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PER CT DEEP:  Please do not cut anymore trees. There are so many trees down is this section of the forest and on top of the Upper...

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Final Post of 2006

Well, I am still lame. Went for a hike on Tuesday with Tom, Katie and my father in law to see if we could find the old logging/farming road but were unsuccessful. It was a fun hike, though, and I think we must have crossed over where the old logging/farming road traversed but since we didn't see any grading that it wasn't there. Not to mention that the thicket was so thick that it was hard to see anything. Looking at the GPS data and from the time that I tried approaching this area from the white trail we must have crossed over it a few times. We will have to approach it from the other direction.
I have all the pieces I need now to convert the Q Ball to road and railtrail duty. The skewer for the Burley came in the other day. I got the wheel on with an 18t cog and it looks like I will have to remove a few chain links to have it fit right. I am also switching the pedals to the used pair of Shimanos I got from Migs on www.crankfire.com.

As for the new hardtail, Fetish Cycles emailed me and apologized for waiting so long to ship the frame. I just got some Avid Ti Brake levers the other day from eBay. Going to purchase Avid BB7s brakes and rotors from my buddy Mark and that leaves wheels, headset, stem, bars, grips and a chain. I got a Surley Instigator Fork from Aero on www.crankfire.com to satisfy my rigid frame riding desires and the Fork will also accomodate at 29er tire, so I can go from SS HT 26er, to SS HT 69er, just by adding a different wheel. Now that will be something.

I am also planning on using my old Manitou Splice fork from the AC I sold to a guy up in Glastonbury. He got the fork that I got for him and he is in the process of switching them out. Question is, should I be really anal and get another front disc brake caliper for this fork?

Not sure on the wheelset yet. Trying to find a deal on a 36 spoke SS wheelset that is disc ready but that is an unusual combination. I have found a few but nothing that has jumped out and grabbed me yet. Plus I have time. Probably not going to have this bike built until March, anyway. So I am in no hurry.

I am definitely going to get the stearing components from Misfit Cycles. I like the FUBar, its like Marybars, just not as pronounced. Might as well get a matching FUGly Stem, too.

Can't wait to start riding again!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Injuried and not riding

OK, it's been awhile since I have posted anything and I have to attribute that to not riding due to bruised rib back from Thanksgiving. To make matters worse, I found out I have a blood clot behind my knee last week which has further complicated my now non-riding life. I am getting better, though, because the pain is slowly going away each day.

It all started two weeks ago when I was hanging out Saturday playing with my sons and I happened to notice that my calf was killing me. Since I haven't been riding for the past two weeks due to the bruised ribs, in fact haven't done anything really strenuous since that time, I thought maybe I strained my calf carrying Elliot up and down the stairs, the 40 lb little brute that he is.

That night, it seemed to get worse and worse. It felt like a million little charlie horses going off at once. From my knee down, my leg was swollen and warm to the touch. That night I had to the sweats, too. Taking Ibuprofen offered no relief. Tried stretching and icy hot, to no avail. Sunday, drove into the City to see my sister and her new baby and then down to Michele's sister's place on the Upper Westside, which meant a lot of walking and
my calf was freaking killing me, still.

When we got home, I put up a post on www.bikerag.com and the Mod responded that I might have a clot. Yikes! How the heck could I have one of those. Not sure how and why they start. So, I went to the docs Monday morning, they sent me to get an ultra sound. The tech was very nonchallant and had no bedside manner.
She just said, "Yup! There it is. Right behind the knee. You need to go directly to the ER." Good thing I brought a book with me.

Called Michele and told her where I was headed and she said she would meet me there. Got to the ER, hoping they would wisk me in and not make me wait because from what the tech said, this was obviously life threatening. Guess it wasn't life threatening enough at the ER because I still waited 30 or 40 minutes before I was s
hown to a gearny in the actual ER. And there I think I waited at least another hour and a half before I was seen.

After discussing various things they said that I was in luck and didn't have to get admitted for 4 days and be hooked up to an IV, rather I can get same treatment with a daily shot. I got the first one before leaving, stuff called Lovenox. Came in a big syringe. Not horse big but reminded me of the Heptitis shots I used to get before going overseas.

