Friday, May 30, 2008

Still Pedaling

It's been some time since the last post. I switched gears a little bit and having been hard at work training for an upcoming MS Ride that will take me from Quincy Ma to the end of Cape Cod which equates to 150 miles in 2 days. I do not personally know anyone with MS but some coworkers thought is would be a good idea to take part and needless to say, I was recruited.

For purposes of this blog, I must admit that I miss the serenity of the woods and grow more disgusted with each passing day at the relationship between driver versus cyclist. Last night's training ride served as subtle reminder of this as some asshole towing a boat shouted get out of the road while I passed in front of him at an intersection. When I turned around and asked him to show me his deed to the road he had no response and just sat there dumbfounded. Realizing the conversation served its purpose I continued with my ride.

I know I have commented on this before and don't get me wrong I'm not some nut that thinks the automobile shouldn't exist, my frustration stems from motorists unwillingness to share the road. I'm constantly being nudged to the side of the road by some random passenger-side mirror as if I'm being told get off the road.

Now that I have fallen off my soap box, I have decided to continue to document my riding regardless of where it takes place and hope to post some new pictures throughout my training. For the record, I haven't lost sight of the blog's purpose which was to encourage other folks to get out there and ride. I will admit that there are some things that are frustating at times while out riding, however a bad riding is still better than a good day at work.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Back in the Saddle

Last weekend I got tired of fighting the ice and snow on the bike and decided to go snowboarding instead. The northeast has been getting pounded with snow this year and the month of February brought several new feet of the white stuff. We packed the trusty Subaru wagon with all our gear, hit the local coffee shop, and made tracks for New Hampshire.

I should note that I have been on a five year hiatus from the sport and really wasn’t sure what to expect of my skills. The first lift chair was a bit humbling as I watched a bunch of teenagers hurling themselves 20 feet in the air while spinning like an out of control helicopter. I leaned over to my buddy Jim to confirm what I was witnessing and he nonchalantly explained that all the little bastards were doing this stuff now.

I quickly managed to put that image out of my head as I departed the lift, strapped in, and heading down the mountain. The first couple of turns were a bit sketchy but strangely enough I somehow managed to summons my younger snowboarding self and survived the first run with minimal damage.

As my mountain descents accumulated so did my confidence, however the beauty of snowboarding is that confidence has nothing to do with staying upright. The real trick to the sport is maintaining just the right amount of rail pressure; either heal or toe. My half decade of downtime along with a few good runs was no match for this lesson and I quickly found myself doing a 50 yard ass slide. On the good news front my colon has never felt any better as a result of the snow enema.

At the end of the day we managed to log in about 5 hours of snow sliding without incurring any major injuries. All of the recent yoga clearly paid dividends as the aches and pains were surprisingly non existent even days after the ride. Lastly the 2 feet of snow in my ass has all but melted. To commemorate my day on the hill I added some footage of
Jeremy Jones
giving some avalanche riding tips.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Lucky #7

Hard to believe that it's already March and this makes post #7. The last few weeks have been challenging from a training perspective as both my wife and I have been battling colds. Feeling somewhat better, I decided that I needed to get out for some spin time just to keep the spirits up.

As usual this week's ride consisted of 2 participants; Steve and myself. The weather was a balmy 42 degrees with no wind in the air. The trail conditions were muddy and slick as the sun rays failed to penetrate through the forest's natural defense. Some might question why even bother heading out if you know that the trail conditions are poor? I guess the best response is that a bad day of riding is still better than a good day on the couch.

Steve and I rode for about an hour and half and spent an additional 20 minutes of unplanned hiking with our bikes on our backs after some poor navigation on my part. The camera is still on the mend, and so there is no pictures this week.

On the good news front, Steve has offered up his video camera which should add some spice to future posts. There is also some ongoing discussion about resurrecting the annual Freetown big bang MTB race however more to come on that in the future. In the meantime, I just wanted to get something out to at least document last week's ride.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The blind squirrel finds a nut

Ahh the blog idea once again seems like a great idea as there's some riding to report this week. As usual some anticipated riders call in with their typical weather excuses, however for Steve and I the complaint dept is closed today. The cool air ingested into our lungs will admittedly burn, but it’s a small price to pay given the fact that all the snow and ice has finally melted.

