Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tour de Chemungville Stage 2

There is always an 'X' factor when going on touring/adventure rides, especially here in Chemungville. You pick a route based on a map but sometimes you arent really sure what kind of terrain you are going to run into if you are exploring new areas. There are a lot of metrics you could use to gauge how sweet a touring ride is...elevation gain, the views, remoteness but I think I have come up with my preferred metric after this ride.

An adventure/touring ride is good IF: at some point during the ride you are genuinely concerned that a backwoods individual could be hunting you as game.

Yeah this ride was that sweet AND I got chased by 6 dogs all told.

Epic Farms and Lake Views...We got 'em.

This is the end of Steele Hill Rd. on the Meredith side, one of the many 'not roads'. Looks semi ok from here but it gets much more hilarious just out of view

I used some roads from Stage 1 but this time around I went more North of the house as opposed to swinging South. I got the same mix of terrain as last time: pavement, dirt, and super off road. Big hills seem to be unavoidable around here, which I guess is a good thing. Although a leisurely ride doesnt really exist in the immediate area.

Like I mentioned earlier I was chased by a pretty funny number of dogs today. A lot of the roads around here are basically really long driveways so most people let their dogs roam and most of the dogs arent used to cyclist traffic I would assume. I never really felt in danger, most of the poochs were just doing what my pooch would have done. They all just barked and ran along side me for awhile probably just making sure I didn't come any closer to the house...but just in case I had my sprint ready to go just in case I had to reenact that scene from American Flyers with Eddie the crazy pitbull.

My brush with Deliverence came on Arbitus Hill Rd. towards the end of the ride. I was trying to get to Rt. 104 so I could get over Wickwas Lake to Meredith Center Rd. and back around to the house. I had a feeling this road was going to be sketch from the map and my hunch proved correct. Basically Arbitus Hill Rd eventually turns into someones driveway, quite literally too, I turned the corner to find two trucks parked in the middle of the road and a little farm/homestead. I had to ride around the cars, through the side yard of the house and duck under a slightly downed tree to get onto what could best be described as a forgotten cart path. Based on the trucks / house I was a little worried that someone would be grabbing their gun and coming after me so I kept the gas on as much as I could through the woods. The path eventually dumped out right into someone elses yard / driveway on the other side.

The legs felt pretty good and I am really excited for the race tomorrow. I will be trying some new set ups and feeling pretty confident that I should continue with my improvement from the end of last season.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Newport to Brewery Ride

Original plan for today was to try our hand in the Sunapee Road Race, but registration filled up and we decided to come up with a plan B. We decided to meet close to the race instead in Newport and ride out to the Harpoon Brewery in Windsor, VT and back. Racing would have been interesting and a good challenge/training for early season but I am really glad we did this ride instead.

hurry up Shaun

50 miles round trip, the first 25 flew by. Starting out of Newport we had a small climb of a mile or so and then a sweet descent into Claremont. We cruised up the Connecticut River Valley, the last time I was on these roads was during the last 10-15 miles of the 147 mile Harpoon B2B last year. I didn't really get a chance to enjoy the scenery that time around, I was focusing more on not dying. Road isn't in the best shape but it is classic New Englad scenery. I think the CRV (yeah I just did that) is underated as far as sweet places go. Thats a big river and there are some big hills hidden in there as well.

thats Ascutney back there

We made it to the brewery in just over an hour averaging 20mph for the first 25 miles. We timed it perfectly, rolled into the brewery around 11:30 and got our food/beer before the crowds rolled in. They had done some nice renovations to the brewery since the last time I was there, its pretty pimped out now.

yeah beer!

I got myself a sample tray of beer with 5 5oz samples of Harpoon's finest (except the Raspberry Wheat...dial that Raspberry back Harpoon and it might be good. Until then its a wine cooler in my opinion) and a Bratwurst with Saurkraut. Very high performance eats.

1 down 4 to go

the grease helps to lube your joints

After letting the food/beer settle we hit the road back to Newport. The ride back was not quite as speedy however. The full stomach wasn't much of an issue surprisingly, we had more problems with the diesel headwind coming in from the southeast. I believe there is some weather coming in tonight and this must have been the leading edge of that front because it was 10-15mph sustained for the whole way back. Not fun. We also had to contend with a few hills towards the end of the 50 miles that really wore on us after all those headwinds.

I tried some over the shoulder pics and had a very low success rate. If you can call me looking like a slightly more retarded version of that guy from the movie Powder a success. My other attempts got me a picture of my other hand (no idea how I did that) and a picture of a truck going by in a blur.

born from lightning

I felt pretty good over the course of the ride, I definitely felt my high end power tail off towards the end of the ride but I still had some gas left when we finished. I tried a little mini hill sprint on one of the last climbs and it felt good even with the distance but it didn't last all that long before I shut it down. I think I have gotten some real quality efforts in this early season, I'm looking forward to when I peak this summer to see how much I've improved from last year.

The Manarea is an Island

The Manarea is a perpetual work in progress but I feel like I have it setup enough to unveil it to the world. I have lost track of what 'version' of the area this is...I think its 3.0 because 2.0 was a renovation to the last area back at Squamywood.

