Friday, July 29, 2011

wait... what day is it?

Media Fridays

We'll posts videos or photos that will hopefully inspire trail shredding weekends.

Totally didn't know yesterday was Thursday and forgot today is Friday (the curse of an educator during the summer).  A nice little video of two couples riding Kingdom Trails... didn't make it up there in July (booo that) but hoping Annie and I can do a weekend up there before summer's end.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Where o where?

Not sure if you've noticed but we've been a bit MIA over here.  Well there is a good reason... sort of.

I couldn't leak the fact that were were heading to Florida last Friday because the trip was a surprise for Annie's father who just retired.  We surprised them on their visit to see Annie's sister and had a little party and whatnot.  Fun times for sure.  So we got back Monday... and that is where the excuse ends.  After that it's just a balance of home issues (mystery water drip) and post vacation laziness...  this ends today.

That is... AFTER the plumbers finish up on their 2nd visit to hopefully remedy the errant water.  To best utilize my time I will LIKELY be hitting the Cutler Commute (so as to avoid the whole packing up gear and driving deal).  I say LIKELY because I'm still not sure if the time waiting for the plumber to finish up will entice me to perfect the Fells Commute and try that out instead.  Either way I'll be hitting the road to dirt, enjoying the dirt, and then roadeoing it back home.  (Def. Road-e-oing - the act of a mountain biker impersonating a roadie by utilizing his mountain bike on pavement).

Friday, July 22, 2011

Same, but...

Media Fridays
We'll posts videos or photos that will hopefully inspire trail shredding weekends.

So, a couple of weeks ago 29nSNGL* had a video up on Media Fridays here... well, here's another one.  Last video was all riding, this one is riding with some story drinking thrown in.  They make some good video and I'm diggin the musical choices!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

is it time?

Monday I took as a day off from the bike after the race on Sunday.  My body was tired and aching, but I still went to the gym!  I have also discovered a nice sized mystery bruise on the back of my left hip area... and a smaller one on my spine... and I wondered why my back was aching as I was coming across the finish??  Must have been a result of the mud hole crash.  Ah well.  Oh, and not to mention the intense blister I have on my left heal from hike-a-bike on dead legs...

Free to a loving home!
Tuesday my plans were fuzzy as I had a nice window of "between 10-2" for the Salvation Army to come pick up our stacked washer/dryer unit that has been taking up space in the kitchen.

We built a "real" sized laundry room downstairs and have since been trying to get rid of the unit in the kitchen so I can get busy working on another "job" for the summer... converting the space into storage of some sort (for cleaning supplies, pots/pans, or food... we shall see).
mmm project!!

So the tentative plan for Tuesday was to hit the gym as soon as said washer/dryer was picked up.  As for a ride, that would be dictated by previous said events (washer/dryer pick up and gym time).  They came and almost didn't take the unit because of a small scrape on it... apparently the Salvation Army is very particular when receiving a FREE working washer/dryer, but the driver suggested some nice white nail polish would make it good as far as he would be able to tell... so bingo bango the washer/dryer was gone at about 2 pm.  Leaving me to head to the gym.  I'm digging my new workout routine (with the higher reps and lower weight) as I can certainly feel the workout but without "getting me swole on" as they say in the great state of Georgia.  As previously mentioned, I need to do the opposite and slim down.  Still working on the diet - but that will be the goal for this week, figure out what I'm going to be doing nutritionally and get on that ASAP.  Perfect timing really as we need to hit the grocery store here soon.  After picking Annie up from work I headed over to the Fells for a spin.  I wanted to explore a bit of the southern fire roads as I'll need to know that section when I get my Fells Commute ride up and running.  I had a lot of fun over that - other than the dealing with traffic on the way and subsequently racing the sun to finish my ride...

Today I plan on hitting the Cutler Commute route to get those legs working again and to continue just stretching out my miles.  This time my plan is to get a full ride in at Cutler, so about 10 miles or so??

