Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Damn Fast!

I don't know what the 20 or so bikers ate or drank, but I want some of that! They frigging flew last night. I heard one person who was with that group say they averaged well over 20 mph for the first half of the ride. No way I was keeping up with that. I didn't even try.

Fast Enough...

I averaged ~19.5 for the first half and ~17.5 for the second half*. About what I have been doing lately. I think I may need a different rear cassette for the climbing. Even in the lowest gear I am grinding up the ascents. Maybe I can just change the largest two rings on the back. We'll see...

18.6 mph!

UPDATE: I did 18.6 overall. Second fastest time this year :-)

*NOTE: The halfway point it at the lowest elevation point on the ride.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Quick Ride Before the Rain

Late Start

I spent the morning catching up on finances. Financially we are is good shape as long as we don't buy anything until October ;-) As a result I didn't get out until almost 1:00 PM. I checked the radar and there were thunderstorms, but not nearby.

Lemonade Stand

About halfway through my ride I stopped at a Lemonade Stand on ridge street in Millis. A cup of Pink Lemonade and a Chocolate Chip Cookie for only a dime. I guess rising food prices haven't hit everywhere yet ;-)

I should have taken a picture. I didn't think to until I was already on my way.


The wind was picking up and the weather was feeling "more threatening". I decided to cut my ride short and hoof it back home. I got home before the rain, if you could call it that. As of this writing no Thunderstorms have hit yet, but I hear the occasional rumble.

Oh well. At least I got a quick 17 miles in, plus a Lemonade Stand.

Bike Cleaning

Bike Cleaning
Bike Cleaning, originally uploaded by Martinator.

Even though I just recently got a new chain and cassette, it was looking
black and grungy already. So after my ride yesterday I washed the bike and
cleaned the chain. I also took an old tooth brush to the rear cassette.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Routeless Saturday Ride

Headed Out With No Plan

I dropped the family off at the airport early in the morning. I was back at the house by 8:00 AM. I futzed around for a while before I got my act together and headed out sometime around 9:30. I had a vague idea of where I wanted to go and made last minute route decisions along the way. I wound up passing by the Diamond Hill Reservoir on my way to the Blackstone River Bike Path.

Blackstone River Path

The bike path wasn't as crowded as I thought it would be. I was going to get off in Manville and head up towards West Wrentham road, but I passed by the offramp. I decided to continue on the path to see how far it continued. It went all the way to the Woonsocket border, where it abruptly ended.


I wasn't planning on riding through Woonsocket, but there I was. I get lost in this city in my car. The roads aren't laid out very logically, there are a lot of one way streets. The major "routes" like 122, 126, 114, and such essentially disappear in a maze of small streets soon into Downtown. Luckily, I had my Blackberry on me with Google Maps installed. I stopped a few times to get my bearings and figure out a way to navigate the city street of Woonsocket.

A Nice Morning Out

Overall it was a good ride. A relatively flat 38 miles for this region, even though I had a low elevation of 90" and a high of almost ~500".

Friday, July 25, 2008

Phat Tuesday Group Riding

(BTW: this is a pretty late posting for a Tuesday ride...)

This Ride's Goal

This rides goal was to stay with a group and not wind up in "No Man's Land". I made sure to start out in the back of the rollout so I wouldn't be tempted to be upfront. I didn't "fly" down Upper Union/Arnold St like I usually do. I waited at the Stop sign where the group as a whole usually breaks up making that left onto Rt 121/West St.

Then, on Burnt Swamp road, I found myself starting to separate from the group I was with. I purposefully slowed down and let them catch up.

I rode with this group all the way into Rhode Island. Then I miscalculated. I broke away from the group on what I thought was the last ascent on RT 120. It wasn't. I screwed myself.

Second Half...

I stuck with a group for the second half. It was much better than riding alone.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday Morning Group Ride


A while back an neighbor and fellow cyclist told me about a group of very local cyclists who rode out on Saturday mornings pretty regularly. He got me and Ed (another neighbor) onto their very informal email list. Finally an opportunity presented itself to actually join in on one of their morning rides. I got there a bit early right around 7:25 am people started rolling in for the 7:30 start. There were 8 of us all together.

Saturday Morning Rollout
The Group Rolls Out

To Hopkinton and Back...

This Saturday's ride was up to Hopkinton and back. "Up" is the key word. The pace seemed moderate and I had no problem hanging on until about halfway up the big climb into Hopkinton. It was a "no drop" ride I guess and the group stopped occasionally and regrouped. On the way back from Hopkinton the core riders really moved. They strung me along for a while then dropped me. they either had long legs or shaved legs. Well, I can't make my legs longer and I would be delusional if I thought shaving them would make any difference.

I just have to get stronger and faster. And smarter... ;-)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Slower is Phaster

Finding the Right Group...

