Thursday, April 30, 2009

Winding Trails Race Results: SS Open

Below are are the race results from the Winding Trails, Single Speed Open and pictures of those that came in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. I scrolled through all 536 photos that were posted on CyclingDirt hoping for a good shot of myself but found nothing the one above of the Qball and some guy that looks like me.

This guy is local and rides for Bethel Cycle Fitness

Third place winner was riding a Surly Pugsley! Now that's balls!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bike (Race) Porn: 29ers and 69ers

In front of the the green Surly 1x1 (rigid single speed 69er) is a Cannondale 29er. The Surly is what I want for my next 69er. I like the green but would really like one in Orange.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Winding Trails, Bib #350

While hanging out at the Feed Zone I tried to snap a few pictures of the Single Speeders and 29ers (Sorry, I am biased) that were coming through and I actually got a shot, unknowingly of course, of Charlie Beal, who blogs about his riding endeavors on CB2. He has a really great picture of himself that I suggest that you have a look. He took 6th place in the Mens CAT 1 40-49 bracket, riding a single speed 29er against a field of geared riders.

Outstanding job Charlie!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Winding Trails: 8th Place, CAT2 Single Speed Open

With temperatures reaching into the nineties today I wasn't sure how I would do but my goal for today's race was to finish. I was ready to race! I pre-hydrated, had plenty of carbs in me, and one of the guys I met on the Wilton Woods Ride a couple of weeks ago hooked me up with a nice trick: taping glu shots to the top tube so that all you had to do was pull them off and they were open. This time I warmed up by riding around the parking lot and out on the trail for a mile. Ran into quite a few people I knew, too, like Mark Leggit, Art Roti, Matty Meuller from CT NEMBA, Adam Roth and his GF Cheryl from, a few people from, and my neighbor Frank.

The glimmer of hope that I would finish anything except last faded at the start when my heat started, Single Speed open. There were 10 of us and at the sound of the whistle we were off but the time I got to the top of the first climb I was all by myself. Even the video dude wrote me off in the clip below.

(couldn't get the video to imbed in blogger)

Check out they guy on the bike with the really Fat Tires, he's racing a Surly Pugsley, single speed no less! Now that is cool! I think if I am going to continue riding riding this way, I need to get a lot stronger (and thinner). Still, with the heat, I didn't was to push it. Good thing I did a little pre-ride because there was one down hill section that turned into a drop to flat that I almost endo'd on. During the race, I hit the line each time and saled through it easily.

After the first lap, I was feeling great but decided to take it a little slower on account of the heat. The spokes on my front wheel were seriously creaking the whole time, and I just had the wheel trued on Saturday. On the first lap, I never got off the bike expect for one patch of single track where you decended into a curve that was all sand and it turned, and I came close to running off the trail. Otherwise, I cleaned every climb. I have to hand it to the gearing selection. 34:19 was a perfect combination.

On the second lap I walked a few hills and took it easier but on the last lap, I stayed steady and consistent. At one point I even passed a guy from the heat in front of me, some guy riding for the Vermont National Guard. I chided him as I got ahead of him, saying "you are going to let an old fart on a single speed beat you?" I also threw in, "A Quarter Master and a former Field Grade Officer?" I should have told him that unless he was puking, he wasn't trying - we used push one another that was during Physical Fitness Tests. Needless to say, he never caught up to me after I got a head of him.

My goal was just to finish and that I did but with the added bonus of an 8th place finish, within the top ten! Of course there were only 10 people riding in the Single Speed Open Class. From what I can tell, because I don't recall passing any single speeders was that two of them did not finish. Despite the heat, it was a fun race. The ice cold PBR was perfect after the race and when I got home, the real reward was the growler of Lost Salior IPA from BBC that I drank three quarters of the jug while relaxing in the shade of my front porch and then later grilling on the BBQ.

