Saturday, June 27, 2009

40 Miles in the Warwick (NY) Valley


I'm visiting my parents in NJ. I mapped out some ride options and brought my bike. I decided to do the ~40 mile option.

Mile 2: Flat Tire

2 miles into my ride I get a flat tire. Blech... My rear tire is pretty worn dome and there is a big old hole in it. So I pullout a crispy $1 bill and line the interior of the tire with it for reinforcement. Then I install the new tube and off I go.

Big Descent

My mother live on top of a mountain that is probably the second highest point in NJ. Most of my ride will be in the valley. I descend on Barret Road: 1.5 miles from an elevation of ~1,275" to 450". Towards the beginning of my descent I notice there is a lot of play in my rear brakes. I had forgotten to close my rear brakes after changing my rear tire. Oops. I descend without incident checking my speed the whole way.

Rolling Hills in the Warwick Valley

The valley isn't flat. There are flat parts by the black dirt onion/turf farms, but not where I was riding. Refer to the elevation profile at the bottom. Even though I have done 40 mile rides before, this one tires me out. Heat + sun + hills. I stop and rest two times. Uncharacteristic of me for a ride of this length.


I saw a lot of deer along my ride. I even had a baby deer running alongside me at one point.

Distant Hills
Distant Hills, originally uploaded by Martinator.

See those mountains on the horizon, that's my start and end point.

Brady Road

I chose Brady Road for my climb back up the mountain because I figured it has the most reasonable grade. I had also ridden up this road on my mountain bike when I lived here in the early 90's so I was familiar with the climb. Of course that was on a mountain bike with really low gearing.

It wasn't a busy road so I was able to criss-cross it in a zig-zag pattern to take some of the bite out of the 10% grade.


39.69 miles, 14.2 mph average; 3,807" of climbing. Warwick Valley Ride on

Monday, June 22, 2009

An Early 47 on Saturday

Longer Days...

The sun is rising a lot earlier at this time of year. Or so they are telling me. The weekends fill up with kids demands and an ever growing "to do" list around the house. Plus with all that rain the grass is growing like crazy! So the best way for me to get a long ride in on the weekend is to get up real early. This Saturday I got up at 5:00 am and headed out around 5:40 AM. I mapped out a 47 mile route and was looking to be home around 9:00 am.

the weather had been calling for fog, overcast, and slight chance of rain. Well it was foggy, but it was also very sticky. It was around 60° and humid. It was right at the dew point.

Morning Fog
Morning Fog, originally uploaded by Martinator.

The fog wasn't so bad to deal with. It was the "Misting" the constantly hit my sunglasses during the first 15 miles that made visibility poor.

Cleaning My Glasses

It was getting silly. I could clear my glasses with my shirt because it too was getting wet. Not "wet" wet, just wet enough to be useless for cleaning glasses. I stopped off at Cole's Tavern and found some garbage in the parking lot. As luck would have it there was a napkin. I used it to clean off my glasses. Great! Now I could see again! That lasted for a couple of more miles until the "Misting" got them all covered with "wet" again.

Rhode Island

The "Misting" had stopped by the time I hit Rhode Island. I stopped at the Cumberland Farms and reloaded my bottles and cleaned off my glasses. It was beginning to threaten sunshine...

Douglas Turnpike

I have never been on this road before. It is a nice, straight, rolling climb back into Massachusetts through a very rural wooded area. I didn't take it all the way to Douglas, MA. Instead I had mapped out a shortcut back through Uxbridge, MA. There was only one problem though...

End of the Road
End of the Road, originally uploaded by Martinator.

Hathaway Lane ended abruptly as I can upon the cul-de-sac. When I had mapped this out on, the Google map there indicated that Hathaway Lane went all the way through. It was only half right. As you can see, there is a dirt road beginning right at the end of the cul-de-sac. I tried to ride down it, but after 10", I got off. It was too wet, soft, and muddy. I had the "track" I plotted downloaded onto my Garmin eTrex Legend GPS. I has also plotted out the waypoints for each turn. My Garmin was telling me that it was only ~1/10th of a mile to the next turn, which I was gambling on being back onto a paved road. The roads around here were unknown to me and I didn't want to re-route. So off into the woods I went.

