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Townsend Branches Out

TiCruz and the Gringo couldn’t make it for this week’s ride so GeoMo and I headed over to Townsend again last Thursday.  TSF is one of the few places that he and I can maneuver around without getting lost.  Most of the other places require the excellent ride leadership of the Gringo or TiCruz.

It was a great night for a ride weather-wise.  Hurricane, er rather Tropical Storm Irene tried to do some serious damage over the past weekend around here but fortunately failed to live up to the hype of some local and national newscasters.  Names will not be mentioned for fear that they may start to read this blog and I would have to become famous and throw large parties with multiple kegs of Narragansett beer for my friends.

All that resulted at TSF was a large amount of twigs and broken branches scattered about the trails.  It was a crunchy ride.  GeoMo had to watch out and not follow too close or risk getting a broken stick thrown at him.  I thought for sure one of us would get a broken spoke or mangled derailleur from all the flying wood.  Even stranger than that was the fact that TSF was relatively dry.  Unlike this past ride.   I had some pretty good flooding from the storm at my house and we fully expected the wet areas to be engulfed in water.  We got wetter last week in Carlisle.

Here is the data from Garmin Connect.  We managed to ride 7.21 miles in 01:34:30.  That averages out to a sluggish 4.6 mph.  I had one of the most entertaining times on that final long downhill.  The trail was either fairly clear or else I couldn’t see the rocks due to the impending dusk that seems to come early this year.  I think I just pointed my finely tuned bike downhill and hung on for dear life.  Anyway, it was excellent.

Beers were on me.  A cooler of Rocks.  Of the Rolling variety.

Later,

Slim

2009 Specialized Enduro SL Pro Carbon
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Sticky Carlisle

Finally a ride where we were all present.  There were two things going against us last Thursday evening in Carlisle.  The first thing was that it was about 77 degrees out with a dew point of about 77 degrees.  In meteorological terms…damn humid.  Just walking around trying to get the bike prepped resulted in a shirt soaking effort.  That stickiness continued right up until the last beer was drank and we headed home.  It’s a good thing that we are all finely tuned athletes and can handle a little sweating.  Otherwise one or more of us would likely still be in the trail on Sunday as Hurricane Irene was sweeping by.

The other issue with the evening was the fact that a heavy downpour just went through the area before we started the ride.  That left the roots and rocks very slippery which made for a treacherous (fun) night.  It did actually rain a little while we were out there as well just to stick it to us even more.  Did I mention it was a fun ride?!  No major injuries or entertainment value that I can remember.

At one point before the ride the decision was made to shake up the route and explore the “blueberry trails” across the road from the farm.  I think I was taking care of some extra Gatorade that I consumed on my way to the park when that decision was made because I don’t remember putting in my 2-cents.  “Slim’s out in the woods…quick, let’s not do our normal route and ride the blueberry trails and not tell him.”  I suspect it went something like that.  Eventually I got over it and the trails were a nice diversion.

Here is the data from Garmin Connect.  Are you guys clicking on the Garmin link?  You can zoom in on the maps and open them in Google Earth and stuff.  We rode 10.54 miles in a time of 02:01:04.  We averaged 5.2 mph for the evening.  It was an excellent summer wet ride.  The wetness kept you awake and on top of things and the humidity left you felling miserable and tired.  You can’t beat that.

The Gringo provided the Banks for the post ride activity.  Carlisle is not really a BBQ-friendly place (I know…that is subjective) so we didn’t have any dinner.  Actually I didn’t bring the Coleman so we were going hungry anyway.

Later,

Slim

2009 Specialized Enduro SL Pro Carbon
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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No Bikes Allowed at Burbank

Last Thursday (18th) we ignored the newly posted ‘No Bike’ signage at our favorite Hospital Loop.  Well actually it’s the only Hospital Loop we know.  GeoMo, TiCruz and I ventured into Fitchburg (we all had one in the chamber just in case) to partake in Massachusetts’ version of Slick Rock.  We were here in March 2010 to see the Gringo’s new bike, the mustard yellow 6pointy.

It was a warm humid evening with thunder booming in the background for most of the ride.  The lightening came while we were enjoying our brats and hot sausage.  There were some others guys there finishing up about the same time and we were surprised when they pulled out some Vents and stayed until we left.  They of course were envious of our grilled dinner.

The ride was good.  We took our normal route and slogged around the various trails.  As in other places we have ridden recently, there seemed to be a lot of deforestation going on in some places.  It almost looked like they were going to put in houses.  And other areas seemed like they were overgrown a lot.  One instance was after we go down the steep hill by the reservoir and head up the swampy trail.  The swampy-ness is getting impassable.  Th saving grace for that area is the new downhill trail they cut.  It was a nice windy singletrack.  I had to keep the brakes on slightly but it was completely controllable this way.

Here is the course data and map as uploaded to Garmin Connect.  We went 6.94 miles in 01:22:48 for an average speed of 5.0 mph.  It’s a short course but we covered it fairly quickly (for mountain bikers).

TiCruz provided the Banquets (didn’t you?).  And as I said, the Roadtrip PJD housed some brats and hot sausage.  Not sure where we are headed next week.  There are plenty of places that I haven’t been this year.

Later,

Slim

2009 Specialized Enduro SL Pro Carbon
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Ant Hill is Flat

Thursday, August 11, 2011.  May Ant Hill rest in peace (pieces).  Now an overgrown, forest-less, home ownership infringing, motorbike/ATV haven.  This used to be the place to go for a long, challenging mountain bike ride.   But now, I don’t think I would ever go back and ride it again.

Let’s start at the beginning.  The Groton Town Forest is still in pretty good shape.  And likely most people that do ride there have never heard of the Ant Hill extension to the forest ride.  So long live GTF, they say.

