Friday, August 30, 2013

Thursday Night

Good ride, got to turn my light on at 7 and see if it's ready for another season. Answer is yes, I love my jet lites A51. The trails were terribly slick again and it was so difficult to get traction and the fact these jerkies chose Punisher did not help anything. I need to start bringing gears to this ride apparently. I was still slightly unfulfilled and wanted a solo ride but convenience and daylight had be group riding again. I hope saturday I can go on a good ride, forecast is slightly grim but I think it a ride can happen. Next week new bike should be all ready to go, waiting to hear final details from Bob. Slippery hale at EveryTrail
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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Here it is

The steel horse is all done, all that is left is a sand blasting and paint. I was informed yesterday it will not be ready by next weekend but will be the following week which is fine with me. I already am thinking f building another one shortly in the future, so cool, hand crafted.


Found some wiggle time for LuAnn to break from studying and take care of the little fella so off I went. I was not into riding Hale as usual and probably will be this Thursday so I was off on a short commute to Crandalls. It rained a little before I left and I was expecting a gloomy ride but luckily Tolland was spared from the rain. I got cranking with a purpose and really cruised through the trails nice and quick. So quick I was all done before 90 minutes so I explored a little bit, I hope the new trail addition adds in 10+ minutes of trail or more, options are limited.I love riding here, always have. Smokin crandalls at EveryTrail
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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Salmon Goods

I set off on a mission for new trail after my meeting with Bob, I was going to add two or more new sections to what I was already familiar with. It's funny how long it takes to get familiar with a new place when your scouting it all on your on trip after trip. I can get a solid loop in but you know you always want to find new and better trails. I cruised on quick with the trails I had down pretty good and found myself low on energy and leg power, must have been from Thursday night's power ride and the two pieces of toast I had for breakfast. I found that I can ride on basically an empty stomach without a problem, it's usually after the ride when my body needs nourishing, stupid I know. Onwards with the ride, it was a nice August day and I had two hours to shred. I found myself done with a section and cruising down the rail trail to the next section. I got onto Pines trail and then rode across the river and took a wrong turn but not a big back track and then it was up to the rail trail. This was a pretty short section but new to me. I have ridden Pines before but not this section of it. I use strava map to locate my next stretch of trail and it worked out perfectly. Since I took my intended route I was climbing up Nemba switchbacks. Took a right and then found myself at a confusing fork and I went left since I hoped it would be an uphill route since climbing from the rail trail up sucks and I did not want to loose any elevation. Holy crap was that a good decision, I found what I believe is my favorite trail section, nice and smooth and twisty in a unique forest section. It lasted much longer than I expected which was great, soon I had more choices to make and unsure of exactly what was what, but they went uphill into the main network which became familiar. I still have more to explore but each time I get closer to the filling in the gaps in my head. Really great ride I can't wait to get back. Salmons goods at EveryTrail
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Light at the end of the tunnel

I met with Bob the frame builder on Saturday not really cause I had to but I was excited to see it raw in person. I also wanted to ride Salmon Forest after my visit since there is still stuff I have not hit yet even after multiple visits. So I arrived to him working on it and took a look and fell madly for it. The frame should be off to paint on Tuesday and ready to install parts and ride on Saturday! Oh the excitement, the frame has really flew by since he started building. Just 12 months ago I had to back out of line with finances being minimal with Landon on the way. After getting back in line for the last 6 months the light is at the end of the tunnel. I hope it all comes together this next Saturday!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Thursday Night Fights

