Saturday, August 31, 2019

Back to OOF

It's been almost a month since I have ridden to OOF (Ovens of France) and Friday morning, the Lunartics were headed out at 6 AM to ride the Trampy's route, which is over Purchase Brook.  It's not a bad climb but one member in the group is not a fan.  It was cold, though! Everyone was wearing at least arm warmers. I decided to test out my new United States Military Endurance Sports kit (USMES). 

If you ride Zwift you might have seen their group rides on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Over the winter, I rode them religiously and even led a few rides myself. Which prompted me to join the organization since I am a veteran.  I wore my long sleeved jersey this morning because I am still waiting for my short sleeved one, it was back ordered.  The jersey was perfect for this ride, as was the rest of the kit.  It was 46 degrees at the start of the ride and the descent down to the river is always a cold one.

On the ride up Purchase Brook my rear wheel was making a noise. I had just gotten it back from the Bicycle Center where it was trued and had a new tire put on it. The trueing was a must but I was shocked to learn the Maxxis Re-Fuse tire that I bought at Outdoor Sports Center in Wilton on clearance was damaged. What I was feeling since the start was a bulge in the tire that I took for a flat spot in the rim.  Having another Sefas SECA tire, though, will last me quite awhile, though.

Catching the sunrise at the top of Spurce Brook was glorious! The fog in the valleys belied the fact thats where the cold air lies.  

Seeing the cows at the top of the climb, in addition to the sunrise, is also part of the fun, although they were just waking up and one in the fore ground was pissing.

Then we bombed down Spruce Brook, which is a really steep descent and you can pick up a lot of speed. However, it was recently chip sealed with the new top coating and the gritty surface adds a lot more resistance and thus keeps the speeds down. It was foggy riding up Route 172 and finally lifted by the time we hit Route 6 in Woodbury.

It was glorious to sit outside and enjoy our pastries and coffee

As we were leaving the parking lot Gavin noticed his tire was flat so we watched him change it. Steven broke out a CO2 because Gavin didn't. Good thing because we would have been there for another 30 minutes waiting for Gavin to pump up his tire.

Heading back, it got foggy again after Route 172 as you got closer to the Housatonic River. Scott and Steve pealed off before the highway to take the bike path over the river and head to there homes over behind Fairfield Hills. Paul split off at Walnut Tree to do the same and Gavin and I climbed up Glenn Road back to Cover 2, where we parked our cars.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Rail Trail with Elliot

It was such a nice day on Sunday that I asked Elliot if he wanted to go riding and he gave me a waffled response.  At lunch time instead of asking him again, I told him we were going riding. With my daughter off to college I now have my Highlander back so I loaded it up with our bikes and we headed down to the Monroe Rail Trail. 

Off we went and despite him following a bit too close at times and other times he would half wheel me a bit he did really good for someone with a visual impairment.

He's been riding this summer with his mother but little did I know their rides were really limited. My wife can't let her heart rate get too high and therefore has to walk any hills that they may ride. Additionally, it seems they don't ride very far, either.

Today, we rode nearly 20 miles and by the end of the ride I think he was in awe of himself after having no trouble riding this distance. Hopefully, he'll want to do it again next weekend and maybe we try and go farther.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Arm warmers in August?

My first day back on the road and it was 52 degrees Saturday morning!  The original plan was to do right the Haute Dog route to OOF (Ovens of France) but the Lunartic that I was meeting decided to go back to bed for more beauty sleep. I headed out from Chez Cyclesnack and did one of my Ride Before Work routes, instead.

My back is still tight on the left side and when I got home I could feel some additional soreness in my lower back. As with every ride last week I am icing it afterwards.  Still, it felt good to be back outside again.

Friday, August 23, 2019

The Sufferfest - trying something other than Zwift

After a week off the bike I decided to ride indoors for a week. I thought about different ways to amuse myself while riding indoors and then I thought I would try something other than Zwift. In case you don't know this, I rode Zwift all winter but right now I am on a hiatus until it's too unpleasant to ride outdoors.

I looked at Rouvy but it only worked with an iPad or iPhone when it came to iOS.  Zwift is Mac Compatible.  I found that The Sufferfest is compatible with the Mac, so I signed up for the 7 day free trial. I couldn't figure out, initially, how to get it started so I ended up doing a light spin watching a YouTube cycling video somewhere in Austria the first day.  Second attempt, I got it to work but it wouldn't come out of ERG mode and it wasn't really challenging.  Granted I was just doing a free spin event. I was still expecting it get harder for hills. It didn't.

My next attempt was was a more vigorous training session but again it wouldn't come out of ERG mode so basically when you were supposed to be on a hill, I didn't feel the hill. It also seems limited and the second video wasn't even rider footage and it was very disjointed. It reminded me of Yaks pissing in a stream, which is one of the screen shots I took from the last ride.  I am going back to Zwift.


