2010 Cycling Update

6 06 2010
Kerensa Sanding

Kerensa deep in sanding duty!

Well, it has been over a month since my last update to the blog and quite a few happenings have gone on.  I raced in the Massasoit XC race and had marginal success.  The month between Root 66 races from Massasoit to Winsted was a nice breather that really let me settle down and decide what I wanted to do for the summer.  Justin and I spent plenty of ti

me just going out to Penwood, Robinson, and Case to just ride and enjoy ourselves.  I have been averaging about three days riding per week with a combination of road and mountain.

During National Ride Your Bike to Work Week I took my ‘cross bike all the way to New Britain.  It is so nice to be able to take the rail trail for 18 miles!  The ride out in the morning was beautiful; cool, quiet.  I met my friend Marc in Farmington and we rode the final miles

together.  Each way was pretty much 30 miles for me and getting into work felt really good.  After working eight hours and then having to ride home the same 30 miles was a bit less enjoyable.  New Britain at rush hour on a Friday in 85* weather isn’t totally advisable!  The final ten miles were pretty tough as I just wanted to get home, but my legs wouldn’t let me get there quickly.

The following day, Kerensa dragged me for 18 miles headed North on the rail trail up to Southwick where the trail is still under construction.  I couldn’t

believe it, but my legs were so trashed from the day prior that I was having a tough time keeping up!  Any acceleration from my ride leader just put distance between us.  Racing at Winsted was a serious maybe at this point.  I decided to wait until the morning and decide then how my legs were feeling.

I d

etermined over the month off that I didn’t want to pay good money to ride around the back of the pack with no chance of winning.  If I’m not feeling 100% I won’t race.  That reasoning was exactly what made the decision for me in regards to Winsted; my legs were roasted from Friday so I called the race off.  It worked out for the best as I got to complete some home projects that I’ve been meaning to do.

That brings me to really what has consumed most of my training time recently; making the condo ours!  From simple things like fixing the doors so they close completely to more complex projects like replacing the in-ceiling bathroom fans.  As I’m writing this we are on day #7 of a re-painting of our half bath.  Why wallpaper glue has to be so strong that it could hold a race car together is a question that I asked many times.  After the demon wallpaper was removed, we had the toilet flood, causing 1.6 gallons of water to pour onto the floor and into the ceiling of the finished basement, ruing a couple of tiles.  As with most projects, I’m starting to learn that if something can go wrong it most definitely will!  We have a hard deadline of next Saturday so this week will be more project completion than biking.


Southwick Rail Trail

8 04 2010

After last night’s rough end to the ride, I decided that I needed to go for a nice spin to keep my legs loose. I followed the rail trial north again with my sights set on checking out the new section of trail from the Massachusetts line in Southwick. On my way out there I got to enjoy a dirt path that paralleled the trail since I’ve been riding my ‘cross bike. This dirt path had lots of whoops that really made keeping my speed up a challenge, but also added to the fun! At the crest of some of the whoops I could feel my rear wheel come up off the ground as I was still pedaling! When that section ran out in Suffield I hopped back on the pavement and crossed the state boarder. The new section of trail is beautifully paved and even has a yellow line marking the center of the lanes! There really isn’t too much to look out in Southwick, but the trial does pass close enough to Lake Congamond that you can see it and I’d assume in the summer that you’d be able to hear the boats. The trail wound past a golf course before abruptly ending and turning to dirt. I’ve read that the dirt section is rideable for another two miles, but since I was on a timeline, I needed to turn around at this point. There were lots of users on the Southwick Rail trail including Razor scooters; a first for this season!

The plan for this evening is to complete my DIY bike repair stand and start preparing my race bike for Hopbrook Dam on Saturday. First things first, I need to get the water out of my wheels from the preride last weekend!

Rider Down!

