Archive for April, 2009

Westfield 200k

Monday, April 27th, 2009
I'm sold on the front bag... descending @ 30 mph, hands free, stable!

I'm sold on the front bag... descending @ 30 mph, hands free, stable!

Flèche Teamate Patrick and I rode the Westfield 200k in the heat on Saturday. 126 miles, limited traffic, plenty of climbing, temps in the 90′s with a beautiful route from Westfield to Shelburne Falls, a side trip to southern Vermont and then back via Shelburne Falls and some lonely mountain roads. The ride took a bit longer than I had hoped – but climbing in the heat mid course was brutal. I opted to snag a few extra bottled waters from McCusker’s Market when leaving the lunch control – they were gone before I began the descent to Conway. I struggled with the heat, some soreness in my left quad, and numbness and pain in my right hand. New things – but pain is not unexpected when on the bike for so long. The hand pain should be remedied by adjusting the Ergo lever position and how the cable exits to wrap the Nitto Noodle bars. The muscle pain is most likely due to this being the longest ride of the year… Patrick played with the lead group for 2/3 of the ride. He rolled in about 2 hours ahead of me. I finished the last 20 stronger than I rode the first – so despite the heat and being off my better pace – I feel good about the ride.

Bike RouteToaster

Friday, April 24th, 2009
Main map interface screen with options on the right.

Main map interface screen with options on the right.

I just discovered Bike Route Toaster. So far I love it – the two main features I was looking for was the ease of use of GoogleMaps and a cue sheet generator. Bike Route Toaster uses the GoogleMaps interface but with the option of disabling the ‘Auto Routing’ feature so you can sketch over trails, short cuts, bike paths, etc.!!!! The Cue Sheet generator is editable, exportable to several formats and allows you to view the location of the cue and edit the information. Add in elevation profiling, export to several different formats including GoogleEarth, and a friendly interface and it will be a nice addition to my route making toolkit. If you register you can save routes and pick up working on them where you left off and / or make your routes public. So far its just what I’ve been looking for…

Cue sheet editor screen.

Cue sheet editor screen.

Route summary screen.

Route summary screen.

Happy Earth Day

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009
It's the only one we've got...

It's the only one we've got...

West Hill Shop

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

When I lived in Putney, Vermont the West Hill Shop was my local bike shop, hangout, volunteer sales job, and generally fun place to be. I just started to get to know the owner’s and mechanics quite well before I chased my bride to the big city of Burlington. Jim and Diny are some of the warmest folks I met (as the new guy in a town of 2600 +/-). The local racer boys were always friendly and helpful and the shop had a talent for attracting and keeping ace mechanics. The video they’ve posted to their home page brings back some fond memories…

We’re planning on using the shop as one of our 2 hour ‘sleep’ stops on the Flèche. I’m really looking forward to passing through my old riding territory and being able to catch up and hug some friends (for at least a few sleep deprived minutes!)

Spring Dirt 1.1

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Jim brought the camera out this weekend. These are a few of my favorites snitched from his photostream.

Spring Dirt

Monday, April 20th, 2009
The view from Govenor Chittenden Road

The view from Govenor Chittenden Road

Spring ride with lots of dirt – a mental boost and a gear shakedown for next weekend’s 200k. We rolled out of town from our usual start along Mountain View and the always fantastic ’seasonal’ Governor Chittenden Road. Lots of gravel and a roaring brook. On to Richmond via a closed and muddy Kenyon Road – 10% or more in grade, skinny 28’s slipping in the muck when I would stand up. Seated climbing, rear over the rear. Great views to Camel’s Hump. Down into town on the wrong side of the closed bridge, follow the river past Cochran’s and to Jonesville and then up, up, up Stage Rd. (optional as Bolton Notch was gnarly and gravelly). Flying along the highland flats to Brown’s Trace and a stop @ the Village Cup. Busy Rt. 15 then on to Tower Rd. and into Colchester on Lost Nation, Curve Hill, and others. Loop out to the bay and home. Just about 58 miles, with some great climbing and scenery. The group (4 out of 5 Flèche teammates) worked well together – each of us pacing ourselves on the steep stuff and working together into the wind pulling on the flatter terrain.

