
employees told me the owner owns close to 140 acres of this area. It is such a beautiful area

So one quick loop with the Rainier, and I head up to the Gary Fisher tent. I registered to demo some
of the bikes, and off I went. My first choice was a Gary Fisher Team Issue Sugar. I was probably
most impressed with this bike. It was light, climbed well and rode as if it were on rails. It also
had the brand new XTR on it, which honestly, didn't care for. The front and rear suspension worked
in harmony, and really thought from time to time I was riding a hard tail. My next choice was a
Supercaliber 29". I had wanted to give one of these a whirl for a long time, and have to say, it's
everything I've heard. Slow on tight single track, but great for conquering technicalities. Any
thoughts I had before about pursuing a 29" wheeled bike were now gone. Next was the Sugar 2+. I
enjoyed riding this machine; it felt very "trail bikeish"; again, no bobbing from the rear, but a
bit more to soak up the uglies then the Team Issue. I took another ride on a Sugar Team Issue, and
the last bike I tried was the Klein Palomino. It was nice for a longer travel bike, but my interest
for those type of bikes is waning by the minute.

Oh yeah, so how's the riding out there? LOL, everything anyone had told me times 10! It's like one
rider put it, "all the trails here are black diamond"! Very tight, well groomed single track. Lots
of sharp switchbacks. Bridges, tunnels, and logs about no wider then a
2.3 inch tire to ride across. To say the least, it beat my ass good. I never expected such a place,
but couldn't get enough.

I rode untill around 7:45 on Friday night. I stopped into the shop again Saturday morning for a
slight adjustment on the Monocog, and was out there again by noon. I was lucky enough to have one
of the employees of the shop give me a personal tour of the trails. We concentrated on the Killbuck
area, site of the 24 hours of Killbuck coming up soon. Again, my ass was beat good. I took the
Monocog with me that day. So how did it do? It was only limited by myself. The gearing, and precise
handling were made for this area. I was a bit embarresed, because the employee from Ernie's who
took me on the trails was 10 times the rider I was, but I learned a great lesson from him. It's
good to go out with someone like him, because you become challenged, and you can watch and learn.
To jump ahead again, I got home Sunday night and took the Monocog out to my local hangout, and
after riding with more experienced riders, and conquering terrain much more challenging then I was
used to, had the best ride on the Monocog yet. I climbed two hills that had haunted me since I
first bought the SS.

It was a wonderful all around experience. I can feel my skill level growing in leaps. I'm excited to
try another new ride area next weekend. Growing with the single speed, my hard tail even seems
heavier and less precise. I'm finally becoming the rider I've always wanted to be.

Thanks to all the guys at Ernie's Bike Shop on Liberty Street East in Wooster Ohio! It's a nice
little town, but be forewarned, very few places accept debit cards!
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