Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Quick Update:

Maggie is good.  No infection (my big worry) and no more bleeding - which means a clean cleaner house.
Playing it up for the camera.
You say "ball" or "treat" and it's all - what bandage??
Due to the timing of her appointment (1:45) I didn't get out for a ride.  Well I guess I did... sort of.  Annie needed some official documents at work which she had forgotten at home (her license - official, I know!!).  See, here in the city we have street cleaning days... and when you have a spot on the legal side of the road you don't move your car!!  That being said, I didn't think the 3.85 mile round trip commute was going to kill me.

Tuesday the kids had the day off as we educators prepared for the school's 10 year review next year.  We have a bunch of inservice days this year to complete our self assessment... sounds like fun, eh?  I figured it would be a low key day - making it a ride day!  I wasn't sure what time we'd be done, so I grabbed my light before heading out the door.  Maybe I can stretch a ride out so i can test the light out for a bit??

Annie emails me and let's me know she forgot her keys at home and was hoping I'd be home before 6 so she could time her arrival at home and avoid sitting on the front steps to wait for me.  So no light testing...

BUT I did ride at a new, local to work, location.  Caryl Park/Noanet Woodlands.  It wasn't half bad.  Most of the riding was doubletrack/fire road type marked trails for families and horses.  So - nothing technical, no huge elevation changes.  But, the more I explored the more singletrack options I found.  I found a sweet length of singletrack going out into what felt like untouched woods.  Not sure if that was still part of the woodlands I was riding, but it was sweet!  Looking at my ride map it looks like there is plenty to explore in the are to the east.  So this spot definitely merits more exploration.

If I jumped onto the powerlines looks like I could head south for even more opportunities!!  Yippee!!

If you haven't seen this show before, you need to start watching it.  
If you've seen it before, well, you are welcome!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Getting dirty and craving more!

Michael and I had a blast at the rugged maniac in Southwick, MA this weekend. Being our first "mud run", we had no idea what to expect. The course map was up on their website, but there were no promises that all of the obstacles were accounted for, and they weren't guaranteeing that the obstacles would be in any specific order -- so basically, we were prepared for mud. Lots of mud.

And that's what we got, even though we were scared it wouldn't turn out that way.

We entered the event area near the finish line, so we were able to see people from previous heats finishing up their runs while we registered. Michael pointed out that they didn't look too dirty. Everyone looked tired and wet, but not particularly muddy. I was really looking forward to getting dirty, so I was bummed. I was promised a muddy adventure, and these people just looked like they ran a 3 mile race in the rain, which is tough but not really "rugged".

Well, we soon learned how that was possible.

The race begins with a bunch of people running a footrace through the woods (and around a parking lot...twice) who look like this:

Then, after a couple obstacles like this one.

This one.

And let's not forget this one.

You end up looking a little something like this :

So you get dirty. Really dirty. However, at the end you don't look like the above picture and here's why:

The last obstacle starts with you being shoved down a slippery slide,

which results in you being tossed (and flipped and spun...if you're Michael) into a pool of water where you swim over floating candy cane looking thingys,

which then, consequently, ends up washing most of the muddy excess off your tired body.

So once you leave the race area, get back to your car, find your camera and ask some really nice equally as exhausted person to take your picture -- it comes out like this:

Which you then show to your loved ones and instantly get told: "Oh, you didn't get dirty at all!"

Sneaky rugged maniacs.

In any case, I highly recommend everyone who loves to ride bikes, run races, play sports or simply get dirty to find the nearest mud run race and sign up now (rugged maniac, spartan, tough mudder, warrior dash)! There were over 5000 people running the Rugged Maniac in Southwick with at least another 5000 spectators. It's a great time, and we definitely plan on doing it again next year!

Also, they hire professional photographers to document the race. So you will eventually get sent a link to thousands of pics that will more than likely show you being buried in mud at one point or another, which you can then use to document your ruggedness.

Go Maniacs!!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Weekend Warrior

Late post.

