Thursday, March 30, 2006


A bit out of my element last evening. We made that trip to Zero Arrow again, but this time on the correct Wednesday. We attended the pre-performance swarre' where the food was extraordinary. Les and I feel honored every time we're invited to a performance at the A.R.T. especially when it's directed by Robert. Do I understand exactly what is going on during these plays? - hell no. I can only try. I can however tell when everyone in the audience loves the last night.
So much sybolism and reference to things I don't understand usually paralyze my lips. Takes me 24 hours to think about all that has happened. But simply too late to answer questions from people and performers after the play..."How did you like it?" - My response, "congratulations! That was amazing!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Paste-y legs

Got out this afternoon for the first shorts ride of the year. 50 degrees and sunny when I left but when the sun dipped below the trees the air got down right chilly. Legs turned a deep shade of pink and goose bumps rose up the size of nipples. Just had to get that first shorts ride in!

Noticed during the first climb that my head shock had burped out all the air in the shock and was bottomed out. Don't know if I have destroyed the shock yet. It did lock out quite nicely for the remainder of the loop - leads me to believe that the oil side of the shock is intact.. Lock-out on the up hills is great but not so on the down side. Good thing the dirt is squishy.
new grips made the downhills more comfortable. Instead of wrapping my knuckles around conventional round grips, these cater to the palms and take forces off my damaged wrists. I'm searching for a version of ergo grip that is a bit lighter...These MR1's weigh in. Don't want to be too weight conscious when building my new ride but need to find a pair that doesn't add 200 grams to the front end.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


Saturday's road century was a success in a few different ways. The biggest achievement for me being that I didn't bonk or break down (body or machine) at all! I felt the balls 100% of the time. The first 40 miles absolutely flew by..The five of us (Jeff, John, Rob, Brad and I) worked as a team in a revolving paceline to average 22 + mph. The paceline got a bit sketchy when the road skinnied-up but we all respected the elevated danger level by concentrating on staying tight and inline (and out of the sand and potholes). We reached our first destination (Rob's mom's house) in just over two hours. There, we took on water and food, but couldn't stand around too long, temps were falling and had to get back underway.
We pushed on for the summit of wah o wah chusett. Was about 15 or 18 miles from The Follansbee's farm house. Brad ran into some leg cramps and general bonk issues shortly after leaving the farm house. Knowing Brad was in trouble, Rob sacrificed his ride to the top of Wa-Wa to lead Bev to warmth and food back at his parents home. While climbing the sort hills on our way up to Wachusett Jeff and Hurley had a break-away that I just couldn't reel-in. I was able to keep those animals in sight while standing on the climbs and trying to squeeze power out'a da legs. They slowed so I could catch-up and the three of us turned onto Mt Wachusett auto road. Our quest for the summit was foiled by man-made snow a half mile up the auto-road..looked like great spring skiing though! We touched the snow signifying that we toped-out on our Wachusett ascent and headed back to base camp (Follansbee Farmhouse)
Heading back was 90% downhill - max speed was 45.5mph. Good stuff! Tearing down the hills we had climbed.
The group was re-united at the FF. Loaded up with more water and mixed a couple new bottles of Hammer perpetuem (that magic potion rocks!). Lightened my backpack a bit by eating just about everything I had carried on my back, turkey sandwich, couple bananas, Jen Whittinghams kick-ass molasses cookies.
Rob, Jeff, and John broke ahead and rocketed the 40 miles home as I stayed back with Brad. The brother was running in survival mode as we cruised comfortably home to Medfah.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Hammer toe cure ?

These Lake 101's are some sweet kicks for the money. Semi flexible sole with vibram boot bottoms for smearing granite boulders and available in xx wide for people with Fred Flintstone feet (like mine).

Why doesn't Lake go the extra mile and include a decent foot bed. I mean really, look at the flimsy, paper thin foot bed I have been peddling on for a year...

Will my cool new orange Shock Doctor Ultra's help with foot discomfort on those looong rides or did I get ripped off?

Triple double

Stayed out late last evening in town. When into Cambrige for a helping of culture at Zero Arrow . Turns out we were a week early for the opening of les' Uncle's opening night...Whoops. A quote from Lesli, "Oh,.. by Next Wednesday he must have meant NEXT WEDNESDAY!"
Dragging a bit this morning..I can tell because the three double expresso shots I have ingested haven't worked their magic..I think four might cause a permanent irregular heartbeat.

