Monday, December 18, 2017

I am an Uphill Junkie


While I enjoy just about all the different forms of skiing, skinning up a mountain is one of the most gratifying experiences in the world, to me.  After breaking my ankle almost 3 months ago I was a little uncertain about what the first time out would feel like, so I took it step by step (pardon the pun). Saturday, I decided to do one uphill adventure at Windham and then meet Robin at Mohawk on Sunday for more fun.



After buying my Uphill Seasons Pass for Windham Mountain, $25, I started skinning up Whiskey Jack trail.  Ankle was feeling good and everything else for that matter was feeling good, too.  If everything was good then I would try for 3/4s of the way which was fine, too.  At that point, I decided to go for the summit.  About 200 yards from the top, someone I knew from work stopped to say hello.


Getting to the top was easy and now came the hard part, going down. After taking off my skins I put on a helmet and a jacket. I learned that while going up can be a warming affair, going down can also be bitterly cold. It was a little sketchy getting into my telly turns and the icy conditions of man made snow weren't helping either but I got down in one piece.


Saturday's weather, while pleasantly cold, was gray and dreary, but Sunday was a blue bird, that is until the wind started up.


There's been a change in the Mohawk Uphill policy but of course you wouldn't be able to tell anything from their website (maybe the changes are forthcoming on the interwebs).  


As Robin and I started skinning up our usual route, The Ledges, a ski patroller with Tele gear stopped to chat and informed us that the policy has changed.  All uphillers have to use one slope to skin up, Mohawk.  


It makes no sense.  Why send everyone up a slope with very poor sight lines and where everyone is flying down. All it's going to take is one kid to loose control and come barreling down the hill flailing his/her arms like they are rolling down the car windows only to crash into someone coming uphill. Not to mention all the jumps on the side of the slope that snowboarders think are cool but when you are facing them they don't seem to have a lot of control upon landing.


As mentioned earlier, the sight lines on the right side of the slope are also poor.  It just doesn't make any sense.  And then on our third skin up, somebody yelled at us from the chair that we had to be no more than 2 feet away from the edge of the slope.  WFT?


What they should do is have all uphill skiers take the easy slope on right of the side of the mountain, called the Ledges. It's still wide open but flatter and a novice slope. Beginner skiers are going slower and it's much easier to get out of one's way.


The conditions at Mohawk were superb and my turning was tight, I was really dropping that knee.  At the end of our third run down we stopped in at the Patrol Shack to offer up some advice on the recent changes to the uphill policy.  We are hoping they apply a little common sense.  I hope they don't take it away. It's the only game in town that's still free.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Fat Amy's walk of shame

There was about an inch of snow when I headed out Thursday morning. There was a school delay so I didn't have to worry about not taking my boys to school. The snow made everything serene and peaceful. The snow that was left over from the weekend had melted somewhat due to the rain but refroze due to the cold snap and with the new snow on top made it crunchy as I rode up the Brodie Road to the four corners.


This where the Mulikin meets Double Secret Probation. Riding with my ViewRanger app on, I decided to ride down DSP so I could get a track of it.  I am still trying to figure out how to create a map using the app, similar to the Trail Forks map but it seems Trail Forks only works if you are connected to a network service.


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Mountain Biking during hunting season at Upper Paugussett State Forest

Due to Winter Storm Benji bearing down on Southern New England last Saturday I suggested to my son that we skip his first day of his ski race team training and I would take him skiing at Jiminy Peak on Sunday instead.  He was more that enthusiastic about that since the first day they weren't going to spend all day skiing and he really just loves to ski.  That mean that I was free to ride!


I did some chores in the morning while waiting for the snow to accumulate, no sense taking the big girl out to play with just a dusting, and by the time there was around an inch of snow on the ground I headed out.  Realizing that it was Saturday and on the tail end of dear season I made sure to get all oranged up because Upper Paugussett is an active hunting forest.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Do not leaf blow the trails at Upper Paugussett or any other trails else for that matter!

I saw this post on Strava today and I really wish people would take a moment and try to understand the impact they are having by leaf blowing the trails:


Actually, you are not awesome, in fact you are doing more harm than good!

It's really detrimental to the trails when this happens.  Leaves shed water and keep the treadway from soaking in all that extra moisture.  Trails at Upper Paugussett were so good you could ride them after a really good rain storm but now that they are uncovered people really need to let them dry out, now.  Not that many riders actually do that any more or seem to care.

If you don't believe me then checkout a few of these threads on MTBR:

The real price of leaf blowing



Here is an excellent video on why we do not remove leaves from our trails.


Yes,  leaves make it more challenging to walk, run or ride but by leaving the leaves on the trail makes them more sustainable in the long run.



Sunday, December 03, 2017

Fat Amy was Jones-n for H

Yet another biking conundrum ... how to dress for cold weather mountain biking.  The last time I rode Fat Amy was early September and it was still summer.  I lucked out this afternoon and picked the right combination of gear and was neither too hot nor too cold.


