Monday, May 30, 2011

A Short, Memorial Fix

After Sunday morning's walk of shame in the Pequonnock River Valley I still had enough time for a little fixed gear jaunt around town on the Lambert.  I kept my mountain biking kit on and headed out on some exploratory roads trying to find what would be a good 20 mile loop but as you can see from my map I didn't find it.  

I like heading out on Sugar Street but looping back on Sugar Lane, while it was a nice ride, the intersection back onto Sugar Street isn't really good - no flow.  Maybe next time I ride it up and come back on Sugar Street.  I did a loop on the Rec Trail but there were too many dog and baby walkers crowding the trail.  Need a bell.  Riding down to Sandy Hook Center was fun and smooth.  Then I went to Church, that is riding up Church Hill Road.  Great climb!  Then it was back on the Boulevard, stopped at Rick's house for a little chit chat and then back to the start point.  Next time, I am going to ride down Rt 25 and then come back on Toddy Hill.

There were lots of roadies out.  It seems Hanover Road is frequented by many that must be doing a Bridgewater, Southbury, Newtown loop.  Was it my garish outfit or perhaps the fact that I was JRA (just riding along) all the same stuff they were, but fixed, and there were no waves of roadie solidarity or acknowledgement.  

What a joy it was to be riding unencumbered.  I really enjoy riding the Death Fork to work but riding it without a pack is so much better!  It just hums between my legs and the big crank upfront gives me much more control on the descents. 

As you can see can see I decided to go a little a retro in the seating arrangements on the bike.  I took the Brooks Racer Saddle off the Qball and put it on the Lambert because I had one of these old leather tool cases from a another bike that is the perfect size for a tube, multitool, and a small 15mm wrench.  The only thing I don't like about it is that it flops around back there.  The buckles are old and rusty so trying to tighten it up is difficult.  It works for now but I will probably replace it with a an orange (of course) Timbuktu seat bag. In the meantime, I am really enjoying the bike.

This summer I might try to do a loop around Manhattan.  Take the train in from Sono or Southeast ride from Grand Central to the East Side, go around the Island, maybe ride the GWB and then back to GCT and home!

A Memorial Walk of Shame

I thought the Dillinger was good to go. I was so excited to be on a mountain bike, the last time was last weekend and I hate this weekend warrior crap. I am pretty sure I didn't mix chain links but then there was a little chain pop at the trail head. I should have known but I guess I ignored it in my eagerness to ride single track. After the stream crossing I mashed on the cranks leading into the small climb when my chain exploded. Those new links went flying. My chain fell off.

Glenn and Paula were with me and once again we proved that it wouldn't be CT NEMBA ride without a mechanical. I had extra links in my pack but they weren't single speed links. I was screwed in the P-Valley. Walked back to the car, loaded up, and headed home.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Red, White and Blue

I raise my beer to all my fellow veterans and those still serving!

The Friday Fix: It's Back!

Finally got the Marin rolling again.  Worked on it Wednesday night and it turns out I had another bent chain ring so I put on a 48t Sugino and a 17t fixed cog in the rear and I had perfect chain tension!

As it turned out, I had to go to an office picnic at a local park so I decided to ride instead of drive.  Perfect opportunity to test the bike out.

You can call me cheap but you might notice that my Edge is being held on with a bungee cord.  Well, I am sick and tired of having the little release tab break off on the GPS mounts and have to buy more.  Since these are road bikes I figure as long as it's being held in place I should be fine.

Well, it was a good thing that I used this as a test ride because on the way home the BB came loose and I was having a problem with the crank arm hitting the chain stay.  I will be tightening it up and trying a longer ride next.  So now, I have 2 fixed gear commuters.  I think it's time to build the Dave Scott Ironman Expert into a fixie!

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Recumbent Commuter in the Area!

I was sitting at the Hawelyville Post Office waiting for it to open on Tuesday morning when I saw a recumbent go rolling up Barnabas Rd and being the bike geek that I am and I had a few minutes to kill I jumped back into my car and chased after the rider.  I didn't catch his name but he told me that he rides to work every day from Bethel to Newtown and that he builds these trikes on the side.  I think he said the trike is from Greensport..  Got to hand it to him, riding a recumbent on our roads is pretty crazy.

