Monday, December 24, 2007

Hmmm... Suspicious Package...

I received a present from my best friend whom I've known since high school. It is banana shaped. Should I be scared?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cold November Ride...

It's Definitely November

The forecast for today was sunny and not too much wind. I decided to wait until my outdoor thermometer rose above 35° F before I headed out for a ride. I am glad I layered up. The last time I rode I was in short sleeves and shorts. Today I had my featherweight thermals on, plus some Hot Chili's for my legs, neoprene covers for my bike shoes, and my Pearl Izumi Kodiak winter bike shirt. Did I mention the baklava?

It was good to get out. I did just under 22 miles and could have done more but I didn't want to lush my luck with the cold weather. Hopefully I'll get at least a couple more rides in before the year is over.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Tire Swap Day

A good a day as any to swap out the tires.

Monday, November 5, 2007

30 Days...

It has been 30 days since I have been on my bike. I think I am starting to suffer from withdrawal symptoms... Maybe next weekend...


It's November. Time to take off the summer slicks (Continental GP Attack/Force Combo) and pop on the winter tires (Continental Grand Prix 4-Season).

So Far...

So far this year I have logged 1,293.59 miles on my road bike. I just need to do 55.64 more miles to top last years 1,349.23 miles. Not bad for having a job in Downtown Boston and two daughters (5 & 2) at home.

No I just have to get that November ride in...

Tire Product Description Pages @

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Short 18 Mile Loop through Medway, Millis, and Norfolk

Saturday Afternoon Ride

After planting 45 bulbs with my daughter in our front yard, (and taking her to soccer practice in the middle of that), I found myself with some time before dinner to get a short bike ride in. So I geared up and headed out around 3:00 with no real planned route in mind. I headed up through Medway, where I ran into the Monsignor of the parish we go to walking from the rectory to the church. After chatting with him for a bit I headed north.

Cycle for Haylee and Route 126

Cycle for Haylee (CFH) Route Marker

As I headed north I came across the Cycle for Haylee (CFH) route markers spray painted on the road. I would have participated in this event if my schedule would have allowed. Since I had no plan I figured I would follow the arrows for a bit.

Rt 126

I was on Lovering headed west when I came to Rt 126. The space for the road was there, however the road wasn't. It was under some serious construction. The pavement was gone and it was a dirt/gravel road that only a Devoted Rally Cross Driver could appreciate. I wonder how the people who rode for the Charity event faired on this "road". I wasn't on a MTB or a CycloCross bike, and I didn't want to chew up my slick road tires, so I turned around.

Millis and Norfolk

I followed the CFH route markers for a while in the other direction and was in Millis when I diverged from the route. I had a nice leisurely ride back home through Millis and Norfolk. It was a good ride to sneak into a late Saturday afternoon.

It was Hot

Did I mention that it was hot? Mid-80's this Columbus Day Weekend. At least today it was.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ashland to Concord

Sunday Ride, Which One?

So Sunday I had a choice:

  • I could either do the Naragansett Bay Wheelmen's 75 ride from Whitman, MA to Mt. Wachusett and back, or...
  • I could do a 45 mile ride from Ashland to Concord and back.
The Cycling Site

I like the NBW club rides, however the longer rides require such a large time commitment. I need to balance my biking time with family time.

I had subscribed to a local biking site, The Cycling Site, that alerts you to upcoming local, sometimes impromptu, rides. A rider from the Phat Tuesday ride group, Bill Snapper, is putting this site together in his spare time. His vision is for it to become a "Social Networking" site for cyclists. You join the site and you can opt-in to email notifications about rides that are posted.

That is how I learned about the 45 mile Sunday ride. I opted to go on this ride because it would get me back home by early afternoon. I arrived at the meeting place early, as I usually like to do, and nobody was there. Eventually Bill and a couple of other rides showed up. These was only going to be 4 of us on this ride (as opposed to the probable 100+ on the NBW ride). At 10:00 we headed off to Concord.

Riding Blind...

This was one of the few times where I was with a group of riders without:

  • A map
  • Painted Arrows, or
  • The route preprogrammed into my GPS.

I guess I tend to over prepare and it is good to step outside ones comfort zone once in a while.

Scott on the left, Bill on the right. At an unscheduled bathroom stop on the way to Concord.


Downtown Concord was interesting to ride into. It was buzzing with activity. Everywhere you looked there was people going from shop to shop and tons of bikers. I was told that normally there is a lot more bikers buzzing around the center of Concord as there is a strong bike culture up there. We even came upon a charity bike ride (I forget the name of it).

Me in Concord. What's that parked behind me?

BMW Vixen Motor Home?

By far the oddest site was the BMW branded motorhome we came upon. After some research I discovered that it was a (BMW?) Vixen TD. I think the only reason why it had a BMW badge was the fact that the manufacturer used a BMW turbo diesel engine in this model. Interesting story behind this vehicle. Odd that it has a BMW Roundel.

Interesting looking Motor Home.

Is that a BMW Roundel on it?

There's a Roundel on the back also!?!

Headed Back

Passing some farms on the way back.

The ride back was a little more leisurely than the ride to Concord. Most of the roads along the entire route were back roads and free of traffic. That's difficult to do when Framingham is one of the towns you have to pass through and you have to cross Route 9 and Route 20 on top of that.

It was a good ride and it was nice to make some more connections into the biking community. I see a lot of potential with Bill's Cycling Site.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

To Medfield and Back via Norfolk


It had been three weeks since I had been out for a ride. So it felt good to get out this morning. It was chilly so I finally gave in and broke out the long bike pants. I'm glad I did. There was just enough of a chill in the air to justify them.

