Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Martinator's Bicycling Blog Store

Martinator's Bike Store

I set up an AStore through Essentially is it a store front I set up and features a select filtering of products. Right now I have it set up to feature Winter Riding Essentials. All the Amazon ads you now see on this blog now link to my AStore.

You can get to the store by clicking any item in any of the ads, or you can go there directly via:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bike Trainer Haiku

Bicycle trainer:
alone, neglected, dusty.
Need motivation...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Late October Ride

Nice Day

It is late October and it is Sunny and in the 60's. I did not even have to think about layering today. I was fortunate enough to get most of my chores done yesterday and this morning, so after church (and lunch) I headed out for a short ride.

I only went 16 miles. that was because I really wasn't paying attention to the route and I thought I was further from home than I actually was. I'm not too familiar with the loops north of my house. I do know the roads, but I don't have a sense of how long some of the routes along those roads are. Oh well, I got back in time for the second half of the Pats game.

Lost and Found

I found a brand new, stuffed dolphin in the road. I had just crossed over onto Himmelfarb in Millis when I came across it. I turned around, documented the find (took a picture) and brought it home for my youngest daughter.

Found on Himmelfarb in Millis.


I often ride on Miller St. in Norfolk on my way back. It is scenic as it passes through a conversation area. however today it was a little different because I knew that there would be a road side memorial set up for Taylor Meyer of Plainville who's body was recently found.

One of two memorials set up along the bridge on Miller St. which was covered with condolences.

I didn't know her or her family. I couldn't help but think of my own two daughters (7 and 3). I can't imagine how this family much feel to lose their daughter in such a tragic and needless way. You can only protect them so much...


I saw Ed mowing his lawn as I passed by his house. He said he was going to try and get out for a ride later in the afternoon. I winder if he did. It was a really nice day to get out.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Riding with the Family

Upper Charles Trail, Milford

I had promised my family that we would do a family ride on Sunday. So we did. It was fun. It was the first time Catherine rode on the Bike Path without her training wheels. It was also our first time riding with Elizabeth in a bike seat.

We parked in the center and went out and back both ways, stopping for lunch in between. Overall we did almost 6 miles. Not bad for a 6.5 year old :-)

Catherine is much faster now that she isn't on training wheels. I think next time we may go to a longer Bike Path.

Friday, October 10, 2008

To Blackstone and Back

Bonus Day of Riding

This weekend is a big release weekend and I have to go in on Saturday. So in order to rest up, my manager let us have a half day today. I took advantage and went for a ride.

Wild Turkeys!

I headed out not really knowing where or how long I was going to ride for. I knew I wanted to go "west-ish". I toyed with the idea of heading out to Southwick Zoo, but I wanted to be home at a reasonable time. Anyway, as I was riding on Cross Street in Bellingham, I came upon a bunch of Wild Turkeys.

Wild Turkeys. Probably finding refuge in the U.S. this Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend...


I eventually decided to keep the ride relatively short (26 miles it turns out) and when I got to East Blackstone, I kept right on to Elm Street. I had never ridden on that street as I usually head further west at that point. With the exception of the gigantic quarry, it was very scenic.

Nice scenery along Elm St in Blackstone.

Nice Day

It was pretty much perfect weather, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to take advantage of it.

The foliage along High Street in Bellingham.

Bike Shop Afternoon...

When I got back I gave my bike a good cleaning. I washed it to get all the dirt and grime off of it. I also cleaned the chain as it was overdue.

While I was at it I also washed my daughters bike. I figured her chain could stand to be cleaned, however that was tougher than expected. My Park Tool Cyclone Chain Cleaner was difficult to fit around the chain on a bike that small. Eventually I just left the top off and was still able to get het chain pretty clean.

It was difficult fitting a chain cleaner tool around the chain on my daughter's bike.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Dreary Sunday Ride

Cold, Miserable, and Tired.

Well, the weather forecasts I had seen on Friday for Sunday indicated that it would be a warm and sunny day just like Saturday. It wasn't. It was cold, overcast and even threatened to rain at times. I had the option of going on another group ride with the people I rode with yesterday, however I decided not to. I was still somewhat tired from yesterday's ride (and Oktoberfest party) and I didn't want to have to worry about "keeping up" with a fast group. Also, I wanted to go for a shorter, more relaxed ride. Not to mention that I had to get home and mow the lawn. It had grown tall after 3 weeks.

