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Early this year

The bikes are all cleaned and lubed.  It’s amazing how much you can get done on the bikes while polishing off a Growler of Wachusett Brewery Ryde beer.  They were essentially pristine anyway…just a little dust (and Carlisle mud).  The Roubaix is looking good but the Enduro sounds like it needs some professional help.  The gears are thrashing and I think the bushing that connects the Fox Float to the frame is a little worn.  It has some pretty good slop in it when you bounce on the bike.  Professional help is required.

First mountain bike ride of season 2010 is this Thursday.  Weather looks good; the boys are excited!  I have the HID and the MiNewt on the charger as I write.  It’s going to be just like daylight at 8PM.  The gang loves it.  More later.

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Specialized Hotrock 16 Boys, Gloss Yellow

Well, it’s my son’s turn for his very first bike.   He’s all set with his Pull-Ups now so that was deal.  Ditch the diapers…Get a bike.  My daughter got hers a couple years ago for the same reason.  She’s outgrown it now but we have that covered already.  More on that one later when we give it to her.

Like his old man, he went with the wise choice of yellow.  My mountain biking gang will remember my first “real” mountain bike was a yellow Raleigh.  It’s maiden voyage was through some God-awful swamps just outside of BTU on the way to Calisle.  I recollect wondering if I made a good decision hitching my ways with those boys after that ride.  I stuck it out.

Now Check This Out…

Specialized Hotrock 16 Boys, Gloss Yellow

Specialized Hotrock 16 Boys

— 28-spoke alloy rims are tough enough for any curb-hopping adventure.
— The A1 Premium Aluminum blade fork and two-piece alloy handlebar manage those first turns with ease.
— A1 Premium Aluminum frame has a low center of gravity for stability and horizontal dropouts for easy chain adjustments.
— Specialized 16×2.125-inch tires roll fast and hang tough.

Originally I stated that my daughter was the slim apparent.  She’s getting good at riding but I have a feeling my son will be the one doing back-flips off a rolling ramp or 8-footers off horse jumps.  One day.

As with all these Specialized bikes, they are build SOLID.  I took it for a ride.  Sweet.  I think he will get some good enjoyment out of it. It’s a little big for him now but he’s growing fast.  As i said with my girl’s first bike, plenty to look forward to.

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Cleaning off the “Fresh” Carlisle Mud

Well, it’s official.  I finally got around last night to cleaning off my Enduro and seeing how bad the taco-ness was on my front tire.  The nice hard-coating of Carlisle mud came off rather easily.  This was the mud from my last ride back on November 5,  2008.  That seems like a long time ago.  It seems even weirder that I still had the 15-month old soil still clinging to my silver aluminum.  Man, I must have been really tired of riding to blow off a whole season and not even clean the damn bike.

Not to worry this year.  I still have a couple of things I want to do to the steed like fix the derailleur cable finally.  I rode with it in tatters for a good part of 2008.  Time to string the new cable.

I am also thinking of purchasing a new front shock.  I am not sure what is on the market nowadays but anything has to better than the original one that is still on the bike.  It’s time…it was time a few years ago but I think someone convinced me to keep it.  It could have had something to do the fact that I kept telling everyone that year that I was going to buy a new bike.  Time’s are tough now and we all have to get by with the equipment that is paid for.  Can I have a new bike, honey??

To all my road biking friends, don’t worry.  The Roubaix is next on my list for cleaning and minor surgery.

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Vietnam Slots after Biking, anyone??

I was at EMC in Hopkinton this week at a site visit for Windchill PLM and I was talking to one of the presenters about biking Vietnam.  We chatted for a minute and then he mentions that Colorado real estate developer David Nunes and Bill Warner of Las Vegas-based Warner Gaming were trying to build a Foxwoods-type gambling destination right next to Vietnam.  Get out of here!!

I did some investigation and found some recent articles on the topic.  It turns out to be true.  Here is one article from The  MetroWest Daily News.  In the article they argue the merits and the why-nots of putting a casino just off RT 495 in Milford.  One of the highpoints of the article though is a link to the proposed site of the casino.  Hello…dead-center of some awesome biking!!

I’m not sure what to make of this proposal myself.  I don’t ride Vietnam much but it is a great place to ride.  I still have some scars from the place.  It was quite  a crash.  In fact I don’t believe I stuck around for post-ride venting that time because I was hurting.  That was before I was blogging my bike adventures, although I did blog one ride in 2008 and I show one of my injuries in that blog.

