Saturday, May 30, 2009

Quick Loop via Medfield/Norfolk

No Purgatory for Me

Some of the other members of the PHAT Tuesday team were going on a ride out to Purgatory Chasm. Unfortunately I could not join them. My wife was recovering from a strep throat, my youngest has a cold, and my oldest has Soccer at 10:30. So that was not an option.

Quick Afternoon Ride

So after soccer, and after lunch, I had a small window of opportunity to get in a quick ride. I had to be back early enough to get ready to meet some friends in Boston. So a short ride was in order.

Short Rides = Speed

If I only have about an hour or so for a ride, I try to get the most out of it by focusing on speed. So for this 18+ mile ride I averaged 15.9 mph. It would have been above 16 if it wasn't for the steep climb at the end.

Enough Time...

The ride was shorter than I thought. I had time... Hmmm, Mow lawn, or clean bike chain and rear cassette. I cleaned my chain, rear cassette and rear derailleur.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Faster Phat Tuesday Ride

Chilly Weather

It was a cool gray evening, and the winds hinting of oncoming rain... Enough bike noir... It was cool enough to justify long pants, long sleeve shirt shirt, and even an Under Armour Mens HeatGear Loose-Fit T-Shirt. I kept thinking about biking in the cold rain this past Saturday in summer gear. The more I thought about that, the more I was convinced I should dress warm. I'm glad I did.

Decent Pace

There was a large group heading onto Burnt Meadow road, almost everybody. Heading south towards Attleboro I was with a group that was going a decent pace, but I felt I could go faster. I saw Ed break away and join the group ahead of us. I wanted to bridge the gap before it got to wide, but I had to be patient and pick my moment.

Jumping the Gap

After the last minor climb on Fales St. before the stop sign I made my move. I saw the group that Ed was in slowing down for the stop sign and I jumped out of the group I was with and poured it on (but not too hard). I knew that they had to slow down and check traffic and I could gain enough ground during that time. It worked. Myself and another rider who jumped on my wheel had caught the group :-) I hung with them all the way to route 120.

Passing on the Climb Up 120

Route 120 has a decent climb into Rhode Island. Usually I get dropped here. This time however, I found myself passing the other membersin that group as I climbed. It was a unique experience. After that I hung on somebody's wheel on the descents (I was itching to pass) until Ed made his move. I quickly jumped on his wheel.

18.4 at the Half Way Point

We rode into the halfway point (where we rest and regroup for a few minutes) just as the "fast" riders were heading back out.

Heading Back

The pace to Mount St. seemed quicker than usual. However I was able to keep up. I think my thigh muscles were awakened on this past weekend vertical rich metric.

Of course, how fast could we be going if the new girl on the hybrid bike was keeping pace with us ;-)

Admittedly she looked like a cyclist who simply looked like she had borrowed a bike, any bike, for this ride. I have a feeling that when she shows up with a road bike, we are all doomed.

Mount St.

Let's just say I really need to order that 12-25 rear cassette for my bike. The 11-23 just isn't doing it for me.

The Chase

After Mount St. I pulled joe and Ed along the top of Union trying to catch Bill and a few others before "The Neighborhood". We eventually caught them at the entrance to "The Neighborhood". It is good to be in a paceline coming through "The Neighborhood". There is an ever so slight uphill grade at the beginning, then it descends all the way back to the start (essentially). So if you aren't in a paceline at the beginning of "The Neighborhood", you will never catch anybody in front of you.

The paceline I was in this night was averaging 21-25 through here.

Finish With a Sprint!

Right near the end of "The Neighborhood" is a good place to break away and sprint. You rest while you draft others in the paceline and then when the moment is right, you break away. Of course if you do it too early you just look foolish when you run out of gas and everybody catches and passes you.

I made my move and poured it on. I quickly jumped out front and was doing ~33 mph for a clip. Ed jumped out too and I think he rode my wheel as I sprinted out front. It isn't smart to look back in moments like that. Anyway, it was fun.