The bike has 16" wheels with disc brakes on the front wheels.  Didn't seem like a safe design having to independently controlled disc brakes on the front wheels, and he had hydro to boot.  I would have have cable brakes controlled by one hand and rear drum brake.  Obviously you need a big flag such as what he is rolling with but I think I would have pole coming up from the back sporting a multitude of flashers and/or binkys on top of some flag.  Still, really cool.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fixed Gear Commuting Again

I probably could have ridden to work one or two days last week but my all weather fixed gear commuter is still on the disabled list and I really didn't feel like getting road stripe riding one of my other bikes. This morning however I was able to ride to work and it was fantastic. I am a chicken shit when it comes to running 23c tires on dirt roads so while I am riding the Lambert I have to ride into town first and then decide whether to go the long way (Rt 302), the hilly way (Castle Hill) or the new way (Currituck Rd).  While Currituck is straighter than Old Bethel Road and Pocono Rd the descents are like a roller coaster ride.  A video will be forthcoming I foresee.

Dame's Rocket (Hesperis matronalis)
Yeah, it's an invasive but I still like it!
The ride is was simply beautiful, 57 degrees with an expected high in the low 80s later in the day.  I was probably over dressed on the top half by a layer and I noticed that my commuting shoes are too soft for Crank Brother's Egg Beaters.  Still, riding the Lambert is such a joy and while 52:17t is pretty tall in these parts the Lambert is so light that it makes attacking any hill really fun to see how fast I can get up the hill.  The only thing that would make it perfect is if I didn't have to carry my laptop and to ride free of any bodily encumbrances.  I guess what I really need to do is go for a ride on this bike rather than commuting on it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


No little ones are expected at Chez Snack, rather it's the amount of time that I have been working on trying to get a trail approved through my town's conservation commission and only to have it shot down this evening.  The funny thing is, it was the Conservation Commission that came to the Town's Trails Committee, which I am a member of, wanting us to build this trail.

9 MONTHS of hand holding the commission on trail walks.  Showing them examples of sustainable trails.  9 MONTHS of marking and remarking the proposed trail.  9 MONTHS of Commission meetings and listening to the NIMBYs argue how a trail is going to disturb the existing habitat.  That same habitat that they have no trouble dumping old tires, bottles, and construction waste on, yet claim that the trail will impact the habitat of the Eastern Box Turtle.  Excuse me, but there is trail already there - is it impacting the turtle's habitat?  

After two weeks of unprecedented rain, they base their decision on the fact that they feel the area in which the trail would traverse is too wet for a shared use.  The same area the existing trail goes through today, that by the way is still open to shared use.  Of course, the trail we were proposing would fix the issues that made the existing trail fraught with problems.

What's next?  Give up?  Hardly!  Time to set my sights on other areas. 

2011 Bloomin Metric Helmet Cam

Excerpts of the Bloomin Metric leading up to the Feed Stop

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Riding the Bloomin Metric on a Bicycle built for Two

Katie and rode the Bloomin' Metric again.  Weather report called for a nice, sunny day but when we awoke this morning it was foggy, drizzly, and kind of cold.  We got down to Calf Pasture Beach a little later than we wanted and my father and his girlfriend got the jump on us by a good 20 or so minutes.  The first 5 or 6 miles I could have really used some full finger gloves because my fingers were cold. 

Katie and I were talking about doing the 75K course this year but getting there late and trying to catch my father, who seems to have improved his riding strength, meant that wasn't going to happen.  And Katie and I didn't really train this year as I would have like to.  Katie and I hit the course hammering to a good, strong cadence, and we were picking off all the casual and comfort bike riders till we were all alone.  Then we started catching the groups of riders mixed with varying abilities.  Big difference over last year's Bloomin Metric, I think mainly because we had a goal to catch my father.  Last year we tried riding with him but he was so much more slower than us that we were riding at a more leisurely pace.  This time, however, we brought our A Game..