I'm off today as one of the puppies (Maggie) has an injury that needs attention, so I'll be taking her to the vet today.  Hopefully I'll be able to take Scout in as well for her yearly check up - two bird, one stone and all.

I won't go into the Rugged Maniac - Annie will have that covered.  I will say that I am super proud of her.  She kicked some major butt out there!!  So that was Saturday.

Sunday Annie's company was going to Six Flags for meeting some goals or whatnot and I was able to tag along.  It was fun, until lunch... then the food did not sit too well with me so I had to bow out of the afternoon roller coasters - really didn't feel like hurling all over the ride.  I remember when it DIDN'T cost $20 to park at Six Flags.  I remember when you didn't have to park ACROSS the road from the park.  I remember when it was Riverside!!  And there were only TWO, WOODEN roller coasters... ah I'm getting old...

So with Saturday and Sunday filled with driving and activities that meant no riding...  So I'm thinking Maggie felt bad for me, injured herself so I would be forced to take a day off to take care of her (which hopefully will be wrapped up by noon) all to give me time to ride!!  What a great dog!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

One more race for the season!!

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

Except this one Annie is joining in on (actually she masterminded it) and it is without wheels...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Keeping it FRESH!

As Annie mentioned, we rode up at Great Brook Farms the other day at a NEMBA event.  I took the 4300 out for a spin as whenever I ride with Annie I take the small wheels so as not to drift away on my big wheels.  Since getting Annie out on dirt we've typically ridden relatively easy tread at either Wompatuck or Cutler so the major differences I noticed between the 4300 and the HiFi had to do with the difference between 26" and 29" wheels.  Handling (which is actually largely due to handle bar width) and acceleration are the quickest factors noticed on our rides.  The Great Brook ride revealed a greater difference that goes deeper than wheel size...

Our first run at Great Brook was the "beginner loop" and as such, was pretty smooth and business as usual for our rides.  As Annie took a break I headed out to explore a little (having never ridden here before) as I jumped on the "intermediate loop."  My first lesson of the day was somewhat expected.  When riding 29s you can point and ride over much of the typical trail chatter without a second thought, but on this ride I was rudely reminded that on the smaller wheels trail chatter can equal obstacles!!  Picking lines and lifting the front end became priority number one as I entered rooty/rocky trails.  Wow, what a HUGE difference!!!  This, a nuisance at first, made me wonder if riding big wheels was an unfair advantage... or even worse, a detriment to riding skills??!!

With larger wheels, which quiet the trail, do we lose our edge as a rider?  Add full suspension to that... are we "calming" the reality of mountain biking??    My second realization of the ride was how important it was for me to ride a hardtail when with Annie so I more carefully pick lines so that I recognize the challenges she faces on the trails with me instead of floating over the trail on a full squish big wheeled ride.

Third lesson came when navigating technical rocky sections.  I mentioned the other day how something "clicked" for me regarding technical riding... the aspect of that lesson I forgot to mention was braking.  Being able to balance, brake, change direction, and forge forward.  With hydraulic disc brakes, braking is super responsive and firm enabling split second direction changes.  Lesson three pointed out how mechanical disc brakes react VERY differently.  Riding the 4300 was taking more concentration and finesse then I was accustomed to.  It had been SOOOOO LONG since I actually rode small wheels on a challenging course that I forgot what it was all about.  I forgot how abusive a hardtail can actually be!!

Lesson of the day is this: Having multiple rides - different rides - keeps a rider on his toes AND keeps your local trails fresh.  If you find yourself conquering a trail section, making that rock garden routine, killing climbs in record time try switching up your ride (whether the difference is full suspension to hardtail, 29 to 26, geared to single) and hit it again.  You'll be surprised how much different the same section feels on a different bike.  You'll also be amazed at the cobwebs you'll find yourself clearing out of your brain as you readjust your focus to adapt to the whole new scene you've found yourself in.