Now, almost two weeks later, I still have some pain but I can tell it's working itself out. I am also taking a blood thinner in which I have been told that it's a component of rat poison. Cool. Of course, this means that my days of off road riding for the time being will be restricted down to none. Any mention of riding brings ire to my wife's face because this must be related to some riding injury. My guess is this all stems from when I went OTB on Halloween and then on Thanksgiving I must of hit my knee again. I remember, maybe a week later putting pressure on my knee in a funny way that caused me tremendous pain and maybe that was culprit.

Of course, the doctors look at me and say "you are in great shape and really healthy so it doesn't make sense for something like this to happen to you, especially since you don't seem to have any noticeable injuries, so once this all done, we are going to run a bunch of tests to see if you are suseptible to blood clotting..." Of course, from my perspective the doc is "ka-ching!" I think I am
definitely going to see an Orthopedic Surgeon and see what's up with the knee, both knees, in fact because I know I have tendonitis - so I wonder if there is more going on in there than I really realize. So, it doesn't look like I will be MTB racing this year.

Aside from my medical woes, I did sell the Giant AC last Sunday. Had to buy the guy a new fork because he didn't like the fact that there was wear mark within the fork that was caused by the tire at one point because it wasn't locked down tight enough. My LBS sai
d it was nothing to worry about but the guy who bought the bike thought I was selling him a lemon. Since it seemed to be a big stretch for him, I offered to replace the fork, in exchange for the old fork. I found one on Ebay and had it shipped directly to him. Once he gets it, he is going to send the old fork to me in the same box.

Which brings me my next bike. Originally, I had planned to get a Dos Niner but then reality set in both in the physical and the financial. With the sale of the AC, I had enough for a Dos Niner frame and nothing much else. Subsequently, I purchased some hawt
FSA V-Drive SS MegaExo Crankset that I always see on the Kona SS 29ers thinking I would put these on the Qball and use the Shimano Crankset from the Qball on the Dos Niner because its a multi ring crankset. However, that plan has changed.
Then I decided since I am not going to be riding off road anytime soon, I would convert the Qball to backroad and railtrail duty, since I just got the Burley d'Lite. Only the d'Lite hitch is incompatible with disc brakes, so I had to order a skewer attachment for the hitch, which means that I needed a rear quick release, so I got a Mavic X317 wheelset with Deore hubs off of Ebay for a decent price from yet another Ebay auction, only this guy runs an Ebay consignment shop out of the back of Monroe Cycle Fitness called AllDayAuctions. So, the cool thing, I was able to do a local pick up and save on the shipping. Since I saved a few bucks on the shipping I picked up a chain whip.

I decided that I am going to run this new set of wheels with my nanoraptors since I will be riding dirt roads and rail trails mostly but I also decided that I would still ride singlespeed, so I went out and got a an 18t cog and a few other goodies, including a Surley spacer kit from the Bicycle Goodie Shop over in Bethel. Been going in there after every doctor's appointment since its just down the street from the office. Got some Avid brake rotors from a dude off of www.bikerag.com and now all I have to do is put them together.

Still, since I am not going to get the Dos Niner this year and maybe never get it because I have found more softtail 29ers that are even more insteresting, not to mention there are quite a few full sussy 29ers out on the market where the rear shock is smart and you don't get bob while climbing, so who knows, but next year, I will do it right. In the mean time, I decided that I want to build up a hard tail, single speed and match it with the 130mm Manitou Splice fork that was on my AC. So, I am going to build me up a light weight fun bike to ride skinnies and rollers, and continue my bushwacking rides with downhill tubes and tires.

The frame is the big question now. I really like this frame called the fixation from a company out in Zona called Fetish Cycles:

It's hot. Horizontal drops, perfect for single speed but with a rear derailleur hanger built in and not drooping either like most of what you see on all the other bikes. The only question, right now, is what size frame to get. Most people that I have spoken to have said get the 21" and in fact I read somewhere online that the 21" fits like a 19" frame, so I inclined to go with that. I still might see if I can find a 21" frame somewhere on 26er wheels and see what it's like. The biggest consideration of course is how high the top tube comes up the crotch.

