Monthly Archives: May 2009

Sunday Road Ride

John S, Brian H, Rick, Mike Sousa, and Dave F. Mike is new to the club and new to cycling(3 weeks addicted) and this would be his first long distance ride with a goal of around 40 miles. This was supposed to be a moderate to slow ride which I think overall it was. The weather was perfect and the temperature couldn’t have been better. It warmed up nicely after our decent down Anthony which had some pretty cold pockets. We had a nice pace line going down 32 towards Stafford and were just getting warmed up when we headed up Village Hill which is a climb I always enjoy. John’s new chain and cassette was skipping a bit so we stopped at the top for some adjustment. We took a right on Schofield Rd that has little traffic and beautiful scenery. After crossing RT 190 and another fine adjustment to John’s drive train, the route becomes Stafford Street which is similar to Schofield in that you remain on highlands above the Willimantic River valley on a road that has a good rhythm of rolling climbs and descents, which is the most awesome way to get to Stafford Lake. Everyone seemed to be riding well and Rick was making it look so easy on his cyclocross bike that I think he should be required to ride that on all road rides. We descended to RT 19 and did another nice pace line to into Mass. Rick snuck up on John for the state line sprint and it was all out to the sign. I’m not sure who won but it was close. We took a food break at Lake George and headed back towards Ct via Union Rd and New City Road. New City seems to be the route for cyclists because we passed several groups and individuals on the climb. The spin back down 19 to Stafford was fast and before you know it we were in front of the French Bakery in booming downtown Stafford. The bakery had fresh chocolate croissants right out of the oven but NO COFFEE!


So we pocketed our fresh French baked goods and crossed the street to that famous coffee house Che’X-Tra-Marte’. IMG00089-20090531-1027The Xtra Mart coffee was superb and we relaxed in the sunshine by the Willimantic River and recharged. Mike made a comment like…”do you guys always stop and eat?” to which I replied…”just on Sundays”.


From here things got interesting because once we were back on the bikes and started to work out the stiffness from stopping, we made a right off of Rt 32 just to show Brian, Rick, and Mike what Plains road (Girl Scout Hill) looked like in case they ever wanted to give it a shot. Bikers can’t say no to a challenge so off we went. It was painful as usual but we never see traffic there. Today we had a car going up and one coming down so that we couldn’t weave at all at the steepest part. We all made it through and Mike was a trooper to not only do his first 40 miler but throw Girl Scout in towards the end. From there we headed down Buff Cap and up 74 back to Tolland. This was one of those perfect day and perfect rides that you live all week for. I can’t wait for the next one.

Trail Day at the Boy Scout Camp in Ashford

Volunteers: Tom and Marilyn, Mary and Randell, Steve, Dave and Mark, Ryan and Natasha, Dave, Sarah and Jack, Jill and Chris, Doug M., Andy M., John Stockford, Garth, Michael and Jill, Tony.

Saturday a huge crew of us swooped down on the Boy Scout camp in Ashford and built 3 separate trail systems. Dave’s crew worked on enhancing and connecting 2 existing trails, my crew cut about a mile of new trail and Garth’s crew cut about a mile and a half of new trail.

Sunday I took my bike over to the camp to ride while Michael hoofed it with his GPS. What a spectacularly challenging course we built! Every section has its own unique characteristics and challenges and I enjoyed all 3 sections.

Thank you again to everyone who volunteered and especially to Jesse, the camp ranger for letting us build the trails and for supplying a terrific lunch from The Midway. These trails will be used for a Root 66 Mountain bike course in late August. The boy scout camp also has a mountain bike program for the kids and they will be able to use the new trails in their program. – Jill

Tuesday AMC Road Ride Manchester which now start at 6:00

Dave F and Tony

Nicely Paced Recovery Ride! Sure I’ll sign up for that! I should have known better when I saw Tony and Kevin Breton in the group. Ed and Glen assured me that because they did a century Monday that they were ready for a nice recovery ride with a 17 MPH average. I did a hard 34 mile rail trail ride on my cyclocross bike Monday so I was ready to spin my cares away on a nice Connecticut River Valley recovery ride. Within 1 ½ miles from the parking lot we were averaging around 21 MPH and when I struggled on the hills by the golf course I knew this was going to be painful. Tony and a few other strong riders were at the front keeping a good pace and absolutely sprinting every hill. At the top of the final hill on Frog Hollow road I heard the 2 guys behind mutter that they had gotten in on the wrong ride and didn’t think they could keep the pace. I got off the back of Tony’s wheel by only ten feet at the start of Pinney Street and struggled to get back on at 28 MPH. I was dropped like a hot potato going up Jobs when I slowed to remove my wind breaker and just couldn’t get back on. I settled into a pace, drank and got some GU down. Kevin hung back on Reeves Road and pulled me back to the group going down Jill’s favorite hill. Once I was back on with my jacket off and some food and Cytomax in me I was good to go. Don’t get me wrong the rest of the ride was very fast and painful but I felt good and hung with the group without further problems. Glen stopped us on Old Main Street in South Windsor to form a pace line and “instruct” some of the members of the group on the etiquette of pace lining and how not to yo-yo. Once the pace picked up again the group was a little smoother. I was taught road riding etiquette, safety, and pace line efficiency by Glen, Eddie, Phil, Kevin and Dave I years ago and it is always a pleasure to ride with those guys. As usual after crossing RT 5 it was an all out up the final 2 hills and back to the parking lot. Even when I suffer on these rides they are still my favorite and I feel so good when I’m done. They build my strength and endurance like no other ride and I look forward to it all week. For my first Tuesday ride of the year it was awesome and I can’t wait till the next ride.
Dave F