From GTF, the railroad trestle that you have to cross is missing a board or two leaving a couple of gaps that have you looking straight down to your watery death.  It’s a good thing we have 26 inch tires to span the gaps.  There were some people fishing under the trestle that shouted up to me, “You guys are crazy!!”.  Coming down on the other side of the railroad ties we almost hit their motorbikes that are parked in the path.  The weeds are so overgrown that it is difficult to even see the path, let alone the motorbikes.  So TiCruz and I waited for GeoMo as he walked across the trestle.  For some reason GeoMo never liked riding across that bridge.  The wide gaps, the board-rattling sound, the thought of serious injury.

We got our feet soaked quickly after that.  There was a puddle in the trail that was well past our cranks.  There was no going around it.  All three of us almost got our bikes stuck in the middle of this thing.  So we were wet for the remaining 90 minutes of riding.

From there until the powerline, things are grown in as I said already.  We encountered more motorbikes along the narrow overgrown paths.  You would think that the number of motorbikes passing through there would beat back some of the weeds but man this is sturdy vegetation.  At one point before we get to the hill to the powerlines we actually have to go through someone’s new backyard.  They have a little path for us but then they filled in the exit with yard waste and spare boulders they weren’t using.  I think that was our “hint” from them to not come back.

From the powerlines we head into the woods a couple of times.  This is where we got lost on one occasion (and at the same time discovered some brand new singletracks).  Most of the forest has been clear-cut.  TiCruz lost the trail at one point because of the skidder marks and new openness of the trail.  We went around on some new singletracks for a while until we finally backtracked and picked up the correct path back to the powerlines.

Once on the other side of the powerline, we met up with an ATV who was very cordial and went slowly by us.  We were actually eating a snack in the spot where we always do.  On we went towards Ant Hill.  It was getting late so we decided not to pursue that route (we heard it is off-limits now because of the Autobahn Society or some group like that).  In actuality, I never saw the Ant Hill path.  I kept looking for it.  The same ATV met us again along the way and I did notice that he came from a trail on the right side.  I suspected that was Ant Hill.  We couldn’t confirm it though.

The rest of the ride was normal.  Through a small fire road to the main road. Through Groton School for the Rich to RT 225 back to GTF.

The Gringo missed an interesting ride.  Click on the Garmin Connect link to take a closer look at the map (the new trails).  We had dogs and Vents after the ride.  TiCruz provided the drinks this week.

Here is the course data and map as uploaded to Garmin Connect.  We went 13.44 miles in 02:14:58 for an average speed of 6.0 mph.  That’s quite a few miles for mountain biking.  I was wondering why I was so tired.  I can’t remember where but I reached 25.8 mph as a max speed.  Maybe one of the boys can jar my memory in the comments section.

Later,

Slim

2009 Specialized Enduro SL Pro Carbon
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Gandalf and the Landlocked Forest

The gang was all present for our ride last Wednesday through the Landlocked Forest of Burlington.  I suppose we aren’t exactly friends of the LL Forest because we have never volunteered to save it as stated on their website.  But it is always a good ride with a BBQ at the end (more of that special event later).  We don’t ride here often but what I found unusual was the amount of people that were here.  The parking lot was full with people parking double parking.   Wait a minute, that was the Gringo arriving late again and having to park across about 3 of our cars.

We picked up a couple of riders for the night.  The first was Giant Gag who we have ridden with in the past.  It has been a while and it was good to see him out with us.  He always claims he is not in shape but we all know he plays hockey every day and rides after that.  Tonight was no exception as he always seemed to be non-tired throughout.  The other was Red-Shirted Jon (RSJ).  He works with TiCruz and wanted to join us for a spin.  I don’t know if he will join us again since the Gringo was on fire and wouldn’t really stop for a rest once in a while.  But RSJ is welcome any week.

Now let’s talk about Gandalf and what the hell he was doing in the Landlocked Forest.  About midway through our grind, we came to a stop.  I wasn’t sure why we stopped in the middle of a trail but it quickly became apparent when I looked to my right and saw TiCruz and the Gringo talking to an old man with long white hair and a big bushy white beard.  He was dressed in an old tattered white long-sleeved shirt and some nasty looking baggy pants.  I swear he looked like Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings but others pegged him as Santa Claus.  He was obviously one of the Friends of the LL Forest as his clipboard in a plastic bag said it all.

I’m still not sure what caused the boys to stop and talk to him but when I happened upon the scene, Gandalf was talking about some moss that was rare.  Maybe Hickory Moss??  Someone comment at the end of this post as to what the hell he was talking about.  He also mentioned that he loved the ravines which he termed streams.  I don’t know.  It was a weird occurrence.  Maybe he helped build the awesome bridges over the swamp at the end of the trail.  These things replaced the aluminum ladders that were there before.

Here is the course data and map as uploaded to Garmin Connect.  We went 6.58 miles in 01:35:02 for an average speed of 4.2 mph.  There was a couple of nice spots where I maxed out at 19.4 mph.  It looks the trails are getting used frequently and the Friends are keeping them maintained nicely.  Kudos to the Friends.

As for the post-ride event, GeoMo provided the beverage…some ice cold banquets.  I brought some marinated chicken breasts to fire up on the Coleman with some coldslaw and chips.  Excellent stuff after a nice ride.  I think the boys liked it too.  Don’t get too used to that boys, it will likely be plain ole dogs next time.

Later,

Slim

2009 Specialized Enduro SL Pro Carbon
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Interstate road ride happening every 3 years

It was determined that the last time I got with BF and Homey to road ride was back in 2008.  I may have ridden twice with BF last year.  Both times he made me suffer because I was not in shape.  Once was a road ride and the other was a mountain bike ride through TSF.  I don’t think I was blogging at the time (Hmm, I wonder why).