In the end I averages 17.7 mph for this nights ride :-) 18 is on the radar...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ride to Chemewa with Mike

Better Weather Than the Day Before

As bad as it was yesterday, it was that good today! When we rolled out it was 57°F and sunny. We debated about wearing warmer clothing, but it wasonly going to get warmer (hopefully unlike yesterday). My rule of thumb is that "if I am just a little bit chilly headed out, I'm dressed just right!"

Mike is a friend of mine from college. We've done our share of stupid things together ;-) Mike was looking for a sustainable excercise to get into and one of his neighbors suggested biking. So he got a bike this year, a Trek 1.2.


Mike told me he was looking to do a 30-40 mile ride today. He had done ~50 with a group yesterday. I was glad he told me that because we were both in the mood for the same type of ride today. I planned out a ~35 mile route south to Chemewa Golf Course and back via RI and Bellingham, MA.

It couldn't have been a more perfect ride with more perfect weather. Our timing was fortunate also and the afternoon was marked by occasional severe thunderstorms.

Mike Focusing on the Road Ahead
Mike Focusing on the Road Ahead, originally uploaded by Martinator.

Mike just back into biking. He hasn't really ridden since High School. Same situation as myself a few years ago.

Mike on his new Trek 1.2
Mike on his new Trek 1.2, originally uploaded by Martinator.

Mike on his new Trek 1.2. He just got it this past month. It is a nice ride.


We rode about 35 miles, which was good as Mike only had a few more miles in him towards the end. We rode pretty casually, occasionally picking up the pace here and there and also climbing some moderate hills here and there.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Metric with Kathy

3rd Time's the Charm?

The first time I rode with Kathy, I mis-estimated how long the ride was goingto be and I made her late for something she was scheduled to do afterwards. The second time I rode with Kathy, she wrecked. This time we were going for a 60 mile ride. My fingers were crossed.

Early on in the ride we went down the same hill where she had wrecked. I fore-warned her about it and told her I would tell her where it was once we passed it. She remembered it when we came to that point. Kathy is relatively new to biking and is really took it up so she could compete in endurance events like the Lake Placid Ironman and the Kona Ironman she did in 2007. (The local triathalons are too short...)

Kathy on her Seven
Kathy on her Seven, originally uploaded by Martinator.

This is Kathy. She kicks my ass on climbs.

Sunny, then Cloudy, then Rain.

I think we hit the only part of the region where it rained. We were in Northern RI when the rain first hit us. It stopped raining about 10-15 miles later, but it never warmed up. We were cold and wet. My feet were cold and wet for the remainder of the ride, but not so much that it was a concern. Year of skiing and I know cold feet.

Kathy on the other hand, was starting to become numb on her left side. We pulled in at the first Dunkin Donuts sign we came across in Douglas, MA

Coffee Break
Coffee Break, originally uploaded by Martinator.

A much needed coffee break. We needed something warm after the rain and cool, overcast weather we passed through.

I think all the climbing we did on this route helped to keep us warm and the blood circulating. There was over 4,000" of climbing over this 60+ mile route. I felt it in my thighs for the first time this year, which was good. More rides like this and I will definitely get stronger and be ready for the PMC.

Kathy can climb.

Here's how I can tell:

On one of the last big climbs into Mendon, Kathy commented that her left hand was so numb that she couldn't shift out of the big ring (up front) while climbing. She said this "matter of factly" and she simply kept pedaling up the hill putting distance between herself and me (I was in the lowest gear possible on my bike: 39:23.)

Simply not fair...

A Successful Ride!

Despite the rain and the cold, it was a successful ride. Kathy got home in time to go for a run (crazy) and nobody went to the hospital. We parted ways toward the end so I could limp back home while she hammered her way to her home. :-)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Home to Monster

Cool Morning

It was chilly this morning. Around 57° when I set out at ~5:40 am. I had a quick breakfast consisting of an over ripe banana and a cup of coffee. I didn't want to ride on an empty stomach and I was looking forward to having a breakfast sandwich when I got to work. I wore my Ggermany shirt because it is a "warm" short sleeve shirt (doesn't breath as well as my others), and shorts.

Memorial Day Prep in Holliston

I think holliston has the best Memorial Day tradition:

Memorial Day Prep in Holliston, MA
Memorial Day Prep in Holliston, MA, originally uploaded by Martinator.

