Thursday, October 28, 2010

Warning!  Warning!

Today's post has little to no cycling content (who wants to hear about my glamorous commute or skipping tonights group mtb ride?).  Continue on at your own peril!

A couple weekends ago, as is family tradition, the whole DamFam headed to Pumpkin Land for an afternoon of child size shenanigans.  This place doesn't disappoint with a bunch of stuff for the kiddies to do including a petting zoo, slides, apple slingshots (f'ing awesome), wagon rides to pick pumpkins and a gi-normous corn maze.  They also have day and night haunted hay rides but B is a delicate flower so it'll be a few years before we hit those...

I've been calling B "punkin head" for her whole life, both because of her reddish hair and the size of her bulbous melon link2 (those links are worth reading btw) (which isn't quite so bulbous now) so it's only fitting that she now be measured in pumpkins.  5 years old, 3 1/2 pumpkins tall.

The maze is a 10 acre lobsta.  It's so confusing that they give you a map that requires code reader glasses to help you get through.

Brynna consulting the map.

going for a 2nd, 3rd and 4th opinion.

we made it!

off to get snacks with the Braun kids in tow

you dig?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How to Scare the Pants Off Someone

With halloween quickly approaching, now would be a good time to for me to suggest a great way to give a friend or loved one a case of the nervous squirts.  Let's say, for example, that Marcy got the mail after work (on a day that she got home early) and saw this letter addressed to me:

click on the image to fully appreciate

 And then having several hours to consider just what stupid thing (there could be many) your husband has done as you fail to get a hold of him via phone.  Federal Investigative Services huh?  Maybe they feel that a "licensed professional" shouldn't be publishing pics of himself on the web wearing revealing women's clothing or licking his nads 
It turns out that it was a request for a reference for someone applying for some sort of federal gig.  Why they would think to ask me for a reference is a mystery to me.  Did they not google my name?  Oh wait, if you google my name you gets thousands of websites dedicated to a now deceased 50's heartthrob.  Oh well, at least they were kind enough to tell us to "have a nice day".

Now, onto the creak.  I've mentioned several times recently that I had a creak somewhere in the front end of the bike.  I'd tried several times to tighten the stem and bar clamps, checked the headset for adjustment and looked for obvious cracks in either the fork or head tube area all to no avail.  On Sunday's ride, the creaking was getting so obnoxious that I started to imagine a cracked steerer tube ala George Hincapie  or some sort of internal head tube problem so when I got back I pulled the fork and found nada, nothing, zilch.  Not that I was hoping to have a throw away fork but at least then I would know what the problem was.  When I finally gave up and reinstalled the fork I finally found the culprit.  As I tightened the headset, the danged star nut pulled right out of the fork steerer tube.  Sons a bitch.  Never seen that one before but it must have been the cause of the creaking.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Weekend That Was
We were blessed with a beautiful weekend this past weekend and, for once, I didn't squander it doing this and that and what-not.  Instead, on Saturday, B and I took advantage of a daddy/daughter day and headed to Verge stop #3 to check out what this whole cyclocross scene is all about.  I've actually done a couple of cross races in the past myself and sort of enjoyed them but it was time to see what New England's finest could do.

We got there just in time to catch the elite women's race.  I figured it's never too early to show B how fast and fun it can be on a bike and seeing some fast mo-fo women tear it up was a good way to start.

Colin's team had some ladies off the front the whole race.

the elite men's start
Colin ripping towards a barrier section
only to do a little two step for the crowd

Sadly, B wanted more than anything to see someone bunny hop the barriers so we set up camp to witness it but missed the only hopping of the day on lap one because we had moved to witness the mass start.  Sad.

used to be blogger, Burnsy unknowingly (I think) almost giving me the finger
just by coinkydink, we ran into team manager extraordinaire Big "don't call me gay" Al, 
KillBill, Amanda and Trevor
Then, on Sunday I was up bright and early (kinda) to work on the house and then squoze (that seems like it should be a word) in a mtb ride during Brynna's nap since pounding and cutting with power tools was out of the question.  The front end creak was really starting to drive me batty during the ride so afterwards I pulled the fork out to see if I had a crack or something in the head tube or steerer.  But I found nothing so I loosely re-installed the fork and went about my way.

