Monthly Archives: August 2009

Bike for Bovines: Keene NH Pre Race Ride

Sue Lucek and Dave Fluckiger:

GPS data

Sue asked me on a recent lunch ride if I’d be willing to take a ride to NH to pre ride the Bike for Bovines race course with her. I jumped at the opportunity. Last year was the first for the event and I enjoyed it immensely.  It is a true mountain biking event with climbs over 2 mountains, challenging terrain throughout, with a fast downhill which leads to a rail bed finish. Sue met me at my house at 8:30 where we packed the bikes and gear into her minivan (that has ice cold air conditioning) and headed north.  The weather forecast was hot, hazy, humid, and chance of showers or thunder showers by 1:00. Traffic was light for a Friday morning and we had a nice ride north while we ate and drank water in preparation for the tropical climbing we would be doing. We arrived at Stonewall Farm which is a farming museum/teaching center just west of Keene.

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It’s a beautiful place and great venue for a race. We chatted with a couple of local club members who built the course and maintain it for the race to get intell on this year’s course and find out if it was marked. They said that from the beaver ponds (at the top of the mountain) on down were marked but we would have to find the route to the ponds on our own.  Sue took pictures at the van and we headed off. The start heads out the back of the farm to a paved road which brings you to a dirt road that starts climbing right away.  The climb is very long with smooth roads at the start that give way to technical logging roads. I told Sue to go ahead and I would meet up with her at the top but she was nice and waited for me here and there. Constantly up and usually wet, last year we climbed the logging roads which were really small streams. They had dried out nicely and I hope they stay dry for Sue on Sunday. We missed the first right hand turn but caught the mistake when the terrain flattened out. I knew we should still be climbing so we went back a short way and found the correct trail. That was thankfully the only wrong turn we took. The climb finally leveled out and led into a fast downhill section that only lasted a half mile or so before once again climbing. We found the logging skidder and loggers where the guy at the farm said they would be and took another right so we could….you guessed it…..climb some more. This section had actually improved from last year because of the logging operation. I remember walking some of this climb last year because of the jumble of rocks that were unrideable.  The skidders had smoothed it out and packed it somewhat so we rode this whole section.  This is the climb that eventually brings you to the fire tower where we paused for pictures and to drink some water. The humidity was brutal and the air in the woods was stagnant.  We took another right past the fire tower and started in on the single track that was cut in for the race last year. This trail traverses the south side of Hyland Hill which has beautiful views to the distant mountains. A short way in there is a nasty section which again was improved over last year but is like a piece of pro downhill course. I walked this section without guilt. The rest of this trail was rideable and improved over last year as well.  The trail eventually leads back over the top of the hill to a tricky downhill section and eventually into fast downhill logging road. At the bottom is a small brook then a short uphill to a field. I flew through the brook and hit a really sharp rock square with my front tire and put a hole in it. I took off the tubeless valve and threw a tube in to get going again. After the field there is a very technical uphill that leads to a paved road. A quick left and right and guess what? You climb again! This climb is very steep and nasty. I think on my very best day at the beginning of a ride I could ride this climb. But not today, not in this heat, and certainly not after all the previous climbing at race pace. This climb is shorter though so once it’s over you know you have the race licked. When you see the beaver ponds it’s time to let it all hang out. The trails on the top of the mountain and sweet downhill after are worth every foot of climbing.  When you pop out onto the rail bed it’s a road race back to the finish. When we got back to the farm there was a hose with ice cold water that we used to bath our bikes and overheated bodies before packing up and heading home.

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This was a fun ride and a most challenging race course. I’m good for one 12 mile lap but can’t imagine doing two with all that climbing. We were bummed that we didn’t see any wildlife with the many moose, deer, and turkey tracks hat we saw. I’m wondering if we’re in for a hard winter with the heavy mast crops of beach nuts and acorns that were falling.  Thank you Sue for your home made raspberry and peanut butter sandwiches. Good luck Sunday.

Dave F.

