Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Bruised and battered

Thankfully this is my rest week from the bike cause my body is messed up. Legs are fine, have taken a few high speed crashes on my already sprained left hand. Man, It's been a while since I have ridden so many xc miles...I think that xc crashes are some times worse than falling while hucking off a ten foot boulder...well sometimes.
Was surfing ebay last night looking at lefty forks for my Cannondale f600. I won the F600 in a raffle at last year's 24 H of Great Glen. Never won anything at a raffle before and that was most likely the last time. I like the ride of a steel HT better than an aluminum frame but what can I say, they gave me this f600. Anyway I like the damn thing. After breaking the rear hub, the shifter and wearing out the original drivetrain I have equipped the bike with some new gear. xtr this and sram that, dt hugi and now looking at replacing the painful head shock with a little more coosh. Is this a mistake wanting a lefty? maybe but there's always ebay if I don't like it...

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Steel is Real

A cool event next weekend for those fortunate-enough to be on the west coast of the United States - The Hand built bicycle showcase in San Jose California. Couple of friends are flying out to attend and show off their handy-work. Life long friend and riding compadre' Mr. Daren Mourneau and local bicycle fabricator Christopher Igleheart.
Christopher is a master welder that started out with Fat City back in the early days of mountain bikes. He is best known for his 26" and 29" ridged steel forks and touring bikes that utilize the Rohloff Speed hub.
This beauty is the brainchild of Daren welded by Igleheart. The Wraith is steel baby! Has 4.5 inches of rear travel and a unified rear triangle. Rides best when pointed down hill but can climb and descend on all-day epic rides. Daren has been refining his design over the years and this is the third generation of the Wraith. If all goes well I'll be riding a fourth generation Wraith this summer.

Saturday, February 25, 2006


Busy Beavers

I think I'm thawed out from the ride this morning. Took a while to feel my toes again. That's what happens when you dip both feet in a knee high puddle 12 miles from home I guess. Just lucky we decided to turn around at that point. Snow was coming down at an inch an hour...temps were plummeting. Jeff and I were full of power, ready to ride another 30 miles on the Bay Circuit...Apparently not today.

The score:
Bay Circuit 2
riders 0

I have no right complain. It's Feb 25 and we are riding! Just looking for a super-long epic but instead got 2.5H of wheel spin time for a total of 23.5 miles of dirt. Not a bad way to spend the day. Maybe the third attempt to reach Harold Parker State Park will be the epic we are looking for.

Epic in the making

I was able to swapp shifts at work with Wally in order to get an epic ride in with Jeff today. Big storm heading our way that should hit about noon. They say it'll dump 3-5 inches of fluff. Looking to get a 5 or 6 hour rip in to connect up the elusive trails known as the Bay Circuit trail.
Les got her wisdom teeth yanked yesterday. Was super surprised what a tooth pulling factory this oral surgery office was. We walked in, Les was escorted to the dental chair while I read a mag...got through one page when the nurse returned to say she was all done! Wow, they knocked her out, ripped 'em out, and then kicked us out! -actually, they were very professional. Les is doing alright, no stitches just a couple holes in her jaw. ice cream therapy thats all.
well, gotto suit up..Whit'll be here soon. 22 degrees out and sunny.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


A day off the bike was just what the doctor ordered. Got an hour spin on the pain machine this a.m. but all the while itching to get out on the trails instead of spinning in the basement. Some cold-ass temps (20 degrees) kept me inside when all I wanted was to try out a new component on my hard tail..Nothing better than bolting on new gear that improves the ride.
I think the thud-buster will lend it self to epic rides (and maybe the cohutta 100) on the f600. I was able to take it out this afternoon for an hour. Suspension travel is extremely active, very plush. I used a U.S.E post last August at Great Glen to take the edge off but the suspension travel was nothing like the super plush thud buster. Only thing- who's idea was it to call a company that makes aluminum bike components Cane"Creek?"
Work is sending me to Denver for a week in March for a training class. 7am to 3 pm...think I'll have the opportunity to get very lost looking for trails around Aurora Colorado. Good change of scenery and check out some new riding. Altitude training too... - Wonder if that's going to affect me?

