Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lord Loves the Workingman

Last Friday I thought it would be cool to ride across a rock outcropping.  It would have been if I hit it squarely and didn't crash onto the rocks parallel to it landing on my left thumb and hand.  Nowhere near what I did to my right thumb but it is still stiff and sore almost a week later.
Today was a "finishing day" at work.  Working solo, typically I'll cast for a couple of days, and then finish what I made on the third.
I loathe finishing.  Finishing is dusty and tedious.  On a finishing day you'll grind all the tops and panels, then you'll wet sand where needed and buff the scratches out of them.
I'm a southpaw when it comes to sanding.  Sanding was excruciating.  Now you might be saying "well why didn't you sand with your right hand"?
Somethings you just aren't ambidextrous with (like digital manipulation).
I was getting bummed out.  My hand if feeling worse and worse, I've got a race on Sunday, and I'm starting to second guess myself.   Maybe I'd need to put the suspension fork back on, and maybe I should bolt the derailleur back on (it is an offroad TT in the flattest state in New England).
Maybe I should skip riding this afternoon?
I ate my lunch.
When I did get back to work I started to notice that I wasn't noticing "it" as much.  Did the vibration of the buffer have some sort of therapeutic effect or maybe because I do the hard stuff first (the stuff with the most sanding), now that I was on the easy stuff, it was easy on me?
Back to plan "A".
When I did get out riding it was better than yesterday.  Some of the descents did remind me very clearly though that I indeed did something stupid less than a week ago.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Strategy

I really should have rode to work this morning.  It was almost 30*F when I left the house but, I had just replaced the bearings in my front wheel, and put an Ignitor up front (down to 20.5 lbs), and wanted to check that schitz out.

Unfortunately my air compressor had other plans for me.  The return line from the cooler cracked and I had to deal with that.  Took care of another leak too that was a major PITA.  But now I have a flaring tool, so if you need any tubing flared, I'm your man.
I've got flare!
Strategy.
Last year I had one.  I planned my schedule to build to races I was targeting.  My first key target was Winsted Woods, and it seemed chasing fast guys on flat courses was paying of now that we were getting into races with some elevation gain.
Then I broke my...well we don't have to go there.
This year?
Who knows what I'm doing.  The races that meet my low dough criteria don't really feature the climbing that suits me, and after much flip flopping and deliberating, right now I'm leaning towards racing my age group rather than the SS open class.
I'd probably fare better racing the SS class, but the age group pushes me harder.  There are plenty of fast guys racing SS, but there isn't the depth to the field as the age group.

Might not be the wisest strategy...


Mr. Lonely waiting by the door to go for a ride

Monday, March 28, 2011

This just in...

I e.mailed our local weatherman about the bizarre awesomeness of the trail conditions:

As an avid mountain biker I thought I'd have to wait a lot longer this
season before the trails would be suitable for use, yet they are in
exceptionally good condition.  Some of the lower lying areas that are
prone to be wet are still to be avoided, but all the good stuff is firm.
How is this so with all the snow we had?


and with in 5 minutes here's his reply:

Great question Charles.

It turns out (and I talked to some farmers about this) the ground didn't
deeply freeze this winter because of the extensive and long-lasting
blanket of snow. The ground thawed quickly and absorbed all the
moisture. Thus, virtually no mud season! Pretty cool, like this mornings
temps.

Bob M.


Thank you Bob Maxon from NBC Connecticut!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

TdT Lite

obligatory chimney shot

This time last year James, Josh and I did the first TdT of the 2010. I wore arm knee warmers.
Today we started in 25*F (I wore more).
"We" were a small group this year too.  Only Kerry and BC felt 3000'+ of climbing in sub-freezing temps would be prudent.
With the Winter we've had this was BC's first ride on dirt of 2011, and conditions still were bafflingly good.
 How could we have so much snow so recently and have the trails be so dry?