The area is now an island of sorts completely removed from the house in a 100+ sq ft shed. I'm not going to lie, if you are a male and you like outdoor activities you will be jealous of my shed, hell there is a chance that even if you are female and hate the outdoors you will be jealous of my shed.


My canvas.

It was somewhat difficult to capture the area in photographic form. There isnt really a good spot to capture it all and taking multiple pics never really does it justice. It's too hard to get a mental picture and tie it all together. But I did my best...

Be sure to click and pull those up in their full glory. There is all kinds of subtle awesomeness scattered about. And its only going to get better, like I said, perpetual work in progress.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Tour de Chemungville Stage 1

I can go on adventure rides starting from my driveway. This makes me happy.

Today was Stage 1 of what will be many many loops around 'Chemungville' or the Chemung Region, which is the network of dirt roads surrounding our house. I had been chomping at the bit to get out and explore to see what kind of loops I could put together.

Exploration was part of the plan today the other part was to try and put in some harder road type efforts to get ready for the Sunapee Road Race that Adam and I decided we would try. I definitely got some good training in today but I wouldn't necesarily call it roadie training. The climbs were punchy to say the least with sustained pitches of 10-15% for several hundred yards in spots. For a non-cyclist that hurts real bad. There is no attempting hill sprints on stuff like that (at least not at my current fitness level), just keep it spinning and hope you dont tip over.

The terrain around here is gorgeous. Lots of up and down with views and picture perfect homesteads and huge farms (I know, I know, where are the pics?! I'm still trying to track down my digital camera...). And barely any traffic to boot, partially because some of the "roads" I was on would have required a skidder to navigate, yet on Google Maps / GPS units they show up as viable options haha. Crotchtown doesnt care if you get lost/stuck. You shouldnt be here anyway, go back to Massachusetts (I am assuming that is their reasoning anyway).

Ride came in around 27 miles and I was only able to muster an average speed of 12.3mph haha. A very slow road ride or a pretty fast MTB ride. I think the elevation profile is a pretty good indication as to why the speeds were a tad low. Plus my cross/commuter bike is not light by any means, hauling that thing up gnarly pitches kinda sucks, not gonna lie. It excels in the other direction though so I guess its worth it.

Color coded for your convenience. Blue = Pavement, Brown = Dirt, Red = Not in Kansas Anymore

3,259ft of climbing is a pretty good Saturday. Hopefully I can get some more road miles in Monday to continue my Sunapee prep.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Reaping What I (We) Sow

I know that saying is usually used in a negative context, but I don't care. I'm using it anyway. Because I am going to be reaping the awesomeness from this past weekend all summer long and then some.

This past Sunday CNH NEMBA hosted a Trail Maintenance day at the Franklin Falls Rec Area in Franklin, NH. We had a crew of 26 people(!) working various projects all day and we completed tons of work. Some accomplishments for the day:

- Installed ledge pack at the entrance to Rogue Trail and around 'Whaleback Rock' to alleviate some bogging down sand issues.

- Reroute and bench cut / berm installation on Stump Trail (so much more fun now, great work Jesse and crew!)

- We finished what we started of 'L' trail last year and it is ready to start riding in. New name is in the works currently. It's probably either going to be "Crooked Tree" or "Caddywhompus".

- 95% of trails were raked and cleaned up

I worked on the crew that completed 'L' trail. It is definitely back busting work at times but nothing beats taking a blank canvas of woods and making something that you will be able to enjoy for possibly years to come. 'L' is a 'max out the real estate' kind of trail winding back on itself in spots a la Gyro in Plymouth just not as extreme. It is a blast to ride even with it being really soft still in spots.

Another promising thing we all saw during the maintenance day was several other groups using the trails that weren't with our group. A group of riders from Gilford, a Father and Son duo and a Husband/Wife/Daughter crew. Lots of different types of riders all enjoying the trails...nothing gives you more clout than more headcount, this bodes well for Central NH.

Hopefully I can get some pics up soon. Chapter Prez had a camera out and was taking pics, my digital is still buried in a box somewhere.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy, Ride, Busy

Buying a home takes up a lot of your free time...go figure.

I have had maybe half a dozen 'idle moments' over the past 3-4 weeks, it has been straight out for a while now. But things are starting to mellow out (kinda) and I have been able to intersperse some riding in between yard work, unpacking and the ole 9 to 5.

We have already had a few NEMBA group rides this year and the trails in the area are in great shape right now. It's been real dry so far this Spring and the trails are nice and grippy. This morning I snagged a chance to get out for a ride at Harold Parker down in Andover before I had to pick up Gina's dad at the airport in Manch.

Amazingly I was able to convince 3 other dudes to hit trail at 730am. Me, Shaun, Ben and Jake got in about 7 miles of very sweet technical terrain, most of which I had never ridden at HP. That place is huge and there is still lots of stuff I have yet to check out. Ben is getting a good handle on the layout now and we are thinking a full day epic is in order. 15-20 miles of non stop awesome.

But don't take my word for it, see for yourself:

Be on the lookout for posts to increase in the near future. I forsee myself continuing with the busy theme but rides will be increasing and the race season is fast approaching, the new manarea needs to get set up (its going to be RIDICULOUS), and homebrewing will be back in effect now that the move is done.

Summer '09 is gonna be a doozy, can't wait.