The Nerac Earth water bottles have arrived. All current club members will get a free water bottle. Additional water bottles can be purchased for $5.00. Jill and I will be bringing the water bottles to all the group rides. — John
Riders: 13 total, these are the ones I know, Mary, Randell, Steve, Mark, Brett, Alex, Mike, Miles, John I., Dawn, Jill, ???
Oh man did I have fun tonight!!! It was the first EMS ride this year and it was great to see all the familiar faces from seasons past. The ride started from the Case Pond lot so there is always a long climb at the start but I was very happy when Brett lead us up the singletrack vs. the fire road climb. That fire road climb right at the beginning can be painful. The pace was quick from the start and my bike did not disappoint, I really can’t believe how well the Salsa climbs. I had the lockout on for the climb and it was almost effortless and to add to that the bike scooted right up and over all the funky rocks on the way up blue like they weren’t even there. Maybe because it was early in the ride and I had more energy but that section has always been challenging for me and I’ve only ever cleaned it once before and that was on the stumpjumper.
We regrouped on the rock ledge at the top of blue and surprisingly it was a short wait despite the large group so we crossed the fire road and kept climbing blue, a nice long stretch with a climb at the start then some terrific rocky downhill. I feel like I’m still a little sketchy on the downhills with the hardtail and although I think I’m getting smoother I feel bad for anyone riding behind me! 10 years of riding a full suspension leaves me trying to puzzle out how to push the hardtail down technical descents faster without getting pitched off. I decided to be as aggressive as I dared and had many moments when I was on that precipice when you think you are in control but you know you are one pedal stroke away from the best descent ever or you could be decorating a tree at any moment. I think Mary had one of those moments, she said she flipped off the bike but she must have landed like a cat because she didn’t have any dirt on her and I saw several spectacular crashes tonight and they were all very dirty.
After finishing up on blue we took a right on the fire road, went over the steel bridge, climbed the fern trail (like a blur!), down tinti, over the wooden bridge, and bam, almost to the reservoir a branch whipped back and took Steves glasses right off his face! So 13 riders (and Shadow the weimereiner) tried to find the glasses, it took about 10 minutes but Dawn found them a couple feet ahead of where Steve stopped on the trail. We were afraid they were slingshot into one of the pine trees. Disaster averted and we passed the res, rode by 2 parents and 2 baby ducklings (adorable!), went straight at the intersection and started the loop that would take us up to the lookout. This was a nice long stretch of climbing and at the top we were greeted by a roaring bonfire. I would have given anything for a marshmallow to toast! We regrouped here then started the descent back to the cars, it was getting a bit dim but we ended up finishing just before it got too dark to see. I was really glad to see Mary, Randell, and Steve tonight, sometimes on the EMS rides I am the only one not wearing baggies…And I’m not a roadie! Fun times. – Jill
Racers: Tom, Marilyn, Josh, Garth, Sue, Andy C., Jill, Emma, Max, Allie
Support: Andrea, John, Annalee
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Well, today was my first straight out mountain bike race in 4 years and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. That’s not totally true, I expected to get my butt kicked! I left home at the crack of dawn (7:30am) for an 11am race, that’s not really the crack of dawn seeing I go to work for 7am everyday but it felt early. Only 2 potty stops on the way and that’s conservative for me, I tried to relax but my stomach was jumping around and wouldn’t quiet down no matter how many times I played “I got a feeling” on my nano. I knew it was going to be a good race though when I ran into Dunkin Donuts for my 2nd potty run and “I got a feeling” was playing inside the store. I’m generally not a superstitious person but I’ll gladly take that as a positive indication of good things to come…We had no CAT 3 racers to cheer for today so it was just me and Andy C. lining up with CAT 1 racers until all the CAT 2 riders showed up for the 1:30pm race. I lined up with the other CAT 1 women and didn’t recognize anyone but we all quickly introduced ourselves and chatted until the start. The previous Wednesday I pre-rode the trails and knew it was one of the fastest courses I had ever ridden and not so technical, typically not the best combination for me… (Give me technical terrain!!!) The most challenging part was a ton of roots but the course was super dry and 99% rideable. I knew I had to be careful not to blow up because it was going to be an all out effort for 2 seven mile laps. I wasn’t so sure my legs were ready for the effort but fortunately my bike was more than ready, this course was ideal for a hardtail 29er and the bike seriously just flew over the course almost taking out one of the pop up tents at a sharp corner on both laps. The rest is just a blur of a fantastically great race. After the race I quickly changed so I could get some pictures of the start of the sport race and cheered for our riders on the course. This day was more than I could have hoped for, a perfect sunny and dry day in the 70’s, a bike that I swear had wings, teammates to cheer for me and to cheer for, and an unexpected 2nd place finish. – Jill
