Thursday, November 30, 2006

Zen riding

Waking up this morning, usual ritual of coffee and reading email. Then reminded of last night's ride with Jeff as I wiped my eyes to find deposits of mud in the corners. Last night's trek through the local state park was messy. I haven't ventured downstairs yet but know that my bike is a damn wreck. No hose outside to wash it down right now cause we're heading into winter. I just leave her near the heater in my basement to dry the thick coating till it's rock hard then just brush off the drivetrain the next day with a stiff brush and apply more lube. Although I noticed my derailleur pulleys aren't liking the abuse. They will revolt soon I can feel it.
Toward the end of last night's ride Jeff and I went Zen. Shut out the lights and waited for our eyes to adjust to the darkness. It was a relatively bright night for how foggy it was out. The moon cast long shadows of the trees on the double track in front of us. We cautiously proceeded down the trail, spinning slow in the darkness, listening to the mud squish under our tires, our drivetrains crunching, slowing our breathing, eyes wide open to catch the available moon light. Our pace growing quicker now on the familiar trail, familiar to me not so much to Jeff. You don't consider how quickly a slow pace really is till you blindly spin in darkness bracing for what you could hit at any moment. Fitting way to end a quick ride in the park. Turned back on the lights at the downhill, afraid of nailing one of the protruding rocks and wrecking a calm ending to the night ride.
I wouldn't have done it alone. Night riding alone is generally not a fun thing to do.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Opportunity for a trip to the bottom next week.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

turkey weekend

Here I sit, early morning Saturday. A bit groggy waiting for the caffeine to kick me into action. I am still licking my wounds from yesterday's adventures with Brad and Jeff. Great ride but
why is it that a great ride must involve a certain amount of pain to qualify? Just the way it is.
Most memorable for this ride should be the amount of turkey consumed. Turkey sandwiches for breakfast prior to riding, during the ride Jeff brought a pound of dark meat in his camel back and post ride we finished off the leftovers along with all the beer in my house.

Thanksgiving at my parents house was a good time. The pouring rain gave us the perfect excuse to skip the after dinner walk and get right down to business with a spirited game of cards.
Here's my sister in law Jean with an apparent good hand. Lesson learned, don't bluff with a woman who's 7 months pregnant even if you are her father.
Lesli and I were taken out early in the tournament. I'm a better bike rider than gambler, but that's debatable. Went all-in with a pair of aces and nine high. My ten year old nephew took me out with two pair. Don't think Santa is going to be stopping at your house this year Christopher...that's right...I am threatening a ten year old.

We have this disaster to be thank full. No one was killed or hurt seriously because everyone was in bed and not walking around the neighborhood when the paint factory blew up. This is the neighborhood where my friend Ken grew up and is about four miles from our house. I believe the house in the center is his uncle's place. Pretty wicked.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Scary Fun

Celebration time cause we survived!

You can never tell how a day will unfold. Especially when the plan is to meet a few daredevil friends for a day of downhill mayhem and reckless abandon. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best you could say. Bust'in out the crash pads and full face helmet and forget the limitations of an xc mountain bike as we proceeded to ride everything in the park.
Thanks to Bill, Josh, Barry and Jon for a hair raising day in the saddle. Why is overcoming fear so much fun? Like a bunch of kids playing with fire, today no one was burned.
We started out on the Race Trail step-up and things got pretty wild from there. Thanks Greeley for shooting videos. Bill and Josh demonstrated my favorite stunt of the day... The gap jump On Maiden Voyage trail. The planets must have been in full alignment because we could do no wrong. That or these stunts are designed and built by a bunch of guys that know what they were doing.
Here's a short video I ripped off the net, not us riding but you'll get a better idea of what scary fun is. At the very end of the video you'll see a guy fall off one of the step-ups...I didn't falter in the same way but let's just say I used up one of my nine lives.

