Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Front and rear brake pads
Punctured front tire (first flat w/ an Ignitor in 3 years)
Crunchy pedal bearing
Busted Garmin 305

Rhode Island wins.

Monday, March 29, 2010

King of Burlingame

King of Burlingame came and went much as I expected; a bunch of old men (i.e. my age) from Corner Cycle came and destroyed all.
I was looking at KoB in a get the first race of the season out of the way kinda way. I don't usually race EFTA races, this was my first time at KoB, and I was looking more forward to the ride Rob had planned for afterwords.
On pre-riding I was surprised how wet and technical the course was. It wasn't really too difficult, but from reading descriptions of it I was expecting sandy fireroads, pavement, and an occasional rock garden to keep it interesting. My biggest concern prior to the race was if I had a big enough gear, but after pre-riding, I was considering going lower.
I guess I considered a little too much after pre-riding, because when I looked at my watch I was 4 minutes late for the start. No worries, the guy at registration said they usually start a little late. Oops, not today, they were right on time. I missed my start!
The German guy holding riders saddles at the start made some crack about not minding throwing away money, and how he hoped it wasn't important to me. I asked the starter if I at least was able to race, figuring I'd just take whatever time penalty I had accrued. He assured me of course and slipped me in (not Slip It In).
Woohoo! And I'm off. Yippie! I catch my 30 second guy! The euphoria was short lived as the guy who started 30 seconds down on me (Sam Morse I believe) catches me.
That's okay, it's a TT, just ride my own pace.
A couple miles more into it, at a marked corner, with course marshals, I make the turn and keep on turning until I run straight into the course tape along the pond. At this point Kevin Hines comes motoring past me; I think he started about a week after I did.
After one of the road crossings I catch another rider! Woohoo! Then Colin catches me (he started a week and a half after me).
The last muddy fireroad to the finish was putting the major hurt on me, sucking the life out of me.
33.43 was my final time. Good for 21th overall, but I'm not sure where that puts me amongst my contemporaries (you know, the old guys *edit* 10th). I never really felt fluid on the course.

I felt it only proper to bring that lack of fluidity to Arcadia. Didn't want to keep the suck only along the shoreline. I think I spent as much time in the air and on the ground as I actually did riding in Arcadia. I put to much energy into KoB, and didn't save enough for the fun stuff. My grand finale at Arcadia was doing a 180 and flatting on a descent! Awesome.
"Dinosaur" at Arcadia was without a doubt the most technical riding (walking) I have done.
The Res? Child's play. Hell's Kitchen in Nassahegan? "G" rated. Dragon's Spin @ Case? Bunny slope. Dinosaur is the real deal!
As Rob said with a chuckle, "Welcome to Rock Island!".
My left side will be remembering Arcadia for a few days to come.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cycling Dreams

Not about cycling aspirations, but sleepy time dreams.
I had two last night about SS-A-Polooza.
The first was before the race. The usual suspects were hanging out in the mall(?) at the race course in a coffee shop. A couple guys were soon to be or recent fathers. My mother drove by in her Rabbit Convertible and asked where all the bikers intended on relieving themselves; she was concerned about the waste capacity of the forest.
The second was during the race and afterwords. They incorporated spear chucking into the event and lengthened it to three 14 mile laps. I came in fifth (it was a dream!), and a prominent New England rider ,who as far as I know doesn't ride a singlespeed, won it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Things were going well up to this week, but now my focus seemed to have switched to the following:

Monday, March 22, 2010


Connecticut, Central Connecticut in particular, has been sort of the protected rider if you will of N.E. States. We haven't had the snow of any of our surrounding states. Hell, our rain total pales in comparison to even the CT shoreline. An Island of fair weather.
What this leads to is early exceptional trail conditions. With the exception of a a few of the usual suspects trail conditions are as good as they get on my home turf.
On Sunday I had the opportunity to share them with James and Josh as they escaped the still thawing frost heave which is NW CT (amazing what a difference 1000' of elevation makes).
Now I have no photographic proof that anyone actually rode with me Sunday, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
Josh showed us what skill and a derailleur can do for you on a couple of technical walls. We all made the chute on "little Moab" at the res (riding up it), and all conquered the "Fixer" (new log skinny made by stitch), Josh launching impressively off the end of it. So far my batting average against the "Fixer" is 2&2. Again no proof that these things really happened, but there were a couple guys loitering at the "fixer", so maybe tales of our feats of strength will be confirmed...or not.
James goaded my ego into riding what I thought was an impossible drop by riding it without hesitation.
All I have to prove these things actually happened, or could have happened as described is this gps report, and this picture of the sandwich I ate afterward.
It was very good.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hammer Nutrition: Math 101

bottle-stand 2000
I decided to try something new for 2010. I going to race with 1 bottle on the bike and a bottle stand. Since I'm only going to have one bottle with me I wanted a palatable energy drink that would provide me with enough calories for a race.
I've heard a lot of good thing about Hammer Nutrition, Heed in particular, so I though I'd look into that.
In Hammer's essential Knowledge section they state:

In general, most athletes, under most conditions, will satisfy hydration needs with a fluid intake in the range of 20-25-ounces/hour - roughly the equivalent of a standard size small or large water bottle. Lighter athletes and/or athletes exercising in cool weather conditions may only require an intake of 16-18 ounces/hour.