Well we finally all got together on Saturday and whipped around a leisure ride before it got really friggin hot.  We were going to start at 7:30 but some thundershowers were rolling through so we got going at 8.  It was a familiar interstate ride which if you go the right direction is fairly flat.  We went the right direction.  Homey led most of the ride which is great, since he rides professionally on a team and has the lungs to do it.  I tried pulling a couple of times but I don’t block much wind.  So BF and I were content to sit back and enjoy the ride.

It turned out to be a great morning rolling through NH and Taxachusetts.  We did almost 33 miles without too much effort.  As I said Homey put forth the most effort but secretly, I think he likes to pull us along.  Hopefully we can do again in less than 3 years.

Here is the course data and map as uploaded to Garmin Connect.  We went 32.91 miles in 01:49:54 for an average speed of 18.0 mph.  I hit a respectable road bike max speed of 36.6 mph on a downhill.  I thought BF was going to go faster than me on that DH so I let him go ahead of me.  I was incorrect.  He held me back.

No beers after the ride as it was only 10 in the morning.  Even I’m not that bad!!

Let’s do it again Boys as soon as we can!

Later,

Slim

2009 Specialized Enduro SL Pro Carbon
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

 

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The correct way to slog through LSF

A couple of weeks ago we took a ride through Leominster State Forest and found it to be quite easy.  That’s because we took a wrong turn and missed some of the hardest trails (like the cliffs and one horrendous, rocky, bone-crushing downhill).  I usually walk down that one hill but for some reason I decided to risk my life riding down it.  I survived but my hands were sure hurting from gripping the handlebars VERY tightly.

The change in the loop was because the Gringo led us around.  GeoMo was absent though.  He missed out on a tough ride.  The weather was in the mid-80’s!  The humidity wasn’t too bad after we got started.  GeoMo also missed out on the Gringo falling down and getting bloody within the first 15 minutes of the evening.  It was Mint!  He claims it must have been the pre-ride beer.  More on that later.

It was a long night for me.  I was absolutely beat during and after the ride.  I was dragging the whole next day come to think of it.  TiCruz and the Gringo appeared to be in top form though.  We didn’t rest much and I trailed them all night.  At one point, I stopped to get a bug out of my helmet and when I started after them, they were no where to be found.  There was a fork in the trail and I thought I went the right way but I stopped and turned around after I didn’t see any signs of them.  They frigging left me for dead on the trail.  I fixed them though because I made them come back to find me.  They were way up this rocky, crappy trail which I made them do twice.  After that, TiCruz made sure he cranked his head back once in a while to see if I was following.

Here is the course data and map as uploaded to Garmin Connect.  We went 7.15 miles in 01:58:51 for an average speed of 3.6 mph.  I hit a dismal max speed of 14.8 mph on a downhill.  Slow ride.  It was too hot to set any records.  We had a moving time of 01:11:51 at a 6.0 mph average.  This information obviously doesn’t show how brutal the ride was other than the fact that we had to go slow because there were a lot of nasty trails to slog through.

Let’s talk about the post-ride party now.  TiCruz bought the beers, Harpoon IPA in a can!  Nice!  TiCruz and I love IPA but someone in the group made sure he voiced his disapproval of IPA’s in general.  I won’t tell you who that person was but he apparently doesn’t like the bitter aftertaste.  From now on, it’s Wachusett’s Monsta IPA every ride.  Except when the Gringo buys…

I brought my Coleman Roadtrip PJD style to grill up some dogs.  Tasty stuff.  Much hotter and faster than the old Hibachi.

Later,

Slim

2009 Specialized Enduro SL Pro Carbon
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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A burn around TSF

I forgot the Garmin Thursday so I thought I would bring back some old data gathered in October 2008 as a reference point for last week’s ride.  It’s likely the same data or close enough to it so that it didn’t matter if I recorded that ride or not.  That’s how predictable Townsend State Forest is.  It’s not boring there but it is the same ride on the same loop every time we ride there.  In fact, TSF is the one place that I really feel comfortable leading a ride of strangers around without a lost turn.  That and Carlisle.  Ask BF…I tried a few other places and predictably always got lost.

From October 2008…

Here is the course data as upload to Garmin Connect.

* We went 7.73 miles in 01:45:30 for an average of 4.4 mph for the ride
* I hit a max speed of 16.1 mph somewhere on a downhill
* Here is the PDF of the Google Earth map
* Here is the PDF of the topographical map
* Here is the KMZ file
* Here is the Topo overlay file for the ride (combine the two in Google Earth)

It was a full compliment for the ride and it was a beautiful evening albeit a little warm and sticky.  We had GeoMo and TiCruz there and the Gringo was able to pull himself away from his new jobbie to join us.  I hadn’t ridden with him since probably last summer.  It was good to see him and he brought the Banquet Vents.  Come to think of it, maybe it was the beers in his hands that made me write that last statement.  Well it was good to have the full gang together.  Maybe we can pull a repeat this week.

Another topic that keeps coming up is the grill subject.  I think I created a monster the first time I brought a grill to the ride.  We had sausage with marinated peppers and onions.  I remember when we rode and then went home with no refreshments.  That was a long time ago.  So I guess I will bring the Road Trip Junior-Style for this week’s ride.  That is if we can pick a grill-friendly area.  Hmm…what shall I bring for food?  Find out next blog.

Later,

Slim

2009 Specialized Enduro SL Pro Carbon
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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I Survived LSF

GeoMo, TiCruz and I took a spin around Leominster State Forest last night.  The hardest part of the evening ended up being the detour we had to navigate to get to the parking lot.  RT 31 seems to be blocked and it is obviously a State job as it has been closed for at least the past 4 months. The Gringo wasn’t there.  Something about some rotting teeth that needed to be pulled out.  I hope he didn’t end up like our “new” cat (Willy).  He had to have all his teeth pulled (except 3).