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Blount Seafood Crits, Fall River Mass

One of the hottest days of the year and I went to Fall River and did the Masters 45+ and then immediately lined up for the Masters 35+ races. They were both 45 minutes on a very bumpy rectangular course. It has a decent hill betwen the 3rd and 4th corners and a long drag up to the line that really wears on you; or at least it wears on me.

Masters 45+

Aggressive race with almost always a couple guys off the front. Paul Curley & my old teammate Tom Stevens ride for Gearworks-Spinarts and their team was very active off the front. As the race wound down Sam Morse from Corner Cycles and one of the Gearworks riders were off the front and stayed away to finish 1-2. With 2 to go I was suffering pretty bad and had just about decided not to try in the sprint, but when we got the bell with 1 to go, I made a move to the top 5. Up the hill into the last corner it was single file. Paul Curley was on the front and I was about 5th on Mike Norton’s wheel. Paul was stalling at the front and it wasn’t that fast, but it was still single file. A couple guys came up behind me & I jumped, or more accurately I tried to jump-NOTHING in the legs so I sat back down & kept it going as best I could. I ended up 7th in the field sprint for 9th place. Paul held on for 3rd.

Quick trip to the car for a fresh bottle and then on the line for the 35+.

Masters 35+

Mark McCormac, former Pro US road champion and a handful of other real strong riders lined up as well. I see Mark’s name in the results in a lot of NE Pro1-3 races and he’s always riding well. I remember I beat Mark by about 3″ one time in the Jiffy Lube Crit in Weymouth MA way back when he was only 18; but I digress. It’s always tough to get back in the groove for the 2nd race & I was struggling. At one point I was about 2/3 of the way back & had to close a gap up the hill, which I did, but then I got gapped. Mark came up from behind & gave me a big push to get me back on the wheel. Thanks man I needed that. Again-a pretty aggressive race. Just before halfway, Mark attacked with a CCB rider and that was all she wrote. The field sort of disengrated and I dropped out after 30 minutes. Mark ended up second and they must have really fooled around on the last lap because the gap from them to the next rider went from about 30 seconds with 1 to go, down to about 2 seconds at the finish.

The thermometer in my car read 96 degrees. I downed 3 bottles before I could even contemplate the drive home.

-Dave G

Performance

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dAltitude Adjustment Ride

So here I am in Colorado Tuesday morning 4 days before the Copper Triangle alpine road ride which is an eighty mile romp starting at around 9,000 ft and passing the 11,400 ft mark with three mountain passes thrown in for good measure. My plan is to lay low today, go hiking for a few hours tomorrow up around 8,000 ft. Go for a forty mile then two hour hike on Thursday, Friday travel to Vail where the ride starts and meet Doug then do the ride on Saturday.

Thursday morning I’m up at 5:30 am pulling on my NERAC kit to get on the road by 6:15 to knock out my 40 mile altitude adjustment ride which starts around 5200 ft and is going to climb to around 6,500 ft. I’m starting in Longmont which is NE of Boulder and am headed to Loveland which is just south of Fort Collins. This route will take me from the city streets through the foothills of the Rocky Mountains back to the busy city again.

Traffic is unbelievable 24 hrs a day here always busy, always fast and although some roads have designated bike lanes you really have to pay attention to drivers who don’t have any patience for cyclists. With that in mind I opt for the sidewalk that doubles for a bike lane for the first couple of miles until I get into the country. Once I get out of the main town the scenery instantly changes to a rural landscape filled with horse farms mountain views and hardly any traffic.

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Aah – The open road awaits!

The temperature rises amazingly fast in this area it only took two hours to get up to 80 degrees. A welcomed change from the weather we had been experiencing in Ct. As I cruised along trying to keep my average above 17 MPH. I could feel the altitude working against my legs which instantly started burning and my lungs felt like they were going to implode, the best part was my Garmin was reading an altitude of 5700 ft., only half of the altitude I’ll be riding at on Saturday, I thought oh “@#*^%*%^^$%” but forged on. After this flat section above I turned into a canyon and promptly flatted at the base of the climb, which isn’t a bad thing with the scenery around here, a quick tube change and I was back on the road.

