Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fred's Cape Cod Monster Cross Adventure, Part Deux

I expanded my course by 2 miles and did it in the reverse direction
and got the treat of riding a rotary for the first time.

Route directions on the Cape are screwy.
I am heading north but the signs say I am heading south?

15 miles, almost half way, I hit the Shining Sea Bikeway

Definite proof that you can put a trail alongside actual railroad tracks!

On the north end of the trail it was pretty empty
but when you get closer to Woods Hole, it got more crowded,
especially since I was riding the trail later in the morning,

I like how the signs say give an audible signal to those in front of you
when passing but how do you get the attention of someone
listening to the iPod so loud that you can sing along to the song
and they are running in the middle of trail?

You don't see any hardcore roadies on the trail
but that I came across were of course too smug
to acknowledge my presence as a fellow cyclist
with a head bob or finger wave.

About 4 miles out from Woods Hole I picked up a tail,
this guy named Pierre from Montreal was drafting me for about a mile
until I noticed someone hanging on me wheel.  So we drafted each other
until we got to Woods Hole.  It was fun.

Cape Cod Mountain Biking: Trail of Tears

This is the beauty of being a NEMBA member, knowing that another member, quite famous at that, happens to live in the area and can give you a guided tour of one of the best places to Mountain Bike on the Cape.  When I emailed Bill Boles, aka NEMBABill, a couple of weeks ago about riding on the Cape he said he was more than willing to show me some of the great places to ride and he was more than willing to accommodate my schedule, which is early mornings because I can't interrupt that all important beach time that the family vacation requires.  Afterall, that's why I am here!

According to local legend, Trail of Tears is not named for it's beautifully maintained singletrack as one would think, rather the fact it was the MX'ers who initially carved this place out and when the mountain bikers started riding the place the trails consistently went up every imaginable fall line possible and of course that brought tears to many of a mountain biker.  Of course, over the years, with proper management and trail building techniques many of those climbs have been rerouted, yet there are still many that are still ridden.  In fact, I couldn't get over how much total elevation I climbed over the entire 12 miles!  1000+ feet!

There will be some video footage coming soon!
Steve, who was riding with us picked up a thorn.
Despite all the climbing, Trail of Tears is awesome Singlespeed Country! 
Bill Boles, aka NEMBABill
One such climb that could bring on the tears!  Tears of Joy in my case!

Bill led me to the 4th highest point on the Cape.
We are looking east from here, which in local speak is "Down Cape."

Bill is a masterful rider and really knows this place
Happy bike!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fred's Cape Code Monster Cross Adventure

Continuing my road riding adventures I brought the Qball with me on vacation to Cape Cod and mapped out a ride that included riding along some beaches, the Shining Sea Bikeway and some great roads in Cape Cod.

Riding along the beach and looking out
Martha's Vineyard

Thinking about drinking some PBR!

The Shining Sea Bakeway is awesome!

End of the line

Not sure where this came from but I like having a grease tatoo

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fred's Reversal of Fortune

Today's ride was the reverse of what I did on Saturday's Broken Spoke ride only with modifications to the route and threw in a new challenge at Stephen Badger's suggestion, a 12% climb up Town Line Rd from Bridgewater to Roxbury.  Riding in the other direction up Purchase Brook was a great, steady climb, that I was able to manage quite well.  However, in the flats prior to the hill I got passed by tri-geek who didn't have the courtesy to give me any warning that he was over taking me, compared to the roadies that passed me later who were nice enough give a hello or warning that they were there.  


I think I might have figured out how I broke the spoke on the last ride.  It seems when you climb, the slower you are going puts more weight on each spoke because the wheel has more contact time with the pavement but if you were going faster that time is greatly decreased.  I could hear my spokes twinging as I climbed and because of that pressure at slower speeds due to all the weight pushing down on it combined with the fact that it was a cheap wheelset (you said so yourself, Thom) means some failure is bound to happen, which it did.  Definitely, going to have to get the spokes tightened.  The On-One rear wheel, however, worked out nicely.

