Monthly Archives: October 2008

TCC Mansfield Hollow ‘Cross Race

Dave sent in some pictures from the cyclocross race


(Sponsored by the Granite State Wheelmen)

Riders: Doug and Pete

On Sept. 21st at 6:45 A.M. Doug and I were registering at Hampton Beach N.H. getting ready for the metric century. The sun was rising over the ocean and it was a balmy 50 degrees.


(Sunrise at registration)

The perfect start for a ride that follows the coastline, from Newburyport Mass to the Nubble Lighthouse in Maine. We left the starting area and headed north on scenic 1A passing by beachcombers, surfers and fishermen. As 1A snakes along the coastline, the scenery slowly changes from public beaches to residential homes and marinas, harboring sailboats and powerboats that the glimmering morning sun makes even more picturesque. The ride then meanders through even more rural areas with many salt ponds and marshes.

(one of the many marinas)

During the ride there are some small bridges with steel grate tops that the GSW suggest you dismount and walk across. Then you come to the Mac-Daddy steel grate draw bridge in Portsmouth, N.H. that you have to walk (Police at both ends to ensure walking). This area can get pretty congested I’ve seen a couple of hundred cyclist crossing at the same time


You then cross over into Maine and for a short time the scenery changes to a more rural inland setting, then back to coastline. This is where we ran into the all-women half marathon. Doug, with his usual commentary, proclaimed the scenery just kept getting better and better. Unfortunately, this is also where he almost got hit by a Peter Pan tour bus. Doug’s story he” ran out of asphalt and couldn’t get unclipped, stupid Speedplays”, my version – someone was too busy checking out the new found scenery and totally spaced the tour bus pulling over in front of him.

The metric turned around here and we got to follow and pass the marathoners (they took up the whole lane), which meant passing a group pulling into an open spot chatting with some runners then passing some more, but the century goes on to the Nubble Lighthouse and returns.

(The Nubble Lighthouse)

This is a great ride if you want to take your time and view some truly beautiful scenery. We average 16.5 mph for the first half of the ride, then picked up the pace on the return and averaged 18.9 overall. The ride is generally flat with only a few small climbs.

(All smiles at the finish)

A few words of advice for those who are thinking about riding it in the future. There are only two rest stops on both the metric and century, while well stocked with food and drink, it’s a long way between them so if its hot(our day started of at 50 ended at 70 degrees) or you drink a lot of fluids while riding either bring a camelbak or cash to buy water. Also pre-registration is a must, with a max limit of 1700 riders its sold out every year, there is no on site registration. With your reg. fee you have the option to ride either Saturday or Sunday or both. I prefer to leave early as reg. can get crazy with a couple of hundred riders in line and the route can get pretty congested later in the day with cycling and auto traffic.

I would recommend this ride, it is one of my favorites, if you want to slow down and appreciate how beautiful the New England coastline is and get back to the basics of riding with no goals, expectations and no hurry. -Pete

Plains Rd Climbing Society

This is a self-nomination for membership in the Plains Rd Climbing Society.

I started the ride today with no particular route in mind, just needed to get out and enjoy a beautiful day. The ride started with a warm up climb on Minor Hill Rd (not so much). It’s a half-mile climb that gets the blood pumping with a 16% grade near the top, but it’s over before the pain hits. That was all it took to awaken the KOM voice in my head that quickly convinced the voice-of-reason that I should try Plains Rd today. Knowing that I’m not going to get much riding in this week I give in. Plus, current Society members said it’s not that bad. I made sure I had plenty of time to warm-up and I made the turn onto Plains Rd from Rt 32. The sight alone is enough to scare most people before the climb even starts. The approach was like the feeling you get on a roller coaster just before a large drop, you know it’s going to be scary but it’s a great feeling when you make it through. The good news is that you can see most of the hill from the bottom so there’s no surprises, just a wall to conquer. Luckily I still have my triple crank and immediately dropped to the granny ring. There’s no easing into this hill, right away I’m at 13% and trying to keep the front wheel on the ground, staying in the saddle as long as I could. Then only a tenth of a mile in the slope increases to 20% and there’s no more sitting. Luckily I forgot my HRM strap or I would have panicked at the numbers and found a pile of leaves to dive into. I could almost see the wheels stop in the fraction of a second between down-strokes, computer says I bottomed out at 2.7 mph, yikes. The worst is over within in a third of a mile, so it was only 4 minutes of torture. I just remember how good 10% felt and was able to sit again. The best part was seeing a couple of cars descending, even if they aren’t cyclists, they must know this is nuts.

Now that I’ve done it, I can admit it’s not as bad as I thought, but it still sucks. I’ll add it to my list of climbs to try every so often and track my progress (maybe even break the 3 mph barrier). Interval training doesn’t get much better that this.
Lisa, tag you’re it.

