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2023 Fall Gravel Camp

BASECAMP 2023 GRAVEL CAMP DETAILS

We are so excited to have you join us here in our hometown! We've been planning this camp for months, and we can't wait to share our favorite gravel roads with you. Some of you may be new to gravel cycling, and that's okay; we'll have a variety of riders here, from beginners to experienced cyclists. We have designed this camp to have something for everyone, and you'll have plenty of opportunities to learn from each other, as well as from our team of coaches. We are really looking forward to getting to know all of you and spending some time in the great outdoors. We're going to have such a great time!

 

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • This is a learning camp, not a training and racing camp. Rides will be a little shorter, a little more social, and focused on learning and building skills.

  • We'll also be focusing on social fun. It's always amazing to meet BaseCampers in person, and we hope everyone makes the most of this opportunity.

  • We'll be camping together at the YMCA Camp Thompson. The camp houses scouts all summer longer, and the setup is a little rustic, but we think it's perfect for our gravel camp. Please note: There is limited cell/WiFi coverage in the area.

  • We'll be dining together in the dining hall. Our caterers understand our needs as athletes, and the menu will reflect that.

  • Mechanical support will be a little limited, so make sure your bike is in good working order before camp. We can fix things, but the nearest bike shop is….far. 

  • We'll be riding on public roads, so please obey traffic laws.

  • The full schedule, packing lists, and final downloadable GPS routes will be supplied in September.

 

We look forward to seeing all of you! 

CAMP COACHES

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Tim Cusick

Coach

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Nathan Goates

Coach

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Namrita Brooke

Coach

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Karen Mackin

Coach

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Tina Hart

Coach

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Jim Pomeroy

Coach

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Scott Moninger

Coach

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Kae Takishita

Ride Leader

Camp Itinerary

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Thursday, Oct 12

3:30-5:00 p.m.

Camp checkin and cabin assignment in the dining hall

5:00-5:30 p.m.

Coaches' welcome  in the pavillion

6:30-8:00 p.m.

Campfire and social fun

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Friday, Oct 13

7:00 a.m. Breakfast

served in the dining hall

8:30 a.m. Riders Meeting

Gravel skills in the amphitheater

9:00-11:00 a.m. Skills and Drills

We'll gather in the fields to learn about positioning, cornering, descending, and climbing

11:00 a.m. Lunch

served in the dining hall

12:30-5:00 p.m. Group Rides

We'll meet in the amphitheater and divide into groups; 3-5 route options will be available.

6:00 p.m. Dinner

served in the dining hall

7:00 p.m. Bonfire

Join us at the large bonfire ring

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Saturday, Oct 14

8:00 a.m. Breakfast

served in the dining hall

9:00 a.m. Rider meeting

in the amphitheater

9:30-11:30 a.m. Skills and Drills

We'll gather in the fields for important skills development.

11:30 a.m. Lunch

served in the dining hall

12:30-5:00 p.m. Group Rides

We'll meet in the amphitheater and divide into groups; 3-5 route options will be available.

6:00 p.m. Dinner

served in the dining hall

7:00 p.m. Bonfire

Join us at the large bonfire ring

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Sunday, Oct 15

8:00 a.m. Breakfast

served in the dining hall

9:00 a.m. Rider Meeting

in the amphitheater

9:30-11:30 a.m. Group Ride

12:00 p.m. Departure

LODGING

GROUP CABINS

Each cabin has four bunkbeds, two single beds, a small heater, and one overhead light. These cabins are clean but very simple and rustic, and there are no bathrooms in the cabin. All cabins hold ten people, but we are limiting them to a maximum of six so that everyone gets a ground-level bed. We'll assign campers to cabins based on gender. Linens are not provided, so be sure to bring a sleeping bag or twin-size bed linens, blankets, and a pillow.

PRIVATE CABINS

Private cabin reservations are the same cabins as the group rustic cabins. If you have reserved a private cabin and wish to share your cabin with specific campers, please let us know.

 

BATHROOM FACILITIES

There is one large bathroom building with women's bathrooms on one side and the men's bathrooms on the other. The bathrooms contain flush toilets, sinks, and individual shower stalls with curtains, similar to what you would find at a park campground.

LOCAL CAMPING

Camp Thompson does not allow RVs or tents, but there is supported camping at Pine Grove Furnace State Park, less than a mile away from Camp Thompson (it will look longer on a road map, but there is a rail trail connector).