Into the Woods I Go...

The "dirt" road I was walking on resembled an old fire road through the woods. It was still drivable if you had a Jeep, or a tractor (The road abutted farmland). Lots of mud, puddles, and mosquitos. Thankfully it was a short walk. The funny thing was that when I got to the other side, this "road" actually had a road sign (yes, it was still called Hathaway Lane).

"Old" Hathaway Lane, originally uploaded by Martinator.

Sorry for the blurry picture. There was a lot of condensation on my BlackBerry. The light at the end of the road turned out to me my next waypoint and it was back onto pavement :-) I probably shortened the lifespan of my cleats a bit, but what is one going to do?

Back on Pavement

It was good to get back on pavement on Chockalog St. I banged as much dirt out of my cleats as I could and got back on the bike. I'll have to remember to re-map this ride when I do it again.

PHAT Encounter in Uxbridge

As I was pedaling up Henry St. in Uxbridge when I saw a rider coming down. I hardly ever see other riders on this road. Soon behind this first rider I saw another coming down. This time I noticed her was wearing a "PHAT Tuesday" jersey. It turns out it was Kevin Robbins. this was confirmed in the thread attached to my FaceBook Status.

Home by 9:07 AM

I got home just as breakfast was hitting the table :-)

47.1 miles by 9:07 in the morning. 14.6 mph average. Not bad I guess given that there was 3,074" of climbing

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Home to Monster - Is it really Mid-June?

Mid-June? Really?

Mid-June? Really? Somebody tell the weather that. It was 50° and cloudy when I left at ~5:45 AM this morning. I almost didn't wear my shell, but I'm glad I did. I was only a few items and a half a layer short of full winter gear. Ridiculous!


~25 miles @ 15.7 mph.

The Shower at Work

It is great having a shower at work

It is not great when you are done with your shower and you realize you left your towel at your desk.

I had to get creative in order to dry off.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Monster to Home - Dead Leatherman

Perfect Weather

It was cool, dry and sunny. Temps right around 70°.

I drove in to work with the intention of riding home (and back in the next morning). That's exactly what I did.

An uneventful ride except for the dead Leatherman I found:

Dead Leatherman
Dead Leatherman, originally uploaded by Martinator.

I found this on the side of the road in Framingham, MA. It was intriguing enough to stop and check it out. It looks like it was tossed from a car window. It is pretty much trashed. I left it where I found it. If you want it, go here and check in the grass right where Crest Rd. bears right.

Look around here for it:


~25 miles @ 16.0 mph

Late for PHAT Ride

Meeting Moved

My 1:00 pm meeting got moved to 4:00 pm. Ugh! I normally get in early so I can leave at 4:00. That would normally give me pleeeenty of time to make it to the PHAT Ride. Sometimes I even go home to change. The meeting end just before 5:00. I should have time to make it down to the PHAT ride (from Maynard).

Getting There...

My Garmin nĂ¼vi 750 is telling me that I should arrive at the PHAT Tuesday Start around 5:42. Ok, that's good. But I'm hungry and I don't want to ride hungry. So I stop off at the Dunkin Donuts in Stow and grab a Gatorade and a Turkey Cheddar & Bacon Flatbread Sandwich. I get back in the car and the GPS now estimates that I'll arrive at 5:47. Ok.

Route 495 Traffic

I am moving along quite nicely though I notice there is significantly more congestion at this hour. That's to be expected. Then I hit traffic as I approach Route 9. Now I know from my past commutes back and forth to Merrimack, NH that there is a trick to dealing with this particular choke point.

No matter how much slower the right lane it, get in it. There are more cars traveling more tightly together in the fast lane. The slow lane has slower cars, but much less dense.

It's pays off. As I hit the route 9 exit, the traffic in the slow lane has much more room to "compress" and I eventually pass the cars I used to be behind in the fast lane, by a lot. Now, at the Route 9 exit, is when you start getting back over to the fast lane to avoid the cars coming in from Route 9 and the eventual backup getting on to the Mass Pike (which is the next exit).