I layered up and headed out for a 20 mile ride. It was much slower that yesterday's ride. I even felt a few rain drops while I was out.

Rear Derailer

My rear derailer is starting to act up. It doesn't shift smoothly and sometimes not at all in a certain gear range. I'll have to get that looked at.

A Record!

At some point along this ride I had crossed the "1,349 mile mark" for my yearly total. 1,349 miles was my record for most miles in a year so far (in 2006). I may get a few more ride in before I retire the bike for the season...

...or maybe I'll hop on the old 1982 Schwinn Varsity ;-)

Mowing the Lawn...

It took a while. When I was almost done I saw one of the riders I almost joined with this morning, (Paul), ride up the street to his home. Or at least I think I did.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Saturday Morning Group Ride

Another Chilly Morning

The weather forecast called for Sunny skies and temps in the mid 60's during the day. However I had plans during the day, so my only shot of getting a ride in was during the morning. It was chilly in the morning as you can see from the picture below. Time to gear up.

Another Chilly Morning.

Group Ride

I met up with a group of local riders at 7:30 am. I had ridden with this group once before and got smoked. However I won't get faster if I avoid riding with fast riders.


I hung on to the group for the most part. I mostly got dropped on the climbs. One for the riders was talking about their cycling trip to Portugal and about the serious climbs he did there (not to mention serious food and wine consumption). They very very patient with me and I think they only had to wait for me 3 or 4 times.

At one point I wanted to cut the ride short and drop from the group. I felt like I was holding them back. I'm glad I didn't.

Bill, Tom, and Ed during a more relaxed section discussion the riding, food, and wine in Portugal.

The ride was a hilly ride consisting of just over 2,000" of elevation gain over ~35 miles. Definitely a good workout.

Home Just in Time...

I got home just in time to take a quick shower and take my oldest daughter to her soccer practice.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ride to Work... In the Dark

Dark but Warm

I got up early, around 5:00 AM. It was dark. Sunrise wasn't going to happen until about 6:30. Normally I would have left at about 5:30, but I decided to wait until 6:00. The first 20 minutes or so it was DARK. I did have lights, but my headlight was minimal. After about 20 minutes or so, it started to get lighter pretty fast. It was warm this morning. About 60° when I headed out. I almost considered wearing my shorts instead of my long bike pants.

The ride was average and uneventful. Uneventful is good when commuting by bike. Though I think this may be my last bike commute of the year. The days are getting shorter and heading out in the morning is really dark and kind of hairy.


Somewhere along this rise I broke 1300 miles for the year (1304.07). The most I have ridden in a year is 1349.23 back in 2006. A couple of good weekend rides should put me over that mark :-)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bike Home From Work

It's been a while

I the last time I biked to/from work was way back in July. Work has been crazy and my hours haven't been predicable enough to commit to a bike commuting schedule. But now the days are getting shorter and cooler, and I want to get more riding in where I can. With pick up duties during the week, Monday is really the only day I can bike home from work. Maybe Fridays if I bike to and from work on those days.

Felt Fast Surprisingly...

I didn't set out to ride a quick pace home. It just turned out that way. I rode home, 25 miles, in just under an hour and a half averaging 16.8 mph.


The only part where I really had to slow down was where the road I was on approached Route 9. It is a bottleneck traffic wise and tonight I had to pass about a mile or so of cars before I got to the light. I had to pass them on the left because they left no room on the shoulder side of the road. I think traffic was extra heavy tonight because of the Jewish Holiday tomorrow. Just a guess.

It felt good passing all those cars.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

New Cleats

About Time...

I think it may have been at least three years since I have replaced my cleats. I didn't really know how bad they were until I saw what new one looked like at REI

Right Cleat. Pretty worn.

Left Cleat. Just as bad.

New Cleats. Yes, my current cleats used to look like this.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sunday Morning Ride with Mike in NJ

Sunday Morning Ride with Mike

So after taking Catherine to Soccer practice on Saturday, the family headed down to NJ so my wife and Catherine could attend a baby shower. We spent Saturday night at our friend's house.

Mike, who we were staying with, is also a cyclist. In fact his job is to design bike routes, Safe Routes to School, and other mixed transportation type stuff. So he planned a nice 25 mile ride for us for Sunday Morning.