I am not sure why but I felt ready and willing for a Thursday night social/fast ride. I got on a good 30 minute pre ride which I always prefer and was enjoying myself so much I did not join. Quite a few riders turned up and probably 10 or so headed into the woods. Shortly we were on trials which was going to set the mood for the ride, tough slick n nasty. We got light rain a few hours before so things were ICY! Combo with balding tires and one gear it was a crap show for me all night but I just kept trucking on in my own shame. The ride was fast, I was not in the tail end but found myself guessing where the rider in front of me went so I could not let down the others behind me. Holy crap did I say things were slick, my goodness I felt like I was learning how to ride a bike all over again. The humidity was really bad too which was not helping the cause but none the less it was a fantastic night to be out on the bike. We rode Bi Polar and then a brutal trail named Scoliosis which is the toughest trail in the place that always breaks hearts. Sure enough we finally started moving good and then it was onto 40 bumps, another tough section for me and many others. I had to stop hard while on a rock and found myself hard on the front brake and handlebars turned slightly and felt my wheel bend in anger. It had a huge hop after that incident and don't know if it's toast yet. The crew was now split into three groups by now and I found myself in the middle with another rider in front of me, was kind of nice to have company I could keep up with. With the group split we voted to add a little more to the ride so we found ourselves on wiggle with Colin close behind. It was getting pretty dark and I had not found my light mount before the ride but it was just bearable. It was nice when we popped out at the cars I was spent and took a good whooping and with darkness set in I had to cancel a evening swim in the lake. Good solid ride, with LuAnn back to school and daylight riding coming to an end soon I will be riding with these guys from her on out probably and hope to be able to push myself a little faster so I don't get left in the dark. Good stuff Hale of a beating at EveryTrail
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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Family ride no. 2

We pulled of an evening ride before Landon's bed time, he has begun teething so he can be a handful while he is not napping so we tend to have activities to get us through 3-7pm. This ride was great, we started in a different spot which provided much smoother terrain for the boy and after 4 miles we turned around made a good 8 mile ride. Landon did great as he always does and it was a great being outside and enjoying the last greenery of summer. I have noticed going in the woods the last few days that the forest has changed, it has already begun the dreary death of fall. No problem, once Christmas is over LuAnn will be done with school and rides should get plentiful again. Then we move and start life all over again. Not crazy about another nasty winter but anxious for next summer so bring it on.


Tuesday provided a window for a ride so I jumped in the car and headed for Grayville. I have not been here in too long and got to start putting this in the rotation again. I made a solid fast loop, things definitely still get a bit confusing at the end of the place but I always find my way. There are so many trail choices and I still don't know what I have rode or have not sometimes. But it is time to start focusing on building that map in my head. None the less I rode all familiar trail and made a solid loop. I was expecting to hit the car at 2 hours and was shocked to see it had only been 90 minutes, I headed home anyway so me and the family could go on a walk. Hope it does not rain today, cause I will be riding again tonight otherwise! Grayville greats at EveryTrail
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Family Ride

What a great day yesterday,it was the very first ride with Landon. My wife came up with the idea Monday despite a losing battle with a migraine but was able enough to go on this heroic journey of ours. I had to get everything ready for the whole crew which entailed 3 helmets, two bike backpacks with water, two bikes, trailer, toys for the boy and a whole lot of not sure what to expect. We made it to the rail trail which is just a short journey from the house to the closest trail head. I hooked Landon's trailer up to the 29r which just barely clears the trailer and disc brakes. I was pretty nervous as we began to pedal but filled with excitement as well. The beginning was very bumpy, I made the mistake of not listening to my much smarter wife and chose not to start in the smoother section. I took it very slow until it smoothed out and then we were up to speed. It was so fun having my wife at our side as we strolled down the sandy path. Landon appeared to be in good spirits and spent most the time trying to dismantle his helmet which he shortly did. He played with the straps and had all sorts of things to explore in his new cage. He did not seem to be too curious about much else than what he could reach, he occasionally looked at us as we came into view but he seemed to be doing just fine. We got up to full speed pretty much as I got comfortable and really found it quite comfortable with the trailer. It was nice to get some fresh air and even nicer to be with my whole family enjoying ourselves. To think one day he will pedal his own bike is just crazy but exciting. We made it a good ways and turned back around and hooked Landon up to his Mom's bike so she could get a taste of the trailer. What a spectacular day and one lucky guy! No mountain bike ride for me this week yet, wife's head ache took a turn later that day so we shall see when I anxiously get back in the woods.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Post Highland