Haven't decided on the rest of the components but definitely going to get Avid BB7s and some stout wheels, probably Mavics. Thinking probably Mary Bars, too. Got to try to keep the build weight under 30 pounds. Of course once I get it built and riding it, I might try experimenting with a different fork. I am going to get a Surly Instigator fork from a buddy at a nice price to give me the rigid option. Seems, the singlespeed purists all tout rigid forks along with their one gear. Not sure why, maybe its just further down the "Keep It Simple Stupid" concept that seems to prevail in the single speed community. I know it already rocks because that is how I am riding the Qball.

Adding some squish up front will be fun for doing everyting I have done so far on the Qball only with a little squish. May also help me decide on whether I am going to put a Reba Race Lite or White Brothers on the QBall at some point. So, that is where I am at. Probably going to pull the trigger on the Fixation later today once I get my paypal account straightened out. The cool thing, though, this will be my first build by myself.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Upper Paugussett Trail Walk

I met Tom, my Newtown Bridal Lands Association compadre, at Pond Brook this morning and we parked over at the south end lot and started our trail walk. I told my wife I would be gone two hours, ended up being four and was she pissed when I got home, but it was worth it. I am not going to let the cat out of the bag but I can tell you that what we marked today, if it comes to fruition is going to be the coolest 1.4 miles of multi-use trail in the State of Connecticut. The variety of terrain and proximity to all sorts of fun stuff along the way on this trail is just mind boggling.

I still can't fathom why so many people like Al's Trail along the water when deep within the forest is a plethora of unique terrain features with gradual and steady climbs/descents and all sorts of little challenges along the way.

Overview of the trail: The first 1.4 miles runs between Echo Valley and the Polly Brody Forest Road (aka the Jeep Road). In stead of coming out where the blue tape trail starts off of the Forest Road that picks up the Mullikin Trail, we found a route that stays along the ridge and comes out where the third trail starts coming from Hanover Road.

Bob had a brilliant idea. Since the equestrians really hate this side of the Polly Brody, lets find a way to link lower section of the Mullikin Trail to the White Trail, which if you recall, I tried to find that once and found remnants that were deeply burried in thicket. I don't think I posted a map of this ride yet, however, its there. So the next .5 miles will consist of Forest Road, and then the last 1.7 miles, most of which is already defined because it would include the Drop Zone and the lower half of the Mullikin Trail, which makes for an approximate 3.6 mile trail starting at Pond Brook and coming back out on Echo Valley. Then you could loop back on the forest road for another mile and a half and get a 5+ mile work out!

Since it will be a multi-use trail, for both horses and bikes, it won't be as challenging as Al's trail but what it will have is continuity, order, organization, proper maintenance and variety. Now, just have to get back out and finish marking the rest of this. If we get the OK for the whole trail, I will post a very detailed map of what it will look like.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Bruised Rib Ride

Out riding the Q Ball today in glorious weather with a guy that I met at the Massacre who lives right up the road from me and this guy can climb! Makes me wonder what I am doing wrong but I think it be more do to the fact that I started out wrong and Q Ball/SS is going to correct all that.

Ride was going great, started from Pond Brook, up the Fire Road (aka Polly Brody), did a little segment connector to the Horse Trail. Something needs to be done about the Horse trail, though because after the stream crossing (which needs armoring) you have that long steep climb. Need to find another way around it.

There are a few trees down in the canyon that need a solution. Maybe an up and over or two. I was hitting most of down trees with great success, though. Looped back on the MUT and I think I found a solution to the back bowl - that is once you leave the Echo Valley ROW/Farmer's Road (stonewall lined), climb up the hill and then head back into what I call the bowl, rather than climbing back up another hill rather steeply, stay to the west of the stream and then come up through a little draw.

