Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Year End Review

So 2017, what to say about 2017.  It wasn't my biggest riding year by mileage but there were some milestones.

  • I fatbiked up Mt Washington
  • In July I competed in the CBCC for the second time and managed my fastest time.  Not bad for a 50+ year old. 
  • I bought my first time trial bike.  It turns out I was wrong
  • I competed in my first road race and managed 3rd. 
  • I rode a century in under 5 hours.  (kind of)
  • And even found my way to Kingdom Trails for the first time.
  • Not to mention all the usual stuff.
So I guess 2017 was noteworthy. So noteworthy that Strava made a video of me. I feel honored.

Looking forward to 2018...I'm already registered for the Moose Brook Fatbike Race and The Dempsey Challenge.  Here's a link just in case you want to get your donation out of the way early.
 What else is in store for 2018?  Time will tell.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Keys To The Kingdom

After a failed attempt at finding a campground in Bar Harbor we decided to go in another direction.  Literally.  Burke VT.  After hearing for years how good the trails were we had to find out for ourselves.  We did it in a day trip with about 5 hours of driving and 4 hours of riding time.  Not great but not bad.

If our tires get any bigger we're going to need a bigger car
We got there, signed out life away, paid the trail fee and were on our way.  But to where?  The entry to the huge trail system seemed less than obvious the first time there.  After looking at the map a few dozen times we started to get our bearings.
There Was Wildlife
I was having a blast on the trails.  My wife was able to navigate the trails.  Even though the trail head seemed busy the trails were relatively quiet.  A lot of the trails were nicely built with banked corners for the type of ride you just can't get naturally. They are the type of trails that make you wish you were better at mountain biking.

The Trails were very nice!
5:30 Hours of driving
3:00 Hours of riding time
1:00 Hour of looking at the map (this should be much less next time)

Bottom line, it was a fun time but it felt a little like I drove a long way to ride in circles.  It must be the commuter in me that wants rides to be functional too.  It's really no different than skiing where you drive a long way to get pulled up a mountain to slide down. 

Would I do it again.  Yes, but it isn't a priority. Still a much more fun way to spend a Friday than in the office.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Dempsey Challenge 2017

Thanks for all the support!  This year I raised $1375 and Kelly raised $330 with your help!  $1705 going to support The Dempsey Center to provide service and support for people going through one of the worst times in their lives.

This year I set out with the goal of riding 100 miles in less than 5 hours.  I've ridden over 100 miles about 25 times in my life but never in under 5 hours.  GOAL ACHIEVED. Well, sort of.  My actual riding time was under 5 hours but the elapsed time was closer to 6.  Other than some regular rest stops our group had 3 flat tires that took about 10 minutes each to patch up.
Hiding from the rain while waiting for a flat fix.
Other than flats there was some rain to deal with.  Drafting on bikes in the rain just isn't pleasant.   If you don't wear glasses you can't see because of the constant water and road grime being thrown up in your eyes.  If you wear glasses you can't see because of the constant water and road grime being thrown up on your glasses.  But it could have been worse.  It was a warm rain.

I rode with a group of about 9 for most of the race.  Near the end it split into 2 groups with the slower group falling behind.  For the last 12 or so miles it was down to 2 of us out in front of the pack.  The other rider was a strong rider from Rainbow Bicycle. We took turns pulling through the wind.  Mostly him pulling and me drafting but I helped when I could. I'm definitely giving him some credit for helping me hit my goal.

I actually got passed by my wife who was trying for a sub 6 hour goal while we were pulled over at a rest stop.  I left the group for a while and caught up with her to ride for a while until the group caught us.  I got back in time to put my bike away and catch her at the finish line. 
Great finish picture!
It may look like I didn't get back in time but my phone camera is 3 year old slow and it takes about a long for the camera to boot up to take a picture as it takes most windows machines to boot from power off.

Patrick Dempsey - I've sent this awesome paparazzi photo to Time Magazine - I'm going to be rich!
After the ride we ate lobster and drank beer with Team Bilodeau for almost as long as the ride took.  Great new friends that we met at the challenge last year.  Next year we will officially be joining their team

Watch this video and it will almost be like you were there.  With out the water in your eyes.