The key to having a good group ride is finding the right group. I've been falling into the trap of trying to stay with a group that is too fast for me, only to tire out and et stuck riding alone trying to catch up. This time I had a goal of trying to stay with a group. The problem is finding the right group. Tonight it was more difficult trying to pick the right group because the start was more spread out and less orderly. The normal lead bikers of the group were posing for pictured with their 2008 PMC Pedal Partner. The rest of us headed out for the ride as if we were a crowd dispersing from a bad magic show in Quincy Market.

Joe and "No Man's Land, then Relief

Without trying to I wound up with the "fast" group. As usual, I got dropped at around mile 6. This time I was with Joe. It was his second time on the ride. Right about when we hit the farms in North Attleboro, I turned around and saw a good size group approaching us. Instead of making them try and catch me, I turned to Joe and said "Here comes a group. Let's let them catch us and we'll jump on!"

And we did.

We hung with that group all the way to the mid point rest stop.


Before we got to the rest stop we were all pretty much still together on the descent into RI on route 121. Typically here I get in the drops and try to max out my speed in order to try and catch up. This time I was part of a group and I was chomping at the bit, riding my brakes, trying not to "Jump ahead". There was one rider who did jump ahead and I could tell he was doing all he could do to stay ahead all by himself. That person was typically me. Not this time.

I waited until the group hit the last rolling ascent on 121 and then I made my move and broke away. I figured it was better etiquette and safer to break away on an ascent rather than a descent. I had a good amount of energy saved up from descending with the group. I caught the guy who broke away and rode his wheel all the way to the Rest Stop.

It felt slower being patient, but I think I put in my fastest "first half" so far this year.

Hiroshi, originally uploaded by Martinator.

This is Hiroshi at the halfway point rest stop. He bike, runs, swims, kayaks, and skis. I asked him "When do you work?", he replied "I fit it in..." :-)

Mount St.

Mount Street is becoming less and less intimidating with each and every ride. I just have to focus on climbing at my own pace and conserving energy. I hear some other riders breathing pretty heavy as they approach the top. I deliberately take long, slow, deep breaths as I pedal methodically up that climb. I find that by doing this, I have plenty of gas at the to to accelerate as the grade levels off.

The Neighborhood

Riding through the "Neighborhood" is fun when you are in a group. It is about a mile long gradual descent until the end. With a small group of riders (2, 3, or more...) you can get some good speed. If you are alone, you can still go fast, but you will never catch anyone. I was lucky enough to ride through here tonight with a group.

It seemed slower overall being patient and making an effort to not ride alone. However, in the end, I came within a minute of my fastest time this year. A lot of that had to do with energy conservation and using that stored energy at the right moments.

Slower is Phaster :-)

Monday, July 14, 2008

To Mansfield and Back...

East South-East for a Change

I've been looking at my routes an I for a while I've noticed I haven't ventured very far East/South-east from my home. So I mapped out a route to my frineds house in Mansfield, MA and headed out. I tried to do this route once before, but my spoke broke a mile into the ride [Hottest Day (So Far), Shortest Ride...]. I ran into more elevation changes than I expected. I don't know why, but I thought I would be just going "down" into Mansfield, and then back "up" home. Little did I realize that there was also a lot of up and down in Foxboro.

BNB Markers

BNB Marker
BnB Route Marker

When I've biked through Millis I've seen an occasional BnB Route marker. However they are often faded. On this ride, I've seen a good number of BnB route Markers painted on the roads. I think that may be part of the Bikes Not Bombs organization, but I see nothing on their site regarding a ride in the South Western Suburbs. Maybe it is some other group...

Rail Trail in Mansfield?!?

WW II Veterans Trail Sign
WW II Veterans Trail Sign
WW II Veterans Trail
WW II Veterans Trail
WW II Veterans Trail Memorial
WW II Veterans Trail Memorial

As I approached downtown Mansfield, I was surprised to come across a Rail Trail (Technically, it is a multi-use path...). It is about 2 miles long and occupies what used to be the the Old Colony Line. From the Google Earth view, it looks to be a straight shot out of town. I wonder if there are any plans to expand it or connect it to any other Rail Trail networks.

Roads and Traffic

Usually when riding on different roads, you run into trade-offs. A "Well Traveled" road will more often than not be better paved and have a wide shoulder. "Back roads" may not be so well paved, have no shoulder, but also have little to no traffic.

Biking back from Mansfield I found a well traveled road that had a crappy surface and no shoulder. Oh, and I also had to cross 3 4 lane roads: 140, A corporate park road near 106, and route 1. I hit the light just right on route 1 (I was thankful there was a light as I wasn't sure if there would be one at that location).

Friday, July 11, 2008

Perfect Weather for Bike Commuting...

