Saturday, November 28, 2009


Good lord, can it be?! Am I really getting into running???

Went for another jaunt around the neighborhood this afternoon, this time a full loop, down to the lake, up and around. Never thought I would say this but I actually enjoyed it. You can take in a bit more of your surroundings when running as opposed to cycling and the views from Black Brook Rd. are pretty sweet.

Today I was trying to figure out how to pace myself. My first two runs this season felt a little herky jerky. Fast starts, mini bonk, level off. I wanted to try and even that out a bit. I set the Garmin to auto lap at 1 mile so I could keep track of my splits and I think I was pretty successful.

Loop came in at just under 4.5 miles and for the first two I was coming in at about 7:45/mile, third mile was just over 8 and mile 4 was about 9:20 (but it was also straight up a huge hill). And after that huge hill I was able to recover and bring my pace back down to just over 8mins for the last half mile.

I felt like this was a pretty sustainable pace for me, I can usually gauge how much I have in the tank by my recovery rate after a bigger effort. I bounced back quickly after the effort up and over the hill on Eagle Ledge Rd so I think I could have easily gone another few miles at that pace. No knee pain and so far basically no soreness. Progress continues.

I also tried out running Pandora on my Blackberry for music and I was very pleased. Pretty slick little app and decent sound quality. I'll need to set up some more stations...or at least one called 'Running' based on Eye of the Tiger and Final Countdown...c'mon.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Turkey Burner '09

Second year in a row I have made it to the Burner and its the second year in a row I probably should have stayed home warm on my couch with a coffee.

I set off this morning in the rain hoping that the weather was better down south. It was not. Pretty steady rain and temps in the 40's. Not sure if that is better or worse than last years snow/rain mix and temps in the 30's. I think I liked last year better, snow doesn't get you quite as wet.

I think a lot of people agreed with me because the head count was much lower this year than it was last year, its a shame they haven't been getting the nod from the weather lately. I have heard this ride has drawn near 300 riders in the past which would raise a lot of money for a good cause. Not sure if they even hit 40 riders today, every person I knew that was thinking about riding bailed so I was on my own.

But I threw on just about every piece of cold/wet weather gear I owned (why own it if you aren't gonna use it?) and actually felt awesome for the first half of the ride. Just cruising around on some of the fireroads, staying dry. Ended up seeing a few familiar faces and rode with some groups here and there. Then slowly but surely the water started to find the kinks in my armor. In another couple minutes I was soaked to the bone.

Made it to the 'rest stop' and downed some chili on offer from the local Fire Dept and wasn't really feeling doing any singletrack at that point. Wouldn't be long before I started getting cold and FOMBA doesn't really drain that well in spots and I didn't want to ruin any trails. Finished up the lap around the lake for about 12 miles and (more than likely) put a period on this years riding season.

Word on the street is snow in the forecast soon and I have already seen a tweet from Jay Peak saying it is snowing presently....can't wait.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Yeah Running!

Took my first stab at seeing whether or not my body can handle running this afternoon. The jury is still out (i.e. have to wait and see how I feel tomorrow) but the initial results are promising.

I tried about a 5K (ended up being 3.2 miles) from the house out to Collesion Rd. and then back to where the dirt starts, with a cool down walk back up the hill to the house. Perfect little loop for me to test my progress over that distance which is basically the run distance for a Sprint Tri. Like it was meant to be....

Ended up with a time of 24:38. Which I am pretty proud of. I compared that time to the 2009 results of the Black Fly Tri (one I am planning on doing next year) and I would have come in 67th of 314 competitors for the running leg. Granted I was fresh for this run and not two legs into a tri but I bet I would still be in the top 100 range which is actually a bit better than I thought I would be starting from scratch.

This was a decent effort for me, avg heart rate was just about threshold. Definitely wasn't 'race pace' but I doubt I could have gone too much faster at this point without cramping or having some other kind of issue.

So all things considered I think if I get some better shoes and start running a bit more I can get running under my belt no problem. Of course this all depends on my knees. There was some soreness (about as much as expected I guess) but I am hoping better shoes will take care of some of that.

Now I just gotta blow up my floaties and see how fast I can swim!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Bagging some peaks in the Belknap Range

on a bike.

Grant sent an offhand email at the end of last week mentioning a ride he called a "climbing extravaganza" led by a local leaving from Gilford and heading into the Belknap Range. I love extravaganza's in general and looking at the topo I was very intrigued. A ride didn't really look possible in that area which of course means you gotta get in there and ride.

We met at the Elementary School in Gilford and immediately started the climbing basically straight up to Mt. Rowe. It was rough going in spots, leaves were deep and there was some runoff from the previous days rain but it was doable and at least an even mix of riding and hiking. We toped out to some gorgeous views of the Lake and the range.

The days crew

There is some definite BC potential up here for this winter

Looking to Gunstock and Mt. Belknap

Once we were on top of Mt. Rowe the riding turned quite a bit more rocky. Riding ridge line down into the valley between peaks and then basically dumping out onto and riding straight up one of Gunstock's trails. I made it as far as I could (which was much farther than I thought possible) and then hiked it from there.

Picture with my kill for the trophy case

The descent down Gunstock heading to Mt. Belknap was great, very craggy and unrideable in spots (unless maybe you had a DH rig). We then rode as far up as we could and then hiked it to the peak of Belknap, the highest of the day. There was some decent exposure up there with even more great views, I was too busy loading back up on calories to remember to take pictures though.

The descent off Belknap was by far my favorite part of the whole ride. It made all the hiking well worth it. Super technical but basically all rideable, lots of great ridge terrain coming off the top and some brake burning slab sections and great singletrack. Picking good lines was paramount and really made things interesting. There were more than a few gut check points and a few spots where I was lucky to be running a 29er.

We bottomed out in the valley and started our way up what I believe was Mt. Piper (or maybe Whiteface, I'm not sure) and I got a great pic of the back side of Belknap that appears to have some terrain prime for backcountry skiing.

I am liking the density of those trees...

Coming off Piper we hooked into an extensive network of doubletrack and fireroads for the haul back down into town. We ran into two jeeps who were (DL)mudboggin and a hunter or two. The doubletrack descents were really fast and very fun. Sketchy in spots with some baby head rollers that you couldn't really see due to all the leaves but nobody exploded. We eventually kicked out onto some pavement and we all let it rip on a short hill back down into town. I hit 42.1mph. Very fun but also kind of cold.

The GPS data from the ride appears to be a bit more accurate probably because we were more exposed and not under such dense tree cover like a usual MTB ride.

oh and while I'm at it I also got an awesome ride in on Saturday with Adam at FOMBA. We checked out a new trail I had heard about from a fellow NEMBA member. It was crazy...tons of real big built up features...teeter-totters, bridges, a giant A-frame over some swampy area, sweet lines built into natural rock outcrops. Lots of work went into this trail and it is AWESOME. Forgot the camera and also forgot that my new phone has a camera. Off chance I might try and get down to ride this again before the season is done, it was that good.