Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bushnell Eccentric Bottom Bracket (EBB) for my Raleigh XXIX

When I learned that I couldn't get replacement bolts for my EBB I pulled the trigger on the Bushnell Eccentric Bottom Bracket

An added benefit was 57 gram difference!

Usual prep routine, grease the hell out of everything!


While installation is a snap, final adjustments are little more delicate.  First off, to get the Race Face BB installed, you need to tighten up the Bushnell.  If you have to readjust at any point, after loosening the tightening bolts, they need a little nudge to recenter so you can slide it.  I use a 6 mm p handled hex wrench and a light tap from my rubber mallet.

The really tricky adjustment is the final tightening because when you think you are in the correct spot and you tighten it down it actually tightens the chain even more so prior to doing so you have to pick a point with just enough slack that it will be taken up during the tightening phase.  It took me quite a few tries to get it right!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wednesday at Waldo

With this ride I broke a 1000 miles for the year.  Wasn't sure if that was going to happen this year  given the health issues that I have been dealing with.  The one saving grace is adding the road riding to repertoire which is helping me to be a stronger rider.  I don't think I will see 1000 miles of road this year, which is puny compared to the big boys but for me that's great.


When I got to Waldo the first thing I noticed was this Toyota in the lot with NEMBA and KT Stickers on the fairing and I kept saying to myself I know this car, I know this car.  Looking inside, there is a CT NEMBA Trail Ambassador jacket inside, too.  The only person I could think of that likes to ride Waldo is Ed P.! 

I was riding the legendary Stephen Badger, a CAT1 road racer, trainer, and colleague from work who brought his dog along for the ride, too.  The dog, Maverick, loved running along on his back wheel while occasionally stopping to sniff the ground and pee in various places.  I wasn't sure how I would do after riding over 50 miles and climbing over 5000 feet in the past two days, not to mention whether the EBB was going to hold for this ride.  It wasn't too bad and besides some creaking (when doesn't an EBB not creak?) things were running smooth on Raleigh.

Sure enough I run into Ed and his friend Tony riding back up Wheres Waldo!

Once at the water, Maverick was loving life and swam all over the place.  I tried to use a stick to prop up my bike for some bike pornography but as soon as I would pick up a stick the dog thought I wanted to play fetch.


Stephen's bike, personalized even.

Didn't have time for an Extra, Extra Credit Loop.  The trick now is when you come out of Waldo, ride up Extra Credit and then back down to the water for some nature and bike pornography and then ride up the fire road and do Extra Credit in the opposite direction.  Gonna have to do that next time.  Also, due to lack of time didn't have time to ride the Down Daffy 2x and Up Waldo 1x and the vice-a-versa.  That is the only way to really hit all the singletrack.  


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Elliot's First Trail Ride

When Elliot asked if we could riding after I just rode 30+ miles on the dirt roads of lower Litchfield County there was no way I could say no.  I was tired and my leg muscles were sore but I threw on a fresh shirt and loaded the car back up and off we went to the Monroe Rail Trail.

Elliot was born with under developed optic nerves which in medical terms is called Optic Nerve Hypoplasia.  While technially his condition makes him legally blind, that doesn't stop him for doing the same things that we all do.  He skis, runs, swims, and now (finally) rides, too.  He can see but it's harder for him to focus on things unless they are up close in front of him.  Everyone else can hold their eyes front, that is our null point, but in Elliot's case he can't hold his eyes like we do, instead his eyes shake back in fourth (slowly).  His null point(s) is at the sides of his face.

I realized half way down the trail what that means for him when riding.  He has a tendency to drift to his left.  I think what I will have to try is having my blinky on and telling him to follow it.  I am going to research other methods for visually impaired cyclists and see what else is out there.

He enjoyed riding to the park immensely.  The added benefit of riding this section of the Monroe Rail Trail is stopping at Wolfe Park to let the kids play on the jungle gyms and relax.

Actually, Elliot didn't want to play, instead he hung out with me on the park bench and we talked about Minecraft strategies and had a snack.  The ride back to the car went exceptionally fast for some reason.  I think it was the fact that on the way home we would be stopping at the local Peachwave for a treat.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Dirty Thirty Monster Cross

It's Fall and that means it's Cross Season but I don't race cross, rather I ride my Monster Cross.  In case you are wondering what a Monster Cross bike is, it's a 29er mountain bike with dirt drops; rigid fork; single speed or geared; sporting larger tires than your basic road variety.  One of my favorite places, besides rail trails, is to ride the dirt roads for Roxbury and Washington, CT.


And it's time to get ready for the infamous Tour de Roxbury.  That's an invitation only event through this same area but my plans to ride it are still up in the air due to my youngest son's birthday party.  Still, it was great getting out on a beautiful fall morning and riding some dirt!  Also, don't have a choice right now in the riding department because both my mountain bikes are down at the moment.  The Spot needs a new B-Screw for the rear derailleur and as reported in the past I am still having EBB issues.  I think I just need to replace the EBB with an after market one from Carver or Bushnell because the standard pinch bolt system that comes with the Raleigh just doesn't work.