Monday, February 20, 2006

break time

Legs and mind are thrashed. It's great. I have been wondering how many days in a row I could hang and the number is 10. Should really take tomorrow off.

Yesterday's ride was a good one. Got over to the fells for a spin on the White trail. Brings back memories of riding with tattoo Lou and Disco Dave in the early 90's.
I THOUGHT we were out for a light spin on double track but there was nothing light about it..The single track up there is some of the toughest around. Banged around my new xtr cranks. Sure some guy in California owns them for 3 years and doesn't put a scratch on them (or a mile :)) and I scrape them over rocks and saw through logs on the first ride. Need a bash guard for them to preserve the 48 tooth big ring for a while.
My hand is feeling better than I thought it would. Used it to save my face on a fall yesterday. Iced it down for an hour after the ride and then took a boiling hot shower...and beer therapy.

Today's ride was the deciding factor in taking tomorrow off the bike. Spun on the road for twenty minutes and then into Willowdale State forest for some carriage roads..Legs were powerless and burning. Whole body could use a break including my mind. Then it happened, Like any crash sequence, "I was just riding along" in the middle ring on a rutted fire road, the road dipped and took a 90 degree right turn. Got into a bit of rutted ice and over the bars..sailed through the air and slid Pete Rose style. On my back laughing thinking how comfortable It felt with three layers and a helmet, almost curled up to nap.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

40 degree difference

Friday morning: one layer, long sleeves, fingerless gloves, buff head gear

Sunday morning: balaclava, three layers, jacket, winter gloves, neoprene booties

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Greenwood Ave

"Are we there yet??"

Got a good technical trail ride with Jeff and of course..Bronte and Gus today. Was a great change of pace to be on the dual squishy as opposed to the h.t. - getting quite accustomed to my hard tail though..Almost took it to the trail today but glad I didn't. Was defiantly a dual suspension ride.
No messing around on the trail. We got in and out in just over two hours. No technicals, break downs, injuries. Just good'o fashion ass-kickin riding. Here's a movie of Jeff hitting a new line.

We were in and out'a the trail so quick that I got a few things checked off the "hunny-do list".
Number one on the list: take down the Christmas lights..oh yeah, they were still up!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Solid week

Aahhh. I sit here on Friday night with beer in hand thoroughly satisfied with riding progress this week. Got into a routine of waking early to spin on the trainer. I'm starting to enjoy the trainer...but,maybe that's the beer talking.
Warm weather melted the 18 inches of snow we received last Sunday. That, coupled with early sunrise allowed me two extended road loops. Made mention to Brad a few weeks ago I was training for this season, his only comment was "wait till you start biking multiple times per day". Well, it happened Wednesday an Thursday this week. This morning I followed the routine that's been working for me, caffeine on the trainer while watching the six a.m. news. Spun up the 30 year old Schwinn trainer for 45 minutes. Then went upstairs for more water and maybe some oats - looked outside at the thermometer.. 50 degrees? What the hell am I indoors for?
Quickly returned to the basement to get suited in the proper gear for such mild temps. Hit the road on the F600 for a two hour spin up through Ipswich and Rowley. Made the mistake of peddling up rt. 1A in heavy commuter traffic. An evil- smelling trash truck almost took out my spandex clad ass...I think he was playing a sick game of kill the dude on the bike. Way too close as he rocketed past me.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Lots of melting = big puddles

Yesterdays road rip was wet and salty. 50 degrees and sunny. The snow is melting rapidly but still too much of it to get into the woods. I hit the road for a loop around the Bay Circuit trails. Get to know the roads around Boxford so when I pop out'a the woods things might just look familiar. Legs are feeling great. Almost too fresh. I'll need to punish them today and see if they rebound.
Looks like mother nature is going to hammer away at the snow level in the woods. Warm weather is predicted for today and tomorrow with rain showers Friday..Yeah yeah! Then arctic air moving in this weekend...Might be time to wipe off two months of dust from the hakka's and mount the studded tires for some trail riding this weekend.

