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Friday, June 29, 2012

What do you call 1/3 of a Triathlon?

I signed up for a team relay triathlon at work where I would naturally be on the bike.  It's called the KIC IT Triathlon supporting the Stamford, CT based charity called Kids In Crisis.  Apparently, my company is a big sponsor of this charity and reached out to our other locations to field teams.   That is why I purposefully, over the past couple of weeks have been building up the Qball to be once again, a road loving monster crosser.  
Domo arigato Mr Roboto House
Now it was time to try and ride the 24.8 miles that will be required of me this coming Sunday. I mapped out a route on RideWithGPS that encompasses a lot of familiar territory from my work commute (which I have start again) and some challenging sections that I ride with Katie on the Tandem, so basically all familiar territory. 


The Qball rides really nice and it's really smooth.  The new tires I have on the bike really make a difference.  They are white walled Kenda Cyclocross tires  (700x38c) and kept at 70 psi are pretty fast and really strong, more so than the Kenda Kross Commuting tires (700x42c).  Shifting on the bike was really good.  I used the big ring to descend and ride in the flats and the little ring to climb, and what I found is on my hills with more gradual grades I could ride up them in much higher gears.  I think, though, I have to replace the bottom bracket.  It was making a grinding noise whenever I was pedaling.  In fact, now that I think about it they have made this noise for quite sometime so it's probably time I replace it.

I love these Salsa Woodchipper bars.  They give me all sorts of hand positions to choose from to accentuate my riding style as the terrain demands.  Clearly, much different riding than what I am used to in the woods.  I can see why people do it because it's challenging in terms of maintaining a good average speed, climbing hills and pushing yourself, oh and the roads are pretty smooth around here, too.  I now see why a lot of mountain bike racers use road riding to train because it boosts your endurance over a long period of time and when you take it to the trail, where races are much shorter you can compress that for the event.

Thursday's route was good, it had about a mile of dirt roads, perfect for these tires, 1400 feet of climbing, which was a good mix of gradual ascents and then some real steeps.  Originally I was going to try a route that I mapped out on RideWithGPS that stayed within the Housitonic Valley but I knew that was going take much longer, especially since I wasn't going to be familiar with the routes and it had double the amount of climbing.  

When I got to Route 302 in Bethel was when I really started pushing myself because I was near the halfway point and so far the ride had been sort of choppy without any good long stretches to open up on.  That must be the allure of road riding, big open stretches of pave and pushing yourself to go faster and faster.  The descent down Mine Hill was a little scary because there was a rough patch of pavement that I hit and I knew if I were running 23c I would have flatted for sure but I think the tires and the bike geometry of the Qball kept me upright.  On Route 34, towards Sandy Hook Center, I passed a mother and her son riding mountain bikes on the road.  The son didn't have a helmet on and I as I passed him I recommended that he get one.

Past the center of town, while still flat on Glenn Road I got blown away by some dude on a Carbon Fiber Crevelo in Bethel Cycles kit.  I yelled at him after he passed that "Badger is about 10 miles ahead!"  Stephen Badger is someone I work with and a very accomplished CAT1 Road Racer.  The last stretch was the Walnut Tree Hill and Alberts Hill section back to Hanover Road.  Walnut Tree has a steady 3% climb up to Alberts Hill.  Alberts Hill has two 6% climbs that wind up being chuggers as I am nearing the end of the ride.  I passed one Clydesdale on the first hill by the vineyard who was walking and when I told him he can't walk he said he was on a new bike an unfamiliar with the bike.  He was on an old school steel Trek with shifters on the downtube.  I felt really good after the ride and I think I am going to have to do this again sometime!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kingdom Trails: Tap and Die

Tandeming around Town: Getting the Vote Out

First things first, put the bike together.  I store the Burley in garage with the wheels off.

Then Katie and I rode to the Middle School so I could vote
in the Town's 4th Budget Referendum

which failed by 19 votes ... the people have spoken, stop raising our taxes!

Bike was making a funny noise when shifted into the smallest cog.  Turns out the chain was rubbing against bolt holding the rack on.  Need to remember to tighten the QR from the right side next time and make sure it isn't rubbing, DOH!