It was a warm night and I was a little nervous about riding after a lengthy downtime.  As it turned out, I didn’t need to be scared because we didn’t go that fast and had a lot of stoppages.  That was OK though as I wasn’t looking forward to a 3-hour ride in the heat.

Looking at the data below, I see why I wasn’t exactly tired.  If you look at the first map of the ride, it actually looks like we pieced together a nice ride but upon further investigation (magnification), we see how disjointed it was.  No offense to the navigators as the missing piece was the Gringo.  He usually can lead us around LSF through all the trails without repeating any.  I say ‘usually’ because last time we rode here with him, we did in fact get lost and had to rely on the Garmin to get us back to the parking lot.

Here is the course data and map as uploaded to Garmin Connect.  We went 7.22 miles in 01:46:01 for an average speed of 4.1 mph.  I hit a maximum speed of 24.2 mph on a fire road downhill.  Slow progress, lots of stops (my fault totally), and “feeling our way around” caused the dismal average speed.  We had a moving time of 01:08:46 at a 6.3 mph average.  Those numbers are less than my first ride of the season.  Honestly I didn’t mind though.

I provided the refreshments this evening.  I figured since it was my first time back in 3 months, I had better get something good or the gang might not let me back in.  I grabbed some Wachusett IPA.   I don’t think anyone minded since they said I could ride with them again next week.  Thanks!  Who’s turn next week?  Should I bring the grill??

 

Later,

Slim

2009 Specialized Enduro SL Pro Carbon
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Back in the Saddle and Then Out Again…

Just so everyone knows, I did start biking this season back on April 14th.  GeoMo, TiCruz and I went to Carlisle.  As I remember it was a perfect ride weather-wise and no one seemed too fatigued by the first excursion.  The charts and stats are below.  What a great start to the 2011 season!

After that my biking days went the way of the Dodo bird for a couple of months.  It started out with a cold and then went south quickly.

Tonight I try again.  I’m not sure where we are headed but it can only be pure hell for me.  My compadres have been biking all along and as you have already heard…I have not.  So it should be fun for them to watch me flop around in my own pool of  sweat, complaining, and pleading them to stop for a hour or so while I catch my breath.

You gotta love biking…

Here is the course data and map as uploaded to Garmin Connect.  We went 8.29 miles in 01:49:15 for an average speed of 4.6 mph.  I hit a maximum speed of 17.7 mph on a downhill.  Conservative ride, no doubt.  Something new this year is the calculation of moving time and average on Garmin Connect.  We had a moving time of 01:09:16 at a 7.2 mph average.  That shows a lot of resting since it was our first ride of the season.  🙂

 

Later,

Slim

2009 Specialized Enduro SL Pro Carbon
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

 

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TIMBA Membership Dues Are Due Now

The reason for the immediate influx of cash is that TiCruz, formally known as TiTim, needs some fundage to cover all his repairs from the ride on Thursday night.  Forget about maintenance on that back trail (before the long stretch of road), TiCruz needs to replenish his stock of spare tubes and derailleur hangers for the ride this week.

The TIMBA park has always been known for its voracious appetite of bike parts but never to the same person within 10 yards of each incident.  NatGeo will remember walking his bike out of there a couple years ago and waiting for a ride in the back of a pickup back to base camp.  Right Geo?  Actually TiCruz has had his licks in the past on one of these rides.  I discovered in an old posting that says he got a little squirrely on a few occasions and even provided some entertainment value.

This time around he got a flat on a nasty downhill and when we went to fix it, the gring-master decided that his rear brake pads needed to be futzed with.  Note to self…self, the gringo is usually great at trail triage but don’t let him touch your brakes.  Just kidding gringo, thanks for all your help…just don’t touch my brakes.  Twenty minutes later, TiCruz had his bike back in motion.  Only to destroy his rear derailleur hanger on a surprisingly sturdy limb sticking out of a dead tree that he tried to go around.  He sheered that thing right off as witnessed by the gringo.  Did I mention that he actually went about 10 yards from where we fixed his flat (and brakes)?

Needless to say TiCruz was all fired up after that, leading us on a blistering pace.  The last time I rode here was back on October 30, 2008.  Looking at the stats from that last ride, this trip we rode more miles at a slightly slower pace (due to sitting around for about 40 minutes).  It was another hot and humid night as well.

Here is the course data and map as uploaded to Garmin Connect.  We went 12.04 miles in 02:21:27 for an average speed of 5.1 mph.  I hit a maximum speed of 24.7 mph on a downhill.  What a great ride…long trails and a variety of different terrain.

TiCruz provided the evening hospitality.  Dogs and beer.  Speaking of the beers, we got Heineken Light.  None of those Nasties we were served last week.  You honestly didn’t think I wouldn’t dig on those again, did you gringo??

Later,

Slim

2009 Specialized Enduro SL Pro Carbon
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Cans of Gans in Callahan

My poetry just continues to get better with each post.

And now the explanation for the poetry.  We went riding in Callahan last Thursday.  This is on the gringo’s home turf so he purchased the beverage of his choice for the post ride venting.  Only this time for the now traditional pre-ride beer (I still can’t do it) he brought some NastyGansetts in cans.  To be truthful I had always heard growing up how bad Narragansett Beer was but I had never ever tried it.  By the time I was old enough to drink, they were out of business.  Well some saps bought the beer recipe and all and now the gringo thought he was bringing some high class beer for us to partake.  So we had Nasties after the ride.  After trying it, it wasn’t that bad.  I know I have had worse, like Tuborg Gold or Schaefer, or one of those Blatz-type beers.  I tell you, after the humid bike ride, ANYTHING would have tasted good.