This morning, as I prepared for my commute I went to tighten the headset and found what the problem was but for that (not so) juicy little tid bit, you'll have to wait til tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Last week I posted that things were getting back to normal ride wise with me getting a couple of commutes and a "group" ride in.  I guess I shouldn't have spoken so soon since this week has been a complete bust.  I blame those sill, world renowned oyster growers   in the Damariscotta river for my current set back.  That one river holds 90% of the state's oyster crop (which isn't huge compared to some industries but is still massively important for the state) and that one river has now been infested (correct word?) with MSX, a disease that kills oysters before they mature essentially meaning the near death of the industry until they figure out what to do about it.  You might ask, "What the frig does that have to do with anything?  You're really stretching for excuses now!" but you'd be a total schmuch if you did ask even if it is true that I'll clamor for excuses whenever possible.  You see, Marcy is right smack dab in the middle of it since she monitors the farms and is helping spearhead what to do about it.  Basically, it's Marcy's time to shine so it's my time to whine.  So, needless to say, all riding has stopped temporarily until things are sorted out.  If you ask me, millions of dollars of local revenue and Marcy making a name for herself is hardly worth me missing a couple of rides.  Some people can be so selfish!

I am still managing to run a few days a week and have been able to witness how quickly the trails I raked last week have disappeared into the leaves after Friday's wind storms.  I do, thankfully, have my tennis elbow I developed while raking with me as a fond memory of those beautifully clear and easy to navigate trails. 

Monday, October 18, 2010


This weekend I did my first repeats in quite a while  Wait, repeats is a running term.  Us cyclists like to use the term "intervals" instead.  So, like I said, I did intervals this weekend but not the kind that you'd think.  I have a hard enough time doing intervals during race season.  This time of year?  Fat freakin chance!  This weekend's intervals involved running up a hill to slide back down.  Too bad my jeans and shoes provided too much friction and not enough speed.  Did get a near crash though.

Thursday, I convinced a whopping one of the Bathers to come to the land of Edges and Combs to try out the local wares.  C-dog was up for it though so we set out on a new-to-him route that took in about 83% of what is out my back door.  We would have hit 92% but I f'ed up the route prep and that last 9% would have required re-climbing a not totally fun woods road.

it was good times, hitting the dot at 2 hours and finished up with a couple of beers and burritos that Marcy was kind enough to prepare.  Tasty.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Back to Normal

Finally, after what feels like an eternity, things are getting back to what I consider "normal".  My ride schedule of some sort of rides Tuesday's and Thursday's seems to be back on track, I'm not sleeping 11 hours a night and I'm getting up early enough to get some exercise in before work.  I'll take it.  Yesterday, I hit my (almost) full mountain bike commute home for the first time in a few weeks and it felt great.  The legs were surprisingly snappy and I was actually able to ride beyond an infants ability level.  I won't bore you with the story.  Some captioned shots should do.

Early in the ride I picked up some leaves in my rear wheel.  I looked down to asses the annoying situation and when I looked back up I took a nice pointy stick to the face.  It hurt like hell but thankfully only left a 4" long scratch.  Maybe my co-workers won't notice.  With how often I come into work with visible cycling ailments, it's no wonder none of them have taken this foolish sport up.

Then, I had a stream crossing.  45 degree water can put a damper (get it?  GET IT???) on a ride.

Then I saw this snowy owl checking me out when I entered the preserve.  He didn't look this creepy in real life.

The trails are littered with two things right now, leaves and acorns.  The leaves aren't in full effect yet but those damn acorns can be like trying to corner on ball bearings.  In nice sweeping corners they meant a bit of two wheel drift but if you trust yourself and your tires you'll most likely come out unscathed.

 I'm testing out some new mountain bike gloves.  The Mechanix Impact Pro Glove.  I was going to recommend them as alternative cycling gloves since they're tough and cheap but checking the site, they aren't so cheap.  Thankfully for me, I got them for free.  I'll have to hit that salesman up again when he comes to the office.

Old, abandoned  stone foundations are pretty cool during the daytime but at night, miles from civilization, they're downright creepy.  Once Blair Witch thoughts started creeping into my head I high tailed it out of there!

