Reflection, Reparation, Repentation, Rejuvination, and Recreation

Reflection, Reparation, Repentation, Rejuvination, and Recreation
My 2013 Transition TransAm 29

Monday, December 4, 2017

New Segment

off old 128 and along new 128 to Exit 3, an exciting new route. Don't fall into the drainage ditches and culverts!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Madness!!

It was a beautiful 70 degree Sunday in Plymouth, VT. My wife and daughter agreed to drive me up and back from home in Quincy, MA, to some crazy ride in the woods. Not a race, PavĂ© Madness was, in fact, Madness. 23 miles of Vermont Class 4 'roads', unmaintained washed out skid roads, and river riding. Yep, actual riding down and across  river beds at least a dozen times. Some of the aforementioned roads were in fact rivers as well. One road had even been flooded by a beaver dam--but it was part of the course! The only way to get to the other side, was yep, ride through the flooded dam. The first section was ok, relatively easy ride through thigh-deep water, just keep pedaling, never mind what's at the bottom, it was abit mushy, but rideable through. The second part was more like chest high. Peter Vollers, the ride promoter himself, was at the entrance of it all, giving us all the options and encouragement we needed to get through the dam without life preservers or a kayak... So the chest high section options were: you could wade through and risk losing a shoe in the muck, all while holding your bike over your head, take your shoes off and carry them and your bike overhead, or to carry your bike while walking/balancing on the spongy edge of the beaver dam, trying not to fall over into the deeper water. I opted for the latter, and actually made it over to the other side without falling in! As it turned out, the submergement of the legs in the tepid water was very refreshing. This was the wettest section of the ride, but there was also the mud. Ankle deep good ol Vermont mud. Just ride through and hope it's not too deep...Lots and lots of muddy, puddly/muddy sections, followed by rocks. Lots of slippery rocks.Just hurl yourself down them and hope for the best. I think the best word to describe the state of the route was 'unmaintained'....but I will say, there was nary a deadfall across the trail, and the foliage on the sides of the path was cutback at some time of the year, to allow for Jeep and LandRover travel. Even for the motorized, this terrain was not easy. Vermont Overland, the ride entity, had several strategically placed LandRovers in case of emergency, and/or to make sure we didn't make a wrong turn....I'm assuming that this particular course was designed only with this event in mind, not someone's daily loop. But those Vermonters are a tough breed.... In the days preceding the ride, emails were sent out to those registered that this would be a 'full suspension recommended' ride. since I don't own one of those, I was among only a handful of people riding a hardtail. Like I always say, "if the wheels go 'round, ride what ya got!" A kid named 'Ansel', obviously a local and renowned for his skillz, was purported to have ridden the course on a Cannondale Slate, basically a gravel bike with drop bars. Rumor was that he finished in just over 2 hours. Did I say he's a kid? Pretty young anyways. They said in the promo that everything was 'rideable' by somebody. Fairly sure they were referring to this young stud. The rideable sections were rideable. I did a lot of walking/slogging through the mud and slippery rocks. Probably 20% off the bike. My motivations to keep going were that nice clear river at basecamp, where I was gonna strip naked and jump in, fresh brewed beer from River Roost Brewery in White River Jct, and to finally reunite with some of my fellow riders and share stories... Then there were the hills. The first 2/3 of the ride was uphill. The last third was mostly downhill, except for the long, grinding ups. Nothing flat or dry about the ride, except maybe a few 30 foot grassy meadowy sections, where I imagined a bear may cross my path looking for the blackberries on either side, and some old overgrown ponds/reedy deadhead bogs where I was on the lookout for Moose... No speedy wide-open ballsy downhills. Not until the very end, where the route spilled out onto a real maintained Vermont gravel road for a couple of miles which took us back to the start/finish at Vermont Overland's basecamp (house). VO did a great job of support, especially with the sag stop at about 14 miles. They said to stop there, not to blow by it, we would NEED this stop. They weren't lying. It was at the bottom of a nice downhill section, at 'Five Corners', apparently a ghost town intersection. the stop came also just after 'The Crack', an old road so badly washed out that the reroute around it was 30 feet above it. "Don't look down", Peter had cautioned us at the start, as well as warned us that the edge of the runaround could be spongy and unsafe. It actually was not the worst part of the ride, and probably the driest and softest part of the entire beatdown. But only maybe fifty yards long. At the sag stop , Peter's wife and family welcomed us with fresh water, SkratchLabs powder, bananas, peanut butter and oatmeal rollups, and homemade dark chocolate bars with dried cranberries and nuts....I thoroughly enjoyed the stop, caught up with a few riders who I met in the first few miles... Then it was time to slog on. Like one of the support riders said, the last 1/3 of the ride was downhill. I didn't believe him even though he was totally serious. There was still a lot of climbing.Maybe I'm just a Flatlander, but I finally leg cramped up near the top of one of the last hills. I was able to stretch it out fairly quick and soldier on. To be fair, as I mentioned, the last 2-3 miles WERE downhill, with that last screamer back to basecamp. Glad there were no cars, I hit close to 40, swinging wide turns all over the road. The beer and food was great, and so was the river. I had accomplished what I intended to: exhausted myself but made it through, mud-covered yet relatively unscathed. Luckily I had that ride back home, and all day Monday to recover.....I'd say I got my 45 dollars worth! Checkout my google photos album...