Went down the Mulikin and it seems I can now put a face to a waffle print on the Mulikin! Almost cleaned the big up and over. I think a few more tries and I will be doing it. Also need to do some ribboning and water diversion at the start of the second downhill. Lots to do here.

At the stone wall turn we went North for the first time because I noticed the other day that it looks like there is a trail back there and there was. We made another up and over on a down tree that I cleaned. Unfortunately, there are two stream cuts that are pretty deep and need some actual bridging because the banks are so soft.

Once you get through the brambles it gets really flaky. Found some orange tape that looks like it ties in with an old logging track but not original forest road. Need to go in from the other direction and hack my back to see where it actually goes.

Never found the white blazed entrance that I marked with Snow Dawg, either. Could be because as I was coming down one particular ulta technical descent when the Q Ball slipped out from under me and I fell onto a nice rock. I think I bruised my ribs. So it looks like I won't be riding for at least a week, if not more! Ugh!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Day Massacre

There is a group of guys that meets at Pond Brook on Thanksgiving Day morning to ride river trail at Upper Paugussett State Forest. I think I heard about this last year but it was snowing and decided to stay in where it was nice and toasty and warm. It was posted on Crankfire that meeting time was between 7 and 8. Got up at 7:00 and noticed that it was raining and a cool 41 degrees! Got suited up and got on the AC and headed down there. (Should have put my Goretex on).

Only people that were there were Tren (aka Blazer on Crankfire) and two of his buddies from Danbury. So, rather than stand around in the cold and rain, we took off. I lead them up from Pond Brook to the forest road, then up to one of the trails that stays on west side of the forest. Heard quite a few gun shots off in the distance. Finally hooked up with my NEMBA/NBLA trail and rode that back to Echo Valley.

Took the Forest Road back. Tren's buddies split off to take the river trail back (No Thanks) and meanwhile I led Tren over to the Mulikin. We hit it hard and fast. I tried to chicken out on the Up and Over but momentum carried me through. I think Tren wiped out in the muddy section. Stopped at the logging road and noticed that someone has opened the trail that hooks around back behind. I wonder if that is the White trail?

Ran down the rest of the Mulikin to the river trail and back to the lot. There must have been 20 or 30 cars in the lot and a bunch of people getting ready to ride. Had a Heiniken and chatted with a few guys. Met a guy that lives in the Tudor at the intersection of Hanover, Dinglebrook and Lake. Turns out he rides in the forest alot, too! Gonna have to get his number and start riding together!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Cheap Seats


There was quite a crowd that showed up at the Birch Mountain Microwave Tower Parking Lot. Initially there must have been 30 to 40 riders, however, one group wasn't particularly jazzed about the 9 AM start time for the NEMBA ride, so they took off on their own. Most people were there on time, but there were a few stragglers that we knew were coming but got there late regardless.
We were wheels in the dirt at 9:02 AM with Al Tinti leading the way. If you don't know Al, he is a hammer god and he was riding with broken rib from a couple of week ago! There were 19 riders in our group including four people on 29ers (myself included). We did a small loop through the bottom of Case, crossed over 94 and headed down into Meshomasic State Forest.

Around three miles in the ride, I had a little problem after I tried to do a little skinny ride and ended up failing miserably. I went down and when I got up I noticed my saddle was loose. The rail popped out of the end of the seat and there was no getting it back in. Luckily, we were 20 yards from Al's house and we went over to his place and replaced it with one the many saddles that he had as spares.
Since the main body of the group had taken off by the time we got back on the trail Al figured there was no way we had a chance of catching them, so we took some other trail that took us to a pipeline where we waiting for the main body. 45 minutes later they showed up.

One guy in the group had his seat post bolt sheer off and they did their best to zip tie it down so that atleast he could ride it out. From there we headed over to Konigscut Mtn and then back down again. Had to hit up a little road ride to get over to the next trail head which took us to some cool slickrock, then out to a farmer's field for a group picture.

