Thursday, December 20, 2007

New Park in Charles County

For Immediate Release: Contact: Olivia Campbell

Wednesday, December 12, 2007 410-260-8016 office I 410-507-7525 cell


ANNAPOLIS, MD – Today, Governor Martin O’Malley announced Board of Public Works (BPW) approval of local-side Program Open Space (POS) funds for creation of a new regional park in Charles County.

“Creation of new regional and local parks would often not be possible without the financial assistance that local-side Program Open Space offers,” said Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary John R. Griffin.

Pisgah Park, a 234+ acre regional park and sports facility will offer multiple soccer, baseball and football fields, a BMX bike course, mountain bike trail, playground area, picnic facilities, and dog park. Development of this regional park, serving residents of Indian Head and Bryans Road, will be partially financed (70 percent) with $1,874,000 local-side POS funds. The Park’s energy efficient outdoor recreational lighting system is designed to minimize light pollution. Once established, Charles County expects up to 40,000 visits to the new park annually.

In total the BPW approved funding for 14 local park and recreation areas and preservation of more than 4,566 acres of agricultural and forest land in 18 Counties today.

Since 1969, Program Open Space has provided funding for acquisition of 322,355 acres for open space and recreation areas. Most Maryland residents live within 15 minutes of an open space or recreational area funded by this program.

Chaired by Governor O’Malley, the Board of Public Works is also comprised of Treasurer Nancy Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot. The Board is authorized by the General Assembly to approve major construction and consultant contracts, equipment purchases, property transactions and other procurement actions.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Local Boy Makes Good!

Let's hear it for Bikes ride Marc Gwadz!


Wittwer, Shogren and Gwadz win Elite Crowns

Press Contact Information: MABRAcross Cyclocross Series
Ken Getchell, Media Director:; 610-397-1950


December 19, 2007, 2007; Conshohocken, PA, USA: The MABRAcross series celebrated its most successful season ever in 2007, with average attendance at each event growing by over 20% for the fourth consecutive year. Excitement is already
building for 2008 as at least two new races, DCCX and Rockburn Cross, are expected to join the series next year.

Of course, cyclocross is all about riders, and the most successful riders were the new Elite Champions: Greg Wittwer, Betsy Shogren and Marc Gwadz. Shogren and Gwadz won three races apiece to dominate the Elite Women and the new Elite Masters classes, respectively. Meanwhile, Greg Wittwer took the opposite approach and used consistency to squeak out the season title from Wes Schempf in the last race.

It was a season of transition for the MABRA men as, for the first time, world-class professional talent started lining up next to the regional stars. Former Italian National Team member and newly-crowned Verge MAC Champion Davide Frattini (Colavita/Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light) opened the season with a win at the season-opening Charm City Cyclocross. Wes Schempf (, the 2006 Verge MAC Champion and MABRAcross runner-up out-dueled mountain bike superstar Jeremiah Bishop (Trek/VW) for victory at the Ed Sander Memorial, while Bishop scored
the victory at the Tacchino Cicliocross in November. But local talent Wittwer (FORT Factory Team) snookered all the outsiders by quietly scoring points in nearly
every race. His third place finish on Thanksgiving weekend clinched the MABRAcross jersey with just three points to spare.

While Wittwer won with quiet consistency, his FORT Factory teammate Betsy Shogren dominated the Elite Womens series standings to win her second
MABRAcross championship. The three-time Verge MAC champion had previously dabbled in MABRA races. But the rapidly growing profile of the series, and its proximity to her home in West Virginia, made the championship an enticing target. The
MABRAcross championship capped-off an excellent year for Shogren, who also scored a perfect score en-route to victory in the pro/elite division of the heavily-attended West Virginia Mountain Bike Series and set a new course record while winning the
Wilderness 101 ultra endurance mountain bike race.

Like Shogren, Marc Gwadz (DCMTB/City Bikes/Metro Gutter) scored three victories to win the new Elite Masters crown. Like many series in the East, the huge number of Masters participants was threatening to overwhelm courses and organizers. But unlike other series, MABRA elected to have their Elite Masters race for a full 60 minutes in conjunction with the Elite Men. Gwadz was a busy man this Autumn as, in addition
to winning the series, he was also the promoter of the first year DCCX race on the grounds of the Armed Services Retirement Home. The DCCX was the first sanctioned cyclocross race ever held within the limits of Washington DC and Gwadz aspires to have his event join the MABRAcross Series in 2008.