When we got to the back of Pennwood I found myself riding solo as real world respnsibilities pulled the plug on our party and they had to turn back.
I had hoped to cross TJ's path but he zigged when I zagged.
Once I was on my own heading up to the chimney from Wintonbury Rd I found myself in a dark place.  Less than 2 hours in and it seemed I had burned a few more matches than I'd planned.  Not quite halfway and I was beginning to suffer.
 In an attempt to postpone the agony, I decided I should take a picture of another chimney
Years past this would have been considered a fine TdT, but it some how felt like cheating skipping the green and blue trail in favor of Wilcox and the low road back to Pennwood's trailhead.
Once I got back to the East side of the Res. I was a little surprised to see conditions were getting soft.  We had had no precipitation, yet things were damper than they had been the previous two days?  Maybe as the deeper layers of soil thaw the moisture rises?  Maybe a dirt doctor can chime in here?
Finally, I entered and exited at Sunset Farms.  On the gate there is a very polite sign stating "gate does not shut automatically, please shut gate", both times today it was wide open.
Is it really that hard or that much of an imposition to shut a gate?
Oh, and that's "the" 40.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Singular Takes on America!!!*

*as long as it within a 60 mile radius of West Hartford

I know you all have been on the edge of your seats waiting for me to finally announce my race schedule for 2011. So here it is in all it's low dough glory!
  1. King of Burlingame TT
  2. Winding Trails FT Classic
  3. Orchard Assault
  4. Winsted Woods
  5. Domnarski Farm
  6. Wrath of the Boneyard
  7. Hodges Village Dam
  8. Norcross Scurry
  9. Rock the Ridge
The defining parameter with all these races is proximity. With the cost of gasoline, the prospect of spending 5 -7 hours driving to race for 2.5 hours tilts the scale towards not so much. Within 60 miles weighs things back in my favor.

Right now my thought is singlespeed, but I've been quite fickle on the single v. multi speed topic. One minute I'm enjoying gears the next I'm stripping them off. If I do stick with the SS we'll see if I race my age group or SS; there's not a lot of elevation to work with my racing radius. But since I'm not racing enough of any one series to contest the overall, I guess I can race whatever I want.

One thing for sure is I'm not pre-registering for Domnarski Farm months in advance this year. Last year I did, broke my thumb and made a $25 donation to the cause!







oh, and by the way, I do realizes Charlestown RI is outside the radius, but it gives me a chance to wear my bitchin' skinsuit if I'm not too fat to fit into it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Breakfast Lollipop

Standing in front of the mirror brushing my teeth there was a battle going on within me. I had planned on riding, but now my nose was running like a sieve, and I had the beginnings of a soar throat (maybe Child #2 wasn't faking yesterday?).
I wanted to ride, but it was cold outside, and it's so warm inside, and my skirt might get dirty, and eight million other reasons...
BUT!
Who knows what this will bring?



I figured I'd best suck it up.



Glad I did.
This is one of the best parts of being self employed. If I don't get in until 8:30 AM I can always make it up on the back side. Nothing "epic", I still did need to go to work, but wheels touched dirt. I'm flabbergasted how good the conditions are. I just hope we aren't thrown into some kind of a polar recession setting things back a couple more weeks.

Nose stopped running while I was riding too.

Must be

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Not what I had in mind

Long story short I had to drive in, but I could ride home.
Since I didn't need lights to ride home at 4:30 in the afternoon I decided the Sunday Princess would be a fine bike for the job.
Theoretically it is my fastest bike.
Lightest and stiffest by far.
"They" always say how unforgiving aluminum is, but the Princess has always seemed quite comfortable to me.
Not today.
Maybe I over inflated the tires.
Maybe I've just grown accustomed to the 28s on the Fun Machine.
In any case, the ride home seemed jarring...and slow.
It didn't actually seem slow, it was slow.
One of the slower trips home on record. At the 1 hour mark I hadn't even covered 16 miles. If it wasn't for what is essentially a 4 mile descent to my house, I doubt it would have broke that mark.
When I left the shop I thought I'd ride out to Simsbury, or even Tariffville, but when I got to Rt 10 the wind changed my mind for me.
I turned up Hatter's Rd instead, and even set a new PR, but was way off on the other two climbs of the day.
Speaking of PRs, I set a new one on Buena Vista on Saturday. I didn't have this information before I stripped the gears off of BluSteel. My previous record on that paved hill was also on BluSteel, but set up as a singlespeed.
I was questioning my decision to go back to ss...until the major suckitude of today.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Just the Tip

I got ready for a road ride.
It was Saturday.
In my perfect world scenario you ride on the road to work during the week and your mountain bike on the weekend.