Random note... during the Boneyard I SWORE the course was switched and we rode through the Boneyard backwards... but apparently (thanks to the magic of the garmins) it wasn't at all, and the course was the same as the pre ride.... very strange how perspectives get mixed up/fuzzy...  kinda blows my mind really!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Wrath of the

Boneyard Rookie Mistakes


What a killer course. Longest 4(ish) mile lap there is!! Wasn't exactly the same course I pre-rode but I liked it. It was interesting coming upon the Boneyard in reverse, but it was still ridable (not saying I cleaned it, but those better than I surely crushed it).

I got some great riding in the previous week and determined I would slow down about 4 days before the race, and I did so. For some reason I thought to myself, a ride on Saturday when we got down to Connecticut would be perfect to get me ready. I had planned on hitting up Gay City State Park as I remembered a nice loop with some climbs and figured that would be a good ride... hey, I pre rode the course up at Willowdale the day before the race, so I figured a decent ride would be ok. I discovered that Gay City is charging to park ($7 in state vehicles, $15 out of state) which was ridiculous to pay to ride, so I headed down the street to Case Mountain. Lesson(s) learned. The day before a race with some decent elevation involved - DON'T climb your ass off! (The second, irrelevant to the race lesson, Case has some really sweet singletrack and some amazing downhill stuff!)

After a night of crappy sleep I got a late start and was a bit rushed getting all set up and off warming up. I ran into Fabian and noticed that the start had been changed around. I took off on the totally new, redesigned course, and instantly felt nothing in my legs. Not numb nothing, but nothing nothing. Not good at all. I was cleaning every short as I previewed the new beginning, but knew that when it came to the later climbs I would be in serious trouble... silly rookie.

Started the Cat 3 (30-39) with 9 riders, which was better than what had pre-registered, so that was good. My plan at the start was to just ride with the pack, not push ahead in the first lap as I didn't know how far my legs would take me. The course was in amazing shape having a perfect week of weather leading up, which made things nice, if not dusty. There were only a few mud holes here and there, and of course coming into the 3rd hole I apparently took the deepest route and ended up going over the handlebars. I felt ok and the bike was fine so I jumped up and got going. Lost a spot or two, but that didn't really matter because the sufferfest for me was long and hot. I thought we would beat the heat with a 9:30 start time, but boy was it brutal out there. I think it was really the course that was taking it out of me, but I think I continued sweating for a good hour, hour and a half AFTER my race was finished.

Once the race got going it seemed like the only time I was passing anyone (in my category) was due to mechanicals. Normally that isn't a victory, but with the way I was feeling I was happy to take those passes. I was also glad that I am now running tubeless as it seems like pinch flats were the number one killer out there.

Although I had nothing in my legs to start, and I felt like I was going to die finishing up the second lap (BIG THANKS goes out to the spectator giving me that encouragement to muster all I had left to finish strong!!) I liked the course!! While I was out taking pictures of the Cat 1 and Pros we chatted with some guys from the motorcycle club and when asked if we would come back next year I didn't hesitate in saying YES! The course kicked my ass, but I think a rematch is in order.

Annie came out to support me, which I absolutely love and am grateful for. And she even let me stay to take photos of the Cat1/Pros (who didn't go of until 2), but I wasn't the only one taking pictures... Annie got a couple shots of me while racing.
Waiting to be sent off (I'm in the Ireland jersey)

Off the start in the parade lap

Finishing the first lap (I felt like death)

I was surprised to see Annie on this quick climb shortly after finishing the first lap
(she scrambled through the woods to get here)

I'd like to say it was my surprise that caused me to get bounced off the trail...
but no, it was exhaustion

Finally the finish

Friday, July 15, 2011

When are we visiting Charlotte again??

Media Fridays
We'll posts videos or photos that will hopefully inspire trail shredding weekends.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


So it's summer and I've gotten started on my "jobs" around the house. After the pre ride at the Boneyard I've also determined that I need to start getting serious about this racing thing.  I've always said that it would be awesome to be an actor - where it was "your job" to work out and be in shape - because you'd have the time to dedicate to it.  Well throughout the school year I didn't really have the time/motivation to really dedicate to training...  but what is my excuse now??

I don't have one, so I've decided to take advantage of the fact that I have the summer off and get back into the gym, figure out what I'm going to do about some sort of diet and DO IT, and ride ride ride.