LOCAL HOTELS

For anyone who prefers to stay in a hotel, there are two good options within 14 miles of Camp Thompson:

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RIDES AND ROUTES

This camp is a chance to learn and ride together. Our approach to teaching is a tell, show, do process, and this will guide our daily ride schedule. Mornings will focus on skill-building classes and  demonstrations that will offer every participant the opportunity to learn from our expert team and then practice those new skills before we head out for a ride. 

Our ride format is social and fun. This is not a hardcore training camp or a race; this is a weekend of building community while learning and practicing skills. The rides are shorter to allow for a more comfortable pace.

 

After the ride, we will offer unique learning centers you can visit to gain insights into topics like what to carry on a gravel ride, tire repair, bike fit for gravel, and more.

About Riding in Michaux

Camp Thompson is located in the Michaux Valley and offers access to numerous gravel roads. Our routes feature less than 15% paved surfaces, and the gravel is pretty smooth, mainly Classes 1 and 2. There are a few areas where things can get a little chunky, but these are rare and short. The terrain is challenging, and you should expect to see longer climbs (longer than 20 minutes), generally smooth descents, and rolling fast ridge roads. We typically average 1,000 feet of climbing in 10 miles, but we don't have much steep grade; expect grades to be between 4-6%.

Friday: Skills Day

Today starts with campers breaking up into four groups and rotating through different skill-building sessions. Each session is an on-the-bike experience led by our experts.

Skill Sessions

Mastering the Ready

Braking Range and Control

Cornering Confidence

Instant Skills

Rides

Three different rides  are available today, ranging from 27 to 44 miles. There will be two coaches on each ride; one will stay near the front, and one will sweep the rear. We encourage you to gather some friends, pick your course, and ride together. The rides will not be one pack where all will stay together; you can ride your pace and have fun.

Beginner Ride

In addition to the standard rides, we will also lead a shorter ride for those who are brand new to gravel. This ride will feature special stopping points to practice the topics learned in the day's skill sessions. Beginner route maps not shown in route collections

Ride Support

There will be one or two support/aid stations (depending on course length) on each course and a support car. Some roads are not open to cars, so make sure you carry what you need to repair flats and bike.

Please don't save the rides yet; they're still in development and subject to change.

Saturday: Long Ride

Today starts with a group session on going long. We'll discuss pre-planning, what to bring, and skills needed to get through a long ride day.

Sessions

Preparing to Go Long

What to Carry

Speed Economy Skills

Rides

Four rides are available today, ranging from 40-68 miles.  There will be two coaches on each ride; one will stay near the front, and one will sweep the rear. We encourage you to gather some friends, pick your course, and ride together. The rides will not be one pack where all will stay together; you can ride your pace and have fun.

Beginner Ride

In addition to the standard rides, we will also lead a shorter ride for those who are brand new to gravel. This ride will feature special stopping points to practice the topics learned in the day's skill sessions. Beginner route maps not shown in route collections

Ride Support

There will be one or two support/aid stations (depending on course length) on each course and a support car. Some roads are not open to cars, so make sure you carry what you need to repair flats and bike.

Please don't save the rides yet; they're still in development and subject to change.

Sunday: Funday

 

Today is an early-morning shakeout ride or an optional hike to Pole Steeple.

Rides

Two rides are available today, ranging from 15-35 milesThere will be two coaches on each ride; one will stay near the front, and one will sweep the rear. We encourage you to gather some friends, pick your course, and ride together. The rides will not be one pack where all will stay together; you can ride your pace and have fun.

Ride Support

There will be one or two support/aid stations (depending on course length) on each course and a support car. Some roads are not open to cars, so make sure you carry what you need to repair flats and bike.

Please don't save the rides yet; they're still in development and subject to change.

LEARNING EVENTS

During the late afternoons, post-ride learning centers will be set up for coaches to give demos and answer questions on topics such as:

  • Bikepacking setup 

  • On-the-fly tire repair 

  • Bike demo

  • Gravel bike Fit analysis by MyVeloFit

  • And more!

 

Specific topics and events will be updated in final schedule.

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BUILDING COMMUNITY

Thursday night is our welcome BBQ, complete with burgers, veggie burgers, hot dogs, and all the fixings! Meet your fellow BaseCampers, sip a beverage (please keep adult versions hidden from view if a park ranger comes by), and enjoy the camaraderie!