For me some of the major draws to this sport is the ability to experience new trails, do new things on your bike, and clear the previously unclearable - to constantly evolve.  But once you've got your local trails mastered and every curve burned into your brain, it's important to find a way to stay fresh.  Getting up and moving across the country to experience a new style of riding may not be possible... so it's nice to be able to make minor adjustments in your approach to keep the trail "new" and continuously test your skills.   Keep rotating your bikes... even your oldest rig still has a few lessons to teach you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

3 things

1. I may or may not get to ride this week.
On Friday we are heading down to CT after work to go out to dinner with Michael's parents. Then we will be getting up early (not really) to get registered and lined up for our 12pm heat at the Rugged Maniac race in Southwick, MA. I'm extremely pumped to see how far I can make it on the 5K course containing multiple obstacles, one which includes running up and down the sandy jumps of a motor cross course, not to mention, a belly crawl under barbwire through mud. I'm ready to get dirty!

However, biking doesn't seem like that much of a possibility for the weekend. Even if I was up for it on Sunday after getting my ass handed to me on Saturday; I won't be home. My boss is taking all of us to Six Flags in Springfield to celebrate a kick-ass second quarter. Therefore, my best shot at riding would be after work tomorrow (today...since you are reading this on Wednesday), or Thursday. It could happen if the weather would stop being so damn depressing. Rainy and 55 degrees mid September? I'll pass.

2. I may or may not have gained 4lbs during my trip to LA.

It seems those morning waffles and lattes may be my weight gaining secret weapon! The reason I'm not sure is because I've weighed myself twice since getting home and the first time I was 5lbs over my usual while the second rang in at 3lbs over. I'm deciding to split the difference and declare myself a 4lb winner! It makes me wonder how completely unhappy and horrific it would be to be an actress though. If those waffles can make ME gain weight, I wonder what they would do to a normal metabolism. Those poor girls. Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.

3. I may or may not be drinking watermelon mojitos in my pajamas with my hair on top of my head.


Oh well, watcha gonna do.

That is all.


Monday, September 19, 2011

I'm back, and I'm exhausted.

The trip to LA was fantastic, as always. We left early Saturday morning and although we hit some annoying speed bumps to our excitement in the beginning, including not getting to sit next to each other on the plane ride there and having a huge grandpa sized Buick be our only available car at the rental place, we finally found our groove.

We started every morning with a walk to get breakfast followed by either a hike or a run. The weather was beautiful, the people were friendly and the food was fantastic. We didn't want to leave, but alas, Friday reared it's familiar head and off we went back to the east coast. But if you are an avid Tonight Show fan and you record every episode then check out last Tuesday's show because we were sitting in the second row and shook Jay Leno's hand. If you aren't lucky enough to have that episode, then check out this week's Tuesday show of Ellen. I'll be on the aisle dancing next to Ellen. Believe it.

And we saw Neil Patrick Harris get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

So, we land back in Boston around 8:30pm Friday night and Michael picked us up. On the ride back to the house he mentions that there's a group ride thing going on this Sunday. I was looking forward to getting back to my bike, but after a whole day of traveling I just didn't see it in the cards. Luckily, I was able to sleep all day Saturday so Sunday morning I was pumped to get out and ride with Michael.

Well, I may have been excited, but I wasn't prepared. Not even a quarter of the way through the loop and I was done. My legs started to cramp, my breathing was crazy and I felt dizzy. All the sudden every single honey vanilla latte, cosmopolitan, glass of wine and can of soda I drank over the week flashed before my eyes. I know I had a lot of water when I was hiking and running, but not really any other time during our trip. I was definitely dehydrated, but somehow I found the will to finish the remaining four miles and get back to the car. Michael went around once again on a more difficult trail while I napped in the car. Never again will I do a bike ride less than 30 hours after traveling cross country and spending the week eating belgian waffles.

After my nap, I did partake in some of the yummy BBQ they had there. Michael did too, obviously.

But today I start back to work. Soon I'll be back to my normal schedule, and I'll be back out on the trails. I just need to drink some water first.


Friday, September 16, 2011

I wonder when I'll go singlespeed?

