Monday, May 30, 2011

trans-sylvan epic '11 stage1

The 12mile prologue is in the books. It's hot & humid just like last year. The only difference from last year is that I had almost zero warm humid days of acclimation beforehand.

Saturday Dicky, Kelly and I rode the prologue loop. The heat and my 34-19 were getting to me. Especially on the long climb. My legs felt heavy from work stress and lack of riding. When we got back I decided to switch back to a 20t, which is what I ran last year.

Dicky is taking this event 'seriously'. So seriously that he accuses Greg and I for not drinking throughout last years yet he stopped drinking five weeks ago. My game is to make him crack. Elk, Greg and I keep getting him to drink but he's refused so far.

First singlespeeder to go off on the time trial prologue, I had no minute man ahead of me to pick off. The closest person was the back of the Men's open field at something like 5mins ahead.

Remembering there is a long atv-type trail climb just about halfway through the prologue, I tried to not kill myself to allow energy to climb back up onto Sand Mountain. It worked and once I got onto the singletrack on the campground side of Sand Mountain I found a rhythm and had a blast riding back to camp.

Staring at my watch as I was closing in on the finish I was nearing the 1hr mark. This sounded like a good time as before I left Alex Grant from Cannondale finished a minute or two over one hour.

Rolled across the finish about 1hr and 3minutes. Turns out my ride was good enough for 2nd place singlespeed. Local powerhouse Rich Straub took first at about a minute ahead of me. Somehow the little man (Dicky) climbed onto the podium in 3rd around 50sec give or take behind me. Greg wasn't feeling the heat & humidity and finished a minute and a half behind me.

Jeremiah set a blistering pace of around 46minutes! Mark Weir was around 56mins which made me pretty stoked to not be that far behind Wier.

Today is the first long stage at around 42-43miles. Looks like it's gonna be a hot one again. This stage last year I felt great and took the singlespeed win. We'll see how today goes.

typed via my phone. sorry for no links or photos.

Monday, May 23, 2011

an update.... and TSE

Wow. Almost a month and no blog updates. What the hell have I been doing?

Well... My month started off well. Well in that I was getting a bit of rides in when it wasn't raining. Weekly wednesday rides were consistent and I was out on the weekends getting some long rides in (like my last post). Ginger had her knee surgery which will ultimately allow her to ride her bike more without any pain or discomfort.

Hmm. Let me think about this... Oh yeah, I did get a solid week of riding in with two days being 2.5-3hr mtb rides. Trails were super dry and I got to ride some new stuff.

Like this trail out somewhere east of the CT river.
That's Dave '4th Place' Cormier with Glenn directly infront of him and Andy off the front. Somehow I rode up that with one hand, seated, on my 34x19. It wasn't easy but this trail was a hoot to ride UP. I can't want to ride the other direction (downhill).

The rest of that week I was commuting to and from work on the fixie. Those were some fun, sunny days. The highlight of my morning commute is saying hello to the crossing guard at one of the intersections I ride through. No matter what the weather is, he's out there helping students and all pedestrians alike crossing the busy West Hartford thoroughfares.

Got a few other rides in here and there on the Superfly getting used to my squishy fjork and also riding the steel rigid Vicious singlespeed. Rode another set of new trails waaay east of the CT river. That place is pretty technical but solid handlebar width singletrack which is hard to find around here now-a-days (thanks to the dirtbikes and ATVs). Nothing quite up to 3-4hrs which is what I really wanted. My weeks have been blurring together as I can't seem to get out of the office at a reasonable hour. My new job seems to be taking a lot out of me.

Then the rain came and my drive to do stuff disappeared. I did run into one problem with my primary computer ('04 iBook G4)... Looks like the logic board is failing. It wouldn't boot up and the screen wouldn't light up.
I got it to work, on its side and in pieces. I also found one method to keep it going.. I have a bunch of cardboard wedged between the circuit boards and the bottom plastic cover.  Before all that I was able to back it up in the event that is officially dies. This post is being typed on it and things seem to be marginal. Its the longest I've used the computer in one sitting and it is extremely slow. Something's wrong. Guess this is why I haven't been blogging or even using my computer much the past few weeks. Someday I'll decide to spend the money on a new computer.

Ginger has been recovering very well. We've done a few rides on rail trails and roads. Low impact for her (compared to off-road trails). Mainly to work range of motion. So far, no dislocated knee cap (what the Doc was fixing) which is a great thing. Next month we'll get on some trails (gotta show her that new trails I've ridden as well as Stewart NY and northern VT).

