Monday, August 29, 2016

I've Never Been To Harpswell Before

And I don't think I need to go back.  No offense to the fine Massachusetts residents of Harpswell.  I road to the end to a place called Potts Point Preserve. Which seemed to be a little overrated.  The Brochure indicated swimming.  Maybe if you are a crab, because the shoreline was sharp rocks with lots of attached seaweed.  Mostly, it is a private road leading to the preserve and the residents, rightly so, don't want the masses parking on their lawns.  So I'm not going back out of respect for the residents.  Which incidentally all seem to be people from Massachusetts looking for a place to spend all their extra money.  And I say that because the starting price for a waterfront lot is around $400,000 A F---ING LOT. And at least half the cars in the driveways I passed had Mass plates. OK, I'll stop being negative.  Potts Point was a fine place to walk around but there are thousands of other destinations that might be better.
Welcome to Potts Point Preserve

My Garmin said I was at 140' below sea level when I got there.  It must have been because it was low tide
My Wife Said
To Take A Lot
Of Pictures
So I Did.
After a quick snack and a 250' stroll I headed back.  I was excited because I had battled a headwind all the way out.  Not so fast, still a good cross wind on the way back.  I was leaving Harpswell neck at about mile 60 with 2 empty water bottles.  I had crossed paths with the Farm to Fork Fondo back in Pownal and knew that it started around Wolf's Neck Farm.  I decided to see if I could bandit one of the rest stops for a water refill.  I found the last stop on the short course and told them I wasn't part of the ride but needed some water.  They said they were just closing up and to take any food or drink that I wanted.  Score!  That Fondo may be on my list for next year because the food at the rest stops was top notch! 

From there I decided that I'd follow the course back toward the finish to see if I could catch up with some friends that were riding.  As it turns out, they were the very first group of cyclists I past out of over 500.  What are the chances?  I finished the last 5 or so miles of the ride with them.  The announcer at the finish announced everybody's name as they finish but just had a funny look on his face when I went through.  I declined the finisher's medal at the end too but helped myself at the sponsor tables.

With a belly full of Gu Recovery Drink (I know I had more to ride but it's mostly marketing, it was hydrating and pretty tasty) I was on my way.  I never really got the tailwind I was looking for.  No, it was mostly of the head variety.  By mile 90 I was pretty much drained so I stopped at the orchard to re-fuel with some apples and get a drink.  Most notably, apples are ready; in August!  I bought 2 apples and a cold Poland Spring water for a buck!  I asked if they had tap-water available and they were in the process of having it tested but the owner offered me a second water for riding 90 miles already!  Therefore, I highly recommend taking a trip to the Orchard Hill Farm, very nice owners that not only saved the old T&T orchard from being developed but are planting more trees.

A welcome break with nice owners.
Slightly refreshed I went on to finish the ride.  I met yet another cycling friend on the way and finally got my tailwind for the last 8 miles.  Good thing 'cause this body was done.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Camping Century, Mount Chocorua & The Great Adventure Challenge

Some people take vacations to rest.

Actually compared to some years this year had less activities.  We started camping over the weekend and between setup weather and a forgotten Garmin (with my programmed route in it) I pushed my weekly century ride Til' Tuesday. My lovely wife offered to take her long ride home to retrieve said Garmin where she discovered a newly hatched chick.  The picture looks fuzzy because chicks are fuzzy.

I'd hoped to make it around Lake Winnipesaukee but that was going to make the ride way too long.  I opted for a route that was mostly in New Hampshire.  I had the cross bike so I didn't pay a lot of attention to weather the roads were paved or dirt.

Nice Views, Not a lot of Traffic
Trespassing?  Fine.  With Dogs?  Fine. But Leave Your Bear Dogs At Home.
New Hampshire has a lot of towns.  It seemed like I rode through 50 of them.  Most notably Sandwich.  Which gives the mind time to wonder.  Is there a New Sandwich which might also mean there is an "Old Sandwich" Can you really take the "Sandwich Police" seriously? Is there a Sandwich Sandwich shop?  And does the Sandwich Store not sell sandwiches? Anyway.
The Store Was Closed. (A Few People Will Get This)
Planning routes on the Garmin through areas I don't know is a fun way to do rides.  I'd say 80% of my ride I didn't know where I was or what I would find around the next corner.  I did make my way back to Maine to stop by the family garden and fuel with a few cherry tomatoes and a green pepper.
The Garden Was Open
This was my 11th Century this year!
The next day we hiked up Mount Chocorua at a spirited pace since we were going almost 4 miles one way to the top and the rest of the group was only going 1.6 miles to the falls.  
Happy Campers

My wife had visions of the dogs plummeting off a cliff and falling to a gruesome death so she stayed back with them while I scampered (almost) to the top.  In the interest of time and since there was nobody to hang out with up there I got most of the way up and called it close enough.  It was also cold, raining and very windy  and I was in a wet t-shirt (not a contest).
Could not get a selfie without a crooked face.
I'm not sure the pace was a great idea with a race coming up in a few days but it certainly didn't hurt. 