Gym - I've adjusted my workouts around the fact that I'm "in season" by dropping weight and adding reps.  I'm keeping with the total body workout for each workout and have a 4 day cycle.  So I started back on "my program" on Sunday and have stuck with it, feel great but it made me think of the clip below.  It's fun to feel your different body parts ache as you move after a good workout... oh yeah, I do have muscles in my back!!

So hopefully this "" thing worked and you don't have to watch the whole clip to see the relevant part....

Diet - I'm still sifting through information to find an appropriate diet.  I do need to lose weight (which was not only reinforced, but smashed in my face, when I weighed myself at the gym).  I had great success shedding pounds on the "Belly Off" diet from Mens Health at the start of this past school year, but fell off of it after achieving my goal.  I enjoyed (and Annie was a great sport in putting up with it) the various menus, but could probably use something a little bit wider in options so it's not a repeated cycles ever 3-4 weeks.  I'm not sure I need to go to some super extreme diet at this point either though, I am only Cat 3... let's ease into this so I don't end up hating the whole experience.

Ride - I've been pretty good about getting out there.  Missing days where I'm wrecked, sick, or when the weather isn't cooperating.  But other than that I'm getting out there... and IT  IS  GREAT!!  I've been hitting Foxboro fairly frequently (it's my "training ground" for the Boneyard) and with each ride I'm cleaning obstacles I had trouble with the time before, bombing down rocky/loose rock covered declines faster and faster, railing corners with more confidence as I better position myself and am able to lean the bike over more and more... it's good stuff.

Mountain biking is so addictive for this very reason... with each ride on a familiar trail you are really able to gauge your improvements.  You can see yourself improving, which in turn builds your confidence, and this carries forward to push yourself to continue to challenge yourself as you step up your game.

The one thing I should have been doing this past week is really hitting the hills harder.  The climbing at the Boneyard, in my opinion, will be the most challenging aspect.  Sure there are technical spots, but if I'm focused I should be good with those - especially having seen everything already (HUGE advantage in my book).  But the climbs (especially the second time through) are going to be the real test I think.  The nice thing is any extended climb was pretty wide open, not too many obstacles to worry about, just grinding away.

I keep checking on to see who has signed up, and thankfully people are registering, but it still seems a little sparse.  As it is now, I'm guaranteed to podium.  That is an odd thing... because even with a 3rd place finish, you are still last in your category, so it's kinda a win/lose situation.  I'll try not to focus on the number of riders in my field and just try to ride well and see where that lands me.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Did I win the lottery?

With the injury Michael sustained on our July 3rd bike outing, I wasn't expecting him to be up for riding the next day. Since we always ride together...well, I always ride with took a while for me to realize that I could still ride on Independence Day without my bike buddy.

Now this may not seem like a totally impressive stepping stone considering that I was planning on going back to Cutler Park, which isn't a hard ride at all, and I have technically ridden by myself before around Southie. However, it IS impressive -- and here's why:

Basically, I would have to take all the responsibilities that Michael covers and put them on my plate. Such incidentals include: making sure all equipment is functioning normally, driving to and back from the riding site, lifting my bike up and down off the rack and securing my bike to the rack.

As far as the equipment, I needed to actually (for the first time ever) check that my tires weren't over or under inflated. I needed to make sure all chains were where they needed to be and I had to pay extra attention to my bike while I rode. That last one sounds silly, I know. Believe me, you're going to read a lot of silly sounding things in this blog entry. The truth is though, Michael has always been the one that let me know if my bike isn't functioning properly. I'd love to say I have the ability to tell, but I don't. If I have a tire that is losing pressure -- I don't notice, but he does. If my derailer is bent and causing my chain to skip off the gears, I CAN tell something is weird -- but I figure I'm just doing something wrong and keep going. Michael is like the pit boss when it comes to our equipment, so for this ride I had to make an extra effort to become more in tune with the Wahoo.

Alright, so I know "driving to and back" reads like I was just trying to make my list of solo ride responsibilities longer -- but the truth is that I HATE driving in Boston. I have a doctor that I see every once in a while that is on the way to Cutler Park and every time I have an appointment that I have to drive myself to I get a little ping of anxiety. Top that with the fact that I had to take the Pterodactyl since my car doesn't have a bike rack and the butterflies start dancin' in my belly.