Drive In, Bike Home, Next Day Reverse It

I was going to bike in on Thursday morning. I got up early enough, but then I got distracted. With the weather forecast near perfect, there was no way that I was NOT going to bike on either Thursday or Friday. Clear skies, temperatures in the 80° F. So I opted to drive in with the bike on the rack and ride home Thursday after work. Then ride back in to work Friday Morning, and drive home.

This works better as the "bike-to-work" route is 25 miles each way. I also hadn't pre-located any underwear at work, so driving in allowed me to remedy this.

Bike Home

For whatever reason, it seems more satisfying biking home from work as opposed to biking from home to work. It may have to do with the fun, rolling descent into Sudbury, where is it real easy to pick up and maintain speed. Or it may have to do with the fact that I am done with work for the day, and getting in a 25 mile bike ride on my way home. (It only adds 40 minutes or so to my normal commute.)

I averages 16.9 MPH on my way home. It felt fast too!.

Next Day, Bike To Work

With the car left behind at work, I was committed to riding in. I get up around 5:00 AM on the days I ride into work. I leave the house around 5:30 AM and roll into the office around 7:00 AM. I take a shower and stuff and by the time I'm done I'm at me desk earlier than I would be with me driving routine. (When I drive, I get up around 6:00 AM and leave around 7:00 AM)


After the hot and humid week we've had, it was quite a surprise to see 56° F on the thermometer. I was chilly when I rolled out. But I knew after a little bit of riding, and a little bit of Sun rising, that I would be plenty warm soon.

I started out pretty slow, (it was chilly after all), but once I hit the Millis line I had warmed up. Once I got past Framingham and into Sudbury, My legs were ready to go as they were feeling pretty strong. I averaged 16.7 mph on the way into work. According to my bike computer, I did 25.12 miles in 1:29:59. Heh, just under an hour and a half by a hair. :-)

Hmmmm.. Now that I did a total of 75 miles mid-week, where shall I ride this weekend?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Hot and Humid Phat Ride


It was hot. It was Humid. Occasionally there would be a breeze.

First Half

I kept up with the lead group until I couldn't. But I didn't get dropped until we hit the stretch of farmland in North Attleboro. I think the heat was getting to me as I took it easy rolling into RI where I usually try to push it on those rolling descents.

Keeping up with Ed in the Second Half

In the second half I decided to hang with my neighbor Ed. He races and is a more sane/tactical rider. I hung with him until he totally dusted me on a small climb. Then, off in the distance, I saw him motor-pacing. I eventually caught up to him at the top of Mount St.

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.

After Mount street there is a nice, fast descent on Union St (Arnold St in Wrentham). However, you do have to make a sharp 90° turn onto Vine St. That can be hairy. I like to late apex the turn and carry my speed. However, this time I found myself in a group descending the hill. Ed was in that group and he said something about "Careful, this guy will lead you out through the turn." I wasn't sure what that meant, but I knew it meant he wasn't going to take the same line I wanted to take through the turn. So I dropped back and left enough room to take my line. I carried a lot of speed and blew past that group right after that turn (maybe during). Ed was the only one who caught me and I hung on his wheel to the end.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Upper Greenwood Lake Loop, 4th of July

4th of July in NJ

This weekend I went down to NJ for the long weekend. I brought my bike on the off chance that I could sneak in a ride while visiting friends and family. The opportunity presented itself on Friday afternoon.

Upper Greenwood Lake Loop

My mother live on top of a mountain in NJ. Yes, there are mountains in NJ. Technically, they are the foothills of the Appalachians. My ride took me from Wawayanda Mountain over to Bearfort Mountain and back. The valley in between is so shallow that it isn't even called a valley. Spanning both mountains is Wawayanda State Park, which I rode through on the way out and back.

The ride seemed shorter since the last time I had done it (in 2005). I checked my logs and, without really trying, I had done the loop with an average speed of 16.3 MPH. Almost a full mile an hour faster than when I had last done this loop in 2005.

A Fun Descent...

The ride was full of ups and downs. However, there was one where I was able to maintain ~30-~35 mph for almost a mile. The cool thing about that was that there were cars in front of me that I was keeping up with and a motorcycle behind me that didn't pass me because, well, I was biking right around the speed limit, AND the flow of traffic. It was cool.

A Short Loop

The loop was only 18 miles. I need to find longer loops. That will mean going off the mountain and back up. Oh well...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Phast Phat Tuesday

New Shirt :-)

Harpoon Shirt

For my birthday, my daughter got me the new Harpoon Brewery Bottle Cap bike jersey :-) She got the right size, but it is a little tight. After much thought I decided that the shirt is actually the correct size, it is just that my body is the wrong size. Time to lose some weight...

