Seed starts are sprouting and growing. 360+ of peas, corn, beans, chard, watermelon, perennials, strawberries, and more. They are warm and cozy under artificial sunlight in our basement – as our garden is still under 6-8 inches of dirty frozen snow, with more to come – as we will be under a winter storm warning for Thursday and Friday. 6-12 inches of snow across northern Vermont overnight, more in the mountains. Sigh. The VT Champlain Valley 200k Brevet is April 9!

Spring Dirt

~65 miles with lots of spring dirt on stretches of the Fall Classic route. Frozen dirt in the morning, mud later in the day. ~3k in climbing, much of it in muck, which made for an interesting day. Eye freezing, ice cream headache headwinds pretty much everywhere.

The day started off well with my coffee and hoping for some warm sun, then 10 miles later a wreck on Poor Farm Rd. Crossed up the wheels as best I can figure going over some frozen ruts. Cut up my elbow and knee, didn’t rip the jacket or pants though. Shoulder and hip are sore today. Made my way out to the shoulder of the big mountain and climbed up to Irish Settlement Rd. Wheel stopping mud in some places – still tacky and walkable – but fender and brake clogging. Explored down Nashville and Stage Rd. and had to do a roadside fender cleanout and adjustment to get the rear wheel to turn. I was in the 32×30 quite a bit on the last stretch through West Bolton – fighting both the climb and the wheelsucking mud.

Ended the day @ On The Rise for lunch with the wife and little one who had visited the Vermont Audubon Center sugaring festivities earlier in the day. Blue skies + warm sun (when out of the wind) + and some nice dirt (when it was frozen!) = good day out.


Easy recovery spin on the first day of Spring. Quiet this morning in the woods – snow melting, some crust to ride, some mashed potatoes, some frozen post holed rattled your teeth out sections of bike path.

Currently we are under a winter weather advisory, with fluffy snow falling outside the home office window. 3-5 inches by tonight. Sigh. While I love the snow, winter fatigue has fully set in, and I’m looking forward to exploring some single track this year, as well as upping my fitness as I take on both organizing and riding our local brevet series this year.

Sunday… dirt?

Its early for regular Sunday Dirt postings – but on the return leg of a fairly flat out and back to the Champlain Islands Wil and I took to some dirt. Smooth, firm, and in great shape. ~80 miles to Hero’s Welcome and back. I’m cooked. Longest ride since last fall.

(click to see the hundreds of bird houses…)

High Water

Got out on the Pugs today to try my ‘normal’ off road morning loop. Snow was mixed from mashed potatoes to hardpack to just a dusting. I was running relatively high pressure @ 10 psi to make decent time on the paved and bike path connecting portions – which meant plenty of hike a bike in the mashed show full of footprints.

I had wanted to connect through the Intervale – but high water covered part of the farm road on my exit. I’d guess there was 30′ of 3′ deep water to cross – not something I was prepared to do… the nearby Winooski was inches from the tops of it’s banks.

Cold and Wet

Managed 47 or so today with Wil. BTV to Richmond and to the fine On the Rise Bakery as a destination / warm up stop. (note to self – next time do not order bacon here….)

Temps were in the mid 30s with rain coming down most of the morning. Outbound we passed a steady stream of broken beer bottles on the side of the road. Eventually one of them bit me – so we stood standing in the rain and slop in Williston to do a change. I was thankful for wrapping my spare tube in a pair of rubber shop gloves – minimal cold mess on the hands. A small sliver of glass worked its way through the casing – so some hunting was needed. After a remount and a blast of CO2 – we were rolling again along the semi-frozen Winooski River.

Wil is riding strong, and pushing his studs on a bike with an 8spd internal geared hub he left me in his wake numerous times. He’ll be more than ready for the upcoming brevet series, and if he keeps this up he’ll be in prime form for his attempt at the 2012 Tour Divide.

Me – I need more work. The legs felt sluggish, and I needed to hit my inhaler at our cafe stop to settle down some coughing and a mild asthma attack. I’ve been battling a cold / sinus bug and its been challenging to stay active while it works its way through my system. Last spring I ended up with pneumonia just before one of our VT brevets. I’m trying to avoid that this year. I’ve managed my most consistent base in quite a while this winter (thanks Pugsley!). I added yoga to the mix last fall and have been back at it on a regular basis (Friday mornings!). The most promising change of all is that my weight is down ~25 pounds since this photo was taken on last years Fall Classic:

That’s not to say I’m floating up hills like I used to, nor chasing down friends as they pull away from me when the terrain turns up. Not even close. After I get through our first VT 200k on April 9 I’ll shift from ‘base’ to ‘intensity’ – I need lots of consistent sustained hard efforts. Repeated stays in the pain cave was the only way I got semi fast (still very slow compared to the racer boys and girls) back in 2006. Its the only way I see being able to attempt BMB in August.

And an important update – after three weeks it appears that the lonely baguette has met its demise.



Very slow going on side streets. Slow going on the main avenue. Enjoyed my coffee and bagel, pushed a few people out of the snow, and made it to the bank and back.

I was met with fist pumps and thumbs up from a few pick up trucks, to honks and ‘You’re crazy!’, to the angry laying on of the horn as I took the lane. Yes, I’m as crazy as you, small car driver who cannot get through the tire ruts from the side street and is now stuck. And Mr. DayGlo-Orange Camouflage pick up truck driver – you enjoy your time to ‘Gut Deer?’ – I’ll enjoy my time freely moving about town on two wheels (or two feet), even in the snow.


Not so fast Spring. Winter hit back with a vengeance today. Morning started @ 45 dF with a bit of wind and misty rain. I took off for City Market to meet Wil for what hoped to be a long(ish) road ride before the weather turned. The lonely baguette has some pretty amazing endurance – it is slumping a bit, but still going strong.

The mild temps and rain derailed quickly as we took off south (into the headwind). Temps plunged 3 hours before we thought they would. The rain poured down and the wind shifted around from the south to out of the north, and began blowing something fierce. We went outbound on Spear, heading to Mt. Philo. A quick discussion and a detour across the wind took us to the Red Brick Store to warm up. I added some plastic bags from the deli to cover my soaking wet socks and we rung out hats and gloves over coffee and some food.

Pulling out into the wind on Greenbush and I felt signs (mainly a feeling on my face) of the pouring rain turning to sleet. Turning up Bostwick confirmed that the changeover was imminent, and we worked through Shelburne to head in on Rt. 7, at which point Wil pinch flatted Nokian studded tires. We sheltered under an entryway at a nearby business and proceeded to curse the internal hub, the fender, and the tire that would not let go of the rim. I proceeded to shake violently in the cold and the wet. Perfectly warm while riding – but I was wearing every layer I brought – and they all were soaked. Teeth chattering commenced promptly.

I called for extraction, and a very understanding wife and little one rallied to our rescue. We retreated to a nearby cafe for hot tea, and waited for a very warm automobile. Upon loading up the bikes sleet turned to full on snow storm.