Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I thought the ghettoness would show up better in this picture

It worked it worked!
Last year I spent way too much time trying to get cross tires to work with my rims tubeless.
Today I spent too much time as well, but I found success!
Well 50% success.
I used the "ghetto method" of splitting a 24" tube down the center on the rim, putting the tire on with the tube flaps hanging out, and airing it up.
My rear sealed up like a champ (read what you want into that).
The front, not so much.
My front rim is slightly wider and maybe a little deeper and just wouldn't go. I had a narrower tighter rim lying around the shop, so I gave that a shot.
Getting the tire on was quite a chore; it was so tight I couldn't get the tube flaps out from under the tire bead. But I chanced airing it up anyways...and it sealed...and then all the air came out of a hole in the side wall.
At that I was low on time, sealant, and thumbs, so I left it there.
It's just a matter of building up that rim bed and having ample sealant on hand and we've got tubeless cross wheels.
Wondering why I didn't just do it on my Stan's Crest rimmed disc brake wheels?
More on that later...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I knew I never should have done it.
I knew it I knew it I knew it!
If I raced cross, I'd love cross.
True, I was hating it when I was actually racing, but the pain has mellowed into a delightful memory of effort.
Now I'm plotting and planning and obsessed.
Like bicycle heroin.
I knew better.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Like a Virgin

Saturday was my very first cross race. I had planned to go down to NY for the Bottle Ride, but when the date changed from Saturday to Sunday, it conflicted with family commitments.
So when Andy said he was coming up from NJ to do Crossin' 4 Canines a scant 20 minutes from my door step, and asked if I was going to do it, what could I say?
I put the biggest gear I could fit on BluSteel without changing the chain length, some fast rolling Maxxis Aspen 2.1 tires, headed over and hoped for the best.
Fumbled with the intricacies of pinning a number to my jersey, and rolled around Rocky Hill until the course was open for a pre-ride lap.
I respectfully took a spot in the last row, reminding myself this was just for fun.
Whistle blows and there is all sorts of line chopping and weaving going on around me; mountain bike racing seems downright polite!
I don't know if you could really call it settling in, but I began racing with a group of about 5 guys.
Hot, dry and dusty; this is not fun.
I'm doing the barriers as well as any of the guys around me, but I don't know if that is good or bad.
At the end of the first lap, the official says I'm 11th.
That changes at the 2nd 180 on the course when I lock my rear brake, and spinout.
Now I'm chasing back to the group I was racing with.
Still not having fun.
When I reach "my group", I'm getting frustrated. I feel like I could be riding faster, but keep getting blocked in the corners. So I power up the outside to get to the front before a little barrier in front of what is supposed to be a run-up (nobody runs it and everyone bunny-hops the barrier). Bunny-hopping the barrier is one place my mountain bike is a definite advantage over the cross bikes.
On the previous two laps I noticed this second half of the lap (beginning after the "run-up") I was riding a little stronger than "my group", so I try and put some power down; as much "power" as one can expect from a little man. This gives me a little gap, that only one of "my guys" can close.
We are racing neck and neck up to the double barriers, when he crashes during his dismount.
Now I'm dangling off the front of my splintering bunch.
A guy in a white jersey (results aren't posted online yet, and since I don't usually race with these guys, that's the best I can do for an id) is maintaining a pretty consistent gap, if not closing in on me for the last two laps. I'm expecting him to catch me, but the gap is hard to judge with the way the course winds and twists.
He never does hunt me down and I cross the line completely oblivious to how I did.
I don't think I had a lot of fun.
One of the guys I was racing with tells me cross isn't so fun when it's so hot (it was 92 *F!). Then a photographer tells me I pissed off a lot of guys, which I assume is because I finished ahead of them riding a singlespeed mountain bike with a bell. That cheers me up a little.
True, immature, but look who we're talking about here.
Then a guy I finished in front of (from "my group") says he finished tenth.
When results are posted it turns out I got 7th out of 33.
That perks me up a bit.
Then someone tells me since they didn't have a Pro1/2/3 group, my race was open to them (they had 4's Master 35+, 45+,55+, Women, and Cat 3/4).
Maybe this cross racing isn't so bad after all?
When's the next race?
don't be hatin' on my bell

