Monthly Archives: July 2008

Tuesday AMC Road Ride

Riders: Jill, Mike, Dave I. Dave F. Dean, Keith

It was a beautiful night with a warm start and cool finish. We did the B+ ride with Glen and had a group of 18 to start, and Dave I. did the A ride with some 40 miles at 21 MPH average! The pace was very casual for the first 5 miles or so which was a good thing since Mike got stuck in traffic and Jill was in the parking lot waiting for him as we departed. Trew wuv ….being what it is, team Nugent pulled by Knuckles, soon caught the group before the golf course in South Windsor and we all regrouped after the left hand turn. Mike and I got the pace picked up before Windsorville and we never slowed down again. We went a different route this time with a few more climbs and doubled back on Frog Hollow Rd where brown jersey guy did a Lance into the tobacco field. We headed back to Ellington and did a sweet downhill section on Hoffman Rd that took us to Somers. We turned onto 9th District Rd which is very scenic with rolling hills and farms on both sides of the road, and climbed past Jobs Hill to the fast downhill section to Rt. 140. The pace was very fast the rest of the way and the group held together nicely. Glen tried to set up a rotating pace line on Old Main St in South Windsor, with the left line falling back to rotate through the right, with the right line theoretically doing the pulling. It wasn’t a smooth rotation but was a fun experiment. The rest of the ride was all out to the parking lot. If you haven’t tried this ride you must. It gets a little chaotic and crazy sometimes but that’s part of the excitement. There are groups for every ability level that form up prior to the ride. See you next Tuesday. -Dave F.

AMC Ride in South Windsor

Riders: Keith, Dave F., Dave I., Dean, Kevin B., Michael, Jill
The ride starts at 6pm. Our crew rolls out with Glenn at 6pm. I sadly watch them ride away while I wait for Michael to fight the traffic and get to the ride. He arrives at 6:01, and I can still see our group riding away. He hurriedly throws on his jersey, grabs his water bottles, locks his car and hops on the bike. I am praying for magic legs tonight because we are going to have to hustle to catch up with the group. Some weeks the magic legs show up, some weeks they don’t. Last week they didn’t show up, hence the lack of a story – too depressing to put in words. But this week the magic legs are happily in evidence. No doubt with help from the nonfat ice coffee with a shot of espresso from D and D and the Gu Roctane I downed in the parking lot. So we begin the task of catching up and start cruising until Michael’s bike computer flies off his bike and into the road. OMG, we are never going to catch them! He swings back for the computer and then we get serious. Well, not too serious as quotes from the Princess Bride abound. I jump on Michael’s wheel and he pumps out the power, we turn a couple corners and see one group of riders, it’s not our group but with something to chase it motivates us to ride even faster. We pass them, turn another corner and see another group. This is our group so we gun it to catch up then hang out in the back for a few minutes to recover. Our group is more reasonable this week, maybe 20 or so riders including at least 5 women. This week the whole group stayed together for the entire ride, it was a really well matched group of riders which makes for a challenging and interesting ride. We rode one of the variations of the Ellington/Somers route, mostly flat with some gently rolling hills. And of course the Jobs Hill climb with that superb descent after. I think that is a favorite for everyone. Shortly after that we made a right turn and one of the guys overshot the turn and ended up riding through the corn field. It was a great save, he stayed on the bike. It was reminiscent of Lance Armstrong’s ride through the field after Beloki crashed in front of him a while back at the Tour de France. Toward the end Glenn had us try a double pace line which we were semi-successful at. The left hand line rode slightly slower than the right, the person on the front of the right line would lead for 15 seconds then peel off to the front of the left line. The last person on the left would hop onto the back of the right line as the last in the right line passed them. It took a little while for everyone to get the hang of it and I think the goal was to increase our speed and average but I think the learning curve actually slowed the group down and it detracted from our overall average (19.1) but next time we do a double pace line it should be a little smoother and quicker. Another awesome ride, super performances from all the riders tonight, every acceleration was matched, nobody got left behind, and I’m pretty sure everyone had a great time. -Jill