I was itching to get back out riding after Thursday and found some time to ride on Saturday thankfully. I have been wanting to ride more than ever lately, probably because I know LuAnn goes back to school this week and she will be slammed with schoolwork and that in combo with loosing daylight and me in complete care of Landon means she will hear no end to me trying to get out on a ride this semester. I put the boy to sleep and said I was riding Hale and for her to message me when he wakes. I quickly ran out the door and hit trail and did Al's loop and was feeling mighty high on Nathan Hale which has been dormant in my heart lately. I love riding in the woods, I love the way the sunlight hits the leaves on the trees, I love the smell of the forest, there is just something about that damn bike and making the wheels turn that most don't understand but I clearly have a deep passion for it. It was a pretty therapeutic ride as I made speedy time through Al's. Then I crossed the road and made a good set of trails for a solid loop. I could have rode for hours but I made the right call when I aimed it for the 90 minute mark since I almost missed my wife departing with Landon to go on a walk. Luckily they allowed me to join in my nasty stinky bike clothes for what was a sweet way to end the day. I can;t wait to ride again, isn't that quite obvious, I really hope it will be tomorrow. I must apologize for lack of editing my posts, I really just blur them out and realize I need to go back through it after I type, so sorry if that annoys. No pics so Landon will have to bring some fun into the post. He is going so fast, he is such a joy in our life and he teaches me so much every day. Enjoy your week and happy riding, don't forget to stop and smell the roses, they're mighty fine.


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Friday, August 16, 2013

Highlan Moutain Bike Park

So I have heard bits and pieces about Highland over the last two years and always wanted to go but never committed to actually getting there. That all changed when Pat sent me a message asking if I wanted to go Thursday with him and after I got the ok from my lady that evening I was so pumped. I love to ride DH I always have and it has always felt good and natural in most cases. Going to DH specific park was like fulfilling a void I was missing in MTB. I rode some steep and jumpy stuff in Utah and it felt all good and great but I was not prepared for the amount of awesome that lies in NH. We arrive by 9:30 after a 3 hour drive and I got my rental going. I had to rent since I do not have a downhill capable rig anymore so I had reserved a Canondale Claymore. Pretty nice bike, 170mm front and rear and nice and light which made it fun in the air. As we rode up the first lift and got off we were racing down the first run. The bike immediately became extremely uncomfortable with my body way over the front bars and finding not enough brake power or lever than I needed. I was still have a great time despite the awkward bike. At the end of the first run I was happy about a solid run down but unhappy how un natural the bike felt. So after a few more runs I went into the bike shop and had them set up a larger frame for me which did prove to be much more comfortable but still awkward the rest of the day probably due to amount of suspension travel. My hands however were far worse than any bike problems I had, my fingers were excutiating at the end of every run. I had massive pain in my last three fingers from braking too much or holding the bars too hard, this prevented be from ever getting into a good rhythm. Despite these issues I trucked on and and rode the day out. We took quite a few runs down Hellion which was a great trail, this place is littered with step ups which take a little getting use to with the lip pops but I caught on just fine. Lots of rocky runs too, I had not taken a single crash all day until we rode Threshold which was well within my riding capability but took two slow OTB to rocks one faster OTB, I like to think due to trying to eject out of this DH bike I was on. That remained as my only crashes of the day and all were very unpleasant but only scratches and bruises. I must say it was nice to have the full face because I was able to let my head slam on the rocks comfortably knowing I was well protected. Run after run my hands became worse, to the point where at the end of the run it took me 10-20 seconds to be able to open them after releasing the bars. All day I was battling the bike and fingers but held in there and still had a rocking good time. I was pretty happy at the end of the last run that I was coming home with no major injuries since this is an easy place to end your season or even career. I got it out of my system and probably won't subject myself to that level of riding for a little while. Here is my run down Hellion, have not used my gopro in over a year sadly......