Dave F, Sue L, Kevin B, and John: The lunch time, Time Trial is the most fun you can have in less than 60 minutes. In some cases…..John…….much less. The route is 13.6 miles of very challenging terrain and conditions for a TT, which makes it fun. There are several small climbs, one good size climb, Broadway, and several “anti gravity” roads like Dunn Road and Cider Mill. When I say anti gravity, I mean they are seemingly flat roads that suck every ounce of energy out of you to maintain good speed, because they have a slightly uphill grade. The TT is a race against yourself to measure your performance and conditioning throughout the season. It’s also a mind game to see how you can eek seconds out of the course. You focus on the little things like breathing, cadence, pressure on the full circle of the pedal stroke. Then there is the other mind game, and the most fun part, of trying to catch the rabbit in front of you, and trying to stay away from the fox that’s chasing. I hadn’t done the TT with Kevin before but knowing that he is stronger and faster, my goal was to stay away until at least Crandals. That goal gave me extra motivation to go hard and with his starting time 3 minutes back, I thought I could hold him off. The TT is also a mind game of measured effort. If you go too hard prior to the climb on Broadway, you lose time there. So I thought everything through and planned to go hard on the downhills and flats and be a little conservative on the climbs including Broadway so that I could make up time on Dunn. Between the anti gravity effect and the wind on Dunn, it takes me too long to recover from Broadway to make up time there. So today I hit Dunn feeling great even though I knew that I had given up some time prior. I now pumped out the pedal strokes and flew. I felt good and was convinced I could stay away. I flew down 31 until the wind hit me like a brick and slowed me considerably before the short climb to Gehring Road. As I rounded the corner completely out of breath I peeked back for Kevin. No one in sight! “I can do this” I thought! I was keeping a good pace on Gehring Road while trying to recover for the big push down Gehring when I saw riders coming toward me. In my race fog I couldn’t comprehend for a second why they were going the wrong way! Then I realized it was Jill and Bill doing a ride out to 31. Jill yelled something but I had no idea what she said and on I went. I turned down Gehring and thought I had picked up the pace but when I looked over my shoulder for traffic before using the center of the road where it is smoother, there he was. Kevin was bearing down on me….FAST! The adrenalin hit me like a rock. How could this be? My plan was flawless! OK! Get to work. It’s a long fast downhill and I can hold him off till Grant Hill. No such luck. He flew by me and took the wind out of my sails with his breeze as he passed. Now I saw how hard he worked to pass me and tried to maintain a gap thinking I could limit the damage. It was a good plan until the hill after Anderson road. He was gone! I did see him turn the corner to Rt 195 but never saw him again till the end. The other variables and fun part of this TT are the school busses, garbage trucks, and traffic lights. Once you turn onto 195 you have 4 lights with busy intersections that can be very challenging and time consuming. I made all the lights and suffered up the last climb past Tolland Bike to Nerac. John and Sue finished seconds in back of me and totally spent. It was a great day, great ride, and great fun on a TT where the rabbit didn’t out run the fox. If you ever get a free lunch to come out and TT with us I highly recommend it. Where else can you have that much fun in less than 60 minutes?
AMC road ride in S. Windsor
Riders: Jeff from Central Wheel, Keith on the Ridley, Glenn the great ride leader, Dave W. the adventurer, and Jill
This story starts early, around 10am when the emails started flying about the lunch ride. I was planning on going to the AMC ride after work but the forecast was looking uber sketchy so I was wondering if I should ride at lunch time while the sun was still out but the S. Windsor ride won out because I wanted the extra mileage and it’s always so much fun. The lunch crew had a great sunny ride and the storm started about 20 minutes after they got back to work, I could hear the rain pounding on the roof at Nerac. Hmmmm, I emailed Brian to see if he was riding and he said he was in and Dave W. said he would be riding too so I figured what the heck, I’ll still go. As I left Nerac the sky looked ominous and I had to hold the steering wheel with both hands on route 84 as my car shook from the wind and I hoped it wouldn’t flip over. OMG – and I’m still planning on riding, what is wrong with me??? I got to the parking lot early so I popped into EMS to say Hi to Deryl and Johnny, 2 of my favorite peeps! I hear the Thursday night EMS rides will be starting next week, yeah!!!
Ok, over to the parking lot where all the riders meet by Bugaboo and I see one other vehicle with a bike. Uh oh , maybe the ride is cancelled. But Brian shows up a couple of minutes later. Phil and Kyle both stopped by my car to say they are bailing and Phil said Ed is not coming either. Brian keeps saying he is bailing but he doesn’t actually drive away so maybe he’ll ride…then Wayne stopped by and he is heading out toward Glastonbury with a group but I pass hoping that Dave W. will lead a group when he gets there at 6pm. Right at 6pm who knocks on my window (yes I am taking shelter in my car still!) but Glenn!!!! Ok, I’m definitely riding now that Glenn is here and ready to ride, I spy Dave W. and a couple other riders and ask Brian one more time but he was bailing, it was still looking pretty bad out and starting to rain…Soooo we headed out as a group of 5 with Jeff, Keith, Dave W., Glenn, and me. Glenn started heading north into the storm but Dave suggested we head south where the clear skies were and this turned out to be a great suggestion as within a few miles the rain cleared, the sun came out and we all shed our extra layers. Then we just cruised, it was nice having a small group, and it was great to catch up with Dave and Glenn who has been on some terrific trips lately with more to come! And it was fun to chat with Jeff about bike clubs and bikes, I’m pretty sure they have an espresso machine at his shop, impressive. We ended up with 32 miles and just over an 18 mile average which was pretty good considering all the stop signs and lights we had to stop for. So a surprisingly sunny ride and my bike is absolutely filthy along with my kit with the rooster tail streaming up my back but as always this ride was fantastic and I’m glad we all stuck it out and rode, it was worth it. – Jill
The ExpoWheelmen Time Trial starts this Thursday and will run for 17 weeks straight. Looking to build on last years success and offering a wider field of categories including a new Team Time Trial option as well as a total of 17 events; all on the same 10K course you’re familiar with.
More information can be found at www.ExpoWheelmen.com/tt-series/
For questions, contact: ExpositionWheelmen@Gmail.com