Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Kids dig me.

Goat kids at least. This little goat farm is on my ride home and each time I pass, they are quiet until I come into view and then simultaneously 30 goats start to bleat at the spandex clad cyborg rolling past. The farm sits in the middle of a tough little climb so maybe they're saying "allez, allez!" in goat. Or, more likely, they're saying "you're gaaaaaaayyyyyyy, you're gaaaaaaayyyyyy!"

Sunday, October 28, 2007

on the rebound

Like a switch, when the temps drop below 55 degrees the pooch will all of a sudden have all sorts of energy and be able to keep up with me (for the most part) on mountain bike rides. The exact same rides that I'd lose him on within 15 minutes during the summer. At this time of year, of course, we're on opposite trajectories fitness wise. I'm slowing down and putting a few pounds on (all-freakin-ready!) and losing training focus while he is hitting his stride, will probably start to lose his summer flab and start taunting me on rides again. You know the dog taunts that I mean, he'll run ahead, not see me for a few minutes and then come back with a look on his face like "You were so far back I was sure you were attacked by an angry squirrel". Yeah, f-you you stupid douche, two months ago you couldn't get your fat ass off the trail. Thats right, I talk smack talk with the dog. Whatcha gonna do about it?

To celebrate his almost victory yesterday he celebrated by discovering a very loaded diaper in the trainer room garbage, tearing it apart, eating its contents, leaving a few skid marks on the floor and THEN coming upstairs to lick his unwitting "master" on the legs and face while he does sit-ups. You win this round.

With winter rolling in soon I've been thinking a lot about winter riding and how fun it is. As I mentioned last week, I'm waiting on Nokian to finally release their 29'er studded tire. If and when they do realease the tire I'm going to sign up for this: winter challenge. A 30 mile mountain bike race on the snowmobile trails up in North Bumblefuck Vermont. Hell, even if the studdies aren't out yet I may just mount up the Rampages and hope for no ice. It'll be an excuse to get over to Jay Peak for some skiing as well.

Friday, October 26, 2007

nuthin as usual

Its been pretty quiet around here recently. So far the fall has been pretty kind with fairly mild temps and some very nice days but for some reason I still haven't been able to ride much recently. Its been a combination of long hours at work (still! f, this has got to end soon), leaking plumbing (the bathroom, not me. I suspect my leaky plumbing won't start acting up until I hit my fifties) and other suprises putting up ride block after ride block.

Thankfully I was able to commute to work twice this week. Because I haven't figured out how to work my eccentric bottom bracket (have I mentioned how mechanically incompetant I am recently?) to run a higher gear for road mileage on the El Mariachi I have been stuck on the road rocket. Typically that is nothing to worry about but with hunting season starting on Saturday I had hoped to get a couple of mtb commutes in this week before having to deal with blood thirsty, drunken red necks stumbling through the woods shooting at anything that moves.

I guess I'll be sticking to the road for a while and getting the bike ready for some ripping winter riding. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that the Nokian 29" 294 comes out soon.

Time to get to work. GO SOX!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Dang, Twin-Six has some cool new shirts out right now. Too bad I missed the sale they were having a few weeks ago. Stupid me for sitting on my hands as usual.

I especially like this one because of the whole "sub-urban" thing I've been doing recently.

This one needs no explanation although just plain "nerd" would probably work too.

I like this one (besides it being cool looking) because I'm getting totally sucked into single speeding again because of the El Mariachi although this time I'm liking it because its fun not just because its the cool thing to do (not that I'd ever do that :).
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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Cross training

This time of year it's time to find new and creative ways to get exercise while getting outside with the family. They're nice enough to ignore my obsessive compulsive biking during the summer so when fall rolls around it's time to give back a bit while still keeping the paunch from growing. A couple of weekends ago we went to a farm where they have a fall kids type fair set up with slides, hay bales, bouncy tents etc. This year they also had these bad boys. They're basically 4-wheel big wheels and they totally kick ass. We whipped around the track for several laps with a buddy of mine and his daughter.

I firmly believe in the "rubbin is racin" mantra and had to let Tim know we were back there to set up...

