Monday, January 30, 2012


Spent last week, and the weekend, pretty much sick...  what a waste of a nice weekend.  And on top of it Annie is visiting her sister... which is great!  But for me, that means I get lazy, don't eat, or just eat snack food or random concoctions I come up with using whatever is in the cupboards/fridge.

But it's a new week, so back on track it is!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

New winter gear

Nope.  Although I could use some good winter riding gloves, I've decided to forgo the purchase and make due with that I have.  Why would I do that you ask?

Well, because as I eluded to the other day we are planning on moving to warmer climates come this summer.  Annie and I have been thinking about possible relocation options over the last year or two and our sights have settled on Charlotte NC.

I'll be honest, the move will be bitter sweet.

Sweet - warmer temps in the winter (a major impetus for our moving in the first place), year round riding (without freezing), A lot more "bang for your buck" house wise, getting a yard for the dogs, a nice clean little downtown area, and the fact that Annie's best friend recently relocated to the Charlotte area.

Bitter - leaving a sweet job at a small high school (with a campus setting!), further from family and friends, and not being able to race all of the races I entered this year... I'd very much like to get another shot at some of those courses!!

The sweet outweigh the bitter for sure.  Family will visit, hopefully friends will as well... There will be new races to enter, and I'm hoping that during the summers I can line up a visit "home" with the opportunity to enter some races up around here as well.

I'm in the process of looking for jobs - and have notified my supervisor as such.  Some people freak out about the idea of letting your current employer know what's up before you have a new job, and some people are dicks!  I don't want to leave my coworkers hanging, but more importantly I don't want to leave the kids hanging.  Plus, as I'm applying I do need letters of recommendation and whatnot, so it's no big deal.  As soon as things really start taking shape (like getting a job, or selling the condo - hopefully we can time that one right) things will be made official with the school, but I want to give them as much time as possible to find a quality replacement... not wait until the summer when we've already moved!

Plus, who knows what can happen... maybe I won't find a good job (although I'm not too concerned with that as I have a couple options within the school system - counselor or Dean of Students - and I can always go back to agencies outside of a school setting - although then I give up my sweet summers off deal...), or we won't be able to sell the condo (again not really worried about that, we've made improvements, we are in Southie, and new businesses and restaurants are always going in on the waterfront).  Basically we are a go for a move at the end of the school year, it's just a matter of getting everything in line.

But until then, I'll be riding the heck out of trails up here!!  I have a feeling I will miss the N.E. terrain when I'm down there... I mean, I'll totally appreciate the trail maintenance and care that seems to go on down there, but from the extensive riding I've already done there (ugh... one ride?) I didn't encounter nearly the roots and rocks we see normally here.  I do know I can always head out to Pisgah to get my butt kicked when I get homesick.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

In the works

The wheels have started turning on some big changes around here.

I'm not going to share all the details right now... but let's just say this would change my race plans for the later part of the season.  Not exactly sure of the full impact just yet, but some races will be missed for sure.

Exciting times!

Oh, and it's already 50 outside!!!  Of course, that means all our snow is going to turn the trails into a big mud hole....  Warm weather this time of the year is the WORST!!  Such a tease!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Bike Porn

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

Charlie expressed his desire for a new bike yesterday.  And I have to say, it's got me drooling a little bit.  So, it's a new company and they are looking for "Ambassadors" to get their bike out there, ridden, shared, and shown off.  Sounds like a sweet deal!!  Looks like it will be a highly competitive competition - 5 in the nation, 1 in each region... 
But for now...  enjoy some pictures of the Router.  They've also got a road bike and a cross bike... so a little fun for everyone, but we'll keep this dirt focused.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Oh Deer

Monday the riding was great.  Temps were in the low 30s (being generous) so the ground was frozen solid, making things super fast!  My feet were already cold while driving out to Cutler, and I had to make a stop at the LBS to pick up an extra tube and some patches as I was down to my last tube in the rear... I had planned on setting it back up tubeless, but my tire wasn't seating correctly and I didn't want to wrestle with it all morning so I just threw my extra tube in and headed out.  I wanted to ride, not go in frustrating circles!!

When I got to the trail I got my stuff together real quick like and hit the trail.  My fingers froze almost instantly as I was not wearing appropriate winter gloves.  That was remedied by stopping to move big limbs and the like from the trail a few times, seemed to get things circulating and after that the cold was not an issue.  I did run into a group of 6 deer, in the same spot I always come across deer at Cutler.  As I crested the hill and one deer shot across the trail I froze as he was heading toward the highway and I certainly didn't want a smashed deer on my conscience.

He paused and the rest of the group stayed where they were just staring at me.  It was so cold I couldn't get my phone to recognize my glove, or my finger, running across the screen.  By the time I got the phone to respond the large group to my left scattered.

