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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

RbW: Riding at the Crack of Ass

After the snow we got Monday temperatures were holding at 32/33 degrees all night and I knew this would be an excellent opportunity to Ride before Work.  Ended up popping smoke around 6 on the nose and it was perfect!

The Spot was handling beautifully in the snow, largely I think due to the 2.4 Schwable upfront.  Lots of coyote and fox tracks on the trails, too.

I was able to ride the entire length of the Poly Brody without dabbing but on the Gussy I had a few issues.  It's no contest and such a joy to be out in such terrific conditions.

Probably want be back on the Gussy for another week since the weather forecast for Wednesday is a possible high of 55 degrees and thunder showers, and we are in the heart of winter!  Probably riding the fixie on the trainer on Thursday.  I am, however, going to start riding Tuesday and Thursdays in the mornings at Upper Paugussett and then save the weekends for elsewhere.  That will change when I start riding to work again.  This year I am going to shoot for 1000 miles!

Monday, January 28, 2013


Despite my second run in (or out) with latest stomach virus going around I felt reasonably well and confident that I wouldn't need to find a toilet every five minutes.  CT NEMBA's annual Winterfest was Sunday and I had been jonesin to ride Rockland Preserve after my last attempt got rained out.  I took the Spot because of the fact that despite Madison being in the lowlands of CT it is still a hilly ride as you can see by the map above.  In fact according to Strava we climbed 1600 feet!   

Wardrobe for winter riding was another mixed bag of successes and failures.  The extra layer under the Windstopper Fleece was too much for 20 degrees.  Should have brought a lighter pair of gloves, too, because when my hands finally warmed up it was too hot for the lobsters.  My choice of foot ware was great.  I have had these Lands End Boots for the longest time and just knew they would be good with flats.  While my feet were toasty warm the whole time, foot placement on the pedals was a little challenging. 


There is a new Skinny in town and her name is Ms Day!  Jon Petersen's handiwork could be seen at Rockland.  I had been wanting to ride this skinny since hearing about it's construction, however I chickened out when I saw how high it is.  Apparently, the land manager doesn't like the height either and there is a plan to bring it down to earth.


Kevin from Oxford, on the other hand went for it and cleaned it a few times.


There was still some snow on the trails but it was at most an inch and perfect for riding!

Jason Englehardt (middle) trail builder of Rockland and ride leader.

While it was still cold the sun warmed up parts of the trail and it got a bit muddy.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Long time no Mountain Bike

It's been almost thirty days since I last sat atop a mountain bike saddle and rode singletrack.  I wish I could have gotten out on Saturday or Sunday when it was much warmer.  Too many family activities Saturday and Sunday I took the family skiing, so I braved the much colder temperatures and headed out to Upper Paugussett State Forest.  Now that I think about it the last time I rode here was on Christmas Eve!  After that, we got some snow that I wanted to take advantage of with other activities.

The last time I was on this side of the forest I was snowshoeing between the Gussy and the Poly Brody I noticed this sign at the parking lot but never got to see what was up until today.  Jerry Milne, the State Forester whom I met with a couple of weeks ago to survey my proposal for making the Mulikin Trail legitimate, said that they were going to be logging in this neck of the woods to improving the sugaring.  I met up with the two loggers, who are twin brothers and they had done a pretty good job of clearing things.  I stopped and chatted with them a bit and pointed out a few downed trees that would be nice if they removed so I could reroute the blue trail later down the road.


The loggers told me they were working the whole weekend and saw many bikes and I new that wouldn't be good for the less sustainable trails in the forest.

I saw one or two tracks heading down the white trail towards the Kissing Oaks but there were many tire tracks heading to and from the Mulikin (above) that I knew wouldn't be good because the ground on Saturday and Sunday never got below freezing and as I would later find was an absolute mess.  If you are reading this post and frequently ride Upper Paugussett, please try to stay off the Mulikin because it's just too soft to be riding it right now and too wet during the winter for that matter.  I have plans this spring to make some big changes to the Mulikin that will make it a better experience as well as much more sustainable.

The Gussy, on the other hand, is one of the more sustainable trails in the forest and as you can see quite a few riders rode it over the weekend.  My snowshoe tracks were completely obliterated.