Finally, the whole lifting and securing the bike was the most overwhelming "Michael" thing I had to do. I can lift my bike, don't get me wrong. But it takes a little extra control to lift it and place it exactly where it needs to go then hold it steady while securing it in place. It's just one of those things that is awkward (read: not impossible -- just awkward) when you are only 5'1 and 98lbs. Then of course I had to make sure it was secure about 55 times before actually starting to drive home.

Other than those things, which I handled really well to be honest, the ride was carefree. I went around only 3 times because it was so unbelievably hot. It doesn't show on the pic below that it was over 90 degrees and really humid that day. The end of my water also came with the end of my third lap, so I knew if I went around again I'd feel terrible. But three laps with an average speed of 9 miles an hour is pretty acceptable as far as I'm concerned so I ended up very satisfied with myself.

But as a point of caution for Michael, it isn't really that good of an idea to have your adorable wife ride by herself too much because I definitely got a lot of interested looks from fellow riders. When I got back to the car at the end of my ride I started up the engine to get the A/C going while I loaded everything up. Consequently the music turned on and I got to listen to some awesome 90s rock. Well, a guy that was getting ready to start his ride came over and opened with the line, "A hot girl that bikes AND listens to Pearl Jam. Did I just win the lottery?"

"Nope, just another losing ticket dude. I'm married."


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ride to the... ride

Going for a ride includes:
1. Deciding on which trail to ride
2. Getting my gear together
3. Loading up said gear into the pterodactyl
4. Brining the bike around the back of the building to get to the front, load it
5. Handling my business in traffic to get to the trail safe/sane
6. Putzing around getting everything set (tire pressure, shoes on, garmins all set, etc)
7. Enjoying my time getting my tires dirty (who am I kidding, getting the bike filthy, and myself muddy/smelly)
And now back to town...
8. Loading up the gear and bike
9. Leisurely driving home (since I've gotten my ride in I'm much more "calm") until someone somewhere pulls a dick move which then causes me to "handle my business" on the rode and get home as quickly as possible
10. a. Finding a spot that will accommodate my car AND bike (street parking is FUN!)
b. flashers on, unload the bike real quick, throw it into the foyer and then find a parking spot
c. flashers on, unload bike on random sidewalk, park and ride bike back to condo
11. Dip behind building and stash my bike in the basement hallway

I'm envious of my buddy Sean who has some sweet trails right outside his door.  I'm envious of people who have trails within 5 miles.  On Friday I stopped being envious and I rode the HiFi to the trail!! 

This was a ballsy endeavor for a couple of reasons.  The weather, for one, was being it's badass self and I woke to a day of forecasted thunderstorms.  After accepting the fact that there would be no riding a window of no rain/thunderstorms opened up.  That was all I needed and I google mapped my way from Southie to Cutler Park.  Googles told me that to get from here to there by bike I'd be looking at about 11.8 miles.  Would that give me any ride time legs at Cutler (taking into account that I'd have 11.8 miles to go to get home at the end of the ride)?  I googled my Charles River ride and found out where the  12 or so mile mark was for that ride.  Always felt good at that spot - and then some - so I figured I can get out there and tool around at least a little bit!!

The ride was actually pretty nice.  Getting through Boston I headed down Washington St which was pretty sweet considering they have a whole lane dedicated to buses bikes!  From there I was able to jump on some bike paths (one along Melnea Cass and the SW Corridor) and the scariest of scary - the VFW parkway - was actually pretty sweet as well, with a nice bike lane/shoulder to cruise in.  The route was pretty straight forward and before you knew it I was at Cutler!!

I paused to drink some fluids and munch on a Clif bar and decided to check out the old weather forecast to make sure no storms were heading my way.  Of course I find that where I am now (just outside of Boston) is not in the clear at all, with 50-60% chance of thunderstorms starting NOW!!

What to do... hit the trails at Cutler and risk riding home in a storm, or turn tail now and book it home.  Compromise time!!  I'll do a quick/short loop in Cutler (it had been raining in the overnight anyway so I didn't know what to expect for trail conditions) and then head home.  The trails were pretty sweet, nice hard packed and relatively dry (besides the highway was perfect!!  the other side, a bit soggy).  