Huge weekend plans for a road epic. Four or five of us are setting out to ride from Medford to Mt. Wachusett and back. Should be a solid 8 hours of riding...Probably at least three hours of pain. Maybe we'll just end up here and call one of our wives for a ride home?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Cold Cross Ride

I like when friends leave their bikes at my house for safe-keeping. Just be aware..they get ridden.
Brad's got too many bikes again and needs to liquidate a couple...and guess who's his ebay bee'ach? That's right..the same guy who rode this beauty for two hours around the north shore this cold afternoon. Think I'll stall on listing the auction for a few more days...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Ride Junkie

In response to Jeff's admission of addiction to the adrenaline rush and heightened awareness of life as a full fledged Ride Junkie I am also coming out of the closet.

Team EBDBe was born last year on an epic ride over the Moat Mountain range in North Conway NH.

Epic Black Diamond Bicycle Enthusiast

big wind leads to beers instead of bikes

On lunch break yesterday went back to Treads Bicycle outfitters and picked up a few slime tubes and a bike route map. Had all intentions of hooking the Highline Canal Bikeway to Cherry Creek State Park but huge wind gusts yesterday kept the riding to a minimum. Only a half hour into the ride I turned around partly because my legs were smoked from Tuesday's 4 hour loop around north Denver.
Met up with a few guys from class in the lobby of the Amerisuite hotel. We all piled into my rented PT Cruiser and hit Rt. 70 toward Denver. Arthur Bell from Orange County demonstrated some of his west-coast driving skills as we rocketed toward, I thought Boston drivers were bad!
Grabbed some food and walked around Denver, sampled some great beers at a few local breweries and ended the night with a "west-coast vs: east-coast" pool tourniment. Was Art Bell and Bill Hogan on the W.C. team vs: me and Bob Martin defending the east...we had some close games but the west coast guys eventually took us. Dragging ass in class this morning.
Hoping to hook up the trails after work today, wind has died excuse today.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

7 is a personal record

Aurora day two was a bit better than the first. In class today we messed with different work station images and configs. The instructor (Don) wanted to hammer the configs, user names and p/w's in our sponge-like brains, his idea of a good time is reimaging the hell out of a pc till you can do it with your eyes closed.
At lunch I drove down to the nearest bike shop for some tubes. You see, because when I woke this morning I noticed that my bike had double flats. I sat drinking coffee and pulling thorns from my tires at 6 am...Nothing like inhaling rubber cement to start the day.

After work I studied an Alamo rent a car map and decided to ride into the city and try to get close to the distant snow covered mountains on the west side of Denver. Packed my bag aticipating an epic ride since I had no idea what could happen in the next few hours. I started rolling south down the east side of Aurora and planned on turning west on one of the many through ways that lead to Denver...With in the first mile of riding I saw a trail-head for the Sandy Creek Greenway. Cool! It led west toward Denver! Jumped on the greenway which is a wide pedestrian gravel sidewalk that parallels sandy creek. Had no idea where it lead but it was much better than rolling on the busy streets of Aurora. Turns out this trail is the bomb! Not at all technical but bypasses most of the busy intersections that slow the continuity of the ride toward Denver. The Sandy Creek Greenway winds along the creek and flows under the highway bridges. I followed the gravel path for eleven miles.
When the path ended I was in an industrial part of Denver. The mountains were still miles away, the sun was high and I continued toward them. Now on Smith street, a rough dirt road that served as a truck route and was not well traveled...Perfect! Then I got my first flat of the ride (I considered it the third of the day after the double flats I fixed over coffee). Had plenty of patches and a couple tubes in the pack, no big deal. Fixed it in no time and rolled on...A mile later I heard the familiar sound of air escaping my rear wheel once again! Pulled to the side of Colorado Ave and yanked a couple more thorns from my tire. Swapped the tube and was under-way...That was the fourth flat. I peddled down 38th Ave into the "hood" of Denver. Sun was dropping on the horizon and did not want a fifth flat. I found my way out of the ghetto and headed north toward the Sandy Creek Greenway. I accepted the fact that I would not get to the foothills but did get close enough for today.
I rolled back up Smith ave where I was paralleling a slow moving freight train so I raced it!

