Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Garmin Edge 800 - The Touch!

Now this is cool!  A touch screen Garmin Edge!  Suggested retail is $499.  Looks like it utilizes the Edge 500 mounting bracket, so that is barrier of ownership right there for me as I have the 705 bracket mount on all five bikes right now.  Also, when you think about it, this is really geared towards roadies because most mountain bikers where gloves that are not fingerless.  All Garmin needs to add is a few downloadable apps and some cell phone capability and they will be able to directly compete with the Android and iPhone.

XC with a Full Face?

Is there a new fad in the mountain biking community to do XC riding with a full face helmet?  I saw two guys at Pequonnock River Valley on Sunday wearing full face helmets and little else, besides shorts and a t-shirt of course.  Like this one guy on a Trek Hardtail who I came across once in the Bastone area while speaking with a guy on a nice groovy colored, old school Klein Hardtail, and again in the ledges.  They other guy just cleaned the big up-and-over by Coyote Crossing as I was admiring some woman's pooch that was a cross between Basset Hound and a German Shepard.  It looked like Corgi on 'roids.

I think I have finally found my bread and butter ride for P-Valley, especially for riding in the maze of trails that I call Bastone, because it reminds me of the episode in Band of Brothers where they are holding the line in the Arden Forest just outside the village of Bastone.  It's a flattened area with a lot of scrub cedars and little trails.  Cool slick rock abounds and there are some cool, little rollers interspersed here and there.

The route is around 8 miles and takes advantage of all the tough climbs and brings you by some great features to play on.  It also follows the flowiest trails where you can really hammer.  Once the Trumbull Trails Coalition fixes the other descent on the red trail that meets the yellow trail by the jeep road I will start going that way, too because I hate hike-a-bike, fall line climbs.

I did about 8 miles in 2.5 hours but I spent time chatting up a few park users. My last visit to P-Valley was somewhat painful after crashing in Bat Cave Jr so I stayed away from that feature and tried to keep the ride primarily XC. Realing from the crash two weeks ago I decided to where pads but they were largely unnecessary because I didn't ride any features.  Something is up with my Reba as well.  The fork will no longer lockout.  Looks like I might have to get it fixed but it served it's purpose.  It made my descents all that much faster when racing this summer, at least at Massasoit and Domnarski Farm.

The new EBB on Dillinger is working nicely.  It creaks a little bit but I can live with that compared to cacophony of squeaks and creaks that I had before.  I love the anodized purple but apparently Soul Cycles doesn't do the rest of the bits in purple so when they get more, I will have to get red one.  Of course, if things work out the way I hope they will, that might not be necessary.  I still need to offset the harshness of aluminum with some cold, hard steel.  My search for a good, in expensive frame hasn't produced any good options as of yet but I still have my eye out for deal.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Tandeming for Breakfast

Spent Friday night changing up the Burley for a ride with Katie.  I wanted to put on a new stem only to find out that none of mine fit.  I will have do some research but I think it means I have a 1 1/8 head tube.  From what I understand unless you have hydros, it is recommended to have in addition to the rim brakes a drum brake in the rear.  Or, as I have seen, disc brakes work as well.  What I think I will do is try to find a 60 or 80 mm squishy with a lockout and has both brake posts and disc tabs.  Or I can just get a Surly 1x1 fork and stay rigid.

Katie and I rode to the Sandy Hook diner for breakfast this morning.  Then we headed over to the Fairfield Hills Campus.  The climb up Mine Hill was fun and needed Granny's help on that hill.  Then we rode the town path that goes further up hill.  Then it was all down hill (overall) from there.  We rode to Currituck and then down through Pond Brook and home.  15+ miles and 1600 feet of climbing in the span of 1 hour and 45 minutes (not including breakfast).

Next week we are going to ride to another diner, have breakfast and then continue our ride and try and 20 miles.  Of course I have to get her to pedal a little more.  I think I did 75% of the pedaling.  Great training though.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sunrise at Upper Paugussett

Wasn't sure if I was going to need a headlight this morning as I headed out to meet Rick for a quick Ride Before Work at Upper Paugussett at 6:30 am.  By this time, however, it was light enough so that lighting wasn't necessary but I think I am going to have to keep the Light and Motion charged as afternoon lighting starts to wain.  Caught some video of Rick on the new log ride.