Friday, May 26, 2017

Road signals

"Point in the direction you want to go" , that's always been my method. The old horse and buggy signals don't work anymore.
FIRST, I stick my arm out and wave it up and down, to make sure the drivers see me.
Then I POINT, with my pointy finger, first with my arm fully extended, then flexing my elbow with my finger still pointing that direction, several times or until I need to grab the bars again. 
Even with that, I don't ride on roads much anymore. Trees and rocks won't usually run me over. Here's someone who agrees with me.
 

It is what it is

Wayne spent two nights at the hospital, under observation and waiting for a CAT scan and two MRI. 

They found broken L2 and strained neck ligaments front and rear, and possible compression damage in his cervical discs. Now he is home, waiting and healing, with the neck brace on for one month. No work, no driving. Then he sees a surgeon to evaluate his neck. He's upbeat about all this, and still maintains "it is what it is" ....

 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Man Down!

So this morning was like so many others, a 'perfect day for a ride'. That's how it started. At Cutler Park. So it was aptly renamed the 'Cutler Chuckler' by some of the partly reunited 'Team Chuck', 3 of whom were in attendance today, Upchuck, TacoChuck, and FlatChuck ( As of Snowpachuck I have been honorarily inducted as ChiliChuck, but that's a different story for a different day....). We also had Ralph the lawyer, Michael Hurley the Chicken Farmer, John'Reff', and Wompatuck Wayne. We also started with a few young-uns from the Natick Landrys' store, but they opted to do their own shorter ride so they wouldn't be late for work at the shop on a busy Sunday. So we started with eight of us 50-something knuckleheads, rolling the fun single track ditches and berms on that fine sunny day. Something wasn't right about the next drainage ditch 'jump'/roller, followed by a quick steep up. We saw it from below, but all agreed to give it a roll. Most of us opted to hug the ground but that was difficult, by design. The cry of 'MAN DOWN!' is never good. Wayne had cartwheeled off his bike onto his head, cracked his helmet in two places, and was obviously hurt. He was conscious, asking about his bike and his little green alien, but we were very concerned about the mid-back pain he related to us. We were very close to the parking lot and he wanted to get up and ride back, so we got him to his truck, and Upchuck got him to South Shore Urgent Care in Weymouth. They transferred him to South Shore Hospital for observation, Catscan and MRI. He's still there awaiting results. I visited him at about 6pm, and they finally gave the hungry man a sandwich!. He's in a lot of pain, still has all his faculties but he's suffering. Stay tuned for updates on his condition.( as of 11:30, still awaiting results) Keep Wayne in your thoughts, and ride safe.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Doubletrack

So I got out on a 'recovery ride', the day after Mother's Day. Those of you who know, know that Mother's Day is the biggest Day of the year in the restaurant business. The week leading up to it was hell, trying to make sure we had enough prep done ....then the weekend itself adding up to 42 hours just Friday Saturday and Sunday... add to that the running lack of help in the kitchen ....So by Monday I was burnt toast. I couldn't think about riding in the morning. I had yet to finish my chapter update, which kept me inside on the computer until noon. I lay about half the afternoon. Finally I dragged myself and my bike to BlueHills and started feeling better. "Didn't break any speed limits", as I reported in Strava, got 12 miles in and was glad I got out! 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

So I needed new rear brakes. I looked into internet prices, with shipping , w/o shipping...
I found that most hydraulic disc brakes are pre-bled. Meaning that any monkey like myself can install them in a few minutes. Then I measured the hoses on my bike. They're like 200mm shorter than the hoses provided with a new kit. That means that the slack of the new hoses either will be flopping around in front of me or they'll need to be cut down to the correct size. Which means, the pre-bled kit hose need to be re-bled after cutting the hose, which I don't know much about.
Enter the LBS. Seems that just a couple of years ago there were only a couple of shops around that employed a mechanic who knew anything about brake bleeding --now they're all smartenin up....not many riders have the patience, and/or time to learn this relatively simple process. Some specialized tools are needed also( a bleed kit ) I've bled my Avid Elixir 3's a number of times, with my smart, good  friend Wayne's help. He had a bleed kit.
To shorten the saga abit, every time I wanted to change the brake pads, I had to bleed the system. And still the brakes kinda sucked. Not much modulation and too much lever pull just to make them work, I was getting tired of it. This past June, up at NEMBAFEST, one of our local shops, Landry's, was setup in the expo, offering free bike maintenance. I took them up on the offer, told Jared and Brandon my sob story that I just told you. They bled everything and the brakes were cherry for a few weeks. Then back to the way they were. So, when I finally said "enough!", I looked them up again, back at their Braintree store. As I mentioned, I did some internet research, decided on Shimano, and sure, I could buy the pre-bled rear kit for almost 20 dollars less, but there was that issue of the hose needing cut .....
Now onto my real problem with brakes. They don't make me faster, they only slow me down!