The ride took us south along one ridge, east across a valley, north along the far side of a parallel ridge, back west across the valley, and south again.

Mike ready to head out.

South Mountain Reservation

We headed due south to the South Mountain Reservation, where they close the road on Sunday mornings for runners and cyclists to use.

From the Wikipedia article on South Mountain Reservation

The roadway on Crest Drive has been closed to vehicular traffic at the old deer paddock so that you may enjoy a leisurely walk down to Washington Rock. This is the Park System's bona fide Revolutionary War historic site, dating back to the late 1700's when Beacon Signal Station 9 was located here—one of 23 beacons built by General Washington to observe British troop movements quartered on Staten Island and New York City.

It was from this outlook that, on June 23, 1780, Essex County and Newark Militia were first warned that the British had launched an attack westward toward "the Gap," (Hobart Gap), a natural pathway to Washington's troops encamped at Morris Town. In a pincer movement designed to gain access to the Gap, Hessian troops fought bitterly along Vaux Hall Road, with the British advanced along Galloping Hill Road, until they were repelled, the Hessians at the base of the mountain and the British in Millburn—called Millville in those days. Washington Rock served again as a lookout for the Army when reactivated during the War of 1812.

Riding through Cedar Grove, NJ.

Riding through a somewhat recently abandoned Essex County Hospital Center (Mental Institution). Apparently some of the building still contain patient records.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Tower Hill (Chilly)

39° Seriously!

I woke up early Saturday morning looking to get a ride in. I looked at the Thermometer and it read 39° at just a little after 6:00 AM. I had some coffee and a Clif bar and waited until it at least got above 40°

Breakfast #1

Full Winter Gear

I dressed in my full winter gear. Winter riding gloves, Pearl Izumi Kodiak shirt, shoe covers, feather weight thermals, and head and neck coverings. Wasn't it only two weeks ago that it was hot?

Layered and toasty :-)

I had dressed just right for the time and temperature.

Tower Hill

It had been a while since I had ridden Tower Hill. In fact it had been a while since I did any sort of solo ride. I had either been doing club rides, Phat Tuesday evening rides, and such. So it was good to get out for a solo rode for a change.

I had recently just gotten over a bad cold that had torn through our household. so I spent about the first 10 miles or so clearing out my sinuses. Nothing clears out sinuses better than a good ride in chilly weather.

My sinuses were cleared out by the time I got to Tower Hill Road. The foot of the hill is a pretty steep grade. After that though, it is a "rolling climb" through the woods.

I got 27 miles in and got home just in time for (2nd) breakfast. After that I took Catherine to soccer and then we all jumped in the van and headed to NJ.

Monday, September 8, 2008

NBW: The Flatest Century in the East...

Hannah's One Night Stand

Tropical Storm Hannah had been threatening to wash out the TCFE. Luckily, it was a one night stand. I drove down 495 and Rt 24 under heave cloud cover. I parked my car at UMASS Dartmouth with half the sky dark clouds and half clear blue skies. As I was getting my gear together I could see the long line of dark clouds disappearing north. Nice.

Pre Ride

Registration went smoothly. On my way to reg I noticed a mechanic's tent. My rear wheel wasn't perfectly true. So I figured I would take advantage of the volunteer mechanics and have them check it out.

Some fine tuning of the rear wheel before heading out. It was ever-so-slightly out of true.

I made sure I was loaded up on Clif Bars and Gu. CamelBack and Water bottles filled with Camelbak Elixir electrolyte enhanced water.

Ever since I've started using the Elixir I haven't had to worry about cramping. I first used it on the Hill and Gully ride and I never cramped up. I swear by the stuff now.

I took care of a few other pre-long-ride rituals and headed out.

First Leg

Now I knew some people who were doing this ride. I just never made plans to meet up with them. So the tricky part of showing up to a century ride by ones self is to pick the right group of riders to ride along with. Now with the TFCE that is no mass start. You just show up, register, and head out at your leisure. I trolled around the parking lot for a bit looking for a promising group before I decided to just head out. Upon exiting the parking lot I saw Monica Foulkes taking pictures. I stopped and chatted with her for a bit (00:02:37 to be precise) as a group of riders passed by.

I headed out made an effort to catch that group as I didn't see another group rolling out anytime soon. I caught up with them on the other side of route 6. I figured "If I could catch them, I can hang with them." they weren't going too fast or too slow.