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Not a bad place to get a flat

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Up-Up and away

When I got to the top of the canyon the road leveled out and I realized no more burning legs and I could breathe again even though my GPS was blaring 6500 ft., so I figured I might as well pick up the pace a little so I cranked it up to 25 MPH and tried to hold it there for the next 20 miles. As I continued through the canyon the area turned to horse farms hidden away by the canyon walls from the busy life below.

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Unfortunately I had to leave my new found Xanadu and roll on back to civilization and my finish point of the ride. With the breathe taking scenery and open roads here in Co. I can see why there are so many cyclists on the road from sunrise to sunset. It amazes me though on how intolerant motorist are of bicycles in this state, in fact a law was recently passed ordering motorist to give a three foot zone when passing a cyclist.

Although I’m intimidated about the upcoming Copper triangle now two days away I’m feeling pretty strong with my 23.2 average on today’s ride and hopefully this afternoon’s hike up around 9000 ft will complete my altitude adjustment.

Until Saturday…..  – Pete

Mansfield Flea Market Fundraiser

Item Donors:  Harley, Pete, John Roberts, Andy M., John, Jill, Nerac

Staff/Support:  Dave F., Sarah, John, Nathan, Jill, Tony

Visitors:  John Roberts (on bike), Andrew (on bike), Bill W., Dave J. and 2 sons on foot

Co-renters:  Iris, Leah, Elise

Slideshow from the flea market

This was our 4th time renting a space at the Mansfield Flea Market to raise funds for our bike club.  For the August fundraiser we decided to rent two adjoining spaces at $25 per spot.  John’s wife Iris and daughters Elise and Leah were going to join us and sell their wares too and we would all share the spot.  In the past we’ve been very cramped into one space so this ended up being a great idea.

Our caravan of 4 vehicles got in line at the market just before 7am on Saturday morning.  While we waited we all got out to chat and say good morning.  The forecast had predicted rain but we lucked out with a perfect overcast day and no rain in sight.  John requested a double site on the main drag and it ended up being in the line of all the foot traffic so we were pretty pleased after some initial confusion with another renter because our U’s looked like V’s on the receipt…

We quickly unloaded, parked our vehicles and began to set up.  John made the first sale, a toy whose profits went to the Sattar clan.  I can’t remember what the club’s first sale was but there was a lot of action between 8am and 10:30 or so.  There are some very freaky people that frequent the flea market and this day we had many freaky purchasers and passersby to observe.

Car with all painted surfaces covered by stickers or colored tape

Car with all painted surfaces covered by stickers or colored tape

Sarah and Nathan worked hard pricing as many items as they could, and our big items started to go.  Our goal is always to get rid of the largest items as quickly as possible so we don’t have to pack them back up.

After chatting with Sue and Lisa today I wanted to explain to everyone that we will really take junk, stuff you don’t want anymore.  It can be old Tupperware or glassware, utensils, old vases, gently worn clothing and shoes, used games, still working but antiquated electronics, exercise equipment, kids toys, UConn memorabilia, backpacks, old pocketbooks, old luggage.  People really will buy anything for a couple bucks, you don’t have to dig up or give up anything expensive or that you still use.  We sold a whole box of boys clothing for $5, used women’s sweaters for $1 apiece, a pair of sandals for $3, music stands, used camelbaks and bike gear, lamps, ipod holders, phone holders, file cabinets, bookcases, printers, a box of toys for $5, books 4 for $1, etc.

And we’ll take stuff year round too, another fundraiser will be planned for next spring so whenever you are doing some cleaning, or tossing things that you no longer have room for or want, think of us!!!!  Just put it aside and bring it to a ride, or we can come get it.  The club made $370 from just a few member contributions and 5 or 6 hours of time.  We have 60 club members, imagine if everyone just donated one box of junk…We’d be rich – and able to participate in more charity rides or have more riders participate in the rides that we already sponsor.  That money alone will cover almost 7 riders for the Steeple Chase.  Not too shabby!