I guess as long as the blue-hairs don’t mind some urban jungle riding in their parking lot, or some dirty mountain bikers bellying up to the bars after a ride, then I don’t have a problem with them moving in.  Traffic might be a problem and it might get hairy trying to avoid the buses on the way into the trails but we could make a night of it by riding, then catching some beers and food in the casino and then hitting the slots!  AS LONG AS THEY DON”T TAKE TRAILS AWAY FROM US!

Let me know what you think?

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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For all of us lazy bike riders, I give you…

The Shimano Dura-Ace 7970 Di2 derailleur!  Shifting with a push of a button.  No more wrist wrenching required.  True laziness!!  Ahhhh.  An upgrade I don’t mind letting the moths out of my wallet for.

Shimano Dura-Ace 7970 Di2

Shimano Dura-Ace 7970 Di2

For those of you who are obsessed with road biking, this is probably old news to you.  But for me, this is the first I have heard of this wonderful invention.  Oh sure I have seen concepts in magazines throughout the years but I’ve never seen a real application that is being sold commercially until now.  And since I am inherently lazy, this thing hits the spot where I itch (so the saying goes).

From the Shimano website

Shimano officially announced Dura-Ace Di2, a technologically advanced, electronic shifting option for the all new 7900 series Dura-Ace. Comprised of Dual Control type shift / brake levers, front derailleur, rear derailleur, and a battery pack, the new Dura-Ace Di2 7970 components provide precision electronic performance and integrate seamlessly with components from the 7900 series Dura-Ace group while adding only 68 grams to the entire group.

Electrically actuated shifting significantly eliminates issues associated with cable friction and contamination because the derailleurs respond to electrical impulses that are delivered in fractions of a second. The shifters are now merely switches which also allows for creative placement of optional remote shifters while also reducing the weight and profile of the main shift units. Derailleur movement is precisely controlled through computer automated movement and servo motors creating perfectly synchronized and calibrated shifts every time.

I saw it today on the Engadget website.  Check it out.

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Add your own bike lanes? Why not!

Check out this interesting concept from Altitude Inc.  It’s a system that you mount on your seat that projects laser lines down to the ground creating an instant bike lane (at night only I presume).  I am not sure if it would really work when cars were coming up behind you.  It seems like the red lane would be washed out in the car’s headlights.  Plus as they state, it’s freaking expensive at this point and they don’t have a sturdy mount system yet.

But I would say, keep working  it boys…these Assachusett drivers don’t take kindly to bikes.  Of course we now have the law on our side!

Lightlane from Altitude Inc.

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Sick Santa Cruz

I was visiting PTC headquarters in Needham, Mass the other day and they had this bike on display from Santa Cruz.  I guess Santa Cruz is a fairly new customer of PTC (maker of Pro/Engineer and Windchill PLM products).  This bike caught my attention immediately because it is SICK.

It’s the V10 Full Suspension Downhill.  Now usually I am not interested in downhill bikes because I consider myself a chicken when it comes to careening down a nasty hill at full speed or dropping off anything that is taller than me.  But this bike was lightweight and had more travel than most 4×4 trucks.  It’s rear travel is 254mm (10.0 inches).  The pricetag ranges from $6300 to $7200.  Anyway, I thought I would bring it to your attention in case anyone of you has a few extra bucks to jumpstart this economy.  ‘Cause someone other than me needs to get busy strapping this economy to their backs!!  Come on People.

SANTA CRUZ V10 FULL SUSPENSION DOWNHILL

SANTA CRUZ V10 FULL SUSPENSION DOWNHILL

From the Santa Cruz Website

Beneath the guiding hands of Santa Cruz Syndicate riders, the V-10 has become the definitive downhill weapon of this era. The VPP suspension has been refined to offer 254mm of seemingly bottomless travel while tracking with precision down the most demanding and technical courses that can be found anywhere in the world.

Click on this link below to see a PTC promotional Video for Santa Cruz Bikes.

Santa Cruz on ProE stimulus

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Massachusett’s New Bicycle Safety Law

For once, our Governor, Devolve Patrick has actually done something that I approve of.  He passed into law last week the Bicyclist Safety Bill, S-2573 after a long 8 years of being considered.  It was spearheaded by the Mass. Bicycle Coalition (aka, Mass Bike).  It puts Massachusetts on a path to be considered a “bike-friendly’ state, instead of a bunch of Massholes who can’t drive worth a crap.  Here are some of the highlights of the new bill.