Almost back to the greenway and got my next flat. Yet another thorn in my rear wheel. Ate a power bar and patched the hole..Decided to inspect the front wheel and instantly noticed three thorns plugging small holes in the tire..WTF?? Pulled another tube (my last) out of the back pack and was soon done with that repair (number 5 and 6). Decided to bypass the greenway just Incas there was another thorn with my name on it, stuck to the road and pointed my ass home. Yup, you know it...a couple miles from my home away from home...Number seven strikes...I lost my cool. I was fed up. Tried to fix the fucker but after using my last patch and pumping air heard the evil hissing noise I knew soooo well. How could this be I asked myself...yes, I did check for remaining thorns in the tire...I rode number seven for the final two miles home. Probably ruined my tire but just didn't care....was a great tour around Denver dispite a record number of flats. May buy the stan's tube-less system tomorrow.

Monday, March 13, 2006

First impressions

Aurora Colorado...Nice place to visit but not on my top ten list of places to call home. First day of class went good, better than expected. Very relaxed attitude from the instructors..Lots of info but all web based. Class is set up with everything we need to be exposed to. I was impressed with the amount of material the company dug up for us to learn. The training facility is United Airlines parts depot and repair center for the globe..That was until they out sourced.
Class let out at 3:00 and I was on the bike at 4:00. Loaded up my backpack and hopped on the sidewalk heading west on 40th ave. Aurora is expanding like's on the out-skirts of Denver and seems to be the home of EVERY chain restaurant and hotel. There are no small streets, just major 4 lane through ways. The town is relatively flat with zero tall trees, or any trees for that matter. Wide open plains with views of the Rockies in the distance.
I followed the sidewalk for a few miles and decided it was lame, good warm-up but boring. I crossed the street and headed into a field of prairie grass and tumble-weeds...First time I ever got a tumble weed caught in my derailuer. Looking at my GPS I saw only a huge expanse of open land with the nearest street a mile to my right. The field was tough riding but gave my legs a work out. Much like riding on the beach, sinking into deep sand. I didn't complain but just took it slow and enjoyed the burn.
Had enough beach burn and headed toward the only hill in sight. Now on Tower rd looking into the distance but can't decipher how far away this large sloping hill (almost pyramid like) is away from me. Look again at the GPS and decide that the top of this hill is seven miles from where I was. Deep purple sky's to my right were bearing down and my only thought was, (A) I am water-proof, but (B) my cell phone and digi camera were not. I had to bail on my quest to reach the top of the pyramid.
Maybe tomorrow...Gatta shower up and meet some guys in the lobby...going to the Out-Back for beers and some grub.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


This WAS kevin's frame a few years back.

He was riding down hill at a good clip, hit a large dip in the trail and "G'd out" massively...after skidding on his face and back for 40 feet or so, he regained composure to find his racing hard tail fragmented. Gunnar said he must have driven into his garage with bike on roof.

This leads me to yesterday's ride with Tom. (not quite as catastrophic) Riding off greenwood ave on some technical trails. Both of us back on the squishy bikes..had mine set to 6 inches front and rear. The sun was out, near 60 degrees..short sleeves. Mud, mud and more mud. Perfect day for a looong ride...then snap!
Tom and I had just made a good climb on red dot and while descending on a tricky corner Tom lays it down. Not a bad crash but happened quick. I hear it and wait. As I peered through the trees I could see Tom holding his hand and thought he hurt his fingers but as he walks closer he is holding something in his hand. It's Tom's broken carbon fiber Hayes brake front brake lever.
We stood there trying to formulate a trail-fix for this mishap but realized there's nothing to do but get a new lever... And this happened feet from where Jeff lost a front brake pad a couple months back. This trail is now known as "Broke brake trail" in my mind. Tom was cool, he could have said screw the ride since we were only a half hour out...looking at another 90 minutes of muddy, steep-technical he decided to ride on.
After the ride I got to thinking about carbon fiber vs: aluminum for components...yeah, carbon fiber is lighter, has *bling* value, may absorb shock better than aluminum but if that lever was aluminum it would have surely bent and not ka-snapped like a candy cane.
I'm going to be building a steel hard tail over the next month or so...was going to go with a carbon post and, I've seen Jeff hammer on his monkey lite sl's - will I have such good luck with carbon fiber or will a slight lapse in concentration in some epic race cause me to DNF?