Prior to heading out I decided to do a lap around the neighborhood behind me. It turns out it is roughly a mile loop that has a good climb. Perfect for warming up. Maybe I'll take advantae of this loop and do laps sometime. It is getting to dark to go for a ride after work, but maybe riding laps in the dark in a one mile loop in a residential area could be a good alternative.

Funny Sign

Every time I pass by this house in Medfield I am amused by the sign on the fence:

I don't know about you, but I see the fence...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bicycling Magazine - The Big Question!

The Big Question

Bicycling Magazine has a feature called "The Big Question". Every month they post the answers to the question of the month that readers have responded to via their web site - The Big Question).

I have been posting answers to these questions for the better part of the summer. Yesterday, the latest issue (November 2007) arrived in the mail. I quickly jumped to the Spin section where the Big Question is published has was happily surprised to see that one of my answers had made it :-)

Marty's Answer to the Big Question.
I finally made it into Bicycling Magazine :-)

Really, I've Done This...

People might think I am joking about blogging from the paceline. But I have really done it. It was easier to do after I fashioned a handlebar mount for my phone from a plastic belt clip and some double sided Velcro straps.

The 2006 High Point to Cape May, NJ Ride

The first time was in 2006. I was going on a long ride with 3 other riders on a top-to-bottom tour of NJ that went from High Point to Cape May over the course of 3 days. It was the culmination of a few years work by my friend, Mike, who have a major part in mapping out this bike route for the NJ Department of Transportation.

In 2006 I was still experimenting with blogging and I wanted to find a way to keep people updated on our progress. I had put together a blog on my web site using blogging software provided by my hosting provider. I also mashed in a number of other web apps like Flickr and Google Maps.

Anyway, there is the main blog section, which the 4 of us contributed to as we prepared for the ride. Then there is the "mo-blog" section which is actually a feed off of and Flickr where I was able to post pictures (and commentary) of our ride taken with my cell phone camera, as we were riding. It was cool.

Although there were only 4 of us, we had a good number of people interested in our experiences along this route. Mike's co-workers were very excited about this ride and were happy to be able to follow along online (as were our families). We even had a publicity photo shoot for his company, The RBA Group.

The site looks a bit clunky now and there are some bugs in it, but I still want to preserve that blog as originally created, warts and all. It still gets hits when people search for "High Point to Cape May bike route".

This Blog...

Now there really isn't a need to post to my blog from my bike as I ride my more routine rides. Typically there isn't a built in audience waiting for the next picture upload while I am riding like there was for the NJ ride. So now I just take a picture and upload it at a later time when I am updating my blog. 99% of the photos you see on this blog have been taken with my cell phone camera.

The Future ...PMC? ...Video?

If I do the PMC in 2008, I will most definitely repeat the on-bike blogging experience as I take on that ride. Now if I could figure out a way to do the same with video...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

2008 Specialized Langster London 56cm

[Update: The original auction on eBay has since expired. So instead I changed the eBay ToGo component to list all Specialized Langster's for sale on eBay.]

I was browsing around Craigslist and eBay for a potential winter bike when I came upon this bike. (I can't decide whether to go Single Speed, CycloCross, or just "roadify" my 1990 Specialized Rockhopper.)

This is a beautiful bike and way too shiny to use for a winter bike. I also though the new "eBay ToGo" feature was cool too. It is also above my imagined budget for a winter bike ;-)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

To Tower Hill (RI) and Back

Early Morning Ride

It was going to be hot today (and it was). I also had a full schedule today, part of which included my daughter's first day of Town Soccer. So I figured if I was going to get a ride in, I better get it in early.

Pre ride breakfast. Not the most ideal right before a ride, but it was better than riding on an empty stomach.

Tower Hill Road, Rhode Island

Tower Hill Road is a quiet, secluded, ~2.5 mile long road in Cumberland, RI that I like to tackle once in a while. It is so secluded, that I didn't see a car in wither direction during my entire ride on it. Over the ~2.5 miles it goes from ~215" elevation to ~500" elevation. The most difficult part is the beginning. There are two really short segments right at the start that have 12% and 13% grades. After that though, it is just another climb that rolls upwards. Once you reach the peak of this road you do feel a sense of accomplishment.

The Reward

The best part of climbing 300" over 2 miles is now you get to go down. West Wrentham Road in RI is a nice road to go descend. It is wide, with wide shoulders and plenty of visibility. Of course there's that pesky traffic light at the end. However at that point the grade flattens out and you have usually shaved off most of your speed at that point anyway.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Sun Sets on the Phat Ride

It's Getting Dark

It was a smaller group tonight. I'd say roughly half the usual. We are approaching the Autumnal Equinox and the days are quickly getting shorter. i think tonight may be the last Tuesday evening ride for the season, unless we squeeze one more in.

The Sun Sets on the Phat Ride as the group bikes past the Diamond Hill Reservoir @~6:50 PM.

Hanging in There...

The lead group was more spread out this time as opposed to last weeks massive lead group. I was able to hang with the core of the group, but not with the breakaway group. We all got a little stretched when we came upon a car accident on Rt 120 and had to slow down and detour around it. Even so, we still averaged 20+ mph rolling into the halfway point.

Now it's time to make the most of the cool weather on the weekends.