Thursday, September 23, 2010

There will be blood

When the lead singer and primary song writer of the pivotal 80's band, The Jet Planes, calls and asks if you're doing the Crossin' 4 Canine CX race, what are you supposed to say?
Sorry my race season ended two weeks ago? I've never raced cross before? I don't have a cross bike? I really should be working?
Such silly insignificant excuses will not suffice.
All one can do is affirm the request.
I'll be racing my Singular Swift singlespeed, complete with flat bar and bell. I'll be running the largest gear I can accommodate without shortening my chain, if I've got time, I might even slap on the skinniest 29'er tires I've got.
It ain't gonna be pretty...
(at least my bike is)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Every year, a day or two after my "anniversary", I ride Pennwood.
Pennwood was the first place I rode after I decided to clean up my act and get back into some sort of shape.
5 years and 20 pounds later I was planning on keeping the tradition alive.
But I'd have to drive pass Nassahegan to get there and spend an extra 35 minutes in the truck.
What's a tradition if it can't be broken?
As a reward for not passing up a great riding spot in the name redundancy I was finally able to piece the loop I've always tried to do without getting lost (I actually took a wrong turn right at the end, but that netted me a little extra singletrack with zero backtracking).
But as penance for not maintaining the tradition, my phone which had been silent for 6 hours while I drove around doing deliveries rang 5 times. Felt like a total douche talking sinks in the middle of the woods, but what can you do?
Here are some crappy pictures of my very excellent ride.

Through the ferns

Some bench-cut singletrack (Thanks FDR!)

Top of a rock

More rocks

A glacier threw up

It would have been a shame to have worn these sock and not gone riding.
Yesterday was my first day rigid since the Norcross Scurry. It was prompted by my Reba sucking ass.
First half of the ride I was thinking maybe I needed a bigger front tire, or maybe I just wasn't up to rigid yet. But after I stopped to clear some deadfall, there was a change, as if the spirit of Jens Voigt had come to me.
And then I had more fun on a bike than I've had in a long much so that I almost crashed into another rider as I rode down the East fence line.

Monday, September 20, 2010


On Saturday Kerry, Doug and I whipped out a TdT.
First thing Yesterday Kerry and I did a quick Res loop.
Around noon Lillian and I had a casual saunter down the rail-trail from Farmington to Avon.
Later in the day I was thinking "gee, a bike ride would be nice right now".
Right now I'm plotting how I can get all my work done and get a ride in before I have to make the kids dinner and get them going on their homework tonight.
5 years ago yesterday I decided to take a break from drinking and haven't bothered to start again. Seems I've replaced one habit with another.

Thursday, September 16, 2010 -- USA Cycling National Rankings -- USA Cycling National Rankings: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"
I win the consolation prize! I didn't win the Root 66 series overall, but at this very moment, If you clicky the linky, I'm ranked #1 Cat 1 SS in CT.
That could change at any second, but for right now...sweet!
Holy crap! I'm ranked #1 Cat1 SS in the Nation!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Good for the Goose?

It's like a chopper; sit on it Fonzie

Bad for the Monkey.
I've got some Monstercrossy kinda plans for the Swift so I thought since I love the way the Manitou feels on it, maybe it would feel as good on the Karate Monkey.
What's a few millimeters between friends?
Apparently a lot.
My nimble little MaryJane was transformed into a tractor.
I thought maybe the slackening would give me Super DH power skillz.
Nope. Bike felt all over the place.
Singletrack flip floppy-fest.
I guess it's back to the Reba until I can ride rigid.