                                              BECAUSE WE FREAKIN' WON!

First Overall
She puts on a bigger celebratory face than I do.

First Female Overall
The kayak leg just about wore me out since I hadn't been in a kayak yet this year, aside from puttering around a very small pond 2 days before.  I felt totally drained when I climbed on the bike and thought: "This isn't my race".  But my 5000 miles of riding this year took over and I made my way to the front of the pack from 20th.  I passed the last person before we turned from a dirt road into the trails again.  I decided to do the run in my bike shoes so the transition was me throwing my helmet and camel back on the ground and heading up the mountain.  I spent the first 1/4 mile looking over my shoulder to see who was going to pass me on the miserable trip down the mountain.  When 2 people finally appeared I was pretty hopeful that they were far enough back that I should be able to hold my own. 

The trip down the mountain was brutal as always.  It always takes a week before I can walk down stairs without a grimace but the king for a day feeling is worth it.  

We did get our own Personal Press Release after the race, which was nice. I missed breaking the course record on the bike by 2 minutes.  I've got my sights set on breaking the overall course record but not until I get a new kayak.  I need to be paddling a pencil, not a tugboat to compete for that.  Might have to actually run some before the race too...

Friday, August 12, 2016

Early Morning Cyclist Inspiration

Free Syrup

Inspiration comes in many ways.  I think it is a sign, that the day before we head off camping there is an offering of free syrup on the side of the road.   Not maple syrup, no, this is the pancake variety.  (Not specified for waffles) Which is fine since there is no place to plug the waffle iron in at the campsite.  
 Made of the finest ingredients: 


I notice that they didn't even bother with the word Maple as in "Maple Flavor", "Imitation Maple Flavor".  Nope, this is just syrup.  It is also from "Signature Kitchens" which sounds a little fancier than the ingredient list might suggest. 
That is one of the biggest energy gels I've ever seen.
After examining the ingredient list I think I might know why it was on the side of the road.

Yes, it was sealed.

Monday, August 8, 2016

9 Bikes in 9 Days

Last weekend my mother in law asked if I rode all my bikes every day.  I told her no but I still try to show them all love.  So, I decided to ride a different bike every day of the week.  I even brought the CR1 Comp out of it's For Sale status to have one other bike in the mix.

1. Saturday - Cross Bike & Hills
2. Sunday - Fatbike & Dogs
3. Monday - Rain Bike & No Rain
4.  Tuesday - Vintage Bike & Sunshine
5. Wednesday - Mountain Bike & Madness
6.Thursday - Old Bike & Last Ride?
7. Friday - 29er & Long Trails
8. Saturday - Cruiser & Bike Shop
9. Sunday - Road Bike & Lakes

Around About 40 Lakes and a Visit With Grandmother

Every long ride needs a theme, right?  No, not really but most of my weekend centuries lately have had some kind of goal.  It's been a while since I visited my grandmother so that was part of he plan.  She lives on the other side of Sebago lake from me so I was riding around one lake already which lead to the idea of how many lakes could I make it around.

Ironically I didn't go around this lake.
This was my 8th century weekend in a row and the 10th this year.  Riding for 6 hours gives the mind time to wander.  At one point I passed a vary handmade looking sign that said "Odd Jobs Wanted" so my mind immediately went to "I need a penguin circumcised"  That would definitely be an "odd" job.  I also never realized how close Norway and Sweden were.  I mean, I know they are both in Scandinavia but the Maine Towns only have Waterford between them which makes no sense because the countries Norway and Sweden abut with no water at all. Poland and Sweden should be separated by Waterford for this to make any sense at all.  And why is Paris next to Norway?
I stopped to take this picture and that's why I didn't get the KOM.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
My wife met me at Grandmothers and joined me for the last part of the ride,  not much else to say.