Of course, stopping for a good bike porn shot was called for at the intersection with the Yellow Horse trail.  In fact there is a pretty good chance this section of the trail will be changing for the better this spring as well because I am going to shift eastwards so that it's closer to the drop off that you may noticed at one point.  The terrain through there is much more interesting and it will make riding through there really fun.  This reroute serves two purposes, it will move the trail away from a future logging operations staging area and connect directly to the new and improved Mulikin Trail.

My green and white top tube sticker for Sandy Hook's Ride on Washington

It was freaking cold today.  The Garmin said the temperature was 24 degrees!  I rode with a balaclava the whole time but ironically, underneath my windstopper, fleece hunting jacket all I had on was a longsleeved riding shirt.  That jacket is so warm that to wear anything else underneath turns into a sweat lodge.  I could have used some shorts over my tights because my rump and hips were ice cold when I got home.  Otherwise, I was perfectly fine.  It's so much easier planning what to wear for the woods than it is for the road.

I am really loving the Garmin Edge 800 except for the maps and Auto Pause.  I figured out it was set for 3 mph so that is why some of my track appears weird in some places.  I have since then moved it a half mine and hour.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

An alternative to the trainer

I promised myself that I would do something different Wednesday evening than riding the trainer again.  We just got 4 or 5 inches of snow but I had no chance to partake in the white stuff before work so I had to settle on something afterwards.  The snow is the right consistency to ride but I didn't get home from work early enough for that.  Instead, I headed out for a little night snowshoe at Upper Paugussett.

I went up the connector from Pond Brook and then went up the Blue Trail and I never realized how steep some parts of the trail are through there, one section has a 32% grade!  Fortunately, the snowshoes I have have great crampons so I got up that section easily.  I got the Gussy and headed back towards the Brody Road where I then headed down the Mulikin.  I got a great workout in 60 minutes and got to use my snowshoes again.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Riding fixed on the trainer

I have yet to take the Qball out on a real ride so in the meantime I have been putting some time in on the trainer.  Even on the trainer, it just oozes fun and as many of you know there is almost nothing fun about riding the trainer.  I know that's a big contradiction but it just feels so good pedaling this bike.  The only thing that could make it better would be to have a TV in the man cave.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Raleigh XXIX "+G" Test Ride

Sort of can't believe that my first ride of 2013 was on the road and on a mountain bike even. It seems like such a big let down to what I should have ridden already but when there is snow on the ground I try to take advantage of it as much as possible. Getting a stomach virus last weekend didn't help either.  Anyway, it was a pretty good ride.  Pond Brook was really soggy which slowed me down immensely.  It felt like trying to ride in sand.  Back on the pavement for the rest of the ride was really good and the big descent down Butterfield was fun.  I have to give high marks to the Raleigh.  Feels really solid and the Dart3 is really smooth, even when I was bombing a portion of Pond Brook Road that has to be the one of the worst roads in town. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Raleigh XXIX "+G" Build

Here she is:  Raleigh XXIX +G.
The +G is for gears however this is the single speed version
so I had to to get creative with stickon cable guides.
I took a chance with the actual +G hanger fitting this frame and it does.
Everything else on this build, with exception the fork is just about all my spare parts.
Ride report is next.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Yearly pilgrimage to the Devil

Another Christmas and another gift certificate to one of the best Local Bike Shops in Connecticut (just my opinion).  Not only do they have just about everything imaginable but the selection is incredible.  I got to talk shop to a customer and one of the mechanics that were debating the various merits of dirt drops including Salsa 4Woodchippers and Cowbells when I asked them whether they ever heard of Misfit Psycles FMe bars.

The one customer said that he couldn't stand STI levers and therefore would need to use thumb shifters. I jumped into the conversation and suggested Bar End shifters but I told him what he really needs are the FMe bars because you run them with the regular MTB levers and shifters.

Prior to coming down there I made a list of all the things that I need and I picked up the most important ones needed to finish my Raleigh build.  I ran into the Matt outside, too.

Converting the Raleigh XXIX from SS to Geary

I got a RockShox Dart3 from a guy in upstate New York on Craigslist for a great price
and started rebuilding the Raleigh.

I am doing a 1x9 and from the feel of things this bike is feeling really rock solid!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Curtains are going to match the drapes

Got a good deal on some red AlexRims, DP20s, off of Craigslist

The front wheel came laced so I threw it on Spot immediately

The rear I am going to build myself
Should be fun!