Monthly Archives: June 2006

Wednesday Case Mountain Ride

Ride Pictures

Mike, Jill, Doug, Andy, Arch, and Evan.

So everybody arrives at the towers for the ride. Jill was already out riding to get in her “training ride” while everyone was getting ready. She rolls up soon after. The new jerseys are everywhere. First run with mine and I really like it. We start down the road and Arch ducks in to the right. Evan missed the turn. Tricky Arch. We head through the short wooded section to the power lines, up the big hill and regroup at the top. I started taunting Evan to chase me down the next section. Start flying down the power lines into the woods on the left for the great downhill. Headed for the rock drop. DAMN!! Chain falls off. Lost my mojo. Andy and Arch pass. Love this section. Regroup at the bottom. Next rocky downhill. Battling Jill and Andy through the rock garden. Regroup at bottom. Evan arrives and proclaims “This hard tail SUCKS!! ” Ya we know. Up the road and into the woods on the right, along the river to the twisted bridge. Gonna ride it? No. Sissy. Up to the reservoir. Ride the wall (see pictures). Up the hill all the way. Jill says there is a new trail parallel to the double track. Silly Jill new trails are for kids. Arch takes new trail I stay on old trail. At the top we see that new trail doesn’t like Arch. He has ripped his derailleur into 9 pieces and broke the hanger. No fix and no good way back. I’m not sure why anyone agreed to this idea, but stay with me. Arch would ride Evans bike back to the parking lot, Evan would scooter Arch’s bike all the way to the Girl Scout Camp. That’s a long way and we were only 100 feet from the other parking lot. The problem was nobody knew how to get there from the towers. Oh well. Got a plan and off we go. Down the double track, into single track on left, through the river and up to the intersection. Evan was flying on his Santa Cruz Scooter. He and I and Andy were good. Where are Jill and Doug? Damn, Jill’s got a flat. Wait, Wait. OK go. Down to the Girl Scout Camp Yahoo!! Got there before Arch. He arrives in about 5 minutes. Good timing. Arch and Evan load up to go. Wait what is Doug doing? TAXI !! He’s getting in the truck too. Doesn’t want to get caught in the dark. Well, that’s not very sporting, but so be it. Jill, Andy and I are on our own. Race against the clock to beat the moon. Back up the hill to yellow, over to red past the entrance to the stunt trail, through the river up the steep hill to the blue. Jill says “I think there is a shorter way”. Silly Jill again. Don’t you know by now, never question my sense of direction. Down the blue everyone is sticking together, good pace. Intersection. Hmmmm. Up the slick rock or up the fern trail. Unanimous. Fern. Down what seemed like a waterfall trail. Soaked but loving it. To the steel bridge. Up the fern. Feeling really good. That stop for goodies at Mobil before the ride really paid off. To the power lines. Wait at the rock face. A weird guy is sitting there staring into space and another guy walking the oldest dog on earth. Apparently the dog didn’t mind bikes but had a problem with the weird dude. Bark. Bark Bark. Gotta go. Down the rock face, out to Birch Mountain. Back to the car. Guess what? We won. It was still daylight. Awards ceremony to follow. –Mike

East Hartford Criterium

Race Pictures Race Videos

This is my first time going to the Tuesday night Crit, Kyle begged me to come so I decided try it. Twenty minutes before I wanted to leave I decided to check out my bike, I had water in my rims from racing at Ninigret this past weekend in the torrential rains. Driving up to Rentschler Field, get off the highway and think to myself that I better not get lost around here!! Pull into the parking lot and see Rick getting ready, then John and Kyle show up. Kyle has a flat tire and he hasn’t even put his shoes on yet. Him and John fix the flat, and we go out to do some warm ups, and he gets another flat. Upon inspection of his rim we find sharp edge were the valve stem goes thru the rim, with quick thinking we cover it with a Band-Aid and up the tire back on…… worked out, no more flats. Then I head over to registration…lots of confusion. I finally get my number and the race is ready to start….so much for a warm up. The race start is uneventful, but the wind is brutal not much room to hide at the front so I drop back a bit. Jill is hanging on like a champ. Then Rick and Kyle go to the front so I decide to join them. The pace picked up for the first prime, and stayed that way for the rest of the race. Kyle takes the second prime with ease. Then some guy decides to walk off the front, and everyone lets him just go. After a while I got antsy and decided to chase him down, but no one came with me so I working all by myself. After about three laps I catch him and try to get him to do some pace-lining, Kyle and another guy jumped the gap so we had some good horsepower but the other two didn’t want to do much work so the break failed. Then two others get away I thought about going after them, but decided to let some else do the work, so I sat on some guys wheel for the last five laps while he brought the lone escapee back. As typical in a Crit everyone slows down at the start of the last lap while all the sprinters try to get in position and no one wants to do any work. I attacked after the first turn and that got everyone going so I got one a wheel and follow him until the last corner. I jumped but it was too early, as I started to pop Kyle and two others blow by me. Kyle takes second…beat by less then a foot, and I hang on for fourth spot. Rick finishes with the pack. Then Michael helps me quickly change my number and I jump into the A-race……..I am a gluten for punishment. The pace was a lot harder, I sat behind the two Nerac Pros, Dave Werling and another..didn’t get his name. Dave gave me some tips and then he was gone. He go into a break away that lapped the field….that’s why he is a Pro. Cliff was also in the race and he was looking real strong also. Towards the end of the race he got into a break that got a half of a lap on main field before the end. I held on for dear life and finished with the pack……what a work out. The Crit was a good chance of pace from my normal Tuesday night ride…I will definitely come back. — Dave