— John R.

Gay City – Case Mountain Loop

Riders: Mike, Rick, John D, Tom, Steve, John S.

Mike picked me up for this ride, since my wife’s mini-van is in the shop getting the transmission rebuilt (hmmm, could of bought a new bike for the price of this repair) and she commandeered my vehicle. We got to the parking spot off of Route 85 and met up with Rick, John D., Steve and Tom. John D. had emailed me earlier in the week inquiring about our group rides and whether non-members were welcome. I answered his email assuring him that anyone can join us and at the same time Jill answered his email with a similar response. He must have been wondering if we are like vultures just waiting for fresh meat on a ride or are we just email junkies. Steve and Tom had ridden in the Ashford Metric Century the week before and thought that they would join us for our jaunt though Gay City and Case Mountain. Dave F had also mentioned that he was going to ride with us too, but he hadn’t shown up yet. I gave him a quick call to see if he was on his way, since it was a few minutes after our planned start time… only to find out that he was still home and making waffles! No Dave then… so our group consists of three club members and three riders that haven’t ridden with us before.

We start off into Gay City on the paved road then hit the double track and then a quick left and almost get “T-Boned” by Rick. I wonder if the other guys saw what just happened and if this is an omen of things to come! We cross the first bridge and then “PING” sssszzzzzztttt. Mike pulls over and his middle ring looks like a single piece of twisted metal pie. We hunt around for the other triangular bits of metal scattered on the trail and collect it all. Mike decides he can still do the ride in his granny ring, saving another few more precious ounces off his bike by removing his big ring. We start riding again and on the first decent climb I get some chain suck, I jump off my bike as the other guys pass me. I pull the chain on to the granny gear and give it a quick spin to see if everything is working. At this point it the other guys have gone out of sight and it is only me and John D. I hop back on an my chain is skipping like crazy, I look down as I pedal (as much as you can while riding uphill) and I don’t notice anything out of wack so I turn the barrel connector for the rear shifter as I ride to see if I can get it to stop jumping. I’m not very happy thinking of the climb to Case Mountain with the chain acting like a Mexican jumping bean. Whatever! Keep pedaling to catch up… John and I finally rejoin the group at the clearing, I whine a little (or a lot) about the skipping p.o.s. chain and I ask “where is Steve?”. Of course the other guys say he is with me and John (not a good response, because he is obviously not with us). After a little banter between us, we realize that while I was fixing the chain suck, Steve must have missed the turn over the downed tree, going straight to… the wrong way. Steve is new to Gay City and Case so we need to go find him.

Rick, Tom and myself head back down the trail to see if we can locate Steve, while Mike and John D decide to wait at the clearing (maybe in case he finds some magically new way to get to where they are, by some invisible trail, that doesn’t exist??? Or they are just smarter than us?)…. I definitely wasn’t looking forward to climbing back up again with my bike acting up, but yah gotta do, whatcha gotta do. We ride almost half way back to the downed tree and we see Steve heading up towards us! Good trail sense Steve! I really didn’t want to tell Jill that we lost someone on their first ride with us… we usually wait until they know us better! I decide to take a close look at my bike… maybe it is a bent plate on the chain… sure enough as I am turning it… Rick spots it, a nice little twisty pair of links. I remove the offending links and with a donated chain pin from Steve (even after losing him he gives up a chain pin, he can ride with us anytime!), I repair the chain and off we go again. No more skipping! We group back up and finish the climb to Birch Mountain Road. Mike seems to be doing fine with just the 22 x 11 setup (maybe it time for a single speed for him too!). The trails are in great condition and we fly down to the res. All things are good as we head towards the overlook. A few people hanging out enjoying the view. We talk about how taking the pink trail then blue brings you back pretty much to the summit… just a nice detour. Enough of this… time to ride again. We head towards pink, and down we go! Again we are all flying though and out to the carriage path. I stop to make sure that we don’t lose anyone else again today. Mike goes on ahead…. I see Rick pop out (he stops… thinking the same thing that we should all stay together). Then out comes Steve and Tom… they go by me and Rick.. to catch up with Mike… A few minutes go by and no John D. Mike, Tom and Steve are already at the single track to get back to blue… Rick and I head back up pink to look for John. Climb, climb, climb.. no John… did he even leave the summit??? Did anyone even check??? Jill is going to kill us!!! We see a hiker that we saw at the summit earlier and ask her if she saw the mountain biker that was with us… She asked us what he was wearing… GUYS DON’T NOTICE THAT KIND OF STUFF! He was wearing biking clothes… doh?? No help there at all… maybe she got too much fresh air…side effect of global warming…maybe that’s not water in her camel back… whatever!