And then he shot some of me, too.

Below is a 3-D view of the basic loop at Upper Paugussett or what I call the Echo Valley Loop.

Speaking of Fenders

It rained Wednesday night which meant the roads were wet but I was determined to shake off that fair weather commuter status that I have held for the past two and a half years.  With the Stinson awaiting parts I reached for the Qball to continue my weekly commuting.  My commuting goal for this year is 500 miles and I  am not even half way there.  I completely forgot that that have some portable fenders and I should have put them on for the morning's ride but I wasn't thinking?  Actually, it wasn't that bad.  I got a little road spatter on the descent down Plumtrees.

I rode up Castle Hill and the view in the morning was spectacular.  Sunrise would be incredible.  The Qball rides so well and it's such a pleasure to ride.  Also, riding with the messenger bag is getting easier, too.  As you can see by the profile below, there is indeed quite a bit climbing on this route and I always thought Castle Hill was the highest point in Newtown on the roads, but it's not.  That second peak is next to Holcolmbe Hill, which is this highest point in town but you would have to climb up the gravel driveway, which is open to the public.  Next time I go this route I am going to throw that into the mix.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Yellow Fenders

The latest edition to the Stinson are a pair of Planet Bike, Hi-Vis fenders.  Only, the front fork doesn't have hard points for fenders.  Not sure what Marin was thinking when they devised this bike but a comfort bike without a way to easily mount fenders?  That's like trying to eat a Nutella and Peanut Butter sandwich without the bread!

I went to the hardware store after work on Wednesday and picked up some rubber lined circular clamps but purchased a size too small.  So, I will get the next two larger sizes on my way home from work today.

Next on the list will be some yellow Crank Brother pedals and then I might go for a new wheel set with yellow rims and hubs.  Yellow spokes might be over doing it.  I have looked for a yellow crankset but so far have not found anything..

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

BBC Night at Eli Canons!

CT NEMBA's Meeting ride met on Cedar Lane in Middletown, near Middlesex Community College for a little jaunt before our meeting over at Eli Canons.  Glenn the way on some fantastic single track that went over many open areas of rock that were huge rollers in which you had to ride down.  It's been awhile since I have ridden Middlesex or known locally as MSex and never have I ridden this section of trail. 

As it turns out, I was riding my 29er (only mountain bike I have at the moment), Glenn was on his Redline (29er) and Al was on his Belltown Bikes 29er.  It was 29er-fest at Msex.  Glenn pinch flatted on one of the rocky descents around 6:30 PM and we were due at Eli's at 7 PM.  I didn't bring my cellphone but Glenn and Al called around to let everyone know that we would be late.

Little did I know, it was BBC night Eli's and they were giving away BBC glassware!  I couldn't have been more happier than a pig in the mud.  With Oktoberfest right around the corner I naturally had the Oktoberfest.  They also had a special tap of the Lost Sailor but I was too happy drinking the Oktoberfest.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Single Speeding in Chicago: Fixed Gear Bikes

Special-Ed Langster

Iro Commuter

Boots on the Ground

Found these boots on the ground at the intersection of the Twister Trail (aka Lollipop Trail) and the blue trail. No real place to go swiming around here so it's kind of odd that someone left their shoes here. Maybe it's case of Alien Abduction.

Today's Ride After Work actually started on or close to schedule for once but was it cold! Felt like fall between the wind and the damp ground.

We had some fun in the Big Burn. It was so dark that I had to turn on the flash but then after missing so many shots I shot some video of Randy rolling this section and then hitting the two baby heads afterwards.

Monday, August 23, 2010

OK, it's Chicago ... it's flat ... I get it

Cities are great for bikes becasue they are probably the easiest form of transportation (and cheapest), as well as more maneuverable. While in my euphoria of seeing all these bikes in downtown Chicago unknowingly I captured a rare sight, a mountain bike being used as a city bike. I doubt it's an actual 29er, if it were I would probably go into ecstactic shock, but looking at this bike in more detail it looks like a mountain bike outfited with 700c wheels and probably a 40c tire. What's really interesting, however, it the fork choice. While it could be just about any brand, this definitely looks like a carbon fork.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Head in the Clouds

The principal reason I decided not to race today was that it didn't matter because according to the Root66 rules I need over 50% of the races to qualify for a series award and I won't have that. There are 14 races in the series and that means you need 8 races to qualify. If I were to be racing today and do the Landmine Classic I would only finish with 7 races. So it wouldn't matter anyway. So, there is always next year and now this gives me something even more to shoot for.