Thursday, August 15, 2013

More Build Progress

Bob has been busy working on the frame and that is awesome, he updates me with pictures daily so far and I get so excited and goofy that my wife finds it hilarious.

Mansfield Monday

Ok so I heard the skeeters let up and the Hollow so I set off on a ambitious loop. I had never ridden the lollipop that exists on the south side of the bridge so I added to the loop. I took off from Clover Mill rd side of schoolhouse brook, which is the closest trail head from my house. The first 5 minutes of trail was spent going around the multiple blow downs one right after the other which is getting old but no big deal. I rode out to wolf rock and then down from it and then the unfortunate but mandatory pavement ride into mansfield hollow. I rode the lollipop which turned out to be a pretty good piece of trail I have been missing. Then I rode the normal from there and was feeling pretty good. I made it up stoned hill on the SS I think for the first time without dabbing big win there I guess. Then a short ride to cross back into schoolhouse brook I was pumped to see 18.70 miles on the clock and hoped to have 20 when I reached the car, turns out I was short and had to loop around some trails and pathetically hit eventually 20 miles. I plan my next big one there to have better plan to add more trail which will be no problem. Not bad for 2.45 minutes of riding, the fastest 20 miles around I can find anyway. Milking 20 hollow to schoolhouse at EveryTrail
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Sunday, August 11, 2013

So stoked I just can't hide it

It has begun, I met with Bob Saturday as I might have said a few times before, what a great guy as I get to know him more. I am really excited he took me on for a frame build, it is a pretty unique experience to have a local put together the blue prints and custom fabricate something special for a customer such as me. I already want to have him make me another for maybe my wife or have a back up frame for the future but for now I am stoked out my mind. It turns out we won't be using the black cat rear dropouts which is just fine since he wants to use bmx slider dropouts which will shave a few bucks. I wish I knew more about all the angles and tube diameters and butted steel and angles but I have not dug that deep into cycling to know any better. As I always say just hand it to me and I will shred it. Which fortunately has been the mindset for the build. Bob has been riding rigid and SS for long enough to know just what I need so I left it all up to him to use his knowledge on the ride. Which is luckily a relief after he spent a massive amount of time on tricky build for a previous customer. I went with resto black for the paint theme so far, it's not flat but not glossy, a healthy medium. I envisioned a stealthy black bomber of a bike if you will. I guess I should give it as name, I never named a bike but this one will be special so now is the time so start. Black fly comes to mind, but let's see what I can come up with. Should be alive in a few weeks or less as Bob finds the spare time to build. The Raleigh in the mean time still gets a beating of a lifetime. So happy to make this a reality, I keep wondering if I should of sunk the $ into a savings account for a solid 5-6in all mountain shredder but I know my heart is in Rigid SS. Thank you Bob!

Saturday Salmon Ripper

I am so dang excited! I met with Bob Saturday morning and we went over just a few odds and ends with the frame before it will be brought to life. I had his ear for over an hour and then started talking to him about the trails nearby and he graciously drew me a nice map and a route to hit. It luckily filled in two missing puzzles I had since my last ride and gave me insight I much needed. The first 45 minutes was fast and confident put still had quite a few looks at the map. I found Nebmba switchbacks, and eventually river trail which was sweet! Then it was uphill from there on still foggy to me somewhat familiar trails. I think two more trips in and I should really have things figured out. I felt great on this ride, I had been waiting to ride again since Wednesday and was all ready to enjoy a ride. It was nice riding at 9:30 with the lighting in the jungle of CT. I finished back at the car in two hours and would have loved to have rode more but like most I have only limited time to ride. I almost made a clean loop, I guess I will just have to go back for more :) 2nd salmon w new at EveryTrail
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Friday, August 9, 2013