We got to the feed stop 5 minutes behind my father after averaging 14 mph but we were earlier this year and it wasn't as crowded.  There were plenty of bottled drinks, PBJs, bananas, cookies, Cliff Bars and oranges.  Only thing missing were the Goo Blocks.

We took off again but had to make a stop.  Katie wanted to check out some live stock (in Westport?) and I had to tighten my seatpost.

Then it was the final run back to Calf Pasture.  We started picking people off, old and young alike, on old crappy ten speeds, comfort and mountain bikes, and a few full kitted riders on really bling, bling bikes.  We were back before lunch time and had sandwiches and picked up a little free schwag before taking off for home.

Saturday Morning Eye Opener: Two Singlespeeds are better than one!

The diSSent is laid up awaiting a new rear brake cable so I took the Dillinger out for the Saturday Morning Eye Opener at Huntington, so I am thankful that I have two SSer bikes, granted I think I need a rigid steel set up for it to really make a difference.  Finally some nice weather after a week of solid rain.  In fact, not riding for five days is the longest dry spell I have gone without riding in over two months.  Wasn't sure what the conditions were going to be like after a week of rain and they were OK.  Many of the vernal pools were flooded which meant any trails that went near them were submerged.  Trails in low spots were flooded as well seeing that Huntington's back 40 doesn't get a lot of attention and it shows.

The Dillinger is still performing nicely except for the issue with the Ergons.  The big bar-end GX2 grips that I raced on last year continue to slip on me making climbing a bit uncertain, especially on the real steep stuff where I need all the leverage I can get.  I did find something interesting as far as trails go in this section which is where you would normally ride through was flooded I stayed right and ended up following an old logging road.  There was a tree down blocking it so I went a little further up only to find it opened up into someone's back yard in which I think could only have been off Equestrienne Ridge.  From the downed tree back to the trail it made a nice go around that I think might turn into a good reroute in the future.

I went left this time on the white trail rather than going the usual right which eventually leads you back to the blue trail because I haven't been that way in a while I discovered why I seldom go this route -- hike-a-bike.  However, at the junction with the blue trail I found a rock containing a big chunk of what looked like black Mica, at least that is what I would call it since the Mica mines were just up the hill.  It looked like there was a path that went over to the base of a cliff that I followed and found more of this black mica looking rock that I think may be called Tourmaline.

From there, I went back up the blue, I love riding this section in both directions.  Down it, it's a fast loopy downhill and back up it's a great climb.  From there it was over to the Lollipop which is great trail, too, and next time I want to take the trail that comes off this and heads further out in to the lessor known parts of the park.  The remainder of the ride was mostly on the carriage roads into the southern section of the park with a loop in the opposite direction on the South Pond Single Track.  Finished the ride with the big climb up the new gravel road.  I have been cleaning the climb with my 20t and 21t cogs but I think it's time to go to the 19t which I am going to put on the Dillinger and use the other two on the diSSent until I get stronger.

Ride the Trails, Save the Trails

If you want to ride some trails and help save them at the same time,
come to CT NEMBA's Happening at Huntington on 6/19
and if you renew your membership that day you will get one these
awesome beer glasses!

Happy Knobbies

Nothing makes the knobbies happier than letting them get more time in the dirt.  I hit up Upper Paugussett last Wednesday (I think this is a lost post from the Blogger Outage) and Gussy Trail for a quick RAW.  Spent some time pre-ride adjusting the rear brake when I should have been changing the tires for the Winsted Woods Race this weekend.  I will be heading over to Huntington for the Saturday Morning Eye Opener for a test ride on a Exiwolf upfront and a Nanoraptor in the rear.  The Rampages are good all around tires but they are not race tires.

The diSSent breaks 100 miles

Nothing like a cold PBR to help celebrate

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Winsted Woods: More Hecklers and CAT1 Racers

While out on my pre-lap I took a few shots of the other hecklers on the course, just up the hill from the other group.  They were having a grand old time and their words of wisdom were very encouraging when I was on the course.

Winsted Woods: Charlie Beal - 2011 CT State Champion CAT1 SS