They also say:

For most athletes, 240-300 calories/hour will do the job. For lighter athletes, 180-200 calories/hour may be perfectly adequate, while larger athletes (190+ lbs) can consider hourly intakes of 300 to slightly over 300 calories/hour.

So an athlete should drink about 1 water bottle with about 200 calories per hour is how I read that.

I order a 32 serving tub of Heed, read the side panel and a serving equals 1 scoop. Each scoop has 105 calories. They recommend
1-2 scoops per bottle.

I thought a serving should be a 200 calorie bottle per hour? For a 200 calorie bottles I need 2 scoops. 32 scoops per tub, 2 scoops per bottle, equals 16 servings.
That's like selling me a single cookie and saying the serving size is 1/2 cookie.
The stuff does taste good though.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Happyhappy, Joyjoy

Rode the res after work this evening. Had to stick to the perimeter and power-lines because it's still a little wet. Someone "carved" the top of a downed tree making it a wicked cool skinny. Wearing knee-warmers, shorts, a polypro undershirt and a short sleeved jersey I was over dressed.
Ahh, it's going to be a good week!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Just Look Out The Window

After a solid work week of riding and the impending doom forecasted by the weathermen I decide to skip riding on Saturday. Overhauled my pedals, replaced my disposable pedals and cleaned off my work bench. Sorry no pictures it just wasn't that impressive.
Then I sat around in my PJ's watching reality TV and eating. Tried to get motivated to read a book, but then a bike race came on TV, and nothing goes better with coffee and cookies than bike racing.
Two days of watching other people do things that I may or may not be interested in doing on TV is more than I can handle so I fixed a fender to Blue Steel, and headed out to:
A: Ride some fireroads in the rain
B: If the fireroads were in good enough shape venture onto the singletrack
As I rode up the Western fence line I was singing praise for Connecticut's State soil. Good old Windsor Sandy Loam, you drain so well! But as I turned NE and the trail flattened, the puddling began.
Oh well, plan B.
Which is fine. There was a time when I would dread the thought of riding fireroads. How boring. But now, what a great way to get some climbing in.
No cars, no trail damage, and with the inclimate weather, hardly any other users.
Now onto effing DST!
You think I'd be happy that there is more daylight after work, but I was really getting into a groove with commuting, and now I'll have to bring out the big lights again.
Or I can burn some more dinosaurs for the next couple of weeks until there is morning light again and ride my mtb after work...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Long Live the Long Way Home!

Who knows what the weather is going to be like tomorrow so I'll take it when I can get it.
Tariffville's on the way home, right?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I didn't ride to work this morning. I planned to, but when it was leaving time, I felt a strange the ol' love bone. Not the whole wedding tackle, but more...well that already more than you probably wanted to know. Did I pull something riding home last night? It was a fairly brisk pace even with the headwind. Didn't notice anything last night, just woke up this way.
So I drove to work.
The second I got out of the truck I was regretting that decision. The mercury was rising quickly and the wind was much lighter than yesterday. When I got back from my morning deliveries the wind was actually favorable to what would have been my ride home.
But with the days getting longer, I had enough time to sneak in a ride after work. I could do a road ride or head over to the res. and take my chances that it's dry enough to ride.
I chose the latter.
I figured if it was soupy, I could always stick to the fireroads.
Good choice.
The East side was pretty dry. The usual suspects were still wet, but they only completely dry by August of drought years. Even so, I was surprised at how dry it was.
The West side was still a little soft, but other than the Kerry Trail, was in remarkably good shape. The Kerry Trail is sort of a trail making accident, but it is fun.
Ironically the fireroads were in the worst shape.
Now should I commute in tomorrow, or hit the trails early when they're frozen?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Balancing Act

If you haven't enjoyed the weather this past week, you'd better check your pulse. The only problem is the temperature range. When it's 32*F in the AM, and 57*F in the PM it's kinda hard to figure out your riding gear.
A. Dress light in the morning, freezing on the way in to be comfortable on the way home?
B. Dress for the cold and sweat it out in the evening?
C. Utilize every piece of cycling apparel, leaving morning layers at work until you have no cool weather clothes left at home?
D. Backpack?
E. Panniers?
This morning I used a combo of A & C. I skipped booties, wore full fingered mtb gloves, leg warmers, cycling cap and a light wind breaker over a long-sleeve jersey. Ride in was fine except for my feet being frozen and the incessant flapping of the wind breaker. Ride home I left the wind breaker and the cap at the shop and was quite comfortable.
Fortunately I'm kind of a pack rat when it comes to cycling apparel. I'm digging deep into my box of gear and matching up all the almost dead booties to see how many days I can go leaving them at the shop before I have to brave the elements.
I have 3 cycling jackets of varying weight and a vest to hold me over until it's warm enough for arm and knee warmers; a little apparel juggling on the cycling tight rope.