About a month into my recovery I got the girl ready to ride thinking that I could at least ride some rail trails. I went back to my original flat pedals and I put on a Jeff Jones H-Bar.  These bars remind me of my old FuBars. What's so special about these bars and any kind of swept back bars?  It's a more natural way you would hold your arms, thus reducing the stress on your wrists. 

Back to Work!


My brace came off Monday and the Orthopedist gave me the go ahead to start riding outdoors again however that presented a new hurdle because haven't the spent the last two months adjusting to the increasing cold temperatures as winter slowly rolls in.  For my first ride, however, by some stroke of luck, I got it right.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Zwifting: PC vs iPhone

I had been using my laptop to run Zwift and it worked great. I got an Ant+ adapter and it picked up all my sensors. I was also able to use the Zwift Mobile Link app, too.  However, since I was sharing the laptop with my son it became difficult to ride when he was using the machine, and he was starting to use a lot more frequently.  That meant that I needed another solution. 



I was picking up my Synapse at Brookfield Bicycle Center after getting it overhauled, I think I had a 3K miles on the cassette and chain, and it was shifting like crap, and as I was talking to Shawn about Zwift he showed me this dongle called an Apple Lightning Digital AV Adapter.  It has two ports, one for power and another for HDMI, which meant I could connect my iPhone directly to my TV and run Zwift that way.  


Friday, November 17, 2017

Zwifting made better thanks to the Bicycle Center in Brookfield!

The Bicycle Center was having a Zwift and CycleOps smart trainer demo the week before Thanksgiving.  



As part of the test ride, they were holding a little contest to see who could sprint the fastest. I had arrived straight from work and wasn't really thinking that I would give a try but it looked so easy so I gave it a go.  


I got on the CycleOps Magnus trainer wearing my work pants, an undershirt, and my right pant leg stuffed into my sock. Fortunately, I was wearing sneakers due to my broken ankle and that being the only type of shoe that I could wear with my brace.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Discovering the world of virtual cycling

I try not to think to far ahead in my cycling activities at what future accomplishments I might achieve because you never know when Mr Murphy is going to pop up.


Monday, September 04, 2017

yêu em thời gian dài (Love you long time)

Day three of my of Labor Day Mountain Biking weekend I headed up to Milford Town Forest in Milford, MA, the home of New England Mountain Bike Association's Vietnam Mountain Biking Park. Due to the holiday weekend I couldn't find a guide so I decided to do a self guided tour with a little help from the ViewRanger App.


I was so excited that I was finally riding the Milford Town Forest that I didn't think to turn on route recording after 10 minutes in.  This isn't a paid endorsement for ViewRanger, but let me tell you, that the accuracy of the software and the map was spectacular and I was able to ride mostly self guided.  There is even an Apple Watch App, too, so I was able to check where I was without having to look at my iPhone.  The only downside to the Watch App, however, is that it doesn't orient in your direction of travel, and with the map oriented to the north and you are heading south you are looking at the map upside down.


Friday, September 01, 2017

Viva La Nassarica

My company gave us the Friday before Labor Day off this year giving me a four day weekend which I planned largely to mountain bike.  I have to take my daughter to Boston on Saturday so I thought I would hit Nassahegon State Forest on Friday and then Rockland on Saturday, Sunday ride local and then Monday, Milford Town Forest, aka Vietnam.


I posted an inquiry on the NWCT NEMBA Facebook page to see if anyone was available to act as a tour guide and found that a former Crankfire alumnus, Derek, was willing to give me the nickel tour.  He brought his dog and was rocking to some some killer metal throughout the ride.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Breakfast with the Newtown Lunartics and Lunch with the Knuckleheads


To get ready for D2R2 I set out on a Sunday to do a big ride that started out with a few Newtown Lunartics and breakfast at our favorite French Bakery in Woodbury, CT.


Of course it wouldn't be a good ride if there weren't cows to look at

Saturday, July 29, 2017

2017 CT Challenge


Team HomeServe:
Rich, Me, Bill, Lucy, Bob



Rich and I were doing the Century while the rest of the team were riding the 25 mile course

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Peace, Love and Rock & Roll


For the past two years, Will and I have been riding the Mount Greylock Century but when fellow Newtown Lunartic, Gavin aka Gabby, suggested that we meet at his cabin in the Catskills how could anyone pass up that opportunity?

 

Gavin picked out a 90 mile course that began at his cabin and took us initially by Bethel Woods, the modern day outdoor concert venue next to the historical Woodstock.


Sunday, July 09, 2017

CT Challenge Training Ride (Reverse)

My company decided to participate in the CT Challenge this year and put a team together.  The CT Challenge is a local charity for people fighting cancer and those that have survived by offering wellness and nutrition programs, as well as opportunities for Cancer Survivors to go on trips to experience a variety of outdoor activities that they normally wouldn't have the opportunity to do so. Since I signed up for the Century ride I figured I might as well try the course out but decided to ride it in reverse for some gastronomic reasons.  