Picture is courtesy of Adam's GF

Friday, April 24, 2009

29er Luvin

I have never seen so many 29ers at Huntington in one day. There were three guys gearing up to ride with two Niners, and then there was some German dude on a Special-Ed full Susser. None of them were single speeders, I guess we can't all be perfect. Still it was cool to see quite a few Koolaid drinkers in one place.

These two Niners are ridden by racers that race for Bethel Cycle.
This is the German dude's Special-Ed. He was big boy and the bike was perfect for him.

This kid came in on one, too. A youngin! Nice!

I rode 2 laps of 4.5 miles each and then I snuck in a smaller lap that was another 3 miles because I was feeling really good, despite an endo and another spectacular wipeout on the same trail, second lap. Good thing I was wearing knee pads but too bad I wasn't wearing my elbow pads.

The Qball performed flawlessy and infact I think I should have gotten an 18t. I cleaned every hill, except one on the 19t and I couldn't tell the difference. If I go for the Dark Horse race, I will have to get an 18t Surly cog.

Looks like I will be paying cash for the day of the race because I missed the registration cutoff. I wouldn't have made it anyway because I was waiting for the prognosis from the orthopedist on my left knee. No torn miniscus just some other issue that has always been with me. I can have it fixed or live with the it. I am going to forego any surgery for the time being and then reconsider for the fall.

This time, however, I will be riding in the Single Speed Open class. It will be fun.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Qball, 34:19

In preparation for Sunday's race in Farmington and with the advice of West Harftord Single Speed Racing legend Charlie Beal, I put on a Surly 19t cog on the Qball. This the first time for me and the Qball to be riding below the 20t mark but I am told that the Winding Trails course has a lot of flat parts and with anything more it will be spin class. The pre-ride was earlier today but there was no way I was going to make that. Instead, I am going to test it out at Collis P Huntington State Park tomorrow after work.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Big Day of Riding

Sunday morning was shaping up to be a fine day for riding. I drove to Hamden to assist Eric with the CT NEMBA Trail Ambassador Training (follow the link for more pictures) that was scheduled. Great group of guys showed up from all over the state. Finally got to meet Nathan, who recently moved to the area and is into mountain biking as well. He has a cool photography blog called Amble On. I had been meaning to back to Naugatuck State Forest but last year the Upper Gussy Trail took up so much of my time, that I barely got to ride many other fun spots around the state.

The map above compares Sunday's ride (in green) with the ride (red track) I did two years ago at a CT NEMBA board meeting. Ironically, I have only ridden the Qball at Naugatuck and the first time was rigid. The Trail Ambassador ride was full of mechanicals, including one of my own. My rear tire started losing air 3/4s of the way through the ride and since I was running a wee bit late, I just put more air in it at every rest break along the way and was able to get back to the parking lot. Great ride, and I can't wait to go back again and explore more of the trails. Excellent place to ride single speed.

Quattro Trail Ambasciatore from Mark on Vimeo.

When I got home, I switched bikes (and jerseys), repacked the car with all the kids riding gear and headed over to the Monroe Rail Trail. We parked on Pepper Street, just down from the intersection with Route 25, so I could get a longer ride.

The kids and I rode down to the playground at Wolfe Park and the kids played for awhile and had snack. Then we got back on (and in) our bikes (and trailer) and headed back towards the car. Along the way, we stopped and took a few pictures of everyone with our matching jerseys. These are my three junior Trail Ambassadors.

We rode past the car, down to the town line (with Newtown), then turned around and rode back to the car. Total distance ridden was nearly 8 miles, and Katie did it all by herself!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

If it aint raining it aint training!

Used to say that in the Army all the time. When I left the office with the intention of doing a training ride I never expected it to be raining. My Blackberry kept telling me partly sunny with a high 51 degrees. That is until I clicked on the app to find that today's forecast called for a brief shower. I headed over to Collis P Huntington State Park in Bethel thinking I might have to bail on account of the weather but all it was just a couple of sprinkles.