Which brings us to the ride.  The last time I had been in Callahan was back in September 2008.  The gringo has been hesitant to date with riding the park but the planets aligned (he didn’t have his shite with him) and he suggested it so he could go home and get his bike and gear.  It was a brutally humid night.  TiCruz was finally off his 5-week vacation so he was able to join us.  Of course he wasn’t up to form for the night but I am sure it won’t take long before he is launching off some 8 footers again.

NatGeo was sporting a new frame since he broke his old one.  I have blogged about that so I won’t bore you.  The new frame is mint.  It is a 2009 FSR frame which is definitely an upgrade.  He still had the old components on it which I was disappointed in.  The frame was free Geo, upgrade the components and you have a totally new bike.  Dammit.

I had a great night.  I finally learned that the one finger on-the-fly seat adjust is no longer just a fun-fact to make your biking buddies jealous.  IT WORKS.  Before a big bony, kidney-thumping hill I flipped the thumb lever and the seat went down.  You should have seen me shooting down that hill.  I was in the flow.  The bike was wicked maneuverable but I did feel like a tall man with a small bike (you know with the seat down and my legs way in my chest).  I did that a couple of times in the night and it worked great.  That bike is plush.  Bigfoot even says so.

Here is the course data and map as uploaded to Garmin Connect.  We went 9.70 miles in 01:56:45 for an average speed of 5.0 mph.  I hit a maximum speed of 23.1 mph on a downhill.  We went completely backwards from our normal route.  We added some distance and actually went faster this time around.  We all thought it was better in this direction.

The gringo provided the evening hospitality.  Nasties and Dogs on the grill.

Later,

Slim

2009 Specialized Enduro SL Pro Carbon
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Beyonce Loop Part II

Last Thursday’s ride was the Beyonce Loop and the Mid-State Trail.  The trail name explanation is back here when I rode this place last June 2008.  And of course it gives me great pleasure to post a picture of Beyonce Knowles here on my blog.  The twist is I felt compelled to include the first Lady of GagaLand as well.   I thing they have a song out together or something.  I also think that Beyonce got some enhancements since the last time I rode her trail.   And Lady is just plain weird but she has a nice voice.

Sorry…back to the ride.  It was freaking hot out.  It must have been near 90 with a parch-inducing humidity to wet your socks while standing there talking to your cat.  Plus it really seems that when you start out you go up a hill and when you finish the ride, you go up a hill.  I have mentioned this before and I still cannot explain it.

It was the gringo, Nat Geo and me again.  TiCruz is hopefully back and rested from his vacation.  Gringo did a marvelous job navigating around the knolls, twisties, and excellent singletrack that the MoFo’s have created in these parts.  We cut it a little short by heading back on the road when we came out of the woods instead of doing another singletrack by the Wachusett Brewery and finishing the Mid-State trail.  Shout out to the Wachusett Brewery for its excellent beer.  Maybe I can get a free Growler refill of Ryde for this plug.

BUT that road work was pure hell as it was completely up a long sharp hill and finished with more long slightly less steep hills.  I won’t lie…I was tired.  No entertainment value this trip.  Too much sweating and seat rash for doing drops.  Although NatGeo and I seemed to get into the pucker brush pretty bad.  Geo’s arm was awash in blood as he caught up to us at one point.  My legs bore the brunt of the thorns but they are obviously still pretty.

Here is the course data and map as uploaded to Garmin Connect.  We went 10.41 miles in 02:26:48 for an average speed of 4.3 mph.  I hit a maximum speed of 24.2 mph on a downhill.  It was a long ride in the heat.  But we seemed to be consistent with our pace.  I wonder where that downhill was?

The Slim one provided the evening hospitality.  Venting and Dogs on the grill.  And the SlimWifey’s delightful pasta salad.  Thanks for that one dear!  She reads this sometimes… 🙂

Later,

Slim

2009 Specialized Enduro SL Pro Carbon
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Leave it to Lowhell

Leave it to Lowhell to put the first scratch on my brand new Specialized.  Lowhell as in the Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest.  That’s where we rode last Wednesday.  And that’s where I did my endo that may in fact have put a scratch on my Carbon Fiber.  Dammit.  It’s like when you get your first ding in a brand new 4×4 SUV…now you can drive it like it should be driven (through mud, over rocks, through heavy brush), without worrying about getting it scratched.

I didn’t actually check because I was too tired at that point to think about it.  I am just assuming that there is something there because I hit the rock pretty hard.  And if I think there is a scratch there, then I can now enjoy the bike.  Up until that point the bike was performing like a champ.  Did I ever mention in this blog that it is a very plush ride?  More on the crash later.

The last time I was in Lowhell was back on September 4, 2008 when I had to get home to feed the cats.  It seemed like a long time ago when I was riding but I had no idea it was that long.  I think the gang rode it without me this year.  I heard the story of TiCruz breaking his derailleur and having to limp to a McDonalds to wait for Geo and the gringo to finish their ride and pick him up.  I’m going to start carrying 20 bucks with me for those occasions…just in case.

It was a beautiful night for a ride.  It was about 70 degrees with no humidity.  It was just Nat and the gringo and me.  TiCruz is living it up out west somewhere.  I’m sure we will hear about it soon but I haven’t seen any pictures yet.  There is a lot of different terrain in Lowhell. As I have said before there is some nice technical rocks, twisty singletracks, and long fire roads.  We do a smattering of each.  I was doing alright until I followed the gringo a little too closely over a series of small rock drops.  I wasn’t prepared for the second rock and my front tire didn’t feel like rolling onto the ground after it.  This left me carrying through the process with no forward motion.  In other words me and the back tire carried on over the rock, over the handlebars, and onto the ground in front of the bike.  Endo.  I smashed my forearm on the ground which left a big egg.  It was sore the rest of the ride and pretty much zapped the energy out of me for the remaining miles.  It’s still kind of tender a week later.

Don’t worry.  I’ll get over it.