I wasn't sure who the people in this group were, but they were riding at just the right pace for me. (FYI - The gentleman in the white shirt really needs to invest in a new pair of bike shorts.)

I didn't know how lucky I was to catch up with this group. It turns out that this group was being pulled by Gil Peel and consisted mostly of the people who actually arrowed the route. What dumb luck on my part!

TFCE Ride Stats
Leg Distance Moving Time Avg Mph
Leg 1 30.60 1:51:04 16.5

Food Stop #1 - Hixville Fire Department

At the first rest stop I grabbed a PB&J, visited to the Facilities, chatted with some of the riders I was with. I also ran into Scott who I know from the Phat Tuesday rides. We chatted for a bit, then he took off. I looked around for the group I was with, and they were gone. I double checked to be sure. Then I headed out to see if I could catch them...

Rest Stop Duration: 0:12:41

Second Leg

So here I am, riding solo trying to catch a group of riders that was averaging ~16.5 mph in the first leg and my batteries die in my GPS unit. Ugh! So much for a clean track of this route. I ride on hoping I can get some fresh batteries. I catch up to rider after rider, group after group... nope, not them. Then a group buzzes past me! I jump on. I hang on for a while letting them pull me along.

Eventually they drop me, but I press on. I get to Rest Stop #2 and there is a store there where I can buy batteries.

TFCE Ride Stats
Leg Distance Moving Time Avg Mph
Leg 2 16.99 1:05:14 15.6

Food Stop #2 - Tiverton Four Corners

I check-in, buy some fresh batteries and a bottle of Gatorade, and I rejoin the group here (they've been here a little bit longer than me), I learn everybodies names, and then promptly forget them as I am very bad with names.

somebody says that they think we might get more rain, I promptly check the radar. No rain in sight :-)

This was a very short rest stop for me.

Rest Stop Duration: 0:03:56

Third Leg

I hung with group for a little bit. But I think the combination of trying to catch the group plus the 3 minute rest stop might have been costly. I got dropped by group about 6-8 miles somewhere along Route 77. They weren't going that much faster than me, however they were ever so slowly disappearing in from of me.

Gil Peel. This is a picture of Gil that I took before I got dropped.

This is me. Alone. On Howland St.

Hannah's aftermath: Big, crashing waves all along the coastline. it was difficult to get this picture as the dune between the road and the beach was ~ 6" high.

Me by a calm inlet.

TFCE Ride Stats
Leg Distance Moving Time Avg Mph
Leg 3 23.42 1:28:35 15.9

15.9 mph - Not too bad for getting dropped and beginning to feel tired.

Food Stop #3 - Adamsville Baseball Field

Paula at the Check-in Table

I walk up to the check-in table, give my number, and Paula immediately tells me that she is selling the recumbent the she bought from my friend in May 2007. Here is a picture of Paula on that bike from the Uxbridge Animal Farm Ride 2007.

I caught up with the group again. They were getting ready to head out. I decided not to rejoin them and take a more leisurely break. It turned out to be almost a half hour.

Lots of water. I refilled my CamelBack here and added some of the Elixir tabs I had brought along.

The "mood" at this final rest stop was a lot less "rushed". I could sense how tired people were starting to feel.

Rest Stop Duration: 0:27:25

Fourth Leg

The last thirty miles I ground it out and enjoyed the scenery. I didn't know there were so many vineyards and farms down here.


Apponagansett Bay is filled with pleasure craft.

This is me and Apponagansett Bay.

Waiting for the bridge. 0:03:49

A first. I never had to wait for a bridge while riding before. A bunch of us were, well, bunched up waiting for the bridge to open. The bridge keeper, (I think that is what he is called), waved us through the gates once the bridge was realigned and made the cars wait until we were all across. That was nice of him.

Last draft, then last drop. This rider dropped me on the last climb to UMASS with less that a mile to go.


I had packed a couple of Yogurt Smoothies in a cooler with a ton of ice packs in my car. They were still very cold. They both made for a good recovery snack (20g Protien total).

TFCE Ride Stats
Leg Distance Moving Time Avg Mph
Leg 4 31.52 2:05:10 15.1

My TFCE Stats

Weight before leaving home in the morning: 179.5 lbs.

