Monthly Archives: August 2006

Sunday Ride at Pachaug

Not every ride is deserving of the term “Epic ride” and depending on your favorite flavor, I suppose certain criteria have to be met to satisfy your taste for what you would consider a memorable ride. If you prefer generic vanilla, maybe riding fire roads may satisfy your appetite, if rocky road chocolate chunk is more your desire. You may need more of a challenge such as tight speedy single track, ledges, drops, Log rides, rock gardens, long sketchy climbs, and lots of miles. You might need the kind of ride that leaves you pretty much motionless iIn the lazy boy the rest of the afternoon, your legs are tingling from the adrenaline, lactic acid, and endorphin stew. There’s a big bowl of pasta on the table and some chocolate chunk left in the freezer, life is good.

Change Gears:

Although Pachaug had some of the elements mentioned above, for me it was a good ride but fell short compared to other rides in our rotation. I have a map of New England pinned up at work, and every new ride is marked with yellow highlighter. This Monday morning the first thing I did when I got to work is ask myself… How did I get here? This is not my beautiful house (talking heads)…never mind. Today I get to put a yellow dot on Pachaug. I had been looking forward to riding there because the square acreage dwarfs most other areas we ride and I assumed the local bikers in that area would have carved some killer trails in all that space, but what I saw were pretty average.

The Ride:

Today the mountain bikers version of Newton’s law of Physics h20x moss/rock-:- negative/ equilibrium = pain applies.  The trails here are very rocky, full of roots and loose fire road climbs, which is all good, but pretty sketchy with all the rain we have had and it warranted riding with as much finesse as you could muster. Some of the climbs here are extremely challenging and one in particular I would estimate to be 40 yards of dense rock of which I could not see a clean line. I would compare it to devils kitchen at Burlington but raise the difficulty factor 3x. That’s not to say that someone out there hasn’t cleaned it on a dry day. There were sections that just one more rock placed would have made that stream crossing or deep rock gardens ride able keeping the ride flowing better. A good portion of the single track had a lot of debris down that caused a few close calls with derailleurs, there were trees down and some sections were almost over grown. Don’t get me wrong, Pachaug is a good ride, and with some trail maintenance and a little exploring it has great potential. I’m sure this vast forest has many a hidden treasure just waiting to be discovered and with the right flow it could be an Arcadia 2. Being that Arcadia is only a few miles away may contribute to Pachaug being a bit

neglected. So until someone takes the initiative to work on Pachaug, my vote is to drive a few more miles to Arcadia hands down. –Arch

Familiar riders: Andy, Glen, the infamous Mike Coleman, Rose City’s Mickey, John Scarford, Shelby Sunshine

New Riders: Dude with 50lb Specialized, 2 single speeders (hats off !!), Sir talksalot on Black Blur (kidding)

All good guys and good riders.

Willimantic Steeple Chase Benefit Ride

Ride Pictures

Nerac Earth Cycling Club

Riders: Nathan S., John S., John A., John Stockford, Kyle, Shelby, Alan, Brian, Kai, Jill, Kevin, Bill, Sarah, Dave F., Cliff, Jen, Tom, Doug

Ride time: Whatever people needed.

Accumulated Mileage: Sarah and Dave did 20 miles; my dad, Bill, Brian, and I did 50 miles; and everyone else did 100 miles. I started out going left into Willimantic with Bill and Brian, but after a little bit they lost us. My dad and I rode across the frog bridge and started in the cold morning. We rode through so many places that I can barely list them in order: Willimantic, Lebanon, Andover, Coventry, Mansfield, Eagleville, Storrs, Willington, Ashford…(I forget the rest). After somewhat 25 miles, my dad’s back tire popped. Great! Amazingly, he tinkered with it in such a way that it held air for the rest of the ride. Odd… Later on my dad saw a snake in the road, which I didn’t see, and I ran over it. Good thing I was riding light, the snake seemed ok. We rode for 4 hours 38 minutes. The 3 rest stops had great stuff, and the food back at the mill was GREAT. I liked the second rest stop the best, it was indoors!! The section I thought was the greatest was the route 89. It was really flat. Anyway, the riders never met up again. Sarah and Dave were gone when we got there, and the 100 milers finished a couple hours after I left. This was the longest and hardest road ride I ever did, but I would give this ride a Grade A.—-Nathan

Gay City State Park

Riders: Doug McB., Jill, Nathan S., (younger) D.J., John A., Evan, Jonathan

Time: 5-6:30

We started out on the red trail, nothing too exciting, except Jill’s bike was acting funky. Doug, Jill and me didn’t go all the way to the top of the blue trail with the others. We continued on after we met up later on. Later down the trail I really banged my knee and it hurt like crazy for a little bit. Before we got back to the lot, Jill and I decided to take the easy trail while everyone rode around a lot more. It was a nice ride ( with a little mud and water in between) I should consider going there more —Nathan