  • Require police recruits to recieve training on bicycle-related laws, injuries and some of the dangerous behavior by those idiot bikers and motorists.
  • Allows police to ticket those idiot bikers who flagrantly violate road rules.  If a bicyclist refuses to give their name and address or gives a false one, a fine of between $20 and $50 can be levied on them.  The violation will not go against your car insurance though.
  • Allows police to ticket motorists who open their car doors in the path of oncoming bicyclists.  A fine of up to $100 can be levied (although if you end up in the hospital because someone nailed you with their door, I’m not sure $100 is enough of a fine).
  • In some cases riders will be allowed to ride two abreast if it does not impeded vehicles from passing.  In other cases, single fine is enforced.
  • Provides legal protection to bikers who wish to ride to the right of other traffic (say if they’re stopped for some reason, you can go around…I thought that was already a right of mine.  No?).
  • Requires Bicycle rental stores to make helmets readily available to their customers.

All in all, these should be good for the road biker to which half of my season is devoted to.  For the other half and to my mountain biker friends, these only apply when we get lost or stuck on a road because the mud was too deep to get through.

Give me your comments on this new law!  Is it good, bad, indifferent?

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Lance at 48%??

“ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — Lance Armstrong made a cautious return to professional cycle racing Sunday, finishing 64th among 133 riders in a 30-mile criterium in downtown Adelaide.”

Lance (at center)

Lance (at center)

Seems like an oxymoron…Lance finishing 64th in any kind of bike race. He says ‘he felt good and glad the first day is over’.  OK.  That’s in the 48 percentile.  Good enough to get you into a Community College in the South.  Maybe.  Of course this was a crit race versus a series of long 100+ mile climbs in the Alps, but still.  It seems like Lance has his bar set kind of low right now.

http://www.comcast.net/articles/sports-general/20090118/Tour.Down.Under-Armstrong

Click on the link above to see the story.

Look out France…Lance is gunning for you.  And it really seems like he’s ready right now.  NOT.

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Christmas Present

Hello Everyone and welcome to 2009. Bike season is roughly 2-1/2 to 3 months away and I figure I would start off my new blog site with a posting about what I got for Christmas.  I know the Mountain Bike gang will be excited almost as much as they were when I first bought my HID headlight back in 2004 (or 2005…I can’t remember exactly).  My lovely family gave me a NiteRider MiNewt Mini-USB Plus, helmet mount.  SWWEEEEET!!!

My Newton!

My Newton!

Just what the doctor ordered to compliment my handlebar mount HID.  Now I can see around corners without yanking the handlebar back and forth to light up the corner.  It won’t be as bright as my HID but it is certainly bright in on its own accord.  It puts out 110 lumens with its single LED “bulb” and the whole system (battery and light) weighs only 175 grams which for us non-brits is just a hair over 6 ounces!!  Here is the review on MTBR.com.  It has a rating of 4.43 out of 5 so far.

My Newtonium

My Newtonium

Now it may seem like I am bragging about my gift.  This is the furthest thing from my mind.  I am telling you about it so that you can have 3 months in which to come up with some really good complaints and counter-attacks when I show up and totally drown out your light.  🙂

I also got 2 new bike jerseys and some White Lightning Epic Ride.  No new bike though.  Next year????

Let me know what you got for Christmas in the comments section.  Also let me know what you think of the new site.  I am still changing it but I have it mostly locked down now.

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Throwing in the towel

Well, that’s it folks. I am officially throwing in the towel on the 2008 biking season. The weather tomorrow looks downright cold. The high in Clinton is about 38 degrees so ride time will be down to at least 35. Well below my threshold, wouldn’t you say? If we get an Indian Summer, I will think about washing the mud off my bike and joining the crew for a night. Otherwise I should really fix my warped wheel and derailleur cable and maybe put a cloth to the frame.

It was a great season. I rode more this season than any other to date. I did a lot of road riding and my usual weekly mountain biking. Actually I only missed 2 or 3 weeks of mountain bike riding this year. In past years I have missed a whole half a season in a couple cases (back injury, major crash, etc.). The more riding did one good thing for me…it got me in better shape. This has got to be my best season on record for having a decent set of lungs on me. Maybe I can maintain some of it on the elliptical at home.

Thanks go out to all my riding buddies for a great season. In no particular order…

  • The Gringo
  • TiTim
  • NatGeo
  • Homey
  • Bigfoot
  • CritRacer
  • and of course my lovely wife for taking care of the kids while I “have fun”

We’ll do it again next year!! Stay tuned right here for some post ride postings throughout the winter. I am sure that I will have something to say or to show off at some point. I have a new hosting company now that allows me to create blogs so I might move the slimbiker blog to my own website. We’ll see.

My turn to buy the Vents when I see you all again on the trail!

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Rain AND Cold

We got rained out last night. And it was quite raw out as well. Maybe we will try again next week.