  • I went through about ~100+ oz. of Elixir supplemented water.
  • 1 16 oz bottle of Gatorade at Tiverton Four Corners
  • 1.5 PBJ Sandwiches
  • 1 banana
  • 1 Blueberry Clif Bar
  • A bunch of Gu
  • and countless no-hands adjustments of the chamois ("What's that guy doing?")

Weight upon arriving back home in the afternoon: 180.0 lbs. (I guess I hydrated appropriately)

TFCE Ride Stats
Leg Distance Moving Time Avg Mph
Leg 1 30.60 1:51:04 16.5
Leg 2 16.99 1:05:14 15.6
Leg 3 23.42 1:28:35 15.9
Leg 4 31.52 2:05:10 15.1
Total 102.53 6:30.03 15.8

Home Sweet Home

A freshly baked Blueberry Pie made by my wife with fresh blueberries from a local farm was waiting for me once I got home :-)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Catherine Loses the Training Wheels

Catherine Loses the Training Wheels
Catherine , originally uploaded by Martinator.

Last Saturday I took Catherine, (6 and a half), to the local park (Dacey Field) where there is a large, gently sloping parking lot. My friend Mike suggested that I lower her seat so she can sit with both feet flat on the ground, and remove the pedals.

Earlier this summer I tried to teach her to ride without training wheels with little success.

Removing the pedals was something new to try. I took her to the top of the parking lot and told her to see how far she could go without touching her feet to the ground. On her third trip down the parking lot she went the entire distance. I'm guessing a 100 yards or so. When I caught up with her she said "Let's put the pedals back on!" So I did.

She did great! She had a little trouble starting on a level area and she also tried to start going up hill (which was met with much frustration).

She has steadily improved this week to the point where she is confident starting from a level position, pedaling uphill, and even braking appropriately.

With each new ride I have been raising her seat a half inch at a time until it is at a proper position for her height. She hasn't noticed so far :-)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Last Phat Ride for Me

Forgot My GPS

So the ride starts at 5:45 instead of 6:00, no problem. I arrive way too early as usual around 5:00. I make a phone call and start to get my bike together. At ~5:10 I realized I had left my Garmin eTrex Legend GPS at home. Hmmmmm, there is just enough time to shoot home, grab it, and get back. Barely enough time. Joe, another early bird says: "Forget about it. Enjoy the freedom." Timing would be too tight anyway and I decide to fore go it.

So as I continue to prep for the ride I realize that "Hey, maybe I could use my car's GPS device..." It is a Garmin nĂ¼vi 750. I know for a fact it keeps a log file in GPX format. I have also experimented uploading that GPX log file to So I take it off the dashboard, clear the log file, and pop it into my back pocket. It did the job :-)

Fast Start

Ed, Joe, Scott, a few others and myself rolled out first. These are riders I usually can keep up with. So it was a unique experience being in a lead group that I could hang on to. Or, at least that is what I thought. They were moving rather quickly and I got dropped at about mile 7 on the climb to Adams Farm on Burnt Swamp road.

Buh Bye...

Everybody regrouped at the halfway point and the second half was more sane than the first half. We were all moving along nicely and very civilized when Maryellen wrecked.

The Wreck

Maryellen Wrecks
Maryellen, originally uploaded by Martinator.

As we were approaching the stop sign on Cherry street where it meets up with RT 121, Maryellen was at the back of the group and wasn't able to stop in time. She couldn't avoid the rider in front of her and lost her balance. A guy in a pickup truck that was behind us offered to take her bike and other's bikes back to Remmington-Jefferson. Somebody called 911 and the police and Paramedics were there rather quickly.

Maryellen Update from Bill Snapper

Hello All,

As you all know Maryellen was involved in a bike crash last night. She was banged up and bruised and has a broken wrist. I have not talked to her since she was brought into the hospital as she was in x-ray when I got there.

Bob Reed made sure she got home last night. Stephen Greco stayed at the hospital while I took Bob back to Franklin to get his car. Paul Metcalf took care of getting Maryellen's car and bike back to her home. Kevin and Debbie Robbins showed up at the hospital to see what they could do to help out when they heard.

This is a great community of people and last night was just one example of how everyone worked together to help out one of their friends. I'm proud to be part of this group.

