Friday, November 23, 2012

Turkey Burner (of sorts)

Always try and get in the Turkey Burner as a nice exclamation point on the season.  Unfortunately this year I snagged a sweet little chest cold two days out.  I've been moving through the various stages quickly and luckily this one didn't involve too much congestion in my head/nose.  Just a pretty sore throat on Turkey Day (which is the best btw, I recommend lots of wine to make it numb) that turned into some chest congestion and a cough for Friday.

I had decided Thurs morning that I was gonna go for it regardless.  The forecast looked great and we had a plan to avoid the crowds/traffic at FOMBA and hit Bear Brook with a much smaller group instead.  I was a little worried that I was in for a doozy, there isn't really a conversation pace with this group.  Ended up being Bully, Carl, Gould and Mike.  Pace ended up being pretty reasonable.  I would tail off a bit but I was never that far off the back.  Legs felt ok but the lungs were struggling and my throat was getting pretty thrashed with the coughing and cold air.

We got to check out some of the new trails around the hiker/biker lot though which was awesome.  I forget the exact names..Big Bear and new Little Bear? as well as New Rye Singletrack, all really awesome.  I'm still getting comfortable on the Y bike so I wasn't shredding as well as I would have liked.  To be honest I think I have reached the point where I prefer riding rigid now.  I truly feel disconnected from the trail on a full suspension bike and I have a hard time trusting the steering.  I don't like not fully experiencing the features I'm seeing and the way I come into corners doesn't really work with suspension and I feel like it messes with my braking as well.  I suppose I could re-figure suspension out but to be honest I think I'm getting to the point that it doesn't slow me down that much more than folks with forks and I like the efficiency heading uphill.  I might just ride ironman until my arms fall off at this point.

After swinging through the parking lot to ditch some layers, (it ended up getting pretty damn nice by midday) we went over and got Hemlock and some of the other stuff over on that side.  We eventually rolled up to the campground with plans on going around the pond, up Lynx and getting I-Trail, etc.  I decided to call it, we were at about 15mi at that point and that loop was looking to add about 7-8 miles or so.  My throat was shredded and my lungs were getting a bit more congested and I was running out of calories so I hopped on the road and hauled back to the car.

Lucky for me Carl is a stand up guy and loaned me a 20 spot seeing as I had made the decision to push the limit a bit and then gas up on the way home before I had realized that I had forgotten my wallet at home.  Without that 20 I would more than likely have run out of gas on 93 or more likely I would have taken 106 to avoid getting stuck on the highway and then just ridden the party bike home for the gas can and then ridden my road bike back to the stranded Fit.  I'm glad I didn't have to do that.  Thanks Carl.

Not sure if my riding season is done or not.  I suppose that all depends on what the weather does.  Next weekend is Thanxmas and then its just a matter of time until skiing will make more sense.  Although I do only need about 60mi for 2000 on the year...that would be a tough one to just miss out on.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Strava BMC Challenge Ride

I completed a Strava challenge! Although this one wasn't in the same league as all of the other challenges they've ever had.  Most of the others require some super human abilities and not having a full time job.  Strangely though lots of people seem to complete them despite that so maybe I just suck.

They worked up a somewhat weird challenge of riding 79mi in a 24hr period on a particular weekend to commemorate Phillipe Gilbert taking the 79th running of the World Championships on his BMC.  When they posted it I thought I might actually have a chance at this one weather permitting.  We've had some decent weather of late so I figured I would pencil it in and if things looked good as we got closer I would go for it.

I also tried to talk a few other people into coming along for the ride but 80mi in 40 degree weather isn't an easy sell.  A ME/NH border high five ride fell through, and I was unable to figure out a good route in the middle ground between here and Boston for Shaun and I to take a stab.  BUT as fate would have it Clint texted me the weekend prior looking for a road ride.  I was tied up then but I told him to stay tuned cause boy did I have a ride for him!

I gave him the details and surprisingly he was all for it.  So I mapped out the flattest route I could think of.

