Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Ride

I'm listening to Alices Restaurant as I missed it yesterday and the day just didn't feel complete. That being said we did start a new Thanksgiving Day tradition as my brother in law Frank and I got out for a good spin down at Fort Rock in Exeter. Now I have a special relationship with Fort Rock, as I left a great deal of my shin down on some rocks at Fort Rock, and that was in the back of my minds when we got down there. With that said the wreck had to do with a bridge, so I just made sure I walked the bridges- and that served me well.

We lucked out with the weather, it was about 40 degrees, no wind, and it was dry. I had brought down the Mamasita for the day, which meant I had brought gears and suspension- which quickly revealed itself as a good decision.

We spent a good hour out cruising around and found some great sections of trail that I would like to get back and ride again. Especially one section that reminds me a great deal of some of the trails over at Kingdom, fast, swooping (sort of like Old Web), and fairly smooth. We also rode some trails that had more roots and rocks than any one trail should have. The type of trail that you can clean if you go balls out on it, but if you check up and loose your momentum you end up stopping dead.

By the end we knew we had to start heading home as there was some juicy Turkey waiting. So we loaded up and headed back for a fantastic Thanksgiving Day dinner.

I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving!

Ride on.


Friday, November 21, 2008

How Many Layers

Riding your bike in November in northern New England can be a bit of an exercise in how much you can wear and how many lights can you put on your bike. The reason being rather simple, it's dark by 4:10pm and the air temps are in the 20's with wind chill taking things down into the single digits.

But with it not quite ski season yet (Shawnee Peak is slated to open in mid December)and knowing the holidays (read wayyyyyy to much food and beer) right around the corner it's important to try and stay moving and try to keep the belt creep from going much beyond one notch.

This all brings me to last night. I thought I had another rider to go with me, but he bailed out about a half hour before we were to head out so it was me and the iPod. As I was getting ready I began to find it humorous how much crap went into a hour or so ride. Here is what I was wearing: long sleep t-neck base from Craft, my winter full zip jersey from Bikeman, a second heavy full zip "jersey" from Craft (more like a 200 weight fleece), a wind/rain shell from Sugoi, thermal knickers from Pearl, thermal wind front tights from Craft, heavy wool socks, heavy shoes, Pearl AmFib covers, fleece balaclava, Smartwool spring weight ski gloves, helmet (with light) and clear glasses. Then on the bike:2 knog flashers, one big flasher, a bar light set on flash mode, and the L&M Arc on the head. All this crap to go for a ride. It takes me about 15 minutes to get it all on and situated and another 10 to take it all off- for a ride that last night went for 70 minutes. The comical part- I have to trainers that I could have set up in the room and just donned shorts and shoes and been good to go!

Of course that would defeat the purpose. There is something very satisfying about riding in cold, dark, even wet conditions. It you've got the right snivel gear you can really be comfortable, and for what ever reason you feel tough (and in my case it makes up for my obvious lack of fitness!).

TWAF Holiday Gravel Grinder Part Deux Update

Here are the excuses or comments thus far:

A1: "Two weeks to get in shape, two weeks to get in shape, two weeks to get in shape..............shit"

JJ: "at least there are no food gorging type holidays before then"

Someone who claims to be my mother: "Very funny! Should I warn everyone that after many many many many
many ...... years of experience following the author's father that a time frame is an absolute JOKE as are any attempts at saying where you will go, end up or otherwise travel?! I hope the snow isn't too bad! I might be tempted to join you if I knew there were other 60 year old women in the crowd~ M"

Howie: "Oh, sure…..schedule it on the day of the Atomic Sprints…..nice. Now I’ll have to make up some excuse as to why I’m not at the Sprints…."

Fletcher: "This is awesome--here's the rub; it falls on the big SAT test date, so I won't be able to make it... Great invite, though!"

My boss: "Hi Captain of TWAF and Minister of Propaganda,

I am in, but I am hoping that I can't go. If my beloved UNH Wildcats win 2 more games (Sat vs Maine and 2 days after Thanksgiving in the NCAA Playoffs), I hope to be on a road trip to watch them.

