First Ride of 2011

26 02 2011

It has been a long time since I’ve been able to write about my riding, but I’m glad to be back! I just got back from my first ride of 2011 and it was really nice. The weather was in the mid to upper 30’s and completely sunny. The roads were mostly clear and I got to see how bad the snowplows have treated them. Some of the roads I rode on were more potholes than smooth asphalt!

I’ll be updating this site more regularly as the season progresses, but it was nice to get things underway this weekend!


Pre-Chili Case

1 05 2010

This morning Justin and I met at the Line St lot for Case mountain in Manchester and proceeded to check out what the park had to offer. This was actually my first time riding here so Justin got to play tour guide. We started up the fireroad then branched off into some technical doubletrack. Before long we were at the summit and enjoyed the nice view! We pointe the bikes downhill and rode some pretty tricky stuff before winding our way back to the summit. This time we went down the back side of the mountain and stayed back there. I have a horrible memory so the trails we rode on will remain lost in the woods! We did find some stunts out in the woods and on the red trail we ran into the bridge you see in the picture. After we rode for a couple hours we had to get back to town because we were going to the New England Regional Chili Cook-Off in Somers for noon. Case was full of technical terrain that I’ll surely have to come back to ride again!

Good Friday Newbie Hour

2 04 2010

After a morning filled with a hearty breakfast and dying Easter eggs, Jacki headed to the house for a ride. We first had to give her bike a tune-up since spending almost a year in Newport, RI. the salt air made such a mess if the metal pieces, but we got everything working as well as it could. She’ll be in for new cables, chain, and other bits and pieces when she comes home from school. At about the time we were finishing up, Kerensa got home and we all suited up and headed out. This was our first ride to the rail trail from the house and I’ve got to say that it is great living so close. Within minutes we were headed toward Simsbury and the flower bridge that would be our turn-around point. The ride was nice and relaxing and it was cool to be able to take in the weather and enjoy my surroundings. The flower bridge is yet to be planted so for this ride it was just the rest stop before heading home. There were lots of other trail users out on the trail; cyclists, walkers, and even inline skaters! Everyone involved had a great time and Jacki logged her longest ride if the year at 16 miles!

Kerensa’s First Ride of the Season

20 03 2010

For quite some time now, I’ll admit I’ve been bugging Kerensa to get out on her bike.  We planned to ride this afternoon and I even got a bit cranky when the grocery shopping was taking too long (it seemed like a stall tactic), but we made it home and suited up.  Our route consists of relatively quiet streets in Enfield and East Longmeadow, MA.  There are a few rolling hills that can catch you off guard if you aren’t prepared for them!  Being Kerensa’s first ride the goal for her was to get used to being in the saddle and properly shifting.  Over the winter she bought a beautiful Polar HR/Cadence cyclocomputer and we had to play with the HR zones as it was beeping when her HR would go over 150.  Talk about annoying!  There were no close calls with cars and we both made it through the ride in one piece!  I have to believe that this will be Kerensa’s final ride on this route as we are supposed to close on our condo this Friday!  I’ll have a post with more details and a virtual walk-through of that once we are all settled in!  Today’s ride was very relaxing for me and it was great to be out on the bikes again!  I can’t wait for the season to fully begin!

Beginning today, I will have added Kerensa as a contributor on this site and we will be working to get some posts from her to talk about her riding and experiences at the races.  Stay tuned to get the first-hand accounts from another rider and professional pit person!

Rattlesnake Hill

16 01 2010

Once again this morning Justin and I met up to do the same route as we did last weekend.  I brought my bike into the house to stay warm so there were no shifting issues!  The temperature was much nicer and when I got to the meeting spot I had to take a layer off!  Riding up Powder Hollow I hit a new max recorded heart rate of 200 beats per minute.  From the first few minutes with Justin I knew that I just didn’t have it in me!  I had to do everything in my power just to keep up with him and it would only last a short while.  This was going to be a long ride!  The sun was out and the temperature was really just about perfect so the suffering I endured was mildly offset.  The main hill was much more difficult for me because of the flat legs and the fact that I was on my road bike, complete with a tall-geared double crankset.  I’d estimate my cadence for the hill was somewhere in the 60 to 70 rpm range and it hurt!  The downhill finish of the route was really nice, but I had to pull off a bit early because of my flat energy.  I’m thinking that since this week was the first week of following the Paleo Diet that my body is still trying to get used to the different fuels.  Full-scale training starts on Monday so we will see what happens pretty soon!