What I wanted to do was find a contiguous four or five mile course that was mostly rideable, if I had to walk up a hill or two that was fine. I think I found it but ended up squandering my available daylight trying to find the Big Burn from the back way. I found it but as you can see on the map above I got all the way to Table Top Rock when I discovered that I missed the turn off.

Weather depending, either Tuesday or Wednesday after work I am coming back and going to bang out two laps of the course above in preparation for my second race this season at Winding Trails in Farmington. I am going to do another CAT3 three race on the single speed, mainly because I don't have a bike yet that I would consider race worthy. Working on it though. If I can sell a few bikes from the stable, I might have be able to pull enough together to start building up one.

The Qball is my favorite bike and I might even consider going back to the riding rigid again. I might swap out forks for my Surly 1x1 and go with some flared drops and build up a real monster cross and try a few cross races this fall.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

13 out of 15

I was up early on Saturday and couldn't bear the thought of having to hang out all morning before heading over to The Route 66 Bunny Hop Brook Mountain Bike Race. My knees were bothering me as well and I wasn't quite sure how I would hold up on a longer distance ride vs a shorter one. I am glad I did because by the time I was done with my race it started to pour and had I waited until 2PM, it would have been a real slop fest.

I decide to wear my bibs, cold weather shoes (because they have rubber soles rather than my cheaper pair with plastic), a long sleeve techwick, and my NEMBA jersey over that. Unfortunately, I don't have jersey yet. When I got to the registration tent, the people handling the sign-ins were very helpful and got me switched over to the right event. One thing that I didn't have time for was warming up -- should have done that and will remember that for the next time because it would helped process all the banana, breakfast, gatorade and water that I ingested on the way to Hop Brook.

The course started out flat, on grass, and I found initially that I was really pushing hard, perhaps too hard because then the climbs started and I was already pretty winded. Again, I probably should have rode more during the week to prepare but my knees were hurting and I opted not to ride last week. That was probably a mistake. In the video below I am 33 seconds into that clip.

My goal for this race was to first see if I could do it and not only did I do it, but I bested a few geared riders, too. At the first stream crossing, I passed two guys from my group that got hung up. I also passed two more guys from a younger group, otherwise it was all the young kids that were passing me! A few guys from the next age group up passed me. During the second lap, another guy from the next age group passed me, then I passed him, he passed me, then I passed him and stayed ahead him till the end.

Since I was in the 40 - 49 age bracket, that explains the first number on my numbers, 4 is forty year olds, and 13 meant I was the 13th registrant. Ironically, I also came in 13th. I think the only reason I did that was for the mishap those two guys had at that stream crossing. Also, I think if I had pre-ridden the course I would have been able to strategize better and where I could rest while riding and pour it on for the climbs that were rideable. Still, it was fun and I hope to do it again.

The Edge was not tracking well. I wonder if it was the speeds or the overcast conditions but the map above is for the two laps. and as you can see it was all over the place. I cleaned up the tracks and turned them into a network using GPS visualizer to get a better idea of the race course. The first thing you might be saying to yourself is "how was water?" Hop Brook is some sort of Army Corps of Engineers project in which there was much larger lake in the 60s and 70s but now it's much more smaller.

I knew one other person racing CAT3 and that was Brendan from The Beat Bike Blog. He got third place in his age category. Outstanding!

I ran into the guy in the next age group that was dogging me during the final lap and I introduced myself and asked if he was member of NEMBA. He said he was in the past and was thinking of renewing. I hope he does. I didn't stick around much long after getting my camera and taking a few pictures. It started to pour and it was really cold. I did run into Charlie from the CB2 Blog. It was nice finally putting a name to a face.

Also racing was the CT NEMBA president, Art Roti. I met up with him before leaving.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Category 2 Single Speed Open

That's the race category I just registered for the Hop Brook Dam MTB Race, which is the first race in the R00t 66 series. Didn't make sense to race SS in a non-SS category, like the CAT 3 race, and besides that's only 5 miles.