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Carlisle, Part 27

Carlisle is a staple in our ride repertoire, hence the name of this blog. It is central to all of our workplaces. It is painfully familiar to us since it is one of the only places that I could actually lead a group of newbies through and not get lost. It is a quick ride with some great singletrack, a horse jump, and with only a few technical difficulties. With all this said, it is still a fun ride especially at night when things don’t look the same as they do in the daylight. Especially the horse jump when you can’t see the ground until you hit.

It was a great night for a ride weather-wise. It started out at about 60 degrees and ended a few ticks lower at 57. We have ridden here this season on Aug 20, Jul 31, and Apr 10 (which is when we started venting after our rides…the vented can, not beer in general). The Gringo was sort of on time and the lights went on from the start.

It was shaping up to be an uneventful night until near the end when I was chosen by higher powers to provide the Entertainment. It wasn’t the horse jump, Mom. And in fact I’m not sure how much true entertainment was provided to the group as it was pitch dark out and NatGeo was the only one that had a prayer of seeing me go down. I think he came up on me as I was laying on the ground checking my parts (yes, those parts). TiTim and Amigo were ahead and didn’t know anything happened until the lights were absent for a while behind them.

So anyway, on a twisty, fairly new trail, I came around a corner and was faced with a tree in my path. I wasn’t going that fast so I did one of those ‘pull your shoulder in to avoid it’ maneuvers. I didn’t quite make it and my handlebar caught the tree and jerked my wheel 90 degrees to the right. Forward motion now not being what it used to be a few seconds ago, I fell straight to the ground. Unfortunately the end of the handlebar facing me broke my fall. I landed on the end of the grip with it sticking me in the far lower abdomen. That is why I stayed on the ground for a while checking to see if my parts were OK. To top it all off, my foot stayed clipped to the pedal and I ended up twisting my left ankle. Honestly today that is the part that hurts worse. I’ll just have a big bruise where the handlebar tried to shishkabob me but it doesn’t hurt all that much. The squiggles below is me “walking it off”.


I put a slight warp in my front Easton that I will have to address (or maybe not until next season). The weather will see. Most of the gang members are predicting temps near 40 or below for next week. I say 47.

Here is the course data as upload to Garmin Connect.

* We went 8.00 miles in 01:49:02 for an average of 4.4 mph for the ride
* I hit a max speed of 19.5 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)

Vents were provided by TiTim. It’s my turn next week provided their IS a next week for me. Then back to NatGeo.

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Threshold was breached at the TIMBA

39 degrees Fahrenheit at ride time…32 degrees when finished. For those of you that know me, that means one thing. My cold weather threshold has been breached. If it keeps up, last night was my last ride of the season. My slimness can’t take the cold. If the Gringo would have been on time, the temp might have been above the 40 degree mark at ride time. So technically we would have made it. We didn’t get started until about 6 so the lights were on from the start.

We ended up riding the TIMBA again last night. We rode this course back on June 12 and July 17. Last night was the fastest ride average of each of the last times we have ridden here this year. Cold weather motivates in mysterious ways. We actually cut out a couple of the trails such as the Rudy section to shorten things up. I was doing alright on keeping warm until we hit a long road section near the end of the ride. Things got wicked cold after that. We didn’t have any major breakdowns along the way either.


Parts of the TIMBA were in serious need of some trail maintenance. I’m not sure our membership dues are going to the maintenance staff or not. I think they are going to the president’s beer fund. But then again, we did get some hot dogs and a warm fire from him after the ride. Good show.

Here is the course data as upload to Garmin Connect.

* We went 10.92 miles in 02:04:27 for an average of 5.3 mph for the ride
* I hit a max speed of 20.0 mph somewhere on a downhill (darkness anyone??)
* No good map detail on this area from Google (why not??, Google has a bizzillion dollars, can’t they afford to buy some decent map data on the TIMBA???!!)
* 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)


If the weather makes a turn for the better, I will live to blog again next week. If not; season done! Check back next week to see which scenario played out.

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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The tight twisties of Bedford

So I never did clean off my bike from the mudville spa of Townsend two weeks ago. It was so dirty sitting on the rack in the cellar that my kids wouldn’t even go near it and they usually can’t keep their hands off the wheels. I think it actually had less squeaks last night because of the mud holding things together. It also seemed to ride better but that might also have had to do with the White Lightning Epic Ride lube that TiTim let me have. I usually use the white wax version, but this stuff was pretty good. I will have to pick up a bottle for next season. That’s my recommendation of the week. Buy It.