Parts are starting to arrive for the race rig. Nabbed a sweeet pair of 2002 xtr cranks w/bb from a Doctor in California on eBay. Doesn't appear they were ever ridden! Drivetrain parts should be in soon..After my deore rear shifter disintegrated on the trail last weekend time was right to swap my shimano components for Sram . Ordered up x.7 shifters and x.9 rear derailleur. Didn't see the need to go all out for the X.0 group. (hope I made the right choice)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


How can this be considered a world record? The dude was towed behind a freekin RM500... Isn't the bicycle about "pedal power?"

Monday, February 13, 2006

Air-travel and blizzards don't mix

The airport is very much a different place when snow is flying instead of the planes. I've worked there for quite some time and have seen big storms screw with thousands of weary business people and ruin other's vacation plans. This past storm was no different. MIS-connected baggage was piled high and lines were long at Logan this morning.
As the computer guy I don't deal directly with passengers but over hear stories of cancelled and delayed flights..We've all been there, it sucks to be there!
So, I am under the main concourse in the maintenance dept fixing a workstation, phone rings, maintenance manager (Bob) answers. "No, I didn't hear that?" - Bob says, "Gate 6? I'll be right out!" - by the tone of Bob's voice something has just happened.
(me) "whats up?"
(Bob) "aircraft damage"
(me) "some one run into a plane?"
(Bob) "don't think so, gotta go to gate 6."
(me) "can I go?"
(Bob) "sure"
Bob opens his desk and grabs some paperwork and a digi cam. We stroll out to an Airbus A319 that's in the process of being fueled. Under the wing now looking up at a 20 inch by 10 inch piece of aluminum that appears to have torn off the wing. Bob tells me that it's a "slat" or hinged fuel door like on a car. Mangled! Looks like someone had been wacking it with a mallet for the duration of the flight. Fuelers had found it like that when they got there. Captain of the flight says that the fuel slat indicator light came on during landing. With this info Bob surmises that the fuel slat was left open by the last person to fuel the aircraft and while landing in Boston the leading edge of the wing (that also has some moving flap) grabbed hold of the slat and bent a 90 degree crease in the thin metal. Very exciting stuff but my treo was wailing and I had to go back to work.
Walked up stairs to the public level and through the secure door. Now surrounded by two hundred or so travelers that have been jaked around by the recent blizzard and were supposed to be on that A319 to Philly - Not! Like I said earlier, I don't deal too much with the passengers and forgot totally that there were a shit-load of people affected by this bent hunk of aluminum.
Just then, another friend with the airline gets on the microphone and announces the flight will be delayed. A hush comes over the crowd, just a minute earlier they thought they were going on to their next destination.
John comes back on the mic. "There is another Philly flight boarding in half an hour. If you would like to be on it please return to the ticket counter for re-ticketing."
Geee, what do you think happened next? That right...Massive stampede of angry passenger running each other over to get back through security and into another line at the ticket counter.

My advice to travelers when weather hits, stay home, rent the hotel room another night, go to the bar, do anything but fly.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Lost but riding

A nippley 20 degrees at the start of yesterday's ride for Jeff and I. First time I had ever worn neoprene booties over my shoes and my feet were toasty. The 5 minute spin down the road from my house to the woods was near torture as the below-freezing temps inflicted deep brain freeze. Once in the woods we were safe from the biting wind...that was until the grease in my rear hub froze. Back on the road to my house to swap the rear wheel. By the third trip down the road our faces were acclimated..or maybe just frozen numb.
We were out to link some trails known as the Bay circuit. Looking back I should have done a bunch more research on this trail system. I had ridden these trails years ago with Jamie Fisher to train for the 2000 or 2001 VT 50 and thought I knew how to navigate the carriage roads through Willowdale State Forest...not exactly. Oh well, the ride was not a total bust as we got a solid four hours in on the hard tails. Getting lost yesterday has given me a new interest in linking this trail system to train for the the cohutta 100 mile'r.. Oh wait a minute,... That's right - looking out my window I can only see piles of fresh powdery snow. Shit! Won't be connecting the Bay circuit any time soon...
Looks like the only spinning I'll get done will be in the basement while attempting to stay on that brainless machine. Damn Nor'easter!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Time on the saddle

Just showered up after a fridgid ride with the usual suspects, Jeff and Barry (and Bronte dog). Bone chilling cold out there, or maybe all the mild weather has turned me into a whuss...nah. Barry's knowledge of every local patch of woods is unrivaled as he once again led us on some extremely rocky terrain around Millstone hill. Tough trails.