I'm sorry I was not able to send this note to all that were there last night at the ride as I just didn't know who was there. If people signed up for the ride on the site sending out a note like this would have been so much easier. Please forward this to anyone you know that was at the ride that wants to know how Maryellen is. I'll send out an update later after I talk with Maryellen.



Sunday, August 31, 2008

NBW-129: Diamond Hill One

Good Turnout

I don't know how many riders turned up, but there seemed to be quite a lot. I told a fellow Tuesday evening rider, Scott, about this ride. As I drove in I saw him riding in.

Scott's First NBW Ride
Scott's First NBW Ride, originally uploaded by Martinator.

I know Scott from the Phat Tuesday rides. This is his first year riding and he is kicking butt.

Monica Sends us Off

Monica Giving the Pre-ride Talk
Monica Giving the Pre-ride Talk, originally uploaded by Martinator.

Monica giving the pre-ride speech.

Start by Climbing out of the valley

The first 3.7 miles of this ride was a couple of climbs that took us from the park (@ 221") to the top of a hill near the Big Apple (@ 473"). It had the effect of stretching out the large group into many smaller groups rather early. This was good as it was a lot harder to wind up with the wrong group of riders (either too fast or too slow).

Familiar Territory

I live just north of the ride start in Franklin, MA. I have already biked on just about every road on the route at one point or another (with the exception of the rotary in Norfolk, I typically avoid that). I didn't take any pictures along the route. It was all pretty familiar to me so nothing really jumped out as picture worthy like the incredible views from the Hill and Gully Ride a few weeks ago or the South Shore Century I did in May of 2007.

Wrong Turn

I was with a group on Miller and I guess the arrow was either hard to see or just plain not there. Miller is a weird street. There is a really bad intersection on Miller where you have to make a left to stay on Miller, yet the right of way bears right onto Green. This is newly paved and the intersection is ambiguous to begin with. Well, everybody I was with turned right. I said "Um, I think we were supposed to go left back there." The group stopped at Chestnut Street (where there were return arrows for the ride back.) I turned around and headed back and people followed me. Then we were back on track.

Overall the ride was very scenic, though traffic was somewhat heavy at times. I was able to hang with a group of riders until we made a right off of Rt 27 onto South St. in Medfield at about the 35 mile point. Then it was a solo ride. I felt pretty good at the end. Hopefully I'm in good enough shape for the TCFE this upcoming weekend.

Social Tent

It was nice having a Social Tent at the end of the ride. The new shirts look real nice. The hot dogs tasted really good after a 50 mile ride :-) I finally got a chance to meet Monica Foulkes after emailing her back and forth. We talked about the website and what potential improvements/enhancements could be implemented. We'll probably talk more as the days get shorter and the weather gets more wintery.

Monica , originally uploaded by Martinator.

Monica holding court at the Social Tent post ride.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Phat Days are Numbered...

August Ends

As August comes to a close the days are getting shorter, the air is cooler and drier, and school starts. I may be able to sneak in one more Tuesday Evening ride next week, but after that I will be picking up my daughter from CCD.

New Seat Position

Riding with the new seat position felt more natural. I guess "not really noticing" the new position after the first 10 feet is a good sign. Though in the last mile I did feel some strain in my knees. I may need to raise the seat a notch or make it more horizontal.

Out of Gas

It felt like I ran out of gas on the first half of the ride. I haven't been riding much this month and I wonder if I have plateaued or regressed. I am doing the TFCE Century on September 7th so I hope I am in good enough shape for it. This Sunday I will be riding 50 miles on the NBW clubs Diamond Hill One ride. That should give me an idea how I will fare on the century ride.

No Motionbased Data

The batteries died on my GPS unit so I do not have any map data. However I was able to get basic data like start time, end time and total moving time and get some stats that way. So for this ride I averaged 18.1 MPH overall, 18.9 in the first half, 17.1 in the second half.

Not bad for feeling like crap.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bike Shop Day


Saturday I took the family on a Whale Watching Cruise out of Boston. It was fun. I forgot to apply sunscreen and when I got back, my face was, and still is, sunburned. So as a result, I didn't feel very much like going for a ride on Sunday.

Bike Shop: Schwinn

So instead of going for a ride, I decided to tinker with my bikes. I broke out the bike stand in my (shady) driveway and threw on my 1982 Schwinn Varsity. Back in the spring I had thrown on some new tires. I took it out for the test ride and the chain snapped. So on Sunday, I decided to see if I could fix the chain instead of getting a new one. I had a chain tool as part of my Topeak Bike Tool and I figured I should learn how to use it. Better to learn that in my driveway than out on the road.