So we did Bedford last night. Or is it Lexington? Or Burlington? I think the forest borders all 3 towns and definitely hugs Route 3. Check the GPS map on that one. The hum of road noise and the smell of diesel exhaust was thick in the chilled air (great for the lungs too). The temperature started out near my threshold at about 45 degrees and ended at about 37 degrees when the ride was over (well into my limits). As long as the weather stays above 40 at the start of the ride, I am good. We were here last on June 26th when I forgot my Garmin and Chinese ketchup.

The title of the blogs tells a tale of a portion of the Bedford route. Check the map above and you will see what looks like a bunch of crazy squiggly lines all jumping into each other. This is the twisty part and at night it’s hard to truly distinguish between a trail you are on and one that is passing beside you. As a consequence I kept getting on a wrong trail and having to go through virgin sections (non-trails) to get back on track. A fixed handlebar headlight does not help in the twisties. At one point I got off the trail and picked up behind NatGeo who subsequently got off on the wrong trail and suddenly we were separated from the Gringo and TiTim by a wide margin. Don’t worry, we all got back together again…stop your crying. Brackish. There you go TiTim, I said it. Brackish. (Don’t ask.)

The other parts of Bedford are nice long singletracks. A couple of times the trail goes out on the ledge overlooking the highway. I always thought it must be funny to see bikers up on the ledge if you were in a car down below. Especially at night when the bikes have HID lights shining in their eyes (poor commutters). There used to be some jumps and playground items here back when the Mofo’s rode it exclusively. Now most of them have rotted away. The obstacles…not the Mofo’s. Anyway, there is still some good riding at Bedford. Well worth the occasional trip.

Here is the course data as upload to Garmin Connect.

* We went 7.57 miles in 01:56:43 for an average of 3.9 mph for the ride
* I hit a max speed of 18.8 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)


They have some new charts in the Garmin Connect now. It shows smooth line transitions instead of the choppy jagged ones of the past. Nice. Above is the elevation change for the ride.

Post Ride was some Molson Goldens. Since it was the Amigo’s turn to buy, I figure it must have been on some special at the packy. Good for a change though. Snappy decision…Bullock. NatGeo’s turn next and then TiTim. Hope the temperature holds out for a few more weeks at least until T-Day. If it does, I’ll be blogging again next week.

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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No snow here yet…

It hasn’t snowed here yet, but it is certainly getting closer to my cold weather threshold of about 40 degrees during riding time. This year I would venture a guess of my season ending at around Turkey Day, which is the same time as last season. Last year a ride was planned for the day after T-Day but man it was cold that day. Season ended for me right there. I didn’t go out. Probably happen again.

Which brings me to my point. Northern Maine saw it’s first snow of the season last night. Read it here. Allagash got about 3 inches and MadTown got an inch. Sorry Folks, but I’m glad I don’t live there anymore. My biking season would probably last about 3 months rather than the 8 months down here in Taxachusetts. Taxes are high here, but the warm weather lasts longer.

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Specialized Hotrock 12 Girls, Gloss Pink

I got my daughter her new bike last week. It is a sweet ride. I took it for a spin in the basement the night before we gave it to her. It’s time my readers got their first look at it. She is now on track to be the heir slim apparent. Check it out…

Specialized Hotrock 12 Girls, Gloss Pink

—-The perfect first-choice “real bike” frame for kids, the 12-inch Hotrock is lightweight and low to the ground, with a forward bottom bracket that makes it easier to transition to bigger bikes.

—-The A1 Premium Aluminum blade fork and two-piece alloy handlebar manage those first turns with ease.

—-12-inch, 16-spoke alloy rims are durable enough to withstand any adventure.

—-Specialized 12×2.125-inch tires are smooth-rolling and durable.

This thing is so sturdy, I can see her building ramps next spring and flinging it off some nasty drops. Unlike her old man who enjoys sleeping without his foot or arm in a cast, she is free to experience these exhilarating events. Actually I remember building quite a few ramps during my childhood and seeing what the old Huffy with the banana seat would do. The best was when I cut the forks off an old bike and rammed them (press-fit) onto the ends of the newer bike creating a chopper effect. I tried to jump that sucker one day and ended up burying the forks into the dirt and launching myself over the handlebars onto my ass.

Plenty to look forward to. My daughter will have a lot of fun with this bike and the next ones to follow. Stay tuned.

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Rained out!

Looks like we are going to get rained out tonight. It just started raining and the clouds look like they are going to settle in for a long session.

