Saturday, June 30, 2007

Highland Lakes to Ringwood...

Greenwood Lake

My old Stomping Grounds...

Today I rode from my mother's house in Highland Lakes to my Father's house in Ringwood, NJ. I took the shortcut through Waywayanda State Park. I had to pass through 1/10th of a mile of hard pack dirt road, but it was no big deal. The route is mostly downhill starting at ~1300" and ending up at ~500".

There was a big decent that I was a little worried about. Luckily traffic was light and the road was freshly paved from top to bottom. I topped out near 44 mph. It was fun.

A little after that I hit some rough road as there was a big construction project to re-route part of the Warwick Turnpike just south-east of Greenwood lake.

It was only 20 miles but it was a good ride. I actually beat my wife and daughters who left a little after me and had to take a route that didn't cut through the state park.

Friday, June 29, 2007

NJ Bound...

The important things are packed. Now to pack my clothes...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Phat Ride, Getting There was an Adventure in Itself...

Getting there was half the battle...

Normally my train gets into the Norfolk T stop right around 5:00 or so. (I get in early, 7:00 am at my desk, so I can get out early.) Today, due to whatever, the train gets in 15 minutes late. OK, so my window of getting home, changing, making a batch of Gatorade (I buy the powder), and loading the bike on the car is a little shorter. I can deal with that. So I am cutting it close now. I am driving though downtown Franklin, almost halfway to the ride start, drinking my pre-ride Gatorade, and I am looking at my bag of stuff. Seems like it isn't as full as it should be.


I don't know if I can make it home, grab my shoes, and still make it to the ride before 6:00 PM. Succede or fail, I am going to try. I do not want to miss this weeks ride.

By the time I grab my shoes and get back in the car, it is roughly 5:45. I have to make it ~5.7 miles to the other side of Franklin.

On the way I start putting on my bike shoes while driving. Every once in a while I check to make sure the bike is still on the back. Somehow I get to the ride start @ 5:58. My car, 2004 Subaru Outback, has funny smells eminating from it. Either the brake pads or the clutch. Most likely both. I guess I shouldn't drive it as if it were my old Integra with the racing suspension...

I put my other shoe on (I was only able to put my left shoe on en route), add some air to the tires, clip in, and the ride begins...

Running on Adrenalin...

So I start the ride wired with adrenalin from my arriving just-in-time. It lasts for about 5 miles until we hit a grade on Burnt Swamp road. Then I get dropped from the lead group. ## Insert Profanity here ##

At least I know I'll catch up with everyone at the halfway rest stop. It was a hot one today...

Hot... @ the Half-way point.

At the rest stop I did the sensible thing and let the fast group go out and rode with the still-fast-but-not-quite-as-fast group.

Tactical Knowledge...

I need to work on tactics. That and pacing. I need to know when to hold back and not waste energy and effort for when I really need it.

Not as fast as last time...

Not as fast, but still fast. I averaged 17.8 mph. So this is the second fastest I have ever ridden.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Old Benchmark Ride...

Well... Today I "was" going to do the "NBW-098 North Country Fifty" ride out of Greenville, RI. However a number of factors came into play such that I had to forgo that ride.

  1. My daughter was sick
  2. My driveway was being overtaken by our Forsythia Bush.

So I didn't want to be away from my sick daughter for the better part of the day. She has a Coxsackie virus and she was experiencing a lot of pain in her throat.

I also needed to reclaim part of my driveway from overgrown vegetation.

So I revisited a modified version of an old benchmark ride that I haven't done in a number of years. It is a 16 mile route that encircles Franklin. I used to do a different version of this route when I just had my 1990 Specialized Rockhopper for a bike and I would cut through "unpaved" areas. I still have this bike. I plan on transforming it into a commuter friendly bike.

I never used to see bikers along Maple Street (runs north-south along the Franklin-Bellingham border). I always thought, "this is a great road to bike on". It is relatively wide for a back road and has light to moderate traffic. It is also nicely surfaced. Well today I saw at least 4-5 other bikers riding on this road :-)

I shouldn't be surprised at that since I have noticed more and more bike club route markers appearing on the roads in the past couple of years.

Anyway, at least I got a short ride in today...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Ride to Framingham...

I didn't mean to ride to Framingham yesterday, but a road I wanted to take was closed so I had to improvise. I got a bit lost, but not too lost. I knew "roughly" where I was.

I typically go South, West, or Southwest-ish. Today I decided to go North for a change. I couldn't understand why I seemed to be struggling for the first half of the ride until I got home and saw that big spike in the ride profile. That also explains why I still got a relatively decent average mph for the total ride.

Tire Pressure...

After reading an article on "The Case for Lower Tire Pressure", I tried riding with 110 psi as opposed to 120 psi. I am not yet convinced lower is better.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day Ride Thru Sherborn...

Not wanting to repeat the "Heat Exaustion Experience of a couple of weeks ago" I made sure to pick out a route that wasn't to "intense". I also made sure it was mostly along shady, tree lined routes.