I am happy to announce that I raised enough to get this years cycling jersey.  I don't really need a new cycling jersey but I've done this 9 years and have raised enough to get a jersey 8 of those years.  We've done good!

Thanks to: Bonny Barbara Chris Ned Eric David Marc Peter Brandon Jennifer Betty Tom Lauren Ronald Lee Ed Larry - you know who you are.

Luckily my goal wasn't to take great pictures of the event.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Better Late Then Never

Normally I start pestering people for Dempsey Challenge donations earlier than this.  But this year I was busy lazy and am just getting around to it. Kelly and I have both raised our minimums thanks to a certain Saulnier clan directing their traditional yearly donations through our fundraising pages.  That was really appreciated!

Also, normally we are trying to split our fundraising between Dempsey and the Not Dead Yet ride.  Unfortunately, that ride was canceled this year.  Ultimately I think this is a good thing because The Dempsey Center in Lewiston is joining forces with The Cancer Community Center in Portland.  This means that fundraising for Dempsey will be shared with the CCC and the resources will be shared between the two facilities.  Enough on that, you can read about it here: Cancer Community Center, Dempsey Center to merge

So, back to the fundraising.  This will be my 9th year riding in the challenge.  I started doing the 50 mile ride and wondering if I could finish it.  Now at 50 years old I'll go out and ride 50 miles without even worrying if I have a water bottle. Yes, if you keep doing something you will get better at it.  Over the years I have raised about $10,000 for this cause.  When I say "I have raised" I mean you have raised.  I'm only facilitating the donations.

My plan for this year is to see if I can complete the 100 miles in under 5 hours.  This will be a stretch and I'll need a fast group to ride in.  Last weekend was a nice easy 100 miles with friends at the Loon Echo Trek.  I'm planning on riding the Dempsey harder.
Loon Echo Trek

Without further ado, click here and donate.

I did just notice that people that fundraise over $10,000 will get a TAG Heuer Timepiece.  So anybody with really deep pockets feel free!
What, No Heart Rate?

This would be a huge update from my fitbit.  Although it doesn't measure heart rate so I'm not sure I would wear it.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Tour De Lovell 2017

With all the biking I do you might think that I had tried a road race by now.  We'' you'd be wrong. The Tour De Lovell seemed like a great event to try it out.  Non-sanctioned, home town race with plenty of strong riders to make it a challenge.
Do I look nervous? Maybe a bit.  Riding in a pack can be a little dangerous.
 It turns out my nervousness was founded.  A few miles into the race there was the crunching of carbon and bones as a dozen or so riders went down in a heap.  I was riding in the same group but escaped the crash by riding over the median.  Few.  At this point I chased down the lead pack in an attempt to hold on.  The pack dwindled from 12ish to 5.  Then 4.  I felt bad for the guy that got dropped because I know the feeling.  In fact, I got to experience the feeling about 30-45 seconds later and only about 8 miles into the race.

I proceeded to ride the rest of the race in exactly the hardest way to ride a road race.  Solo!  I thought of dropping back to find a pack to conserve energy riding into the slight headwind on the way back but decided to tough it out.

This is the group I was not in.

Coming up to one of the last turns there were 3 people directing traffic but nobody telling me that it was actually the turn.  I slowed, there were no arrows on the road and nobody pointed so I went straight.  WRONG.  I did get grumpy with those particular volunteers.    I was asking which way and nobody bothered to point.  Quickly turned around and managed to maintain 4th!

Other than my grumpiness at the turn the race was well run and I'll probably try to do it again.  This time I will know where the course goes.
This is my excited face.

The podium shots weren't that exciting.

I even managed to pick up a KOM which was unexpected.  Probably lead to my legs blowing up and my departure from the pack.  Oh Well.

Obligatory Relive video:

Sunday, July 16, 2017

CBCC 100K 2017: Here's Mud In Your Eye

What can I say, it was muddy.  I was getting muscle cramps in my squinting muscles. It rained what seemed like inches the night before and the trail was a sloppy mess in a lot of places.  More on that later.