After all the traffic, my ETA is now 5:56. That is cutting it close!

5:56; I Get There

I arrive and everybody is all line up and ready to go. They are listening to Tim promote the PHAT Tuesday Night at Cole's Tavern Event. I scramble. I get the bike off and as I am starting to change my clothes, they leave.

I get dressed, jump on the bike and GO. I am going to try and catch the group. It is a large group. I don't even bother to activate the track log on my GPS.

I pedal my ass off.

I eventually catch the group in my sights in the Jefferson neighborhood. I almost catch the group 1.5 miles in. I round the corner and see Marc Mann finishing up allowing the group to cross at Vine St & Forest St. That is the last time I see that large group.

I keep going thinking I might have a second chance catching them at the descent past the Big Apple, but it was not meant to be. I join up with one of the stragglers and I ride with him until Fales St.

Short Cut

I know I am not going to catch the group, but I do know a shortcut that will shave off 4 miles and get me to the halfway rest point much faster. I take it and at 6:30 I am waiting for somebody to show up. 9 miles and I feel like I haven't even wrmed up yet. The fast group rolls in. They were averaging 21+ mph. Then the second group rolls in, and then everybody else. I'm the only one who isn't sweating. I averaged 17.0 mph over 9+ miles getting to here, by myself.

The Second Half

The second half of the ride I rode with the usual suspects. At one point Ed attacked the group on a climb on Hancock St. I was on his wheel and I wanted to see if I could hang on. I did :-)

At the top of that climb Ed noticed I was riding his wheel and called me "a lazy bastard". I enjoyed that immensely :-) I've learned a lot about tactics since I've joined this ride 2 years ago.

Mount St.

My new 12-25 rear cassette served me well. I had less trouble climbing up this road. I didn't "grind it out" as much and I recovered a lot faster towards the top.

The rest of the ride was uneventful yet fun.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Quick Benchmark Ride

Small Window of Opportunity

Rain and crap in the morning. :-P

After church and after Market Basket...


Ok, have to talk about Market Basket. How do I describe Market Basket? Market Basket is a great place to go if you want to save a lot of money on food. They have the lowest prices of any supermarket in the region.

Market Basket is also a great place to people watch. If you have ever been in any supermarket late at night and see, well, your occasional "odd" shopper in the aisles then multiply that by 100 and drop it in the middle of the day.

Sunday afternoon at Market Basket was a zoo in just about every definition of the word...


Ok, back to biking

Weather? Benchmark

I didn't have much time for a ride, so I figured I would just head out for an hour on my benchmark ride. First I checked the weather. just north and west some grean was appearing on the radar. My route was south and west. Hmmm, maybe if I hurry I can beat the rain.

Riding south I was dry. I kept looking west and north and noticed the clouds were thicker and grayer. I pedaled faster.

I was 3/4's of the way home heading north on prospect/maple st (near high St) when I felt the "misting". Then a mile or so later it was raining. It wasn't raining too hard, but it was raining none-the-less. I was almost home anyway and at least I was riding.


I cranked out this 15 mile ride at 16.8 mph average!


After the rains had past and I was no longer riding, it became sunny again. Friggin New England Weather... seems to be having issues with their Viewport. I think the site is being neglected and Garmin focuses more on its Garmin connect site, which won't upload data from my Garmin eTrex Legend.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Two Climb Ride: Mount St. & Tower Hill

Strange Weather...

It was actually Sunny and warm Satruday Afternoon.

Time to Climb!

Earlier in the day, Ed installed my new rear cassette. In between then and mid Saturday afternoon I went to a baby shower. After the shower, I had time to test it out.

I always struggle on Mount St. on my Tuesday Evening PHAT Tuesday rides. I typically have to stand up and grind it out. So want better place to test out the new gearing.

It did seem like I was able to get up that road with a higher cadence and faster that usual. I may have pushed myself a bit much though as I ran out of gas near the top by the house that looks like a giant chicken coop. I am still far from winning any "King of the Mountain" jerseys.

Diamond Hill Reservoir
Diamond Hill Reservoir , originally uploaded by Martinator.

