Sunday, July 27, 2014

A return to the woods

The last time I was on my mountain bike was back in early July and after a week of vacation down south riding flat roads it was high time I get back into the woods.  As some of you know, the popularity of Upper Paugussett State Forest as a mountain biking destination has been increasing over the past couple of years. So much that there are now trail gnomes, who have been doing some great work at times.  However there have been instances of do-gooders over doing it and dumbing down the trail.

Earlier this month I got out on the Gussy after a month long hiatus of not riding my mountain bike and found that the Trail Gnomes have gone wild.  The changes that I found were great.  One of the trees that came down in one of the past hurricanes got cleared and now there are two options to ride and the recently cleared section has a nice little trail feature, too.  However, the happy chainsaw trail gnome took out an up-and-over that I have had a love hate relationship over the years with that I was not happy about. Classic example of dumbing down the trail.  I haven't been able to clean that section on the way up the trail but I keep trying.  IMPROVE YOUR SKILLS and DON'T CHANGE THE TRAIL!

Another example of the Trail Gnomes handiwork is the new trail to the Three Bears Roller.  Awesome rock work but I am torn to ride that versus the original trail route because I like my up-and-over that I created when I built the Gussy back in 2008.  All that effort and yet you couldn't clear the rest of the Three Bears? Lately, however, I had been hearing some rumors of a big change along the Gussy that I decided to go check out Sunday morning.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Other Georgetown

After Thursday's weather which was rainy in the morning and mostly overcast in the rest of the day, Friday was spectacular!  Will and I planned the last 50 mile ride of the vacation to ride out to Georgetown, DE and then up through Redden State Forest (fingers were crossed that the road went through or wasn't dirt), then back through Milton, and returning to the vacation house.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sunset Tandem Ride with Elliot

Elliot and I headed out Thursday evening in the other direction towards Cape Henlopen and found a new route to the back end of Ft Miles.  I wish we had left sooner so we would have had more time to explore further but we only got as far as the look out on Gordon's Pond.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dogfish Head Soup

On Wednesday, Will and I rode to Milton where the Dogfish Head Brewery is located and it was a humid, foggy morning.  This ride turned into a Google Maps Failure because it turns out North Bayshore Road is cutoff by a gated community between Broadkill Road and Primehook Beach, so we had to turn around and ride back the way we came.   

Never-the-less, what we saw along the way was still remarkable ...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tandeming the Junction and Breakwater Trail

Elliot and went exploring on Tuesday on the Tandem.  We rode from the vacation house over to the Junction and Breakwater Rail Trail, which is atop, in some places an old railroad bed that served Rehoboth Beach until 1928.  The straight sections you knew you were on the actual railroad bed and then there were some go arounds where the property had been developed and a Greenway was used to connect the dots.

Monday, July 21, 2014

50 mile loop around the bays

Day 2 of the Rehoboth Beach Family vacation and ride #3, my brother-in-law and riding partner and I headed out for a 50 loop around Rehoboth and Indian River Bays.  We found the route on Ride With Gps and decided to try it.

The wind was out of the South East, so riding down the Coastal Highway this morning was tough but I figured when we got inland it would not be so bad.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

I got Crabs in OC!

My first ride on vacation at Rehoboth Beach started out with a Solo Ride down to Ocean City, Maryland. What is total irony is that while I was stationed at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD not once did I ever make it to Ocean City.  So, today, 25 years later I rode down there to see what it's like.

It had rained the night before and the roads were wet making it a really cool morning.  As I road south I was really moving and didn't encounter any wind as I was expecting.
In fact, I rode 25 miles at an average speed of 19 miles an hour! The one upsetting thing was that the Cannondale wouldn't shift out of the outer ring unless I used my foot to tap the derailleur so I stayed in the big ring the whole time. Once I turned around is when everything went to hell ...

Friday, July 18, 2014

A cold week of morning bike commuting in July!

The week ending on 7/19 saw some cold mornings for bike commuting.  This was the week before I was headed south for a family vacation and getting in some commutes was going to be challenging but I was able to still get two in and a road ride.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

October Mountain Gravel Grinder: The Flat Part

This section of the ride was from the October Forest Camp Ground to beginning of Schemmerhorn Road which is where the original route was supposed to go but after looking at it up close and seeing that it was washed out we decided to go around.  The dirt starts where our course in the map above makes essentially a U-Turn and up to and a little beyond it's a good ride but then the conditions turn progressively worse until you pop out onto pavement.

The Flat Part from Mark on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Riding with Elliot: Tandeming Trumbull

After boating with the cousins from Texas we headed down to Trumbull to spend the night at Elliot & Brodie's grandmother's house and I brought the tandem with me because I promised Elliot that we would go riding together.  Our initial plan was to do the railtrail but we were short on time so we rode 5 miles in the neighborhood.  I had to borrow's Will's helmet because I had left mine at home, which meant that later I had to drive back to Newtown and retrieve it along with some other important things that I forgot.  Elliot once again, had a blast!