Nat had a flat along the way.  Nice poetry. Here goes…

Nat had a Flat.
Not because he’s Fat.
His bike is all of That.
All cracked frame and Shat.

Copyright, 2010, Slim Poetry, curtissweb.com

Here is the course data and map as uploaded to Garmin Connect.  We went 9.79 miles in 02:13:23 for an average speed of 4.4 mph.  I hit a maximum speed of 17.8 mph on a downhill.  The maps from last time I rode to this time look slightly different.  We added a little more length to the ride but did it a little slower.  Must have been the spill and the flat tire that accounted for the slower pace.

The gringo provided the banquet venting for the evening.  TiCruz is on vacation again as I mentioned.  We’re thinking mid-state Westminster loop tomorrow.  Should be excellent as usual.  At some point this summer we are going to pick up the jonnysha for a burn.  If he would stop traveling for work.

Later,

Slim

2009 Specialized Enduro SL Pro Carbon
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Slippery Carlisle

Carlisle on Thursday.  I haven’t been here since late last fall of 2008.  The night started out with a HUGE thunderstorm just before we went out.  Of course that made things very interesting…treacherous.  What posed an even greater possible fun factor was the fact that the gringo didn’t have the right shoes for the night or had the wrong pedals or something. He had some bike shoes but they didn’t have any cleats on them.  What was the issue G?  Tell us in the comments.  I had hopes that the entertainment factor was going to be excellent in front of me with him going cleat-less and with smooth platform pedals.  Here is his risk mitigation technique.  A pair of shin pads.

NatGeo managed to break his chain exactly 20 feet into the ride.  It broke on a quick link no less. Upon inspection of his chain, he has well over 12 quick links on this thing.  It’s about time to invest in a new chain, don’t you think, Geo.  He’s actually getting a new frame soon because the one he is currently riding has a crack near the seat post.  It cracked not from riding but from putting it in the repair stand for what looks like maybe 4 months of winter.  Geez Geo, unclamp the seat post once in a while.  BUT you have to love Specialized bikes..new frame, few questions.  That’s why I stick with them!

After that it was great night of riding.  The roots and rocks were slippery as hell.  There was mud all around.  We looked pretty bad when we got back to the cars.  NatGeo kept complaining to me that I was spraying mud and water in his face.  Well Nat, you could have rode in front of me you know.  As it turns out I was busy spraying myself with my front tire so I know what you are talking about.  Did I ever tell you that my bike goes over bumps like they’re not even there!  Plush.

The entertainment value never materialized.  Gringo never fell off his bike and held it together for the duration.  I could have sworn he would have gotten bloody riding foot-free like that.  I was willing to bet money that I would come up on him as he lying in his own pool of blood (I mentioned something else for a pool to him personally but I can’t say it here).  Oh well.  Smashing riding Sport.

I had to try the horse jump with my new bike.  Plush.  Was there a drop there ’cause I didn’t notice.  How did it look Nat and gringo?

Here is the course data and map as uploaded to Garmin Connect.  We went 8.02 miles in 01:35:36 for an average speed of 5.0 mph.  I hit a maximum speed of 21.0 mph on a downhill.  This seems to be our sweet spot for miles and mph lately.

I provided the venting for the evening.  TiCruz is on vacation as I mentioned last week.  We’re thinking LoHELL next Wednesday.  Should be excellent!

Later,

Slim

2009 Specialized Enduro SL Pro Carbon
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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All Misty in Bedford

Alright.  We got all misty in Bedford last Thursday.  Sounds weird huh?  Actually it misted a lot while we were riding but it reminded me of the INXS song, Mystify.  You know…All Veils and Misty, Streets of Blue, Almond Looks, That Chill Divine.  Mystify Me.  It was a good song back in the day…timeless classic.  No?  And my new bike is blue.

Anyway.  The last time I rode in Bedford (Lexington) was back in October 2008.  I didn’t get a sense from the gang that they rode here in 2009 either.  They have a brand new billboard outside the entrance showing a large map and some propaganda.  They posted a new website for people to get maps and the history of the land.  It escapes me right now but maybe one of the gang members remembers it and can post it in the comments.

We were missing the gringo due to sickness for the ride.  So it was just me, TiCruz, and NatGeo.  Ti tried his best to get us a nice loop but without the gringo, we missed a couple of trails somewhere along the way.  In looking at the GPS stats from last Oct, 2008 to this ride, it seems we missed about 0.4 mile of trails last Thursday and yet rode faster by 1.0 mph.  I KNEW TICRUZ WAS GOING FASTER.  I JUST KNEW IT.  Data doesn’t lie Ti.   It was ok though.  It was a fun ride.  We saw most of the area.  It was still quite twisty.  That website is bothering me…what was it??

My new bike continues to be awesome.  So plush.  TiCruz is definitely crazier on his new bike.  The gringo is slower due to his bike being heavier.  (just kidding G)  NatGeo is riding with a big crack in his frame and is waiting for a new one to come into the bike shop.  When you get it Geo, put it on eBay and buy yourself something nice.

We’ll have to check out the Paint Mine Area across the street from Turning Mill Road which is where we park and go up the power lines to the Bedford area.  We saw some riders coming out of the trail head and going across the street to the Paint Mines.  Looks like some good riding down there.  We might be able to add another hour to the ride.

Here is the course data and map as uploaded to Garmin Connect.  We went 7.13 miles in 01:28:07 for an average speed of 4.9 mph.  I hit a maximum speed of 20.4 mph on a downhill.  As I mentioned earlier, this is 1 mph faster and a little less than 1/2 mile shorter than the last time we rode here.

NatGeo provided the venting for the evening.  TiCruz is on vacation for a while so hopefully we can get the gringo out there tomorrow.  That is if the thundershowers holds off.