Monday Beginner’s Ride at Bluff Point

Riders: Sarah, DJ, Jill, John, Shelby, Evan, Arch, Tracy, Dave, Tim, Mark, Andy, Doug, Rich (we picked him up by the rr tracks).

We headed over to Haley’s again to warm up and Andy, Arch, and I scooted up the rock face and hopped off our bike to spot anyone who wanted to try it. Dave made many valiant attempts and although he looked like he was going to make it every time, that nasty root just wouldn’t let him past. Evan also came so close trying the line to the right which is my favorite but just couldn’t get his bike over that route. I think he will make it once he switches to clipless pedals. And Shelby came so close too! Same line as Evan but that slippery root was not being kind to the youngsters (Dave included!!!). She tried a bunch of times and so did Tim. Then it was DJ’s turn. He was waiting patiently down the trail and I wasn’t sure he was going to try it or not. This was his first time to Bluff and had never seen this rock face but I think he was watching and observing and decided to take a chance. Good approach, he climbed right up the rock face but the root got him too. He had the power and I think he is in the same boat as Evan – they will both make it once they switch to clipless. We rode on and stayed together this time. The trails in this area are nice hard packed with plenty of rocks to launch off of. I was following Tim who reminding me of a frog because he was leaping up from one rock to another. He was always in the air. We regrouped on the fire road and headed back to Bluff where we found Rich. He decided to hop on with us and we headed over to the singletrack. We had a huge group so I tried to stay with Sarah and DJ as much as possible to try to give them some tips and spot them if they wanted to try anything more difficult. We went on some more difficult trails than the previous rides and there was a lot of opportunity for trying stuff. Arch and I would spot and the rider’s would rip through, usually needing no help from us. Sarah ended up taking a digger on a rock wall. She was riding up front (because nobody can keep up with her!!!) and tried to ride over the wall and ended up lying in the rocks next to the trail. I could tell it must of hurt pretty bad but she got right back on her bike and started riding again. What a superstar! DJ also took a digger but it was after he made several attempts to try getting over a tricky log that led to an even trickier rock garden. After he was done and the spotter walked away, he stepped on a rock and down he went. I think that one hurt too but he also got back on his bike and started riding again. The ride went by quickly and we scooted over to Dairy Queen. –Jill