Monday, July 14, 2014

October Mountain Gravel Grinder

Will and I decided to drive up early Sunday morning for Parent's Weekend at Camp Chimney Corners in Becket, MA to ride some gravel roads.  Both our daughters go to camp there and our wives were already up for Mom's weekend.  Sunday is when Fathers and the rest of the family can visit and we were supposed to be a the camp around 12 noon.  

Getting there around 8 AM would give us 4 hours of riding a 50 mile Gravel Grinder I planned out with the help of a friend at the Berkshire Cycling Association, who is also putting on a the Fall Foliage Gravel Grinder or F2G2 this fall.  Unfortunately, we arrived around 8:15 am and didn't start riding until 8:40 which meant we needed to cut out some of the original course and trim it down to 40 miles.  The original course is marked in the map below in green and what we rode is in red.

When Will came up a few years ago for Parent's weekend he was exploring around and found a gravel road that went all the way to Lee, MA, so when we came out on Route 8 our route turned west just after the Otis Poultry Farm, instead we headed north and picked up Tyringham Road, which was dirt, and then took George Cannon, also dirt, which has a fantastic dirt road descent.

George Cannon from Mark on Vimeo.

The video is a little long, 4 minutes, because we are still climbing but starting at 1 minute 50 seconds we start descending and it's a wild ride!  At the end of this road is where things got really confusing because the Garmin kept trying to re-route us back on to the original course which at this point was the other direction. While this ride was not as long as a Populaire or even close to a true Randoneer, with all the course changes made it almost seem like we were wandering in the Berkshires by bike.  In German this would be called a Radwanderung (pronouced rat - vahnderung).

Sunday, July 13, 2014

New Frame bag for the Randomuter

Perfect timing!  My old frame bag/top tube bag died on me the other day and this arrived.  When I bought the Cross Check at Christmas the seller threw in a frame bag and while it seemed cool I was pretty satisfied with the one that I was already using.  Not to mention it was camo and I have had enough camo.  So, it never got used.  I even contemplated selling it on eBay but never got around to it.

Not sure how it came about but the seller of the bike offered to make me a new in my favorite color, blue.  I sent him some additional requests to enhance the versatility and he just sent back the finished product!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

This week in Bike Commuting

I finished Week 28 with three commutes, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  I didn't commute Monday because my fourth point of contact was sore from Sunday's ride on the Ashokan Populaire and I thought it best to give my legs a break.

What is the culprit of my ass soreness, you might ask?  My Brooks Cambrium Saddle.  It looks great but it's hard and due to the material composition I don't see it ever "breaking in" like I have seen with other Brooks Saddles.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Ashokan Populaire

To get ready for D2R2 my brother-in-law and I have planned to do some Randonneuring on the weekends leading up to the event and one area we wanted to try is the foothills of the Catskills, called the Shawgunks.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Elliot rides the Tandem

It took a little coaxing but I finally got Elliot on the Tandem and he loved it!

Friday, July 04, 2014

Fourth of July Road Ride

I have been jonesin' to head back into the woods for another Mountain Bike ride but the shellacking last night as a result of this frontal system coming from the north put a damper on those plans.  Instead, I went out for a 30 mile bike ride on the Cannondale.  I wanted to go for 50 but had to be back home for 10 AM conference call, because it's quarter end.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Hot and Steamy Bike Commute

There was rain in the forecast all day on Thursday and yet it seem to just stay cloudy, hot and steamy all day. It was a sweaty ride into work with a ride over Castle Hill.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Trail Gnomes Gone Wild

I rode in the woods Wednesday morning knowing that I wouldn't be able to ride the Central Connecticut Chapter of NEMBA's Chapter Meeting ride.  I found some interesting surprises.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Riding with another Bike Commuter in Newtown


Just rounding the curve on Glen Road in Sandy Hook passing by the Jersey Devil I saw another cyclist in front of me about a 100 yards up the road.  I never thought it would be a commuter and for that matter, someone that I have communicated with (via the interwebs) but I poured on the power to see if I could catch up to him.

Mid Year Bike Commuting Update: 1000 miles

One of my commuting goals this year was to ride 1000 miles by mid year and I got to that milestone in 6 mos and 1 day!  Really wanted to hit that within 6 mos but as luck would have it I have been off the bike for two weeks due a rigorous week of work and then a fishing vacation.

By riding extra miles on each commute I was able to hit this milestone in under 50 round trips.  In fact I did it in 35 1/2, the 1/2 was the double flat, in the pouring rain commute which I am not proud of.  Last year I rode to work 47 times and rode 1,100 miles so my next goal is to exceed last year's accomplishment.  I am not sure how far I will knock the ball out of the park but it's clearly going to happen because there is still plenty of time and great weather ahead!