Sunday, May 28, 2006

Tour de Cape Ann

Great day in the saddle. The weather guys couldn't have gotten this day more wrong..Prediction was for rain starting early and lasting all day. Nope, just a warm super-humid, super-sweaty day. Jeff and I enjoyed an enormous shake-down ride incorporating every type of terrain the North Shore has to offer. Pretty rough on the steel hardtails through Mill st with super technical rocky rooty lines. Put the first few scratches in the powder coat of the new bike. Gotta get it over with on the first ride! After punishing our selves for an hour we hit the road for a coastal cruise to the flowing trails of Dogtown. Psyced to pedal to D.T. because I had never made the push all the way to Rockport on the mtb.

The steel bikes shined on these trails. Rocky, technical, flowing, small climbs, scary descents..dogtown was the best trails of the day. We then stretched out da legs a bit on 127 through Gloucester and Manchester over to Ancient Line and pulpit Rock...was awesome to open the legs up with so much road in between the hairy ass sections. By the time we hit up Ancient line we were just flying over the shit. Jeff had some bad luck with his fork locking up early in the day so he aired down his 2.20 Cortez' to get a bit more suspension under him. Good job rocking that ride with 20 mm of fork travel...and not one flat! Huge accomplishment on that ride.
The look of total satisfaction (and cold beer)

Friday, May 26, 2006

Quick review

Took her over to Bradley palmer for 75 minutes of smooth single track. Having a hard time wiping the smile off my face.

Have to make small adjustments; secure rear cable, tweak chain device, adj front derailuer. Made some on the trail adjustments. Cockpit feels spot-on ! Frame is flexible but in a good way, climbs like a billy-goat. Not fully impressed with the el-camino brakes, gave me trouble at Cohutta and today. In Tennessee I had trouble with both master cylinders not retracting after pulling the brakes for 90 miles...and today, while installing the rear wheel with the bike flipped over, one of the rear brake pads fell-out! No big deal on a casual ride but don't want that shit happening in a race. Two strikes Hayes, one to go then these brakes go.

Long, scary screech, (like fingernails down the chalk board screeching) noises from the middle finger of the Bontrager chain device. Noth'in a 3 mm can't handle but initial scraping was a bit alarming, thought the disc was slicing a hole in the frame.

Smack down

I have been slacking in the blog dept lately. It's been a busy week with work and bike related activities - of coarse :).

Wednesday night I rode with the fast group out'a Topsfield - man what a spirited ride! I thought I was in a race, well I guess I was! I prepped my legs Monday and Tuesday by riding conservative recovery rides on the road (30 min each) and went into Wednesday nervous, but knowing the golden legs were beneath me.
The ride started out quick in a paceline of 14 of us. By mile 10 it was on! Full-out, hang on or be dropped! Not knowing these guys or their road routes it was tough to judge where and when to lay it on the line so I played it conservative..or tried to. My strategy was short 20 sec pulls. I did go for a sprint I should have let fizzle - by the time I caught him my heart rate was in the 190's and I was seeing spots.
I liked the smack down! 36 miles of high intesity road riding with some good guys - no hold barred! On this night I held on, I am sure there will be night I am less fortunate.

The Igle-bike is back!!!! yeah yeah yeah!!! Mark at Western Cycle did the final tweeking on my ride yesterday.
and the before shot...

metallic cream soda blue, better than poop rust brown!

reminds me of the paint on my old super 8

The IgleBike is all set for a long epic with Jeff tomorrow. Going to try a new route for the Kahuna, this will be the Super Kahuna! Got just the tires for the Super-K...Kenda Cortez 2.20 super sticky.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Dual Bagger!

Spun s'more miles on my new-to-me road bike this weekend and got a better feel to how she handles and all that. Love the way it rides...just waiting for Brett to call and tell me he has changed his mind and wants his bike back..Not!
Met up with the CCB ride early Saturday morning. Was a smaller group than the past couple of weeks, but still about thirty of us started out of Topsfield. I'm getting familiar with CCB and the way things are done. Some of these guys have ridden with the group for decades so they all know each other well. Then there's me..The out sider.
The first 18 miles were pretty much a warm up and when we hit the river we split into two groups, a long and short. Long today was 65 miles. Thinking of what Jeff was attempting I wanted to go longer than long but 65 had to do for now. I took a quick look as to who was around for the long ride and was pleased to see some familiar faces and knew there would be opportunity for some good efforts up front as I recognized four or five strong riders.
An hour later we were moving along pretty well (I thought) when I heard a bunch of bitching and complaining out of the rear of the group. I was mid-pack and could hear someone three or four guys back making comments like, "is this a group ride or a race"..and , "what's the rush, we got all day." Led me to believe this person was working pretty hard. I still don't have a computer on my bike so I had no idea how hard we were going...but wasn't all that hard. So, out of the fourteen of us this guy was looking for support from his friends to slow the group down. The group did slow but five of us in the group wanted to ride our legs into the ground. Any time the pace increased to where we (the five of us) were happy, moans and complaints flowed up from behind. -That kinda sucked. I thought the five of us should just break away and ride, infact I asked a couple of the guys if they were interested in just that, but the Saturday ride was supposed to be a group ride and no one wanted to break tradition. I don't blame them.
At the end of the ride Neil (large human who has been ripping w CCB for lots of years) told me about the Wednesday night rides and how that should quench my thirst for fast road rides. I've probably just opened a can of whoop ass on myself but we'll see Wednesday night.