Monday, August 19, 2019

Scratch that off the D2R2 Bucket List

I had to get up at 4:30 AM because my shift at the Registration Tent started at 5:00 AM.  Bob, pictured below sitting down, told me what to do and at 5 on the nose, people started flooding in.  However, it appeared that half the riders had checked in the night before.

At one point we had 5 people working and we finally shut down at 10:30 and yet there were still a few stragglers!

It was amazing to be at the fest tent and not see a single bike

There were some threatening clouds coming our way.

But we didn't get any rain.

I took a short nap on Jason's hammock.

For lunch, I headed over to Berkshire Brewing Company.  They now have a Tap Room but you have to bring in your own food, which I did.  

I had the Kolsch Shandy. It was light and lemony and perfect for Saturday

While I was on the tour, I got a call from Rob saying that needed SAG support as he broke a spoke on his rear wheel and couldn't ride anymore.  I left the brewery tour and headed out to the location he sent me. I stopped in at the registration tent to see if they needed any more help and it turns out there was crash near the covered bridge and someone might be needed to drive up to Brattleboro to pick them up once they were discharged.

The hospital was only 25 miles away and I offered to go.  I got some dinner and met Will as he returned from his ride and he told me about the course.  At 4:30 I headed north and picked up a woman, who was the one who crashed and broke her clavicle in two places. She was in a lot of pain so I drove slow.  

When I got back to the camp the weather was heading in a nasty direction and when the wind whipped up we decided to lower the canopy and get underneath in our chairs and hold on to so it didn't blow away.

After the wind then came the rain but with the canopy lowered we resumed our party

We stayed this way until the rain subsided

And finished the night with some Karls Sausage!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Friday night camping at D2R2

A week prior to D2R2 I strained my back while patching the driveway. I knew by the way it felt that is was just a strain and nothing serious. I treated it with ice, Tylenol, heat and Icy Hot following the injury.  Still, by the time Friday rolled around riding this year wasn't going to happen. Realizing this early I contacted the organizers and asked if I could volunteer to help at the day of the event.  By volunteering, you get to ride for free only my free ride will be next year. Registration hasn't even opened for next year and I am already signed up.


I loaded up the MINI, sans bike because I didn't want to be tempted what's so ever to try and ride, and headed to Mill Village Road. I had contacted the organizers a few weeks before about where camping would be and the tent camping was going to be in a field that overlooked last year's camping area and in the south west corner there was nice copse of trees that would provide plenty of shade. 

I got there early to make sure my crew would have plenty of room to move in. After getting my tent set up I relaxed in the shade and enjoyed a Benediktiner Weissbier. 

As people started showing up, the camp started to grow.  In the end there were 8 tents for sleeping, a 10x20 canopy, a screened cooking tent and another screened tent in case the bugs got too bad.

The usual suspects were there: Todd, Scott, Jasmine, Will (x2), Rob, Jason, Tim and Mike. Some new comers included Todd's cousin Steve (?) from Pittsfield and Kevin from NYC only he decided to get a hotel room (wuss!).

A few passerby's wanted to know if we were selling Karls Sausage but Rob had just picked a sampler in Peabody and asked if they had a flag he could borrow but all they had was this banner.


Jason's Swedish flag also brought some inquiries as to our origin.

While no one spoke Swedish we were treated to a smorgasbord of chips, beer, pickles, cheese, chicken kabobs, Cheetos, margaritas, beer, and fried baloney.


We had expertly blended Margaritas thanks to Rob's Chevy Volt

which gave us power all weekend

And don't forget the Bacon infused potato salad!

With the tiki torches and bug candles lit we were able to just hang out under the company, talking shit and drinking beer. Scott brought a disco ball!

Friday, August 16, 2019

CT Challenge #3

This is our third CT Challenge. Rich (r) is our company CFO and a cancer survivor. 

There were some changes this year. The fund raising minimum for the Fondo (Century Ride) was lowered and with the help of the company I was able to hit for once, in fact I exceeded it.  Another change to the event was that they were sending us off at 6:30 AM, which for this distance is much better.

We left in waves. Rich and I were on the first one and the temperature was perfect. We aren't fast but we are steady.  This time around I brought nothing to eat with me, just water in my bottles because there is always feast at the first rest stop.

From the start I had a lot of energy and I got a little ahead of Rich so backed down on North Street so that he could catch up.

The first climb was on Valley Road in Weston and Rich hung in impressively. We stuck together the rest of the way up Rt 53. After turning north again at the top of the reservoir I passed a guy a in USMES kit. I have seen this same guy riding in Army kit on Hopewell Road but when I checked Strava Flyby later, he wasn't one there.  I recently joined USMES and I want to set up a weekly ride in our area and looking for other members.