My Phat Ride Stats
Date Distance Time Avg Mph MAX Mph
June 12, 2007 25.24 1:23:38 18.1 36.2
June 26, 2007 25.25 1:24:51 17.9 36.3
July 10, 2007 25.20 1:21:14 18.6 35.7
July 24, 2007 25.26 1:22:17 18.4 37.9
August 7, 2007 25.26 1:22:24 18.4 35.7
August 28, 2007 25.26 1:18:35 19.3 37.2
September 4, 2007 25.25 1:19:03 19.2 36.8

Monday, September 3, 2007

Labor Day with My Daughter...


Biking With Catherine

Today I took my daughter Catherine over to the Milford Section of the Upper Charles River Trail. We parked at the Louisa Lake parking area on Dilla St. in Milford and biked east from there all the way to Route 495 (~1.2 miles). There we stopped and had some snacks on some stone benches. We chatted and watched other bikers past going in either direction.

On the way back we had to climb up a big hill (for a 5 year old). I thought I was going to have to push her a bit but she was determined to pedal up it. She was struggling 3/4's of the way up when I hear her chant "Pedal pedal pedal..." as she pushed herself to the top. I was a bit proud of here at that point :-)

On the way back we stopped again and hung out on a big rock. A nice change of pace from my normal rides :-)

My Old 1990 Specialized Rockhopper

I was riding my old 1990 Specialized Rockhopper with the big fat Maxxis Hookworm 26" × 2.5" tires on it. They are big, fat, heavy, and a bit silly. However, they are also fun tires to have on a bike :-). Eventually I will make this bike into more of a commuter bike that I can feel comfortable leaving at the train station. In the meantime, it makes for a great bike for the Rail Trails.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

To Blackstone River Path and back via Southwick Zoo

A Half-Century Plus! (or "Almost a Metric")

The wife and kids were out of town for the day so I was free to ride as far and as long as I wanted. I couldn't find any local club rides, and even if I did, it took me a while to get moving this morning. So I got on my computer and mapped out a route for my self combining a couple of well known routes with the Blackstone River Bikeway's Rhode Island Section. I haven't had to pre-map out a route in a while as I am getting to know the area pretty well. However today I was going to bike along the Interim Road Route of the Blackstone River Bikeway and it goes straight through the heart of Woonsocket. I get confused driving through that city.

Blackstone River Bikeway [BRB]

In the past I've biked down to the Chemawa Golf Course in North Attleboro. Looking at the map I had noticed that it wasn't to far to go east from there and pick up the BRB in Valley Falls (just north of Pawtucket). I had not been this far south on the trail before. In the past I was prevented from going further south than Martin St. because of the construction there. I heard that the construction was completed and the trail was open all the way through.

Heading north along the southernmost completed section of the Blackstone River Bikeway.

The still scenic Blackstone River (It gets less scenic as you approach Woonsocket, less water and more muck.)


In the past the bikeway ended at Manville, RI. Today when I got to Manville, there was more trail. It was semi-open and still under construction. I when quite a way before I was forced to turn around (The trail ended abruptly).

New section semi-opened and, as you can tell from the raised manhole cover, still very much underconstruction.

The unfinished path abruptly ends. Time to backtrack.

Back to Manville...

First stop in Manville for more Gatorade. This store even had a couple of sets of 16" rims and tires for sale.

Blackstone River Path on road Interim Route

Woonsocket in an interesting city. I had less trouble biking through it than I had anticipated. Everybody must have been out of town because there was hardly any traffic during the early part of the Sunday afternoon when I passed through. Lots of triple deckers followed very quickly by a lot of large (old money) homes.

Time to Head for the Hills

As I crossed over the border into Blackstone, MA I found all the traffic that was missing in Woonsocket. Wierd. Anyway, I was approaching familiar territory and I was starting to feel the miles. I pressed on.

I guess Spiderman's and Superman's families get along so well that they can share a home in the Blackstone Valley!

Last Gatorade stop in Mendon. I stopped here on the NBW Club ride I did this past May.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

To North Smithfield, RI and back (via Uxbridge)

Pushing Westward...

It has been a while since I have biked in the lands west of Rt. 495. There are a lot of very scenic, low traffic roads out there. In the past I have biked across the northern portion of Rhode Island west of Woonsocket. Today I decided to just dip into RI, buy some Gatorade, and jump back into Massachusetts.

It was a good ride overall except for some of the windy parts. I hate riding into headwinds. I passed a disproportionate number of "road houses" and billiard halls along Rt. 146a in Uxbridge. I rode along one of my favorite back roads from Uxbridge into Mendon. It parallels Rt 16. It is nice and quiet, shady, and scenic. There are also a couple of very interesting homes along this route.

Trying a new way back across Rt. 495

I decided to try an alternat crossing in order to get back east of 495. I crossed a little further north than usual on farm street in northern Bellingham. That road was nice but getting to it sucked. More hills and traffic than the usual way I go. So, I guess in the future I will stick to taking Rt. 140 into Bellingham center and making my way home from there.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tonight, I did not get Dropped!

A Landmark Ride!

Tonight was the first night where I did not get dropped from the group. Typically a lead group of 10-12 breaks out in front, then followed up by other groups. I usually get caught between groups and wind up pedaling my butt off trying to catch up to the group/person in front of me. Tonight everybody seemed to be in the lead group including myself. I think we got lucky at a few stop signs and were able to keep the group together.

Pulling the Group for a Change...