On a crappy note, The Topsfield Highland games have been cancelled for unknown reasons. Got the news today from Justin. Sorry Jeff, I know you've been practicing your hammer throw. Maybe we can get everyone together for a kilt cook out and throw hammers there?

But on a better note...this is stupid to mension but worked out perfectly. Lesli and I were driving the Willys around town today. We noticed lots of mowers on the curb...seemed like everyone and their mother was throwing out lawn mowers. (Can u "throw out" a mower?) Anyway, I've been stalling to buy two rear tires for my Ariens ride-on mower and there on the curb with a "free" sign was my exact model - 1980's (safety orange) Ariens mower! Sweet!
The motor was junk but grabbed it for the rear rubber and the best had the dual bagger attachment and electric start! yeah! yeah! I've been push mowing for the past few weeks...not any more baby!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Good out weighs the bad

Take the good with the bad. That's my motto this week. First and foremost our basement is back to it's dry nice to walk around down there in socks and not get soaked. Would not be surprised to see some'more puddles forming on the floor this a.m. b/c is pouring out once again.

I have accepted rain at this point and say, "bring it on!" Just please don't rain on May 28, the date of the best sporting event the North Shore of Boston has to offer! Stay tuned for men in kilts throwing rocks and sticks!

So I said "take the good with the bad" - first the Bad- My new hardtail is at the bottom of the powder coater's pile. It's been three weeks today and the frame continues to be coated with rust and not powder coat! Don't know what's up with this paint shop. I could just freak out and pick it up and give her a rattle-can paint job in my garage. No, I'll try to be more patient but I think there's something going on here that I am not getting.

Now the good news and the reason I say take the good with the bad. I was the lucky bastard to be at the right place at the right time last week. A friend of a friend heard I was riding around on a borrowed road bike that was a couple inches (or few cm) too big. This rich friend (Brett) decided it was time to clean out his garage and kick some gear to a worthy Brett you rock!

58 cm '96 Merlin Extralight with Campy Record!
Who needs factory sponsorship with friends like this?

Been out every day this week getting dialed in to my new old school ride. The Campy shifters are my favorite part of this bike. Opposite from shimano so I keep dumping down when I want to push harder but I'll get accustomed to it soon - got no choice - with all the rain the trails are destroyed and oh, yeah - the powder coater is holding my mountain bike for ransom. I cannot complain about much. Just hope I remember how to ride in the woods when and if my Igleheart comes back to me.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

got the squirts

We've been working around the clock to rid our basement of flood water but every time I turn around we spring another leak!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Mother's Day, aka, Mother Nature's day

It's astonishing that water continues to fall after 3 days of pouring rain. Just a deluge! Weather guys are talking 12 + plus inches since Friday!

My front yard has been transformed from a grassy field to a four foot deep canal and my basement has a river running through it!

Gus seems to like it.

Thankfully we have a walk-out basement the the water is seeking lower ground out the garage door. Many of our neighbors are totally screwed with a foot or more in their basements with no where for it to escape.

Jeff arrived bright and early for the CWE with trailbike ready to rip but first we made a trip to HD to grab a pump. Like fools we accually thought there would be a supply of sumps waiting to be purchased...nope! People were scrambling around the plumbing dept like ants in a colony buying up every last means to a drier cellar. "lets get outta here and go ride."

Lots of detours on the way home. The mighty Ipswich river had over-flowed its banks in Topsfield and rt 97 was closed...accually just about any road near any river was flooded. We returned to my little piece of hell to discover the river was taking care of it self, draining out the garage. Thankfully Lesli and I thought ahead last week and removed the rugs and all our possessions to higher ground.

Now on to the CWE!

dude! pull up your pants!

We suited up like never before. Four layers starting with my 1mm neoprene scuba dive vest w hood. Never did I think I'd be wearing the chicken suit riding but just made sense considering it was 45 degrees and pouring.

Jeff was clad in four or five layers of pada-gucci and ready to take on mother nature on mother's day.

