Sunday, October 30, 2011


I can only imagine what the woods are like.

I'm glad Neal and I were able to sneak another one in.

This was on Mary Jane with gears.  It also was about the fastest TdT type ride on record (didn't hurt having Neal drag my ass @ +20mph for the the last 2miles home).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


After Irene's wrath sent a derailleur into the spokes of Blusteel, I had to do a lot of "cold working" to get the hanger back in-line.   Not only was the DAG-2 needed but the FFG-2 got to see some action too.

Fast forward and I've decided to make Mary Jane the geared bike and keep the Swift as the SS; it's EBB is just too good to not utilize.

But on Mary Jane's maiden 1x8 ride the shifting was somewhat clunky.  At first I thought maybe the derailleur I was using was bent from it's visit to the spokes.


Turns out Mary Jane likes it rough, because it took a ton of manhandling to align the dropouts, and a frightening amount of twisting to get the hanger in line.
Way the flock out. 

Were they so out of whack from singlespeed or my own "unique" style of riding?
Thankfully they are steel and an take the twisting.  Glad I have the right tools for the job.

Monday, October 24, 2011

It had to be done

After last weeks "close but no cigar ride" I was left with a feeling of remorse.  There were only a limited number of days left this year that the water fountains would be on, and making it out to Roncari and back, without skipping anything would be a lot easier without a hydration pack weighing me down.

I could have called up the usual suspects, but If I didn't complete my intended route, I didn't want to have anyone to blame  but myself (since James doesn't use the internet, I'll blame him for not doing the whole route last week).

Things got off to a bumpy start.  In cleaning the bike I intended to ride, a bike with not one but eight choices of gears,  I found it wouldn't be up to it.
I was going to have to do it singlespeed.

Then I left the house with overinflated skinny(er) tires...and my rotors were rubbing.  I stopped, let some air out of the tires, and adjusted my calipers.
Got rolling again and crashed going up the res?!
This was going to be a long ride.
Then I went OTB hopping a routine log.
This ride seemed to be doomed.

I got to the first water fountain.  I made a deal with myself, if the water is on I'll continue on, if not, I'll just goof around at the res until I was out of water and head home.
It's on!
Hurray...I guess.

As I made my way through Pennwood, I began to get some sort of rhythm going.  But as pretty as the leaves may be they inevitably led to a few sudden directional changes.
In West Hartford I was feeling over dressed, but just 15 miles North and I was just right.

Descending down from the chimney into Tariffville, the trail was getting a little sloppy.  I braced myself for what the flood plains were going to be like.  Again I started to rationalize, maybe I'd turn back if things got too sloppy.

Then I grew a pair; I'm not blowing this opportunity.

They had towed the broken down car that has been in the woods for at least a decade so I missed the entrance to "Randy's Trail".  I realized this when I was faced with the wall of a trail that used to be the only way to the ridge.  33x20 is a fairly light gear, but no match for that!

Up to the ridge, down to Hatchet Hill, and on to Roncari.
I made it!
Now I just need to make it back.

I counted off the climbs on my return.
  • Tariffville to the Chimney
  • Powerlines
  • Wilcox
  • Green trail
  • Blue trail in the center of Pennwood (the last big one)
  • From 185 to the powerlines
  • CB1 Birthday climb
One by one I checked them off.
Looking down at my computer, it seemed Garmin was ripping me off on elevation gain.  It also was less mileage than I expected.   Was I going to have to ride around the block to break 40?
No, I didn't have to resort to that, but it was close.

To be a little extra geeky, I kept track of what I ate and drank.  Before the ride I had a 1/2 cup of oatmeal with a banana, and a teaspoon of sugar, two cups of coffee and a glass of orange juice.  Right before I left I had two granola bars.  That's 535 calories.
On the ride I had 4 more granola bars, a Cliff Bar, a Cliff Mojo bar, and 64 oz of water for a total of 800 calories.  I was on a fairly comfortable pace and that seemed work pretty well.

Next time maybe I'll to go to Newgate.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Not this Shitake again!

Every year, oh about this time, I start experimenting with...gears.


Usually it last about a month and then I get bored and go back to SS.
But I've gotta say, I've been really having a blast riding Blüsteel set up as a 1x8.

I've got big fat fattys on it (Ardent 2.25s), I believe that's the key;
the big meats.

Let's get all OCD and have some fun with math.
I did this ride singlespeed on Saturday:

today I did the same ride, but I started at the Res,  and rode the 1x8.

From home I averaged 9.2 mph on a 15.7 mile ride.
At the Res. only ride I averaged 8.4 mph over 11.3 miles.
In other words, I'd only have to average 12.5 mph on the road to equal my pace on Saturday.  Even on the singlespeed I'd have to be seriously goofing off to only average 12.5 mph on the road.