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

I dunno, I just dig the videos these guys put together...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Settle down there

Attended the DCR's presentation of their Resource Management Plan last night.  Got a sneak peak, the full version will be up at some point today - check it out... it's long... section 4 is where the important stuff is at.

Honesty...  I was underwhelmed at the turnout - in general.  I was initially underwhelmed at the turnout from NEMBA/mountain biking community.  But when I saw the overall turnout I'd say we were probably best represented from any one interest group... so I guess it evens out.  Again, I'm new to this whole scene, so maybe I'm all "bright lights, big city" dreamin, maybe this is the deal.

From the presentation I'd say there is hope.  It's not a "free for all" for mountain bikers, nor should it be if we want to be fair and equitable.  But mentioning the addition of new mountain bike accessible singletrack is definitely a step in the right direction.  Yet the step was smaller than had been hinted in the past, and not as much as NEMBA had been hoping... but again, this was a sneak peek summary meeting. Have to read up and see what the deal is.  I'm new, I'm still hopeful.

The "entertainment" for the night was provided by one member of the Friends of the Fells.  I don't want to bash the group as a whole, that is certainly not my intention... but man they really need to reel this guy in.  Other members were much more diplomatic, calling for cooperation... might have been a song and dance, but that's politics.  This guy, on the other hand, started attacking the DCR's study in the middle of the presentation... way to start on the right foot there guy.  When it was his chance to speak he starts calling into question the specific study noted in the presentation... NO SPECIFIC STUDY WAS NOTED IN THE PRESENTATION!  Again, it was a quick summary presentation.  Dude man was off his rocker.  Angry, angry man.  It was sad and comical at the same time.  I think a rogue mountain biker must have stolen his child or something - Leonard Smalls style

The meeting went long so I didn't hang around to speak with the GBNEMBA contingent present as I wanted to get back to the puppies.  And good thing I did.  As I was walking up the sidewalk the dogs were going nuts at the window (I checked Annie, no damage, the new window withstood a brutal attack by Maggie, and the sill guard you installed worked flawlessly) because an opossum was headed my way. It turned and hightailed it when it saw me.

But yeah.  I'd say the best thing we can do is to work with the DCR in the development of any new singletrack open for mountain bike use to ensure maximum flow and sustainability.  Create a great union now - save them some time and money by getting in and doing the work - and hopefully open up more access moving forward.  I'm new (theme here) and maybe this has all been offered in the past, but the door is opening, let's help widen the gap.  I'd be down for even representing GBNEMBA in "all interest" group to help smooth out some relationship with the other users of the park.... unlike other parks we won't be able to use the "Friends of" moniker since it's been aligned with a group who, historically, has been against bikers... I'm thinking "Citizens of the Fells."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Holy Nonsense Batman!!

So I was going to put out on last all points bulletin for the DCR presentation of their study...  but I have to comment on something else instead.

I'm big supporter of  It's a site I've used heavily as I've gotten back into riding for info, finding trails, reviewing gear, etc.  All around it's been a great site.  Great people, super helpful, and not a lot of idiots being idiots you run across on other sites.

Today I witnessed the worst nonsense bickering I've ever seen on there, and it saddened me...

Don't know if you've heard of this guy or not, but James, from has little videos of exercises for us mountain bikers to use to improve our strength for riding.  Great idea.  I've looked over a couple things - far from an expert on him or his site - and I thought it was all good stuff.  

I was psyched when he appeared on the blog on singletracks - a site I love and respect put this guy on, add another point to his total score.  So today he had another post on there.  Cool!  A site member makes a comment to his blog.  Doesn't call his post or theory bull, just states what he learned back in the day.  And then James comes back and totally losses it on this guy.  It was nuts.  Not sure if he was overly defensive or what, but it was an absolute train wreck.  

I had to throw my two cents in the comment discussion cause it really just disrupted my whole day.  And then I had to share it here.  
Thing is, it's a freakin blog.  
On a site full of riders.  
We all have our own preferences.  

We are a group of misfit bandits.  I mean, isn't that why Dicky is... Dicky??