Wednesday Intermediate ride at Mansfield Hollow/Schoolhouse Brook

Ride Pictures

Riders: Justin, Kyle, John, Doug, Andy, Jill

Justin rolls up in the parking lot – he’s been checking the site to see when we were riding at Mansfield. We met Justin at the 66 races and we’ve seen him while we were mountain biking at Mansfield and he was riding by on his road bike but this is the first time he’s been able to hook up with our ride. We’ve got our new kits for tonight’s ride and they look great. We head down the blue trail and I let Andy go by because I know he will ride up the stairs to the 2nd bridge and I will not so he passes and is the first to get to the first bridge but something goes funky and his bike sails diagonally across the bridge and his front wheel drops off and over he goes with the bike. Ouch. He’s soaked (and his new jersey is dirty!), and his shoulder is pretty banged up but he thinks he’s ok and wants to keep riding. We head over to schoolhouse and do our usual route. Next time Justin will show us some new trails at Schoolhouse so we can add to our ride. Everyone is riding pretty steady and things are uneventful until John followed my line through the dry rocky streambed. I usually have a really good line through here but I went a little too far right and it was far from pretty but I crossed it. Unfortunately John probably thought I was going for the good line and followed me. I was about 15 feet up the trail when I heard the crash. There was nowhere soft to land with this crash – rocks everywhere. He gets up and the blood is flowing from his elbow. Ouch again. He doesn’t want to clean it up even though I am dying to put a bandaid on it. I carry my first aid kit around and never get to use it! And I am very concerned that he will get blood on the new jersey (but not more concerned than I am about the injury of course). Doug, Andy, John and I ride on with blood still flowing and hook back up with Kyle and Justin and ride down the road to 195 and head up to the dam. Andy is starting to feel the effects of his crash and decides wisely to head back and we ride back with him. We yap about bikes, bike fit, bike weight, the usual stuff and agree to come back another Wednesday so Justin can show us more trails. Did I mention how great the jersey’s look and how the shorts are so slimming????

East Hartford Criterium

Race Pictures

Riders: Kyle, Rick, Cliff (Dave, Patrick, and Will from the pro team)

Spectator’s: Robin, Danielle, Jill

Why, why did I show up with my road bike???? Did I secretly want to race? Ummmmmm. NO. It was hard not to crumble under the pressure Patrick was dishing out but the thought of putting on the wet clothes I wore on my lunch ride kept me from getting out there. Very low key, laid back atmosphere. Took a seat in the grass with Robin and Danielle and watched. Got to check out Patrick’s new ride up close and personal, he’s not 100% sure about it though and ends up on his old bike. Kyle wins a prime and Kyle and Rick are both riding strong. 30 minutes later it’s over and the A race starts, and Cliff heads out there. These guys are really fast. I watch a few laps and the rain starts heading in so I scoot. Maybe next Tuesday…

West Hartford Reservoir – Penwood

Ride Pictures

Riders: John, John, Kyle, Rick, Andy, Arch, Cliff, Jill
It’s super hot and humid on this ride. We get through WHR with no mechanicals which we haven’t been able to do since we first did this ride. Stopped at the fountain at Res. #6 to fill up our water bottles and ride the WHR singletrack to Penwood. Still no incidents – we’re on track, aiming for sub 5 hours and hoping for 4 hours. Get up to the lookout for a snack and yap with 2 guys who were already up there. They take a great group shot of us and I got a great shot of them (see pics). We head out and Arch wants to ride the high ledges so we head up and up and up. Arch is crazy, I can barely watch, Cliff is doing pretty good too. They both make it look so easy. The rest of us are hoofing most of it. At the end of the ledges Arch and Cliff disappear down the steep incline, I get about halfway down, hop off and look back just in time to see Andy take a spill. Close call with a pointy log but he get’s up brushes off and we catch up with the crew. The bottom is damp and humid and there are thousands of mosquito’s and it’s getting late so we decide (with not so gently prompting from me) to ride out to the first lookout and head back instead of riding to the chimney. At the top of the climb Arch’s chain breaks so we ride slowly to the lookout so we don’t get eaten alive by mosquito’s, Arch joins us and we start back. The trail we usually take out disappears about halfway and we spend a miserable 20 minutes hike a biking up to the fireroad. Cliff knows where we can refill our water bottles and camelbaks and we scream down the road to a heavenly spot where there is a nice shady tree, clean water and no mosquito’s. We decide to split up into 2 groups and Arch, Cliff and John take off and Andy, John, Kyle, Rick, and I amble back trying to beat the heat. It took 5 hours exactly, 4.5 hrs for the other group. Not so bad considering the heat but I still want to try for the 4 hours.