...the decisive move to the inside.

I can SO see myself buying a few of these and setting up a quasi off-road track in our backyard so that we can drink a few brews and hack around with minimal risk of killing each other. I can only imagine what my brothers and I could do on these things, bring your kids and pets inside!
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Monday, October 22, 2007


What? You mean to tell me that you DON'T have a toilet in your hallway? What kind of loser are you anyway?

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Beery good weekend.

Absotively no riding for me this weekend since we had a "slight" leak in our bathroom Thursday night completely soaking our cork floor and the layers of old flooring beneath thus requiring me to spend most of the day Friday, part of the day Saturday and part of today to fix the mess. As it sits now, we still will need to replace the cork but at least everything is basically back to normal and we can use the toilet again. Good times.

On a good note, Thursday night I made the discovery of Gritty's mini kegs (1.6 gallons) of Maine brewed goodness. I picked one up because Brynna pointed to one and said "for mommy" and who am I to deny Marcy beer B feels she deserves?

Try to ignore the tape holding the edge of the counter together, we begin the kitchen reno this winter. Really.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Do I have a purty mouth?

Have you ever been on a mountain bike ride on trails you're not quite sure you're allowed on (although I think I was, in fact, ok) and happen across a tent immediately adjacent to the trail in the middle of the woods? This happened to me the other night while on my "sub-urban assault". I was rounding a corner on a section of trail I had raked out a couple of years ago on a vacant piece of property near our house when I came upon this tent stashed in the middle of the woods.

It startled me enough to force me to stop to be sure I wasn't going to be shot (or gang raped for that matter). Despite it looking like the squatters had packed up and left I still yelled out a quick "hello" before taking this pic and hightailing it out of there totally creeped out. Why in the world did it bother me you ask? To be honest, I'm not totally sure. It could be that I was concerned with being caught on private property while riding (for the record, property in maine is considered open to public use unless it is clearly posted "no trespassing" at regular intervals around the entire perimeter) but if I were a gambling man I'd bet it was because I'm a puss and in my head I could hear banjos playing.
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Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Here is a re-post of my Carver post from the other day that didn't show the pics for some reason. Hope you enjoy.

Today, in the middle of a great family day, we stopped into Bikeman's shop to pick up Marcy's new messenger bag. It was there that I spotted this bad boy.

It's a 26" (ugh) titanium Carver with Endomorph tires for some sweet powder riding goodness. Davis (Bikeman and Carver founder) told me this bike (and one other) is actually for a couple of Iditabike type crazies in Alaska. Regardless, it got me salivating about winter riding again (have I mentioned lately that I LOVE winter riding? No? Well I do.) and Davis informed me that Nokian is indeed coming out with a 29" Hakkapolita (sp?) studded tire this winter (insert childish giggle here)

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Sunday spin

On Sunday, Marcy, B and I headed up to Rancho-de-Nelson both to visit with the rents and to make my dad and brother go out on a mountain bike ride with us. It took just a wee bit of coaxing to get my brother out since the Pats game was starting in an hour but after about 15 minutes of pestering he finally swore at us and gave in. He was in a pissy mood the whole time but I think that deep down inside he enjoyed himself especially since he made it back by kickoff.

Rolling out.

Marcy rolling through the birches.

Marcy and daddio

My oh-so-happy brother. In case you can't tell, that's his middle finger extended. I think that is his way of saying thank you.

After the first hour the rest of the group broke off to catch the game while I continued on to try to tie together a section of trail below my parents house that was ravaged by a logging operation. I was able to find my way through eventually and hooked up with the local snowmobile trail system (since that is all there is in those parts) which leads into mile upon mile of trail. I'll need to lure my other brother Rus up here again soon so we can go on one of our famous Nelson Mountain Bike Death Marchs where we go out for a planned two hours and finally crawl back six hours later bleary eyed and carrying a dog (long story).
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Sunday, October 14, 2007

sub-urban assault

Saturday I finally made it out on my sub-urban assault ride. It turned out to be a nice but unspectacular ride with the bits of trail bringing me by most of the town's service areas.