Having never done this before it should be interesting to say the least. I am racing the Qball of course and I will probably wear a smaller hydro pack with a tube, 15 mm wrench, small hex tool, and a quick link.

As for clothing, probably wear some shorts and we'll see how the temps are but I was thinking of a techwick longsleeve and then I might do another Jersey over that, or maybe not. All depends on the wearther.

Hope it's not too muddy.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Came back empty handed

Went all the way to NYC and did not get a single picture of a bike. I guess you could say the weather had something do with it.  Cold and rainy, what do they say?  April Showers bring May Flowers.  Had the camera, just no opportunity to get any pictures. I saw some pretty hip fixers on Park Ave and another rig locked to a sign with bullhorns and aero levers.

If you like trains, I got a few pictures of the Brookville BL-20s that are pulling what the state calls the Shuttle Lines, that made the Danbury and Waterbury runs. Here is the 5:16, BL-20 GH#127 pulling into Stamford Station.

And here it is heading towards the yard after discharging it's passengers.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Ready to Race!

I spent a few hours Saturday night after the kids went to bed working on bikes and drinking PBR. I switched rear wheels on the Bridgestone Commuter so that I can rebuild my Fetish Fixation into single speed hard tail. Got some spacers from Monroe Cycle Fitness and hooked up the 16t on the rear wheel that came with the Bridgestone. Just needed to tighten a few spokes put on a tire and it was done. Made some brake adjustments and then went for a little test ride in the dark down the driveway.

Next up, the Fetish Fixation. It has seen many configurations but it's time to go back to what it was made for, all mountain single speed. I repaced the Ritchey Stem for the Cammodized SIC stem that I have had for two years. Put on the Azonic strip bars and replaced the Surly 1x1 with my old Manitou Splice.

That is far as I got because still needed to work on the Qball.

I replaced my existing Salsa stem with the Ritchey because it was 10 mm longer and out on the trail yesterday it made the difference.

While on the trail, I had to make a few more adjustments to the grips and brakes.

Lastly, I added the San Marco Carbon Fiber saddle. It's actually quite comfortable. So, this is my race bike. Planning on two races in April and then we'll see what I can do after that.

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Friday, April 03, 2009

RbW: Flat bars on the Qball

Rode before Work Friday morning and headed out to Upper Paugussett State Forest. Haven't been there in over a month and it was time to check out what was happening with the logging. The Forest Road, up to the intersection with the white trail is a literal logging road now. The loading area at the intersection to the white trail appears to be finished. The logging company bladed the area and bladed the Logging Road back to the next staging area they are going to start using.

I submitted a Trail Report to New England Mountain Biking Association, CT Chapter, describing in detail along with more pictures of the changes. Of course if I am riding Upper Paugussett then of course I will always hit the Upper Gussy Trail and it looks really nice. The rest of the forest road is still the same.

I put flat bars on the Qball the night before and it really changed the cock pit. Maybe it was the way the risers were positioned but I felt scrunched in more and not as stretched out. After the ride up the logging road I started to get used to bars but still couldn't get used to the Ergon bar ends. I think they were pointed to far up and need to be aimed down more.

I wouldn't say that this little misshap was caused by the different bars. The rocks were wet and I always struggle with the approach to this little rock garden we call the Wet Spot, which despite the rain was still pretty dry.

It was a yard sale for the bike but luckily I was able to jump off in time. Still, I scratched one the Ergons pretty good. Over all, the ride quality wasn't that bad and as I was climbing the driveway I finally found a good hand position to increase my leverage using the Ergon horns. I think I am going to put on a longer stem and I am thinking of trying my San Marco Carbon Fiber saddle as well. Pretty soon, the Qball could be reverted back to it's original configuration. I doubt I will ever go back to rigid on this bike, though.