I caught at least 3 deer in this picture, can you find them? (crappy IPhone)
The one to my right, the highway side, didn't budge.  As I started to go I was careful not to spook him, which is pretty much impossible when dealing with deer.  Luckily he crossed back over the trail in front of me and darted off to rejoin the herd/pack/clan.
Crappy no zoom in the cold IPhone... but as you see by the lack of trees between, he wasn't too far off.
I did a lot of exploring on my ride.  Normally I have a pretty fixed route and never take some of the small off shoots I see on my way, today I decided to take them... see where they went, and hopefully expand my ride loop.  Some side adventures were useful, others not so much, but all were fun.  At one point I apparently followed some game trail to nowhere and had to backtrack a little, but that's the fun - right?  I also ran into a cemetery and an apartment complex where they seem to have built their own trail that links up with the loop I ride.

As I was coming back through the "business side" of things I noticed my front wheel cutting on my when making turns.  ugh oh...  I stop and feel the front tire.  Yup, that's soft!  So I gave it a spin hoping that there is good sealant left from the season and thankfully I started seeing caffe latex sputter out.  Must have taken a thorn.  I actually remembered to bring my hand pump, so I pull that out and notice it is in horrendous shape.  I throw it on the front wheel and pump... but that doesn't feel right.

I stop immediately and check to see if the pump is working... yeah not so much.  I open the thing up and gravel comes out...  I feel the tire again.  I can make it (fingers crossed).  I didn't have too far to go by this point so I just rode it out.  When I got back to the pterodactyl I grabbed my floor pump and strap it onto the front wheel - I was curious to see how much pressure I had in there.
5 lbs of pressure in the front.  Will I be riding 5lbs in the future, I hope not.  But it did show me I can probably run lower pressure than I have been, so I guess that is cool.

My legs felt awesome on Monday, which I was psyched about.  Yesterday I did some threshold training on the trainer, and I felt pretty good there too.  Today after work it's time to hit the gym and really put these legs to work!

Oh, we had our first snow yesterday!  Totally didn't expect to see snow on the ground as I was leaving for work, but it was kinda nice.  Of course, it drizzled and made it into the 40s in the afternoon so everything was washed away... but it also means trails are going to be garbage unless things dry out quick or freeze up solid again.  Either way, fingers crossed for some good conditions toward the end of the week!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Training is on schedule

If the schedule we were considering was that of the Red Line....

Yikes, thus far I can't say I've had anything resembling a consistent workout/training schedule.  I've had spurts, but nothing really resembling a full blown program.  Luckily I don't live down south where they don't really have an off season - they have winter race series, so no rest for the weary!!

For a person who doesn't like order, structure, or making plans... I NEED plans.  Annie compliments me very well in that area, because she is the master planner.  Although, on a couple subjects I do have planning skills.  Lucky for me, once I get a plan in place I LOVE to follow it, to a "T."  So, unlike the Red Line, I will be on schedule from here on out.

But wait, today is a holiday, is that going to screw things up??  It won't anymore.  Part of my struggle to get anything consistent going has been the lack of consistency in my work schedule due to holidays, breaks, half days, meetings, etc.

I won't bore you with the details, but here's the rough sketch.

Weekends = solid mountain biking (as weather permits)
Wednesday = gym day - heavy lifting with the legs.
Monday or Tuesday = max exertion on the trainer (utilizing training videos)
Thursday or Friday (possibly weekend)= another day in the gym to work on strength

I will be on the trainer or my bike everyday.  So on the in between days I'll be doing some bodyweight/light weight exercises and some spinning or intervals on the bike.

So I've put it out there... hopefully the cyber peer pressure will be another support in keeping me on track.
Originally I was psyched for a ride today as forecasts at the end of the week predicted ugly nasty teens and below for temps over the weekend but high 30s for today... well we aren't getting to the high 30s at all... be lucky if we break freezing.  Makes going outside to ride a horrible thought, but I'm doing it.  What's training without a little frostbite?

Friday, January 13, 2012

We interrupt this program

Media Friday has been bumped by the following news (aka. and email I received)

DCR Stewardship Council Approves Middlesex Fells Reservation Resource Management Plan (RMP)

"On January 6, 2012, the DCR Stewardship Council unanimously approved the Middlesex Fells Planning Unit RMP after careful consideration and deliberation. With this approval, the RMP (available at becomes the official adopted management document for the Middlesex Fells Reservation. Recognizing that plans are living documents and that adaptive management is an important goal, the Stewardship Council also asked the DCR to monitor its progress in implementing the plan and report back in one year."

Sweetness!!  So that means more trails legally open to mountain bikers with the future addition of new trails - hopefully including NEMBA in the design and construction!