The wind was blowing (hard).
I had enough wind on Friday.

I was reluctant, but after walking around the expansive grounds of the CB2 compound I decided I would play "Just the Tip".
I would ride over to the Res and just go in a little. If it was firm, I'd go deeper. Soft and gooey, I'd just do hill repeats with the protection of the trees on the fireroads.

The trail along the brook feeding reservoir 1...good
East fence line...dry except for low-lying spots that will be wet until July (they always are)

so far so good...

Fireroad dividing the Antler Trail...soupy mess
Levee...pretty sloppy
But those are easily avoided and are roads

West-side...Freakin" Ideal!!!

Ideal except after a solid first half a month commuting on the fixed gear, that clacky device hanging off the back of my bike was getting pretty annoying.
So much for seeing what my potential as a rider is; singlespeed is just so much more fun.

With Winter tires (Ardent 2.25f, Nevegal 2.2r), set up single Bl├╝Steel weighs 21 pounds, 11 ounces thanks to the Niner fork. That's lighter than any mountain bike I've ever raced; with racer boy tires it could be below 20.5 lbs.

With knowledge of the trail condition, avoiding all gooeyness and sticking to the awesome, I finally got test the Niner fork's mettle. You'd think by steepening the head angle it would be twitchy, but on the contrary, although quicker, the steering has a decidedly "moto" feel to it. I was really able to ratchet it up a notch on some of the descents (but that might have just been due to the enthusiasm of riding on glorious Windsor Sandy Loam). Maybe lowering the front end has more ideally distributed my weight, but I felt a confidence I haven't felt in quite some time (pre-thumb breaking). I felt fast (I wasn't), and fast is fun.

This was how I avoided the slop on Sunday

One of the greatest performance upgrades I've made this Winter is my new bell. Not as stylie, but form follows function...
Spring has sprung!

Mostly

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I totally forgot it was St. Patrick's Day.
I even had a green jersey in my hand when I was dressing this morning, but decided it would be too flappy if the weather was nice and I didn't need a jacket for the ride home.
When I got to work I went to the Facebook, wished my cousin a happy birthday, think my memory was fading with age because I thought I remembered it being on St. Patrick's Day.
I post a link to The Dropkick Murphys and only after a friend commented on that did I realize what day it was.
How did I ever survive the dark days before the Zukerberg era?

So in honor of St. Patrick's Day I thought I'd write a little bit about my old buddy Chris, or Bongway as he would become known.
Actually I thought of Chris when I was up on South Ridge Rd riding home from work. There was an attractive lady wearing a green jersey getting her mail. South Ridge is a more exclusive neighborhood with views and circular driveways and the likes.
Chris was originally from Marblehead, MA, another exclusive area (Chris was the guy up on those exclusive roofs with bundles of shingles).
Anywho... one of Chris' many nuggets of wisdom he bestowed on me, Bongway-isms as they would be come to known, was "I love Marblehead...rich guys live in Marblehead...rich guys have pretty wives, who have hot daughters for me to ____" Well, I'll let you fill in the blank.

One of my all time favorite Bongway-isms, one which I'm sure I've ripped off in some shape or form was Chris' view on contraception:
"I wear ribbed condoms...for her pleasure...because I care".

Chris would show up for rehearsal (he was a great guitarist, btw) with a tallboy and 3 singles (Budweiser of course). I'd point out it would cost less to buy a six pack, his eyes would glaze over and he'd simple quip "but I don't want 6".

So Chris, I'll put aside all rational and logic for a moment, consider there is a white bearded guy floating around on a cloud who you have some influence with and assume you had something to do with the awesomeness we were served up for this afternoon.
It was a great ride home.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's a good thing I like riding my bike

That's the check engine and service light on Mrs. CB2's car.
It was down 3.5 qts of oil, yet there's been no signs of burning or leaking and it's making a brapping sound now too.
What this will cost to repair could be frightening, but what is really terrifying is the thought of my filthy rotten children riding in my truck until it is fixed.
Good thing vinyl is easy to wash.