We finish climbing to the summit and find John D. talking to someone… seems that instead of taking the pink trail, he took the fire road which circles right back up to the summit… about a 50 yard round trip! The three of us head off to the blue trail.. hoping that Mike, Steve and Tom just kept going. After a few minutes, Mike shows up via the pink trail too… we rehash the story of John’s detour and head down blue to go and get Steve and Tom. We are all together again… climb blue to the rock garden. We then start climbing again and head a spot that in the past has treated me poorly… a sketchy downhill that has left me with a huge black thigh bruise in the past. Rick and I are chatting about it and he decides that he is going to skip it and take the trail that bypasses it. I haven’t been boned by that section in quite a while so I decide I’m going to ride it… maybe Rick voodoo’ed me, but as I approach the descent my wheel catches and I endo… jumped the bar… but since it downhill slammed on my left shoulder (it’s been separated 3 times).. and it didn’t hurt… at first I thought I must of hit my other shoulder… since I wasn’t wincing in pain… but then I realized that I did hit my “bad” shoulder and for the first time it held up! Mike loved the sound of my body slapping the ground… I would have laughed too.. if it wasn’t me… pulled my bike back to the top and rode it cleanly this time… everyone else took the bypass. Hey, I cleaned the leaves off the trail for them with my skin… what gives?

We head off to Slick Rock… I clean it… then Mike cleans it… then Rick almost cleans it.. and the other guys get various stretches of it. Rick mentions that he needs to be back at the car at 12:00… hmmm that’s a problem.. it’s 12:15 right now! Mike asks me if I have a curfew.. normally riding after 12:00 is not good for my cycling career or home life for that matter. He also wonders aloud if I am going to use him as an excuse for being late… I assure him that I have a kitchen pass, especially since I don’t have a car (but maybe I’ll use him as an excuse in the future!). We head straight back instead of doing Blackledge, so Rick can get back only an hour late… without incident. Better to ride and ask forgiveness than not ride at all. Great ride, great day, great group, but waffles would have been the icing on the cake. –John

Mansfield Mountain Bike Ride

View Pictures

DAS Cyclocross at Owen Bell Park

Riders:  Rick, Dave F., Jill and Sarah as our support and photographer

View Pictures

There is a weekly cyclocross training series put on by Don at Danielson Adventure Sports every Wednesday at Owen Bell Park in Dayville.  About a month ago I went to scope it out and tonight was the first time I was able to get out there to actually race.  It was also my first attempt at cyclocross period.  Rick and Dave and Don from DAS were pretty helpful, giving me tips and advice.  The 3 of us did a few practice laps.  Rick and I

Dave's Baby

Dave's Baby

switched bikes for a lap both agreeing that the other’s bike was a sweet ride, his bike was super smooth and fast and I enjoyed riding it in the switchbacks. The race started with a parade lap to make sure all the riders were familiar with the course then the fun began.  The course starts with a healthy climb that leads to some sweet windy singletrack through some very tight spots, there are 2 barriers that you have to carry your bike over in this section then a good downhill that leads to a flat, fast stretch that gets you to the super steep hill where you throw your bike on your shoulder and run it up.  At the top there is a bit of a sketchy downhill to a fire road then a swift left out onto the track where we do about a ¾ lap to the start line then back around again.  Although it was a small crowd there seemed to be quite a pool of talent with pro and semi-pro racers in the mix.  I concentrated on improving my efficiency getting over the barriers (and there was a lot of room for improvement!) and mentally trying to come to terms with the fact that the rideable hill was not going to get any easier on my singlespeed.  The most difficult part I think was the run up the steep hill carrying the bike.  Fortunately Sarah was there cheering us on.  After the race Pauline encouraged me to add some gears to my bike and I thought about doing it but decided I would just stick it out on the singlespeed.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?  I’m going back next week to try it again, who’s in???? – Jill

Ashford Metric Century – October 5, 2008

Wish I could write a beautiful account of the AMC ride this past Sunday but I simply can’t remember much.  After the second hour of cold rain, my main goal was to find that zone where you don’t feel what your body is going through…even tho that meant foregoing the pleasant chatter that can make long rides so much fun.  Nope the focus was on trying to ignore the cold and the rain and hope the miles slide by smoothly.  And since my lips were frozen words came out sounding funny anyway.  Lisa and John R were my riding companions for the day and it was a great accomplishment just to finish.   But the course was awesome and with a little bit nicer weather, this is a classic autumn ride that next year, you can’t miss!  With Lisa’s help, I put some things together to tell the story of our 1st annual AMC ride.

At the start just a little trepidation about the weather….but the weatherman said it was going to clear up! So off we go.