First it was the hospital about 3/4 mile (via trail 1/2 the way) from the house.

Next up, the sewage treatment plant. The lack of view is made up for by the lovely smell.

Next up I went past the town's gravel garage. Sorry no pic but as you can imagine, it was a sight to behold.

Shortly after the gravel hut it was a muddy slog to the ass end of the fire station.

From the fire station its another short trail jaunt to the newely renovated and overpriced Hannaford grocery store.

From there it was about 3/4 mile of roadage to the DRA River Trail, a blissfully narrow and fun mile + of singletrack located just outside of downtown.
I missed sunset by about 15 minutes from this vantage point along the trail. I bet it would have been a romantic moment.

From there I was homeward bound with 1:40 in my pocket.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Beer me!

It was Friday night, I had a brutal day at work, we had "Beerfest" waiting at home from NetFlix so I figured what better way to send off the shitty week than to watch "Beerfest" while enjoying some fine quality brews. The Sebago Red Ale was tasty but not anything to write home about. Maybe I'll get it again, maybe I wont... The Allagash Dubbell, though, was totally kick ASS! I guess any beer with a cork and a $7 a bottle price tag should be pretty damn good I guess. I didn't get to the Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout Friday night but I am drinking it now. It's pretty good as well but again, nothing to write home about. The movie was good as well, not quite "Super Troopers" good but still pretty good plus there was plenty of gratuitus booby action as well so all is good.

Three beers and a movie.

Today, in the middle of a great family day, we stopped into Bikeman's shop to pick up Marcy's new messenger bag. It was there that I spotted this bad boy.

It's a 26" (ugh) titanium Carver with Endomorph tires for some sweet powder riding goodness. Davis (Bikeman and Carver founder) told me this bike (and one other) is actually for a couple of Iditabike type crazies in Alaska. Regardless, it got me salivating about winter riding again (have I mentioned lately that I LOVE winter riding? No? Well I do.) and Davis informed me that Nokian is indeed coming out with a 29" Hakkapolita (sp?) studded tire this winter (insert childish giggle here)

Friday, October 12, 2007

c*ck block

Well, not a cock block really but a ride block occured last night.

Wednesday night the pooch and I ripped off 1:30 of Damariscotta's finest in a bleak, damp early Maine fall evening. It felt good to get out for a spin but I've got to admit, after the riding in Vermont this past weekend, my local trails kind of suck donkey d*ck but of course almost any ride is better than no ride these days so I'll take it.

Last night I planned on nipping out without the pooch after dinner to hit up an "urban" assault here in the Big D. As anybody who has been to Damariscotta knows, when I say "urban" I really mean "rural" and by "assault" I really mean, well I guess I mean assault. The plan was to hit all of the trails within a mile-ish of town and connect them all together via short 1/2 mile-ish road sections. When ride time rolled around I got kitted up and all ready to go when I went to grab my lights. I got my headlight mounted up no problem but couldn't, for the life of me, find my blinkie and with a chance of rain and it being after dark I really couldn't go out without it. It took me over 45 minutes to finally find the damn light and by that time I had totally lost the mojo to ride so canned it for the evening. This morning I feel like a slug and really wish I had gone but as they say "water over the bridge".

Thursday, October 11, 2007

2007 year in review

2007 was a ho-hum year for me. I managed to pull out a couple of age category wins in a few of my races but an overall victory eluded me. I dipped my toe into the endurance scene and had some reasonable results and more importantly learned some valuable lessons, over and over. Hopefully next year I won't have to re-learn those lessons (must remember to eat early and often-duh!). 2007 also allowed me to really realize where my strengths & weaknesses are right now. I've always been a fairly good climber and even though I wasn't up to my personal best this year, I could still hold my own. My tech skills seem to be better than ever despite not actually riding my mountain bike all that often because of time constraints. I'll give the credit for my tech skills to the Dos Niner. Where my real weaknesses are is in sustained power. I have great max/repeatable power (for me at least) but my sustained power is VERY lacking. This first came to light during the Wilderness 101 where there are many sections of flatish fireroad sections where you can really hammer. I found that I was unable to maintain a good pace while riding alone in the wind and needed to rely on others to draft off of. It came up again in the Hampshire 100 where again I had to suck wheel for a large portion of the race on fast sections. This seems to be my biggest weakness and somehow I need to figure out a way to fix that for next year.

