Monday, April 26, 2010

Some more Skidmore

Some of my more loyal readers might remember an epic 6hr tour we took a season or two ago at SMBA's trails back behind Skidmore.

Well apparently 6hrs, a trip to one or several other dimensions and a possible Jerry sighting was not enough for Jomo and he wanted more.  Fresh off a UT road trip a few of the gang decided to head out as well to welcome the traveler back to the right coast with miles and miles of singletrack...and maybe a beer or two.

The weather more than cooperated and we got two great days of riding in.  Saturday we snagged a solid 15 miles that felt a bit more like 25.  There are plenty of rocks in the Adirondacks (and surrounding areas where we were) and the SMBA trail cutters are seemingly very proficient at cutting trails to make sure that you have to ride over every single one of them or avoid them accordingly.  It's a nice little 2 mile road warm up to the trails through gorgeous horse farm country.

We (Myself, Adam, Jomo, Dustin, DT and Jeff) set right to the task of trail slaying early on.  I got the mechanical ball rolling somewhat early with a rear flat I gave myself by riding some terrain perfectly wrong.  Fine display of how not to keep your tires inflated on my part.  Chalked it up as some trail side wrenching practice before race season and continued on.  Unfortunately I failed to notice that when I flipped my bike over to change the flat my Garmin stopped recording and it took me about a half mile or so to notice and the data got a bit screwed up.  Oh well.

Everybody was riding well and seeing as I had already put on a clinic on how not to ride, I figured I would also demonstrate some highly advanced techniques as well.  The group was coming up on a short but fairly steep technical rise, almost a two or three stage step up of sorts.  I forget exactly who was in front or behind but a rider or two had stalled at various points and as I rode up I thought I had a sporting chance so I went for it.  My initial surge got me about halfway up and as I tried to continue to muscle up my front end started to lift off the ground...(can you see where this is going? I bet you can but you have no idea)

This is actually somewhat common, the wagon wheels on a 29er put your front end up a bit higher and depending on your cockpit config (some 29er riders don't like risers because they put you too high) you have to keep your weight fairly forward.  Usually if this starts to happen you have to either bail or commit and hope that your forward momentum is enough to balance things out in time.  As you can guess I had an audience so I committed and things did NOT balance out.  In fact they did the opposite, really fast.

I gave it one last grunt and when I did that every ounce of force I put to the pedals was translated directly in to me going completely airborne and inverted landing straight on my back/shoulders still clipped into my pedals.  Please note I didn't just fall over backwards, I went from right side up to upside down while not touching the ground.  Very proud of this, and several people witnessed the whole thing and there were absolutely no injuries.  Perfect.

After that the ride was fairly standard fair, lots of great terrain, rock features and man made bridges galore:

 looks steep right? it wasn't.

This was a special moment in DT's life.

not bad for a pink walmart camera.

oh and by standard fair I mean pretty damn awesome.
one of these days we are going to find that iPhone

We also did some riding on Sunday but there is something about a 15 mile ride the day before and then a night out on the town that turns 12 miles into a bit of a haze.  Either that or maybe it was that shot of hot sauce concoction I drank for $10.  I guess we'll never know.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Whoa Sweet Stout

Holy crap its been a long time since I have brewed some beer!  My last batch was the Wee Heavy I made for Thanxmas which was probably almost 8 months ago.  Weird.

Hadn't done a stout since the Irish I made a winter or two ago so I went with a sweet stout, also sometimes called a cream stout of milk stout.  English brewers used to make them as a nourishing drink for nursing women...that's probably not true but it definitely is awesome.  And I read it somewhere so it has to be at least partially based in fact with the rest based in lies.

 seriously though, no turtle shit. it messes with the flavor.

The main difference between this and other stouts is a pound of Lactose is added during the boil.  Lactose is a milk based sugar that is unfermentable (i.e. the yeast won't eat it) so it remains in the final product to add a twinge of sweetness and malty flavor.

I got up earlier this morning to start things off and was able to brew and catch the Amstel Gold Race on a live feed from Holland.

Biking Watched, Beers Made

I also need to get a 'lawnmower beer' in the works pretty soon.  Its damn near summer and I will be mowing my lawn before I know it.  Gonna have to start searching around for my next go of it.  I have done wheat beers in the spring in the past and I do like a good wheat but I also kind of want to mix it up...suggestions?

My incredibly wise and lovely mother has informed me that nursing mothers are indeed told to drink some beer for the B vitamins from the hops, it helps relax the mother and also assists in the "let down" of the milk.  So this batch is legit, based in 0% lies.  Thanks Mom!

oh and this batch fermented just fine and I will probably be moving it over to secondary this evening to hang out for a bit while I gather my bottles.

This batch is bottled and this time around I primed it with brown sugar instead of dextrose which I usually use.  I had brown sugar on hand and after a bit of research I think brown sugar might add a nice touch and should work just as well.  Figuring out how much to use was a bit tricky but I went with about 2/3 cup packed down.  Hopefully I converted right.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ahern yah heard?!

