Monday, January 30, 2006

Are you versatile?

Life is most worthwhile if you're versatile.
Able to accomplish many tasks with artistic style -
Swim a nautical mile and wrestle a crocodile.
Jump a quarter mile over a junk pile all the while reading a binary file.
Build a domicile with a wood file while you smile and sculpt a funky hair style.
Once in a while, reflect on your life style - does it give you a smile?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Road rip

Was a slow bike week for me. No mid-week night ride with the boys due to 9 inches of snow in the woods. The snow is very soft due to temps in the 40's and 50's. Ken D and I tried to get into B.P. and realized early-on that a woods ride was not going to happen. When Jeff arrived we decided to scrap plans for a snow epic and instead head out to link some dirt roads and back roads on the north shore.
Things just fell in to place for some road work. Ken had his hard tail, as did I and Jeff showed with his race rig..We were all set to rip. Ken and I cheated with a quick swap to semi-slick tire f+r but Whit stuck with one of his hakka studded and a H.V. - good thing too. Slowed that fucker down just enough that I could hang off his rear wheel most of the time.
At times we pushed it to the point of puke. Ken is an animal. It will be very interesting to see what races, if any he will focus on come xc season.
Toward the end of the ride we saw this dude. Look close..that wheel is something else..bigger than a 29" but not a road wheel?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Sunday Break-Through Sunday

Got out early this morning and met Barry Rugo up at B+T's. These woods are full of man-made bridges and jumps some of which I had not ridden..untill Sunday.
During the 20 minute drive to the woods I envisioned my self riding the big see-saw that sits near the beginning of the trail. The see saw is not a big deal, it's what comes after that concerns me..Exiting the ramp the rider gets shot down a long Rock face Today the psych-out session in the car worked.
After the see-saw I was pumped to try everything I'd been avoiding for the past two years. Barry and I both hit this skate board style ramp that throws the rider up to a six foot boulder. Was smooth as butter. Seemed we were both ON!
These woods are chock-full of boulder fields to play around on.
After riding for two hours we decided to get out before pressing our luck..Well, almost. Barry reminded me of a plywood jump that sits atop a bunch of boulders. "what the hell" I said and we spun over to take a look.The take off is perfect but the landing is daunting to say the least. George always says to "ride into it" meaning that things will fall into place when the rider is on line. That's precisely what happened. I rolled into the line twice to estimate the speed needed and Launched on the third try. Here is a look at the landing complete with natural transition.
Barry also wanted the line. He was silently eyeballing what needed to be done and before I could take out the camera he sped at the ramp and cleared the mess below. Fun guy to bike with..He doesn't need a stupid camera to push him to ride a line.


Saturday's ride was outstanding. Rode with local gang consisting of Mary and Jim Steggal, Jim Black, Roger, Al, and Huub. I love riding with these guys - they know ALL the trails (hell, they made a few of them!) and best of all, they f'n rip! Their average age is fourty-something and they ride harder than most 25 year olds!
Warmed up on G-spot and then over to res dog. The weather was in the 60's - wtf? It's January in Boston?? Many of us were in short sleeves and shorts! Spun the technical trails for three hours. Check out a movie from Res Dog trail, called Table Rock .
With seven riders we were able to move a few large trees that were blown down in a recent storm.
Should have packed lights and rode another three hours.

Friday, January 20, 2006

night ride

Night ride in the witch woods last evening. Tight technical single track with small goat hills and some nasty rocky-rooty descents. Barry knows these woods best and led us on an excellent loop. Jeff was focused to ride the dragons tail - a long fallen tree that the local riders had installed bridges on either side. Barry and I were not feeling the vibe of the Dragons tail but Jeff gave us a show attempting to clean this rotten narrow log. We moved on down the trail and then Jeff experienced some shit luck when one of his front brake pads fell out of the caliper and was lost. 99% of riders would have called it quits but not Whit. The dude didn't let it ruin his night and rode some unbelievably sketchy lines with no front brake? I tried using just the rear on some of the rock strewn lines but quickly grabbed for the lever every time.
The trail took us past a Whale of boulder that I call Ball-Buster. Big sloping boulder that has a natural transition that forms a tight valley. It's where two years ago I nearly ruptured my spleen in a fall, got caught behind the saddle and broke it off. We stood atop the boulder talking about the different lines. Barry and I wanted to concur BB but both decided to leave it for daylight hours.
The patch of woods can't be more than two square miles but with all the turns and switch-backs we rode for two and a half hours. I pass up riding these woods all the time forgetting how great the trails are.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Shark bait

