Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Twas the night before Christmas

and I was able to get a quick ride in at Upper Paugussett on the Spot

I was having a great ride, the White Brothers fork was rocking

Until I discovered a problem with the latest reroute - mud!

The problem is that this turn lies in a natural swale where water will collect and then eventually drain further down.  When I made this it wasn't at all wet but after Friday's rain it because a whole new ball game.  The good thing is that there is a nice Rock Store nearby so armoring this section should be easy.  However, I will probably have to cut a channel so it will drain and not put water further down the trail.  So there is more work ahead of me.

The new fork is smooth as butter!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sandy Hook Elementary School Memorial Mountain Bike Ride

Paula Burton came up with the idea to do a Teddy Bear ride at Huntington for the survivors of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre but I suggested that we do a cash donation because I had heard last week that there were already thousands of Teddy Bears headed our way.  So we decided to put on the New England Mountain Bike Association Sandy Hook Elementary School Memorial ride and if people wanted to donate, we would do so to one of the town charities.


I took out the mechanical stragglers this time around.  Jason, on the left had a flat and Cory (below) could get his shock pump to work but he eventually did.

We rode the Glacial Erratic, my new trail (aka South Park) and then hit Rock and Roll, the Big Burn, then looped back to the Sunset Hill lot.  There, we had hot chocolate and Cory brought a smoked Turkey that was out of this world!  I think we had 70 to 80 people show up for the ride and it was a smashing success.  The donations were unbelievable!

We all signed a card that will be placed at one of the Memorials in town.  I am really impressed how Mountain Bikers in our community came out to support event and make the lives of those that experienced this great tragedy a little better.


Cory (left) with his smoked turkey and Paula (above, green jacket) taking pictures


Bethel Cycle was well represented and So was Ridgefield Bicycle Co.

Bill Lake (r) wasn't riding due to a broken collar bone but came out anyway

Kirsten, aka @cyclocrossgal came out and rode her single speed

Jason daughter was the star of the show!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

New and Old

It was too wet to ride after Friday's rain so I went out and set pin flags for a new project at Upper Paugussett State Forest. I am trying to get the Mulikin Trail legitimized but as I found out yesterday schlepping through the woods for 3+ hours, this is going to be a big project! The challenges come from the water crossings and trying to keep the trail off the blue blaze trail. When I spoke to the head of the State Trails committee earlier this week and mentioned that it coops a portion of the blue trail she reacted negatively to that, so you know that has to change. We'll see.

Nothing tasted better after that long schlepp than this Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA.  Nice and smooth but extra bitter!  Now that's the way an IPA should taste.

A new toy was acquired the other day.  Remember the Bicycle Goodie Shop in Stony Hill.  Well unfortunately they retired and no one bought the shop (I should have bought it) so all their inventory and tools are slowly being sold off on Craigslist and eBay.  I saw an add on Craigslist and it turns out it was the former owners so I quickly snagged it up, along with a bunch of tools for maintaining and building wheels.

Like these IRO Track hubs I have been sitting on forever.  I am going to get some 27" hoops and build these up and hopefully find a descent frame to use them with.  In the mean time, I am going to build a front disc wheel for the tandem and get a disc for it, too.  I have a nice Surly flip flop hub that will probably build up on a 26" rim for my old Nishiki Bush Whacker to make a pump track bike although I am on the fence for that one and thinking that I should build it up as a 29er wheel.

It was time to switch things up on the bikes so I mounted the White Brothers Fluid 29 on the Spot and transferred over the tubeless wheel set because the front wheel works perfectly with the fork.  It looks really pimp and I can't wait to take it for a spin.