We took the day before off to pack and get ready for the race.  Good think too because I hadn't done a thing until the day before. 
Locked & Loaded
Once the truck was loaded we headed straight in the opposite direction to drop the granddogs off at mom's doggy daycare, thanks mom!  While in Portland I got to pick up a bottle of tire sealant because I couldn't remember when I added it last and the peace of mind was worth the extra 1/2 lb I added to the bike.  4ish hours later we had a place to sleep.
Home Sweet Home (the one on the left)
After a quick check of the course.
Surveying the Course
 We started our pre-race preparations.
Don't do anything different before race day
Grilling dinner was canceled due to rain.  Luckily we had made a few salads which we jogged into the outdoor center and ate cold. Sleep in the tent was slightly interrupted by 2 thunderstorms (that I know of)
I never looked at this or remembered it again.
OK, race morning!  I don't think it was raining.  I don't remember, it rained off and on quite a bit.  There are a lot of very skilled riders that have a lot more technical ability than I do.  Out of respect for their race I try to start at the back so I don't slow them down.  Unfortunately, that leaves a lot of people that suck more than I do ahead of me. 
Lots of Starters
Truth is, I'm stronger and faster that over half the people racing so I should seed myself better!
Me: I've got to give myself more credit and start closer to the front.
 The first 10 miles were spent stuck behind people sometimes stopped on singletrack.  That's the only excuse I'm going to use this race and it probably only cost me 10-15 minutes.

Passing by the outdoor center, the pack is finally breaking up.
The rest of the race was kind of a blur.  Or at least it was fuzzy.  Mostly because I had 4 lbs of mud in my eyes.  Glasses weren't really an option without windshield wipers.  Other than that I was feeling good and passing people left and right.  Literally (ON YOUR LEFT), (ON YOUR RIGHT).  The muddy course was a challenge in most places.  Not only could you not see because of slinging mud in your eye, it got pretty slithery and slippery in spots with quite a bit of speed.
Some of the nicer sections of trail, Photo Credit CBCC Facebook Page

Why there is  a bridge here and not other places the world may never know. Photo Credit CBCC Facebook Page

Around mile 22 my legs were feeling used and I had the realization that there was a lot of racing to go, but that passed. The major rest stop at mile 26 was just in time.  Somebody grabbed my bike and started pulling mud and grass out of my front derailleur with a smile.  Thank you so much to the volunteers, especially you.   I got to see a friend there who was spectating and held my bike while I ate what I could.  Endurance racing is funny.  Most days you are (supposed to be) monitoring what you eat and trying to keep the calories in check.  On a race day where you are burning an extra 6000 calories (the body only can store about 3500 for immediate use) you just need to eat anything you can keep down.  I knew the last time I did this race I was cramping bad so I was concentrating on getting some salt.

Well shit, that didn't work.

They make you write any possible problems on the back of your bib in case you need help.  Check
I passed the point where I started cramping the previous time and was feeling just fine.  Then out of NOWHERE was the first cramp.  Like a warning shot across the bow.  Crap.  That means the rest of the race will be trying to keep those at bay.  I started downing salt and water.  I had 6 salt tablets in addition to any electrolyte drink I was consuming which mostly held it off.  The last 10 or so miles had a climb of almost 1000' in just under 4 miles.  We had joined the 50K racers at this point and any time I tried to push to pass the cramps would "Just Say No".  So I was stuck behind some slower riders.

Even then I was keeping up the pace pretty well until the last mile.  My legs knew they were almost done only a mile from the fucking finish and they started locking up.  My speed dropped in half.  I had to concentrate on the fact that it was a nice easy trail and that I could make it.

That worked out because I finished in 6:39:20 with 2 other people in my class just seconds behind me.  I pulled off 9th out of 32 in my class and 43 out of about 108 finishers.

Not too shabby.  OK, some of them might have had flats and mechanicals but I chose to carry the extra weight of a 27.5+ bike up the hill with an extra half pound of sealant in each tire.  Not to mention the crap in my pack that I didn't use above all the tools and a spare tube.  Like a windbreaker.  And glasses, LOL.  The 27.5+ was a good choice.  I'm thinking it is always a good choice.
AT LEAST 2 extra lbs of mud on the bike and me by the end.
  Don't believe me? See for yourself.