I don’t think the Gringo would have joined us tonight anyway. His slowly faltering light now looks like it is dead. Time to buy yourself something nice! MiNewt maybe. Or full-on 920 lumens of HID screaming daylight in the form of the SlickRock from NiteRider. Sweet. And at a price of only $600, quite a bargain too.

Next week maybe. The ride and the SlickRock, eh, Amigo?

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Saucy Townsend Massachusetts


Saucy??…Soupy might be the better adjective to use Thursday evening in Townsend. It was just NatGeo and I as the Gringo was feeling under the weather and TiTim was “preparing” to head off to Maine for some R&R with the misses. It had rained the night before and I didn’t think much about it until we hit the trails. The paths were covered with leaves and under the leaves started out as small ponds and ended up as hidden mudholes waiting to suck up the wheels as you enter their abyss. And of course it was pitch dark about half way into the ride as usual. One last seemingly small dry-ish mud puddle turned into such a muck-filled pit that it stopped my forward progress halfway into it and I had to put my feet down to stop from falling in. So I then had two mud bricks for feet for the remainder of the ride. Such fun in Townsend!!


We were here back on July 10 when it wasn’t quite so swampy. We thought that ride we went pretty quick around the loop but Geo and I actually went farther and faster this time around. We didn’t dally on the big rock this time eating a snack…we just trudged on. We did miss the last right-hand turn on the big downhill finish trail though. I was still in shock at the huge sucking mudhole that I tried to go through that I must have just missed looking up for the turn. Looking at the map, it looks like we went an additional 1/2 mile out and back until we found the turn and headed back for beers.

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)

Post ride was a couple of Banquet Vents. I brought a 30 pack with me just in case NatGeo was really thirsty. He wasn’t extra parched so we had our normal and called it good. The Gringo’s turn next week. Maybe we could do the Beyonce Loop. NatGeo after Gringo. By then my threshold may keep me from participating in these rides, so you guys will be on your own.

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Hit the Leo once again


We did Leominster State Forest almost completely in the dark last night. We were here last on July 3 during a very rainy session. We got started late due to the normal circumstances of one of the gang members not able to get out of prison on time. So on the first trail we had to go to the lights. No problems with that really…it just means that the ride is a little slower but more interesting. I don’t care how much my HID light showers the trails with daylight brightness, it is fixed on my handlebars and doesn’t show around the corners unless I am pointed that way. One needs (2) Tri-Newts on each side of his/her helmet and one pointed straight along with the handlebar mounted HID in order to truely see everything that is going on around you. Man, that would be some sight to see. The boys might complain even harder if I showed up with that configuration though.


Great night of biking. Leominster is definitely getting harder to ride because the baby-heads in most of the trails are getting bigger and harder to dodge. Add darkness to the mix and it can be downright treacherous in places. Ask TiTim. Something was into him last night. He was on fire and led for probably most of the ride. First of all, he brought shelf warm beer (albeit a 30 pack…sad as that has become to our rides since the normal 12 pack no longer suffices), which we had to “flash-chill” in ice while waiting for the straggler to show up. I think he was embarrassed and therefore had to redeem himself on the trail by setting a blistering pace. Also he had on his fire-engine red bike socks which always seems to make him ride faster. But as TiTim can attest to last night, being the lead means always having to ride harder which means that you are the first one to crash which happened a few times to him last night. One really big one towards the end. How’s the ribs this morning??

We all had a few minor downages, but nothing to include here. Unless someone is holding out on me. I heard the Gringo thrashing around ahead of me and NatGeo flailing in back of me a few times, but again…pitch dark…can’t see. I saw TiTim’s crashes because he was usually still on the ground when I rolled up. The trails were wet and the leaves are starting to fall so things do get interesting fast during this time.

Here is the course data as upload to Garmin Connect. A little slower than last time for said reasons above.

* We went 7.10 miles in 01:57:07 for an average of 3.6 mph for the ride
* I hit a max speed of 13.2 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)

TiTim’s pre/post ride vents finally cooled down and were enjoyed by everyone. A check of my temp gauge in the Pilot showed 48 degrees when I was leaving. My threshold may come into play here in a few weeks but we’ll play it by ear until that happens.

A shoutout to the NyproMold boys who were enjoying Leo last night. Keep it upright!

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

PS.
I dropped a couple Benjamins in here last night so that we would be all paid up on our LEO dues. Don’t bother digging it up though…I think they collect the cash every day at midnight or something like that.