I was also feeling uncharacteristically strong tonight. On Burnt Swamp Road I was actually pulling the second group and helped it catch up to the lead group. I made sure to pull off the front before I expended too much energy. If I had stayed on the front for too long, I knew I would just get dropped. I found myself pulling the group again in North Attleboro. It was unfamiliar territory as normally at that point I would be along watching a group pull away from me in the front and inevitably waiting for another group to catch up to me from behind.

There must have been 20 or 30 of us racing along Rt. 120 as we approached the halfway point. It got dodgy at times with all those bikers at those speeds. At the halfway point, I checked my bike computer and it read 20.4 mph average. Typically when I get dropped and try to catch-up it reads 19.9. So at that point I knew the reason for me not getting dropped was not because everybody else was slower :-)

The Second Half

As everybody headed out for the second half (after the brief rest stop) the group thinned out and there was no longer one massive group. Ok. So I rode around the Diamond hill Reservoir with Bob. When we hit the end and into the hills he waited for some of his friends who were behind him. As much as I would have liked to have ridden in a pace line at that point, I didn't want to wait for one. I figured, when they catch me, I'll ride with them. Then something odd happened. I reeled in the 4 riders who were a quarter mile ahead of me. Then I dropped them and caught the next pace line in front of them. Then I dropped them and caught the next group of riders at the stop sign where you make a left onto Rt. 121. I stayed with that group knowing that Mount St was coming up (7% grade climb over 3 tenths of a mile).

Mount St.

Once I hit Mount St., I just focused on doing a steady climb up the hill. To my surprise I dropped everybody in this group except for Rowan on his Specialized Roubaix. I also wound up eating a bug in mid-climb.

Why Did I Ride Stronger Today?

I'm not sure. I do know that I typically peak around September. Maybe all of this years riding is kicking in. The only other thing that was different about today was that I was working from home. I went to my daughter's Kindergarten Orientation and then we went to Papa Gino's for a special treat. There I ate a half a Papa Gino's Pizza. I don't normally stuff myself at lunch, but pizza is a weakness of mine. Maybe Papa Gino's should sponsor a bike team ;-)

My Phat Ride Stats
Date Distance Time Avg Mph MAX Mph
June 12, 2007 25.24 1:23:38 18.1 36.2
June 26, 2007 25.25 1:24:51 17.9 36.3
July 10, 2007 25.20 1:21:14 18.6 35.7
July 24, 2007 25.26 1:22:17 18.4 37.9
August 7, 2007 25.26 1:22:24 18.4 35.7
August 28, 2007 25.26 1:18:35 19.3 37.2

Sunday, August 26, 2007

To Wrentham Outlets and Back (via Norfolk)...

Another Humid Day

Today was another humid day, but not as hot as yesterday. There was even the threat of rain, which never materialized. I headed south with no plan in mind. Along the way I decided to bike past the Wrentham Outlets just so I can say "Yeah, I've biked to the Wrentham Outlets...". Right across from the outlets I made a right onto a hidden back road (Nickerson) right off of route 1a. Well, it's not that hidden because I saw a Naragansett Bay Wheelman route marker ?

NBW Route Marker
NBW Route Marker
   painted on the road. I followed these arrows for a bit as they were pointing in the same direction as I was going. Upon further research I learned that I was riding along the 50 mile leg of the NBW-128: Diamond Hill Two ride. A little while after that I saw more NBW arrows in Norfolk that turns out to be the northernmost section of the NBW-088: Scramble Metric ride. The Scramble Metric is the NBW Route that comes closest to my home.

Climb up Brandywine

The neighborhood behind us is having a neighborhood being built behind it. So far it is causing an increase in drivers speeding through an otherwise quiet neighborhood where there are lots of kids playing in the streets. Eventually is it supposed to have its own entrance on Populatic Street. I don't think that will solve the traffic issues as Populatic Street doesn't really go anywhere. Anyway, I had recently driven through the neighborhood checking out the nice $500k+ "affordable housing" homes and I noticed that they had paved the roads all the way through to Populatic (much to the disappointment of all the local mountain bikers). The end was gated (still just construction vehicle access I guess) so one couldn't drive through. However, one can easily jump the gate with a bike. A road bike.

So, for a change of pace, instead of coming my usual approach from the East, I cut through the neighborhood. Well, it turns out that it is roughly 200+ feet of climbing over just 1 mile. There were two parts to climbing through this neighborhood. Each climb was a quarter mile in length. The first climb had a 5.6% grade. The second part, which connected to the older neighborhood, had a 8.5% grade. Nice way to finish up a ride. At least I had a nice descent back to my home. :-)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

To West Holliston and Back...

It's Hot Again

It was a hot one today and I didn't get out until around mid-day. so I decided to take it a bit easy. I headed north to Holliston without any plan. When I got back to Franklin I had only put on about 15 or so miles. I wanted to put in at least 20 so I continued south towards downtown.

Soldier's Funeral

When I reached downtown Franklin all the main streets were closed off for the funeral of a local soldier who had died fighting in Iraq. It was quite impressive seeing the streets lined with hundreds of people bearing American flags all along the route from the Church to the Cemetery. I wish we could do more to honor and support the fighting men who are serving this country aside from throwing a magnetic sticker on the back of our cars...

Monday, August 20, 2007

NBW: South Shore Century

The South Shore Century

I didn't really train to ride a Century this year, however I put in almost as many miles in the previous 10 week as I did when I was training for my first Century last year. So I figured I should be in good shape. This is my 4th ride with the Naragansett Bay Wheelmen. Some of the faces are starting to look familiar.

This is a serious Biking Van. The roof has as many bike racks as its real estate can accommodate.