Race Results from Coyote Hill Climb

Race Results for the Coyote Hill Climb.

Race Results from Winsted Woods MTB Race

Race Results from the Root 66 Winsted Woods MTB race

Angel Ride

Dear Nerac Earth Teammates,

I want to make a difference in a child’s life – a child dealing with serious illness. The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp has been helping to raise the spirits of children in New England hospitals. The “HOP” Hospital Outreach Program provided over 15,000 bedside visits in 2008.

Seriously ill children experience pain, fear, loneliness and a loss of control. The Camp’s Hospital Outreach Specialists are trained in counseling and hospital protocol, in addition to their artistic area of expertise. They share drawing, painting, crafts, music and storytelling to aid in the healing process by building hope and a sense of accomplishment in seriously ill hospitalized youngsters.

Through my participation in AngelRide 2009, I am supporting Angel Charitable Trust’s mission of helping children with cancer and other serious illnesses and conditions by opening windows of happiness during their most intense period of treatment with its sponsorship of The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp’s Hospital Outreach Program.

100% of your donation will be presented to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp’s, “HOP”, Hospital Outreach Program. Please help me reach (or even exceed!) my goal.

It is faster and easier than ever to support this great cause by making your tax-deductible donation online. If you prefer, you can mail your check, payable to “Angel Charitable Trust” to PO Box 1013, Old Lyme, CT 06371.

Whatever you can give will help – it all adds up! I greatly appreciate your support and will keep you posted on my progress.

Click here to visit my Web page

Click here to make a donation

Tom (Jen too!)

Mansfield Hollow Beginner Ride

Mansfield Hollow Beginner Ride Pictures

Sterling Road Race

Sterling Road Race (Sterling, MA)
25 miles (3 laps of 8 miles) Cat 4 Women

View Pictures

This was my second road race. I had the same goals: to complete the course and not come in last, but with my eye opening 1st race I had no idea if I was going to be able to pull it off. This race was completely different from the last race. It was a nice 70 degrees, partly cloudy day with a start time of 11:20. There was a mostly flat neutral start with a short steep hill to follow. I was excited to be with the group for more then 5 minutes but was almost involved in some close call crashes. I was slowly pushed to the back by squirrelly bikers yo-yoing and swerving for no reason I could see. I am not use to this close unpredictable group riding so I leave room rather then risk the crashes to maintain my position. I am proud to state I was with the group thru the neutral zone this time and up the first steep hill but was slowly dropped within the next few slightly uphill miles. The next section was rolling hills followed by a short downhill and a turn onto an open slight uphill highway. This part was brutal biking alone because it was VERY windy against us. There was a crash on this part of the first lap and two people were taken away in an ambulance but being off the back I was safe. By the second lap I actually passed two women but was completely alone (fingers crossed I wouldn’t be last to finish). The third lap I put my head down and really tried to set a steady but faster pace knowing 25 miles was within my normal riding range. I managed to pass 2 guys on this lap and beat my second lap time by at least 5 minutes. I gave it my all with a steep hill finish. It was confirmed today I was NOT the last to finish. Good Job to all the racers!   – Nicole

Mansfield Hollow Ride

Riders: Cindy, Jill

I’m always a little nervous taking out new riders but after 5 minutes I realized Cindy was going to be absolutely fine on the trail and was able to relax and have fun. After days of rain we lucked out with a beautiful sunny afternoon with temps in the mid 60’s, perfect for mountain biking. We headed around the lake first and after a little coaxing Cindy eased up on her brakes and was cruising smoothly down the hills and I was pleasantly surprised to watch her make almost every hill on the lake loop. She even rode through the rocky water crossings, what a trooper. After the 4 mile lake loop I gave her 3 options: going back to the car, riding the lake loop in reverse, or trying the 3 mile transfer station loop which has more climbs and more roots and rocks. She chose the transfer loop, which I was secretly hoping she would. The first half of the loop she sailed through then had to walk a few of the off-camber rooty sections and a couple of the steeper hills toward the end but I was very impressed with her determination and when she rode right over the wooden bridge with no hesitation I was ecstatic! Way to go Cindy. – Jill