Made our way back to Rte 94 where we then rode in on an old farming road which brought us out to the Power lines, near where we started. From there, the group splintered off in many directions. Some went into a case, others went for a quick loop into Gay City, and the rest headed back to the cars. Total miles for me was 13.65. I am thinking that the main body rode somewhere between 17 and 19 miles. We ended up at the restaurant with 9. Pizza and beer was picked up by CT NEMBA. We picked up two new members and the epic bug has hit a few in the group to plan some more rides like these next summer. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Wooster Mountain Ho Down!

Rode Bennett's Pond today for lunch after my dentist appointment with Alex and we went on a tour! Found a great trail that climbs up into Wooster Mountain State Forest, which was probably an old farming road from 100 years ago. I was on the AC and that was smart because this kind of ride definitely called for some squish.

This trail, we are calling the White Dot because there were white dots marking it, eventually meets up with the Ives' Trail. What we should have done is instead of taking the Ives Trail, follow the little by pass through the wetlands (see the Orienteering map below) which I think met up with the more rideable section of the Ives' Trail at the Danbury Town line.





















There were many trails coming off this trail, which I marked with waypoints (those little circles you see in the that require further exploring but based on what we have seen today, Bennett's Farm, could be the next Ninham! Of course, that is what I have been saying about Upper Paugussett.

Below is a Rick DeWitt's Orienteering map I found on the ROSA website which I have been looking at and did an overlay using the map above in Photoshop to show where we rode today. I found all the maps that I downloaded on the Ives Trail and what I indicated as heading north isn't the case, rather the trail snakes around that hill top where I have the "Ives Trail Intersection" and winds its way down to Route 7. Not sure how rideable that section might be. I would think that its more rideable coming up from the gun club.


















Last time Alex rode here he said that he found a trail coming off the red trail that does a fantastic climb up to Pine Mountain that gradually climbed up into the valley we discovered. Going to have to give that a try a next time around.

As you can see, from the past two rides that I have had at Bennetts Farm, there are quite alot of variety and I have yet to scratch the surface on Pine Mountain.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Katie and Aiden

Katie, her friend Aiden from school, his father and I rode the Monroe Rail Trail together and we all had a blast. Katie rode her Aunt Tiffany's first bike, a steel Huffy with a banana seat, chopper style handlebars and 20" wheels! She still has a little problem with stopping because the bike is just a wee bit high for her but she rides it great!

Aiden is still riding a little BMX style bike with 12 inch wheels but he is a good rider. We rode down to Wolfe Park and rode around the lake once, stopped off at the play ground, of course, and then did another lap around the lake before heading back up the rail trail to the parking lot.

After the ride, we out for lunch at a new burger joint in town. The weather held out for us, too. We got some sprinkles but no real rain, thank fully!

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

OTB and other discoveries

I have gotten into a patter now of alternating every other ride with my two bikes. Last Friday, at noon, I rode Upper Paugussett on the AC and I am finding that I really like riding it now despite the weight. It could be that the single speed is just building up my endurance so that riding the AC is now becoming easier because I now have the power the climb stuff that I was unable to in the past.

Friday, last, I was I took the white trail from the Polly Brody and instead of hanging a right and going up to Kissing Oak, I went straight, in search of the continuation of the logging road, for that matter the original road that traversed this property. Before the forest road, there was a much narrower road that accessed the property that was probably improved through the years until the State bought the land and created the current forest road. You can still see some remnants of this older road off of the forest road.

So, following this track in past the turn off, its gets lost about 100 yards in. Probably becasue of the fresh leaf fall. Need to wait till winter and try it again because the snow will compress things and I think the trail will open show itself better. Found a nice rock in this one area to roll. I picked up the road again after a little stream crossing and followed it till I couldn't follow it due to the overgrowth. Ended up bushwacking until I hit the Mulikin trail. I think if I come at from the other direction I will be able to define it better.

I did have one other success, though, I cleaned my up and over on the Mulikin for the first time. I just hit it at the right speed and rolled it nicely.

On Tuesday, Halloween, I rode Huntington with a guy from Danbury. We started the ride on Rock and Roll and about a quarter of the way into the trail (from the south) I endo'd for the first time on my 29er. Ouch! Both knees got it good and I got a nice bash to my left elbow. Chain popped off, too. Figures, the first time I decide to ride something really technical, I ride without protection and I get banged up.