I don't hate on Charlie every time I see him because he loves riding a rigid singlespeed.  That's his thing!!  That's part of what makes him a cool guy.  But bottom line, he's got his school of thought (which I think goes something like this... I like going fast, but I like to get beat to hell while doing it - rigid it is!!) and I've got mine (I like to ride, I want to go fast, but squishy is comfortable!!) and we get along just fine.  So there is no reason to battle over a theory on the best way to pedal.  Plus, I don't think a guy with the name "fat_billy" is really trying to go pro any day soon.  From what I can gather from many posting I've seen from him, he's a light hearted guy out to have fun and share his two cents from time to time.  Isn't the idea of web communities and forums to share ideas and see different perspectives??

Can't we all just get along??

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

ugh... Monday (but now it's TUESDAY!)

So Annie is out of town... I'll post up a little something in her absence.

Last week I talked about getting all involved and whatnot with the local NEMBA chapter, and Monday was that time... well part of that time.  A time I almost forgot...  I was busy getting all frustrated with the garmins.  I don't know what is up with it, I seem to consistently get longer distances than is reality - and I only know this due to races...  Weird.  So I was all google boarding (I don't like web surfing) trying to see if anyone else had any issues similar to mine.... but alas, I've screwed thing up in my own unique fashion.  You'd think errors would be on the short side, but somehow I go longer...  It is annoying to say the least.  So I gave up with the computer searching and decided to ditch the prescribed wheel circumference I have entered into the 500 and I finally did a real deal rollout to measure my wheel, at my pressure, with me on the bike... and it turned out that indeed my wheel circumference entered in the garmins was higher... I don't know if the difference was large enough to account for the miscalculated distances... but we'll see.

So that should have been a quick, not so annoying fix, right?  WRONG!  Looking over my race data I noticed my cadence was in and out... the cadence sensor johnny slide down the crank so the magnet wasn't hitting the sensor at various times on the course so I started to remedy the situation.  Then I thought, maybe I should just take the damn this off and let gps determine my distance and speed and be done with this mess.... so I took it all off....  Then I thought, well speed and distance should be more accurate with the sensor (if correctly calibrated) and looked to put the junk back on... and that's when I noticed the time.  CRAPTASTIC!

Dropped the nonsense and took off for Medford... old school style - that's right, directions written on a post it note (Annie has the vehicular garmins in LA).

The chapter meeting was held at JRA Cycles.  Man that place was packed full of goodies.  I didn't investigate thoroughly at all (I really should have) but it looked like they had some sweet ass rigs in there - I caught glimpses of some Niners... oooohhhhh, aaahhhhhh!

So anyway, I was glad to be at the meeting, but a little "disappointed" at the turnout.  I have no idea how many people usually come... so maybe this is the usual crowd, but there were only a hand full of us there - and I was certainly the new kid on the block.  With such an important meeting coming up - WEDNESDAY (the other part of my involvement) regarding access to local trails I had hoped for a big turn out.  As I mentioned last week, which was confirmed at the meeting, a lot of people have been burned out by decades of battling with the DCR and their inability to take control of their own land and not be swayed by a select few interest groups.  Let's just hope there is a greater presence at the DCR's presentation of their new plan.... and of course that in that plan there is good news for us mountain bikers.

So, I'm not sure if I have any readers in the Boston area... or Massachusetts for that matter... but if you are out there, and you are reading this... get your ass the the McGlynn School in Medford on Wednesday at 6:30pm.  More info here.

I apologize right now, but did you think you'd get away clean after I wrote that I was the "new kid on the block?"  Come on... it's horribly amazing... HOLY F!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Season 1

My first race season has come to a close...

Overall, I've learned a lot.  A lot about my fitness, my riding, and hopefully I have an idea of where I need to go from here.  I've also been fortunate to meet some really great people through this blog and through racing.  And I'm grateful for all the advice and support I've received, so a big thanks to all you out there!!

For my final race, the Landmine Classic, I had no Annie or parents rooting me on... Annie is in LA with her best friend... so I took full advantage of that fact when making sure things looked good on the HiFi on Saturday.
That's condo living!

