Friday, December 30, 2011

Media(less) Friday

We are back... we've been back, but I've been taking my sweet ass time to get back into things.  Which isn't really true because I'm still off of work.  Annie has had a long two day week, so I really feel for her.

So since I'm back, and every one else has done a holiday recap of the goodies they've received I guess that just means one thing.  It's my turn!!

Since I'm still groggy and needing to get my ass in gear for a ride, not a long day of doing nothing, I'll do a quick picture-book recap of the bike related stuff I got.

I'll throw it in again, but I already mentioned the sweet helmet I got.

Then I got this nifty "gorilla grip" so that I can attach my camera to pretty much anything for some sweet 3rd person angles on future rides.

It will even attach to odd shaped things!!

Next I got some tools to keep the trails open and free from decapitating foliage. 

I will hack you!!
And then I will make you all pretty : )

And after much deliberation with my fellow Team Dild's Grill rider, Sean (Mongo)... and the fact that the winter hasn't been so wintery so the HiFi should be out on the trails and not on a trainer... It was time to cave in a buy a road bike.  So with the cash I got for the holidays as a base, I got myself a little Georgia Bulldog.

Ok, so it's time for me to eat something and hit the trails....  

Happy New Year!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Media Friday PLUS (+)

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

Happy Holidays everyone!  Today we are heading to CT to drop the dogs off at my parents and then we are catching a flight to visit the clan down in WV.  Until we get back, nothing will be going on over here (probably).  Hopefully you won't even notice because you will be enjoying your time off from work, time with family, enjoying good food, maybe opening some sweet gifts, partaking in any other traditions you may have this time of year, and spending some precious time on the trails if all goes well... and we hope it does!!

Yesterday we had a half day at school and the plan was to head down to CT yesterday... plans changed, the weather was gorgeous, and I was miffed that I didn't have my bike with me since there was no rush home.  Traffic was the same as it ever was so by the time I got home I didn't have much in me to head back out.  So I didn't.  But thanks to my gorgeous and supportive wife, she booted my ass out the door to ride.  I was pumped, but without a place in mind to ride I figured I had plenty of time to pick a place, get there, get riding, and throw on the light as the sun faded away.  

I decided to hit up Wompatuck since I hadn't been there in a while and the I figured I'd follow the race course.  As I'm getting all my gear together in the parking lot I find out that the light isn't in the trunk of bike gear I keep in the pterodactyl  like I thought it was... UGH... it's 3:30 already... so about an hour of light left.

Screw it.  I set out and figure this will make me keep the pace up.  The 4300 felt good.  It was interesting riding parts of the race course (with the impending darkness I could only do a portion of the course ) on the 4300 versus the HiFi.  Naturally it's a totally different experience (29er full suspension vs 26 hardtail) but it was a fun time!  One annoyance was the angle of my shifters... the set up on the 4300 is a shifter/brake lever combo... so while the brake levers were good, the shifting was not so much, and I can't angle them individually... which BLOWS!!  So I'll have to do some more playing with that to get a better set up, or upgrade....

Point of the story is I was able to squeeze a ride in before the trip!  Thanks mostly to the unseasonably warm weather we are having but mostly due to Annie making sure I didn't get stuck in a lazy funk. (couldn't find a clip to support the double "mostly"... but maybe someone out there gets it?)

Happy Holidays!!!

And now to the media portion of our program.

And a bonus gift!!!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Finally, I got a hook up!!!

So, I've been riding with the same helmet (Giro Xen) since I got back into mountain biking... so that was December 2009.  This is how I take care of my helmet... I throw it in the back of the pterodactyl until the next time I ride.  I don't know if you caught the subtleness of the care I take... I throw it in the way back... sweaty, and eventually (and here is the problem) smelly as all hell!!

This summer it got real bad.  Some days it was hard putting that thing on!!  When the sweat started pouring I think the mixture was some sort of super concentrated fermented salty mess that not only stung the eye, but burnt the retina... bad stuff.

As I was getting my "bike stuff" list together for loved ones to peruse and purchase from I put a new helmet on the list.  A sweet helmet that will be my race helmet... it matches the HiFi's color scheme.  Yeah, I'm turning into one of those "matchy" fellows.  I'm not going so far as to get orange handlebars or anything (the orange ones are DH, so wouldn't really fit my needs).  But, I want to keep the Xen around to mount cameras and lights and whatnot... but what to do about the powerful, smelly, venomous mess it has become?

I contacted the good folks at Giro to inquire about the possibility of procuring replacement padding.  It was as easy as an email to ask, and an email to provide my shipping info and there you have it.  A few days pass and the pads are in my hands... free of charge!  Cha Ching!

Does that mean I'm sponsored??  Free stuff, from a bike company... sponsor??  hmmm... (or as my email yesterday wanted to autocorrect it to - "hammy") I think not.  I just think this is a sweet free service Giro provides to all helmet owners.  One more reason for brand loyalty in my book!