Speaking of booties, maybe my booties muffled the creak and damped the play in my pedals, but they are Played! Probably 5mm of play. I guess Crank Brothers feel the MXR pedals are disposable, because the are not serviceable. Non-serviceable pedals; I don't know which is stupider the pedals or the person who bought them?

Monday, March 8, 2010


Saturday I did the Tour de Talcott, or Father's Day Ride so I could map it out for a possible non-sanctioned, unauthorized non-event.
With the temperate weather forecast, I headed out at 6:30 AM to insure the trails would be solid. Even so, I decided to ride the East side of the Res. on the way out since it gets the most traffic and tends to be sloppier. Apparently this was the case, because it was already heavily rutted.
The further North I got the better the trail conditions got.
Usually I take the fireroad at the back of Pennwood to the trail head at Wintonbury Rd in East Weatogue, but I decided to go for some Man points and rode the broken tarmac up to the blue trail on the North side of the park. This was the first time I had rode this section of trail on a singlespeed from this direction. I rode it North to South once, or rather walked my bike on it from North to South as it's climbs from that direction are above my strength and ability on a singlespeed. I doubt I'd fare much better with a 20x36 granny either. It's effing steep!
But from South to North it was mostly rideable. The first section of trail off the tarmac I had to walk, and another short valley wall, but other than that, it was a go. Probably the highlight of the ride. It's inconvenience keeps the trail pristine, and it's technical nature kept things interesting. The descent down to Wintonbury Rd is one of those steeps where you need to get your butt behind the saddle, with your chest resting on it. I impressed myself by not chickening out since I didn't have an audience and peer pressure to perform. I almost lost it at one point as my junk got caught behind the saddle. From now on this is the route to T'ville.
Which brings me to "Blue Steel". My technical abilities seem to have taken a step forward since I built the Swift up. For trail riding this has been a great thing. I can only hope this will be true on the race course too.
When I got back to the res. Things were beginning to warm up nicely, but the West side trails I hit were still snow covered. Heavy, wet, refroze and now melting snow. No fun. I pulled the plug and headed down the fireroad without hitting all the trails I planned.
Since I didn't complete the loop, I hit the trails I missed early Sunday morning so I could over-lay Saturday's ride and have the non-course mapped. I wore the shoes I've been commuting in because I'm pretty much over riding in my heavy Winter boots. Well I guess your cleats don't really need to be in very good shape commuting, because every time I tried to make a move I'd pull a foot out of my pedals. Of course at the worst possible moment.
A great deal of melting happen Saturday, and the ruts were there to prove it.
It could be fun.

"Blue Steel" on top of the North Trail

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Praying Clear, Cold Nights

I'm crossing my fingers for some cold clear nights this weekend.
If it gets cold enough the trails are going to be awesome.
I'll take "Blue Steel" out and map the possible, alleged outlaw bike race course. Very similar to the Father's Day Ride, but with a technical twist (I think).
If it's above freezing, I'll head West and mess up Mark's trails instead.
No, I wouldn't do that, I'll just keep on rolling the Fun Machine.
But I really hope it's cold enough so I can try out these deadly looking ninja stars.

Can you please just get back to work?

I really need to get my ass in gear or I'm going to be riding home in the dark with only blinky lights, but is having a "Name my bike contest".
I didn't come up with a name for his bike, but one popped into my head for my Swift; Blue Steel.
Some bikes get names, others don't, and I don't try to force it. I'll live with a bike until something comes to me...or not. Usually bike that are kinda meh just never inspire a name, but Blue Steel, how cool is that?

"I'm Rollin' Thunder"

If I'm going to have this song stuck in my head so are you...

AC/DC - Hells Bells ( Live @ Donington )
Uploaded by Duketrasher. - See the latest featured music videos.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New Training Plan

Time to go

Let me count the ways

It's snowing
it's raining
the ground is not frozen
too windy
I need to work on taxes
daughter needs help with home work
house drains are clogged
my drains are clogged
batteries aren't charged
wrong tires mounted
jury duty
no spare tube
the Olympics are on
too hungry
too stuffed
bike needs work

I could go on, but no matter how many or even how valid they might be, no excuse is going to change the fact that the first race of the year is in a mere 25 days.
Hours-wise 2010 started off great, and I'm still up on 2009, but that's been tapering. February was a bust, and March isn't off to as productive a start as I'd hoped.
Need to shift gears or I won't even be contesting the Queen of Burlingame