Mount St. conquered, off to Tower Hill!
NOTE: this reservoir is not on a hill. The picture was taken at an angle ala "Warren Miller style" ;-)

Tower Hill

I love climbing up Tower hill road. Well, except for the really steep grade at the beginning. I still had to stand for that. After that initial grade though, it is a rolling climb top to the top. Everything was shifting pretty smootlhy back there with my new rear cassette.


For this 40 mile with 1,678" of climbing ride I averaged 15.4 mph. If only the weather would stay like this... seems to be having issues with their Viewport. I think the site is being neglected and Garmin focuses more on its Garmin connect site, which won't upload data from my Garmin eTrex Legend.

Ed's Bike Shop

The Day have Finally Arrived!

This past Saturday I rode up to Ed's house and he popped on my new Shimano Ultegra 9 SP 12-25 rear cassette. I'm glad I didn't decide to try an do this myself because:

  1. I had none ot the right tools
  2. I am anxious about making any adjustments to the rear derailleur.

Chain Tool
Chain Tool, originally uploaded by Martinator.

Ed told me what this tool was called, but I forget its name. Eventually we used it correctly to help get the old cassette off.

Shiny new 12-25 Cassette
Shiny new 12-25 Cassette, originally uploaded by Martinator.

One less excuse on the climbs.

The old cassette came off and the new one went on. Ed put the bike back on the stand and made the necessary adjustments to the rear derailleur. The rear derailleur is a bit stretched out when the chain is in the biggest gears (up front and in back) but it will suffice for now.

I will though, eventually need to get a new chain. I should probably get one before the big PMC ride.

BTW: Thanks Ed! :-)

Friday, June 12, 2009

2009 PMC Fund Raising Efforts So Far

Still @ $1,198

My fundraising efforts have stalled a bit. Total so far still @ $1,198.

When I first singned on to do the Pan Mass Challenge I was very excited about the actual event. Who wouldn't be. however, as I become more and more involved with the PMC, my PMC Team, and even watching my daughter ride in the PMC Kids Ride, my focus is shifting away from the "cycling" aspect of the PMC and more towards learning about just how many people that surround us are affected by Cancer.

Everybody reading this can help!

Haven't Donated Yet?

If you haven't donated yet but are itching to do so, you can donate in a couple of ways:

  1. The easiest is through the Secure Online Giving form on the Pan Mass Challenge site:

  2. You can also mail a check to me made payable to - Pan Mass Challenge:

    Martin Middelmann
    257 Daniels Street
    Franklin, MA 02038

You Have Already Generously Contributed...

If you have donated, first off: Thank You!

Secondly, You can still help the cause. You can share my PMC story with your:

  • friends
  • colleagues
  • classmates
  • FaceBook friends (Marty Rides the PMC FaceBook® Page)
  • Twitter Followers
  • LinkedIn connections
  • etc.

Tell them:

"You can be part of the Pan Mass Challenge without having to ride a single mile or commit to any 'minimum fund raising levels'.


The Martinator will ride for you!

Help him, help the Pan Mass Challenge meet their goal of raising $30,000,000 in 2009!"


Company Matches

A reminder for everybody to check with their Human Resources Department at work to see if their company has a matching gifts program. This is a great way to double your contribution while helping their company gain visibility as a result of their charitable efforts.

For more information: Visit the Corporate Matches page on the Pan Mass Challenge Site.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New Bike Part

New Bike Part
New Bike Part, originally uploaded by Martinator.

My 12-25 rear cassette arrived today!

A Gray Phat Ride

A Gray Phat Ride
A Gray Phat Ride, originally uploaded by Martinator.

Tim, Bob, and a few others making our way over the dam at the Diamond Hill Reservoir. As you can see from the picture, it was a lovely, late spring day here in New England ;-)

When I left my house (I had time to swing by and change) it was overcast and dry. I checked the radar and no green blotches were on the horizon. I get to the start and, well, it wasn't exactly raining, but it wasn't exactly "not" raining. Sort of heavy misting. Scott was circling that parking lot on his bike. It didn't "suck enough" to cancel, but it was right on the line...