Friday, March 10, 2006


I have been scrambling around the last few days.. Piling up gear and writing list so not to forget anything for the trip to Colorado. Just taking the essentials; bike (duh), helmet,clothes, shoes,light,GPS,camelback,tools..Jeff lent me a sweet hard case to carry it all...Hope the airline doesn't charge me an arm and a leg extra to fly all my shit.
Ken hooked me with his friend Chris out in Denver. Looks like he puts a lot of time and energy in to the SS lifestyle..Can't wait to get out there and ride. The plan is to meet up with him and his single speed buds for some night rides after work.
Yesterday I stopped by to talk with Christopher Igleheart at his welding shop in Danvers. First time I'd been in the shop and it was what I'd expected...a cool fabrication garage stuffed with equipment, bike frames, frame jigs, welders, gas bottles,saws, drill presses, notchers, boxes of steel and titanium tubes and tool boxes full of machine parts and instruments. Interesting to see Christopher in his element with equipment he has gathered over the last twenty years or so. We have been talking over the last couple weeks about building me a custom steel rig and the visit to his shop solidified the deal.
Picked out some tubes and talked about the angles and measurements at length...Christopher is a huge 29'er fan and loves utilizing the rohloff speed-hub. I am a 26 inch'er to the core who likes the action of traditional gears...I know there is a better system out there but for a mountain bike I gotta stay with what works well and is light and responsive. I tried the roholff and wish the rear wheel wasn't as-much an anchor. I may change my view at some point but yesterday put the wheels in motion for a sick-ass epic racing rig. For those of you who care here is the build:
23 inch TT (effective)
70 degree head tube angle (slack)
72.5 seat tube angle
12.25 BB height (high clearance)
16.75 CS
Columbus Life Niobium doped tubes
Also picked out the rear drop-outs and got to mount them in the frame jig. I plan on owning this frame for many years and it was blowing me away to pick out everything down to the cable routing and paint about custom! If all goes well I'll be racing her down in Georgia on April 22!!...and hopefully not assembling her in the back of the station wagon rolling down the highway!...but some how know that's what will happen...

Sunday, March 05, 2006


Back on a road bike for the first time in a decade. Justin you rock for letting me borrow this ride! (I can't promise that I'll ever give it back). Reynolds 853 steel frame was smooth as butter on the Suburban streets of Boston. I can't say enough about the ride quality of this now classic ride. Supple through the potholes and street hazards while feeling extremely stable on fast sections and down hills. Not exactly a snappy feel but a great training machine. What a way to spend a perfect-weather day in March. Stiff head wind on the way out but my legs needed a beating today.
I do however need to bring more water next time out on the road...I figured we were out for a 30 mile spin and it turned into 55. Should have known better. Next time I'll wear a camel back, just way easier to drink if the tube is right there staring you in the face.
Jeff was on fire after waking up his legs on the second half of the ride. The dude put in a tough week on the saddle and almost called to cancel today's ride. Glad he didn't.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Christmas in March

Oh yeah..REI dividend check time. It arrived yesterday in the mail and instantly burned a hole in my pocket - now it's history. Picked up some nice bike schwag with the 1% kick back from my REI Visa.
I can stop borrowing Jeff's neoprene booties now that I'm set with a fancy pair of Sugoi's like the stolen credit card commercial with the Al Bundy like character...He is sitting in his living room, as he opens his mouth to speak his voice is replaced with a cute-ditzy girl voice..."Fifteen hundred for a leather bustier?? I didn't care, it wasn't my money...Well, the sugoi covers were $50...They're sweet but fifty bucks sweet...I think not. Unless it's dividend time baby!
Also picked up a sweet floor pump, mtb gloves and a HRM. I love REI dividend time. Best $15 membership I have ever purchased.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

new moon ride

Perfect conditions for a night cruise through the fells. One inch of Super-dry powder and deeply-frozen ground set up some amazing ride conditions, and the temps were in the low 30's! Traction was EVERYWHERE. One of those nights that any climb was possible!
Rolled with Jeff and a special guest for the evening was...drum roll pleaseee....Justin Ello! Back from a two year hiatus off the bike. He struggled a bit but fun was had by all. Just hope Ello can walk today...kidding :)
I was a bit nervous for Duke early-on in the ride. Jeff and I had the H.I.D.'s in full effect while Justin's old-school night rider hadnt been lit in a while. He played it safe with the torch on low but seeing the dull orange beam made me nervous that it was going to die in the first 15 minutes of our ride. Lucky for him, and us it lasted the entire ride with light to spare.
Man, this easy week of biking has really gotten me fired up to rip again. Body and mind are feeling refreshed. The rest has worked wonders for what feels like my 90 year-old arthritic hand.