Can you tell the old from the new??

Popped the fresh pads in and the helmet was snugger than ever.  Had to adjust the Roc Loc to loosen things up a bit.  So not only were the pads smelly and angry, they were compressed.  I'm looking forward to an aroma free, comfortable experience on my next ride.

Note to Giro:  I'm fully accepting sponsors and would be happy to ride with any gear you'd be interested in providing me.

or Hammy......??


If you know Annie, you know she simply can not stand having unopened gifts in the house.  Last night we waited around at UPS to pick up a package that could not be left at the door, so when we got home it was present opening time.  Annie got me a sweet rolling luggage since my duffle bag on wheels was an ancient behemoth and it was time for me to travel like a grown-up.

But the reason for the late addition is what else Annie got for me.

Yes indeed... and it matches the HiFi beautifully!!  (I would have included glamour shots but the state of the training room, not to mention the bike thong, made things look a little sloppy)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Finter?? or Wall?? But certainly not Winter!!

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

I don't know about where you are living, but it certainly doesn't have a real winter feel here yet.  Temps are starting to nose dive, but with none of the white stuff, it's just weird!

Here's an interesting little video.  A little hike up to see the sunrise and then a nice "hoppy" descent.

Autumn sunrise ride from VR|46 on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Beavers!

I tore around Cutler this weekend on the 4300.  And boy was it weird to be riding 26 inch wheels.  I think I've talked about this before.... but really, it's a strange transition for so many reasons... but to avoid beating a dead horse, I digress.

There are a couple changes I have wanted to make to the 4300, and after this ride, possibly a couple more.
1. I've been thinking of switching it to a 1 x 8 - to make things more simplistic.
2. New handlebars.  Just not a fan of the riser bars that came on it.  I'm loving the wide bars on the HiFi, but not sure I need that on the 4300.  But definitely looking to get a flat bat.
3. New (or old) saddle.  I love the Selle Italia SLR XC Gel Flow saddle that I got a while back.  I switched it to the HiFi... and put the saddle that came on the HiFi onto the 4300.  It's not a horrible saddle, but it's not the SLR XC... and I like the SLR XC...  so what will likely happen is I'll get a spankin new one for the HiFi and put the gently used one on the 4300.
4. Might play with the stem length... but that will all depend on #2 and how the fit is then.
5. Big difference between the hydraulics and the mechanical disc brakes - as I ride the 4300 more frequently the difference may fade as I get used to them again, but I REALLY like the feel of the hydraulics.

So I think that is about it.  I feel like the front fork is kinda blowing... but that isn't something I really need to mess with.  Do I NEED to mess with the rest?? Probably not.  New handlebars would probably suffice, but even that isn't really necessary...

So, I rode at Cutler, which included cutting through Millenium Park to complete the loop.  And there I saw evidence of beavers.  Not sure why it seemed so odd to me, but it caught me off guard.

Guess he was just working his way on down the line...

I guess I didn't think Cutler was big enough for much wildlife and Millenuim being more of a wide open hill with walking/jogging paths around it... well here, check it out.

View Larger Map

So, holy cow the holidays are just about here!!
It totally didn't dawn on me until today that next week is it before break.  WOW!!  So I've been totally slacking on giving everyone (that is interested in buying me a gift that is) a heads up on what I want.  So when I got home from work yesterday I ran through the internet and made up a quick list.  When Annie originally asked me to give her some things that I wanted my answer was "bike stuff."  And honestly, you get me anything mountain bike related and I'd be super happy.  It was funny how I was kinda stumped as to what I really want when I was looking.  Don't get me wrong, I certainly found stuff.... but I didn't have any burning passion for anything in particular.  I suppose that's a good thing!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Fells has not fallen!

Over the past couple months I've mentioned the battle for the Fells... rather the Resource Management Plan the DCR was drafting to determine how they move forward with the management of the Fells.  As I've mentioned previously, biker access has been a hugely contested battle for over 25 years in the Fells.. with current legal riding being restricted to mostly fire roads.  The one "mountain bike loop" is 85% fire road and 15" singletrack...  Thankfully progresses seems to continue on our side.  The DCR released their final version of their DCR and they have stood firm with their findings that mountain biking does not cause excessive damage to trails (as some groups would like you to believe) and that there is a real need (and plan for) more access for mountain bikers.  You can check out the final document here if you would like.  It still needs to be voted on and passed in the regular old bureaucratic way, but it is a positive that their plan was not swayed by a few... "haters."

The biggest opponent to equitable mountain bike access has be Friends of the Fells... check them out if you like... what you'll like come to realize is that this group combative against the rights of any users other than their own members.  It's sad really.  They also would like to limit dog access to the park...