Morning Meeting

Luca, the arrower, telling us about all the hazards and obstacles to expect. He was more than thorough :-)

Luca was the sole arrower for the ride. He marked just about every single hazard on the route and then some. Somebody commented "A blind man can follow these arrows!" Normally the NBW Club rides are very well arrowed. However, Luca's arrowing stepped it up to a completley higher level. He had compiled a full page of significant hazards and obstacles like "bridge closed" and "road missing". He was thorough yet succinct in his descriptions. There were no surprises.

The ride

As I am learning with Group Rides, the mass start quickly breaks up into smaller groups. The trick is to join a group that matches your pace. I think the is the first NBW Club ride where I managed to do that. We had a fast but not insane pace and I comfortably hung with the group until the rest stop at mile 50.

The South Shore

The South Shore is really nice. At least the expensive, waterfront sections we rode through is nice.

.33 miles of Dirt in Duxbury along Duxbury Beach.

Scenic Coastline in Ocean_Bluff (Marshfield), MA

Approaching the Old Scituate Light Lighthouse.

100 miles and only one rest stop...

At about mile 40 I was wondering if the group I was riding with was ever going to stop. I was 1/4 the way through my second bottle of Gatorade and while I didn't have to "go", I knew it would be only a matter of time before nature called.

Rest Stop at Halfway point. Scotty's in Scituate. Gatorade refill and a restroom :-)

That's Sara on the left. Sitting down in the red shirt is another Marty. He's a Chiropractor.

The second 50...

I couldn't keep up the pace with the group I was riding with. I got dropped around mile 60. Not bad. I wasn't the only one. Steve had dropped before I did and I thought at the time "I'll see him later..., after I get dropped." and I did.

Wompatuck State Park.

The ride through the Wompatuck State Park was interesting.

Pick-up Truck in Norwell

A guy in a green pick-up truck in Norwell seemed to have an issue with me. He yelled something about "grumble grumble follow traffic rules a-hole...". Then he pulled in front of me and hit the brakes. I soooo wanted to respond with a hand signal, but I thought it prudent not to. So I just stared him down. If you are ever in Norwell, MA and see a guy in a Green Pick-up with Mass Plates "1984-TO", feel free to give him a piece of your mind.

Thanks Steve!

This is Steve Rodriguez. He pulled me along for the last 20 miles. The other Marty is his Chiropractor.

After mile 80 my bicycle felt like it was made of lead. That pretty much sums up my state of affairs at the end of the ride. I was glad to be riding with Steve for this last leg of the ride.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

To Chemewa and Back

Nice Day for a ride...

Tomorrow I plan on going on the Naragansett Bay Wheelman's South Shore Century ride. But today was such an irresistible day to ride, that I just couldn't pass it up. I figured that I might go out for a couple of hours and take it easy. Maybe push south towards the Chemewa Golf Course in North Attleboro. My neighbor likes to golf there and I like to tweak him a bit and say "Oh yeah, I bike down there sometimes..." Heh. When he drives there he takes 495 to 95 to 295 to Route 1 and is about 24-25 miles. I shave off 10 miles easy going the back roads on my bike.

Chemewa Golf Course

Taking it easy... Not!

Well, just under 35 miles and a little over 2 hours later, I pull into my driveway with a solo ride average of 17.1 mph. I'm not a racer, so that is fast for me when I am not drafting anybody. I hope I didn't ruin myself for tomorrow's Century.

Last year, when I did my first Century, it was on the second day of a 3-day 250 mile ride in NJ. The first day was 85 miles in the hilliest part of NJ, where the foothills of the Appalachians are and where Edison had a his mining companies. I got bursitis on Day 1 and kept riding. Compared to that, I feel more confidant about tomorrow :-)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Stupid MBTA!!!

I missed yesterday's Phat Tuesday Ride because my train was delayed for up to 40 minutes due to mysterious "Signal Problems"

I can't even begin to tell you how frustrated I was last night at around 6:00 PM.

Monday, August 13, 2007

West to Blackstone Valley and Back...

A Day Off...

We hit a significant milestone at work last Friday and as a result everybody was given today off :-)

So after sleeping late, and doing some much needed catching up on my finances, I went for a ride. I originally wanted to push out further west and dip into RI and come back via Uxbridge, but I started too late and decided to keep it to right around 30 miles. It was good to get out.

I hope I didn't wear myself out for tomorrow night Tuesday Evening Group Ride.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

To Dover and Back (with Blueberries in between)


It was 47° F when I looked at the thermometer this morning. It's August! I was planning on going out for a really early morning ride, but I refuse to put on cold weather bike clothing in August. So I waited until it got north of 50°. I wore my Germany bike shirt because it is the warmest short sleeve jersey I have. I knew it would get warmer and sunnier, so I dressed for that as opposed to the current reading on the thermometer. Around mile 3 I saw a couple of other bikers with arm warmers on. I was chilly but getting warmer.

I almost wore this...

I almost wore this...

I'm glad I didn't go long sleeve as it did get warmer as I was fine with what I was wearing.

Lots of Bikers...

There were lots of bikers out today. I headed east through Norfolk/Medfield the north to Dover. I even saw a biker twice in Dover. First he was coming south on center st, then he was coming north on Farm street.

I saw a paceline group out for a training ride in Dover also. But the coolest thing that happened was when another paceline group caught up to me on Forrest Road in Sherborn. If I didn't have to get back I would have tagged along for a bit.

A Paceline Group caught up to me on Forest Street in Sherborn.