This past weekend the rain let up a little bit. I had a ton of stuff to do between procrastinating, repairing a friend's VW and Audi and taking photos of a friend's house that just sold (for future house project ideas). We had dinner out in Willimantic at a friend's house Saturday night so I snuck in a ride. Took the Cannondale for a ride down the rail trail from Manchester to Willimantic.
Armed with some Maxxis Crossmarks and a 36x17 I high tailed it across part of the state for an hour and forty five minutes and got out there just as the sun set. Drank one water bottle and a can of PBR. Munched on a Clif Bar for I haven't eaten anything since breakfast.
Shortly after this picture it was about that time of the day.. The time where all the bugs come out. Got some extra protein for the last 30minutes of the ride.

Just outside of Willimantic the rail trail officially ends. The remainder into town is present but has not been updated. Especially where the trail cris-crosses the Willimantic River. I opted to press on as far as I could before it got dark.
This bridge was pretty sketchy. Railroad ties all rotted out but the steel frame was in tact. I walked across it and once I got out there I realize how quick the river was flowing and how far above the water I was. Kind of reminded me of Costa Rica.
Got to our friend's house just as things got dark. Had a long, steep climb up the road two blocks from the house. A nice way to finish off the ride.

Saturday I'm leaving to head out to PA for the Trans-Sylvania Epic.... and the BearsCat 50. Eight consecutive days of racing. Right after the TSE awards I have to high tail it back to NJ for a 2-lap 50mile race in Waywayanda State Park the following morning. Basically, Stage 8 of the TSE as the terrain will be equally as rocky and difficult.

Got a lot to prepare for this week.
Tires to swap around between wheels. Gear to pack up. Also need to decide if both bikes are coming with me or just one. I'll figure something out.

(You can see the new main breaker panel I installed in the background. That was an Easter weekend project.)

Sunday, May 01, 2011

needed a haircut

It was time for my semi-annual haircut but I didn't feel like driving to New Haven. What's the next best thing? Ride my bike there and back.

I left my house just before 7am and took the fixed gear to New Haven by way of as much of the East Coast Greenway as I could. The last time I rode this route was over two years ago. I've been meaning to do it multiple times since then but it never manifested itself.

There still isn't much of the greenway between West Hartford / Farmington and Plainville / Southington. I was worried about not making it to New Haven in time so I took route 10 down into Southington as this is a more direct route. Traffic was almost non-existent as it was so early which made my ride easier.

There's a leg between Southington and Cheshire where you're back on roads. In Cheshire it is now a direct shot down into New Haven. Two years ago there was a section in North Haven that was not completed but it is completed today. That made the ride a lot more enjoyable.

I rode my fixed gear and strapped my bag of clothes and other odds & ends to the rear rack.

My best Grig Martin jersey did me well on this ride.

In North Haven I saw this apartment (or condo) building. Very modern yet very out of place with the neighborhoods.

Upon entering New Haven I was greated by these signs.

Made it with time to kill. Grabbed some coffee and read the paper.

After my haircut I meandered home. This one building in New Haven looked strange to me on the way into town and it was on my mind the entire time I was down there.

Its a relatively new building that was still under construction. It dawned on me while riding home what used to be there... An old factory or warehouse.. A building that had character.

(from my 2008 ride)

Such a shame to see it demolished.

In North Haven I saw these 'Ride Bikes' stencils on the way home. That's cool.

Instead of route 10 I opted to meander through New Britain and Newington to get back to West Hartford. I took a bunch of the roads we took when Tim Johnson came to town back in March.

Back in West Hartford I stopped at REI to pick up a spoke wrench to true Ginger's 29er wheels. I saw this outside the store.

Fifteen minutes later I came out of the store and saw this.

I guess the multiple signage was not enough and a giant sign was required.

A mile or so later I was home. Total ride was around 88 miles. I stopped in Southington on the way home for a roast beef sandwich and a Snapple to hold me over. Otherwise I had two Clif Bars and maybe two bottles of water. The ride down saw a nice tail wind which is why it only took me two hours. That tail wind was a gnarly headwind on the way home which slowed me down a bit.

Once I was home I realized I should clean the house's gutters and cut the lawn. Only problem was the lawnmower was out of gas and so was it's gas can (winterized). The gas station is less than a 1/4 mile from my house so I took my bike.

I didn't think anything of it until I was riding home. It then dawned on me that I am riding a bicycle carrying 1.5 gallons of fuel. Surprised no one complained.