Kenyon Road was closed to cars...

Kenyon Road was closed to cars...

John on the A. Homer Hilson

John on the A. Homer Hilson

Climbing up and up Stage Road

Climbing up and up Stage Road

An Independent Fabrications, A. Homer Hilson, Kogswell, and Gunnar...

An Independent Fabrications, A. Homer Hilson, Kogswell, and Gunnar...

... all dressed in Brooks saddles - a Swallow, B17, B17N, and a Swift.

... all dressed in Brooks saddles - a Swallow, B17, B17N, and a Swift.

What Fits?

Friday, April 17th, 2009

What fits into an overstuffed Acorn Boxy Rando Bag?

Bag of pretzels...

Bag of pretzels...

...Lezyne pump, carrots, and kryptonite lock...

...Lezyne pump, carrots, and kryptonite lock...

...cucumber, strawberries, fresh ravioli, and two baked goods treats...

...cucumber, strawberries, fresh ravioli, and two baked goods treats...

... and my phone, camera, wallet, small cable lock, and cycling cap.

... and my phone, camera, wallet, small cable lock, and cycling cap.

Plenty. The half loaf of bread went into the Acorn Medium Saddlebag with my tool kit. The Shower’s Pass Elite 2.0 was strapped to the outside. The front bag was pretty unstable as I’m still riding without a proper decaleur – need to remedy that in the near future. Still able to ride no handed down our drive at speed. Lots of wheel flop when rolling the bike into the garage – but that is to be expected at slow or no speed.

Mt. Philo

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

The little one and I hiked Mt. Philo today. Trail on the way up, road on the way down. Its a steep climb – steeper with 30 pounds of Ava and kid carrier on the back. Rounding the bend on the top to head down a single speed mountain biker was just clearing the top of the road. Disc brakes and a low gear… and a faint ‘Hello’. The road must top out at 18% +. There are places to get a bit of rest… but its work on a bike. About halfway down he bombed by us through a switchback, knobbies humming on the pavement.

Where are the birds and squirrels!

Where are the birds and squirrels!

Honjo / Planet Bike Fender Hack

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

I’ve been working on mudflaps for my rando rig on and off for the past two years, never really coming up with anything I liked, or that was durable. The stair tread / scrap rubber version works well enough – but on narrow fenders the rubber doesn’t quite conform to any particular shape – and it tends to flop around a bit adding some fender rattle to peaceful noise of rolling down the road. The Surly is fit with Planet Bike Cascadia fenders – and as I was studying the Surly for ideas I discovered Planet Bike sells replacement mud flaps. My Honjo fenders are the narrow version, 35mm width – so I ordered up a pair of the Cascadia Road Mudflaps. $5.00 + shipping (I added a Superflash Stealth to my order) and it included the snap locks for mounting… about as expensive as the rubber tread I bought!

Planet Bike Cascadia Road mud flap test fit to the front Honjo fender...

Planet Bike Cascadia Road mud flap test fit to the front Honjo fender...

They couldn’t possibly fit… could they?

Like a glove. I need to drill mounting holes for the quick snaps or a removable bolt – and I need to get a test of them on a wet road. The Cascadias mount up a bit short on front coverage – but with the extra length of the Honjos I should get great coverage!

Reflection

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Smartphone, checking email after a quick breakfast this morning. Nice recovery spin. Out to the bay and back around the Intervale. Up through Riverside and a tour along the lake. Cold, but the sun is rising earlier each morning. Blue sky, wind, and purple orange mountains across the lake. Wednesday I need to rise earlier. More miles on quiet roads, perhaps early enough for a sunrise view to Mt. Mansfield.

Reflection

Reflection