UPDATE! (March 12, 2008)

UPDATE: I was looking at the CRW site and noticed that their Saturday Morning Fitness (Long 42) ride overlaps this particular ride at mile ~16. Not only that but they start at 8:30 AM. The picture was taken on Forest St @ 9:16 AM. The time and distance are just right if they were averaging ~20 MPH. Coolness...

Blueberry Picking

My wife was going to take our daughter's blueberry picking this morning while I was out for a ride. On my way back I called to see where they were. They were just about to head out so I told her I would meet them there (at Jane & Paul's Farm in Norfolk).

I timed it just right to meet my family at Jane & Paul's Farm for Blueberry Picking.

They pulled in about 30 seconds after I rode up. Talk about timing :-) I spent the next 40 minutes hanging out, picking blueberries, and holding my youngest while she napped. So I got to have it all, a bike ride and time with the family!

Picking blueberries with my daughter.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Big Phat Cramp!

A Good Turnout.

Riding Stronger

At least it felt that way. After a week of riding fast and furious in the flats of Baldwin County, Alabama, it was good to get back to the Tuesday Ride Group. Most of the group has done this past weekend's Pan Mass Challenge and there was "talk" of taking it easy today. However, I guess I rode out with the group that didn't do the PMC. It was fast as usual. However, I didn't get dropped until almost mile 8 and I didn't get dropped as badly as I have before. I averaged 19.1 mph at the rest stop and I was still averaging 19.0 mph for the ride up and until the Mount Street Climb.

Pan Mass Challenge

Speaking of the Pan Mass Challenge, I think I'd really like to do it next year. I'll have to make a point of speaking to Tim about that next time I see him.

Phat Cramp

My left calf had been showing signs of cramping all through out the ride. I thought it would hold off. I was finishing strong coming off of the Mount St. climb and I was reeling in the rider in front of me on the last mile of the ride. I caught him and with only a half mile to go, I figured I would sprint past him and make a really strong finish. However, as soon as I stood up, my right calf cramped up big time. I tried to rub it out but it was no use. I didn't want to stop so I un-clipped my right foot and just pedaled the rest of the way using my left foot. As a result I finished 7 seconds slower than my last Tuesday Evening ride (according to my bike computer, which actually recorded the same exact mileage to 2 decimal places!)

My Phat Ride Stats
Date Distance Time Avg Mph MAX Mph
June 12, 2007 25.24 1:23:38 18.1 36.2
June 26, 2007 25.25 1:24:51 17.9 36.3
July 10, 2007 25.20 1:21:14 18.6 35.7
July 24, 2007 25.26 1:22:17 18.4 37.9
August 7, 2007 25.26 1:22:24 18.4 35.7

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Fairhope Dot Race

I was just reviewing my rides on and checked to see if anybody else was riding at the same time. It turns out that on Thursday, the FAST RIDE day, another person in the group had a GPS device and was tracking the ride. Now the cool thing about that is anybody can use's Dot Race feature and see how I fared against the other rider.

The "Dot Race"

Thursday's "Fast Ride" Dot Race. - You can only view this in IE only and you need the Adobe's SVG Player Plugin. More about how uses this plug-in on their Wiki.

Be sure to check off the "Real Time" check box and click on Race to restart the race and see us riding together. You can also see the two times I got dropped. I think I held up pretty well for the most part ;-)

Cool Stuff...

Friday, August 3, 2007

Fairhope Recovery Ride

Taking it easy...

Taking it easy with a 23 mile ride at 18.3 mpg average. Today's ride was more relaxed. Except for the part where I pulled the group up a hill and dropped off of the front. The group then took off and dropped me. Jim wasn't happy about that as it was supposed to be a recovery ride. So he dropped back and pulled me back to the group.

After that, it was a nice, quickly paced social ride. These are a great group of rider and I am glad that I hooked up with them. I am sorry that it is only for one week out of the year.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Fast Ride Day

Apparently Thursday is Fast Day

I should have been nervous when only 5 other people showed up. Today we were pushing for speed. It was also the first time I got "an assist" going up a hill. I checked my Garmin and it said I was averaging 21.1 mph when I got dropped at mile ~8.5. The nice thing about the dark and the bike lights is how far away they are visible from.The group was kind enough to wait for me. I think they were worried about me getting lost. I should have mentioned that I rode a lot of these roads last year and that I also had a GPS device tracking my routes.

Dropped II

So once we got into more familiar territory (aka, the previous day's route) I got dropped again at about mile 17.5. This time for good. Yeah, they were going fast and I'm not at that speed level yet. Especially with flat terrain and little opportunity to rest and recover. The group kept going. That was fine, I didn't want to hold them up anymore. They were kind enough to send one guy back to check on me. Though I think he was glad for it. He was struggling just like me and I provided a good excuse for him to fall back.

Oh well, I won't get faster if I don't go faster. The best way to do that is ride with faster people. Though I am starting to yearn for the hills of Massachusetts a little bit ;-)

Jim - The Un-official Leader

Jim is the unofficial leader of this group. They are trying to get it going much like the group rides around Mobile Proper. Like just about everybody down here he is very nice and welcoming.

This is Lee. He comes all the way from France, where he races!

Lee is the one who gave me the "assist" up a climb. He also gave me a number if tips during the ride. They helped, but not enough for me to keep up the pace.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Fairhope Group Ride

No Drop Day

I was told about this Group Ride out of Fairhope from Phil at Eastern Shore Cycles. I was corresponding with him via email prior to my trip. They met and head out on weekdays at 5:00 AM. That's early. He recommended I meet with them on Wednesday as that day is a "No-Drop" day. So I set my alarm for 4:15 AM and joined them. There were about 12-14 people in all.