Every Memorial Day since 9/11, all the poles in Holliston have the name of a soldier who died in one of the two wars this decade and their nationality. There is a surprising number of our allies flags along with the many American flags.

GPS Grumble

The GPS was working great, until it died when I crossed the Framingham/Sudbury town line.

Making Good Time

16.0 mph average! Well, the Cateye said 15.9, but when I plugged the distance and time into the spreadsheet, it calculated 16.0. I'll take it :-)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Monster to Home...

GPS Grrr...

80% home and the GPS craps out. I think it needs fresh batteries on every outing for it to work. It seems like when it is struggling to find a satelite, it suckes the batteries dry. I sure am glad I resolved the issue with my CatEye.

Making Time... 15.8

After finding my legs this past weekend and this Tuesday PHAT Ride, I decided not to slack off riding home. I averaged 15.8 mph on my ride home from work :-) It sure was nice weather for it. I think I saw my friend Ed drive by in my last mile as he was doing pick up duty from Gymnastics. Our daughters are in the same class and my wife said she would do pick-up tonight if I was riding home.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Phat Tuesday Ride

Beer Shirt

Tonight I wore my limited edition Harpoon UFO Hefeweizen shirt. I love that it is yellow with a tall glass of beer on both the front and the back. I always get a comment from somebody whenever I wear it.

Not Dropped!

For the second time this year I hung with a group all the way to the half way point. It is just a matter of connecting with the right group. Someday I'll hang onto the 20 mph group...

Passed by a Mountain Bike

On Burt Swamp/Fales Rd I heard what I thought was a motorcycle coming up behind us. "Car Back!" I yelled. Soon after that, a guy on a mountain bike passed us by. He had a gas tank and a motor on it that sounded like an underpowered weed wacker. I think he was doing somewhere around 30 mph.

Big Ring!

As our group pulled onto 120, I figured I should shift into the big ring up front and get ready for the descent. Much to my surprise, I was already in the big ring. Nice...

18.6 at the Halfway Point
18.6 at the Halfway Point, originally uploaded by Martinator.

18.6 at the Halfway Point. Not bad for this early in the season.

Mount St.

Here is where I wish I had a lower gear. I grind my way to the top as most others pass me by. I did pass one person, but he blew by me after we got to the top.

Descent Catch

The group I got dropped by on Mount St was within my sites. I knew I could make up ground on the descent down Upper Union St. I usually like, no, love to early apex the turn onto Otis St. and try to carry as much speed and momentum as possible. I think I took the 90° turn at 22 mph :-). the trick is to shave off speed on entry then accelerate once past the Apex. I learned that from AutoCrossing.

I eventually caught the group before we got back to "the neighborhood". If you don't catch a group by then, you won't.

Feeling Good

I finished the ride with a 17.6 mph average. It felt good.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Quick Benchmark Ride

Window of Opportunity

I was up early on Saturday morning. The weather was beautiful and I had already mowed the bulk of the lawn the night before. The rest of the weekend's forecast was "yucky". So I found myself with some free timebefore I had to take my daughter to soccer. Not a lot of time, but enough to get a decent ride in.

Benchmark Ride

I decided to do one of my "benchmark" rides. It is a 16 mile loop around Franklin. After the good ride I had this past Tuesday, I figured I would push it a bit and try to finally get a decent average mph on a solo ride. My goal was to finally crack 15 mph moving average on a solo ride. I haven't yet and I know I should be faster.

I was feeling good and by the end of the ride I had cracked 16 mph moving average! 16.3 according to my bike computer. :-)

Tech Stuff

Bike Computer

I have a 5 year old Cateye Wireless bike computer that has been working just fine up until last fall. I replaced the batteries in both the unit and the transmitter by the wheel. Neither fixed the issue. The issue being that it wasn't recording my ride correctly. Before I headed out today I checked the wheel. The little magnet that triggers the transmitter had slid down about half a centimeter. Not enough to not work at all, but enough to make a difference. I repositioned it and it seemed to work fine for the entire ride.