Even in their absence, I was still able to pull a crowd!!  My buddy Matt (a coworker) came out, even though I repeatedly told him he certainly did not have to show up (I didn't want him to feel obligated to check out my race since I had just stopped by his rugby game).   I spotted him as we were lining up waiting for the Cat 1 and Cat 2 riders to go off.  He didn't stay the entire time, good call on his part, and I greatly appreciated him seeing me start.

It was great seeing some familiar faces, and as with every race, meeting some new riders.  As I pulled in to park the door of the truck next to me swings open and out comes a question "are you following me??"  Low and behold it was Charlie - I swear, I'm not a stalker!!  I also met up with my buddy Pat at the end of the race.  I missed him before everything got started as I wasn't sure if he was going to ride the 25mi race or not.  I was out warming up right until they were getting things started so I didn't have time to thoroughly check for him... didn't see him on the course, but apparently passed him at some point.

I'd have to say, overall things went great for such a big race (400+ riders).  Instant results on the big screen was pretty sweet.  I heard a couple riders missed turns out on the course, which is unfortunate.  I made a turn late - but that wasn't really due to markings, that was more so because of traffic.  I had just let a rider pass me back as another was coming up behind me calling for the pass.  I was focused on staying to the right to let the pass happen and just followed the rider in front of me and at the last second looked up to see a left turn as the rider back was coming up for the pass (on my left).  I called out the turn (which he didn't seem to be making, following the rider ahead of us, and we both took it a little off trail to make the turn without crashing.  I tried to yell back to the rider who had passed me, but I'm not sure if he heard before going too far off course.  For the most part things were marked well - although I would agree that some taping across trail splits would have been nice here and there.

So my race...  I'm happy to say I've ended my season on a positive note.  From my pre ride I estimated a finishing time of around 1 hour 20 minutes.  I felt that as long as I was able to pace myself and not take off too hot I should be able to hit this goal.  In the line up I ended up towards the back, which was unintentional.  It was hard to tell where the age group in front of us ended and where ours began... I thought I was sitting pretty good until the age in front left... I was toward the back of the pack.  At first I wasn't happy about that, but then I thought it might turn out to be good, keeping me back a little so I didn't start off too fast... I quickly learned that wasn't the case at all.  Well, id DID keep me from not going off too fast, but it was too slow.  I worked my way through the pack as we rode the straight flat start before we hit the first turn into some rooty singletrack.  This put me at a slightly faster pace than I really wanted, but I was feeling good.  I was still working my way up steadily through the field when all of a sudden a rider went down on a rooty turn.  He fell hard next to me and we got jammed up for a second.  I made sure he was ok before taking off after those that got out ahead.

After that point I caught a few more people, got passed by a couple, but pretty much held my place for the rest of the race.  I had no idea how far I had gotten up, but I felt pretty solid in my ability to hold off those behind me.  The course was beautiful - considering the rains we had earlier in the week.  Some roots were a tad slick, but overall the course was pretty dry and fast.

Wet roots... my nemesis at the start of the season were no longer the monsters they once were...  I mean, they aren't my friends, but I feel my bike handling skills have improved by leaps and bounds throughout the season and I was able to aptly take them on turns and off camber trails with little worry.

Overall it was a day of good riding.  I finished in 10th place (out of 30).  I was happy with that.  I was kinda hoping I had cracked the top 10, but I am still happy with those results.  10th out of 30 is good enough to earn me a little something extra.  What I am much more pleased with was that my finishing time was 5 minutes faster than my target time!  I ended up finishing the 12 mile race in 1 hour 15m minutes.

So cheers to a great season.  I think I'll take a week to enjoy the season, and then it's time to start getting my ass in gear and training for next season.  I've enjoyed racing greatly, but I have a long way to go and I'm ready to get serious about this mess!

Friday, September 9, 2011

it's Friday?

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

With all this crappy rain there is no doubt Fall is here...