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Riding the Beaver After Dark

You can never go wrong riding the Beaver after dark. That is what we did last night in Hollis. We shook it up a little and tried a new route and parking place. We did the same trails but in a different order and we actually added about 3 more miles to the ride. Apparently NatGeo was doing some off-hours exploring out here and figured out where the main parking lot led to and how it connected to our normal ride. Great Job Nat. I think it may become our new parking spot/route for the Beav. Anything is better than our old parking lot/drivethru area. Nothing like the smell of car exhaust while venting. Here is an official map of Beaver Brook.


We last visited the Beaver back on May 16th without the Gringo. Seems he was sick or something. Actually, reading May’s blog, everyone took a turn feeling like crap either before or after that ride. Not last night…No Viagra needed for riding the Beaver last night. Pure unadulterated fun. Our stats were better this time than last as well. Great night weather-wise…60’s and crisp. At least we thought that when we started. Not too long into the ride everyone was sweating and complaining that it was somehow hot out. TiTim toyed with the idea of breaking out the wife-beater.

Lights came on about 30 minutes into the ride. Actually it was decided after TiTim’s first spill of the night. Some things you just can’t see in the dark that will up-end you when you think everything is fine. Right TiTim? Let’s continue with the TiTim and blood theme for a moment. Whether it was the dark, or he was tired or his rear tire kept loosing up, he ended up off the trail sideways or on the ground a couple more times last night. The Beaver took its toll.

Now let’s talk about the bikes. It must be close to the end of the season because parts are beginning to fail. For NatGeo, this has been a common thing all season but for the rest of us, it’s a fairly new occurrance. TiTim’s rear wheel (hub) kept loosing up and wobbling, my derailleur cable is 1 metal thread away from coming undone, and Gringo still doesn’t have his new shock on (this is a replacement for the original brand new one that busted on him). Geo had some new girly tires on with knobs the size of non-existence (yah, small). They were lighter but not too rugged looking. I still don’t know why he replaced a brand new set of Timberwolfs with these. Maybe he got a bonus and was just looking for a way to spend it. Oh and Gringo needs a new light. His 10 candlepower light is finally crapping out. Yeehaaa. Finally you have an excuse to buy yourself something nice. TriNewt or HID maybe.

Here is the course data as upload to Garmin Connect.

* We went 10.62 miles in 02:14:05 for an average of 4.8 mph for the ride
* I hit a max speed of 21.5 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)

Light vents were provided by NatGeo. We enjoyed them in our new parking lot. BBQ season is over because it is simply too dark to see. But now that we have a new place to park, the Beaver just became BBQ-friendly. BooYaaaa.

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Going back to Calla, Calla, Calla

To paraphrase LL Cool J, we went back to Calla Tuesday night…Callahan State Park that is. We rode our first ride of the season here back on April 3rd. I like to thing that we are in better shape now than back in April, but not by much. Unless you supplement an occasional road ride with the mountain biking, it’s hard to stay in decent shape if you skip a week or two with this gang.

Everyone was late to the trail due to some reason so we got off by 6 and back by 8. We did a little excursion around the Patriot Missile range at Raytheon which added some length to a normally shortened ride. The weather was beautiful, 70 degrees, no humidity. That didn’t stop us from working up a sweat though. Callahan is loaded with hills.


No injuries to report as the Entertainment Value (EV) was low. No bike breakage. Come to think of it, it was rather an uneventful ride…just peddling and chatting. Of course it was deemed a “leisure ride” at the outset. So that right there set the tone for the evening. You know, watching that LL Cool J video is probably more interesting than this blog posting. If I were you, I’d click on that first link above, turn up the volume and enjoy, versus finishing this blog. But then you wouldn’t see any of the cool maps and read about the post-ride entertainment. So continue on.

Here is the course data as upload to Garmin Connect.

* We went 9.51 miles in 01:55:36 for an average of 4.9 mph for the ride
* I hit a max speed of 17.5 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)

Post ride was at the Gringo’s house. Hot Dogs and Banquet vents. And Red Sox updates.

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Pearl Hill State Park…phew!

We were at Pearl Hill State Park in West Townsend last night. It was a great night weather wise. BUT…if you are going to ride here, be in shape. I seemed to be getting out of shape or something because this place was kicking my butt. Starting out you have to climb some hills. No warmup here. And then you climb some more hills, and more hills, and more. It seemed like for the first hour all we did was climb hills. Exhausting. See the Elevation Map below. I will say that there are some great trails out here, lots of them. No NatGeo last night. Something about an important appointment he couldn’t miss. Next week maybe.