And then a first for me, I had a water bottle split on me while taking a drink.  I've used plastic water bottles in sub zero temps and never had this happen.  This bottle is about 7 years old though...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Early to Bed

I'm not sure what's been happening in my innards recently but my body has been CRAVING sleep like no one's business.  Over the weekend I was getting 11 hrs of sleep a night.  There's a bug going around the office that I suspect I was fighting off but I'm not really sure.  What I do know is that Marcy is getting tired of me either falling asleep after reading stories to B or going to bed shortly afterwards.  I'm not sure why but she seems to like to spend time with me.  It's a psychological defect that she should look into really.  Anyway, last night was no different with me going night night at 8 frickin 30 but I think things have taken a turn for the better because at 3 fucking 30 this morning I was wide awake and ready for the day.  I fought it for an hour but, finally, at 4:30 I decided to get up and do a little trail work before my ride in.  It worked so well that I may do this on a semi regular basis.  In a couple of weeks I could have my home property trails back in working order after the early leaf fall.  Of course, once the rest are down I'll have to do it all over again but at least I'll be able to see the trails for the time being.  Plus, the Bathers will be coming by soon for a ride and I don't want them whining the whole frickin night...

This morning, when I got in, I had an e-mail from team manager extraordinaire Big "don't call me gay" Al welcoming me (and everybody else) to the 2011 team.  In my reply to him, I made my first semi public announcement that in 2011 I'll be racing elite.  I'm not sure what manner I'll be doing so yet.  Maybe Elite in the EFTA series?  Or expert/elite in the Root 66 series so that I don't have to completely commit?  I'm not sure yet but, rest assured, I'll be getting my ass whupped in 2011.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Problem Solved

During the summer my Garmin Edge 305 became an annoying little bitch. Just like the first unit that I had, this one developed a major bump/vibration aversion. As you can imagine, this was a bit of an issue on both the road and trail. Enough of an issue that I didn't even use it for the last 2 months. A while back, I was able to have my first unit replaced by Garmin but this time they wanted $89 (plus shipping) to give me a refurbished unit that was probably going to develop the same issues as the first two.  Not gonna happen.  So, instead I did a bit o googling and found a website that led me how to fix the problem myself since it all comes down to a faulty design that allows the connectors to loosen.

I didn't do the whole soldering routine that he suggested (that shit inside is TINY despite how huge they look in his pictures.  He must have been using the Hubble telescope to take those pics!) but I did create a rubber spacer out of an old tube to hold things tight.  A little rubber cement (and a bit of tape for the time being) and it was back together in 15 minutes.

A two hour ride later in the day in Falmouth makes me believe that it actually worked.  Only time will tell but at least I'm able to post a ride map for the first time in ages.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Dempsey Challenge

This past weekend was the Dempsey Challenge, a wunerful charity ride to support a cancer support center (does cancer really need support?).  Marcy and I signed up along with a few of our friends to enjoy the 50 (marcy) and 100 (me) mile rides on a beautiful fall day.

Kevin and I were late getting to staging for the 100 and were chastised when we tried to move through the field, so, instead of riding from the rear we decided to go a couple of blocks up course and join the field once it was going.  We ran into Mr. Freye who had the same plan.  When the ride started, Andrew suggested we jump into the lead group with Patrick Dempsey, Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner, so we did.  We thought we had quite the coup on our hands riding the first 20 minutes staring at some pretty famous asses.

That's Leipheimer on the right in the Radio Shack kit, Dempsey in the blue and white kit in the middle and horner on the left in the RS kit.

Kev and I were even able to roll up beside Horner after the neutral start and chat him up a bit.  Nice guy.  So, needless to say, Kev and I thought we had really pulled something off.  That is until I talked to Marcy a bit later and found out that she had ridden and talked to both Leipheimer and Dempsey multiple times (since they were all doing the 50 miler) and, AND got pictures with both.

Mc. Dreamy coping a feel on Marcy.

Marcy and Leslie with Leipheimer.  It should be noted
that Marcy had to scooch down quite a bit to be the 
same height as Levi.  He is the littlest man I have EVER seen.  He could
easily have been riding a kids 24" bike.

To add to Marcy's cool stories to tell, at one point during the ride, she was riding past Dempsey who swerved when he looked at her (he did that any time he looked back, dangerous) and ended up having to put an arm around Marcy, while they were riding, to keep from taking them both out.  Poor bike handling or making a move on my woman? 

All joking aside, Dempsey, Leipheimer and Horner couldn't have been cooler.  They were totally approachable and willing to talk to us pleebs.   Although, I did get the stink eye from Dempsey's body guard (at least that's what I assumed he was) at the beginning of the ride.

Monday, October 04, 2010

I'm Still Alive

I just don't have much time for blogging these days.  Maybe tomorrow.