And what ride wouldn't be complete without the Relive flyover?

Holy crap, I just watched that for the first time.  No wonder I was tired!

Thanks to my support team: My Wife

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Early Morning Cyclist Inspiration

AKA Random Bike Pictures

These are from early morning.
Babbs Bridge

I think they re-build it every 4 years
I must admit I considered a swim.  Maybe next time when I'm not late.
This is a great local swimming spot but jumping from the bridge is forbidden.  Every few years a hole gets cut in the side so people can jump from it.  I think the town should just give up, create a jumping platform and be done with it. The rope swing, however, is quite a ride.  This was from last weekend.
That's me in the air.

In other news I rode most of the way home with a Woody in my shorts the other day.  Get your head out of the gutter.  I found him on the side of the road and he needed to get back to Andy.
Image result for down arrow
Image result for down arrow

He's been lying around the house all floppy.  We're wondering what happens when we aren't watching.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Fatbike to the Clouds

 Ride up Mount Washington, sounds like a great idea...
The Goal (at least as far as they let us go)
 Actually it sounded like a good challenge and something you just don't get to do everyday.  The weather was brutally cold and windy but could have been so much worse.  Take away the wind and it was a cloudless day with temps rising into the 20s, not bad.
Typical winter conditions at the top (Wind a steady 55mph with a 24hour gust of 114mph)
Standing around before the race was the coldest part.  I ditched the second jacket just before the start.
I mentioned it to Barney and he was all over it!
The skiers started first followed by the snowshoers and then the fatbikers.  I assumed that the fatbikers would be the fastest group and that the start was a strange order.  But I was wrong.
The starters full of anticipation
As usual I started off very conservatively, mid pack.  If I do this again I think I'll push a little harder from the start to avoid getting stuck behind dozens of riders.
Still doing good after the fun rolling flat part, time to head UP.
This was the last flat ground we would see until the end of the race.  The next 4ish miles were at an average 12% grade with some sustained 16% spots.  It was time to find a rhythm and grind. I'm generally a good climber and passed about a dozen riders in the first mile.  2-3 passed me back and then the placing didn't change much for the rest of the ride.  My back was aching by the second mile.  Standing to pedal wasn't possible in the steeper sections but gave a little break at some of the lower grades.  Luckily the wind was at our backs for most of the climb and really helped to push us up the hill.  Despite the sub zero windchill I was overheating for most of the race.  Frostbite was not an issue with the heat I was throwing off.  The finish line came a little sooner than expected but I was OK with that.  I gave a little sprint to the finish to see if they guy ahead of me was still alive.  He was, good job Bob!  You got me by 1 second.  Not even a photo finish.

I climbed 2200' and all I got was this lousy view?
I milled around at the finish for 15 minutes, collected my finishers medal, got a drink, took a picture and headed down. About 500 feet from the finish line I found my friend ready to bring it home!
Still giving the thumbs up!
This picture shows the excellent conditions of the trail.  The trail crew had hauled dozens of dumptruck loads of snow to fill in where mother nature had taken away.  You couldn't ask for better.  Given that the trip down was fast and fun after getting past the people still finishing their race.  I hit a max speed of about 30MPH on the way down which was fast enough on that trail.  There were plenty of people pushing bikes up the last part of the race.  I considered that a few places but managed the whole thing on my bike. 

I was hoping to make the top 50% given how many fatbiking animals there are out there, I didn't expect better.  I managed to squeak into the top 25% with 16th place. Based on nothing I expected my time to be 1 hour.  I came in at 1:01:59 I'll take it. Results

Cheers to the hours of grooming it must have taken to make this possible after the early melt we had this year. 


Monday, February 6, 2017

You Can't Fix Stupid

How was the ice fishing?

The Fireball was good.

If you are going to go out and drive on a lake AT LEAST avoid the places where there is no ice.  This spot on the lake never freezes. NEVER.  If he had crossed 100 feet closer to the shore  in either direction the car would still be above water.  Somehow I think whiskey was involved.

(Little Sebago Lake, 2/6/17)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Early Morning Cyclist Inspiration

Just some pictures

A very pretty spot

It's almost like you are there.

Oooh Aaah