A random collection of thoughts associated with the sport of cycling, as relayed by one hopelessly devoid of too many competing interests. It's a one track blog I'm afraid. But hey, if you like bikes you might enjoy it. So keep reading and the worst that'll happen is it might rot your brain..

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Ridin' and Raccoons

Hopefully everyone got out a few times over the last few days. I took Thursday and Friday off and coupled with today's ride I got in a few days of quality MTB time. It was just way too windy to hit the road. I've already spent quite a few days being blown backwards on pavement this season, and I really needed to hit some trails to see where I stand in terms of racing fitness.  As it turns out I'm not so sure I'm standing at all. Maybe it's more like leaning up against something and faking it while convincing myself I'm still remotely fast... it's sort of like Wesley in The Princess Bride lying in repose, unable to move, bluffing Prince Humperdink into believing he's still strong enough to dispatch him with ease. Or something like that.

There's plenty of power/strength available but unfortunately the motor can't run hot for too long. I'm working on it though, and with any luck I won't be the slowest schmuck at the KOB TT.   Today's ride at F Gilbert Hills SF was ridiculously good. The weather was downright perfect, and I managed to clean a few really nasty technical sections I rarely pull off all in the same ride. Thursday's ride at the same locale involved 2 hours of drizzle while today's ride featured 45 deg. temps and bright blue skies. Perfect.  

You may be wondering about the raccoon. No, he's not Robbie and Margaret's pal from the Fez. This guy was sleeping by my garbage cans late on Friday afternoon. He scared the crap out of me when I took out the trash, and I had my camera around so I snapped this pic. As it turned out that was the last time I'd see him alive.. A few hours later I was upstairs on the PC when the room lit up bright blue, and I heard what sounded like the world's largest bug zapper outside the window. Yep, that's right, old Sparky touched something that didn't agree with him and that was that.  I was bummed out a little, any animal smart enough to make it in the city (especially with all the coyotes around) didn't deserve to go out like that. Yes folks, these are exciting times here on Jenkins St..

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

New Econo Whip and Race mumbo jumbo

So I finally traded in the Subie and took receipt of my Honda Fit Sport ('cause you all know how sporty I am right?). As Adam would agree; it's a dorky car for a dorky guy. But, it's friggin' huuuuge inside, it gets some really nice mileage and the emissions are really low (more important than mpg to me). No roof rack for the time being, I'll just fold down the seats for bike storage and transport. How a car with 109 hp manages to pull so hard I may never know, but it's pretty quick and there are no issues with highway driving at all.

I know, this here blog is really supposed to focus on bikes.. But sometimes riding and driving intertwine. Short of riding to Lincoln Woods most of the "local" trails require a drive * . Luckily for me I can get my weekday rides in without too much extra driving as Foxboro, Wrentham and LW are all on the way home depending on the route. That said,the good news is it's time to start MTB rides after work now that DST is in full swing. I managed to squeak in a little more than an hour at LW last Friday night before sunset. I was also out there for almost two hours on Sunday. The trails are really well drained already and they are fine to ride. The usual wet spots are wet, but they'll be wet in August so no worries.

In other news I received a Delorme PN-20 GPS unit from the continental jetsetter Brian Danz of Ex-Providence Bicycle mechanic fame. He now works for Delorme, and he was kind enough to hook us (me and Pete Gengler) up with this unit. Once I figure out how it works I'll start writing a review that should appear in NEMBA's Singletracks, and I'll post it on various websites (Dirt Rag, MTBR, Ironspoke etc..). I'm really interested in using it to plot out some future trails at LW. It'll be nice to have a professional looking proposal to present to the land managers.

On a related note the regular Friday night Lincoln Woods rides will start on 4/18 ~ 6:00pm. We'll have two ride leaders to accommodate different ability levels, and we'll meet in the double lot off of the Twin River Rd. entrance. Take a right when entering and the lot is down on the left (before the beach area). I have NEMBA ride waivers for folks to sign, figure I'd mention that now so there's no surprises. This way if you fall and break your tuckus you can't sue my pants off. Sounds swell to me.

What else? Oh yeah, the King Of Burlingame MTB Time Trial looks to be all full up. If you missed the boat, well, I'm sorry. They will need volunteers so if one of your buddies is racing please head down and offer your services (marshals and reg. help). There will most likely be some post race riding as well so bring your bike. Since I know Jack at the Hub, the Providence Bicycle crew and maybe Matt at NBX(?) are one of the 4 people that look at this blog I'd like to say Thanks for being sponsors of the race! I'm sure Lennon has said it already, but it's worth repeating. I was psyched to see so many local shops supporting the race.

That's all I have for now.

* OK, rides in places like Big River, Foxboro, Wrentham etc. don't always require a drive. While it's fun to ride the 'cross bike to these spots (and some secret stashes) and hit the trails, you won't catch me riding my MTB on the road for too many miles. It's just not that fun rollin' 700x55 or 26x2.3 knobbies on pavement, you know what I mean? Sorry about the random pic, it's all I had on the PC at work..

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Does it always rain in pothole city?

Does it? Or is it just when I want, and/or, need to ride my bike somewhere? Saturday's 30 miler out in Seekonk and Rehobeth consisted of sun, rain, sleet and snow. Oh yeah, and a seriously stiff headwind most of the way back. Yeah, as you might imagine it kinda sucked. So, just my luck, I ended up back in Seekonk/Rehobeth last night dropping off the Heap of Leaks at my mechanic's place. I figured I'd just ride home since I wanted to ride a bit last night anyway. There was a light rain falling as I drove over the Henderson bridge, but I was well layered. Besides, the weather guys all said it wasn't going to get ugly until late. Well, they lie. Repeatedly. And they get paid for it, brilliant!

Sure as shit as soon as I dropped the keys through the slot the skies opened up. Grrrreat! It was really dark and foggy out in cowtown, and luckily I had one of my Niterider MTB lights, a Knog and a decent Princeton Tec commuter light. I rode out of my way to avoid coming down Arcade ave. and taking a left onto 152. This meant adding roughly 4 miles of unlit flooded roads to the mix. This was to, you know, be safer... Riding like a drowned rat on crack, I think I set a personal best for getting back to Providence from that part of Boonieville. 30 minutes, and 10+ miles, later I was home peeling off layers of sand encrusted and water logged wool and lycra.

There were a few moments where I honestly wasn't sure if the front wheel was going to get swallowed up in a hole I couldn't see under inches of water. On a positive note (brace yourself!); I must be getting used to riding fixed, because I pulled off a few emergency bunny hops without killing myself. Yaaay for me.
Newman avenue in EP was fantabulous as per usual. I'm still waiting for that whole stretch of road by the gas station to fall into the earth, never to be seen again ala Atlantis. Maybe in the future people will bring their kids there and tell stories of what used to be "see Gina, that's where the Dunkin' Donuts and Sunoco used ta be, it was wicked awesome. You could get a Coollata and then hit the Cumbies across the street, all while running some loosa on a bike off da road.."

On a serious note watch out for new potholes! Holy crap there are some big ones out there.