But the first hill was on Rt 107 in Redding and this time I attacked the climb.  I was able to shave off almost two minutes from the last time I rode it and I got a PR this time, too.  However, the first rest stop wasn't even open yet. Apparently, someone had locked the keys in the truck and were still on the way, probably following the same route as all the cyclists and stuck behind them.

I was able to fill a bottle from the hose and then we were off again towards Bethel with Rich pulling. In fact, he pulled most of the way until we got to the big descent into the center of town. On the descent down Chestnut Hill Road is fast and being heavier than most gravity makes me really fast. Riding up Plumtrees got a little hairy. The driver of a silver sedan didn't like the fact that he had to share the road with a bunch of cyclists. Clearly, he doesn't know what the laws are in this state. At one point he stopped short of the riders in front of me nearly causing an accident. The license place was CT 968-UFV.

Rich continued to pull through Brookfield. There was Black Butter on Pocono Road which made riding through here really smooth. The night before I had studied the course and had it loaded on my Garmin but didn't have the routing running since I regularly ride these roads.  One thing I couldn't fathom was why they didn't route us up Ironworks Hill. Instead the route continued down Old Middle Road and in the middle of the descent turned a hard right onto Baldwin Hill. There was only a 75 mile Route sign indicating the turn so if you were on the 100 mile ride you would obviously ignore it and continue towards Erikson Road in New Milford. Only, now one knew, except for myself that Erikson Road was currently under construction.  I turned back and when I got back to the turn Rich caught up and we climbed up Baldwin Hill, which was another 12% climb!

The descent down Pumpkin Hill was refreshing and finally the second rest stop at Lover's Leap, where I ran into a friend of mine, Tom O'Brien who was volunteering at the rest stop.  It was great to finally get some food into me because by this time I was starving. I probably ate a little too much because when we got going again I felt really full.

The ride through New Milford along Grove Street never changes. It's a bike route with Sharrows and Share the Road signs and cars are still whizzing by you and some drivers still honk, too.  Once on 202, however, there is a nice shoulder and it's a shallow ascent to New Preston.

We rode with this couple from Rhode Island for a bit but them dropped them on the first hill.  There are two pretty good hills on Rt 202 on the way to New Preston but they are not insane.

While climbing up Rt 45 to Lake Waramug, Paul Mayer, a Newtown Lunartic, passed me going the other direction. He didn't recognize me, though and I kept going with Rich hot on my tail.

Since West Shore Road is so flat I took off and thought Rich was behind me but it turned out it was someone in similar kit that I mistook for him. We were hammering! We passed everyone in front of us. It was like a sprint to the finish! Only in this case, it was just lunch.

Lunch was at the State Park and Rich's wife, Kristin, was there to greet us as she was working the rest stop. It was like a family reunion for Rich because a little bit later, Rich's parents who live in Warren also showed up. Rich and I split a wrap. I couldn't eat a whole one and everything and once again I think I over ate again.

The biggest climb of the day was next, Rt 47 from Washington Depot up to the center of Washington.  Another class 4 hill, 7% average grade for about a mile but I was feeling great and just went right up with Rich right behind me.  Instead of running down Rt 199 to Roxbury the route continued down Rt 47 and then turned onto Painter Ridge. I was really impressed with this change. I think the change came out of necessity because the rest top in Roxbury was moved from the Town Hall to the church on Rt 317. 

I love riding Painter Ridge because of all the great views.  Initially it's the Shepaug River Valley and then over by Topland Farms you are looking south towards Southbury and Newtown. The cows were no where to be seen today, however.  As I mentioned before, the Roxbury rest stop was on Rt 317 at the church before the intersection with Rt 67 but Rich and I didn't stop because we were still full from lunch so we continued south towards the next and last big climb on the route, to me at least.

The climb up Brown Brook is another class 4 hill with a 6% average grade for 1.12 miles and once again Rich was out front leading the way!  Brown Brook was still gravelly after recently been chip sealed but when we got into Southbury there was an extra coating of tar on top of the chips.

It the surface is shiny and I wonder if it will be slippery if it gets wet.  That wasn't happening today, though. The weather, today, was perfect.

After descending down Purchase Brook the on River Road and seeing the water makes you want to jump right in. However, those clouds appeared to be a little threatening.

Even more so by the time we got to Sandy Hook Center. We stopped at the rest stop on Oak View and I recognized most of the girls working there from my daughter's high school dance team.  We were told that there was rain moving towards us from Monroe.

Back on the road and riding through Newtown we did get a little spritz and it felt really good but it never amounted to anything.  Apparently the last rest stop, on Rt 58 in Redding had pizza but we didn't stop.

By the time we got to Fairfield, however, we noticed that it rained hard down here and we were glad we missed it.

Just shy of the end of the ride we broke 100 miles

Our team captured our finish!

These guys went down nicely .
Another 100 mile ride with another happy ending!