Scuba diving has been on my brain lately so I rented the low-budget film "Open Water" to watch while I spun on the trainer. My longest trainer session to date, - a whopping hour and a half. I despise the trainer. I usually get annoyed with the brainless activity and dismount. Watching tv seems to be a good way to pass the time.
Open Water didn't break records at the box office and it wasn't the best film I'd ever seen but won't forget the mistakes these two made the next time I set foot aboard a dive boat.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Motivated by weather

Woke early this morning with thoughts of riding the time machine for two hours while watching a movie...Then I checked online weather. No way I was spinning inside with the current conditions we have in the north east. It did cool off a bit from last week, well, a lot. Today is a perfect January day, 30 degrees and sunny.
Hit BP for a loop. The ground is frozen again and traction is back in full effect. Got a good mix of hills and single track.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

wet one

Laying in bed on Saturday morning listening to the rain pour down. I didn't exactly spring in to action like I planned. It's not often I don't feel motivated to ride but this was one of those days. The smell of Lesli brewing java summoned me from the bedroom.
Looking out the window didn't help. Pouring rain. I stepped outside to assess first hand. Still freakishly warm for January in New England. How the hell was it 55 degrees? Don't get me wrong, when paying $2.64 a fucking gallon for heating oil I am not complaining - just concerned that the world may be coming to an end.
In the basement now swapping over tires to the HanVentures. I love these tires. By far the best all around trail tire for rocky technical terrain. Magic rubber compound and round profile coupled with the ramped center lugs hold lines unbelievably.
Still downstairs planning what clothes I was going to get soaking wet in, a couple friends stopped over to meet with my wife Lesli and visit some houses that are on the market. We sat around the kitchen drinking expresso shots and eating corn bread talking about how depressingly-ridiculous the housing market has gotten here and everywhere in Eastern Massachusetts.
Now at two o'clock in the afternoon, with most of the day gone - it was now or never. Geared up and out the door. Gus and I drove up to Gloucester for a loop in Dogtown common. Dogtown is always good when wet. The soil is mostly sand and crushed granite, not much mud. The rain stopped as soon as we hit the trail! Gus (German short-hair pointer) is a great riding companion. A very smart dog that stays close but also gets out of the way when he needs too... I was cruising on a single track (near Spiritual Power) using slick baby heads to redirect my bike like a player uses the cue ball to karem in a game of nine ball. Things got a bit out of control when the trail pitched downhill and I whacked a rock at the wrong angle. As I flew through the air Gus dove in the opposite direction. Good Boy! That's just good instinct.
With an hour spin under my belt decided to tone the pace down and roll back to the car while I was still in one piece.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Road Warriors

American Way magazine ran a contest for the best road warrior of 2005. Entrants were asked a series of questions about traveling for work; what they did while they were away, what would their ultimate office look like, what was home coming like..and basically describe why they might be the best road warrior of 2005. Also entrants were asked to submit a photo...Well, I didn't know at the time, (or maybe I just wasn't listening, nah..:) Les entered the contest and submitted a photo.
The prize for this contest was a million sky miles on American Airlines! Well, she didn't win but was one of a handful of runners up. The photo was printed along with 10 others in the Dec. 15 addition...not bad out of over 9000 entrants!
The photo was taken while we sat on a picnic table on West bay beach, Rotan Honduras.
Travel is one of the best things in life, another dive vacation may be just around the corner...

Thursday, January 12, 2006

warm and foggy

last night's freakishly warms temps (above 50 degrees) set up some better than to be expected riding conditions. I was in total denial, how could tempters rise to 50 in January? Like a fool I kept my studded tires on the VT thinking there would still be ice on the trails...nope. My buds, Jeff and Barry were more level headed about the tropical weather and showed with the proper rubber installed.
Studded tires and wet-granite boulders are a dangerous combination. I slid to the bottom of many liken covered rocks last evening. Finally surrendering to the fact that this ride was all about merely surviving for me. - I walked most of the "good stuff".
Barry and Jeff had some hair razing lines on G-Spot. Both guys demonstrated huge skill with ascending and descending the slick rocks and slippery bridges.
Now it's another beautiful 50+ degree day here in Boston - WTF? I have no choice but to ride everyday till this warm weather is gone.