Summer is gone, is it time yet?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Coming Up

Night riding will soon be a reality!!  So I finally came to a decision on a light...  and it's on its way!!  Initially I was heavily investigating some options from NiteRider.  I was settling in and accepting the price and dropped a NiteRider Pro 700 Race in my pricepoint shopping cart.  Then, out of nowhere I got a reminder email from REI about their Labor Day sale going on.  Now, I SWEAR that they had trainers on sale and I was ready to pull the trigger on the CycleOps Fluid 2 but when I revisited their site there was no trace of that being a sale item... the hell??  No trainer, but they did have lights, so I perused their offerings and something caught my eye...  on a whim (meaning only about an hour of online review, research, and comparisons) I had a CygoLite MityCross 400 coming my way!!!  

The initial estimate was that I'd receive the light on Monday 9/12.  I thought that was perfect timing... no new toys to distract me prior to the Landmine Classic.  Then, yesterday I happened to get a wonderful email informing me that the light would be at my doorstep on Thursday 9/8 - for those of you still on summer time (or is it just me that gets on "summer time?") that is TODAY, yeah boooyyeee!!

As Annie mentioned, I'll be sure to fill you all in on how this bad bay performs on the trail.  Having never ridden in the dark before I won't really have anything to compare it with... other than it's ability to keep me from totally destroying myself on the trails at night.

Monday Greater Boston NEMBA is holding it's monthly chapter meeting, and I think I might just go.  I've wanted to attend in the past, but never actually made it... mostly because I was on "summer time" and didn't realize I missed Monday altogether...  But I feel that this meeting is especially important as the DCR is revealing it's final Resource Management Plan for the Fells.  For those of you who ride in Massachusetts you know how crucial this is.  For those of you not from the area here's a brief history of the Fells, which is a Reservation super close to Boston.  

The Fells has been super stringent with mountain bike access for the past 25 years.  NEMBA has been working hard to gain equal access and debunk some of the crazy claims that other users (The Friends of the Fells, cough, cough) make to try to keep mountain bikers off the trails.  Since I have known the Fells bikes have been limited to fire roads and one loop that consists of about 15% singletrack.  To say the least, riding legal riding is limited.  Knowing how contested things have been for so long I've always kept to the designated mountain bike accessible trail and roads.  I can't say all riders have, and from what I hear the not so legal stuff is killer... but others have worked far too hard and too long to get us rights for me to throw that all away so I can shred some singletrack.

Over the past year or two the DCR has been assessing trail use by holding public forums for groups to voice their concerns, has collected many surveys from users and local community members, and have conducted surveys throughout the Reservation to examine the sustainability of trails and soils throughout the area.  They've seemingly done their due diligence throughout the process to hear everyone's concerns and desires and on Wednesday 9/14 they will be sharing their final Resource Management Plan.  

I figure it's high time that I get active and do something to help gain further access to the resources we have here in Boston.  I ride here.  Now I race here.  Time for me to pitch in so we can all keep on riding here!!  I'm excited.  I'm hopeful.  But I'm new...  I know there have been many before me that have worked hard and stayed positive only to be shut out year after year.  Let's hope things are different now... and if they aren't, well I want to be there for the planning of the next step.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Girls' Week!

Every year my best friend, Yadranca, and I go on a week long excursion to sunny (usually year it rained every single day we were there) Los Angeles. We spend our mornings eating Belgian waffles and drinking lattes at Urth Caffe on Melrose followed by a trip back to our hotel for morning workouts and maybe a few hours by the rooftop pool then we're off for the rest of the afternoon partaking in a little activity we affectionately refer to as "celebrity safari".

To date we have seen Maria Shriver, Kevin Costner, Ryan Gosling, Kevin Spacey, Barry Pepper, Craig T. Nelson, Chris Cooper, James Cromwell, Benji Madden, Peta Wilson, Jerry Ryan (for all those nerd boys out there), Jon Lovitz, Jimmy Kimmel and my personal favorite: John "Uncle Jessie" Stamos. Who, incidentally, owns the softest leather jacket I have ever touched.

