So our normal thursday night ride got canceled due to thunderstorms but it was no big deal because we made it up friday night. We were rolling 6 people deep and we started off for case mountain. Things were going good and all seemed well until I started falling behind fast on the climb after the bridge. I was climbing so hard and my legs were burning and my heart was pounding, something just didn't feel right. I try to keep up on tinti and and just getting smoked. I finally get off the bike and see what the problem is. Not one but both of my brakes are dragging bad. I pull the pads back and start pedaling again and it immediately felt better. I catch up to the group a mile later and the brakes are rubbing again. I continue to ride despite the problem fighting all the way. I had to leave the group because I just couldn't stay on the gas pedal enough to keep up with them. Was extremely frustrating but still so good to get out.
So I took a trip trip to middlesex which is 30 miles south of me, not a big trip but further than normal for a ride location. Since work has me doing saturdays I get tuesdays off now and while saturday is a drag it is kinda nice being home on a weekday. So every tuesday I am going to try to get somewhere new. Even with my iphone by my side it is always an adventure when you go explore a new area. While this area is not huge it is very diverse and very very good! I located a dirt turnoff to park the car, I got out and looked at the track I had an idea of riding, it seemed to have lead me down a dirt road which eventually lead me to a service road and then as much as I had hoped single track. A few quick impossible steep rocky climbs and I found myself by a reservoir which was one of four I believe nearby. This was my third day straight of riding so the legs weren't quite feeling like SS today. I walked allot of climbs that I would have like to have made but even on a good day I don't think the steep technical stuff was going to be doable. I reached some clearings and across the road I went and hung on the blue blazed trail. It smoothed out and there was some really buff single track which was so good! I was having a good time by then and was on and off the Blue trail and came across many rock sections, I felt like I was in Moab. I would hit a batch of woods and then a batch of rock, it was really cool. I ended up at china wall which I had read about and it was one steep thin strip of ridable rock and no room for error, pretty cool. I was glad I left Bentley behind to rest up. I never know how a location will be so I like to see how the location is before I decide to bring my best friend. While I wish he was there with me it was better he was not. Got down china wall and was heading for a road to make a big old loop. Came across a hiker who told me that Blue trail was off limits to bikers. Come to find out he is correct, this is a rule that hikers and bikers have kind of ignored and is not enforced so in good spirits I hit a logging trail nearby. Which sent me into a thorn field and then had to turnaround and made my way thru someones farm. I ended up on the paved road and got my bearings and pedaled a few miles. Found another section os logging road which was doable and in the direction I wanted, this lead me into a bunch of mud holes, some cows and by the end it was a full on stream I was riding down. I dropped alot of altitude and I knew what was coming. I found Blue finally and headed the direction I wanted, only problem was I was walking the whole damn thing, just wasn't ridable for me. Not a big deal I don't mind hitting the ground every once in awhile. Made it to cedar lane and pedaled happily to the car, I was dying by then. It was hot and my eyes were half swollen shut from the tree pollen. Got to the car and headed out of there. I look forward to going back but I will always feel uneasy as to if I have a confrontation with a hiker.
If your wondering why I ride case so much, it is because it dries out very fast compared to most riding places, also its not a really good mix of riding and it just never gets old. So we had some thunderstorms pass through last night as well as this afternoon. I decided to wait and see what it did before I got all wound up and excited for a ride only to be disappointed. Around 3 the sky started to open up and I could see a glow in the distance that looked quite good. I knew then I was planning on hitting the trail this evening. Got home from work and shot out the door and got a 5:30 start just like I wanted, I had a loop put together in my head and surely I pieced it together. We hit the reservoir and it as always was such a good site to see, I threw a stick and in went Bentley slapping away at the water. He came back and I threw it once more and then he made it back to shore and off we went for the power lines. Up the terrible rocky steep gravel dirt sections and we were riding along Birch mountain rd through some of the best single track Case offers. Back up Case mountain on the blue trail and hit the summit very quickly, caught the sun even before it went down, we must have been cooking. Down pink and hit the little pond sections, I couldn't help but think about just last week how me and LuAnn were riding the trail. I wish she was there with me enjoying the sweet ride. Another fantastic day out there, tomorrow I have off so I better go venture out to somewhere new.