Phast Ride

I had thought I had jumped on a "moderate speed" group. However, the group was flying along at over 19 mph, probably over 20. I got dropped.

No Man's Land...

Once dropped, I was in what I now learned is called "No Man's Land". That big empty void behind the lead group and the next group. There was no hope of catching the lead group. The next group behind me was out of sight and probably too far back to catch up with me. I wasn't alone though. I was with another rider, Steve, who had suffered the same fate as me. So we rode together to the mid-point.

19.3 MPH Average at Mid-point!

19.3 MPH

The Ride Back

I made extra sure that I was with a group of riders for the second leg. I wasn't the last time I rode and I paid the price. It was tough. I was biking right behind the lead rider on Reservoir Road and I was chomping at the bit forcing myself not to pass him and take off ahead. I'm glad I was patient as I stuck with the group all the way to Mount St., where the steep grade brakes up any group that tries to climb it.

Strong Finish

I felt good at the top of Mount St. Only a few people passed me, and I left a lot more behind. The funny thing is, is that I was once again in a "No Man's Land" with Steve again. I hung with him until we got to "the neighborhood" approach to the School. He said he was done. I saw a group off n the distance. I knew I would never be able to catch them, but I was feeling strong and decided to try for the hell of it.

I averages 18.8 mph in the final mile and 18.4 overall. Better than at the same point than last year.

Marty's Birthday Metric


It has taken a while to get this post up. Mostly because I was hungover all the way to Monday morning from drinking too many Mudslides too quickly on Saturday night.

My Birthday Ride

Last Minute PrepMy friend Mike had come up for my 40th Birthday Party. I told him for a while that I wanted to do a metric on or near my birthday (Actual Day: June 30th) with a few friends. He was the only one to take me up on it.

062808_0855.jpgWe futzed around and eventually headed out around ~8:30. When we hit downtown Franklin we came across a couple of other riders. We rode behind them for about a mile before parting ways.

Rhode Island

First StopFaux HawkShortly after crossing over into Rhode Island, we stopped for refills at a gas station on the corner of Rt 5 and Rt 102 in Slatersville, RI.

Harrisville, RI

Quick RefillThe town of Harrisville, RI is pretty much the last bit of civilization in Northwestern RI. We stopped and refilled our bottles here even though we had just done that a short while earlier. The road ahead goes through the Buck Hill Management Area and the Douglas State Forest. So we would not be seeing another convenience store for approximately 25 miles.

Headed for the Hills...

062808_1053.jpgWe were taking it a bit easy on Wallum Lake Road/Rt. 100 because we knew we had a climb coming up. While we were taking it easy, a couple of other riders came up from behind us. We rode their wheel for a bit as they really weren't going that much faster than us.

CT SignThey continued north on Wallum Lake Rd. while we took the left for the climb up Buck Hill. The climb up Buck Hill wasn't as tough as I remembered. I had only done it once before. We were just pedaling along then, BAM, there was the fire tower. I took a picture, then the camera phone lost it. From hear on out, my camera phone was very uncooperative.

We then had a very quick descent into a shallow valley. Valley. The word valley should tell you that we had an immediate climb after that fun descent. Once we topped that peak it was all downhill into Connecticut.

Into and Out of Connecticut...

Yeah, it was pretty cool hitting our 3rd state in our ride out of Franklin, MA. Even though it was only a tiny portion of the North-Easternmost Corner of Connecticut. We started to make the climb back into Massachusetts along East Thompson road. There are stone road markers on this road that seems to tell me that is was the main route from Boston to Hartford back in the day. How far back, I could not tell you. It was just odd seeing a stone marker on the side of a desolate, isolated road that says "Hartford 52 Miles." Shortly after that stone marker, there was a stone pillar indicating where the State Border is.

it was a long, steady climb back into Massachusetts and it was starting to take it's toll on my friend Mike. His Allez is a Triple, and I think he falls back on his "Granny Gear" too much.

East Douglas

East Douglas is really the only part of Rt 16 on this side of Rt 146 that resembles a downtown. We stopped at the Little Coffee Bean bagel cafe and ate. We each had a Bagel-egg-cheese-breakfast-meat sandwich and I had a Vanilla Iced Coffee. I sucked down that bagel sandwich like it was made of air. The Iced Coffee was yummy too.

The Final Stretch

MikeOnce we got past Uxbridge, I took us off Rt 16 onto Henry St. It runs parallel to Rt 16, is shady, and we didn't see a single car on it. Mike was starting to run out of energy at this point. Not quite a 'bonk', but he was out of gas. I know the feeling. It's that feeling at the end of a very long ride where you swear you bike weighs 40-50 lbs. We were less than 15 miles from home at that point and he pressed on.

Overall it was a good ride. I have to head out west more often. I just need to find the time...