I would definitely call us "enthusiasts", but not fans. I can't say I'm an actual fan of any of the people we have seen. There is just something completely immature and exciting about seeing famous people. And believe me, I am very aware that it is immature. I am reminded every year by little comments from loved ones. "You're doing that AGAIN?", "This is just so silly." and "What do your husbands think about this trip?" are common rustlings around this time of year.

But, we don't care. The whole purpose of the trip is for the two of us to get to spend some time together since I live in Boston and she's 10 hours away in West Virginia. Even the years we didn't see anyone we had such a good time driving around LA, visiting Laguna Beach and shopping in Malibu. We're good little wives and never go out clubbing. In fact, we are always back in the hotel around 9pm getting ready for bed while we plan what we're going to do the next day. It's pure, innocent fun with a little bit of Hollywood glamour sprinkled on top.

So the point of my telling you this is so you'll know where I am when I'm not writing any blogs next week. Michael should have everything covered since he'll be finishing up his race season and trying out his new bike light while I'm gone.

When I return, Michael and I will running in the "Rugged Maniac" race, which I'll be more than prepared for since Yadranca will be taking me on runs all week long in LA, not to mention the hikes in Runyon Canyon.

Let's hear it for girls' week!!!!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Final

In just a few days I'll be racing my final race for the season, the Landmine Classic.  I've been looking forward to this race since last year - when I thought about racing for the first time.  If I had a home court, Wompatuck would be it.  It's my go to place... it's where I started on the old roads and paved paths (and where Annie in turn started out as well)... eventually venturing onto the plethora of singletrack.  It's my winter ride zone as the paved paths get nice and crusted with foot traffic and snowmobiles - you can usually ride without studded tires.  

I pre rode the course yesterday and it's looking great.  The promoters really deserve a high five for the work they put in cleaning up after Irene.. and at least a skeletal signage up to allow for pre riding this past weekend.  (Most arrows were perfect... only one arrow misaligned and one missing).  Closer to the race, tape will be up and "confidence arrows" as well.  To be honest, I haven't been riding nearly enough lately... I think it's the back to work blues (today is our first day back), but I really turned into a bum the last couple weeks.  It's too bad.  But it is what it is at this point.  So although my endurance is going to be a bitch in this race, I did feel super great on the bike handling side of things during my pre ride.  I cleared everything (except two wall crossings) but rocky/rooty climbs, stone walls, muddy rock gardens... things were looking good!!!  

The other day while I was on the Cutler part of my Cutler Commute something randomly hit me.  No, it wasn't a downed tree from big bad Irene... although there was a fair share of that out there....  I call these guys the triple threat.

Ok, to be fair Cutler is anything but technical... BUT it was while I was out tearing it up on the trail that a random thought flooded my brain and things just made sense (that's one of the things that I love about mountain biking... sometimes out of nowhere things just click and everything makes sense).  

My whole outlook on technical riding got a kick in the groin.  I guess I was stuck in some sort of simplified outlook on clearing technical terrain where it was all about steering and pedaling (momentum).  So yeah, that is involved, but the missing link for me was a new focus on body position!!  Working with your body position - getting out of the saddle, leaning right/left, etc. - equals balance!!  Get your balance right, keep your momentum up, and you are in a position to give that extra kick you need to get over that obstacle...

Simple stuff I know.  But until it clicks in your head it doesn't translate on the trail.  Mountain biking is a bit of a mental game - more often than not the biggest obstacle on the trail is your own head getting stuck because of fear.  

So, all that being said, I felt technically strong on my ride yesterday at Wompatuck.  And really, that's what it's all about.  Seeing the improvements.  I've got a ways to go in racing... but first comes strength and confidence in one's own abilities.  And I am very happy to say that as this season (my first race season) comes to an end I feel that I have continued making strides to becoming a stronger, more competent rider. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

foreign films

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

Here's a little foreign film to enjoy... 
I like the slow motion, but it looks kinda weird sometimes... distorted and whatnot.

GoPro HD: BBB Studios - GoSlow on