I had heard people talk about the "Friends" and characterize them as crazy.  I thought that this might be an exaggeration people commonly throw around... but when I went the the DCR meeting about their RMP I got to see first hand how out of touch some of their members were.  Being aggressive and rude towards the DCR, and making claims that made absolutely no sense with no real logic to back them up... oh well.

So, hope remains that the DCR will make positive choices and move forward with equitable access - as there is in practically every other state forest in Massachusetts.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Here comes the weekend!

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

Just a cool little video to enjoy... so, if the weather is right, hit the trails this weekend!!

Suleva mtb evening. from Lorenzo Evangelisti on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

the sweet pain

Tuesday I stayed after school to watch girls basketball scrimmage.  A couple of my players from last year asked me to check it out, plus I was interested to see who made which squad.  During the down time before the scrimmage tipped off I hit the weight room.

I'm trying to put together my weight program for the off season.  As of now I think I'll be balancing a "maintenance" program with a "gain" program.  Still figuring out which muscles will fit into which category... may depend on different "days" or programs... but one thing is for sure, legs will definitely be in the gain category.  This year I quickly backed off doing any serious weight with the legs as it totally destroyed me on the trails for days after heavy leg sets.  So I'll do all my gaining in the winter, and let the riding and high reps do the rest during the season.

Oh, about the scrimmage.  I was pleased with the performance of my girls.  I'm not a father, but I imagine the pride I feel when I see former players out on the court pales in comparison of that of a parent.

Also, got my trainer "test" out of the way.  The test was to get a base for my HR to utilize throughout the program, but it also was a good check for the fit of my bike on the trainer.  HR was the easy part.  After my ride I decided to take the file to the trainer and shave off a little more just to get a better fit in the skewer cup. 

I found a random video up on youtube someone had posted from a race they did that I watched whileon the trainer.  It did enough to keep my mind occupied while spinning along, and at times I found myself pushing harder as if I would be able to pass the rider in front of me (or to catch one in the distance).  We'll see how the training videos do as motivation, otherwise a self directed workout with a race video going on might be the way to go... we shall see!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bike Thong... it's what the cool kids wear!!

Annie and I spent a little time this weekend converting our extra bedroom into a training/workout room.
And, I got the HiFi fitted on the trainer!!  Took a little filing here and there, but now it's snug as a bug in a rug

If 29ers weren't tall enough... put it on a trainer and you better find yourself a step stool!

Yeah, I'm sporting the complete set - mat, bike thong, and phone/remote holder (not pictured, 2 climbing blocks).

I've got three, count em, three training videos to utilize.  The deal at the LBS was two videos, and they even dug up a mountain bike video for me.  When I got home and opened up the trainer out popped another video, and luck be a lady, it wasn't one I already had!!  SCHWEET!  

1. Mountain Biking (no longer available as a DVD - you can download it on your computer, but I got the classic DVD suckers!!) from the TrainRight series from Carmicheal Training Systems.

2. Force - from the realRides series with Robbie Ventura

3. Race Day  - from the realRides series with Robbie Ventura (the freebie!!)

Now I'm all set to get my "trainer on" once the weather completely turns on us... until then, I'll be tearing it up on the 4300 whenever possible... which will mean more forays into the realm of night riding!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

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

It's December... the days of winter and massive snowfall are near...  which means it's training time.  Time to hit the weights, and ride the trainers...

Inside Out on

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Here's the plan! well, the start of it anyway...

Recap of my 2011 (inaugural) race season.
5 total races.  One per month (sans June), starting in April and ending in September.

So here is the (planned) start for the 2012 season.

8th (listed as the 7th, but that would be a Saturday?) Bunny Hopbrook, CT - Root 66
22nd Winding Trails, CT (raced this year) - Root 66
29th (listed as the 28th...) Massasoit Lung Opener, MA - Root 66

20th Weeping Willow, MA (raced this year) - NECS
27th Coyote Hill, VT - Root 66

3rd Domnarski Farm, MA - Root 66  OR  Big Ring Rumpus, NH - NECS
9th/10th Mountain Bike Fest, NH (Pat's Peak) - Root 66
17th Pinnacle, NH - NECS

So, you see, by the end of May I could have raced in two months what I did all this season.  This is something I am excited about because toward the end of this season I was itching to race between my entries.  I'm sure I will feel the wear and tear of the increased schedule, but hopefully I'll be well prepared for it.
There is also much more travel involved in this potential schedule.  This year I kept everything either close to Boston, or close to my parent's in CT... that way race day driving would be minimal.  With the 2012 season I have not (yet) limited my schedule for travel.

There are two races listed for May in the Root 66 series that have not yet locked down dates - Winsted Woods and Norcross Scurry... so that means I could have another 1 or 2 races in May.  

On June 3rd I'm torn between Domnarski Farm and Big Ring Rumpus...  I've heard good things about each - so if anyone wants to weigh in on either race feel free to persuade me!

Trainer update after the weekend.