Dark and Flat, first the Dark...

It is quite an experience riding in the dark. And by dark I mean roads with no street light or any other ambient lights dark. The only thing lighting the way was our lights (mine was bright enough to be seen, but that was it) and the half moon when it peeked throught the clouds. It is a little nerve wracking hanging onto somebody's wheel when you can't see yours. It was great though. I think they ride this early because it is the only time you can get 75 degree weather is at 5 o'clock in the morning.

Now for the Flat...

The roads are straight and flat. I swear you can see the curvature of the Earth. I didn't because it was dark. Riding with a group on mostly flat terrain is a much different experience than riding with a group through the hills of Massachusetts. No tactics, no strategy, no saving yourself for the upcoming hill, no resting on descents, just flat out pedaling. I averaged 19.3 mph on this ride. I could never do that on my own.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Alabama, Day 1: Fairhope to Weeks Bay and Back...

Slow Moving Morning...

Hot, tired, and dehydrated from the previous days' travel, it took me a while to get moving this morning. I went out side at roughly 5:20 am to recalibrate my GPS. I enjoyed the early morning darkness as the sun was hitting some of the higher atmosphere's clouds. Then at 5:30 I discovered I had locked myself out of the house. I eventually got my wife to let me back in. Then I had to finish putting air in my tires with my bike pump (I let the air out before I packed the bike for the plane). That was a pain. I eventually hit the road a little after 6:30 AM.


I headed south along Scenic 98. It follows the shoreline of Mobile Bay. I did an abbreviated version of the Route 11: "The Weeks Bay Loop" I found on this map It was flat. I was averaging in the mid 17 mph range. The scenery was nice. Not much traffic in these parts this early in the morning. I wasn't sure how far I was going to go, but I was feeling better the further I went. I got to the bridge that was closed last year and kept going. I decided to go all the way to Weeks Bay since I seemed to be feeling so good. It's a nice destination to aim for. So I did. Nothing there but an abandoned restaurant that was wreaked by a Hurricane and a bunch of fisherman.

Not so Flat...

I headed back via and inland route. Now they don't have hills like we have in New England, but they still seemed to suck some energy out of me. The hills are like the local accent, long, drawn out and easy going.

Local Group Ride Tomorrow...

Tomorrow I may join a group ride I heard about from a bike shop I've been in contact with here. They meet at 5:00 AM at a nearby McDonald's. Tomorrow I am told is the "No Drop" ride. That will be good. I'm not that used to all these flat roads. The nice thing about hills is that you can rest going down.

5:00 AM is pretty early. I hope I can make it. I think one of the reasons they ride so early is to avoid the heat, which can be oppressive around mid-day. The other is the traffic, which also can be oppressive around mid-day... ;-)

Weeks Bay

Morning sun

This is what they call a "Shoulder" here in Baldwin County Alabama.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

To Medfield, Walpole, and back...

Last Ride Before Alabama

I'm glad I was able to get a ride in before I had to pack up my bike for my trip to Fairhope, Alabama. I'll be there for a week and I don't often get a full week of unstructured time. A perfectly good reason to bring the bike.

Rain in Forecast...

The weather reports called for rain and thunderstorms in the forecast. However, judging by the radar patterns, it was mostly west and north. So I decided to ride east in order to increase my chances of staying dry.

The First Half Mile

The first half mile of most of my bike ride I usually circle back through the neighbor hood behind me. I like to do this just to make sure that there is nothing unexpected going on with the bike. It also put me near the top of a hill which is always a good starting point. Today I discovered that my neighbor who abuts the back of my property had a lemonade stand set up. I stopped, chatted, and made a point to swing by at the end of my ride. The frozen lemonade was a nice treat :-)

Lemonade Stand


I rode along Causeway Street in Millis/Medfield. It passes through the Rhododendron Reservation in Medfield. They appear to be in bloom.

Rhododendrons in Medfield...

More Rhododendrons in Medfield...


Near the end of my ride I heard thunder. I checked the radar on my phone (Mobile My-Cast) and saw some rain just to the west, but no "orange". I was in Norfolk on Fruit Street.

As I was doing this, another biker had just caught up to me and I mentioned it to him. His name was Scott and he lived nearby in Norfolk. I think he was near the beginning of his ride. He has a MS-150 Jersey on. He decided to head home. We rode together for a few miles as we were going in the same direction. Maybe I'll see him again as he lived really close by.

I must have just missed the rain because as I rode closer to Franklin (on Medway St.) the roads were freshly wet. They were wet all the way home, but I never saw any rain. Ominous clouds, yes. Rain, no.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Phat Tuesday

Just about perfect weather...

The Tuesday Evening Ride...

I look forward to these Tuesday evening rides. I've ridden with bike clubs on long weekend rides, but they never seem very social and those long group rides eventually devolve into just a bunch of solo riders all going int he same direction. This Tuesday evening ride has a much different vibe. A smaller group of (very local) riders doing the same route week in and week out offers the opportunity to constantly see a lot of familiar faces. It lends itself to a more "Social" atmosphere. Pre-ride start reminds me of hanging out in the paddock at the Auto Cross events I used to go to. Right down to the point of chatting with someone while they are in the process of wiping debris off of their tires... I'm starting to put more names to faces now. Some of these faces I've seen on my weekend solo rides.

Too Fast for my own Good...