Finally the sun has showed it's warm spring face! The northeast has been in a dark gloomy rainy state for too long now. Just yesterday morning the temperature read 39 degrees, today it was 60 by the time I hit the trail at 9:30. I thought I remember what the seasons were like in CT, I guess I have adjusted too well to the seasons in the midwest. It just makes spring all the much better when it comes I suppose. Ok enough about that, this morning I was trying to catch up on some much needed rest, LuAnn was up and about all morning and I was trying to sleep in but when I opened my eyes and saw some bright shades in my room my hope had suddenly been awakened. It was not sunny but I could tell by the thin cloud cover that the storm was certainly moving out. I had not invested in watching the forecast the night before since I was expecting the same crap day after day. The thought of riding did not even cross my mind until I saw those shades. I rolled out of bed and looked at the grass in front of the balcony to see that the rain flooding in the grass had disappeared and that has become my ride or don't ride forecaster right there and it was measuring get out and RIDE! LuAnn was going for a run at the park nearby and we were not expected to get to the parents until after 1, I had an easy 3 hour window to get to and from case to ride. I got geared up and was ready to go 10 minutes after springing out of bed, this is how much I truly love to ride by the way, grabbed Bentley and we were out the door. I even threw my cereal into a drinking cup so it was on the go. We got there and as we were the skies opened into blue and the warm sun was shining oh so good! I geared up and got the tunes going and I knew right then it was going to be a good morning. Got to pedaling and realized I had no spare tubes since the mesh fiasco and was hoping things would be successful. We got halfway up case and my heart was pounding like it was out of shape and we hadn't done this before but as the sun hit me I began to have this grin that was very hard to remove from my face. It felt really good to be riding, in fact it felt incredible, I felt warm inside, I felt very happy and was extremely thankful for the opportunity to ride today. I rode a network of trails, walked some unfriendly SS hills and made my way over to the reservoir. There were a few dogs and Bentley strolled over and said hello, but was a little more interested in taking trips down to the water for a drink. He was pretty hot today and so was I, it felt like it was 90 and I am not really looking forward to riding when it is but as you may know I am pretty passionate about riding. Anyway I had rolled by a clearing and grabbed a stick and got Bentley all excited and tossed it into the water and he hesitated and then quickly dove in and took a swim. I was so happy watching his paddle out there to grab it. As you may not know he's not exactly a graceful swimmer. But none the less he made me proud and I am sure that cool water felt sooooooo good. I thought of myself jumping in there but I was kind of time restrained so I gave him one more go and we were off. Back up case mountain and down and we hit the car. It was an absolutely incredible day and I will never forget it. Hope tomorrow shapes up so I can get back out there. Happy Easter
So I was anxiously awaiting the nasty weather to leave the state and it finally kind of did. For days now it has been dark cold and rainy and lots of wind. It has been not very spring like as much as I see the grass and flowers trying desperately to show their smiling faces. Allergies have kicked up a notch, nothing miserable but always there. Tonight was Meshomasic Forest over by glastonbury. This is a HUGE place and you can spend days exploring the large network of trails, I have been here maybe 4 or 5 times and this one was a great but frustrating ride. We took off from the mansions heading uphill, the legs were strong and it was feeling good being out riding. Bentley had some competition since there was another dog on the trails with us, he didn't spend all that much time riding with me which was sad but towards the end of the ride he hung with his pops. Sure enough about 10 minutes in I feel my front tire is low and I look down and it looks to be bulging a bit but I keep an eye on it and it seems air is holding. Well minutes later sure enough it went completely flat and I was forced to pull over and change a flat. Which I have not had to do once on the 29er since I bought it. I felt bad holding up the group but these things do happen so I changed it out as quick as possible. The guys disappeared into the woods and after a few minutes I began to worry about Bentley, minutes later he showed up in front of me, I was so happy he came all the way back to see me! We rode on and sure enough after a few minutes I felt the drivetrain had slack, I figured it was the crank arm which loosens up about every ride but this time it was the lock ring on the rear cog had come looses. A little tool and a rock got it back snug. Then further down the trail I Bottom bracket was slopping around, the set screws had come loose and needed tightening. Nothing major but it was weird to have 3 mechanicals on one ride, I usually go months without issue. The ride had some grueling climbs and tricky rockery but I kept it together mostly and had a great ride. As soon as I got a chance I ripped the bike apart and cleaned things up and tightened down and got the rig ready for the next trip out. Great riding with those fellas.
So today was my first outing on the Dawg, wholly crap what a world of difference. I must say the extra squish of the suspension feels great riding especially sitting down, the pedals have great clearance so I am not hitting every other rock with my crank arms, and shifting gears to climb certain obstacles was definately a nice feature. But the downsides were rolling on those seemingly small wheels, I found myself constantly pedaling and getting nowhere..... The added weight was certainly felt as well as I was climbing up Case mountain. I still choose my 29er over the dawg but it is great to be able to experience both worlds cause they really are two different beasts. I was real lazy on the ride today which wasn't helping, I felt like I was dragging a boat anchor. It was good to be back with the dawg since we shared so many great rides together and I am happy that I revived the bike some. The brakes I am pretty unpleased with, they are hayes ryder I believe and they are weak. Few other people were out enjoying what conditions we had before they get worse later this week. Let's hope for another midweek ride before the weekend comes.