Not that I "need" to post a blog post today, but if I did "need" to I'm taking the lazy way out and linking to someone else's blog that I found quite inspiring.
Ben did his first mountain bike race on Sunday. It's safe to say Ben isn't your typical mountain bike racer.
He, came by train(!), he laid it all out there, flatted, crashed, finished, and missed his train home. So he rode to the next town to catch another train.
Ben is awesome.
Next time it's drizzling out there, and you want to hit the snooze, ask yourself "What would Ben do"?
Read more here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Landmine 2010

Landmine, last "official"* race of the season. Most racers were ready for the season to end, but I felt I was just getting started.
With Landmine Jill and Chris, the Root 66 head honchos, have a lot of balls in the air. There is a Marathon going on at the same time as the regular XC event, and all the categories go off at once. To expedite this they lumped some of the groups together, which meant they were sending the Cat1 SS off with the Pros. That works well for us, because even when the Pros are just settling into the race they are flying; no getting caught behind a sit and spinner.
The whistle blows and for a very short time I'm the first singlespeeder...until local strongman Mike Ramponi from Independent Fabrications passed me and began to float away. I reeled him back a little, but once things started getting twisty he was out of sight.
But chasing him, I had put a little gap on Kerry and Reinout, 1st and 2nd overall in the series.
One of the unfortunate side effects of starting with the Pro men is the Pro women and leaders of the following age classes.
Mary McConneloug from Seven / Kenda very politely passed me with the leaders of the 30-39 class, who had paced Kerry back up to my wheel!
Fizzle Sticks!
We raced the next few miles when we entered a rocky section, I heard an awful metallic clank behind me. Kerry had crashed.
Again I started to build a gap, and again the next group of age group leaders, the 40-49 year olds brought Kerry back to me.
At the half way point we were only meters (that euro speech for feet or yards) apart.
But even though they caught us, we're the same age as those geezers and the lead group dangled in front of us. This was the carrot I needed, and finally began to build a gap.
It seemed my gear was just about perfect in the woods, as I was closing down the gap on geared riders, but once we'd get to a paved section, they'd twiddle their levers and fly away.
When Andy Chambers from the 50+ group caught me I was expecting Kerry to be once again on my wheel, but not this time. I raced into the finish alone, passing very courteous Cat3's from time to time, but without being pulled back.
Mike Ramponi, coming off finishing 2nd at the SM100 beat me by about 9 minutes. The way he rode away from us I wasn't sure if he was racing singlespeed or Pro. Sure he had some local knowledge, maybe without that the gap would have been more like 8:45.
The overall series remained unchanged with Kerry Robair of Biker's Edge winning the overall, after a long fought season. He solidified his gap over Reinout Schoolderman with his 3rd place finish at Landmine.
Congratulation guys!
I ended up in third overall, which I'm satisfied with having missed 9 weeks of racing.
One nice thing about the season being over, is I can ride more, while still spending more time with my family, so I guess I'm not too broken up with the season ending.

*no one said anything about "unofficial races"

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What a great day for a ride!
Worked half a day and hit the res for one last "warm up" for landline. Must be a timing thing, but there wasn't another cyclist in the woods.
My main objective was to keep the legs fresh without over doing it, breaking my bike, or myself. Things were going as planned, until I looked down at my computer; I was on a really good pace.
So with that in the back of my mind, maybe I was hitting it a little harder than I should, but man, was I having fun! I did break my bike either.
We'll find out soon enough if I over did it, and if my super top secret gear is the right choice.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I was going to post about this large bird of prey I saw in the woods, but he was too fast for me to snap a picture of. Was a HUGE hawk. just looked at me as if to say "You're in my house now be-atch".
I was fast enough to take a picture of one of my pet peeves:

Check Spelling

Maybe you could lift your fat tushy off the saddle and pull up on the bars to get over the log instead of making a stupid pile on both sides of it and just slamming into it? Mmmkay?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I wasn't going to "blog" about this ride, but I got a pretty decent shot of James being all pro and making a rocky switchback that I wouldn't even try, so here's a mini-blog.
I brought James out to experience some of East of the River's finest at Case yesterday. Lots of fun on the rocks. After Sunday's ride we both had had about enough after a couple of hours and made our way over to Mo's.
I'm really liking the whole post ride burrito concept.
But I guess Case is sort of like the stereotype of Chinese food; after a couple of hours I was wanting more.
Wow! No spelling errors! I feel like a winner!

