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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.