Snagged a sweet ride last night at Ahern with the crew from Chainline Cycles in Laconia.  Couldn't help but post to comment on how awesome the trails there are getting.  Eric, the owner of Chainline, as well as some other locals have been doing the lion's share of the work to date and things are really coming together.  And now that NEMBA has been cleared by the various municipalities to get in there and 'officially' help with maintenance I have a feeling Ahern will rival FFD as a premier ride spot in Central NH.

Ahern is a compact little spot with probably about 6-7 miles of trails currently but the variety of terrain is perfect and Eric and others knew exactly how to max it out when building.  We rode some new (to me) trails last night that were very technical.  Including a line with a 8-10ft roller that looked almost completely vertical when riding up to it, if I had to guess its probably 70+ degrees (i.e. retarded).  Luckily there were some freeriders with the group last night who were not hesitating and I didn't have time to assess the situation completely which always helps my riding.  I rode it successfully and then shortly after taco'd hard on a off camber corner section going very fast.  Taco'd hard enough to tweak my stem out of alignment with the front wheel a tad and I couldn't force it back so the rest of the ride was a few degrees off kilter for me...made for interesting riding.  In retrospect I had an allen and could have fixed it but I was too busy trying to hold Eric's wheel...dude is a freight train.  Very fun to follow.  He's like a linebacker with trials riding skills who you can't drop on climbs.  Dangerous.

That was my first sustained technical riding of the year.  You know its technical when you accidentally hit the lap button on your Garmin at least twice.  Probably with your knee or face, hard tellin'.  I need to get some of my flow back but there were sections where I turned on the gas and the fitness feels great.  Gonna be a good year.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Improving, yet horrible.

My foray into the wet, wild world of swimming continues...

Last Wednesday was my first session in the pool here at work.  It was recently renovated, new filter, etc. and the facilities are great.  Yet another perk of being a panther.  My plan was to time myself doing a quarter mile and then do a few cool down laps after as well.  I knew my time was going to be kinda funny based on my open water experiences in Aruba a few weeks ago but damn...I'm slow in the water.

So this is somewhat embarrassing to put in print, the only reason I'm doing it is because when I eventually conquer swimming looking back to see where I came from will be very satisfying.  I have been using the 2009 results of the race I am eyeing to gauge where I'm at with the new sports to my quiver.  Based on those results my time from last Wednesday puts me in at 310th out of 314 competitors in the swim leg.

I knew it would be bad....I did not know it would be THAT bad.  I barely squeeked out a guy in the M80-84 age bracket.  Somewhat disheartening to say the least.

BUT on the flip side I was in the pool again today and I have already cut 4mins off that time putting me in about 293rd of 314.

My plan is now to be in the pool twice a week for the foreseeable future to try and get my deficiency under wraps.  I should put up a top 50 time on the bike at least and my run is easily top 100 now and hopefully pushing top 50 by July but as it stands that won't matter squat if I'm getting out of the water with the 80 year olds. (no offense to said 80 year olds...if I was 80+ and completing Sprint tri's in under 3hrs I would be telling all the 20-30 somethings to suck it)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Thank you sir may I have another! like this one, and another and another etc.

78 degrees, sunny skies, April 3rd. huh?  The thing I don't get is why I'm not reading articles all over the internet today about how this is definitive proof that Global Warming does exist.  5ft of snow in DC this winter was enough to prove it doesn't, seems to me this is enough of a polar opposite to qualify following that line of logic.  Oh well.

I don't have a problem finding the good in our impending doom, today was awesome!  I got in a nice 30 mile ride around town wearing just a jersey and bibs, not a thread of cold weather gear 3 days out of MARCH.  It was more of an 'enjoy the day' type of ride and I planned on testing my legs a few times along the route.  I still need to figure out some good road loops around the new house.  Today I had a few options and I was going to head north and then pick one of three for getting back south...Huge hills, flatter road putting me at 20ish, or a roller road putting me at 30ish miles.

I had to drive down to Meredith Center to start the ride, roads around the house are still way too gnarly for 23cm tires.  I wanted to try out two new roads before looping back north and taking good ole Winona Rd up to Ca$hland.  Unfortunately you never really realize how tough some hills are going to be when you drive them...and this ride started with a few doozies.  Especially Pease Rd. that was a swift kick to the nuts only about 2 miles in.  But they did the job and got me warmed up.  I felt pretty good for the middle 10-15 miles or so I was never very good at powering over the little rollers on Winona but I definitely noticed some improvement in that area today.  Unfortunately powering over all those rollers left me pretty is only April.

I didn't have the legs for Dana Hill but didn't want to bail and only do 20 so I decided I would avoid the vert but still get a few more miles in.  I started bonking a tad around mile 22 and dialed it down to eat a Clif Bar and enjoy the scenery a bit.  I didn't get many road miles in last year and I definitely miss the longer saddle time and just cruising around and getting to take everything in, especially in NH on a day like today.

I tried one last dig up and over the hill on Rt. 104 and I actually had some power left and climbing felt good, the rhythm was there just need to work on the high end a bit.  After that though I was pretty gassed and just cruised the last 5-6 miles back.

The Garmin goods:

All in all I really liked the loop, good variety of terrain and its a nice middle distance.  This could be my go-to pending more exploration down south a bit.