I got to the Roxbury Market a little after 9 AM and the usual ride had just left.  It was just as well because I didn't want to slow them down, although comparing their times with mine they seemed comparable.  Still it was a nice 30+ mile ride to be with my thoughts.  On Painter Hill I passed two guys in Bethel Cycles kit heading back towards the Market.  I thought that was odd and wondered if they were part of Stephen Badgers 9 AM ride but had issues forcing them to return to the starting point.  I rode down Moose Horn and then down Battle Swamp, both are insane descents that I have never ridden in the opposite direction before.

My goal was to ride at least 30 miles and do a lot of climbing!  I got both and then some.  I maybe slow but at least I am consistent and I never had to stop on any of these climbs!   For the most part the route was great, one of the roads, Weiting Road, didn't go through forcing me to detour around.  And then looking at the route after the ride, instead of turning right onto Upper Church I should have continued down towards Route 202 and stayed on the sides roads till I couldn't.

The highlight of the ride, for me, was to recreate the route of the old New Preston Branch of the Shepaug Railroad.  It had been bugging me for a few years after coming across an obscure reference to the Shepaug Railroad in a New York Times Archive about the announcement of the new line, called Extending the Shepaug of how this line would have made it's way to New Preston because it doesn't show up in any maps.  I figured it out by studying the old Topos of the area and coming to the conclusion that it was the now Route 47 was the old railroad bed.


I will have to come back later in the fall to see if any of the old road bed is still visible.  One thing that I did discover was after crossing over the Shepaug, there is a parking lot and what looked like a trail that follows the original road bed.  If I had more time I would have explored it further but I didn't.  I miscalculated the time it would take me to rid this route.  30 miles a long the coast is a 2 hour ride, but 30 miles in the Litchfield Hills is a 3 hour ride!


Heading down from Washington Depot I got an additional treat, River Road was under construction and completely dirt!  Upon arriving at the entrance to Steep Rock Reservation I stopped on the bridge to refuel and send a text to my wife to let her know that I would be a little later than I originally thought.  Despite an earlier issue with the right bar end shifter, the Qball was performing beautifully, however, I discovered later that the rear wheel has developed a wobble.  It's a crap wheel set and it appears I might have to replace it.


Lots of horses at Steep Rock.  I passed four different groups, all very carefully of course.  I even saw some older folks riding bikes there, too. The track was really soft in a lot of places, clearly this area also received the shellacking of rain that we got Saturday night.  The route back to the market was good and at the end of the ride I felt awesome.  Of course when I got home, after unloading the car, my son Elliot tells me he wants to go riding!  Who am I to say no to that?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Naughty Nurse Ride and the Raleigh XXIX

Rode the Naughty Nurse ... I mean ... the Raleigh at XXIX at Wadsworth State Park for the CT NEMBA Chapter Meeting RAW.  Got there early and went out to see how I could do on a Strava Segment that I created, called the 4 Corners Climb, but blew it on the final climb.  The rocks were just too much for me on the rigid.

I actually got almost a good 2 mile ride in before meeting up with Glen and Al to start the main ride.  We hit just about all the Single Track that Wadsworth has to offer and created some new Strava Segments along the way, like Alex's Trail Up and Alex's Trail Down, and of course our favorite trail, Taco Bell!  Al brought up an interesting point about Strava in that people are cheating to best everyone else on these segments by trying to take shortcuts and are making trail braids to shave time.  The other negative outcome is it identifies people who are riding illegal trails.  This got me thinking about that new trail braid on the Gussy that I discovered the other day ... I think you know what I will be doing this weekend!

Starting out, the Raleigh was performing really well but at about mile 3 the EBB started creaking.  On the way back from Taco Bell I dropped the chain.  So I took it easy for the rest of the ride.  I am going to try getting new pinch bolts, preferably titanium, otherwise I might have to get a replacement EBB, such as the Carver or the Bushnell.

After the ride I was introduced to the Naughty Nurse and she was delicious!  Can't wait to try the Blonde on Blonde next time around!  

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Old Saybrook & Old Lyme Monster Cross!

My wife and I celebrated our 13th Wedding Anniversary at the Old Saybrook Inn and she was cool with me bringing my bike knowing that I am an early riser and didn't want to be woken up come Sunday morning.  Wardrobe decisions for road riding are so difficult I think largely because it's still new too me so figuring out what to wear so that I don't freeze in the descents.  This morning it was around 58 deg and I wore a long sleeve, short sleeve jersey with back pockets and my wind vest and except for the end of the ride I never hot enough to take off the wind vest.

With the sun not even up yet, the view from the Inn this morning was incredible.


I caught the sun rising as I was climbing the Baldwin Bridge

The Bar View

My original plan was to loop around on 156 and then go north and ride back on Route 1 but I wasn't sure I had enough time so I continued on to Divine Wine and the Rocky Neck State Park Mountain Bike Trail Head as my turn around point.  I considered riding back on One Mile Creek but didn't have a map on me so I wasn't sure where it would come out so I just rode back to the bridge on 156.


Some outstanding views of the inlets along the road

Caught this Egret taking flight!

When I got back to the Inn, I still had 15 minutes to spare and wasn't quite at 30 miles so I continued riding towards Fenwick where I stopped to take a few pictures at the point.  Then it was off to breakfast with my wife and spend the rest of the day on the beach!