Later,

Slim

2009 Specialized Enduro SL Pro Carbon
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Rained out

Raining here since last night.  I guess all of us didn’t really want to get wet tonight as no one brought their bike with them to work.  TiCruz made a last minute plea to the group but I think I was the only one that actually responded with a no.

Next week.

Later,

Slim

2009 Specialized Enduro SL Pro Carbon
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Welcome to the Jungle

The rocks of Vietnam are hard enough when everything is dry but add a nice thundershower to the mix and things gets interesting quick.  That’s what happened Thursday when we hit the jungle.  TiTim’s new Santa Cruz Superlight was encouraging him to enter launch mode all night.  But one too many hard landings and he blew a front tire. Unfortunately it was exactly the same time that a thunderhead rolled over us.  We got soaked.  NatGeo and I tried to hide under some trees while the Gringo helped Ti out.  What do they say about being in a lightning storm…hide under the tallest tree you can find??  I made sure Geo’s was taller than mine.

Plenty of things to do on these trails.  There are jumps, drops, hills, and of course more than a fair share of rocks to kill yourself on.  The rain made it treacherous and muddy.  The Gringo loves it.  NatGeo needs some work on his “old” bike.  TiTim (or is it T-Cruz) is quickly getting comfortable with his full suspendo.

And it’s true, that last post was in fact the new bike I got last week.  What a sweet ride.  Plush, Smooth, Capable, and with an adjustable on-the-fly seat that I think captured most of the fascination on Thursday’s ride.  I do mean on the fly…it has a lever on the handlebars that lowers and raises the seat post when you want to (like down a hill or drop or just to act cool in front of the other bikers).  What a night and day difference between my old bike and this new Enduro.  Check out the specs here.  I didn’t crack it up or spill any blood, so it was a successful night for me.  I did notice that the brakes are freaking grabby though.  I almost endo’d by accidentally hitting the front brake.  I’m sure it was funny to watch.

Check out the zig-zag map below.  We wondered where the Casino was going and if they would mind us using their bathroom (and grabbing a beer) in the middle of the ride.

Here is the course data and map as uploaded to Garmin Connect.  We went 7.28 miles in 02:21:39 for an average speed of 3.1 mph.  I hit a maximum speed of 18.9 mph on a downhill.  Obviously a little slower than some past rides but due to the nature of the jungle, I’d say that wasn’t real bad.

A few Vents after and a Dave’s spicy chicken sandwich for the ride home hit the spot.  It’s the Gringo’s or NatGeo’s turn for Vents next week.  If we hit a BBQ friendly spot, maybe I will provide some post-ride dogs.

Later,

Slim

2009 Specialized Enduro SL Pro Carbon
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Could it be a new ride for the Slimster??

Stay tuned…

Later,

Slim

2009 Specialized Enduro SL Pro Carbon
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Groton Forest minus that Damn Ant Hill

After my hiatus, I finally joined up with the gang for a ride through Groton Forest last Thursday, 27th.  I realized that in my nearly full month of not riding, I still didn’t get my bike into the shop to fix my non-existent rear brake.  It crapped out on me the last ride through Townsend (I didn’t blog that one).  I did manage to throw some new pads on it but that didn’t help so I suffered through the ride with almost all front brake.  You should try that!

Somehow I managed to talk Geo out of doing the Ant Hill portion of Groton.  Honestly it wasn’t too hard to persuade him.  He made me decide but I could see it in his eyes that he hated that damn hill.  I was tired and had no brakes so I went along with his near pleading.  TiTim and the Gringo went up the Hill without us.  TiTim was grinding and thrashing all the way up.  We all met up down the trail and continued on to the school.

Here is the course data and map as uploaded to Garmin Connect.  You’ll notice there is a new interface to the Connect website.  There are more options to the charts and there is a new way to export the GPS data to another format so you can import the same breadcrumbs into another GPS device and follow the same trail.  Also there is a way to open up the map directly into Google Earth.  So in the future I will not be posting the converted files as you can get them from the site.

We went 11.48 miles in 01:49:43 for an average speed of 6.3 mph.  I hit a maximum speed of 25.4 mph on a downhill.

We had a few vents provided by TiTim after the ride.  One of these times I will have to get the porty grill in the back of the Pilot for some post-ride dogs.

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Specialized Hotrock 16 Girls, Gloss Plum

My daughter got her new bike back at Easter.  She outgrew her 12 inch Pink one so it was time.  I alluded to this at an earlier post on my son’s ride.  She loves it and rides it all the time.  I think this one will last for a while longer than the first one.

It’s a Specialized of course.  And she loves the color. We got her a purple Specialized Helmet to match.  Nothing but the best for my offspring.  I’m sure that attitude will come back to bite me in the ass at a later date!

Check it out…

Specialized Hotrock 16 Girls, Gloss Plum

As an update to my Son’s bike, he is now riding it like a superstar.  He has even learned how to fall off gracefully like his old man.

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Catch Up for Slim’s World

Hello Everyone.  It’s been a while since the mustard seeds of Burbank Hospital.  Let me clean up some things that have happened since then.

First…TiTim finally got a new ride.  I can’t find some of my emails so I will have to post the particulars later.  It’s Orange and it is Full Suspendo.  Finally TiTim bought something nice for himself.  Congrats TT!!  Now if you would just adjust that gearing so you don’t grind all the way up a hill.

AND…either the Gringo or TT have got to change the color of their new bikes.  It looks like a retro 80’s Wham concert out there on the trails.  All burnt orange and mustard like.  🙂

Second…I finally got a new job!  Yahooo.  Actually I got 2 new jobs but that is another long story that won’t make it to this blog.  I had 3 weeks vacation between finishing my old job and starting the new one.  In that 3 weeks I biked ZERO times.  No kidding.  Not once.  I was having too much fun with the family.  Venting, yardwork, and the occasional playground.