Two minutes into the ride, Steve and I are quickly reminded why we came to ride. The trails are somewhat muddy but overall the pace is much faster than weeks past. Impassable sections are now passable, gears are switching, and low and behold we are actually mountain biking people! I was starting to feel like these fingers would never type those words again.

An hour and half into the ride, we find that the combination of the recent rain along with melting snow has overwhelmed a portion of the main trail that leads up to the ledge. Alright that sounded good but the reality is we ran into two other riders who had this greeting to offer..."You won't make the ledge today; flooding, major flooding ahead".

Of course we blatantly ignore their mumblings and find a different trailhead that eventually gains us access to the ledge. Once we get there, we decide to summit the ledge and ride some of the single track on the backside. In the end, we log a solid 2.5 hour day of riding minus the part where I got snagged on stick and dunked my feet in the freezing water.

Somewhat respectable photos from atop the ledge
given the fact that I took them with my phone
as the Kodak failed me once again...easyshare my ass!

Not a cloud in the sky

Monday, February 11, 2008

Weekly Round Up

Another week has past with no Mt. bike riding to report. That's right, no riding to report, but yes I did manage to hit the road for 3 more runs since the last post. From a training perspective this is good news as I managed to avoid the terrible too' in it's too cold to workout, or I'm too busy to workout, or I have been working too much to workout.

I have also been doing some Yoga lately to help with stretching, however what I'm finding is that its also taking the edge off. It's strange what a couple of deep breaths will do for you. I also like to screw with my elderly neighbors and so I do the yoga in front of the side window with the shade drawn so they just see my silhouette.

Finally I managed to finish my stair project at the house which has been the main obstacle between me and my bike lately. I look forward to the next post where I hopefully have some riding pictures to share

Other things worth noting-

Thanks to Dan and Nik from for turning me on to where I'm now logging my workouts. This should help with reminding me of my accomplishments throughout the year.

Thanks to Christine for reading the blog and leaving may be my only reader. If I'm wrong on this one mystery readers, feel free to drop me a line and let me know what you think of the blog.

Thanks to Nigel from for the interesting podcasts, I have been listening to his stuff while out on my runs.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Run Forrest Run

It's been a few weeks since the last post and some might say that the blog's mission appears to be failing its owner. Fear not, the ride motivation is still there however uncompleted house projects have been winning the time constraint battle lately. As result, I have had to resort to running on the road the last few weeks - for those keeping score, 6 runs - 4 miles each run = total of 24 miles. Not a bad plan B, but I must admit that running just doesn't have the same excitement level that Mt. Biking offers, but clearly it’s an excellent cardio substitute. More importantly, for any of you folks that may have been lured off the couch by the blog; remember if I'm not writing this doesn't mean you resort back to sitting.

I normally share the ride pictures with each post, and given the absence of riding, I thought I would share some random observations that I made over the past few weeks.

1. Americans love their autos and are not willing to share the road with anyone...especially runners. I literally had an oncoming driver swerve at me as I made my way down the road. If that particular asshole reads this blog, I would like to remind him that he sucks at driving and should have his license revoked.

2. Soccer moms, SUVs, and cell phones are a recipe for disaster. I came across this holy trinity during one of my runs and was almost converted into tar. When I confronted the Chatty-Kathy at the stop light she seem very annoyed by my presence...of course I should mentioned that my initial greeting started with "Hey you stupid Bitch..."

3. People love to encourage other people exercising. I have had more people shout more random crap at me during my runs that I can ever remember in my life. One guy nearly came to complete stop to share the fact that he too likes to run. I gave him the token thumbs up and then proceeded across the street in hopes that he would get on with his life. He may have followed me all the way home however I refuse to make any further eye contact.

4. The ipod is the second greatest running invention. The running shoe of course holds the high honors in this category. I did have a small war inside my head on this one but when I attempted to run bare foot with the ipod on, the shear pain did surpass the listening pleasure...sorry Steve Jobs...the facts are the facts. Food for thought for all you get rich quick types...invent the wireless ipod running shoe and make a million dollars on me.