Bluff Point Beginners Ride

Ride Pictures Ride Videos

Riders: Sarah, Jill, Tracy, Dave, Shelby, John, Andy, Tim, Jim, Mark, Arch, Evan

It was incredibly humid all day but it was cooler with a great breeze at Bluff. Perfect day for a ride and Andy is expert at picking the trails that the beginner’s and more seasoned riders will enjoy. I can see a lot of improvement in Tracy’s riding since the ride 2 weeks ago. She looks much more relaxed on the bike, has raised her seat and she told me she rode over a log last week. Awesome! I encourage her to ride up the hill to get to Haley’s and at first she doesn’t want to but she tries and scoots right up. I try to get her to ride the dip next to the rr tracks but nope, maybe next time…If she tries one thing each ride, she’ll be riding everything by the end of the summer. Sarah is riding up front and I don’t even get to ride with her at first, she’s just screaming along. Last time I rode with Sarah was last summer and she was still riding with platforms. Now she has clipless pedals and looks quite skilled at using them. We raise her seat and she seems more comfortable and scoots right over the rocks. We stop frequently so she can try to get over some bigger logs and rocks. The 2 boys who joined us (Tim and Jim) are also pretty good riders. In fact they were quite adventurous doing some crazy jumps and stunts. Mark (Tim or Jim’s dad) was keeping up in his fully rigid bike, no problem. I barely saw Shelby and Evan, they rode at Case last Wednesday with us so Bluff must seem easy for them now. They’ve got skills! The two John dad’s are very patient teachers and are trying hard not to crowd them. Dave’s getting tons of pics and Andy’s taking what I hope is great video, I can’t wait to see them. Off to Dairy Queen!

Mount Snow Race

Race Pictures Race Results

Saturday at Mount Snow

Nerac Earth Rider: Doug

Groupies: John, Kyle, Jill

After the necessary Starbucks (white chocolate mocha!) we headed up to Mount Snow to cheer for Doug and Kyle W. and watch the pros race. Ran into Mike who told us Mar smoked the Super D with a 4th place finish. Watched Kyle W. scream down the downhill course for a 2nd place finish and headed to the start line to find Doug. Wished Doug luck and rushed up the mountain so we could watch the race. The Mount Snow marshals were super friendly and knowledgeable and we chatted up every one and snapped off some pics and woohoo’d for Doug. Doug is way out in front, in fact he finished 4th rider overall – he was burning up that course! Ran back down the mountain to catch the pro’s start. They pulled out all the stops for the line up. Everyone’s name was called and all the stars rolled up to the start line. It was incredible to see Nathan and Mary Lynn lined up with all the pros that we read about and watch on TV. By this time Kyle and I are seriously regretting that we didn’t race, next year for sure we agree. They start and we wait for Mar and Nathan to ride by so we can scream hysterically then head back up the mountain. The spot where you can see the climb and the descent is packed and we get as close to the tape as possible. Exciting stuff, those pros are climbing so fast and taking all kinds of risks on the descent. I cheer for Dara the titus racer who came to our ride last week, I cheer for Mary Lynn, for Nathan, for Michael Patrick, for Mary McConnelaug who is seriously kicking butt, for the girl who wrapped herself around a tree and got back on and rode it out and for the jr x guy who played ping pong with his body and still got back on his bike. Very exciting day- can’t wait till next year!!!!

Wednesday ride at Case

Ride Pictures

The A ride = Cliff, Mary Lynn, Dara, Jennifer and David (and Luna the dog)
The Z ride = Andy, Kyle, Shelby, John, Evan, Arch, Jill

Pulled into the parking lot on the phone with Mary Lynn trying to figure out where she is and how to get here. I give up and hand it over to Arch – he makes a valiant attempt then passes the phone to Andy. Surely between the 3 of us we can get her here but Michael is in Wyoming so the odds aren’t with us, he has a perfect track record for getting Mary Lynn to Case Mountain. My phone rings again, she’s on Villa Louisa – we’re golden! The parking lot is full. Mary Lynn brought some visiting Titus pros, we’ve got Cliff, all the Stockfords except for Robin, Evan, Arch and Andy. We decide to split up into a fast group and a not-as-fast group. Cliff heads up the fast group and I head up the not-as-fast group. We cut in and head toward the power lines, up and over then down the Tinte trail. Shelby and Evan are hauling down this hill, Evan quickly disappears and I follow Shelby. Her ride style reminds me of John Sattar, straight line and blow through or over everything down the middle of the trail, she’s going over huge rocks, boulders, logs and nothing fazes her. Evan is a more selective and has an eye for seeing the clean line with little detours now and then to ride over the fun stuff. These two are tough and they don’t give up easily or at all. We cross the road and head down to the reservoir, I round the corner and I see a bike in the trail, then Evan about 5 feet away. Sounds like he did a few rolls and tumbles before he stopped. He just gets back on his bike and keeps riding. We get to the bridge and Arch rides over, then Andy. It’s looking dry tonight and I’m feeling brave so I ride it too, choked on the log on the other side but made it over the bridge. Andy wants me to go back and do it again so he can get a picture but I pass (heck no!). Start the slow climb up, through the rock swamp garden which Andy makes and I don’t because for some reason I put my foot down in the swamp. We head down toward the girl scout camp and regroup after backtracking a bit to hook back up with Shelby and John. Took yellow? to blue and decide to take the Fern trail out. Evan is having some problems with his brakes so downhills are a bit sketchy for him – it doesn’t seem to be slowing him down too much though. Arch tries to fix his brakes, John and I discuss the Frankenstein series, and Shelby enjoys the break. Oh my, did I forget to mention Kyle???? Please John, do not allow him to eat at McDonalds before the ride! He had some serious swamp gas that would motivate anyone to ride faster. We cross the metal bridge and revisit some of our winter bridge crossing experiences for the kiddos. Start the slow grind up toward the Fern, as we approach the turn Evan’s chain breaks. It’s getting dark so Kyle uses his phone to give Arch some light to fix it and we head up the Fern in the dark. We get to the power lines and can see again, I think the newbies are glad we’re done. They did an incredible job! Good ride, good effort, good crew. –Jill