On the way back I did a quick tour of Mount Ida as a bunch of our kids typically go there every year.  Nice little campus... but then back to getting home.  Made it home with no rain... could have gotten a "real" ride in at Cutler, DRATS!!  But for a first time trip it was probably best to do a quick ride at Cutler to ensure I'd have legs to get me home.  

I'll likely try to make this a weekly ride to help build up miles in the legs.  This ride also got me scheming a way to make it to the Fells, which is actually a little closer (9.6 miles)!!  It sucks that the miles to get to either trail is all pavement... but at least it's riding!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Media Fridays
We'll posts videos or photos that will hopefully inspire trail shredding weekends.

Ok folks, the LAST installment of the Kingdom Trails adventure.  
Not sure when Team Dild's Grill will be together to make another video, so enjoy!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


So on Saturday Annie and I rode out at Cutler Park... but you already knew that.

I have two things to comment on about that ride, well sort of about that ride.

First off, is it me or are the chipmunks absolutely looney this year??  When I was at Foxboro they seemed to fearlessly play chicken with my front tire.  Darting across my path from out of nowhere to narrowly escape being "trail kill."  I swear I at least clipped one...  So when they were pulling some of the same sorts of shenanigans at Cutler it lead me to believe it wasn't just a tribe of crazies limited to Foxboro, but an unabashed bravado these little guys are carrying throughout the region... thoughts??

Secondly, I was super proud that Annie pushed on for that extra lap.  She had just about convinced me we were done and I had resigned to packing up when she called for the final lap.  That's my girl!!  But that wasn't my "secondly" that was more of a side note/important statement.  So, secondly... I messed up my ankle pretty bad on our "easy" ride.  Looping around Cutler I began playing around on the 4300.  Hopping what I could, taking the "hardest" lines, and practicing no hands riding.  All fun and games - and we know how that ends.  No I didn't loose an eye, but I caused a nice bloody mess as we were for real ending the ride.

I decided for some reason that this would be a good time to do a (on the pavement of course) trials style stop and turn.  I slowed and readied myself, I shifted my weight forward, lifted my back wheel and whipped it around.  Tire touches down, I stand balanced for a second amazed that it worked and then here comes gravity.  As I begin falling my right foot doesn't come unclipped and down I go.

So that is how that is supposed to go....
My fatal flaw was once I got the rear wheel around and placed I did nothing really with the front.  I didn't reposition, I didn't roll out, I just stood... and that didn't last long.  So as I fall, to the right of course, my left foot is unclipped, and upon impact with the ground my left ankle decides to take on the big ring... and we all know who comes out the winner in that battle.

I pop up, more embarrassed than anything, and take a quick inventory.  My left ankle is bleeding massively, my right ankle is a bit sore from NOT coming out of the pedal, and I have a nice chunk of gravel in my right palm.  I've said it before, it's not biking if you aren't bleeding.  So all is ok with the world... for now.

As the night progresses the pain in my left ankle intensifies until I am left hobbling Sunday through to Monday.  Yesterday I had plans of hitting Wompatuck to get some good mileage in before hitting Foxboro for my rocky training ground today.  The ankle was feeling better, but still gave a nice twinge of "remember me" whenever taking stairs, so I decided I should take the day from riding and utilize the ankle to do some heavy lifting around the house while it is "good."  

So here we are, Wednesday morning with temperatures projected to be in the 90s, and I will be out testing the ankle in Foxboro... I will push my ankle as far as I can, but I'm stuck with a race coming up and the need to ride to prepare... this will be a balancing act of coddling my ankle to ensure it is 100% for the race and riding my ass off to get ready for the race.  Fun times!

"Watch the bike!"

Monday, July 4, 2011

Little by Little

After three weeks of no riding, it was time to get back up on the horse. I have been working out on a consistent basis, but I still wanted to take it easy. So Michael and I headed back to Cutler Park. You remember Cutler Park, the ride that led me to purchase not expensive enough glasses.