User conflict has been a huge thorn in the side of this whole process.  The DCR included this in their email:
"User Etiquette: The DCR Middlesex Fells is a popular urban reservation with a variety of uses and users. The DCR asks all users to practice the following etiquette.
· Respect other users, expect other users.
· Be friendly and courteous.
· Share the trails. Ride, walk or run on the right, pass on the left.
· Stay on the official trails. Going off trail or on user-created trails creates erosion, damages habitat and causes new trails which can't be maintained.
· Bicyclists yield to equestrians, runners and hikers.
· All users yield to equestrians. When a horse approaches, move off the trail and ask the rider for instructions.
· Always ride within your ability, under control and at a safe speed.
· Avoid unpaved trails when they are muddy or wet.
· Warn people when you are planning to pass. Bells or horns may frighten horses.
· Anticipate other trail users around corners and blind spots.
· Respect wildlife.
· Leave no trace. Pack out your litter.
· Dogs should be kept on leashes and under control on all trails.
· Pick up and properly dispose of all dog waste.
· Respect private and posted property."

Nothing surprising and all good rules to follow wherever you are... common sense and courtesy people!!

Trail closures will be starting to decrease redundant trails.  If you would like to get the details on the plan feel free to follow the link: 
This is a big win for us in the Boston Metro area.  May sound foreign to riders in other areas of the country, but here trail access can be a highly contested thing.  Generally it isn't, but the Fells has been an ongoing battle for 25 years, finally we are seeing some positive outcomes for the biking community.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The world is flat... Part 2

On Sunday I hit up a brand spankin new trail!  Well, part of a new trail.  It's so new it isn't complete!!  

I missed the first trail work day on Saturday, but decided to check out what was there on Sunday.  Looks like things are shaping up nicely.  And this will add another trail "close" by.  One that will actually be a nice quickstop on the way home from work.  So that is cool.  The plan is to have about 8 miles of trails in there.
What is even cooler is that town of Braintree approached NEMBA to put in bike specific trails.  As I was out there it is clear the land had been pretty neglected (rusty shopping carts, car chassis, mattress, and tons of broken glass) so that is awesome the town wants to put the land to good use and thought of us!!

What isn't so cool was the fact that the place was full of old game trails and a TON of briar bushes.  So I came out of there with little red scratches ALL OVER my shins.  As I was winding my way around trying to figure out the best way to ride what had been completed I could see pink ribbons marking future trail.  When I got home and checked out the route from my Garmins I saw land not yet used... and thus opportunity to spread things out a bit - which I'm excited for.  So far things are somewhat compact, sticking to what elevation there is to play on.  So I am definitely all in on the next trail work day to help out.

But, with fresh cut trails (and briars galore) danger lurks.  All the little stubbies left over from the loppers, the thorns, and broken glass led to a flat... in my rear tire... the one with the tube in it.  Of course!  I made it back to the pterodactyl with a soft wheel.  Pumped it back up and headed home - the next morning... completely flat.  Ah well... time to get more sealant and flip it back to tubeless.

Oh, and riding an actual road bike on the trainer = MUCH BETTER.  Now I can't wait for warmer weather in the Spring to actually get that monster out on the road!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The world is flat... Part 1

Thursday I got a knobby back on the HiFi and got it back out on the trails, and boy did it feel good.  The HiFi really does fit like a glove.  No adjustment period getting back on that bike, just get up and go!!

As I knew light would be fading fast by the time I hit the trail I decided to hit up Foxboro.  Being that it can be rocky and somewhat technical I had to plan my route well enough so that I wasn't stuck out in something harsh in the dark.  Trails were in great condition.  The ground was frozen so things were FAST!!  But looks like there's been some great trail maintenance out there as trails were clear and looked like they were getting some love.  It was easy to follow a nice loop out there.

I managed to get back to the fire roads with light fading fast and my helmet light on low.  Just having your light on low makes a huge difference as things start fading... plus it made me feel a little safer with the light on knowing a woman was recently shot by a hunter here in Massachusetts.

Riding with a helmet light is certainly the way to go... if you are riding with one light.  But if one were to race, I can't see you racing without both a helmet light and handlebar light... especially on unfamiliar trails.  I was on familiar fire roads when things got real dark, and even there I could see the flattening effects due to the angle of the light coming off the helmet.  Maybe it was more of an issue as I was pushing higher speeds on the fire road than I might on singletrack.... The light washed out the details of the rocks making things looks a lot smoother than I knew reality to be, making the bumpy, loose rock sections of the fire road hard to read in the artificial light.

So, just remember when you are out there in the dark - take it a little easier and be sure to ride safe.  Oh yeah, and temperatures drop quick this time of year, so best be prepared!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Can all winter be like this???

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

Seriously, the weather has been super cooperative with letting us mountain bikers  get out on the trails... how long can it last??

Christmas Day Ride on

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What day is it?

I dunno... November??