Hodges Village Dam

Race Results Race Pictures

Racers: D.J. N., Jonathon, Steve, Kyle, Jill, Garth, John, Rick, Dave, Emma

Support/Fans: Robin, Shelby, Vicky, Allyssa, Lauren, Jan, Andrea, Emma, Max, Allison, Doug

This was by far the best race course and race day this season. Cool temps, dry course, not one speck of mud to be found, and lot’s of racers made for an excellent day for all. I got there early to set up the tent and was able to chat with Jan, meet D.J.’s sister (potential future racer???), snap some shots of Steve, D.J. and Jonathan before the Expert start and watch Emma rip up the field in the kids race. I already described the course in Wednesday’s pre-ride story so I won’t drag everyone through it again. I’ll just say I gave 110% today and it paid off. I came in 2nd, 9 seconds behind 1st place. Sooooo close, the other girl was very fast on the fire road and I was fast in the technical sections so it made for a lot of back and forth. The last half of the race had most of the fire road sections and not so much technical so I tried my best to hang in there but she got me in the last stretch before the finish line. After cleaning up and going to the award ceremony (Kyle came in 1st!) we headed over to cheer for the sport men as they crossed the finish line. Good timing, in the 20 minutes we waited, they all came in. Great team efforts today, everyone finished, no injuries, and lot’s of smiles. –Jill

Sunday Arcadia Ride

There is a chill in the air this Sunday morning, a slight reminder that summer will be sliding into fall shortly. There is already a noticeable loss of precious daylight, but the good news is that for now the lengthy heat wave we have been dealing with is over and the temperatures for this August 13th are to be in the 70’s and will make for a comfortable ride. John Sattar and I make the commute together and get stuck behind every hay wagon and chicken truck, which makes us a little tardy for the ride.  We pull into the lot where everyone was patiently waiting. I see some familiar faces, and some not.  Andy and Glen had hooked up with some riders last week, and they have graciously offered to show us some new stuff. I’m not very good at remembering names, so maybe you can help me out here Andy.  After a brief introduction we are ready to ride. There had been a lot of mention of “the ledges” on previous Arcadia rides, and today was the day we get to ride them. I was imagining a long climb to a ridge to get to the ledges, but to my surprise a few minutes into the ride we came upon what looked like we had landed on another planet full of giant boulders, outcroppings, just rock everywhere. Now Glenn had been here before and dove right in launching his nomad through the air like one of the Zambini brothers.  It wasn’t long before everyone was claiming his or her own piece of real estate looking for the right angle.  This was the first ride in along time where the terrain was unfamiliar to me, and a tad intimidating. All the Riders, With the exception of Andy, John S, and  myself were fully clad in Armour and wearing baggie’s which was a stark contrast to the Nerac riders with our naked knees and elbows and our bright yellow spandex bulging like herniated sausages. We spent a good twenty minutes in this one area playing on the rocks until everyone was ready to move on. Ever get that tingly feeling in the palms of your hands from your adrenaline when you’re standing at the edge of a 60’ rock descent that looks like this: ~~^\
\         I hope Andy’s pictures do it better justice. This is one crazy way to warm up on a ride!
\        There were only 2 takers on this stunt, and both cleaned it nicely. I was sure that soon the
\      This mini Moab would fade into forested single track, but it just kept coming! roller, launch,
\     Rock climb, like kids in a candy store you could pick a different line on any given section
\     Should I try the chocolate or the fireballs? It’s all good. Everyone was having a blast,
\   Even though this is not John’s type of riding he was riding great and still having fun. I know
\    Andy would have preferred his Ellsworth on this ride, most of the launches I tried bottomed
\     My suspension and drove the rim on the landing, I was lucky I didn’t flat. A hard tail or a
\     Single speed is probably not the way to go on this ride unless you are a powerhouse and or
\      Ride with super finesse. This was a ride that elevated the heart rate not from break neck
\       Race pace speed, but the consequences of riding over your head, break neck being the
\     Operative word. Some of these guys were pulling off some knarly stuff.

Ahh, finally the rock gardens give way to some tight fast single track where John and I are ready to explode with our lighter cross country bikes (I still would have preferred a bullit on this ride) Our ride leader (insert name here) riding a 35 lb Bullit, was mashing out a fine pace on the climbs and was just as fast on the down hills. It was close to 1:00 and we started around 9:00 so the consensus was to make our way back. I think everyone got his or her Sunday ride fix whether you’re a free rider, cross country rider, or somewhere in between. At the parking lot one of guy’s wife was waiting with pizza what more could you ask for; good food, great A++++ ride, and great people. Thanks to all for your hospitality. —  Arch

Crandall Park Beginners Ride

Ride Pictures

Riders: John A., Evan, Jill, Jonathan, John S., Nathan S.