Next up is building up the Kona with the Manitou to get a taste for it and see how it rides with the Kona but I think that is temporary because I think the Manitou is destined for the chopping block along with the Raleigh.  I am going to build that up into a 2x9 and hopefully sell it to good home and then get something larger to replace the Kona and then sell the Kona as well.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Because 2 single speeds are better than 1

I have been having a lot of fun on the Kona but it was time to share the loving with the Raleigh, too.  Also, after the titanium bar breakage, I don't think I have ridden the bike in the woods since so it was time to give that a try as well.  Wednesday there was a brake in the weather so I was able to get out and ride.  The only downside was the rear tire being the Maxxis Crossmark which gave me absolutely no traction in anything soft or wet.  I am still thinking about turning the XXIX into a singlespeed monstercross before building it back into a 1x 9 and perhaps selling it.  It will be something to play with for the time being.  I want to put the Manitou on the Kona and change the bars up a bit to see what that does for the Kona, and take a taste of the White Brothers on Spot.  I think that is going to be awesome.

I initially headed out to the Mulikin but wanted to take a look at a few possible reroutes on some old trails that I used to ride back in the day.  I have an idea to try and get the Mulikin Trail legitimized with the State since it's a pretty active trail and it's been there even before the blue trail. The biggest challenge is steering the trail away from the blue blazed trail and changing the fall line climb further up the trail.  Next steps will be to flag the rerouted sections and then walk it with the land manager.  


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sandy Hook Elementary School Memorial Mountain Bike Ride

Join The New England Mountain Bike Association for a Memorial ride for the families of Sandy Hook Elementary School

Date: Sunday Dec 23rd
Time: 10am-12noon

All levels invited.
We'll be serving hot cocoa and apple cider after the ride
Contact: Paula Burton

Yellow and Blue for Newtown, CT

It was a simple gesture to show solidarity for my town during this tragedy.
I am still shell shocked, like I was during 9/11.
I needed a ride to find my Peace of Mind


I haven't been to Huntington since Hurricane Sandy and there are still remnants of the destruction in the woods.  Most notably, my favorite roller in the Big Burn now has two, massive trees down on it.

The far right side is still rideable but at some point it would be good to cut these trees and make skinnies out of them!


On the rerouted Glacial Erratic Trail a mud pit was forming on a turn just before the Spine Line.


I spent a considerable amount of time armoring it.  I had to scour long and far for flat rocks but I got the job done!

It rides really nice!

10 mile ride that hit a lot of single track.  I felt much better when I got home and hung out with my kids all evening.


Friday, December 14, 2012

A Sad Day for us All!

For those of you that know me and those that don't
I live in Newtown, CT where a horrible tragedy to befell our town today.
Fortunately, my children are safe and sound buy my thoughts and prayers are with the families who lost loved ones today.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12-12-12 Single and Raw

Another awesome ride on the Kona with one exception. My rear tire sucks! I had (since replaced with an Ignitor) a CrossMark on the rear and I got no traction on anything soft or wet. These tires are going back to dirt road duty, that's for sure because that seems to be what they are best at.  I tried to make the best of the ride.  This section of the Mulikin, however, now needs some serious armoring.  I hope the trail gnomes find the rock store further up the Mulikin and drag down some flatties and armor this we area.

Before hitting the climb on the Mulikin I pondered an old trail that I used to ride before the Gussy was built.  Walking it a few weeks ago while Geocaching in the woods I thought that it might make a good alternative to what you currently have to ride on Al's Trail to get to the start of the Mulikin.  I quickly dispelled that notion when I remembered the truck parked along Hanover as I rode by - there was a hunter in these woods.  Still, perhaps some future Sunday I may give it a shot.

I rode up most of the Mulikin but couldn't get much traction is some parts so I did some chain saving.  The ride down the Gussy was a blast, cleaning most of the obstacles and contemplating new ones, as well.

Riding in orange and jingling my way down the trail I found that I am really enjoying the bike and really love the tight, compact frame of the 19" Kona.  The 110mm White Brothers fork changes the geometry considerably but thinking about it further I think it helps compensate for the smaller frame.  It slackens it out so much that the bike just glides through the tech and climbs surprisingly well, too. 

So that this ride didn't turn into another Second Sled Dog ride I rode the Yellow trail coming off the Gussy after looping around again on the Poly Brody (got to get those extra miles) and discovered something interesting.  Apparently, someone has extended the While trail into this part of the forest cooping the Yellow trail.