The rest of the ride was great, though, despite the initial wounds. Took a trail that isn't on www.crankfire.com and found a connection to what Alan and I first thought might be Aunt Patty's Road but upon checking another map I found that it was the other side of Old Dodgingtown Road, I guess you could call it the Bethel section.

From there, we rode back up the hill to the trail intersection that I have come to on past rides and have always wondered if you went right, where would you end up. Of course coming up from the other section of Old Dodgingtown Road was a huge climb that I was able to do most of! Man, can I climb with a light bike.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Trail Blazing with the Q Ball

I rode the new trail, the abbreviated version, today with the Q Ball and did a little more trail blazing of the connector from the blue blaze to the forest road, see my Riding the AC clipless post for a frame of reference. Riding up the track that is the continuation of Echo Valley Road was fun. I was able to ride most of it except for getting over the downed trees.

I started going down the branch I identified on my AC ride last week but the track that the loggers made goes too close to a natural swale that in the spring would be considered a wetland. To move a few yards further away runs into a tremendous rock garden. Something I don't think we want to tangle with because it will require moving a lot of rocks! You can't really see it on that map but I actually back tracked and started from the blue blaze a little further down and it makes for a nice ride down and then turn to traverse the steeper slope on the side. So, I think I found it! Woo Hoo!

Once back out on the Polly Brody I decided to ride to the highest point that the road gets to and then come back on the Mulikin Trail and take another shot at finding an easier transition back to the Polly Brody. I have found some great rollers back there will be fun to ride, but you will have to work for it and climb!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Qball in the Fall


Took my daughter to the Monroe Rail Trail today for her first ever ride (without training wheels) and we found a little single track to play around on, too! She loved it. The mosaic above she took and I put them together with photoshop.

Here are more pictures she took!































































Here is Katie getting her first taste of a little DH action!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Riding the AC clipless


Took the AC out for a workout and what a difference riding geary vs singlespeed. It felt smaller, too, but it sure is plush with 6 inch travel all around. Barely felt a bump! I also noticed an improvement in my ability to climb hills after riding singlespeed because I can climb! I don't need to drop down to the lowest granny gear and crawl up the hill because now I hammer! I did, however, at the start of the ride have a little equipment failure. I have been playing around with seat heights on the AC for riding on different types of trails and the seatpost clamp level snapped on me today. I was still able to close it, though and go for my ride, although the seat was pretty high. Going to have to get me another Salsa Flip Lock.

Rode in Upper Paugussett and took another shot at the new trail, trying to find a better entry from the Polly Brody to the Blue Blaze and I think I found it. Below is a blow up of the above map with some points of reference. The new trail will follow the start where the original equestrian trail comes out, only few yards more to the east and climb to west of that little knoll where it picks up an old logging track (because there is a break in the stone wall), wraps around, dips through a little saddle and then gradually climbs up the back side of the hill where it picks up yet another logging track and connects into the Blue Blaze.

It's funny, DEP wants us to use Blue Blaze, but CFPA does not - go figure. If we can't get CFPA to play nice, then we just bisect the Blue Blaze twice to link up with the rest of the proposed trail. Now that the leaves are almost down its time to mark this trail and get the ball rolling on making it an official trail.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Cranberry Lambic

I asked my wife to bring home a twelver of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from the Grocery Store but she couldn't reach it and she knows I like Sammuel Adams but couldn't decide on which to get; Light, Lager, Boston Lager, etc.., so she got me the Winter Sampler.

I thought, oh great, a twelver of funny tasting beers but to my amazement they are really good. I have never been a fan of fruit flavored beers but the Cranberry Lambic is awesome. It reminds me of hard cider with a ale finish and the taste of Cranberries - something I love.

