Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Circuitous Morning Commute

Leaving the house this morning it was foggy and yet very humid.  Hopping on the Fredmobile I decided to check out a new route that I had been looking for the past couple of weeks that could be somewhere near 30 miles.  Of course, coming off D2R2, I no longer dread climbing around here because it's so easy but the one thing I do have to be concerned with, though, is time.  I still have to get to the office and stuff done.

Still, with two hours to play with I followed this route that took me down Poverty Hollow to this monstrous climb, called Church Hill Road. Continuing straight on Cross Highway, and not knowing what to expect, I found myself on a steep descent where I hit 45 MPH! And what comes down must climb up again!  On Rt 107 I found a few dirt roads that I am going to have to try next time. I try this route.

Does it make you a jerk if you go to jerkfest?

I did, however, have one scary situation where Arbor Truck pulled out of a drive way, not quite cutting me off because I was in the shoulder but it looked like he was going to hit me.  I yelled at him something like "Watch it!"  I might have called him a choice name or two to which when he passed me he gave me the one fingered salute.  When I got to the office, I called the company whose name was on the truck and I asked them to remind their drivers about watching out for bikes.  The owner of the company was really nice and said that he would talk to his drivers.

It was still pretty humid and I was drenched when I got home.  Nothing could have tasted finer than this pint of Narragansett Fest Lager!  My ride home was 15 miles which I did under an hour!   Looks like I am getting faster!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

2013 D2R2, a Goldilocks day of Gravel Grinding!

Recently, I started riding with a colleague from work, Keven, who is training for the VT 50 mountain bike race.  It's something that I have always wanted to do and perhaps next year I am going to try it, on a singlespeed of course!  

Panoramic view, Mt Mondadock (NH) to the left
We opted for the 100K course being this was the first time for both of us but we threw in an extra 10 miles loop after lunch which brought our total miles to 77, which was more like 123K, a few more than the 115K ride.  I guess that means next year we need to pick a longer course.  The weather was perfect, not too hot but not too cold, just right! 

Starting out, this guy AJ asked if he could join us.  I warned him that we would be riding a strong pace and he was fine with that.  We dropped him on the first hill.  Then I dropped my chain, he caught up with us and we dropped him again on the next hill.  Came across him again at Apex Orchids.

Climbing up Cooper Lane

Paved portion of Cooper Lane

First rest stop on Patten Rd

After climbing 800 vertical feet it was good time to stop and re-energize

Then we got overtaken by this big group of riders on Rt 112 north of Colrain

I have come to understand that the person atop the Pink Bike is J.P. Weigel, a custom frame/Randoneur Bike builder from Mystic, CT.

"Like my banana?"

I was able to keep up with these guys, that is until we hit the next climb!

Franklin Hill Rd

This route took us into Vermont

It was brutal

I need to consider different gears for next year

Many sections were greenery tunnels like what you see above

At the Lunch stop!
Learned that pickles are a great electrolyte replinisher!
Also good are Fig Newtowns and Coca-cola

The lunch stop was at a covered bridge at the intersection of Green River Road and Jacksonville Stage Rd. Funny how the road names didn't change when crossing the state boundaries.  This point is where all the routes came together.

Keven and I went off to ride the Option 1 Loop which took us into the outskirts of Brattleboro, VT.  This loop had 3, one mile climbs on it and there was no one on them.  Some of the longer routes went through here but in the other direction.

At the top of the second climb there is a farm and of course it smelled like cow dung.  In fact, every where along the route, throughout the day, it smelled like cow dung!

Me and the Fredmobile, which performed beautifully!

Keven and his namesake, on the Option 1 Loop

Kind of looks like Austria

Back to the Lunch stop where I chatted up a woman who had Rock and Road tires on her Blackmountain Monstercrosser.  I should have taken a picture of the bike because it was sweet!

If you look at the profile, riding down along the Green River is nice gradual descent.

Only to have that descending euphoria killed by having to climb another 700 vertical feet

The view was worth it, though

That's Greenfield, MA

Photo Credit:  "AJ"

We ran into AJ at the top of this climb and he took a picture of me with Mt Mondadock in the background

This is the only bike Keven has at the moment but I think he might be getting a road or cross bike in the future.  While you can ride a mountain bike at D2R2, a road style frame has many more advantages.

Peaches and Pickles were served up at the last rest stop!
I chugged a bottle of Gatorade that helped me out immensely.

Back at the venue we waited in line.  BBC's Preservation Ale was being debuted and it was awesome!

They were also serving Steel Rail Pale Ale and a new brew called Stuck Mash that was OK but not my favorite (it fed the grass later).  The beer was great with dinner consisting of Pulled Pork, Mac & Cheese, and Burritos.

Next year I am definitely going to camp out!  Probably brink the canoe and do a little fishing on Friday, too.  Can't wait!  There will definitely be more Gravel Grinders in my future!  And who knows, maybe some road races, too!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dirt for Breakfasst

I headed out to Upper Paugussett Wednesday to get some dirt miles on the Unit.  On Tuesday I rode 26 miles on the QBall and did a bit of unexpected climbing so I wanted to do an easy spin in the woods.

No matter how much bug repellent I put on doesn't stop pedals from biting - knew I should have worn my shin guards!

Trails at Upper P are really dry!  All the streams have dried up, too, and the interesting thing is that it appears to be getting a lot of biking activity because the trail is getting the well ridden look to it.  There are sections, that need trimming back a bit.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

If you put lipstick on a pig ...

It's still a pig!
Saw this "Thruster" on the back of a car while sitting in I-95 beach traffic Sunday afternoon.
Deep dish wheels?  It looks hot from a distance but when you get up close
you instantly blinded by cheapness!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

On the Spot at the Bluff Point Experience

It doesn't get any better than this!  Bluff Point is an awesome place to ride a mountain bike!

There was a great turn out for NEMBA's 2nd Annual Bluff Point Experience on Sunday.

A few local bike shops were there with plenty of demo bikes!

But the highlight of the event was the ride!

There were so many people out on the trails and those trails were outstanding!

On my ride, unbelievably, there were no flats!

At the big skinny we ran into this guy, Kevin from Oxford, who road the skinny all the way to the end.  One other guy was able to do it, too.  Apparently, it was a popular attraction!

At some point we lost the main group so Kevin, his friend and I just started following the trail signs.

We picked up this guy from Massachusetts riding alone but lost him, too.

If you are going to ride Bluff Point, you have to visit it's namesake and enjoy the view!

I don't know what it is but I love riding my Spot.


After the bluff, Kevin and his friend headed back to the venue and I continued to ride another 4 miles finishing the with a 9 mile mountain bike ride!