Bluff Point Beginners Ride

Ride Pictures Ride Video

Anyone remember your very first Mountain Bike ride ever? I do. A couple of friends brought me up to Case Mountain I think it was 1989 or 90 . I had just bought my Giant chrome molly hard tail and was ready to hit the trails. Kathy , Bruce and I met at Spring Street and unloaded our race ready machines with our metal toe clips and 20 lb bar ends. You could tell Kathy and Bruce were experienced riders by the wad of yellow foam duck taped to their seats to protect their bums. They suggested I try the granny gear for the first long climb up the paved section to the purple trail. Well the only thing purple was my face. By the first part of the climb my heart rate was off the chart and I was flailing about like Roberto Duran, No Mas No Mas! 15 seconds into the first round I was hanging on to the chain link fence on the trailside ready to throw in the towel. I thought you guys said this was fun I shouted as they rounded the corner and dropped out of sight. What now takes about 5 minutes to get to the top of the lookout, took me a good half hour. The rest of the ride I spent bouncing off everything in site and flying through the air like a circus act. It would have been easy to put the bike in the garage and leave it there to collect dust after that first ride, which I’m sure happens quite often and almost happened with me. What does all this have to do with the beginners ride at Bluff yesterday you may ask? Well, I really thought it would be great to pry the controller for the playstation from my son’s hands and introduce him to trail riding and this beginner ride seemed like the perfect thing. It wasn’t too long ago John Stockford got his son Kyle into MTB and look at him now, he is winning expert class. Ok, one thing at a time. I just wanted Evan to have a decent time and by me remembering my first ride, I would make a conscious effort to subdue my parental tendencies, shut my trap and hope he doesn’t get discouraged.

THE RIDE: Perfect day, blue skies, and the parking lot is full . Riders are Dave, Tracy, John S, Robin, Evan, Andy, Kyle and his friend (sorry don’t know his name) and Arch. We grabbed the radios in case we get separated and get ready to roll. But wait…. what…. Kyle forgot his helmet? John (his Dad) looks at him and says *!%##&!!! And that’s final. Dads rule is, no helmet no ride. The rest of us ride on. Andy and Dave seem to have a grip on what trails will best suit the new riders, so we head to some moderate climbs and then to some nice windy single track. Everyone takes it at their own pace and we all regroup at the intersections. Andy stays out in front to lead the way and Evan follows on my blur and then me on my hard tail. I want to stay back and let Evan take it at his own pace, being that it is his first ride. We reach a real fast section of windy downhill and what’s this ? Evan is right on Andy’s tire, so we all pick it up and fly down as fast as we normally do…excellent! I pick some thorns out of my arm, we chat a bit and it’s off to Haley’s farm. We decide to split up, John, Dave and the girls are off to some single track, while Andy, Evan and I head over to the tricky rock climb to press our luck with Evan. Andy shows Evan how it’s done and climbs up on the first try. Six attempts later Evan comes so close we give him an “A” for effort. We regroup and start heading back, everyone is still smiling and riding great. Andy, Evan and I decide to head up the section where Tom launches that 10 footer to show Evan something more challenging and he cleans 90% of it. We head over to a couple of log rides where we mess around for a good twenty minutes just having a good time. This place is a perfect choice for new riders, and when they are ready to step it up, Bluff Point can accommodate with more advanced trails. So in closing, grab those bikes from the garage dust them off and join the Nerac crew for what will hopefully be a fun ride that will leave you with a craving for the next one. If I can convert one playstation junky, anything is possible. — Arch