Ok, back to the story!  We started to pack up just before 1pm but not before poor Tony carried a full size TV what probably seemed like miles to somebody’s car.  It took a while for him to get back and he said it was about as far as a car could possibly park from our site.  Dave and I saw another “exposure” but nothing compared to last November!  It was “barely” notable and certainly not camera worthy so sorry no close ups folks.  Despite our valiant attempts to sell Bill’s kayak we were unable to get even a nibble, sorry Bill!  The remaining items were condensed into boxes for next years flea market and the last 3 brownies scoffed down then we headed to Nerac to return the tables we borrowed to display our wares.  Off to Big Y for me and off to Willingon pizza for the rest of the crew.  I would rate this as a super successful event especially in light of our dismal profit of $106 from the November fundraiser.  Thank you so much to everyone who contributed, visited, supported, or made a purchase! – Jill

Gate City Cyclone Nashua NH

This is becoming one of my favorite races. I did it last year & went pretty well there so I decided to drive up again this year. The course is 3/4 mile and goes around a stadium and a park. It has 7 corners, 2 of which go right up against the stadium building. Nobody cuts the inside on those 2 corners!! There’s a small hill between 2 corners-but you get up it pretty quick & I usually stayed in the saddle up the hill. I like a technical course with a SMALL hill. It was pretty quick because it was a 35+ (no 45+ that day). It seemed like there was always a couple guys just up the road, but they never managed to stay away. I did pretty well staying in the top 20-30 the whole day. The last 5 laps were pretty helter skelter; everybody wanted to get NEAR the front, but not ON the front and no team really set up a lead out to string it out. With 2 to go, my old nemesis Mike Norton told me to get on his wheel and he would “bring me home”. As soon as he said that I lost him. With a lap to go across the start/finish I was back on Mike’s wheel and it was all bunched up & I was in the second row on the edge of the pavement. Somebody tried to get me to move over-where he thought I could move to I have no idea. First he yelled at me then he slapped me on the thigh. I didn’t say anything, or move out of his way, but I thought, “you’re gonna have to hit me a lot harder than that to get me out of your way”. Up the hill with half lap to go I was near the front, top 6 maybe, near Mike, but not on his wheel. I had a little trouble with my gears, slipped back a little in the next 3 corners, came around the last corner with about 250 meters to go in about 10th, my legs were fried so I stayed in the saddle and did the best I could. I got a little boxed in and let a few guys by me. I thought I was about 12-15th and they only paid the top 10. The official results list me, along with 40 other guys at 11th place. Apparently the generator that was providing power for the photo finish camera ran out of gas with 1 to go so the officials had to pick the finish themselves. I overheard one official say that 10 guys had told her they were somewhere around 6th or 8th; hmmmmm. I didn’t even bother to ask if they got me in the finish. All in all I was pleased with how the race went, especially considering my DNF last week at Concord (no race report on that one). It looks like summer is really here; HHH today. Probably about 4-5 race left for me this year. Ciao -Dave

Willington to Portsmouth New Hampshire

As some of you folks know I occasionally ride from Willington to Portsmouth New Hampshire, a 150+ day. I like the distance, like the satisfaction of crossing the Maine border while smelling the salt water and the adventure of it is appealing to me. Over the last year I’ve met a few others that expressed interest so I put a date out there and got 5 others to join me on a ride to Portland Maine. Two others split the ride and driving the support van. It was a cool 49 degrees when we left on Saturday morning at 5:40 but the weather was just perfect. The first 100 miles went by quickly but the second half is where we had 2 flat tires and with 20 miles to go my rear derailleur cable broke, forcing the chain onto the 13 tooth gear. Recently I had been wondering about a single speed road bike and now I had my chance to try one, forced upon me after 180 miles. Well, it wasn’t a single speed, I had a 2 speeder since the front shifter worked.. yes, I had high and higher. We pulled into Portland at a 27 mph clip just after 7pm, ending the day at 207 miles at 18.7mph average. I have to say it was nice to have company. –Garth