Would have been great to bring the digi cam, but way too wet for any electronics today. We decided to start close and peddled to Bradley Palmer. Water crossings were ridiculously deep. I knew immediately that the VT would need a total rebuild after today. We were like little kids playing in the water.

BP and Willowdale are a maze of fast fireroads., all about big speed and careening into three and four foot deep rivers. Wish I had a movie camera for one particular idea how deep this pond in the middle of the trail was going to be, just held on and crashed it to the water. I was soon up to my handlebars and still peddling...A wave developed in front of my bike and I was still pushing the pedals, the water swelled in front of me and created a wall of water pushing for me. Up to the bars in water still moving toward the other side of the pond! Made it to the other side to stop and watch Jeff splash in and through.

I will not soon forget our CWE...even though turned out to be just over two hours of spinning before I tore off my derailuer hanger. Oh well, didn't make it too far from home but it sure did feel like an epic.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Cold Wet Epic! - you know your addiction to mountain biking is serious when your psyched to ride 5 hours in the pouring rain. Sunday comes 'round but once a week and you got to roll with what mother nature throws at you.
Got an epic loop in mind to ride some trails that can take the heavy rains with little impact. Should be a ride to remember. (similar to D's birthday ride at Shawnee Peak a few years back) First step in the plan is to ride 10 miles of road out to Manchester to be sure Jeff and I have the correct level of "swamp ass". Mantra of the ride will surely be 'keep it rollin'.

Playing a waiting game with the powder coater. It's been two full weeks since dropping off the Iglebike for some color...Anxiously awaiting the finished product. Hoping I picked a good color.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

High Tide

water front property

Too bad I sold my kyak.

no worries about the huge-ass Gas-guzzl'in Dodge 2500, it's my nieghbor's

The forecast does not bode well, rain showers predicted for 8 out of the next ten days. Getting plenty of exercise running all our belongings up stairs while preparing for soggy conditions in our basement.

10-Day Forecast

High /
Low (°F) Precip. %
May 10 Showers 52°/48° 40 %
May 11 Cloudy 56°/47° 10 %
May 12 Few Showers 54°/48° 30 %
May 13 Few Showers 54°/46° 30 %
May 14 Cloudy 53°/45° 10 %
May 15 Showers 58°/48° 30 %
May 16 Showers 63°/49° 30 %
May 17 Showers 65°/49° 60 %
May 18 Showers 63°/49° 60 %
May 19 Showers 62°/49° 60 %
Last Updated May 10 09:11 a.m. ET

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Lesson learned

Saturday, 7:30 start
plan was to go hard for two and a half hours on the road then get some yard work done.
MP3 player rock'in for the first time in over a month - lovin the tunes.
2 bottles of HEED on frame, no camel back (trying just bottles as an experiment)
few hammer shots in pocket, along with tools and tubes

8:47 a.m. rolling trough Topsfield, know there's a Large CCB group ride going off at 9:00
Quickly call wife to see what I'd be blowing off if I were to go with them
Smiled as she told me to have fun with the group
Start at way back of pack of fifty riders, talking with everyone
big fun, sun shining, deep blue sky.

17 miles into ride, I'm working hard with guys up front.
not alot of talking, but some.
some Ego's bigger than others,
sprint develops, I go for the sprint and catch it
legs feel strong.

Merrimac River bridge @ mile 18, group breaks up into 3 rides of varied distances
I stick with the veteran CCB guys who have been hammering
There are 12 of us now out for 65 miles of their hilliest route
having a great time, chatting it up and meeting new riders.

plan now changed, new goal today was to put in HUGE effort and see how legs felt at end
pulled the group every chance I got
made some rookie mistakes but nothing dangerous
enjoying the experience of riding with veteran roadies and had respect for them.

20 miles to go, everyone was working
people were being dropped
I had HEED all over my face, hands, and brake levers
this was now a race.

8 riders remaining in paceline
continued to work hard on hills and push pace every chance I got
barely hanging on at some points

roll back into Topsfield and thanked the group for a damn nice ride.
took a quick left on to route 97 and pedal six miles home.
within 2 miles realize I am completely screwed.
legs burning, no liquid remaining - ran out long ago.

limped into my neighborhood
struggled to get in house
made 2 recovery drinks and headed for patio
sat down to stretch legs and drink fluids

slowly moved from stretching position to fetal position
lied on my right side with knees tucked for twenty minutes
head was f'n POUNDING
willing my self to puke, but didn't

why am I this messed up
dummy, you ran out of fluid well over an hour ago
my bottle-only experiment had put a hurt'n on me.
would have worked for a 50 mile spin, didn't expect to do 90 miles.
next time stick to camel back with heed in bottle.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Hump day is history!