Monday, January 09, 2006

oh deer

Sitting in the home office talking on the phone this morning and saw these guys crossing my front lawn. Had to end the conversation abruptly when Dom and Gus spotted the family of deer and started to bark wildly.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

bullet proof

just sitting around playing on the computer when I came across this on

Duathalon Part two

Jeff and Tom Merrill arrived at my house about noon for a trail ride. We packed up our gear and two dogs and drove to Pine st for the start of a suffer-fest.
My legs were rubbery after the morning run but my aim was to ride hard until I could not spin the cranks anymore. Jeff was admittedly fucked from the first hour of our technical ride. He had spent the week training hard while pushing a big gear commuting to work. Tom was in a similar situation. He had a couple days of hill training earlier in the week. The dogs were in top form. Bronte and Gus were fully rested, ripping around, jumping off rocks and having a great time.
Although the three of us were not at 100 percent in the strength department we layed down some good lines on technical trails. Studded tires once again were an essential component that allowed riding ice covered trails and obstacles with ease.
According to the gps our moving time was 2:22 with a stopped time of 1:20 covering 11.5 miles of hairy single track. It was an amazing ride, we had zero break-downs, just a couple minor crashes and none of us bonked. Gus and Bronte slept well last night.
To make an excellent day even more memorable Lesli and my parents took me for a birthday dinner here. Prime rib with potatoes..mmm. After we drove back to our house for cake and ice cream while watching the Pat's kick the Jaguar's butts 28 to 3! Does it get better than this?

Duathalon part one

January seventh was an incredible day. I woke early, had some caffeine and went to the basement to warm up the legs on the stationary bike. I like to call it "time machine" b/c it's so damn old. Did some light stretching and then drove the 5 minutes down to Bradley Palmer for the start of the Fat Ass 50 K. I was surprised at the turn out. Must have been 50 runners standing around the support table waiting for the start of the run. I don't even want to call this event a race, more like a bunch of people running together.
The organizer thanked every body for bringing some thing for the support table, which by the way was stacked with everything a hungry athlete could ask for. Lots of Gatorade, water, cup cakes, cookies, fruit, bagels, breads, salted potatoes, etc - more food than we could possibly eat!
Ok...ready, go. There was no sprinting, not even much of a hustle. We were all talking and just jogging together for the first 5 minutes of the run. The group spread out after a mile and I found myself alone for the first 5 mile lap. Comfortable 8 or 9 minute/mile pace.
Shortly after the first lap two guys joined me. More enjoyable than running alone. We introduced our self's, their names were Steve and Zeus..never met a man named Zeus before. They were fun to talk to, both local guys just out for an early season run.
I had to slow up my pace at 8 miles. Left knee was beginning to ache. Steve and Zeus slipped away as I stopped to stretch it out. I didn't feel pressure to run through any pain today..this was simply a fun run.
After finishing my two laps I returned to the support table for breakfast. I was starved. I stood around the table for a few minutes gabbing it up with people who also were calling it quits after 10 miles. A bagel, piece of pumpkin pie, banana and a cup cake, thanked the organizer for the run and I was outa there.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Took this gem home from the shop last night. Complete with speedometer/odometer (3413 miles on it!) and 30 minute egg timer built in!
Surprisingly this bike rocks.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Fat ass 50 K

It's been a solid week of running and biking, considering it's f'n January and last year we were buried in snow at this time. Saturday should be an exhausting day. The Fat Ass 50 K is being held about three miles from my house...So there really is no reason NOT to go...Right?? Gac organizes the run. 9am start - no entry fee. Runners just show up with something for the aid table, write their names on the roster and then run laps. Sounds like allot of fun since it's so layed back.
I plan on running a couple laps then biking for a few hours. Make a duathalon outa the weekend. With luck the weather will cooperate.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Solo epic

Got out early this morning for a ride from my house to Bradley Palmer. The single track was covered by two or three inches of dry powder. Great riding conditions. The Hakkas were the key to riding on a day like this. After scaring myself on some snow covered down hills I hit the road for an hour and peddled up through Ipswich and into West Gloucester. I should have installed my front fender..That would have helped me avoid eating so much salt as it splashed off my front tire while on road. I got back into the woods around Red Rock and took the Wimp-out double track that runs the east side of Haskell pond. I call it "wimp-out double track" b/c it's an easy way to link up to School St with out riding the tougher single track on the west side of the pond. Wimp-out was still fun at high speed with the snow cover and ice beneath. After popping out on School St and riding south I re-entered the woods at Cedar swamp and soon on to Ancient line. Some of the best riding of the day. The small pines that line the trail were weighted down with the fresh snow fall. There was no way to avoid smashing into the bent over branches and it wasn't long before I was snow covered too. Good thing that I ended the ride with this trail and not began here. Half-way through Ancient line I was soaked! I didn't care..My house was only a half hour away. I reached home deep in the pain cave. Bit dehydrated. Went directly to the kitchen for nourishment and then to a hot tub.