Monday, March 14, 2011

These Things Happen

I thought I had come up with the perfect shoes for late Winter / early Spring commuting; an old pair of Pearl Izumis. They have a perforated leather upper that isn't very good for the warmer months, but just might be perfect for these chilly morning and mild afternoons. They would let me skip the shoe covers and make getting out the door that much quicker.
On the ride in they were perfect, but my right shoe was clicking.
Humf.
Have to find a plan B.

As I was leaving for home I heard a tinny clanking.


This is the second one of these that has broken in less than a year. The first was on my cross bike so I wrote it off as being above it's pay grade. But not even tough enough for commuting?
Not cool.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I try not to veer into politics on the C.R.A.B., and living in a house divided, I've learned there is always another view point to any issue, but fookin' Bush!
I'll give you a pass on the the abyss the economy has been dropped in, but moving DST earlier in the year?!
Dude!?
I wasn't really "blogging" or commuting in less than ideal conditions when you were in office, but now I am.
So I really haven't had an opportunity to bitch about it.
DST doesn't save energy; riding a bike to work does.
Since mid to late January, I haven't need a headlight to commute. Now I do.
Thanks.

Saturday Doug and I rode out to meet Alex and his Benidorm crew for a little Northwestern sortie. We were riding a loop, so you'd figure at some point we'd have a tailwind.
Nope.
Doug's a pretty smart guy, rocket scientist and the likes, but I think he learned a valuable lesson in the theories and practice of aerodynamics.
Theoretically, by riding behind me he should have been having an easier time of it. It's what they call "drafting".
In practice, a little man riding a little bike provides little draft (if any).
When I got home, I walked to grandiose West Hartford center, had a brie and butter sandwich and an Americano at Le Petite France.
Over-priced, yes, but oh so good (and exactly what I was craving).

Finally, my middlest child and I rode some bike trails on Sunday. We planned on riding all the way to Hansel and Gretel's place, but the gate across the Farmington River was closed.
Does this ride count towards the 40?
You bet your sweet Assos!
Was actually a good recovery. Really loosened up the legs.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Best laid plans

Last week was a great start to the month. Got in over 11 hours on the bike. I had big plans for this week to keep the momentum rolling.
Then I began rebuilding the gel-coat pump...

Not to get too technical, but I had depressurized it the night before, hell, I didn't even have the air hooked up to it any more. But maybe the problem I was having with it was the air was slipping past the pancake diaphragm (and building up in the system unbeknown to me).

4th bolt.

Jet stream of polyester resin directly into my face and eyes.
Blindly thrashed my way across the shop to the sink and eye wash. You can wipe the resin off your skin with acetone and then wash with soap and water, but all you can do for your eyes is just continue to flush it repeatedly.
Had to call Mrs. CB2 to pick me up. No, I didn't go to the emergency room. Yes I should have.
The drive home seemed to take for ever even though it felt like Kim was driving 100 mph. Sunlight was excruciating.
All I wanted to do was get in the shower and rinse my eye and body non-stop. I was in some "discomfort".
Wednesday I woke with my eye glued shut with whatever was discharged from it. When I finally opened it it gushed tears. When the tears subsided, my vision was still blurry. But it didn't "sting" quite so bad.
Hourly eye washes seemed to help.
Woke this morning again with my eye glued shut. It feels much more normal, vision is improved but still blurry.


Missed out of 3.5 hours on the bike, and I still have to finish rebuilding the pump.



Please forgive any misspelling or punctuation errors.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On the ride in this morning I was passed by a geezer in a Subaru reeking of pot (ganja, mary jane, dope, hooch, the cronic, Indiana hay, lambs bread, loco, muggles, moocah et al), cranking the blues.
On the back of his sensible suburban station wagon he had a "God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" bumper sticker.