As I was coming over Fruit St. heading into Norfolk, another rider caught up to me. We both turned right onto Cleveland St. and rode together until Rt 115. He was on a noticibly older and heavier bike He was also in better shape and faster than me. We parted as he headed south on RT 115 and I cut straight across onto Tucker Rd.

Just under 25 miles, 16.4 mph average. It was a good way to spend an hour and a half of Father's Day :-)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Upper Charles River Trail: Milford Grand Opening

Today I took the family to the brand new "Rail Trail" that opened up in Milford. The first phase of the Milford Trail is the first portion of the Upper Charles River Trail to be completed. When completed this will be a 25 mile loop going through Milford, Hopkinton, Ashland, Sherborn, and Holliston.

It was nice to find a place where I can take my 5 1/2 year old daugher for a bike ride (other than the cul-de-sac in the neighborhood behind us...).

She put in 2.5 miles on her 16" Specialized HotRock. :-) To gain some level of excercise for myself, I made sure to have my MTN bike in the lowest gear and never upshift. Level the field so to speak. It was fun and we turned around at the right point so that Catherine started getting tired just as we got back.

Trail Related Links:

Photo-MoBlog entries for this ride:

And yes... I had my Garmin eTrex Legend and I did track the ride... I just had to :-)

Trail rules for bikes

Lunch on the trail

A few sandwiches, some water and a few freezer packs to keep everyhting cool all fit nicely in my rack pack.

Trail Sign at Louisa Lake

Milford Rail Trail

My daughter Catherine enjoying the new rail trail.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Phat Tuesday Ride...

I recently got word of a local "Tuesday Evening Ride" from a neighbor. I just read an article about "Tuesday Evening Rides" in Bicycling Magazine and I wanted to find a way to get some riding in mid-week.

"Team Phat Tuesday is a cycling team based in Franklin, Massachusetts. We are a charitable group organized to fund raise for The Jimmy Fund, through the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge. Some of our riders have participated in the event for the past 20 years."

Tim Brightman, pictured below, is the contact for the ride. He was kind enough to pull me along after I dropped from the pack. He more-or-less told me "Don't kill your-self trying to maintain that pace…" as he pulled in front of me and allowed me to draft.

Tim Brightman

More about Phat Tuesday:

My goal for the evening was to not embarrass myself ;-) I hadn't been riding that quickly recently and I hoped I would be able to keep up.

Well, I didn't embarrass myself and I rode faster that I had ever ridden. To date, I had only had a 17.6 mph average for my fastest ride. Riding with this group, I averaged 18.1 mph. Granted, it wasn't as hilly as my usual rides, but still…!

UPDATE: Actually, it has a very similar profile to a number of my rides with 1279" of climbing over 25 miles.

I kept on remembering the tips from the latest issue of Bicycling. Essentially, do what the other riders are doing. If I saw someone drink, I drank. If the group wasn't "speeding along" on a flat section, then don't "jump out in front". Stay with the pack.

Determined to keep up with the pack I pushed myself. My calves were on the verge of cramping up. I drank, and rubbed them just enough to hold off any real cramping.

18.1 mph, Wow! It felt good. I'm hooked. I hope I can make it out every Tuesday…

NOTE: My GPS dropped the satellites for about a mile (the mile with the biggest climb), so no link to for this ride...

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Tower Hill, Track Stands, and Heat Exaustion...

Today's ride took me south into Rhode Island where I decided to tackle my favorite climb, Tower Hill Road in Cumberland, RI. It is my favorite because it is challenging, has a few steep grades at the beginning, then rolls through portions of the Diamond Hill State Park on a pretty isolated road. One time I even saw wild turkeys crossing my path. Of course I wouldn't even consider doing this climb if it didn't come with a reward: the descent on West Wrentham Road.

Track Stand

The most recent issue of Bicycling Magazine has a brief instructional article on how to do a track stand. I read it and tried out some of the tips on this ride. It's not hard to do once armed with these tips. I never unclipped for the entire duration of the ride. I wish they had an online version of this article so I could link to it.

Heat Exhaustion

It was a midday ride with temperatures in the 90's. I was loaded up with Gatorade and even downed a pint of it prior to heading out. Two bottles plus one in the tummy. I felt fine for the entire ride until I got home. I pulled to a stop and noticed myself sweating profusely. I went inside, drank some more Gatorade, and took a quick "cool-ish" shower. I wasn't feeling all that well. I was tired and feeling bloated. So I took a two hour nap.

My wife then looked up Heat Exhaustion on the web:

Recognizing Heat Exhaustion

Warning signs of heat exhaustion include:

  • heavy sweating - Yup
  • paleness - My wife said I was very pale
  • muscle cramps - Nope
  • tiredness - Yup
  • weakness - Yup
  • dizziness - Nope
  • headache - Yup (not at the time, but afterwards I felt like I had a hangover)
  • nausea or vomiting - Nope, but I did feel bloated
  • fainting - Nope.

Now I've ridden in hot weather before, hotter than today was. I made a point to stay hydrated. Other than the climbs I wasn't really pushing myself too hard. StilI suffered from heat exhaustion. Just goes to show it can sneak up on anyone without your knowledge.