Over the Hump! Man I cannot wait for this dreary week to be done. It's gotta get better from here on out! Finished up with a major thorn in my side today at work, but wouldn't be surprised if I am reinvolved in the situation tomorrow. Let's just say everyone should back-up their important docs, data, pics, music, know, shit you don't want's worth the $100 usb or fire-wire external drive!

On a positive note - This could be the year packed with 100 mile races. Gotta go with what feels right and 100 miles of dirt feels soo right! Signed up for the Mohican and will roll out June 2nd (four weeks, woo hoo!) to Ohio with Jeff and a few others for some good times on what sounds like an epic loop.

Kinda lost with out a Hardtail...Igleheart frame went to the powder coater Friday and won't be back for 2-3 weeks :( (just in time for Mohican) :) Waking up and ripping an hour loop through local trails is nothing but pure therapy and is a great way to start any day. Just not the same on a 31 pound fully with 6 inches of travel...not that the weather has cooperated this week...yet.
I can't say enough kind words about Christopher Igleheart. He created this custom ride in just a few weeks. I had a few minor issues with the can see that I used electrical tape to secure the brake hose from tapping on the top tube for 8 hours durring the cohutta..Christopher silver soldered on another hose mount. I also had some chain suck because of rain and mud, he soldered on mounts for a stainless anti-suck device (nice old-school detail). When I returned after the couple new additions to the frame, I noticed had polished all the stainless details, head badge, seat binder, head tube rings. This guy has got big pride in what he loves to do and does it better than anybody I have seen. You probably can't tell this frame is a work of art because it was such a damn mess in this picture.

The rain up here in Boston has put a damper on riding since Monday but is nothing compared to the torrential down-pours that tore up Iowa and subsequently turned roads and trails to quick sand for the poor bastards competing in Trans Iowa. JB had a good write up with links. I Feel for the people that trained for months only to get shit weather for their efforts.

Congrats Mom and Dad on your new purchase..traded in their camp trailer for a bigger and better version. Glad to see you guys enjoy roughing it on the weekends (yeah right!) with the bare essentials. Lesli and I will be up soon to help break it in!

Monday, May 01, 2006

what does "it " mean?

When I think about great rides, one comes to mind before all others.

Eleven plus hours of ride / hike a bike.

This movie was shot atop Middle Moat and depicts our ride route, looking first to White Horse

Ledge, over the Conway valley toward Kearsage and Cranmore, Black cap and a few others.

As my shakey hand pans right and the movie stops what do you see...?

do you see it??

is that a hard tail? On an EBDB?

who would have ridden that?

That's right... Wraith.

That was EBDB

Can we stop the pissing and RIDE?

Eleven hour weekend

Timing was right this weekend to spend huge hours on the saddle. Saturday morning was all about getting schooled by the over-fifty crowd of CCB. Got a bunch of road pointers and coaching of mostly what not to do on a large group ride. I've said it before but I'll say it again..road is much different than mountain. With road you want to stay close and work as a team...with mountain you want to stay far because you never know when the other guy is going to veer into your path to hit some air. I learned allot in the four hours we were out and look forward to learning more this wednesday on the hammerhead ride.

On to Sunday, and the epic that was almost over before it began. Jeff showed as planned, early and with trail bike. Would have been better if said trail bike was in working order.Fixed up the main pivot on Jeff's NRS but could not overcome the fact that he had no headset race on his newly installed fork...good thing that we started early and had all day to screw around.

Fastforward an hour - Jeff's back from his dash to Medf'a and on his I.F. and I on my dually. We roll out the four miles of pavement on our way to hours of rocky technical single track (what I consider to be Epic Black Diamond Biking)

Once on the trail, tension and stress levels now non-existent. We jump the guard rail at Gordon and flow on the thin dirt ribbon of trail...Snap!
At least we now know that Jeff's carbon rail saddle was not trail-rated...keep 'em on your road bike boys.

Now what? Tension now back..Aggravation growing. Trying to keep we ride back to my house and repair?
Nope, Barry to the rescue. Brought down a seat on his way to play ball with son Matthew. You da man!

We roll on for hours, problem free from there on out. Jeff got a chance to further acquaint himself with the new steel deluxe, riding some technical trail for the first time.

Sun was shining and temps warming up. Tore up ancient line, G Spot, Res Dog, Red Rock and met up with Barry on the backside of B+T's. Once again Barry proved that he was the man! by bringing lunch for Jeff and I.

Barry just could not help himself to the drops..Broken ribs and all.

Bridge with lots of thorn bushes to fall into if you veer off coarse..Would've been nice to have a helmet cam with sound so you could hear my frightened noises.

Doesn't get better than today, even with the amount of broken parts.