Also, I need to be at Gordon College by 7pm that evening to listen to an angel (I mean my son!) sing. Maybe we can just ride back roads all the way down to Cape Ann?

By the way, don't you know that it is ski season, it's cold, I haven't been on my bike since July, and What are you thinking, anyway?

The Chief Head Knocker"

JJ again: "ran the TWAF GG part deux by the boss, was informed that D3 and I will be in Boston the night before at Celtics game returning very late/early. Also on the 6th, I have to attend a parade that D3 is in for school that I was informed would not be wise to miss. I'm old, lazy and out of shape. The moon is in the wrong phase. My biorhythms will be off that day. I might have gout or some other aliment by then. I might not come back from Jamaica. The ride won't be challenging enough.
How's that? Trying to cover myself with ample excuses."

And we also have one t-shirt going out to Brian Roche, "I'll bite...gotta tune up my MTB trannie though..."

So there you have it. I'll keep you updated as we get closer.

later and ride save,


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

TWAF Holiday Gravel Grinder


Got in an hour on the road last night, and in some ways I'm still thawing out. Pretty soon I'll be spending more time at Shawnee Peak, getting in turns instead of riding, but right now the bike remains the priority.

It felt good to get out, it's amazing how the thought of riding in the dark with temps in the upper 20's and a ripping wind can almost cause you to grab a beer and hit the couch. But once you are out there it's not bad (provided you have the appropriate snivel gear!).

I've got a good loop for this type of ride where I'm never more than 3 miles from the house, that way if anything goes south on me I can either get home quick or K can come to my rescue in a short bit of time.

That's it at the moment.

Ride safe.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Final Race of 2008

Last race of the Great Glen CX series, and I have to say it was good that it was the last race! I had fun, but I was slow and just didn't have any snap. In some ways I'm very ready to put the 2008 season behind me and get down to doing the work needed for 2009.

Today the wind was a big issue as well as a good amount of mud. In fact I crashed on my first lap when my front wheel found the edge of a ditch and the wet earth just gave way- it was sort of funny but I was third wheel when it happened and by the time I picked up my butt off the ground I was DFL. From there I fought back to the pack and then blew up. So for about two laps I held tough, then I hung back for the final four laps. I beat on other dude who looked to be struggling sort of like I was.

The other issue was the temp dropped by over 15 degrees in less then 30 minutes- so a race where you were very comfortable in shorts and a summer weight LS jersey quickly became a very cold race with winds up over 40 mph and temps dropping into the 30's.

I am looking forward to building my base for 2009 and seeing how I can vastly improve upon this season. It shouldn't be hard, but I will have to put in the work and make sure I remain consistant. Time will tell!

Now it's time to start dreaming of snow storms and great days out on the trails (XC) and out on the hill for some lift serve.

Ride safe!


Friday, November 14, 2008

Wet and dark ride

This whole daylight savings thing messes with my chi (whatever that is) and has caused me to not ride my bike. With it being Thursday (yesterday, not today) and with the past weekends efforts still making me walk funny and the upcoming weekends efforts in front of me I decided it was time to ride my bike. Of course when it's 7:30pm, raining/sleeting and is 34 degrees out you have to dig around for snivel gear and lights.

I was half hoping to not find what I was looking for and say I had put in the effort, but much to my surprise everything sort of found me (or was that my kids and wife wanting me to get the hell out of the house and stop complaining about not riding, so they brought me a big pile of snivel gear and lights?)

I suited up in my kermit the frog ninja suit (mash these two up),
found the booties, grabbed the ipod, grabbd lights and headed out the door. I got outside and thought to myself, "self, this is stupid. It's cold. It's wet. It's dark. You have two perfectly good trainers you could mount up and watch Smallville while you twiddle away on the bike."

While that was a good thought I also realized I was all dressed up so I might as well get out for a spin. I grabbed the cross bike, hit play and out I went. It wasn't long before I was actually enjoying myself and thinking about what people must think as they drove by. My version goes like this: "wow, look at that dedicated and rugged cyclist who is out in this crazy weather. If only I could find a poster of him I'd hang it on my wall and build a shrine to his greatness."