Friday, November 17, 2006


One can try to think of everything in regards to preparing for rainy conditions but I seem to forget a key aspect of preparedness. I DID have on the gore socks, the ones I bought over a decade ago and have not let me down. The rain pants, although Jon showed up in shorts cause it was a balmy 67 degrees at 7am this morning. Fenders, a must to rid off the monkey butt. High tech glasses so I could see as globs of filth splat toward my face. So what did I forget?
To wash out my helmet...The one with six months worth of dried nastiness. Nothing like stale-salty putrid liquid flowing down into my eyes, nose and mouth to say top of the morning to yaw!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A little sign language

Woke up a bit late this morning for the scheduled ride with a few die hard riders. A die-hard rider is defined as any person who does not take into account adverse weather conditions when making the decision to ride. I was in the company of precisely three of this kind at 7:00am. High five boys. Thanks for a good ride Christopher, Jon and Sean...lets do it again Friday, even if it's sunny and 60 degrees.
Making planz for the weekend...pretty soggy for the final weekend at Highland Bike Park. I'm thinking they'll be closed due to poor conditions but am holding out hope that the lift will be running.
Saturday, the Plymouth race looks good. I have been dragging my feet with ordering cross wheels and tires so will be racing with my mtb wheels again. Don't think that a 700c wheel would help me out all that much anywhoo. May do the C and B race just to get a good effort in.
Couple more hand gestures for the blog world tonight...
A big Thumbs Up to Verizon for their kick butt fios internet service.
In an effort to save us some cashola Lesli did a little surfing on the issue of consolidating phone/internet/cable. Bye bye to comcast cable and hello to verizon. Free install of the fiberoptic cable, controller box thing, free wifi router (too bad we had one), fiberoptic phone battery back up(for when we lose power the phone will continue to work for 6 hours), and they re-wired our house with new coax and cat5...guy was here for 12 hours yesterday getting everything nailed down. I realize they'll get us in the long run, but till we receive the bill I gotta take them for their word for free installation. Best part is the speed of the connection...Blazing fast. We had DSL for years and this is easily 5 times quicker.
To conclude this post... This one's for you... Aetna Health Care. I won't get too far into it... but lets just say as a long time customer I am less than satisfied with your customer service and billing practices. Open enrollment right around the corner...couldn't be soon enough.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Pedal in time

Friday's old school cruise around Wachusett reservoir prompted me to think about where technology has brought the cycling world in the past 100 years. Arguably we are the luckiest cyclists in history because we have enjoyed the most rapid evolution of gear known to the sport in just a few short years. Advancements in materials, frame design, suspension design, disc brake technology, wheel technology, super sticky rubber, carbon fiber, titanium, high tech alloys... Every year the gear gets a little better, designs get more efficient, components a little lighter, hopefully a little stronger and always more expensive. Can't wait to see where the sport of cycling will be in 10 or 20 years. Just gets better every year.

1938 Raleigh Record Ace
All original, even the tires! Very similar to this one that's on exhibit in a transportation museum in Maine. Good to see the owner wasn't afraid to ride it.

Mike P's daily commuter. A 1940 Elgin.
50 pounds and a tall single speed makes for strong legs.

Christopher on his 1972 moulton
full suspension, four speed, and collapsible!
not the first fully in history though.

a couple vintage road bikes, a Star and Murray
but I liked Warrens mostly original Fuji Ti

remember those pedro's bottle holders? Neither do I.

A fitting beverage after a vintage ride.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Well done...

Thanks to Jason for sharing

I am blown a way with the race...Do I ever want to attempt La Ruta?

(I hope not!)

Way to go!

Hope all is well for everyone and luckily doesn't look like anyone fell victim to an alligator or mud slide.
Hey Harlan, when your you want to go for a ride? It'll be a good one...only thing is it starts out with another 25 kilometers of rail bed...!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Highland Rocks!

It's been far too long
since I've felt
my good'ol friend

Barry, George and I got our adrenaline fix this weekend.

George worked out a few demons that had been haunting him.
Here's G-man riding in for a closer look at a gap transition.
Then cleaning it.

Highland Mountain Park was damn good time. Trails for many ability levels but don't go expecting beginner trails. Rugged as hell. The runs are fast and flowing with lots of banked curves that lead into hits and hucks that will send you for ridiculous air time.

Big respect for the half dozen or so guys we saw (while riding the chair to the top) casually riding the jump trail...the one trail WE didn't attempt. Full of dirt table jumps, step ups and sizable gaps and (photo above^) a wooden roller coaster at the bottom.

Barry's got a few more shots and a movie or two (that I hope he shares) depicting what gravity can do when casing a jump...

All for 35 bucks and an hour ride.
Every day should be this fun.