When the group made the left onto RT 121 in Sheldonville/West Wrentham, a gap formed instantly between the fast group and everyone else due to traffic. I, however, was able to slip onto 121 and close the gap. I was able to makeup a lot of group simply my maintaining an aggressive pace and late apexing ?


Turning into a corner late and missing the optimum apex point in order to straighten out the last part of the corner. This allows the driver to accelerate earlier and harder, gaining maximum speed down the next straight.

the next two turns in order to carry my momentum and maintain my speed. I made up the most ground using with the latter technique. Once I caught up with the fast group I knew I was in over my head. I also knew this when I was closing the gap, but there was a gap to be closed ;-)

I got dropped about a mile after closing the gap. I eased up so I would have energy to keep up with the 2nd group when they reeled me in @ mile 5.14. Not enough apparently as I got dropped from them on Fales St. only 2 miles later.

At mile 7.8 on High St. I latched onto a 3rd group of riders. I was able to hang with this group all the way to the rest stop, even taking a turn pulling on RT 120. My self and the rider pictured below even broke away from that group on the long climb on RT 120 as it approached the Mass-RI border. At which point we regrouped.

I can keep up with this guy, barely. (I didn't catch his name) I can see why he commented on my Harpoon shirt on my first ride with the group :-) (I'm not sure when his friend on the right is doing though...)

19.9 mph Average at the half-way resting point.

Solo Phat Ride...

After the rest stop at the halfway point, I headed out a little too early and got stuck in the middle of the huge gap between the fast and the not-so fast. Essentially at this point, it became a fast a solo ride with riders disappearing in front of me and other riders reeling me in over the next 7 miles all the way to Mount St.

All-in-all another good ride. I find myself steadily improving each ride as I learn to pace myself and focus better.

My Phat Ride Stats
Date Distance Time Avg Mph MAX Mph
June 12, 2007 25.24 1:23:38 18.1 36.2
June 26, 2007 25.25 1:24:51 17.9 36.3
July 10, 2007 25.20 1:21:14 18.6 35.7
July 24, 2007 25.26 1:22:17 18.4 37.9

Sunday, July 22, 2007

To Holliston and back (via Norfolk)

Another essentially perfect day.

  1. Mowed the Lawn - Check
  2. Trimmed the Forsythia bush - Check
  3. Spent time with family - Check
  4. Still time for an afternoon ride? Check

After getting my chores done and having fun with my two daughters, I had just under a couple of hours to slip in another ride. ELizabeth (1.5) and my wife were going to take a nap and Catherine (5.5) was going to have some quiet time (she doesn't nap anymore). I geared up and headed out.

Making new Lines...

Just about every time I head out for a ride I try to make it a point to "add some new lines" to my map. I track every ride and then add them to my Google Earth file. My North Western quadrant (Franklin, MA being the origin) was empty. The City of Milford and Route 495 are difficult obsticles to get around. At least until the Upper Charles River Trail gets completed. So I headed north-west for a change. The plan was to make my way up to Rt 16, head east to the center of Holliston, and play it by ear from there.

So that's what I did. I didn't have as much trouble crossing RT 126 or RT 109 as I thought I would. Once I was on Fisher St. in Medway I was far from any traffic. Right after the end of Fisher St. after I made the right onto South St. I saw where the proposed Upper Charles River Trail was going to be. Right now that section is a dirt path suitable only for Mountain Bikes. It looked well worn so I imagine that it is currently being taken advantage of my trail bikes (why not, if nobody else is using it now...).

Right Knee...

Before I set out, I made sure to raise my seat a little to help resolve the pain in my right knee. Apparently I raised it just enough. The Patellar Tendonitis that was acting up in my right knee yesterday was no longer a problem.

All-in-all it was a good afternoon ride where I got to cover some new territory and make it home in time before my youngest daughter woke up from her nap. :-)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

To Cumberland Hill, RI and Back...

What a morning for a ride! It was hard to believe that it was mid-July and the sky was crystal clear with puffy cloulds and there was a chill in the airr as I headed out for an early morning bike ride (6:47 am). I would have headed out earlier, but I had to pay some bills first. It felt like a perfect September day, only in July.

Diamond Hill Reservoir.

South into Rhode Island

This morning I decided to head south in Rhode Island. Instead of just skimming the norther part of Cumberland, RI or climbing Tower Hill Road, I pushed just a bit further south to RT 120 (Nathan Whipple Highway). Nathan Whipple must be a local historical figure with a lot of family in the region. I say this because I knew a Nate Whipple from my autocross days way before I even came across this road.

Anyway... I passed through Cumberland Hill, RI, and there I headed back north on West Wrentham road. This is a saner way to climb Tower Hill, but not as gratifying ;-)

I was close to the Blackstone River Bike Path. Maybe I'll take advantage of that on a future ride.

Pan Mass Challenge Route Sign...

I came back via Lake st in Bellingham. This is a very familiar road to me as I often include it in my southerly routes. However this is the first time I saw a "permanent" route marker sign for the PMC (Pan Mass Challenge):

PMC Sign coming off of Lake St. onto Maple...

I know the route that the PMC takes through Bellingham and Franklin (and some of the surrounding towns). I've seent the neon green/yellow arrow signs that mark the route. However this is the first time I've seen a permanent sign. Maybe I haven't noticed it before, but in any case it was a good excuse to stop and take a picture.

Right Knee...

A while back I was having issues with my left knee which turned out to be Patellar Tendonitis. Raising my seat a little fixed that. However now I am having the same issue with my right knee. Maybe tomorrow I'll try raising my seat some more.