The first leg of the trip started out with almost everyone from the Newtown Lunartics Cycling Club and since we were riding to Lake Waramug via Woodbury we just had to stop at OOF (aka Ovens of France).

Sunday, June 11, 2017

2017 Stamford Bike MS Challenge

Gavin and I signed up for the MS Ride again this year which was held on Sunday, June 11.



This year it was starting in Stamford where it has been in the past.



We were a little dismayed because the course was only 75 miles.




Riding along coastal Connecticut is fun but not very challenging

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Fat Amy likes Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo

It was time to take the big girl out to some real trails.



Headed out to Huntington State Park Sunday morning to ride some single track.
It's been 3 years since I last rode here and it was a little confusing first.



I felt more comfortable with the flats that came with the bike but they also have a cost.
Found some new connector trails off of Old Dodgingtown Road but everything was done by amateurs.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

TGIFat Amy


I had grandiose plans last Friday to ride 40 miles after work but I had to run an errand that took a lot more time that I wanted.  As a consolation prize, I threw the mountain bike on the car and headed over to George C Waldo State Park. It was windy on Friday and there were some blow downs that I took care of.


The Cujo, aka Fat Amy, was riding exceptionally well.  I run my tires at 20 psi and it just floats over anything and everything.  It feels like riding a full susser.  I just don't feel comfortable doing any big hucks.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Singlespeeding the Bloomin Metric


I brought my tandem down to Westport for my brother-in-law, Will and his daughter Julia to ride this year since my oldest son is no longer interested in staring at my fourth point of contact for 26 miles. I decided to ride my singlespeed again, only this time I kept it free wheel.  Have ridden 130 miles two days ago I didn't want to take any chances straining anything. 


We set off at a brisk pace by my father's standards.  Granted he is 75 and mostly rides rail trails but he still rides!  Some of the hills on the course were too steep for him and he walked a few of them. He was able to ride up Burr Street, though. On the singlespeed I had to attack every hill otherwise I would be walking.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Paul's Birthday Rando: a 211K Brevet


When fellow Lunartics cyclists Paul mentioned that he had a birthday coming up and liked to take the day off and go riding I asked him if he wanted some company and he said sure.  He wanted to do a big ride up to Barkhamstead Reservoir and since it's hard for me to do a birthday ride because my birthday is in the middle of winter I planned out a route for us to hit as much dirt as possible.

Paul has the yellow jersey on

The first leg of the journey was to accompany some other Lunartics riders on the Friday OOF (Ovens of France) ride for breakfast.

John (l) and Steven (r)
From Woodbury we rode up to Bethlehem and our first dirt road was Gros Road near Long Meadow Pond. At first it looked like a drive way but as we continued up the road it was indeed a nice gravel road.  From there, we road up the paved portion of Munger Lane and continued onto the dirt portion as well.


We then rode Headquarters Road, that I originally thought was dirt but when I road by it last year found that it wasn't.  Of course if I continued a mile or so up the road I would have found that it indeed had a dirt portion.  


Another new dirt road was Shepard Road (pictured below)


As well as, Hemlock Hill Road
(also pictured below)



Once in Goshen we searched for a store and found a Shell Station with a Quickmart.


Can't ride through the Connecticut Country side without at least one obligatory cow picture!


Eventually we made it to Winstead and we should have refilled bottles because little did we know that there wasn't a convenience store to be found for the next 30 miles.  


We rode into Barkhamstead


And then Riverton and along the Farmington River


And then headed around the Barkhamstead Reservoir


Little did I know that on the east side of the Bark'stead Reservoir there was going to be a tremendous climb.


Passing by Ratlum Road I saw the sign for Ski Sundown and thought that it would be nice to roll around in some snow right now. It must have been 90 degrees and both my water bottles were empty.


Turns out the brewery I wanted to stop at didn't open till 4 so we ate lunch at a diner located in the Collinsville Antique Gallery. I ordered a glass of pickle juice which tasted fantastic!


Of course if you are going to ride through New Hartford and dirt roads, you must pay a visit to the one road that never has a road sign.  The name of this road doesn't even show up on most online maps.  Those of us, however, in the know, know the name of this road. It's called Pussy Lane!  This has been on my bucket list for quite some time and now its blogged into history.


The bridge was out on Carpenter Road but we found a way to cross the river without getting wet. After crossing Route 202 we headed down through Harwington and down to Terryville.  On Route 6 in Plymouth we found another deli to get a snack and fill bottles again.  From there we stayed on Route 6 to Watertown and then headed down to Route 64 and Middlebury where picked up Route 6 again in Woodbury, right across from Ovens of France.  From there it was a straight shot back to Sandy Hook.


At Cover 2, I had an ice cold PBR that never tasted better!