Here's a couple more factors to possibly consider:
*Mary Jane weighed 22.4 pound on Saturday (Ardent up front / Crossmark rear)
*Blüsteel  currently weighs 25.4 pound.
     Actually the weight difference was less due to another factor; 
     I forgot my water bottles today.
*Saturday I had Iron Maiden in my head, today Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros.
*Today my bike was making a strange metallic sound that had me stopping to try and
    figure it out  (you can see on Strava I was "resting" twice as long today as Saturday).

If it's faster, and as long as it's fun... to me in a month.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fabulous Failure

We didn't make it.
Due to time constraints, excuses and indifference we only made it to the chimney.
 I'm okay with that.
We still got in over 32 miles and 3300' of elevation gain on one of the most perfect days for riding of the year.
Roncari will be there in the future, we'll just have to wear hydration packs if we want to do it before Spring.

James had to high tail it, so naturally Neal gave chase.
This left Neal waiting for our descent.
(all photos from this point on were blatantly stolen off Neal's facebook page)

Why is Doug always blurry?

It wouldn't be a TdT without some sort of tire malfunction, fortunately I only had a burp.
(they say the camera adds 10 pounds; looks like I'm packing a few extra cameras there)

Monday, October 10, 2011

So it's like this...

I alluded to it but now I want to make it official.
There will be a SUPER TdT this Sunday, wheels rolling from my house @ 8:30 AM.
If you hit the snooze, you can meet us at the MDC parking lot at 8:45 AM.
you can reach me at
charlieridesabike at gmail dot com.
The route will be similar to the below but go a couple miles further out (and back), and we'll hit the Rt 44 fun park on the way back.

Friday, October 7, 2011


If you look over at the $$$ saved on gas ticker--------------------------------------->
you'll see we just broke the $400 mark.
I'd really like to make it to $500 this year.
Between the price of gas dropping (this is a happy /sad thing for me as it gives people less incentive to seek alternative transportation), and the temperature disparity this time of year (it's easy to commute when it's all cold or all hot, but when it's cold in the morning and warm in the afternoon it's kind of a pain dressing for it). That and the shrinkage.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Making Lemonade

I was ahead of the game this morning.
I was deceived into thinking it was colder outside than it was by how cold it was in my house, wimped out and drove to work.
At least I would get a good jump on the day by getting to work so early I thought.
And I did...until the motor on the spray booth exhaust fan crapped out.
$536 for a new hazardous location 1hp 115/230 single phase motor, that won't be in until 9:00 AM Friday morning.
I guess that puts production on hold for awhile.
Mrs. CB2 is going away for the weekend, so my day on Friday was being shortened anyways.  Now I won't be able to actually make anything until Columbus Day (good thing I'm not Italian).
But on the bright side it freed up my afternoon to do some deliveries I wasn't sure where I was going to fit in.
It just so happens my last delivery was suspiciously close to Case MT.
I also just happen to have Blüsteel in the back seat of the truck.
For those who haven't been Case is a climby, rocky, technical, New England Mecca.
You can really learn a lot about flow surfing the tops of the rocks.
Blüsteel was kinda being annoyingly noisy.  Making all sorts of geared bike hoopla.
But with a 33x32 low gear I was able to clean the "Dragon's Spine", something I'm not sure if I ever did on 26" wheels with a triple (in my advanced geriatric state, it's hard to remember back that far).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

There it is.  I'm still waiting to hear when they turn the water fountain off in Tariffville, but I think it's safe to say there must be a TdT Xtreme before Nov. 1.
I'm thinking a no holds (trails) barred, out to Roncari TdT next Sunday October 16th leaving my house at the D.I.N.K. friendly time of 8:30 AM.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Listen to me now and believe me later; It is easier and would be preferable to ride a century with 10k' of climbing on a fixed gear than standing for 10 hours a day on a concrete floor.


I had only planned on working a half day today.  I would unload the van and wrap up any loose ends.  Well, the van got unloaded...
But I was a complete zombie.

I came home planning on riding, but thanks to record breaking rainfall the lawn again needed to be mowed...and I had laundry to do.
I did the responsible mundane, which quickly sent me back to zombieland.

Alas, whoa is me.

I took a shower and walked down the road to get one of them store bought coffees that are all the rage.
I enjoyed my venti (or what ever made up name for large they use) with a shot of espresso and meandered home.

Did some more mundane...

I was blue...

Maybe it was the caffeine, maybe it was the peaks of blue coming through the clouds, but I was somehow reinvigorated.
I couldn't let the remnants of an afternoon off go to waste.

Worried about my lameness, I rode Blüsteel all one by eight-ey.
 Boy did I need that!
Set up as a 1x8 with those big fat fatties, Blüsteel is like a rock-climbing stuffed chair.
So much fun I might have to try and race this thing.