Cleaning the Chain
Schwinn Chain
Nice and clean.
Chain Tool Clip
Almost back on.

I had the chain in a zip lock bag. So, before doing anything, I poured some chain cleaner in it an shook it. The chain got real clean.

Fixing the Chain

Getting the bad link off was real easy with the tool. Reconnecting the chain once on the bike, not so easy. The difficult part was trying to line up the "peg" with where I wanted the peg to go. I was determined to do this with only the tool I has in hand. What I did was use some of the pieces of the links I had taken off to help with lining up the "peg". Once I figured out how to do that, the rest was easy. Now I have a Schwinn that I can pedal but can't stop reliably (the brakes still suck).

Bike Shop: Specialized Seat Position Experimentation

Old Seat Position
New Seat Position and Height

On the last Phat Tuesday ride, someone had commented that my seat may be too high as my hips were rocking. Someone at work had also mentioned that my seat was angled too far forward and should either be neutral (parallel to ground) or angled back. so the first thing I did was to level out the seat. Easy enough. Then I measured the height and lowered the seat to minimum recommended height for my inseam (see the frame size calculator in left column). I threw on my bike shoes and took a spin in the neighborhood behind me.

Wow! What a difference! Sitting felt a little awkward at first but it was definitely much more comfortable. I felt like I could pedal with much less effort. I may not need to swap out my 11-23 rear cassette for a 12-25/27 cassette for those tough climbs after all. We'll see on the next ride...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Two Week Hiatus

It had been 2 weeks since I last rode and I think I felt it. I didn't feel 100% today. The first half of the ride I averaged somewhere in the mid 17 mph range. I accidentally wound up with the fast group and then got dropped. There really wasn't a B group(Maybe there was, but I wasn't in it) so I was alone for the better part of the first half. So I guess 17-something isn't bad for riding solo.

Taking it Easy

When I got to the halfway point, a "B" group of riders was there. Then a third group rolled in. Once we rolled out, I stuck with the third group of riders because I didn't want to struggle and try and keep up. Tim Brightman and Fred Paine were in the group I rode with for the second half. It was much more relaxed. The key sign of a relaxed group of riders is the fact that conversations are taking place during the ride :-)

The pace wasn't fast, but it also wasn't slow. I did notice though, that with the slower pace that I had much more energy for the climb up Mount St.

Seat Too High?

At the end of the ride Fred had commented that he noticed that I "rock back and forth" when I pedal. He though that my seat might be too high. Hmmmm. I had been raising my seat incrementally because my knees had been bothering me at the beginning of the season (Pateller Tendonitis). Now it turns out that I may have raised it too much. My manager at work had also noted in the past that my seat was angled forward and probably should be either neutral or angled back. Maybe I should actually get my bike professionally fitted?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Thread, originally uploaded by Martinator.

I think it may be time to replace this tire...


Post PMC

For the core riders of the group, this was going to be a light, easy recovery ride. Well, I heard that last year and it was a pretty fast recovery ride back then. This year I thing they meant it though.

Nice Line

As always there was a fast group of riders. It was smaller this time. I stayed with Ed and a number of other familiar faces. There were about 10 or so of us and we rode together in a nice leisurely, pace line. Well, even though it felt leisurely, we still averaged 19 mph at the halfway point.

The line worked well together. People took turns pulling. the line didn't accelerate rapidly when the leader pulled off the front. There were also very few attacks.

We continued to hold the line together all the way to Mount St., which breaks apart any pace line.

Overall I averaged 18.4 mph. Which isn't too different when I am working harder trying to find/catch groups in the past and wind up in "No Man's Land". However is was much less work and much more fun :-)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hill and Gully Rider

Last Minute Decision...

Went to bed in one frame of mind...

Saturday night I was beat and went to bed figuring I wanted to ride a long distance on Sunday, but didn't want to have to trek out to West Gloucester, RI. I also thought that I probably wouldn't do a distance ride because I would futz around and stall too much to take advantage of the day.

...Woke Up (sort of) Motivated.