5. Lastly, if you ever have a problem with constipation my suggestion would be to go for a run. It seems that my kidneys always respond positively to a good 4 miler. Its like clockwork I tell you...I leave the house with no bathroom urges in sight...I get home and its home sweet throne. I'm no doctor but I going to attribute this phenomena to the jiggling of my kidneys. I think I will bring this one up during my annual physical and will get back to my readers at a later date.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Road Less Traveled

My Sunday Plans - Ride in the A.M. Beer, Beef, and Football in the P.M.

Mother Nature's plans -27 degrees, bone chilling winds, and snow covered trails.

Clearly two distinct approaches on how best to utilize one’s Sunday. Fortunately for me, my buddy Steve put together the same itinerary and so we made a go of it. We decided the best approach would be to hit some down hills in the beginning which would warrant our exposure to the elements. Minutes later, the riding turned into a circus act with Steve and I teetering on the brink of death as we slide down the ice covered trails.

Ice Covered Trail

Another rare sighting of a jackass-at-the-top-of-icyhill. A distant cousin to the jackass-in-tree but just as elusive.

Once we gained our composure, we decided to head toward the ledge, which generally makes for a fun 6 mile loop. Today however would be different as the ice and snow weren't backing off one inch. At one point my front tire washed out and I was sliding across the snow like frosty after a six pack of wobbly pops. Steve thought I stuck the landing and held up a 10, so did the Russian Judge, but that dam French Judge wouldn't budge on the 9.

The Ledge...see I wouldn't lie at least not about this

After two hours of riding we decided that we had enough frostbite for one day and called it quits. Both of us had some grilling responsibilities to attend to and of course lonely beers at home that were starting to miss us.

Steve sporting winter perma grin...he could actually be crying here but you will never know because perma grin hides all

3.5 lbs of marinated gametime goodness

Monday, January 14, 2008

Ride On

March 13Th brings Sunny Skies, 40 degree weather, and 3 semi hungover riders still recovering from the prior night's celebration that saw the mighty Patriots crush the hopes of Del Rio and his fallen Jaguar warriors.

The ride begins with some technical single track that at times is frustrating as the riders often need to dismount from their bikes to navigate around down trees and flooded trails. Given their lack of conditioning, the riders use these down times to regain their breath and remind themselves of the downhill single track that awaits them a mere mile away.

At one point, we stop to take some photos of the riding, however the camera apparently is also Pats fan and has chosen to call in a sick day. We did manage capture a single photo of the rare and elusive "jackass-in-the-tree".

The faulty camera is no match for the riders' tenacity and the group pushes on. Eventually the riders reach what they came for - fast downhill single track.

Jim releases a war cry from his $3 knock-off English bell. Angry squirrels take note when they mistake the noise for the ice cream man only to find his sorry ass. Dan keeps the squirrels at bay with a deafening hell screech from his lube deprived rear derailleur (note to self...Buy lube you cheap bastard).

An hour later, the riders exit the forest with shiteating grins and renewed optimism about all the riding that they will undertake in the new year. Jim thanks his trusty Jimmy Dean links for the extra boost of energy, while some of us decide to part ways with the preride Chili Diet. All in all a good day of riding, and more importantly a shorten work day for the awaiting house projects.

Monday, January 7, 2008

1st ride of the season

Sunday January 6th marked the first Mtb ride of the 2008 calendar year. The ride produced a small turnout of participants, 2; however wintertime in New England has a funny way of doing that. We rode the red tag trail in Freetown State Forest, which to our surprise has undergone some serious changes, particularly with respect to tree removal (see attached ride pictures). Fortunately for us, the technical rock garden sections that litter the trail still had plenty to offer in terms of tricky navigation. Upon exiting the trail, we found ourselves a bit lost but we did eventually make our way to the ranger station followed up by a small fire-road jaunt out onto high street. I'm writing this post the morning after with the typical aches and pains that 3 months off the bike brings... but strangely enough I can wait to get back out there next week.

Another picture of the tree loss...

Steve proud to be out riding in January