Other riders to win MABRAcross Championship Jerseys were:

Randy Root, of ABRT/Latitude in the Cat. 1/2/3 Masters 45+ division
Nunzio Dibiasi of Yellow Breeches Racing in the Masters 55+ division
Eric Linder of Hunt Valley Bicycles/Marathon Roofing in the Mens Cat. 3/4 division
Sam OKeefe of in the MABRA Junior (U18) division

OKeefe also led a contingent of no fewer than seven MABRAcross regulars who stood on the podium at this past weekends U.S. National Cyclocross Championships. Joining OKeefe (4th in the 13-14 age division) as National Championship podium finishers were:

Rob Lea, 2nd 65-69 age division
Wes Schempf, 3rd 30-35 age division
Mark Kutney 2nd 50-54 age division
Fred Wittwer, 1st 55-59 age division
Alicia Styer, 3rd 10-12 age division
Gunnar Shogren, 3rd 45-49 age division

Full standings for all classes in the 2007 MABRAcross Series can be found in the cyclocross section of The Mid Atlantic Bicycle Racing Association would like to thank for the continued support and streamlined registration for the ever-growing rider base in the MABRA region.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Crownsville Area Trail Project

It's no secret that a few of us are working on a trail project in Anne Arundel County. We managed to get out there on Saturday to hike around the property. I was out there a few years ago with Dan and Rich from IMBA. Good news is that the land is still there...

Pat, Susan, Emma, Jack and I got there around 11:30am. That pic on the right is the field that is ripe for a gravel parking lot for the trail head. It's level, it drains well and I know where it is...

Immediately, you can see what this old hunk of land has been used for over the years. Guess. A dump. Oh, and illegal hunting. I got a few shots of some old and new deer stands out there. We quickly found tires, shelving, chairs, stoves, washing machines, old propane cylinders... Typical stuff. We'll get that out of there at some point.

The land is great. It's pretty dramatic. The ridges and hills are steep but not very big. I think the top to bottom is only about 70 feet. That's plenty for good, fun trails. It's similar to Schaeffer but more than Rosaryville.

There is a farm that is adjacent to the land. It's pretty obvious that the owners are running a four-wheeler back there on some county land which is a no-no. It also seems that they have run a fence across the county land and have put up a deer stand. We saw evidence of baiting as well. Another no-no even when hunting is legal.

We'll have a trail proposal together in the coming weeks. I'd look for a total of 1.5m or so. Not a lot at all. It will be fun thought and it should hook up with the north end of 500 acres of other park land. The county is waiting on the deed to the big plot of land. We hope that we'll be able to use this piece of land as a gateway for the trails as well as a demonstration of what we can do.

Here's a picture of a stand. Two, actually. The obvious one right in front and then another one in the bottom right in the frame. It's got snow on top. On the right edge of the picture, you can see the yellow sign that I posted a full-size pic of above. We saw this stand out there 2 years ago. It was intimated to us that these stands are 'constantly being torn down.' I'm not trying to call anyone out but this area is a bit of the typical hands-off, yee-ha land management that we see when nobody is using the land and caring for it. Sure we want to put in some sustainable trail and alter it, but at least we'll be sensitive to what is out there and do everything we can to not do permanent harm.

The picture on the right is typical of what is out there. As you get further in, it's gets steeper but there are a ton of these old watercourses that will allow us to ride out on the ridge and just go up and down, in and out, staying kinda close to the contours the whole way. It would be twisty like Schaeffer, for sure. Almost no scrub brush anywhere so sight lines are great. It's all second-growth forest. There are good sections of laurel and holly trees as well. Nice vistas and views, great terrain.

Here is another shot of a ravine that we'll be riding around. It will be amazing in the Fall, for sure. The view is pretty nice. This view is almost due West.

On then Northwest end of the property is an open field. It's just on the border of the county property. It looks like a field party area. There is a deer stand, a free-standing grill-thing and a bunch of totally torn up atv trails including a few small jumps. It's all torn up. It looks like there were fresh tracks in the snow so somebody was out there the day before or so. An entire hillside is getting knocked down about 70 feet from a non-seasonal water course that dumps straight into the South River and the Chesapeake. It's crazy. A huge scar. It's private property even though it is right on the border. There are two roads that lead down there, one from the north and one from the Northeast. Both are just torn all to Hell. There's a 8 foot deep road, about 20 feet wide for a 4 foot wide atv. And it's getting wider and deeper.

I hate to leave with these images but they were personally very striking to me. The pic on the right is on county land while the one on the bottom left is on private land but they are linked up. They are about 100 feet from each other on the same hillside. You can see the atv tracks on the right and some on the left picture. There's a jump in the background as well. Not very advanced, just a jump to flat landing. No doubles or anything fun or challenging.

The county expects us to get out there and shut down the access for the atvs and keep the hunters out. I don't know if we'll be able to do that but we'll see how it goes. We'll have to work closely with the locals to let them know what is going on and try to get them on bikes. As we all know, you can have just as much fun (if not more) on a mountain bike than on something with a throttle. At least that's my line and I'm sticking to it.

If things go well, me MAY be able to start building trail out there this Spring. I'll do what I can to keep everyone informed. Heh. Actually, I'll be beating down your door to get some help out there when we need it. I think that this could be a great little local spot in addition and in preparation for the 500 acre Crownsville land. After spending so much time working on the Patapsco Skills Park stuff, I need to pull something off to help improve my attitude...

Free Web Counter