First 10-15 miles were nice, kind of grey and foggy, a little chilly but great scenery…a little light rain but not soaking…and the weatherman said…..

Mile 20 ish – rain not seeming to taper off like the weatherman said, still cold

Mile 23 Lisa says I am frothing behind the knees

Mile 28 ok the weatherman LIED, we are completely soaked through and frozen now

How on earth can Lisa and John be doing this in shorts???

Hills?  What hills? Noticing nothing except the cold rain.

Thoughts of quitting at rest stop #2 – nothing wrong with 30 miles on a day like this but we rallied (I don’t remember why).

Mile 38 Sunny and warm??  Hallucinating…and off course. What’s that noise oh my phone, luckily Lisa called me and I came back to reality, and the course …but why is that big squirrel out in the road trying to bite me! And barking!! Bad squirrel! Still hallucinating

Mile 45ish – spots of sun

Mile 50 Turning onto 89 “Survival mode”

Last rest stop – they’re all smiling !??  nice to see smiling faces.   I can’t say anything– feet and mouth are frozen (not smiling)  John looks great.  Lisa wants her bike to be a lounge chair…it hurts to stop …and to start again.  But it looks like we’ll finish.

Last stretch – rte 89 seemed to go on forever. And ever. And ever.

Finally cowbells – my husband and daughter cheering me on at the intersection of 44 X 89

Yay taking off those wet clothes – they must have weighed 15 pounds. And a baked potato NEVER tasted so good.

I think there was some beautiful scenery – I remember a vista of huge round green hills on each side of the road, a white farmhouse sitting in the middle, stone walls, fox hill farm & vineyards, church bells ringing, apple orchards, a field full of chickens and a sheep that said hello, the smell of balsam riding past a tree farm, a classically spooky looking cemetery, (“are we going in circles??” Good thing for Johns GPS or we may have been Blair witch project 2 – on bikes…) a blur of antiques shops old schools churches farms and blazing fall foliage. It was good to finish.  Great support, great course markings, great route, great food – thanks to all who worked behind the scenes to make this a safe and enjoyable ride for so many.  I can’t wait for next year – this ride is truly a classic, and the weather can only be better!– Susan

Ashford Metric Century

I’d like to thank all the organizers, volunteers and the awesome cyclists that took part in the ride today and a huge thumbs up to Keith for bringing coffee out to the rest stop at the Mansfield boat launch, that was awesome.

What a great turnout for the first Ashford Metric Century.  We are already thinking of ways that we can make the event even better next year.  Sorry we can’t do much about the weather!  Thanks again and I will post updated pictures thoughout the next few weeks as they come in to me.  — John

EMS Ride at Case

Riders:  Brett, Scott, Steve, John, Jill, Michael, and a couple others
This was my first mtb ride after being on vacation.  The Princeton Tec Rep was there letting people try out the Switchback 1, 2, and 3.  I borrowed a 3 with a handlebar mount and it was pretty easy to get it on the bike.  The battery straps to the top tube, it was definitely lighter than my night rider light but not by a whole lot.  I was hoping I would still have access to my water bottle holder with this light but the hollow in the frame of my stumpjumper was too small.  We met at Line St. , the parking lot was packed and there were several groups heading out.  After two weeks of 90+ degree days out west it was a little chilly for me in the parking lot.  The first cold night ride is always a little rough starting out anyway.  After we all got our lights situated we headed up the trail.  I lagged a little behind at first to measure my legs after not riding for so long but looks like all that hiking kept my legs in shape because it didn’t feel too bad, Michael seemed to be fine too.  It also helped that Brett’s chain kept falling off.  He usually rides a stumpy exactly like mine but today he was riding a Rocky Mountain Hardtail with only one ring in the front.  Johnny from EMS had just installed a new part that was supposed to keep the chain from falling off.  And it did prevent the chain from falling to the outside but not the inside.  After every bump the chain seemed to jump off and after a while I really started to feel bad for Brett.  A little because his bike was junking up on him but more so because of the relentless heckling that Steve was dishing out.  And unable to resist Michael threw in a few good ones too.  Poor Brett.  Anyway he ended up riding out with one of the guys who had borrowed a Switchback 2.  It was his first night ride and his eyes were having trouble focusing so we ended up meeting up with Brett on our way out.  Of course when we met up with him he was off the bike trying to get the chain on again.  We rode for about 2 hours, up to the lookout, over to blue, to the steel bridge, up Fern, back down at the top of the power lines then down slickrock, back up the blue, over to yellow? Or was it red?  The one with those high bridges that you don’t have a chance to think about how you might not want to do them when you are already half way across, then back to Line St.  Good ride, I’d give it a B or so.  Kind of a quiet and mellow ride.  – Jill