 Who ever did this spray painted blazes.  WTF?  I have been riding this section of trail for years, granted I miss the trail from time to time, as I did on this ride, but there is no reason to do this, especially without permission from the state.  However, it will be interesting to follow the white trail all the way down to Pond Brook sometime. Something I have never done yet largely because I really don't like riding Al's Tail.  Too many injuries from that trail make me avoid it.

I followed the White trail down to the intersection with the Mulikin and then ventured down another old game trail that I used to ride that also connected to the old trail that I was talking about earlier in this post when I remembered the hunter.  The is a cool rock poised at the right angle that I started calling Flight Simulator back in the day.  I am sure you can guess what that means.  Remembering the hunter I bailed and headed back to the Poly Brody and discovered another strip of pink engineer tape.  I think this is from a hunter marking locations for deer.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Kona Rebuild Test Ride

I finished rebuilding the Kona Saturday night the first thing I noticed was how slack the White Brothers Fluid 29 makes the bike.  That has to be due to the fact that it's 110mm but it's interesting to see the three bikes above and their top tube angles, starting from Right to Left, the Kona is a 19" fame, the Spot Long Board 9 is a 20" frame, and the Raleigh is 21" frame.  My plan is to ride the Kona pretty hard for the next month using the WB fork and then try the Manitou Minute on the Kona as well and then figure out which one like best.

I wanted to go on a longer ride today but couldn't wait to get out on the Kona so I thought I would make the best of yet another local ride at Upper Paugussett.  I have been riding at Upper Paugussett quite a bit and I think it's starting to look like the view of the second sled dog again.  Anyway, started out with the usual lead in with a warm up on the Poly Brody.  With the WB at it's prime settings the first thing that I noticed was that it didn't ride as mushy as some other forks that I have been riding, in fact it was a little stiff.  That stiff feeling was actually really good when it came to climbing.  The lack of bar ends combined with the ultra wide bars made climbing really different.

On top of that, different gearing and a longer stem also changed things up quite a bit.  My first propensity was to come out of the saddle to climb and I got a lot of power that way but on the second time around, I stayed in the saddle and powered right up the hill.  The WB fork really came into it's own through all the technical sections on the Gussy and I found the wider bars to really help as well.  It looks like I finally found the right fork for the Schwalbe Racking Ralph, too.  Fits perfectly and not once did  front tire works perfectly with this fork and of course it's tubeless making the front end light and very maneuverable.

With an hour down and another kill I decided to head out on Al's Trail over towards the Vineyard when I ran across this bike propped up against this log.  It was in the parking lot a few months back but seems to have migrated closer to the water.  I was actually thinking about rebuilding it for the neighbor's son but when it was gone I thought the state came and got it.  Looks like not.  Further down Al's trail nearing the parking lot I realized that I really hate this trail and then I wiped out on a wet root which further confirmed my distaste this section of the trail.  Don't get me wrong, past the dam it's a pretty good trail but this section of the trail is basically just a bucket fisherman path.

By the time I got to the end of Valley Field my give-a-shit meter was pegged so I headed back to the forest for another lap on the Body and exit out through the Mulikin.  Along the way I found that Michelob Light can I found last week and through it in my back pouch!  Another 5 cents for the beer fund!  As I mentioned earlier, I powered up the hill this time seated and was amazed at how smooth it was.

Rolling down the Mulikin and the bike was really taking to the trail nicely when all of a sudden I came across a couple walking their dog down the trail.  That was a first!  I have never seen walkers (doggers) on this trail before.  Further down the trail I found the second stream crossing to be exceptionally muddy.  It's about time the trail gnomes (hint, hint) do some armoring on this before it gets too worse.

Riding home I met up with a guy named Rick riding a sweet Giant XTC 29er purchased from Shawn at the Bicycle Center.  Rick said he just found the Gussy Trail and thought that it was really great.  I told him to contact me next time for a full bore tour of the forest and I would keep him in the loop for any planned trail maintenance.  I think I am keeping the Kona!