7 04 2010

Wednesday is a group ride night so I headed home just after my 8-hour sentence was over! On the way home I passed the motorcade for the UCONN womens basketball team. Probably 6 or 7 police cars were escorting the two biases from the airport to campus. Kind of a neat sight! Anyway, there were a lot mire riders this week than last; weather related perhaps? We rolled out and headed north on the rail trail into East Granby where we hit surface streets. I enjoyed chatting with Aki and Craig as the pace was really mild. On the roads we started to get some order together, but there were a few riders that looked shakey so I tried to avoid them. I was pleased to learn that we were heading back into town on 189 as I just love that! I found myself at the back of the front group and waited for someone to go. The whole group was getting restless and from my view I decided that it was time to go. I kicked up the pace and surprisingly scooted past the whole group really quickly! Mark was right there with me sprinting to the stop light; he pulled me by a bike or two, but I’ll even it up another day! By this time it is starting to get dark and we turned onto 10/202 toward the shop. From the front people started to slow and I followed suit. What happened next wasn’t expected at all! I felt a pressure against my rear wheel from the road side that was unmistakable; another rider’s front wheel. In what seemed like a solid minute, I felt the pressure release and I looked back to see what I knew would happen. A rider was down in the traffic lane, but it wasn’t the one that hit me rather someone behind him. The whole group stopped and helped to collect the bikes and bodies that were injured. Thankfully no cars were coming as this could have been much worse than a case if road rash! I have to assume that someone wasn’t paying attention (it was dark, we were tired) and didn’t see the front slowing. This set off the chain reaction that led to my first experience with group ride crashes.

Moral of the story: always protect your wheel and watch what the riders in front of you are doing. Road rash will heal, but that car tire print will hurt for a long time!

I hope the rider that went down is doing better today and that we will see him ou on the bike soon!

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!

The Season is Here!

31 03 2010

After a couple nasty days of rain the clouds lifted just enough for us to get a ride in this evening.  Justin rode to the shop from East Windsor, having to cross the Connecticut River which is always a challenge!  The roads were still wet in spots and only five of us showed up to ride.  We took it easy and chatted with everyone about the new toys that we were riding this year.  I’m very excited about this season and I’m looking to take more fun rides than last year to avoid getting burnt out.  This ride ended in the best way possible; with a tasty dinner waiting for us at the house!  Thanks Kerensa and Crystal!

The season surely is here!

Home Base has Moved!

30 03 2010

After what seemed like a year of waiting, we have officially moved our base of operations from Enfield, CT to Granby, CT!  This past weekend was chock full of loading vehicles, driving, unloading vehicles, and repeating!  All of the house things are settled in nicely, but the most important load of all, the bikes, arrived yesterday.  I still have to arrange the basement to hang the bikes from the rafters, but that will be a project for later this week.  I’m just so excited to be right at the foot of the best cycling in the northern part of the state!  Look for me tomorrow night (if it isn’t raining) on the Granby Bicycle group ride.  (I’ll ride there! Love it!)

Cycling related: Hopbrook Dam is next week!  I’ll be getting out in the woods this week to prepare for what is always a mud fest!

First Hill Ride of the Season!

17 03 2010

HAPPY ST. PATTY’S DAY EVERYONE!  What better way to celebrate a holiday that is all about drinking yourself silly than to get that same dizzy feeling by climbing some hills!  We all know that the weather is just perfect right now and I was able to just wear my Under Armour shirt under my kit with shorts!  Feeling the wind was something that I’d nearly forgotten.  My aim was to ride from the shop in Granby, out 189 North to Mountain Rd.  From there it is about a 4-mile climb that rises about 900 vertical feet at an average pitch of 5 degrees!  The sun was warm on my face as it burned directly in front of my as I clawed my way up the road.  The final crest into East Hartland was just so rewarding, but the feeling couldn’t last long because it was now time to head down.  Route 20 from Hartland to Granby was repaved last season and is the closest you can get to a bicycle drag strip!  You want to go 50mph, you got it!  I found that the gearing on my cross bike really isn’t designed for fast descents and I spin out at 30mph.  I feel that if I’m going that fast already there really isn’t too much need for me to go faster! (Think big bloody scar)  Once back into Granby I cut through Salmon Brook Park by using their new auxiliary parking lot on Rt. 20.  There is a small walking path from the lot to the soccer fields and it gave me the chance to get some cross practice in.  I cruised back into the shop after about 17 miles and over 1000ft of climbing!  The legs are a bit tired, but I’m planning an easier ride for tomorrow evening.