At 8:00 AM, Sunday morning the reminder I had set for this ride buzzed and woke me up. Hmmm, I can still make it. I figured I was more likely to get a good distance ride in if I did it with a group. I checked Google Maps and determined I was 1 hour and 5 minutes from the starting point. I better get moving. I just went though the motions of getting ready because I knew if I thought about it, I would find excuses not to head out.

No Time for Breakfast!

I didn't have time for breakfast. I also knew I couldn't afford to ride the 50 or 70 miles route on an empty stomach. So I hit the Dunkin Donuts drive through and ordered two breakfast sandwiches and a coffee. I got to the starting point in plenty of time.

Quick Start, Too Quick...

The lead group was running at a 19.5 mph pace after the first half hour. Too fast for me.

The Fast Group
The Fast Group, originally uploaded by Martinator.

This is the last I saw of them. They were averaging 19.5 mph at this point. There was no way I was going to be able to maintain this pace for this ride.

Alone with the Scenery

Horses, originally uploaded by Martinator.

So after I got dropped I was alone. Time to relax and take in the scenery.

Flat Tire

Russel's Flat
Russel, originally uploaded by Martinator.

Russel was fixing a flat in the shade right after the turn onto Lake street on the outskirts of downtown Webster. I stopped and offered him the use of my pump.

Local Rider

George from Charlton
George, originally uploaded by Martinator.

This is George. He isn't a club member and wasn't part of the ride. He lives in Charlton and was just out for a local ride. We rode together for a while until our paths diverged.

Dresser Hill Road

Nice View
Nice View, originally uploaded by Martinator.

This is the view from the top of Dresser Hill Road (Rt. 31). The picture doesn't do it justice.

Clam Shack @ Food Stop #1

Food Stop #1
Food Stop #1, originally uploaded by Martinator.

A Clam Shack this far inland at mile 25 and at an elevation of 830 ft seemed out of place for some reason.

Regroup and Refuel
Regroup and Refuel, originally uploaded by Martinator.

I regrouped with a couple of other club riders here. That is Mark in the bright shirt getting some frozen yogurt.

70 Miles

Mark and Dave
Mark and Dave, originally uploaded by Martinator.

I rode with Mark and Dave for the remainder of the 70 mile route. I would not have done the 70 mile option if I was alone. I'm glad I hooked up with these guys for this ride.

Another Stop

Second Stop
Second Stop, originally uploaded by Martinator.

Mark was getting tired and told us to not let him hold us back. Dave said what I was thinking "It is better if we stay in a group." Luckily, we were right near one of the marked food stops on the map. So we decided to take 5 and hang out in the shade for a bit. We also bought some bizarre disgusting tasting Snapple Antioxidant Water (Grape Pomegranate). I emptied my water bottles into my Camelback and then filled them up with this odd tasting drink.

Dave, Climbing, and Cadence

Dave in the Shade
Dave in the Shade, originally uploaded by Martinator.

Dave is the master of the cadence. I watched how he rode and tried to match his cadence as best I could. Even if it meant dropping back a bit. I am pretty sure that if I didn't have his cadence as a guide, I would have burnt myself out. Thanks Dave.

We Saw Santa on a Harley...

Motorcycle Toy Drive
Motorcycle Toy Drive, originally uploaded by Martinator.

As we were approaching the 395 overpass, we saw a car stop in the intersection in front of us. He was blocking the road to allow about a few hundred motorcycles pass through led by a Santa Clause on a Harley. This shot doesn't do it justice.

...and a person get hit by a car!

As the motorcycle procession was making a left onto the on ramp to 395 North, there was a Ride Support Staff member blocking traffic to allow them to make the left turn. She was also taking pictures of the procession. I was riding up to her (I was on the left side for the road at this point looking for an opportunity to cross back over) when the car that was stopped behind inexplicably started driving forward. The car clipped the staff member in the hip with her car. Unbelievable! She didn't get knocked down but she did get knocked aside and was limping. The car eventually pulled over and a lady probably in her 60's got out and said "I think my brake released". This is BS as brakes simply don't do that.

A Good Ride

It was hilly and not easy. I made sure to stay hydrated and take a shot of GU every 45 minutes. I also was more aware of my cadence thanks to Dave. I never once came close to cramping up. At mile 50 though, my thoughts turned to food...


On my way home I ordered a pizza and ate the entire thing. Note, this wasn't an individual size pizza, this was a regular size pizza. Mmmmmmm...