So, here I am, wearing my Bike29 T-Shirt which looks the same as the Cranberry Lambic, drinking a Samuel Adams Cranberry Lambic!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday the 13th on the QBall

Rode the Burr Farm today for the first time in over a year! Actually rode there on Wednesday but got such a lousy GPS track that I am ashamed to post it. Not sure why I stopped riding here but since meeting a new contact from Newtown Bridal Lands Association (NBLA) with whom I am going to work on a new trail in the Upper Paugussett State Forest, told me he has been doing quite a bit of work in this area for horse back riding. So, I figured I should have a look at what he has done. All I can say is WOW! Its a nice subtle mix of single and dual track. Once you get into the main area, the trails tend to be dual track, they look like old ATV trails that didn't get too abused.

I followed the red tape in, which you pick up off Pond Brook and parallels the stream for a bit and then climbs up gradually and eventually you come up to a field. Trail goes through the field and then hits a big intersection where one of the trails crosses over Dinglebrook and goes somewhere I have never explored. The red tape continues off to the west and then turns north and hooks around into that first loop you see on the map above.

The second loop, which almost looks like a bowtie, is the Brookfield Burr Farm Open Space trail. My recommendation is if you are going to ride it, do so clockwise from this map because getting to the bench at Dinglebrook that way has many, many steep descents. So going the other way would mean these descents turn into serious hike-a-bikes. The climb from the bench, is pretty do-able. I think there were only two places where I had to walk due to roots and rocks and not having enough momentum to get through the tech.

That's the thing with 29ers. Its all about the momentum. The slower you go, the harder it is to get through the techy stuff because the tire has to roll farther. When you got the momentum, you roll right through. Now, if I had a suspension fork up front, I think that would be somewhat alleviated because the compression of the shock would allow the wheel to adjust more evenly and quickly to the imaginary plain over the uneven terrain and thus roll even better through the tech. Guess that is one of the drawbacks to riding rigid.

Coming back, I followed the Yellow Tapes back to the field and then picked up the red back to Pond Brook. On my way home I saw a mountain biker working on his bike at the boat ramp so I stopped to talk to him. Turns out he used to work for Cannondale and new some of the people that I knew. Suggested that he join NEMBA but he wasn't interested. Too bad I didn't have any cards on me. Then, Tom from NBLA showed up and we were finally able to meet face to face. We had a nice chat about Burr Farm and what we are going to do for the new trail. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Q Ball with Motoraptors

Thanks to George at Bike29, I got a pair of WTB Motoraptors at really good price and here they are, post ride of course. Knocked out a little 5 mile loop in the Burr Farm area of Newtown and Brookfield. Just a quick lunchtime ride. The Nanoraptors are great tires but I think they are under matched for the really technical trails of New England. When I get another set of wheels, I will probably throw them on because they would be awesome for the rail trails.





















Ironically, though, where I rode today was much better suited for the Nanoraptors. Oh well. Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 25, 2006

2nd Annual Biketoberfest

This year's Biketoberfest started with a huge and enthusiastic crowd but finished with only a few and nobody went drinking besides myself. We were into the first mile when one the riders in our group was riding a plank bridge and slipped off the end and had a rock puncture her hip. We ended up walking her out of the forest but it was pretty hairy at first. She felt dizzy and queezy and she didn't hit her head, either.

At one point she blew chuncks and was feeling much better after that but we walked her out of the forest none-the-less. We did ride after all but this time it was just me at the fest tent. Kind of boring drinking alone.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Long Stem GPS Mount

If you have a gps with one of those belt clips similar to the cell phone ones, you can do this mounting in 15 minutes. It will be helpful to grind down the sides of the belt clip so that they fit between ridges on the stem for the bolts. Then use one zip tie to around the the fat tube portion of the stem. Another zip tie goes over the tube, then over the bars and then back around again. This ensures that it won't shift in place. You could add another ziptie going the opposite direction just to be sure.

Then find yourself a piece of foam rubber for cushion and a small bungee cord to hold everything in place and voila!