Crandalls Perfecto

So I was hoping to ride Tuesday but with my LuAnn and Landon having bad colds I was grounded until Wednesday when I snuck out on a selfish ride. I wish I could ride more these days before LuAnn goes back to school in a few weeks but it's just not that easy, and sadly will become far worse when the semester starts. But that's how life goes right, I just look forward to the future when I can ride my face off. Ok enough moping, my life is good, I got out to Crandalls and had a mighty fin ride! The sun was out and it was still lacking humidity so I loved it! I brought Bentley along since it's a low vegetated area and we need to work more on ripping him into shape for riding since he's been so slow lately. We were off just the two of us, and I made a loop in my head to do things differently and it worked out beautifully. The trail was in perfect condition just slightly moist so no soft spots or dusty bunnies. I felt great riding, I could or rode for another hour or two but I was anxious to get home and help with duties, yeah I said it Duuuuuuties. Bentley fared pretty well, he took every shortcut he could find on the trail, sometimes he would disappear and 30-60 seconds later I would find him waiting on the trail ahead of, smart fella. I don't think he will ever be the 1-2 year old that chased me around Utah but he is still game to join me. I meet with Bob tomorrow to go over final details on my new frame, there are no special bells and whistles here, not even bottle cage mounts, I look so forward to getting her all done and built up. I guess by the end of the month or beginning of next it can be done I have no idea. After our meeting in the morning I am going top ride the trails right near his house.
Good one at crandals at EveryTrail
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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

5.10 Impact Low

My wonderful wife bought these for my birthday two years ago, best investment she made for me. They are super sticky and very very solid and hands down best solid shoe you can buy. I guess on the heavy side but it makes up for it with such a solid sole for the rare flat pedaler that I am. I have somehow managed to find their weakness every year which is where the sole meets the toe and i am guessing it is from all the pressure of my toes on the down strokes of the crank. So Five Ten has a 1 year warranty that continues to bite them in the butt since I manage to go thru a pair in 10-11 months which has paid for itself a few times now. I am now on my third pair and am wondering if one of these times they are going to not warranty wince I am becoming a frequent problem. In the mean time I have spent three years on these monsters and have nothing but good things to day! So stoked

Monday out of my way

Well I have heard and seen quite a bit about this place called Rockland Preserve in Madison CT and have held off on the drive for some time now. I found some room for the hour drive down there and grabbed the gears and squish for the features. I arrived on trail and tried to remember the map in the parking lot by taking a cruddy picture of it so I had an ideas what to do which is always nice but time consuming. The trail began to climb so quick off the start, I did soon come to my first log ride which was meticulously carved by John himself. It has been some time since I rode an organized log and was pretty good to see I still had what it takes.
A few more log rides and some mini features

There were a few double diamond signs which led to some minor drops and features, pretty tiny on my scale but mega for you xc weeners

So sick

I pedaled on and did a bit of climbing on this little hill and took all the right choices from there, I found myself on beyond the thunder dome trail and knowing this was about the highlight of the trail system I was pretty disappointed. I did a mere 4.5 miles in this mini place, I guess I was picturing something else and while a lot of work went into this joint it was not my cup of tea. So I headed down the road to Millers which is a gem of a ride to redo a ride. Rockland 1st rip at EveryTrail
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Millers was pretty bland since I was low on time and ambition. Rode some I have never ridden there such as yellow and red/white. I was happy to be heading home after just a quick hour there since I was on an empty belly and hungry. Millers slower hour at EveryTrail
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Monday, August 5, 2013

Salmon River Exploring

So I have been to Salmon River area a few times and always had a great ride, I had recently sniped a different trail in the interwebs so I was off in search of making a new loop. Funny thing, the builder for my new frame has actually built some of these trails and the beginning portion took me down his yard.
Then once off his property things narrowed out and I was on some pretty good trail. Never being here before and no route to follow I was just finding as much single track as I could.
I ended up with a few trail options and made the best choices I could, some lead me to roads which was actually the best kind of wrong way you can take since you just head back the way you came. I took a variety of trails that lead me to a steep loose double track down to the rail trail. From there I spotted a orange blazed trail across the rail trail, so I had to choose to ride the rail trail to the trails I know or explore more, so I took orange of course. Which ultimately lead me to mapping out that section of trails which would be worth it if you just stay on orange and do a loop without following ATV track everywhere.
With most the exploring out of the way it was a quick pedal to the section I was familiar with. I rode up some stuff I usually use as my downhill route and was pleased to find it pretty comfy on the SS. More trail options and pretty sure of stuff I have taken but too many options and I ended up traversing over to my standard uphill route which turned out to be a awesome ride. Pretty stoked to get out of there right at my two hour time limit with plenty leg to spare. I am looking forward to getting back there and that could be Saturday since there is big news! My frame builder is back from his vacation and wants to get the frame started this weekend which means this thing can finally get cracking! LuAnn thinks I will ditch Rigid and SS when we move back to Utah but I keep telling her I think she could be wrong. Plus in worst case scenario I could always fork it and gear it.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Thursday Morning