Well this time around the ride wasn't nearly as buggy, but I came prepared for the possible mayhem by dousing myself with enough bug spray to kill Godzilla (ok, i know Godzilla wasn't a bug -- it was just a lot of spray). And other than the remarkably high number of chipmunks and one bug that flew right into my mouth like my breath was a tractor beam, the ride was virtually creature free.

Now the point of my story today isn't simply that I rode Cutler park again, it's that I rode it twice as much as the time before. That's right. I doubled my badassness! And by doubled, I'm referring to the fact that I did two laps the first time we went and four laps on this last trip. Four laps!! Of course, I have to give credit where credit is due. Michael insisted that we would do more than two so I was prepared for three, but after the third I thought I was finished. In fact we even got back to the car and I started to mentally pack it in. Then, being the ever-goading hunk of man he is, Michael sighed "I mean, we could do another."

I told him no. I was tired. He nodded then promptly repeated, "Or, we could do another."

I gave him "the look" and he broke eye contact with me long enough to take a healthy gulp from his water bottle right before directing his mischievous gaze right back at me. "Four would be fun." I just ignored him and right when he was starting to get the hint and began to lower the bike rack I realized I wasn't finished. I had one more in me. "Not so fast babe."

And with that, we started the fourth lap.

I'm not saying that Michael made me do it. Nobody makes me do anything because I'm all tough and independent and stuff. But that last lap really felt great, and just knowing that I was able to do more this time than last time gives me some encouragement. Plus, this ride taught me never to wait three weeks between adventures because the saddle sores come back. I didn't know they come back, yet another reason to be consistent.


4th of, the Boneyard

Happy 4th of July.  Hope everyone enjoys themselves, relaxes, has a cold one (or two) and manages to maintain all their digits - those illegal fireworks can get you!!

So I got to pre ride the Boneyard last Thursday.  Big thanks to Fabian (who is getting the course ready and led the ride) and to Craig and Charlie for showing a newbie how it's done.  Charlie and Craig ended up showing up for the 4:30 ride, which I had originally hoped would be Fabian and I before the fast guys came out to play, so I was a little nervous.

Craig stated he was out for a leisurely ride, and Charlie offered to wear a pink jersey to ease my nerves.  Great group of guys, and I really did enjoy riding with behind them : )  I got some good advice from all, which I greatly appreciate.  I had fun on the course, a great mix of technical features, climbs, and sweet descents.  I got hung up a few times... some stupid mistakes on my part, and some just plain technical trail.  Having seen the course I feel that I will have a good race.  I think the most challenging part on race day will be contending with other riders in technical areas.  But, I have a good idea of the trails I will ride to prepare for the race - working in a good mix of technical trails, distance, and climbs to be ready to rock the Boneyard.

The "boneyard" section of the trail wasn't nearly as scary as I had imagined, but will still present a challenge.  I'm still up in the air as to how I will tackle it during the race.  Opinions varied on the trail as to the best strategy to handle it on race day.  We'll see how I feel.  I didn't clean it on my two attempts (getting hung up in about the same section each time) but with momentum and a clear line it is doable.

As we got back to the finish/start area there was another rider waiting to join the ride, Neil.  We stopped to chat for a bit while Fabian jumped on his trials bike to lead the fast riders as they toured the course.  I bowed out as one lap was good for me, and I certainly didn't want to hang up the guys any further... plus, keeping up with a motorcycle???

I'm looking forward to the race.  But talking with Charlie and Craig, and seeing them in action, I certainly have a long road ahead of me in the race world.  I am not discouraged by it, but more refreshed that this is a sport where guys at the top of their game are happy riding with guys at the start of their journey.  I don't know if there is another sport out there like mountain biking, where no matter what level you are competing at there is such a shared sense of camaraderie amongst all competitors.

Thanks again guys!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Saturday Cinema

Welcome to Media Friday, second try...

Out with the Beastie Boys, in with Swollen Members.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Two For One Deal, except

Media Fridays
We'll posts videos or photos that will hopefully inspire trail shredding weekends.

EDIT** Apparently the Beastie Boys don't like to share so my Sidewinder video was blocked.  Don't have time to edit now, so I'll post to new version sometime next week... until then, enjoy the one

First up - Sidewinder


And we'll end today on Kitchel (with some other trails thrown in there as well).