PRO TIP: When the temps drop its better to keep your rides on the flatter side.  This makes it easier to regulate your own temps.  Big climbs will overheat you and then immediately descending covered in sweat will take you to the deep freeze.  And lets be honest if the temps are dropping that means the season is ending and your legs are probably not what they were 4 months ago.

Clint has only been riding road for a year but hes one of those dudes with some serious natural fitness that works for just about anything and never seems to go away.  He also rides Rt. 118 from Canaan to Plymouth once a week or so and that ride will do nothing but make you strong.  He was churning big gears early and I was working pretty hard to hang on the rolly stuff.  When am I going to learn that I can't do flat/rolly rides?  My legs came around after about 20 and we got to business cruising right along to our stop at 50mi to top off fluids and get some calories.

Took me a bit to warm back up after that but then at about mile 60 we popped back out on Rt. 104 and those big rollers RUINED me.  Very weird sensations.  Wasn't cramping, wasn't bonking, my legs just hurt.  Kinda like someone spent the day just unloading charlie horses on my quads.  Never really felt anything like it.  Needless to say I couldn't get them to do much but I was able to settle in and just suffer a bit.  Even more strange after about 10mi of that they came back around a bit.  Not completely but they felt more 'normal' for being that far into a ride.

We finished up Winona Rd. and Rt. 3 pretty efficiently for a ride time under 5hrs.  Not bad.  We had a short discussion about just rolling up to Campton and back for the full hundo...I think we both could have done it without much issue but it was risky with daylight and making calls in those scenarios seems to always tilt the scale towards bad luck.  Make a plan, execute it well...don't push the limit late in the game.

Its nice having Clint back in the area.  He's got a good attitude when it comes to slaying things.  Next up...Turkey Burner on the party bike!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Spot Brand Rocker SS for 2013

Well I made another of my classic fast moving purchases today.  I have a solid history of having gear presented to me by the Universe at surprising deals that always seems to work out pretty well for me.  I don't question it I just roll with it.

A few days ago I was made aware of some sale items over at  I noticed the Rocker SS frame at a pretty good markdown and got intrigued.  I've always been aware of Spot's stuff and part of that awareness was that they are usually well outta my price range...except now it wasn't really.  All of a sudden it seemed like the big question mark that was "What am I gonna be riding next year?" seemed pretty obvious.  Lots a things about this deal/opportunity were making sense to me.  George at bike29 is going through a bit of a transition period right now and this felt like a good opportunity to try and help out a local merchant who has been great for the industry locally...I mean he put on SSUSA2012, dudes legit.  Spot's are handbuilt 'braincrafted' in Golden, CO and are pretty renowned for quality stuff.  They are at the forefront of the SS belt drive movement (which I am not sold on yet, but I like the idea of being ready for it when I am).  I was unable to find any griping about major con's in any review I could find anywhere.

Bing. Bam. Boom. Don't overthink it, just take advantage of what is served up.  So the trigger has been pulled.  I'll be moving my parts over to a new Pearl White Rocker SS come 2013.

I still need to make a fork decision but I'm leaning towards going all in and building this up real svelte with a Niner carbon fork in the Vanna White colorway.  Should be able to get one through Eric at Chainline but I've got months to decide on that.

I love the dropout design on this frame that allows for the belt install.  Just makes the most sense to me and seems to be the strongest, most durable way to get that done.  Splits at the dropout itself and the sliding bolts hold the whole thing together.

Also liking what I'm reading about the ride feel of the 853 tubing Spot uses and it sounds like its pretty easy to build up pretty light for a steel frame.  This also allows me to keep the Redline in rotation a bit and use it for my SS Cross build idea.  I'm thinking cross tires on an old 29er wheelset with some dirt drops...DUN for almost no $$.  Here is some sweet marketing material for your viewing pleasure:

I'm feeling pretty good about this...can't wait to start messing with builds/projects if there is some downtime this winter.  Bikes!