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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The Dijon Mustard Seeds in Burbank

The 2010 Slim Mountain Bike season officially kicked off with the two remaining gang members last Thursday.  TiTim and the Gringo made it for the Burbank Hospital Loop.  TiTim has obviously been working out this winter with his winter hikes and snow-shoeing but it was good to see the Gringo actually struggling like me trying to keep up with the mountain goat.  Breathing heavily…nearly puking.  Take it from me, that’s what happens when you have newborns in the house.

Let’s start off with the Gringo’s new ride.  A mustard yellow IronHorse 6point4 or a 6pointy as TiTim calls it.  After the ride the bike was known as a spicy brown mustard color or Dijon.  It was moist out there.

TiTim led us around for the night.  I’m not sure how he remembers the trails to make a loop but he went and we followed.  As you can see from the map below, he missed a couple of turns and we went over some trails once or twice but it was fun.  Some of the mud out there was so thick that my tires very nearly stopped at some points.  I had to grunt it out to get through.  Towards the end of the ride when the tires did stop, I had to get my feet muddy as it was just too painful to go on.

I think my wind is slowly coming back.  I still couldn’t keep up the pace but we did average a little faster and I didn’t walk as much as the past rides.  Saturday was too cold for me to ride with BF.  It must have been too cold for him as well because he didn’t even call me to see if we were riding.

Here is the course data uploaded to Garmin Connect.  Still slow.

* We went 7.07 miles in 01:49:26 for an average of 3.9 mph for the ride
* I hit a max speed of 17.6 mph somewhere on a downhill (same exact speed as last ride)
* Here is the KMZ file
* Here is the Topo overlay file for the ride (combine the two in Google Earth)

We had two vents post-ride and then every one wanted to go home.  It was early so I am not sure what the hurry was.  I didn’t mind though as I was damn tired.  This Thursday is supposed to be back in the warm weather.  Hopefully I will be writing 2 posts this week.

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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The Spa treatment was early this year

BF and I did a rare Saturday morning mountain bike ride yesterday.  And since it was only my second ride in 16 months and he has been spinning 7 times a week since November, he kicked my royal ass.  Just ask him and he will be more than glad to tell you.  I did mention that he should get his jabs in now because once I am back in shape I won’t be so kind as to stop every 5 minutes and walk up even the slightest grade.  When he gets that inevitable leg cramp and is flailing on the ground or falls on a rock and has a deep gash in his shin, I may just remind him about yesterday’s ride and carry on.  Just kidding BF, I’m not that cruel.

But anyway, this season is starting out to be like…starting over (from the first ride out of BTU) .  The first 20 minutes I have to stop every 5 minutes and put my head between my legs to catch my breath.  (Not that far up my legs Gringo.)  Then after I get my lungs back somewhat, my legs are so tired that I can’t go on.  And why does it seem like every one else around me is in shape already.  It’s pissing me off.  Therefore I will have to ride  more and much harder this spring to catch up.

Townsend was fun!  At the end we looked like we just escaped from the downtown spa and didn’t have a chance to hose off.  It was springtime in Townsend which means it was moist.  Usually we don’t even attempt to ride there until well into April but this spring came early and there was very little snow and a whole lot of mud.  I love mud season.

I was able to navigate around the place without incident so at least I still have my memory intact.  There is one single-track at the end before you get to the downhill to the cars that is really overgrown.  And the downhill trail seemed very wide to me, like they have been using it as a road back and forth.  I don’t remember it being wide and cleared.

Here is the course data uploaded to Garmin Connect.  As you will see I went a little faster than Thursday.  Barely.

* We went 7.44 miles in 02:09:41 for an average of 3.4 mph for the ride
* I hit a max speed of 17.6 mph somewhere on a downhill
* Here is the KMZ file
* Here is the Topo overlay file for the ride (combine the two in Google Earth)

We had one vent post-ride and then BF hosted a BBQ at his place.  Good time.  We are planning on doing it again.  He said he had fun (laughing at me) but those could be his famous last words.

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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The Monkey Has Left My Back

It wasn’t a pretty ride.  It wasn’t a long ride.  It wasn’t a well-attended ride.  It wasn’t a dry ride.  It wasn’t a “Hey.  Look at me, I’m in shape” ride.  It wasn’t a victorious ride.  Some would say it wasn’t really a ride at all…more like a hike.  But it did get the stinking monkey off my back.  The monkey of not being on a bicycle for over a year.  Well Slim Cycle has returned.

NatGeo and I were the only ones to open the new season last night at Groton Town Forest.  Granted the other gang members have probably already been riding for a couple weeks, unbeknownst to me.  It’s the season opener for all of us riding together.  NatGeo did his best to steer us through a loop but his memory is not what it used to be.  Actually he never claimed at the start of the ride to know where he was going so we went into it with full disclosure.  As you can see below he didn’t do too badly with the navigation.  Although you can’t really tell how many times we backtracked and went thrashing through the underbrush to get back on a trail.  It’s OK Geo!

Some of the trails were underwater and some were passable by going around.  We did go through when applicable.  The normal railroad trestle route was completely impassable.

I was completely sucking wind at the start of the ride.  My lungs were seriously hurting but after a couple of brief sit-downs I got the wind back in there.  I got my second wind and then after that I was just plain tired.

Here is the course data as upload to Garmin Connect.

* We went a paltry 6.13 miles in 01:53:28 for an average of 3.2 mph for the ride
* I hit a max speed of 17.7 mph somewhere on a downhill
* Here is the KMZ file
* Here is the Topo overlay file for the ride (combine the two in Google Earth)

Banquet Vents were the post-ride refreshments (my buy) and Geo and I caught back up with things.  I hadn’t seen him in over a year so it was good to chat.  He looks the same.

See you next week.  Oh, and I didn’t get a chance to use my MiNewt due to us being in so early.  Next week.

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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