Town Line Rd was definitely a bitch but it wasn't a kick in the balls like I thought it was going to be and in fact could have made it all the way up without stopping only I dropped my BlackBerry as I was trying to pull out my Droid from my frame pack.  The surprising thing is with all this climbing today, not once did my HR alarm go off compared to last Saturday's ride, I went into the red zone three times.  I think I am definitely already starting to feel the benefits of this type of training.  Heck, with a real road bike, some fancy kit, and a ton of hair gel I might even be able to give Stephen Badger a run for his money!

Once atop Town Line Rd the views, especially looking east were incredible.  I should have asked the two women who cruised me in the cream colored VW bug convertible, in both directions, if they would take my picture or take a picture with me but I wasn't thinking.  One thing is for sure, don't ride this hill from the other direction because there are sections even steeper than the way I rode.  My route took me back down River Road and to my surprise was dirt which is the perfect surface for the way I build the Qball Monster Crosser, which got me thinking, I could throw the Shepaug railtrail into the ride the next time and bang out a little single track while getting back to Minors Bridge.  Next time!

The new route only added 25 minutes to the route I did last Saturday.  If I can hit the road early enough on Saturdays and stop farting around taking pictures I could probably start doing this route every Saturday morning from 6 to 8 am and at least I know that if I am running short of time, I can cut out the loop on Town Line Rd for a quicker return.  I think what I will have to try next, when I have more time, is after Town Line Rd riding into Roxbury Center and then up Judges Bridge and Walker Brook, back down through Steep Rock (on the rail trail of course) maybe up behind Mine Hill and down the Shepaug Rail Trail, and back onto my loop.  Now that could be the ultimate Monster Cross Ride for this area which could be as much as 50% dirt!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hedging my Bets

Chickenshit factor was in full swing this morning and thus I bagged riding to work.  Looking at the weather with the possibility of afternoon thundershowers I didn't want to risk riding home in the rain with my laptop.  So, while driving home, I did get dumped on so I went for a mountain bike ride instead.  Turned out to be a good hedge!

Did a little blocking of a trail someone started from an old dear trail.  It could have been decent if it didn't connect to a fall line trail that was only going to erode out.

The Kona was riding nice but I think it's time to change the gears and go 32:19!

Met these two guys on the ROW riding back up the Gussy.  Tom and Jeff really like the trail and were riding from the boat ramp that included coming down the Mulikin.  I suggested that they ride up it as well.

Nothing better than riding home dirty!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Inaugural Ride of the Raleigh XXIX Fixed Gear Mountain Bike

I am not sure if you can call riding a rail trail on a fixed gear mountain bike is truly a good test of a bike but in my case, not having ridden fixed in over a year I felt it would be the safest way to go.  

The Raleigh is awesome and in the map above I even found some rake and ride singletrack between Old Mine Park and the Route 25 underpass that was was awesome to ride fixed, too!

The Carver fork, combined with the Renyolds 4130 steel tubing, really makes riding this bike smooth.  The only complaint I have is the saddle.  I think the saddle is a pain in the ass (pun intended) because it's a mountain saddle and harder in the wrong places than a roadie saddle.  Riding 20 miles on a railtrail was not comfortable but I imagine off road, in the woods, could would be better.

My brother-in-law, Will, road with me and I think he liked the Housatonic Rail Trail.  We rode from Taits Mill in Trumbull to the Newtown Line and back.  19+ miles.  On the way back, he set the pace and I could barely keep up with him because I was geared 32:20, not your optimal gearing for flat, greenway riding.  Still, I was able to manage an average 12 mph on most of the trail on the way back.

FUBars are perfect and as you can see I did add a brake to the bike.  I rode the whole length of the rail trail without really needing the brake, even the tricky section in Monroe by the Victrinox Warehouse, but the brake did come in handy on the little bit of singletrack.  Definitely need one, and only one, if you are going to ride fixed gear off road.

Most I saw of Will through the Monroe section was his back.

Most typical bikes on the rail trail are Comforts and Mountain Bikes.
There were no singlespeeds, except for the kiddie bikes, and of course no fixies.
The only place I have seen fixies is the Farmington Canal Greenway.

The reward for a good ride is always a cold beer!