Finally got back on a ride with Colin, I sent an invite the night before and by the time my eyes opened at 8am I looked at my phone and he was wondering if I still was riding. So 15 minutes later I was out the door for a ride at Hale. Armed with SS and Colin at the lead we were pedaling off in no time. The punisher was chosen which is a tough long narrow steep ride for well balanced riders, always a struggle on a SS but can be done. Painfully I made my way through the trail, soaked from all the work and humidity, but happy to be pretty much mosquito free! It had been a long time since I have been on a ride with him and it was nice to have a pretty equal level ride pace. After about two hours we were done and went on our ways and I was accomplished with 3 rides this week. Hale was a tough reminder of a lack of any kind of downhill run what so ever. Looking for number four today or tomorrow so let's see where I end up. Good to be haled at EveryTrail
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Wednesday Ride

Got ready to get back cracking at it so I set off for Mesh on Wednesday night, I guess I was heading to Salmon River but after a few wrong turns and last minute coming up with the idea of being home in time to make dinner had me on a detour to Meshomasic Forest. I had not rode Mesh in some time and almost always was with a group. It's a pretty raw untamed mix of gravel roads, double track, single track and plenty of elevation and technical. When I arrived I opened the door and began to to my shoe and a few seconds into that and a swarm of skeeters honed in on me for a feast. I shut the door, I was pretty pissed off and was so close to just calling it a win for the bug as I watched 20 of them hovering the window waiting for a meal. I reluctantly ran as fast as I could out the car door and grabbed my bike which was not fast enough but they began to back off as I got to pedal. If I could just stay fast enough maybe it won't be so bad I told myself. I took off on a good trail that I knew well. The last section was pretty grown in and I hit a few thorn bushes which sucked but has become the normal. I took the double track for some dumb reason leaving out the old jump trail that has been unfortunately dis mantled. Looking for something different I took a right off the double track and ended up in a nasty section of wild rasperry thorns that broke off in my all over my arm. So lame, I turned around since I wanted no more of that. Ok at the triangle and another idea popped into my head, go home while you can. Eager to on a ride I continued on up the gravel road where I was getting massively annoyed by the bigs since I was climbing steep grade, there must have been 50 in front of my face and behind my head, which is extremely distracting for me. From time to time one would bite me in my head through my helmet since I was covered is repellant except there. Back into the woods I hoped I could lose them, but I was wrong cause I forgot how mean the climb ahead of me was. Ok at the top and finally able to pick up speed and lose them, this was probably the most fun section as I dropped into a long ride and onto a trail unknown to me, sadly it ended at the route of the problem, two large swamps where all the skeeter activity was being bred. You can only imagine how my climb out of there was, absolutely miserable. Climbed what seemed to be forever until I hit known stuff and got moving as fast as I could so I could get to the car and call it a day. It was such a great day to ride it was too bad it was blurred out by the insects, I guess no one was forcing me to be out riding but it does not stop me from whining this entire post. Lets hope the cooler weather moves in and wipes these monsters out! Gps failed, I guess I had so many existing mapped rides on my map that it was too much to handle. If you sat through this to listen to me whine I am sorry. Here a son picture to bring it back up to fun. Landon is growing so fast before our very eyes, I love this kid.