So far this season I've had my Garmin Etrex Legend GPS Receiver shut off automatically. Typically when I hit my first bump in the road. In most cases it works fine after that first incident. It had worked fine on Tuesday's ride. I thought to myself: "Maybe I should whack it as a preemptive measure". So I did, and sure enough, it shut off. I turned it back on and it stayed on for the rest of the ride.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

First PHAT Tuesday Training Ride

First Ride of the Year (at least for me)

Is it going to rain? How cold will it be? How should I dress for tonights ride? There are all the thoughts going through my head as I drive south on 495 through spotty rain, ominous clouds, and hints of blue sky. Well, it didn't rain, was 50/50 clouds and sun (before the sun started to set) and ~60° F. I wore my long riding pants, my Germany shirt, and a long sleeve featherweight layer under my shirt. just the right amount of clothing.

Familiar Faces

This will be the third year of riding this Tuesday Evening ride and the first as an actual member of (PMC) team PHAT Tuesday. It was good to see a lot of familiar faces. I even rememberd some names ;-)

Not Pushing It

This was my first time out with the group this year and I didn't want to push it. Typically I try to hang on to the faster riders and just wind up getting dropped and then slogging it along trying to play catch up in "no man's land". This time I made sure not to get tempted to hang with the fast group. I would up riding with Tim and a couple of other PHAT Tuesday riders (Kevin, and Pete) on the first leg of the ride. It was nice riding that leg with a group for a change. Usually I get with the wrong group and get dropped here.

While we were riding, Tim and I were discussing the new website, the new blog, and the team's page on FaceBook. Interesting experience doing pseudo IT support while riding a bicycle.

Tim also introduced me to some of hte other team members. He also gave me tips on whose wheel I shouldn't ride to close to.

0:08 Seconds Faster

So I compared this ride with a ride from the same time last year. This ride I was 0:08 seconds faster :-) I guess I'm constistant.


I loaded up my Garmin Etrex Legend GPS with brand new batteries before the ride. I didn't have any issues with it. A first for this year.

Monday, May 11, 2009

PMC Yard Sale

A Successful Yard Sale!

This past weekend we held a yard sale to help raise funds for the Pan Mass Challenge. I posted the event on FaceBook and on Craigslist (no point is posting in the paper anymore). Some friends donated some items to sell and my mother and step-father came up with some of their stuff to sell. The rain held out (for the most part) until the very end.

My wife made fresh Blueberry Muffins and they sold out. Some body even commented that they read about the muffins on Craigslist! (Excellent!)

At the end of the sale we raised $145.00 (some were straight donations). When I combine this with the sale of my weight set (to a fellow PHAT Tuesday team member for $200.00) it adds a total of $345.00 towards my fund raising commitment!

I am just over 1/4 of the way to my commitment total of $4,200.

PMC Yard Sale
PMC Yard Sale, originally uploaded by Martinator.

My wife, Patty, and my oldest daughter, Catherine, manning the table.

Mother's Day Ride

Happy Mother's Day

After taking my family out for a really nice Mother's Day Brunch at "3" in Franklin our afternoon was unstructured. My wife was relaxing on the deck and the kids were relativly low maintenance and she said "Why don't you go for a ride?" I did. I needed to burn off at least some of those calories from the brunch.


There was a steady wind blowing from out of the west. Ed, a neighbor and fellow cyclist, recently told me that he heads out into the wind so that he has a tailwind on the ride back. So that's what I did. It worked to a certain extent. I didn't fight the wind on the last quarter of my ride. The rest of the ride, either a head wind or a cross wind.

Some Climbs

I won't get better at climbing if I don't do some climbing. So I headed south on Summer St. It is a nice climb and you get to pass by a house with a fountain with a fake aligator in the pond. Then I hit Mount St. I think it is a steady 8% grade over a half a mile. I surprised myself at how well I climbed it. Though when I ride solo, I'm always the fastest ;-) After that I I rode west on West St., where there is a short but steep climb right after the Cook's Valley Farm in West Wrentham.


I don't know if it is because it is early in the season, the wind, or whatever but it sems like I am riding very slow. I am having difficulty breaking 15 MPH Moving Average where usually at this time I am at least near the mid 15 range. I guess I need to ride more.

#!@% GPS

My GPS turned itself off about 4-5 times during my ride. It may be time for a new device.