I ate a good amount of Strawberry Speckled Peanut Butter M&M's at work, and that played heavily in my decision to go ahead and ride. I had to burn those off somehow...

As it got closer to 6:00, more people showed up, about 15 or so riders. It was going to be a cool, row, ~wet ride, so I wasn't predicting and speed records for the night.

Since there was only 15 people, there was only a fast and a slow group. I tried to hang on to the fast group. I should have known better than to try and hang onto the wheel of somebody with an NEBC jersey ;-)

Dual Device Failure

My GPS turned itself off early in the ride a couple of times and my CatEye was skipping beats (it only logged 23 of the 25 miles.). I am going to have to do some math with the available data to figure out my moving average.

UPDATE! (June 11, 2009)

After hacking into the incomplete GPX file my Device generated, I calculated that my average for this ride was 17.1 mph. not bad all things considered.

Anyway, it was worth it to get out and just get some more miles under my belt.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Catherine's Rides the PMC

Catherine's Rides the PMC
Catherine's Rides the PMC, originally uploaded by Martinator.

Catherine rode the 3 mile route of the 2009 PMC Kids ride in Franklin. So far she has ridden more PMC miles than me, but that will change on the first weekend of August :-)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Jason's House

Jason's House
Jason's House, originally uploaded by Martinator.

Passing by Jason's house

Top of Tower Hill

Top of Tower Hill
Top of Tower Hill, originally uploaded by Martinator.

Here I am :-)

Ready to Ride

Ready to Ride
Ready to Ride, originally uploaded by Martinator.

6:20 AM, coffee drunk, bike ready, rain stopped, 53 degrees: Ready to Ride!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Even PHaster...


On my way to tinight's ride I was feeling hungry. It isn't good to go on one of these ride hungry from the get go. Hmmm, what to eat? I swung by the dunkin Donuts and grabbed myself a Ham, Egg and Cheese on an English Muffin. Mmmmmmmm...

Blog Fan Base

Apparently this blog is getting a fan base :-) People have started coming up to me once they find out who I am and tell me they follow me on this blog. Cool!

Fast Start

Typically the first few miles of this ride the group rolls out at about a ~15 mph warm up pace. Tonight, I looked down and noticed the pace was more like ~17 mph. The line was fast tonight and it hung together for the most part (except for the skinny fast people traveling at Warp 2 way ahead of us).

Fast Group

Once we rolled onto Burnt Meadow road I was working pretty hard not to get dropped. Not so hard as to burn out, but closing the gap at strategic moments, drafting whenever possible, etc. Once we got to the farms in North Attleboro I was still hanging in there I was happy.

As I am hanging on to this group, I keep thinking: "I sure am glad I stopped off at Dunkin Donuts..."

Dropped on 120

Pulling onto 120 I found myself pulling the group into a head wind. I didn't want to kill myself because just about everybody in this group are better climbers them me. So I dropped to the back, and then halfway up the climb I got dropped, but not too bad.

The "Catch" on 120

I was at least able to minimize the gap climbing up 120. I knew I could go faster then the paceline on the descent. I reeled them in soon after crossing the RI border.

Dropped once again on 120

After catching the group I was hanging on the back. The good thing about that is less work. The bad thing is that you are dependant on the people in front of you to hang on to the group. The two riders in front of me got dropped and thus, myself along with them. No big deal as we were almost to the halfway point.

19.5 @ The Halfway Point!

Fastest split time so far this year!

Bill Wiping Some Bugs Off of His Face
Bill Wiping Some Bugs Off of His Face, originally uploaded by Martinator.

Bill did his fair share of pulling the line. Is there any irony that we are all camped in the Handicapped spots for our break?

Refueling, originally uploaded by Martinator.

Ingesting Gu, Clif Shots, and the like at the Halfway point in Cumberland, RI.

Martinator Pleased with his Average
Martinator Pleased with his Average, originally uploaded by Martinator.

The obligatory self portrait :-)

Fast Ride Back

It was a fast ride back and I was doing my best to hang on again.

"I sure am glad I stopped off at Dunkin Donuts..."

Solo Finish

I got dropped on Mount Street and had a fast, solo ride back to the start.