This is a fun bike!  I think some upgrades will be in order, like adding a suspension fork upfront with a disc brake mount and a mountain wheelset for more off road riding.  Who knows, maybe Katie will want to come to the Kingdom Trails with me next year and we'll ride the tandem on some of the easier trails.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Kingdom Trails: Left to my own devices on Sunday

Sunday, decided to ride by myself because I had to be on the road by noon in order to get back to Connecticut before 5 PM to be with my sons.  Plan was to climb Darling Hill again, this time On the Spot, then hit Pastore Point, take rip down Troll Stroll and then head over to the Sugarhouse Run and take some pics of the old building and finally finish it off with a run down Kitchel with helmet cam running.

As I was riding towards Darling Hill Tim Post and his sons passed me in the their truck and I waved them over and asked if I could bum a ride up the hill but then a sense of foreboding overcame me and I had a feeling that I forgot to lock my car.  They said they would wait while I went to go make sure the car was locked.  Only took two minutes and then I threw my bike on back of the truck and held onto to it through the window. 

I made a few wrong turns before finally getting to Pastore Point and the lookout over the river which cost me some time and I missed some trails that I wanted to ride because I took a wrong turn down Cup Cake when I should have stayed on Loop and headed over to West Darling Hill Road to ride Harp.  Oh well, there is always next year.

I still can't get over how dreamy the spot rides!

Very inviting, reminds me of the places I used to camp at in California when I was a kid

Much hotter on Sunday!

After climbing up Coronary, I ran into Tim again and he took me over to Troll Stroll (click for the two different versions) because everyone at the camp was raving about this trail.  I think I shot some good helmet cam on this trail but once again it's a little shaky because of the mounting on the camera.  I really need a full susser and mount it to the bike!  At the bottom, you have to climb back out.  The easy way is to head south to more trails that I had ridden the day before, like Eager Beaver and River Run but I was running out of time and the run to the Sugar House didn't look like it was in the cards this time around.  Instead, we took the hard way and climbed up River Walk.  I had to walk for the first time.

Grades on this trail ranged from 7% to 23% and both Tim and I walked the steepest section but his son, ahh to be young again, climbed everything thing.  Of course I probably could have climbed this section, too, with Granny's help but the Spot doesn't have a Granny.  Kingdom Trails should rename this trail to Heartbreak Hill!

We cut across the fields back to The Inn at Mountain View Farm and headed down to Kitchel.

We parted company at the bridge and after packing up the bike and my gear headed over to the shower so I could be clean for the ride home, which only took four and half hours!  

Getting back home I have already started thinking about next year's visit.  For one thing, the Burke Chamber of Commerce definitely wants to have NEMBAFest again and they have already set the dates for June 21 through 23, 2013!  I think I am going to either buy or rent a pop-up camper and stay closer to the event to take advantage of the bike demos and other things going on while still sleeping/camping in a more orderly fashion!  I have come to realize that while it's kind of fun, I hate tent camping!  I think I will also plan on getting there earlier and bring the Monster Cross to do some gravel grinder riding the first day, too!  Might be fun to take the Monster Crosser on the trails, too!

Kingdom Trails: Troll Stroll, Take 2

A little Thrash Metal version featuring Exodus

Kingdom Trails: Troll Stroll, Take 1

YouTube version.
Tim Post featured here riding a Salsa El Mariachi 29er, Steel

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Kingdom Trails: Sidewinder

Glenn is in the lead

Single Speeding Darling Hill at Kingdom Trails

Rode the Kona Unit 29er with Paula and Glenn on Saturday at Darling Hill

We didn't feel like waiting around for a shuttle from Burke Mountain, so we rode down the hill to East Burke and then up Darling Hill to the trail head.  It was fun on the singlespeed.

Took a long break on Eager Beaver and ran into some
fellow NEMBA members on the trail

Found this lunch spot at the top of Sidewinder

Paula and Glenn enjoy a nice break

The Chapel

Burke Mountain

Jesus does ride a mountain bike!

Goin' to the Chapel and we're gonna get ... 

Looking towards Stowe and Burlington

I don't need a bike blessing, I ride a Singlespeed 29er!

At the end of Violet's Outback

Post Ride Ice Cream at Chappy's

Bike Raggers

Maine's Muddy Boots Ice Cream

Monday, June 25, 2012

NEMBAFest @ Burke Mountain

CT NEMBA Board members, Paula Burton and Al Tinti
There were so many demos! 
All the big players were there!