Congrats go out to my good friend Jeff as he will be tearing up the race scene for Independent Fabrication this coming season. Great opportunity for him to ride with a solid race team and further his personal goal of being a faster human on a bike.

It's been a good week of training for me on the bike. Sights are set on the Cohutta 100 for sure. Dusted off the cob-webs on my hardtail and did a bunch of mid week a.m. training rides. Looking to get a 5 hour ride in on Saturday to bring the week total up to 13 or 14 hours. Also, looks like the north east will be hit by a big storm that could potentially blanket the trails with a foot of powder. :( Hope we can dodge that bullet but snow is inevitable at some point.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Fender ride

Close to bonking on today's ride. We headed out an hour after our scheduled ride with George due to rain storms...Bummed to miss riding with George. Would have been good to scare each other on lines in B+T's. Hope we get together soon.
Ken, Jeff, Bronte and I headed out near RR for the first mud fest of 2006. Rain ended as we got to the trail head. Temps in low 50's - Perfect! The rocks were slick and the roots slicker. Used a lot of body english to stay on line today and still managed to smack a few trees with shoulders and bar ends. The sherman fork bailed me out of many high speed situations. Down hill trails had turned to rock strewn rivers due to heavy rainfall late last night and in to the morning. Low laying areas were brimming with standing water. Toward the middle of the ride we no longer avoided the deep puddles.. all about keeping momentum and pulling back on the bars (and hoping not to smack a boulder under the surface).
Felt strong for the first half of the ride till my breakfast (oatmeal) burned off...ate my one and only mini luna, 100 calories don't go far. (Note to self..pick up more trail food) We were all in the same boat - out of energy food with an hour + left to go, wet, on the verge of bonk. Then I ran out of water. Made the best of having little power after three hours out. Concentrated on spinning the pedals up the goat-hill climbs and milking the recovery on the flats.

Put in 10 or 11 hours on the bike this week. Looking to ramp up for the next few.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

night groove

Just got back from a night rip with Jeff. Luckily we both stuck with rubber knobbies instead of studs. The ride was great. Rode about an hour and a half of some tight, technical terrain. Only stepped in a deep-ass puddle once...man that was cold.
Snow was eight inches thick where the sun hadn't melted therefore the ride was all about churning through to get to the bare spots.
The temp continues to stay freakishly moderate at a balmy 35 degrees. Absolutely the best riding winter I have ever seen. Now that I said it we'll be buried till March.
That's OK..Wouldn't mind getting on the winter stick at least once this season.

small victory

Mom has been in the hospital since Monday. What's worse is she hasn't eaten or had liquid since Monday..Four days. I have never gone four day without food...Neither had she. It's for the best. The doctors are trying to clear up a problem in her intestine and cannot operate till her white blood cell count goes down. She is stuck in bed with I.V. fluids and antibiotics flowing into her arm. She can get up every now and then and walk the halls of the sixth floor while pushing her hanging bags of I.V. nourishment..She is very bored and just wants out.
I called tonight to check out the latest news on surgery, moved back a day to Saturday - not tomorrow. Bummer..."They gave me Ginger Ale!" she happily exclaimed! That made her night and mine.

cohutta 100

First race of the season is on the calendar. 100 mile loop around the Cohutta Wilderness Area on the boarder of Georgia and Tennessee. Sounds to be some fantastic riding. The single track portion of the race will utilize the Tanasi Trail system - 30 miles of fast, flowing singletrack.

This year is starting out very different from previous race years..I usually END the season with a big race. With the length and frequency of rides this winter season I feel somewhat confident that I'll be ready..Don't get me wrong though, fear of the pain cave will keep me spinning on the trainer week after week till April 22. Hell, I'm even watching what I eat...I am taking this race thing way too seriously.