Time: 6 o’clock-8 o’clock

We all started at the trail right next to the picnic area, rode up and down a couple of hills, took a right, and soon came to the first “big” hill. I believe that everyone but me made it up it. We rode further down the trail to a place where we took a sharp left. We got to another intersection where we took another left then a sharp right up Raccoon Rock. Later when we rode the “log” trail, we came to a hill with a giant log placed into the trail as a water bar. Both John A. and John S. made it up the hill. The real problem going up the hill is pulling the wheelie over the log while going uphill and having enough speed to get your back tire over it, too. Then we took a left at the end of the trail to get to Big Rock. We got there, and everyone went down the steep hill perfectly whether it was on their first or second try except for me, who didn’t go down at all, I will try it some day! We then turned around and John A. played a bit on a large rock. We then rode the trail for a while, went up some hills, and came to “The Orange Hill”. We all tried the “backside of Orange” and after 3 tries, John A. and John S. had made it up. Jill was just a half a stroke from making it over the rocks and to the top. We continued a little bit to the next big rock garden. Evan was so close to making it, his bike just slipped by a hair which messed him up. After a little bit, we came to a “new trail.” John S. wanted to take it to see where it went. After going through some heavy bogs, we came to a house, oops. We went all the way back, and then everyone’s bikes started acting weird. It was either squeaking or scraping from all the mud. We all rode through it, up a couple of long hills and came to the top. The rest was all down hill and I had my little tree hugging incident. We came back around to the first big hill and rode it again. Instead of taking the left, we went straight to big rock and this time everyone went down the smooth trail to The Lodge gate. We rode past that, down the road a came to this small but steep downhill with some rocks. It ended right next to the bridge which was pavement on the other side. We followed that other side to the parking lot! We started to pack up all of our gear and then chatted a while. Finally, we all said our goodbyes and headed home. I think everyone did an outstanding job on this tough ride — Nathan

Wednesday Hodges Pre-ride

Riders: Steve, Rick, John, Andy, Jill, Charles, Rob, Juston and about 12 other peopleThis ride was every bit as fun as the Hodges pre-ride we did 2 years ago. A couple minor incidents at the start. I guess I cut Rick off going up the first rocky hill (or so he says) but there was a great big rock and I had to cut left! Then John’s bike did not want to go up the next hill which left a pile up behind him (definitely not my fault). We were ok for a while after that, there was no time for conversation. Just fast, fast, fast. This race is going to be so much fun. So many burms, so many whoops, great narrow single track, and lot’s and lot’s of roots. We finished the first half then met up with the latecomers and backtracked with them for a 2nd run on the first half. Starts off fast again then uh oh John washed out in the first 90 degree burm at about 60mph in a huge cloud of dust. Waited while he picked the stick out of the skin on his shin, he’s got a nice new gash on his leg. Where’s the blood and gut patrol (Andy!) with the camera??? We catch up to Juston who was nice enough to wait and decide to bomb ahead because we already know this part. It seems like we’re all on the same page, the just ride like heck crew. What a great group of riders at this ride. This is the first chance I’ve had to ride with Steve and he was burning up the course and barely sweating. Andy did 7 hours of bike patrol at work today then rode like his legs were on fire tonight. It wasn’t actually work, it was 7 hours of warm up! Tried to get him to race on Sunday but no go. Got to the 2nd half of the course, more roots and rolling terrain. Most of the group heads out at the end of the lap and Rick, John, Juston, Andy, Ben, and I decide to do a 3rd loop of the first half of the race before it gets dark. Juston tests our slow riding skills by riding at a crawl up the hill. I barely make it with Andy rubbing my tire the whole time, I hear Andy cursing behind me. Don’t do that anymore Juston!!! It’s supposed to be a slow lap but of course we’re all racing again. This course is made to ride fast, I don’t think it’s possible to just dawdle along. I’m pretty sure everyone had a great ride. Did I mention how fun the burms were? –Jill

Our Sunday Morning Ride Vernon Cycle Ride in Bicycling magazine

If you have a copy of the September 2006 issue of Bicycling, be sure to check out page 43 at the bottom for the 8 Great Club Rides and How to Join. Our Sunday morning mountain bike ride is mentioned there.

Sunday Road Ride

Riders: John, John, Kyle, Arch, Jen and Tom Schirmer, Mike, Cliff, Garth, Jill

The sun was out, it was dry, we had 10 riders all wearing the same kit, there was very little humidity, nice breeze. All indications of an excellent ride. So what happened? I bailed around the 50 mile point when we got close to my house, rode to Dunkin Donuts and got a Coffee Coolatta, some chocolate munchkins (Ha!), walked home, crawled in the hammock and waited for Michael to get home to hear about what I missed. This was one of those rides that sneaks in every once in a while to remind you not every ride is a good ride. And sometimes, like on Sunday, you can have a very, very bad ride for no particular reason at all. I call them ride appreciation days and you have them so you can really appreciate how special the days are when your legs are good and your bike flies. Aside from my personal misery it was nice to catch up with everyone and chat. I hope someone pipes in with a better Sunday ride story… — Jill

Saturday Family Ride

Pictures Ride Video