Looking at the map, it appears that we did about half our ride in Willard Brook State Park which is next door. Most of the trails are marked but we were on one significant trail that wasn’t. The MoFo’s showed us this one. I don’t think you could find it on your own so ask around. This trail was technical and windy. It had short uphill blasts usually over big rocks and (what I think are) tricky technical rollovers. The Gringo rode them all (even a VERY scary one) and TiTim did almost all of them. I only did a few as I have a fundamental problem with the way my bike is set up that makes it scary for me to attempt big roll drops. It’s called having my seat too high to accommodate my gangly legs. It makes it difficult to transition to the back of my seat over the back wheel when I need to (or get off quickly if that also arises).


Did I mention that it was pitch dark for the last hour of our ride and that also happened to be when we hit this off-the-map technical trail?? That just made it that much more “interesting”. Some would say “fun”. I say scarier. Lights help but not so much if you have never been on a trail before. Gringo claims he almost hit a porcupine that was taking up residence in the trail. It was something as it caused him to lay down his bike trying to avoid it. I didn’t see anything.

Here is the course data as upload to the new Garmin Connect.

* We went 8.57 miles in 02:28:01 for an average of 3.5 mph for the ride
* I hit a max speed of 18.1 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)

I think everyone had some blood running down their leg last night. It was that kind of night. Entertainment vlaue was high. Banquet venting after. My turn next week, then back to NatGeo.

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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Trail Maps and GPS Data

If you want to go back and look at all the trails I recorded using my Garmin Edge GPS, here is a link that lists them all out. You will find the Garmin Connect data, PDF maps of the routes and the Google Earth KMZ files for each. The list will keep growing as long as I am riding. You will also notice some duplicates…these were trails that we visited more than once. The routes are probably the same with slight variations depending upon how bored we were the second time around.

GPS Data for Some Favorite Trails!

I also have a collection of trail maps that I got from various places. The first one you will see at the top of the list is a collection of 30 maps in Massachusetts. The others are more recent additions from the Mass DCR website.

Trail Maps of Taxachusetts!

Enjoy.

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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My cats have got to eat.

We hit the Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest last night and my theme for getting quickly through this week’s pain was where the title of this blog came from. More on that later. It was a steamy night. Sort of like August should’ve been…hot and humid. Maybe that means that the season will last well into December. Not likely. I have a cold threshold that can’t be messed with. Anyway, it was a nice night for a ride.

There were a lot of people out last night. We met one guy from the Western Mass region that was in the area on business and brought his bike. He read about the LowHell in some mags and they said it was happening. Another biker that struck me as funny was this guy in the trail that was gasping for air. That’s not the funny part as the air was quite thick. The weird part was he was decked out head to toe in body armor. Now I have to tell you, if you are going to be super cool and wear body armor, at least be in shape, not bent over grabbing your ankles because you can’t breathe. Just my opinion. Then there were the 3 college aged girls that were smoking a bone in their car in the parking lot. Geo investigated that one for us as he was parked next to them.

Not much to report on entertainment value. No one was bleeding. Lowhell has some great trails, drops, and stuff to occupy a night. Some of the trails are windy and fast, some have technical rocks and roots to navigate. Towards the end of the ride, Geo’s homespun wheel-truing job was coming unravelled on him and his wheel was taco-ing before his eyes. He limped through. TiTim was having some issue with his front wheel coming off. Not sure what that was about. He made it too.

Gotta remember the lights for next ride. It got dark quick inside the woods. On our way out, I could barely see the trail in front of me. I was slamming into and rolling over things that I had no idea what they were. They could have been a racoon for all I knew. Treacherous. But very fun!

The post-ride (and now the pre-ride as well) activities consisted of some Blue…Labatts Blue provided technically by Gringo. Although TiTim actually picked them up and probably won’t see his money for a month. Just kidding M. Not really. TiTim’s turn next week, then I will take a turn.


Here is the course data as upload to the new Garmin Connect.

* We went 9.43 miles in 02:03:26 for an average of 4.6 mph for the ride
* I hit a max speed of 15.7 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)

Check out the speed graph. Try that on a road bike.


And now the story you have been on the edge of your seat waiting for.

My cats have got to eat. I had to get to Petco before they closed and the only store anywhere near where I was going was Leominster. And the Gringo was running late per usual (sorry mate, you know you are always the last one to arrive). The cats needed their special Royal Canin Siamese 38 food and the local stores don’t sell it. We got out of the woods at 7:45 and Leominster was about 1 hour away. As such, I forewent (did you hear that people; I passed up, didn’t partake, no drinky!!!) the post-ride activities and made it to the store on time. Man, I must have stunk pretty bad with my sweat-drenched shirt, oozing of bug juice and I noticed my legs were a tad muddy. Oh well. The cats were happy.

Later,

Slim

2003 Specialized Enduro Expert
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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