Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Commmuting Haiku

Couple of haiku's popped into my head in the way in:

Early, dark and cold
pedaling, frigid air stings
coffee smells so good


riding my bike in
windchill stings my wiener
shrinkage I tell you!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

What the?

I was in East Haddam on deliveries on Thursday. Snow free. Like a different country.
Great. I'll head down early Saturday when things are still frozen and ride on dirt.

After futzing w/ my front brake for longer than I wanted I finally hit the road about an hour later than I planned. On the drive down I started noticing trace amounts of snow along the highway. Don't quite remember that.

As I pull off the highway, there is a good inch of snow on the ground. Shouldn't stop me, but when did this happen? What happened to my dirt?

My direction to the trail head take me through Cockaponset State Forest on a dirt road. A now snow covered dirt road. About 3/4's of the way I'm sliding backwards down a hill heading for a ditch. After my second attempt, and a close call with a tree on my slide back down, I figure I better come up with another plan.

As I head back, I begin thinking why not just park and start riding? When I come upon a hunter, I realize this might not be a good plan. But he does give me an alternate route to the trail head.

Finally, almost 2 hours after I planned to ride I'm actually swinging a leg over my bike.

Pick a random color trail blaze and head off into the woods. At first I'm having a hard time getting my rhythm, unfamiliar snow covered rock gardens have a tendency to do that to you. But after about 15 minutes I'm starting to get a flow.

nothing like snow covered rocks to boost your confidence.

Even better, I come across tracks of two other riders. Following their tracks puts my mind at ease that I'll get a good ride in on these foreign trails. I planned on following them for an hour out and then doubling back, but the hour comes and goes, and the trail is just too good to turn back.

tracks of the elusive Pugsley

At about 1.5 hours the two sets of tracks split. I decide to follow the endomorph tracks which head down a fireroad I'm assuming will eventually get me back to my truck. Boring, but safe.

As luck would have it, as I'm cruising down the packed snow double track, I come across the rider who actually made the other set of tracks. Once again my mind is put at ease as he leads the way back to the lot, on some more of New England's finest twisties.

It took some work getting there, but it was definitely worth it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Like a Fluffy Pillow

a little slick

Connecticut "rocks"!

How better to spend an afternoon than taking my best gal out East of the river?
Rode Case MT today on Mary Jane.


Hydro discs.
Suspension fork.

So light and fluffy. Like riding a cloud, or a pillow or whip cream (mmm. whip cream...).

A fellow could really get used to this coasting thing, especially at a place like Case.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

First Commute of the Year

Yesterday I finally got up the gumption to get my lazy on the bike to commute to work. I hadn't since Labor Day; I'm up early enough, but the lack of light has always sucked the motivation out of me. I also have had an aversion to riding road when it's cold, but after a few Winter sorties with the 503 Cycleworx boys, I've found after the initial 10 minutes of Arctic shock, it's not too bad.

But I really want / need to get more time in on the bike, and with the the ice on the trails and still shorter days, commuting is the only way that's going to happen.

Just to make my departure a little easier and quicker, I laid my clothes out Monday night, check my bike, pumped up the tires and strapped on my handlebar light; probably a good idea anytime of year.

Get up, eat a little breakfast, get dressed, and roll out the door; 20 minutes late, but it's cold and dark out there baby.

Being 20 minutes late wasn't really a concern, I didn't have a real heavy day ahead. But it did afford me more natural light; at 6:30 AM street lights are more than adequate for my vision. I still had blinkies front an rear for motorists.

So how was the ride? Uneventful. It's a commute; that's a good thing! Leaving late there was a little more traffic, and I had to wait for a long line of cars once, but other than that easy peasy.
When it's 6:00 AM, 20 degrees F, a Dunkin Dounuts smells like heaven.

The ride home I thought I'd try a "new improved" route home. Well I missed a turn and ended up adding about 10 extra miles and 1000' of climbing, but that's a good thing, right?

I don't think I'm going to try anything heroic like commuting in the snow, but I sure am glad commuting season has begun.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Buena Vista Rd

Buena Vista is the first, almost indiscernible bump on the graph; only about 6 minute into my ride.

Close to home there is a short twisty road...that goes straight up. From the top switchback there is a pleasant view of our capitol city; a Buena Vista, hence the name.

Buena Vista Rd. used to be my route to the res. when I road geared mtb's. Only about a 1/4 mile long; a short steep monster with two wall like switch backs.

I'd grind up it in my 22x28 (20.4") on the mtb. When I ride my road bike, I'm in my 39x26 (39.6"). If I still rode a compact I'd be in my 34x26 (34.5"). Occasionally, if I'm feeling randy, I'll take my mtb w/ a 52" gear up the switchbacks. More often than not, I'll opt for the bailout on Everett Ave. at the first switchback and cross over to Sunset Farm Rd via Gin Still Ln (wonder what they used to do there?).

Sunday, I was heading out to E. Granby on the Fun Machine (71.4" fixed gear). Old Mt. Rd was on the agenda, as well as some rollers in T'ville, Granby, and Bloomfield. But what if...

James and Alex had thrown some decent climbs at me on the fixed gear, maybe today was the day I gave Buena Vista a shot.

I tried to pick up some speed past the ice rink and aquatic center before I hit the first slope, but was slightly hindered by people who didn't fully realize that yes, I do indeed have some divine right of passage over them.

Hit Buena Vista, and just wasn't feeling it. Ground up to Everett and headed straight to bail.

"Hold on a second here Mr. Baby pants" a voice inside of me exclaimed, "You're not even going to try?!"

The shame of walking is less than the shame of bailing so I quickly u-turned and headed back toward my "Great White Whale".

The main slope of the road isn't too extreme; you are using your whole body pushing up it, pulling on the bars and rocking your weight on the pedals, but nothing to curse about.

The last switchback on the other hand is the brute. My Garmin says the maximum grade was 18.3%. I don't know how it calibrates that but I'd beg to differ on the last 50' of that climb. Pulling with all of my body, pushing with every once, barely turning the pedals over. My cadence at the top was probably around 30 rpm, if that!

But I made it. If it was any longer who knows, but it is what it is. The road quickly leveled and turned down. I didn't stop to look at the view, I was just at the beginning of what would turn to be a great ride.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Thursday a friend on Facebook posted a Cramps video. Cool I thought, haven't listen to them in a while. A good deal of my high school and college years were spent listening to Lux Interior's macabre wit and Poison Ivy's pscho-billy grind.

Yesterday I noticed "The Cramps" had made Yahoo's big list of searches. That's odd? Why would the Cramps be the 12th most popular search?
Because Lux died of a heart condition at age 60.

Here's to misspent youth and all the joys that go with it.
Lux, you will be missed.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Something better to do Friday after work?



start of the good stuff

down hill twisty=fun on the fixie

Today at the res. the trails were all mine. Of the 3 laps I did, I crossed paths with one jogger. Once.
And today was the warmest day so far this week.
This isn't just a Winter phenomenon either. I've noticed a definite sparsity to the trails on Friday afternoons. I guess people would rather get their drink on than ride their bikes, or be outside for that matter.
Being the anti social SOB that I am this is A OK in my book.

I can understand why the Inuit people have so many different words for snow too. The trails have been different every day this week, and the temperature has been within 10 degrees, all below freezing all three days.

Looks like one more good day of snow riding before the big "heat wave".