Really?
Then where did Steve come from and why is Adam constantly trying to bone him?



I add another feature to the clutter over there----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->

I'm going to keep track of how many dollars I'm saving on gas by commuting. Some of that will be offset by the fact that Mrs. CB2 will probably drive my truck when her car is low on gas, and the increased calories I'm ingesting, but because I'm not figuring in any other wear and tear let's just call it even, M'kay?

It wasn't too cold this morning, low twenties when I left the house, but some days it's just hard to get motivated. When I woke and looked at the clock it said 4:14 AM. Ah, another 45 minutes to snooze I thought. Then I realized both 4s didn't look the same and it was really 5:14 AM.
Fook.

Now on to the best part of self employment; rebuilding a polyester gel-coat pump...good times.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Are Women Tougher or are Men Smarter?

Before any men answer that, the correct answer is women are tougher and smarter.

Yesterday morning I decided to squeeze in a ride before the rain. Well I was able to squeeze in 20 minutes before the rain, but after that I just had to suck it up. Being in the upper 40's it really wasn't too unpleasant. Gotta love them fenders!

What I did find interesting though, was I passed 9 women jogging, and only 2 men. One of the guys was running with his girlfriend/wife so I don't know if he really counts; probably guilted into running.
There also was one teen-aged male running, but we know kids don't have any good sense when it comes to weather; ever see them standing at the bus stop in 20 degree weather wearing a t-shirt (the young man I saw was running in shorts and a t-shirt)?

The real question though is if I was out riding in the rain, what does that make me?
Dumber and feminine?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The wind took the wind out of my sails

I said this too Alex as we were grinding up 219 into the wind. He thought it would be a good blog title, so there it is.
I knew we were in trouble as we were accelerating up Rt 181. I know this isn't a tough grade but why are we going faster up hill?
We first felt the wind as we rounded the reservoir on North Hollow Rd. about half way into our loop; nothing more demoralizing than climbing into the wind.
At least I had the fortitude to choose the Sunday Princess over the Fun Machine to ride. The Fun Machine would have given Alex some full fender protection love, but knowing his love of hills, and how the roads seemed to be drying out (they weren't) I chose gears over fixed just in case he had anything "special" in mind. It would have been doable fixed, but might have elevated it to DEFCON 5.
Our original route was slightly more ambitious (Alex's ride actually was more ambitious), but I was cooked, probably more mentally than physically, and pulled the plug when we got to rt 179 shortening our ride by 3.5 miles.

I was going to take this morning off as it is damp and going to get damper, but if the weatherman is correct, my opportunities might be limited this week, so If I'm going to meet my quota, I'd better saddle up.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Observations

The madness of March is off on the right foot, and today was the perfect day for it.
Temps were just below freezing on the way in, and by the time I was headed home, they had dipped down to the upper mid thirties. It's always nice when your morning and afternoon wardrobe needs are the compatible.

But as I rode along I made note of a few things that made me go hmmm.

People don't realize how stinky they are. I first noticed this today at a stop light next to a car with a leaky cooling system. Then I was behind a Prius and smelled cigobutts. I thought it odd the driver was smoking; for some reason Prius and smoking don't seem to go together. Then I noticed she had the windows all the way down, so she was probably in mom's car.

If you and your Bros are partaking in a little dubage, best not call attention to yourself by yelling out the windows at cyclist. A lot of cops ride, and pot reeks. Were we that dumb (rhetorical question, of course we were)?

My last customer made it to the shop just ion time for me to hit a couple of my favorite hills on the way home from work, any later and I would have had to skip Hatter's.

As it was I got to witness a Winter phenomenon. Due to the still low angle of the sun, I saw the sun rise over the Hillstead Museum, and then this evening set over it as well. Yeah, I should have taken pictures, but in the morning I needed to get to work, and in the evening the sun was setting, as in going away, leaving us in darkness. Since it appeared the whole 3' for cyclist rule hasn't really sunk in or maybe they're just pissed I'm riding a bike while they're stuck in their metal coffins...well everyone except the 4 young men who were stoned, they seemed pretty happy, but I felt getting home before complete darkness would be prudent.