Beginner mountain bike ride: Mansfield

Riders: Jill, Mike, John, Nathan, Doug, Andy, Natasha, Dave F., Sarah, Meghan, Tony, Jacob, Joanne, Lisa, Fernando
It was a beautiful Friday night for a ride, with a touch of humidity and very warm. This was a true beginner ride with a large group that varied in age from 9 to 50 years old. Jill explained the rules of the ride prior to hitting the trail and you could feel the energy in the air. After a long week everyone was looking forward to a great ride. We started from the school on 89 and headed towards the dam with the intention of splitting into 2 groups with Mike leading one group over the whoop trail, and Jill leading an easier path, but everyone was game to try the whoops so off we went. Everyone made it through and had fun although Sarah, Jake, and Meggie didn’t like looking down at the drop off to the south side of the trail. At the end of the whoop trail, Tony took a YouTube type header as he descended the steep step trail at a high rate of speed, and I wished I had a camera for the event. He had a sore wrist for the rest of the ride but otherwise seemed ok. We all did a short road ride to start the lake loop and finished that loop without incident. At this point all the riders were doing awesome and were game to try the brushy trail from the dump road. At the bridge I took Meggie, Joanne, Jake, and Natasha who were done for the night, back to the school while the rest of the group took a right down the brushy trail. I know Jill, they haven’t cut the brush! After dropping off the departing group I raced to catch the others and in doing so did an ugly endo off of one of the new bridges in the big meadow. I caught the group before the dam towards the end and we all finished together. This was a fun ride for all and the newer riders did awesome. Jakes little legs never stopped pedaling, and Lisa has a “rider’s attitude”, determined and willing to try everything. Natasha is improving with every ride and I’m sure it helps her adventure racing. Knuckles and Eight Foot had fun teasing each other all night. I think I speak for all in saying that this has been a fun year for the club. We have 20 new members and many rides added to the schedule to address every level of ability. Thank you Jill, John, and Mike for your dedication to the club, and for leading many rides. –Dave F.

Mansfield Hollow Intermediate ‘Lite’ Ride

Riders: Dave I., Dave F., Andy, John Stockford, Michael, Jill
Well, this was supposed to be a ‘lite’ version of our intermediate ride but we didn’t get any ‘lite’ riders so I declared it a non-lite ride. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that – it gave Michael carte blanche for a speedfest. The faster he rode, the faster Dave I. chased. The faster Dave I. chased, the faster Michael rode. Hmmmm, those two are dangerous! The rest of us tried to hang on in the sticky humidity and made a valiant attempt to keep up with those two. We headed straight over the dam to the lollipop then around the lake then regrouped. Dave and Dave decided to finish up by riding the loop that starts at the transfer station and the rest of us headed over to Schoolhouse Brook. By the time we got over to Wolf Rock it was already getting dim. After Stockford’s double feature crashes down the back side of Wolf rock and the ensuing flat tire that got pumped up, then let out, then pumped up again it was almost full on dark so we rode the rest of the trail at a crawl tombstoning on all the rocks we couldn’t see and of course not one of us had a light. Took the road back and finished up with 17.4 miles. Ooops, I promised a 12 mile ride tonight and it was after 9pm when we got back to the parking lot – sorry guys… So, next time I will have a headlamp in my pack and possibly a rear blinking light on my bike – it was pretty sketchy riding in the dark on 195 back to the parking lot. But it all adds to the adventure right???? – Jill

AMC Road Ride S. Windsor

Riders: Brian, Dave, Doug, Jill, Mike, Pete
After working indoors all day I couldn’t wait to get on my bike to enjoy a gorgeous summer evening. Although I’ve mainly mtn. biked for past 18 yrs and ridden with mostly a few friends and small groups, I now have switched to road riding so this was my first large group road ride. I usually ride by myself or with a small group of friends which includes Doug.
With that said I was excited and intimidated for my maiden voyage and when I arrived at the parking lot and saw the large group of riders – a little freaked out. But I soon saw a couple of Nerac (Jill and Mike) riders introduced myself and was pleasantly surprised by their friendliness. They soon talked Doug and me to ride with the B group. After starting in the back of the group it didn’t take long for us to move up toward the front. The first half of the ride was pretty laid back but the second half seemed to be much more serious with more passing and faster speeds.
Eventually the group to split but about half way through we waited for everyone to regroup. We did average around 18.7 for the ride which was a comfortable pace for me as the ride is pretty flat. There was some confusion toward the end of the ride when the leaders decided to take turns pulling for 3 pole lengths at 24-25mph, Dave, myself and another rider decided to start the pull but after two rotations of the three of us pulling nobody was behind us apparently the rest of the group didn’t hear the plan.
Did I like it? Well the jury is still out on that one. After talking to Doug (it was his first large group ride also) about the ride the following day we kind of had the same mixed thoughts. This wasn’t my “style” of riding, I like to go just as fast as the next rider, keep my heart rate up, get some exercise, check out the scenery, relieve some stress and have fun. Did I do that, definitely the first three on my list, but with so many cyclists, more traffic than I usually have to deal with and not being used to a large group I never felt relaxed or comfortable during the ride. I must admit I would do it again for a training ride to go out and crank out 32-35 miles at a good pace and maybe after a few times be more comfortable. Thanks to Brian, Dave, Jill and Mike for their friendliness during the ride and I’m sure I’ll be checking out more of the group rides to come. -Pete