Monday, September 6, 2010

TdT for Labor Day

The Tour de Talcott is a classic central Connecticut ride that I've babbled about from time to time in the past. By tradition it is ridden on Father's Day, but due to my own stupidity, it had to be postponed. This weekend I had the pleasure of riding it with one of the largest groups I've ever ridden it with not to mention one of the strongest.
The distance of our ride varies depending on where you get your data. Garmin Connect says one thing, while GPSies says another. GPsies also has a climb rating system that puts the TdT on par with the Col de Joux Plane. But no matter how it was recorded, it was the longest version of the TdT I've done to date (about 34 miles if you didn't clicky the linkys). It was also the fastest, which wasn't surprising considering the company I was keeping.
We left my house and hit the West side of the Res, including some newer trails there that only Kerry had previously ridden. Took the pavement to the back of res.6, to the trail out to 185, crossed into Pennwood (the happiest place on Earth), headed along the ridge on the west side (yellow trail) to the back of the park and went the hard way, a route I won't take alone, over the back to Wintonberry Rd.
My modest technical abilities abandoned me for awhile on the last section which left me hanging off the back. After we saw Craig, friends, and "the Rocketman*" (who would have preferred joining our group) at the overlook, I got hung up on the most non-technical technical. Again I found myself off the back. But then the group was completely out of sight. Was I that slow? One technical bobble and I'm completely alone? When I got to the chimney where we planned to turn around still nobody? Did they descend into Tarifville to go to the store? It was too early for the bar to be open. I heard church bells but I doubt they headed over to St. Bernard's for mass. Wait! those bells are my phone! James had called me. They took a wrong turn, had heard me pass them on the upper trail, and were on their way.
The way back we took the Wilcox Park trail back to Pennwood, but went down to the picnic area to refill water bottles when we got back into Pennwood. We then took the dirt path that parallels the road back to the trail head. If I realized we were on such a pace, I would have pushed for us to go back up to the yellow, because not only is it more fun than a bike path, it would have added another 10-15 minute to our ride. But with my family commitments for the day, it was probably better I hadn't wrapped my mind around that.
We finished the ride hitting the East side of the Res.
Josh and James then went to Mo's. I was hating on them.
One thing that struck me was the diversity of the bikes on the ride. There were some similarities, but every bike was unique in some way.

Josh was on the classic 26" Ti hardtail

Brian's ride was similar, but with grown-up sized wheels
Kerry probably wins the "most individual" award with is Maverick equipped singlespeed 69'er
Doug was sporting the all plastique, lighter than air, Wunder bike

James was on what I consider as the Workingman's Race bike; light, fast, reliable.
Of course I was riding BlüSteel, my Singular Swift the choice of discerning riders.
You might notice I used a "file photo" for BlüSteel, as I never thought to actually take a picture of my own bike, even when I was standing around at the chimney, one of my favorite picture sites, waiting for them to find me.

Great ride with a great bunch of guys, on one of the most perfect riding days you could imagine. Doesn't get much better (it actually did as I had birthday cake at both my Sister's and Sister-in Law's houses in the afternoon).

*Rocketman is Craig's dog

Friday, September 3, 2010

Now I think I'm just over compensating

Sure, the two young ladies riding the scooter together on Farmington Ave last night was hot, but the super hot girl who used to work at the bagel shop just turned up at Starbucks! I don't know if she rides a bike.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Racist or Closeted Homosexual

On my ride home tonight there was a black guy riding the opposite direction on a green and white steel bicycle. He was shirtless, in the drops, perfect flat back. He was magnificent. Not many could make that look work, but he was beautiful. Man, muscle and machine working as one.
I wonder if the small white man riding the brown fixed gear in a Mapei jersey made any impression on him?