I've thought about getting a coach next year (an inexpensive/kinda hands off type package) to just help me focus my training a bit more. I probably wouldn't need too much hand holding but a little direction would definitely be nice. I don't plan to (check that, will not) buy a new bike next year so that is $3k less money I'll be spending next year so maybe $500-600 for coaching isn't so bad. I know for a fact that a coach would make me much faster than a new bike. My teammate, Andrew Frye, is a certified coach and talked about coaching me for fairly cheap so I have that as an option. Who knows what will happen at this point, all I really know is that the Joe Friel book helped me some last year but I don't seem able to focus enough on my own and could really use someone checking in with me on a weekly basis to be sure I'm getting my shit done and staying on target.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Kingdom Trails explained.

Still coming down from the mental high that was a weekend at Kingdom Trails today. What a sweet place to ride. I only wish it was a bit closer, at 4.5 hrs away its a little too far away (for me) to go to more than once or twice a year. Next summer I'll have to be sure to get there early in the season as well as a late season visit like this year.

For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of visiting the Kingdom Trails I'll give you a brief rundown of what to expect. First, there are two entirely different sections of the trail system, the Chamberlain Hill side and the Burke Mountain side.

The area where we did all of our riding this weekend was the Chamberlain Hill side since it was the most convenient from town, is known for drying quickly after rain and is the more flowy/fun area. We were not disappointed. This side of the mountain features tons of flowy, sometimes tight, single track meandering up and down the ridge that makes up the Chamberlain Hill area. I'd guess that all told there is about 30-ish miles of sweet singletrack over on that side. Most of it is super buff singletrack with occasional rooty sections to keep you honest (I think I saw a handful of rocks here all weekend which is very weird for new england riding but welcome for a change) and a few doubletrack connectors. Most of the trails are suitable for all levels of riders and I suspect people of all abilities would love it here. We didn't hit all of the trails but we did get in a good chunk. The one not-to-miss trail is "Sidewinder". Its basically a wooded half-pipe for bikes where you dive from one side of a steep, narrow valley to the other. Its so steep and quick that you barely have time to think and rely more on faith than anything else. If you trust it and let things go it is a total rush and I guarantee you'll want to ride back to the top and hit it again.

We didn't ride the Burke mountain side because of the wet weather but from what I hear that is where you go if you want to get your tech on. Its advertised as the more rocky/rooty/New England style riding that we're used to around here. Since I ALWAYS ride on that type of terrain I didn't mind missing that piece but when we go again, I'm sure we'll check it out.

All in there is supposed to be about 100 miles of trail between the two sections. Seems like a bit of a stretch (sort of like how ski mountains count their trails) but even if its only 50 miles total its still well worth a visit or ten.

I forgot my camera for the weekend (drat!) but we did have a professional photographer with us snapping pics all weekend so as soon as those are available I'll be sure to post some.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Northeast Kingdom

I'm back, we had a great time despite some downpours Saturday afternoon. The trails there totally kick ass! I can't wait to go back. Rode with the "mud brothers" both days and hooked up with George and his possee on Sunday for a couple of hours. I missed 1 1/2 days of work so this is all of the time I've got for now.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

t-minus 2.5 days

It's about 2 1/2 days before I head to the land of maple syrup and Connecticut tourists and the Kingdom Trails and it couldn't happen at a better time. I'm currently entrenched in the week to end all weeks here at work. Stress levels are super high, hours are super high and I'm about ready to tweak out any second now. A solid weekend of saddle time should help things out immensely. Our group will be going it alone on Saturday and then meeting up with George from Bike29 on Sunday to show us around and preach the 29'er gospel. Currently, I'm not sure how much riding the others expect to get in but I'll be shooting for 5-ish hours each day on the El. Of course I've never ridden a single speed more than two hours before so I guess I'd better see how it goes before setting my sights so high. Can't wait!

OK, back to work.