Today's weather patters look awful.
Reminds me of the Domnarski Farm Race:
One lap and totally sloppy
Good luck Gareth and Fabian!

Now we are on the good path!

Brodie and I went over to the Monroe Railtrail for trail-a-biking Saturday morning and we headed up to check out the new Newtown section.  Much to my chagrin it hasn't changed since the last time we visited this section, Katie and I rode to here in the spring only it was too wet to ride any further.  The Newtown Bee reported last week that this section was now open, the only difference between then and now is that the trail is much drier..  Hate to say this but if this was an Eagle Scout project, the Scout needs to get busted down to a Cub Scout and start over!  All that was done was cutting back growth.  Where's the gravel and the stone dust?  Trail braids have already formed around the we areas that are still wet.

Notice anything wrong with this sign?

Cool thing at the northern terminus of the trail is there is an actual turn around.

Love how the existing rails have been incorporated into trail

If you haven't figured it out already what's wrong with the sign, it's facing the wrong way!  My bike is pointed in the direction of travel coming down the trail to this point and it appears that one can easily pull the sign out of the ground and turn it around.  Also, I thought there would be more stuff blocking the trail to keep people from continuing north but that twig pile doesn't seem to be doing the job.

From here, Brodie and I headed all the way down to entrance to Wolfe Park, turned around and headed back to Pepper Street.  It was a nice 9 mile jaunt and riding the Stinson was a blast.  The extra weight from my son and the trail-a-bike made for a really nice workout.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Monster Cross Junior

While this bike really doesn't embody the edicts of being a true monster cross bike I thought it was cute none-the-less. My guess this bike is really a winter commuter. If you are not familiar with Monster Crosses here is where the they went wrong: tires and wheels are the wrong size, should be 700c or 29er. Granted the the smaller wheels definitely make it a Junior. Monster crossers don't have squishy forks. Lastly, and this is more of a personal opinion but the primary frame material for a Monster Cross bike is steel. Maybe Aluminum if you are running fixed but Carbon? No way.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Friday Fix: This is not a "Fauxie"

As promised earlier this week I did see some actual fixed gear bikes in Chicago and this black, Fuji Classic is simply the best specimine!

Love the bar mod. The blue bars and grips go perfect with the black frame. Kind of like how the new Cane Creek headsets look. Also impressed that safety is a on the rider's mind with a little brake lever to slow things down if in a jam.

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Monster Cross Commute

My Qball monster crosser was looking neglected when I returned from Wednesday's Bike Commute so I decided to ride it on Thursday.  It felt great to coast again and the Kenda Cross tires are really nice on the road, much better than actual 29er tires.  Of course, after Wednesday's ride all my road kit was pretty geschwitzed so I opted for mountain gear instead.

Still riding with the Timbuktu although it's problematic because it doesn't stay in one place and I have to keep adjusting it.  The trade off is a back pack and a sweaty back.  I might try using a waist strap on my next commute.

Nothing terribly inspiring at the Newtown Christian Church.  Some where near hear is a Tibetan Monastery, I wonder what spiritual guidance they profess.  I would imagine it might be something transcendental or zen like.

I did the long distance route today, in both directions for a total of 28 miles round trip.  I actually met another cycle commuter dressed in racing kit on a Cannondale.  I have seen this guy before along this stretch of Vail Road so I am not the only one doing this but probably the only riding fixed most times.

Qball looks nice in the office

Below is the route profile.  I think that if I am going to ride geared that I have to take the hilliest route.  That means I will have start riding Castle Hill

On Wednesday's commute I found this old gate post at a meadow on Old Bethel Road

On the way home I met up with Tom, who helped me build the Gussy Trail.

Wednesday's route
On a personal note, I am 19 miles shy of 1000 miles for the year.
500+ miles is mountain biking on trails
The rest is split up between commuting, riding greenways,
and some road riding that I did for the Bloomin Metric