Frozen Water Bottle Ride

10 01 2010

After a lovely night spent at Justin and Crystal’s place, Justin and I decided that we would go on a road ride in the morning. We planned to meet on the route at 9am and would proceed up into Stafford for some hill climbing that would hopefully keep us warm! I woke up anxious to ride and got ready (which included putting pedals back on my road bike). All bundled up I headed down the street, but I didn’t get far until I found something horribly wrong! My shifters weren’t working! I still have no idea what was going on, but when I put the bike away it worked fine and after I brought the bike inside to warm up it began to work properly again. Maybe it just doesn’t like the cold! Because of that dilemma, I was “forced” to take out the new Jamis Nova Pro. I really didn’t want to subject a brand new machine to the salty roads, but to ride I had to make sacrifices. One bonus was that I had just installed my new Sigma BC 2006 MHR bike computer and I could give it a shot. I have been looking at getting a heart-rate monitor for some time now and the new bike needed a computer so I splurged and got the fancy one! With all systems running, I went pretty hard to try and make up time on the way to meet Justin. My heart rate spiked at 197bpm climbing up through Powder Hollow! Once we met up, Justin took the lead and we spun out way past the prison in Somers. Twelve miles into the ride, I tried to shift into the little chain ring and the lever was very stiff. I jiggled it and it did shift, but now it wouldn’t ratchet back up to the big ring. Something must have broken inside of the shifter because I couldn’t get it to stay in anything but the little ring, so that is where I rode for the rest of the ride. With now two of my bikes not shifting properly, Justin showed me the way up Rattlesnake Hill in Stafford. I’d say that the hill was about one to one and a half miles long and it rose (according to my computer) almost 600ft! Our legs and lungs were burning from the chilly winter air (14* to be exact. Thank you Sigma!). The ride down was fun but freezing and I got to see what the new bike would handle like at speed. We kept things mellow and I only got to 31mph, but the bike seems very neutral and doesn’t seem to exhibit any bad habits. Oh and when you lay power down to the pedals it gets transferred straight to forward momentum! After lots of strange looks from passers-by we rounded the corner where we split and went our separate ways. The last mile or so just drained me so much as I was hungry and thirsty since my water bottles had frozen solid! That hot shower felt really good! The total mileage for me was 33.6 miles at a blazing 13.7mph average! Layering is definitely the answer to riding in the cold and today’s ride gives me hope for future rides this winter. Now I just have to bring the ‘cross bike in for warranty service…

Granby Night Ride w/Kerensa

5 10 2009

Drake Hill Flower Bridge

I determined that Kerensa needed to finally cut her teeth with this whole night riding thing so the best place to do that was the rail trail in Granby.  We met at the Rt. 20 lot that is actually in East Granby after work.  As we geared up, no where near our goal departure time, the light was already getting very flat.  We made our way down the trail at a decent pace and got to enjoy some of the fall scenery.  The leaves on the trail made for some slippery sections, but for the most part were no hindrance at all!  A huge improvement we found was in Simsbury where previously the roots below the trail had pushed up the asphalt, making huge bumps.  The maintenance crew cut out all of these sections, removed the roots, and repaved the hole thus making for a nice smooth ride all the way out!  We turned around at the flower bridge in Simsbury and headed for dinner at Little City Pizza.  There is nothing like the look you get when you walk into a restaurant with full biking gear on at dinner time!  After a few slices of pizza, it was time to head home in the darkness.  Much to my surprise, Kerensa did amazingly well with the headlamp!  I’d say that our average pace in the dark was a good 3 to 4 mph quicker than in the light mainly because my partner couldn’t see what was coming up on the trail.  This was witnessed by her occasionally running over decent sized sticks that “jumped” in her way!  When we arrived back at the lot we were the only cars remaining; wonder why?!  I’m glad Kerensa did well and it was really nice to enjoy the chilly fall evening out on the bike!