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Bennetts Pond, Ridgefield, CT

Took the Q Ball over to Ridgefield to ride with some co-workers who live in the area. We all met up at the parking lot off Bennett's Farm Road and rode the Bennett's Pond area, which is marked as a State Park and is acknowledged by DEP as the owner but its not clearly identified as such on DEP's website. Never-the-less, the last time I was here was around last Thanksgiving, it was 20 degrees and I started riding with the wrong pair of gloves and I had to turn back to get warmer gloves. It was a good ride and I covered alot of territory.

This ride, however, was led by Alex who used to work in my office but changed jobs and is now working at my company's facility in Somer's, New York. Alex rides a FS Cannondale that he bought with the IBM discount at Hickory 'n Tweed in Armonk. Also on the ride was Ross, who works in sales at my work place. I have seen him around but never had any direct interaction with him. He rides a Kona DawgDelux. Nice bike, same geometry as my AC, only 10 to 15 pounds lighter.

A really nice map for some of the trails can be found at the Ridgefield Open Space Association's website. The map was done right after the town and State acquired the land and trails were put in by ROSA, however it hasn't been updated becasue there are even more trails in there now, marked with the same signs that ROSA initially used and there are also trails blazed Red, Yellow and Blue.

We started out on the green trail, basically going counter clockwise away from the parking lot. The green trail has a fun downhill section which leads to the edge of the pond and then the trail continues along the pond. We rode this to the white trail, which heads towards one of the tributaries to the Saugatuck River. There is a bridge there in which you have to walk your bike across.

Last time I rode there, I followed the white trail which heads back to the edge of the pond and heads up into a very narrow valley that has a few trailes branching off it. However, we heading straight up a gradual climb on a well traveled trail that wasn't marked. On the map below, this trail is the portion lying due east of Wataba Lake (aka Rainbow Lake) and goes up to waypoint 001, which is where the Purple Trail heads back down to the White Trail. We continued to follow the Purple trail till Waypoint 002. From there the trail signs stopped and Blue Blazes took over. At Waypoint 003, the trail turned due south but there was an old trail with faded Blue Blazes that headed up a draw and once atop the ridge, the Blue Blazes were picked up again. So it looks like from the point we turned off, the trail made further clockwise loop around the hill to come back to this point.

At the Y04 Waypoint is where the Yellow Blazed Trail comes in. The Yellow Blazed trail was a nice open trail that was reminiscent of an old farming road. Between that point and Waypoint 004, it is literally unrideable. One one side is sheer cliff going up and the other swamp. The trail is basically a rock scramble. I marked the next point as B05 becasue I think this is where the Blue and Yellow Blazes part company. At Waypoint 005 is where the Red comes in.

We followed this trail to where its marked Purple, which I believe indicates this is where the Purple starts. Alex went back this way, while Ross and I took the easy way back to bridge and got there a minue before Alex. It was fun hammering through here and I was able to roll right through alot of technical rocks and roots because the trail wasn't very steep and it was pretty wide. It was fun to experience the full benefit of the 29 inch wheel.

On the way back Alex turned off the farm road which heads back to the parking lot at Waypoint 006 and led us onto some groovy single track that was a fantastic ride up the hill straight back to the parking lot. It went through an area that appears to have once been a nursery because there were ridged rows where it looks like stuff was planted and there holes in the ground that appear to have been systematically dug. Like there were trees growing there at one time that were dug up to be planted else where.

Total Odometer for the ride was 6.05 miles and it was done in exactly two hours. Definitely going back there again sometime.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

After 2 lessons, my 5 yr old rides without training wheels!

I read about a method in Bicycling magazine to get your kids to ride without training wheels and it worked for my daughter. I spent to previous Saturdays, letting her roll down a grassy slope to get used to the bike staying upright and finding her balance. After the second session, she found her balance and started riding!













For the third session, we went over to one of the local school parking lots that has a big driveway, a huge lot and drop off circle. It took her a few tries to get the hang of just starting from a stopped position but she quickly mastered that and took off riding!


















Now, she doesn't hesitate to just jump on her bike and start riding around our driveway and since her tires are beefy enough, I have told her to feel free to ride on the grass to give her even more riding area. It just crabgrass anyway. Up next will be the Monroe Rail Trail!

I am so proud of her! Posted by Picasa