History of Vulture's Knob
The early quotes and testimonials
"Definitely the most technical course in Ohio, one of the more technical courses in the country."
Joe Fritsch, Apro Columbus, OH
"Brutal! We don't have anything like this in California!"
Randy Gordon (stepfather of Robbie Gordon-Indy car driver), California
"This is a purist course, the way mountain biking was meant to be."
Shawn Reese, Stow, OH
"I never crossed logs so big on a course."
Russel Daley, Wierton, WV
"I have raced in the mountains and never did this much pushing."
Water station volunteer was told by anonymous rider
"People ask me what's the course like and I tell them its a short course that doesn't have a lot of one thing, but has a little of everything. There is more in three miles than a lot of courses have in six!"
Chris Skinner, Zanesville, OH
Message from Dr. Knob
Hello! My name is Mark Condry, A.K.A. Dr. Knob. Over the past years many people have asked me, "why is the course the way it is?" I've thought about this and feel to understand Vulture's Knob you have to first understand a little bit about me, and perhaps certain events in my past will provide some of the answers. I have spent a lifetime growing up in the wilds of Killbuck Valley. I have witnessed nature in all of her splendor and unkindness.
As a young boy I would adventure through the ravines that surround our home, crossing logs and exploring every nook and crany that I came across. You see, many of the places I send you on the Vulture's Knob course are the same places I enjoyed as a young boy.
On July 4, 1969, Killbuck Valley was ravaged by flood. Cedar Run, a tributary of the Killbuck, raged through the small burg of Overton like the Colorado River for several days. When the flood waters receded my cousin Tom and I ventured up to Overton to help with our Aunts clean up. After cleaning for a while we decided to go up Cedar Valley to Tom's sisters house. Now Cedar Valley is a narrow twisting valley with several bridges. We grabbed our Aunt's bicycles, one a Schwinn the other a Western Flyer. I had traveled numerous times up and down the vally but this was not the Cedar Valley I had grown so accustom to. The flood waters had turned it into a completely different landscape! I was in utter shock to see the road completely gone in several places. Some places we navigated on just a 30 inch wide strip of roadway with 8 and 10 foot drop offs straight down to the creek below. Each bridge presented its own problem. The first bridge was washed out around the end. Tom promptly got off his 38 pound Western Flyer and tossed it over the washout to the other side. Then he grabbed the Schwinn a mere 41 pounds and effortlessly did the same with it. Understand, Tom was a big farm boy and tossing 50-60 pound haybales was childs play. The next bridge met us with a similar fate, but the washout was wider. Tom thought he might hurt the bikes if he tossed them that far. We grabbed several logs that just happened to be handy and layed them across the washout (sorry we didn't ride across them) and carried the bikes across the logs. The following next few weeks were spent riding our bikes up and down Cedar Valley. It was great fun!
Exactly one week after the flood, a tornado all but touched down over our home. In its wake was a tangle of uprooted tree's and debris. One tree in particular was of special interest to me. You see it had fallen perfectly across the ravine by our house neatly positioned to make for a natural bridge. But there was one problem--it was 12 or so feet off the ground and I was not too keen of heights. My first attempt at crossing were done sliding along on my butt. Several days of this was more than my butt could take so I built up the courage to try and walk across. I got to the halfway point fine, but it was also at that point the tree got much narrower so down on my sweet old butt I went. I finally decided that it really wasn't that far of a fall, if I did fall I wouldn't get hurt so I tried again this time when I got to the halfway point I continued inching my way along and finally made it to the other side--WEW!!! I had triumphed over that log. By summers end I wasn't walking across that tree I was running across it and when I showed off my new found abilities to Mom and Dad the tree was promptly made into firewood!
January 1977, some of you may remember was the first in a series of fierce winters in Ohio. It was also the first year that beaver trapping would be open in Wayne County. The conditions that were endured were nothing short of extreme. Temperatures rarely got above freezing and the snow just kept piling up. The first day was easy was only several inches deep and I could drive my trusty Scout the mile and a half to my sets--it only took a mere 15 minutes. Each day saw the addition of another inch or two of snow by the fifth day more snow and just for some extra fun Mr. Wind decided to join the party no longer could I drive to my sets. I was now walking through knee deep snow drifts for the better part of the mile and a half hike. It was taking one hour to check my sets. On the tail end of the eight day and for part of the ninth day we got a reprive. Temperatures warmed to freezing. The snow quit and the sun actually showed herself, but still no beaver. That must have been the calm before the storm because things went downhill fast. The temperature dropped to zero, the wind kicked up to 20 - 30 mph gusts, and the snow machine started up again.
When I came home from work many roads were down to one lane from the blowing, dsrifting snow, some were already completely closed. I could just imagine what laid ahead for me. I bundled up extra good for the task ahead of me. I left the warm comforts of home at 7:30 pm. In 15 minutes my face grew numb from the cold and wind driven snow. I was plowing my way through waist deep snow drifts, never had I experienced a winter like this. When I reached my sets I was ready to call it quits, I didn't know how much more of this I could put up with. I slid down the snow covered banks of Killbuck like an otter to my first set and began chopping out a block of ice. As I removed the block of ice and peered into the water I could see the fur of Wayne County's first trapped beaver of modern times. A large 50 pound beauty. It was amazing but at that instant all the cold and numbness left and I was again rejuvenated. I quickly checked my other sets, hoisted my prize over my shoulders and headed home. The snow and cold wind never felt so warm. When I arrived at our front door it was 10:30 pm.
The beauty of mountain biking is its closeness to nature. Mother nature has taught me many things and one thing for certain, she isn't easy. For that reason, it was always my thinking that mountain biking shouldn't be easy! If there's no challenge, no extreme, no fear then what's the point! If your not tested in what you pursue then how can one have any sense of accomplishment, gratification or fulfillment.
I've been called a brutal, cruel and evil man by some riders. Why one lady told me I was a Sadist! I just smiled and said, "why thank you". You see, mother nature did the work, we just added the finishing touches!