Of course here is the likely reality, "Really Buffy I just can't figure out this housing crisis, OH JESUS i just about ran over some fool on a bike, he must be riding to the night shift at the Big Apple, Stupid bastard- next time get a designated driver! Sorry about that Buffy, what was I saying- oh wait I've got another call coming in- it's my shrink."

Anyway the ride went well and I got in after about an hour. The best part is stripping down, I always feel like I'm pulling off a wet suit, reminds me of when I used to windsurf in the fall and you had this massive pile of wet clothign that was supposed to keep you warm.

So that's my story, not much of one, but I do feel better today and my legs were happy to get out and spin- now I just need to do this everyday and then I too can mount a comeback.

ride safe,


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

DEA making it bigtime.

Check out the photo.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Porky Gulch Classic

I'll write up the report later, but here are some pics from the PGC- and here is a link to videos from each segment. I should point out the photo credits go to: Ryan Triffitt (HC+SL), Karen Cole(SL), and Boogie Cole(RR).

Toughest Two

Racing at StoryLand

RockPile Rampage

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A day of racing

This past weekend I managed to get my bike all the way to the race site without it falling out of the truck and going boom. I still haven't figured out how the bike fell out last week, but it is now behind me and the bike now has shiny new parts from World Bikeman HQ so all is good in the world.

The day was a perfect blue bird day, but cold. The warm-up laps were done in full snivel gear, winter tights, winter jacket, mittens, etc. It may have been overkill, but I wanted to be warm during my warm up! Eli had put together a good course, a few small tweaks from last year, but for those who have raced up at Great Glen in the past couple years the course was pretty similar.

During my warm-ups I was feeling pretty good on my remounts, but I wasn't able to hold any speed on the fast dismount/run-up. I couldn't figure out what was going on, especially since last year that was my fastest section of the course. I guessed I'd have plenty of chance to figure that out during the race so I headed back to the base lodge to get into dry clothes and get ready for the race. K and the girls were inside and helped me get my number pinned on and find my knee warmers. I lobbied to have a lemans start from inside the building so we didn't have to go outside before we were going hard and staying warm- my idea fell on deaf ears.

We lined up for the start and I found a place near the back. I'm just not that comfortable in a cross start. I need to find a way to work on that, but I get a bit sketched out in certain starts, especially the first corner or in the this case the first hard transition between hill and pavement. I also find that my legs take a few minutes to get up to race speed- so I tend to work my way up from the back (or that is the theory).

The start saw me stay in the back, per normal, but within the first lap I did start to see opportunity to start to move up. I figured the high speed dismount run up would be the place where I could pick up a place or two- but in the first lap I actually lost a place on that portion of the course. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong, so I spent the next lap watching the rider ahead and I realized I was trying to ride too far up the hill instead of pushing hard and coasting, with my leg already up and over as I rolled in- once I did that I was going fast on that part again. I find it amazing how much fun that can be- rolling along at a speed much faster than I can run- but still being able to hit the ground at full speed and carry that momentum over the barriers and then to blend right back onto the bike- such a cool feeling.

Anyway I worked my way up through the field and chased hard a couple of guys in all yellow that were about 25 meters ahead of me for a couple of laps. I slowly made progress, but could never make the connection. With two to go I did make the catch and pass, only to be passed back half a lap later. I descided I had the kick so sitting back wouldn't be a bad way to go. As we passed through the start finish Eli yelled two to go, but less the ten seconds later the leader came through for the bell lap- so I knew there was a good chance we'd get caught- and that we were likely on our bell lap as well.

I tried to stick to his wheel- and was able to for sections but as we climbed I lost a bit of contact- then the leader caught us and I knew I had to go. I chased and finally caught back on just as we hit the tunnel, I waited to pass until we were on the grass sidehill and then just went- I got the pass but I think it was more due to surprising the rider and not giving him time to respond, but I was glad to get the pass.

I finished third for the day in the intermediates. So I was good with that.

After K and I took the girls out to lunch and I ate the largest omlette I've ever seen. I'll be carryign that pile of eggs for weeks!

Next up- Porky Gulch.

Ride on.