 

Friday and Saturday Nights: Music and storytelling by the campfire

Join fellow BaseCamper Michelle Boroski for some fun storytelling by the campfire and music with her partner, guitarist and singer-songwriter Johanna Gabbard.

Storytelling
People love to tell stories! Why? Because it's such a great way to connect with each other. BaseCamp is not only about cycling, but also about connecting and building a community of folks who all happen to love cycling. That's why we've added storytelling to the evening camp agenda, and we're looking for volunteers.

 

A few simple rules apply:

  • The stories must be true and told (not read) from the personal perspective of the storyteller (in other words, don't tell us about your friend Bob's amazing around-the world-adventure with his dog).

  • There is an 8- to 10-minute time limit.

  • In order to get the most benefit from the stories, active listening is key. In other words, no questions or comments from the audience are allowed until after all the stories have been heard.

 

We're hoping for three stories each evening, so if you've got a story and the guts to share it, please sign up by emailing Michelle Boroski at michelleboroski@gmail.com for more details.  

 

Music
Even though cycling has brought us together, most of us have other hobbies beyond cycling. If you are a musician or singer, we would love for you to share your instrument or voice during our evening campfire activities. Johanna Gabbard will lead the musical activities, and we hope everyone will join in! After all, isn't music what powers all our pedals? Contact Johanna at gojogab@gmail.com for  information, questions, and comments.

DINING & FOOD

We have hired a local caterer, Sarahjane Lopez, and her husband to be on site cooking and serving our meals. The menu is designed to be healthy and hearty, with lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates, and proteins. There will be meat and vegetarian choices for all meals, but unfortunately we are not able to cater to other restricted diets.

 

Camp meals include three dinners, three breakfasts, and two lunches. All meals will be served in the camp dining hall, with the exception of the first night barbeque. Sunday lunch is not included in the camp, but there will be leftovers available for those not leaving early. Between meals we are hoping to have leftover cookies, fruit, etc., available for snacking. 

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Water

The tap water at Camp Thompson is well water and has been chlorinated. We will also have bottled water jugs on site at the dining hall; we know how important fresh mineral water is to our campers!

YOUR BIKE

Since this camp is about learning, we don't need to set up our bikes for race speed. Here are our recommendations:

  • Choose 40-45mm tires with some flat protection

  • Be prepared to climb so ensure a range of easier to pedal gears.

  • Be sure to carry a repair setup; we will have support on the road, but it's better to carry repair supplies since we will be spread out. We recommend two Co2 cartridges, plugs, a tube, and levers.

Packing Checklist

Packing 

Each person is responsible to bring the items needed for enjoying camp, but here is a list of suggested items. Please note that there are no laundry facilities on site, so bring enough kits for the weekend.

October weather in Pennsylvania

Daily high temperatures decrease by 11°F, from 72°F to 61°F, rarely falling below 50°F or exceeding 81°F. Daily low temperatures decrease by 10°F, from 55°F to 45°F, rarely falling below 35°F or exceeding 65°F.

BIKE PACKING LIST

  • Clean and tuned bike

  • Basic repair kit

  • Water bottles

  • Garmin head unit or similar

  • All necessary charging cords and battery mounts

  • Extra batteries for devices

  • Helmet

  • Shorts and jerseys

  • Arm and knee warmers

  • Light wind vest

  • Light jacket

  • Lightweight rain jacket

  • Lightweight base layers

  • Socks

  • Cycling gloves (short finger and long finger)

  • Cycling shoes, pedals, and light bootie covers

  • Eyewear/sunglasses

  • Sunscreen

  • Chamois crème

  • Ride food and drink mix

CAMPING CHECKLIST

  • Sleeping bag or twin sheets with blanket

  • Camp pillow

  • Camp chair

  • Flashlight and/or headlamp

  • Multi tool or pocket knife

  • Clothesline

  • Toiletries

  • Flip flops

  • Insect repellent 

  • Camp clothing (evenings might be chilly, so we recommend a sweatshirt, long pants, a rain jacket, and a beanie)

  • Snacks

  • Musical instruments

Packing
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FACEBOOK GROUP

To better support everyone's preparation for camp, we have opened a private Facebook group for all coaches, staff, and attendees; click here to join the group and post questions there so everyone can stay informed. 

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