So I totally missed a post yesterday with just a mix up on days of the week!!  I guess having Monday off and Wednesday being a short day for the kids has really thrown me for a loop!!  Today feels like Friday.  To top off the week I have a meeting in Boston at 11 tomorrow... so I get to drive to the suburbs to work for about 2 hours, drive back to Southie, hop on the T and attend a 2 hour meeting... and DONE!  Overall a good deal I guess.  And I could actually get out of coming out to school - but I feel guilty missing a whole day for a 2 hour meeting at 11.  I'm a good kid.

Since I'm at work, this is going to be short. 

But it's going to get into the high 30s today so that means it's ride time!!  This morning I had the choice of:
1.  Bring the 4300 and stop at a LBS for some new brake pads.
2. Bring the HiFi and take off the smoothie and throw a tube and knobby on the back
2b.  Stop at a LBS to get some sealant to go tubeless on the rear again.

Since I've been small wheelin it on the trails I felt it was time to get the big guys dirty again before the snow takes over.  I'll throw a tube on for now, and get some more sealant and brake pads for the 4300 at another time.  It's all about getting on the trails as fast as possible after work.  As I type I'm charging the battery for my light as half the ride will be in the dark. 

Now it's decision time - where am I going to ride.... 
The only thing I am certain of is that I will ride.  High 30s by the end of the day, I'm psyched!!

(started a new workout routine yesterday... who knew Body Weight exercises could kick your ass so bad!!)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Back to the grind in the new year

Today is my first day back at work.... getting up at 5 AM after averaging a 10:30 wake up time since the winter break was a tough one.  Being an adult sucks sometimes.

But, I'm luckier than most with the time off I get, so I'll shut it.

Ended 2011 with a ride at Wompatuck, and somewhat fittingly I smoked my shin on the frame of the 4300 after slipping on a wet root.  Oh, the bane of my existence for the 2011 race season, off camber wet roots.  I'm happy to say my "rough" experiences have made me a more skilled rider.  But on December 31st I didn't cut the corner sharp enough and as I lifted the front wheel over the first 2 roots I wasn't quite able to clear that third... ensue the slide, skid, slam.  It apparently wasn't as bad as it felt in the cold... no real bruise to speak of, just a little tenderness.

Otherwise, it was a good ride.  Although, with a soft rear brake it made for interesting descents....  But overall, a great way to end a year.  I was hoping that I would be able to follow up with a nice ride on the first day of the new year, but New Year's Eve celebrations kept that from becoming a reality

Happy New Year!!
Thank God we live in America... where if a holiday lands on a Saturday we will fight for the right to have the following Monday off so that we aren't "robbed" of any free time off.  Seems kinda silly... but who am I to argue against another day off.  And since I was somewhat "dehydrated" after NYE and generally a waste of space, an extra day was very useful.

With the Georgia game on at 1pm it would mean and "early rise" in order to get any ride in prior to the game.  Well, on the last day of my break that didn't happen.  So it looked like I was going to have to settle for a workout and ride on the trainer.... until Annie suggested that I go for the ride and just DVR the game.  In the back of my head I knew this to be an option, but there is just something about watching a game on DVR that just doesn't feel right.... plus, with technology keeping me updated on score reports I wasn't sure how it would all turn out.  

But once again I'm thankful Annie is around to keep me from being completely lazy.  I go out and rode Belmont.  I hadn't ridden there is quite a long time and from what I remembered it would serve as a pretty nice and quick ride.  It did in fact do that, but I was in for a pleasant surprise as a lot of work had been done out there.  Trails were clear and there was much more singletrack that what I had remembered.  Not sure if they had previously been there or it was new (some of it was clearly newly built) but either way that place is shaping up nicely!  Unfortunately the work being done had shut down some trails on the McLean side of things to bikes.  Not a huge deal but the one rocky descent leading back to Rock Meadow, which was the most fun part of that side in my opinion, was the biggest closure to bikes.  Ah well... you lose some and you find some.

On the Rock Meadow side I came across the Western Greenway.  Of course I'd noticed it in previous rides, but mostly when I was on a carriage path so it meant little to me.  They've bumped up work and signage on that trail and I followed to see what it was all about.  It actually turns into some sweet little singletrack leading out of the area.  As I left Rock Meadow I cam across other singletrack crossing the Western Greenway...  what a great find!!  This might mean the possibility of some nice miles leading to other riding spots!!

I'll definitely be going back to explore more of the Western Greenway and the areas it intersects.  

I rode from the Rock Meadow section along the Blazed trail (blue) over through Beaver Brook and Lot 1 to the crossing of Trapelo Rd.  More sleuthing the internets is in order to figure out the status of those unfinished sections, but considering this map was produced in October, I'm sure it's pretty accurate as is.... but as it stands now there is more out there!!

And now.... back to work!