AMC Ride in South Windsor

Riders: Dave F., Dave I., Pete, Doug Bocuzzi (we have 3 Doug’s now!), Brian, Michael, Jill and around 70 more riders.
Holy cow, what a fantastic ride! I am still feeling the euphoria from the ride. It was that good. Started off with Michael taking his bike off the car and immediately flatting. While he was fixing it I met our two newest club members Doug, and Pete. Dave offered to lead the B group that Glenn usually leads and as we rolled over I saw the largest group of riders I had ever seen. So we rolled out with what seemed like 70+ riders. Michael and Dave I. were out front, Brian and I were about a 3rd back, Dave F. was making sure nobody got dropped in the back and Doug and Pete were somewhere between Brian and I and Dave F.
It started off a bit touch and go, I was pretty nervous about riding with such a big group and was itching to step up the pace. I kept leapfrogging groups of riders to get closer to the front and Brian leapt along with me. We kept doing this until we were about a dozen riders back then sat in comfortably and waited for the pace to pick up.
And it sure did. There was a stretch when Michael and Dave I. were about 30 yards in front of the rest of the group and we were was stuck behind a group of 6 or 7 riders and riders started bunching up behind us. Pete and Doug were suddenly next to me and I think we were all on the same page when we just passed everyone and starting chasing to catch up with the lead group. This sort of caused a free for all (which I loved!) and it was probably bad group riding behavior on our part (but so much fun!). After this the group thinned out quite a bit and we were left with around 25 riders in the group. At this point Dave F. caught up with us after doing the good Samaritan thing and making sure the rest of the group were matched up with riders who knew the route. The front group stayed together until about 5 miles out until we got to what I think of as “The free for all road”. This is where we make a left and everyone starts sprinting and craziness ensues. So fun! We then split into 2 or 3 groups and tried to regroup as everyone fried up the last of their energy and their legs. If you haven’t tried this ride yet, come on out for some fantastic and memorable rides. Each one has been better than the last… – Jill

AMC Road Ride in South Windsor

Riders: Michael, Jill
Another one of those heavy, hot, humid evenings. Had lot’s of 2nd thoughts about skipping the ride. Everyone else bailed because of the heat. I was feeling sleepy and cranky, and not necessarily in that order. Finally I got my act together, filled up my water bottles and headed over. Michael and I were both running late, I got there about a minute before he did and we frantically got our gear together and scooted over to the ride. I wanted to ride with Glenn tonight and his group was just heading out of the parking lot as we rode over. He split the group into a 19 avg and 18 avg and we chose the 18 although Dave I. was trying to get us to do the 19. It was tempting but the last 3 Tuesday rides my heart rate was steadily in the 190’s and I wanted to ride at a less crazed tempo tonight. But I do have to say these rides are becoming so addicting. The routes are mostly flat so you can really ride like the wind forever and they can be seriously fast and furious. When my heart rate was in the 190’s we were actually on a flat stretch of road but the pace was furious and riding with such a large group of fast riders is both nerve racking and exhilarating.
So anyway, about this particular ride. I am fairly oblivious to direction, location, etc. when on a group road ride so I will describe the route but don’t expect to really figure out where we went unless you talk to somebody else on the ride! We headed out the way we normally return but then we popped onto the bike path headed toward Hartford. I saw the sign for Bradley International Airport and thought “Where the heck are we going?”. It ended up being sort of an urban adventure riding through the city and although the pace was a bit stop and go because of all the stop signs and traffic lights it was also very exciting because there was so much to see. We ran into a group of city kids around 11 or 12 years old on bikes and they joined with our group for a short time. What a great crew they were, very respectful and sort of in awe of our huge group of riders. They hung with us as long as they could but we quickly lost them on their non-geared bikes. The city folks were apparently a great fan of spandex because there was quite a bit of cheering from the women we passed. We also rode by a Calypso band playing in the park in the city (Bloomfield?) and it was quite fun to wait for the light to turn green and for a moment pretend you are on the beach somewhere listening to some light and fun tunes without a care in the world. Ok, back to reality. This is where the ride starts to pick up and it’s pretty much a flat stretch of free for all back to South Windsor. Lots of jockeying for position and trying to hang on to the wheel in front of you. There was a lot of chatter early in the ride about the pace being so slow, after Glenn turned the speed on I didn’t hear much chatter at all behind me. We must have been screaming the last half of the ride because we still averaged 18.9 even with all the city riding. This ended up being a favorite ride for both Michael and I. Good times! – Jill