Sunday, December 16, 2007

5.5 miles in 80 minutes

Sometimes I don't travel far, but still spend a lot of time and energy to get to my destination. On Thursday Boston was pounded with fast falling snow that left 8-10 inches in 6-7 hours time. It was as if the city didn't own a single plow or sander.

Since I had ridden to work in the morning, I figured I should ride home as well rather than ask my wife to venture out in such weather. It was comical really. I spent the majority of my 5.5 mile commute walking and carrying my bike through stopped traffic. The roads were parking lots with people abandoning cars, turning off their engines, and generally looking miserable. I on the other hand, had a big smile on my face as people laughed from overcrowded bus stops or within fogged cars. My response: "I'll be home a lot sooner than any of you!"

I was able to walk considerably faster than the traffic. Outside of major intersections I was able to ride/slide in the packed tire tracks, pedestrian packed sidewalks, or the fluff covered bike lane. I traversed Watertown, Allston, Brighton, Brookline, and into JP before arriving home. I haven't had that much fun on my bicycle in a long time.

I heard from my neighbors that it took as long as 5 hours to drive the same distance that I had spent 80 minutes walking/riding/sliding. Somedays it really sucks to be in a car.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

never ceases to amaze me

I've flown some 50,000 miles this year yet i continue to be amzed by the behavior of my fellow travelers. On my first flight this Thursday I was back of the bus. The overweight guy next to me was dozing off and couldn't keep his hands on his fat stomach so they kept slipping off and smacking into me. The woman on the other side of me smelled funny. Trapped like a friggin' sardine.

On the next, much longer flight I am squeezed all against the window and the two next to me fall asleep almost instantly. The guy on the aisle was snoring so loud that I could hear him through my noise cancelling headphones.

Well two miserable flights was a tiny price to pay for the unbelievable time I had once I arrived. I made it, my bike made it, and many of the east coast's finest (minus the sandbaggers) made it as well.

After a long weekend of meeting new friends and fantastic racing it was time to pack up again and head out to Dallas for business. I stripped the bike back down to a bare frame and packed it securely for airline travel. Two more flights and I am safely in DFW with my luggage and great memories. Two days of work here and then back to home sweet home.

The holidays are here and I can't wait to celebrate with friends and family. If only I didn't have to travel so much...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wet t-shirt contest

Finally my travels are taking me somewhere fun for cycling. In fact, this weekend may be the culmination of my cycling (certainly the culmination of my racing) season. To get an idea of what I mean, check out this video:

I suspect I will look something like this at some point over the weekend.

After getting muddy with friends I'm off to Dallas for business. I probably won't ride there but you never know.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

home sweet home

it's been two+ weeks since i pedaled a bicycle outdoors. My pathetic performance in Putney, VT is the last time I rode outside. I've had a few recumbant excercise machine rides, three or four runs, and one indoor trainer session.

Today I will buck that trend and get back outside, despite the freezing New England temperatures. I've been close to pulling my hair out with such a dormant lifestyle and I need my fix.

Freezing cold toes here I come.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


my travel schedule has been killing my fitness, social life, and mental happiness. i now ride once a week (45 minute cyclocross suffer fests). if i am lucky, i can get to the gym and pedal one of these. oh so much fun.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

no more travel?

well, i don't think the bike will be coming with me very much this fall and winter. i just don't get enough time during sunlight hours when i'm traveling for work now. this week i'm in poughkeepsie, ny and since i drove, it was easy to just bring my regular cross bike.

i'm nursing some body discomforts so it's ok that i don't have the time to put in long miles while i'm here. let the body heal, right? i rode a few miles, practiced some remounts, and checked out vasser college. fall is a pretty time with the leaves changing. despite the unseasonably warm weather though, the campus was rather empty so i was able to tool around on the grass without the usual funny looks.

next week i'm off to seattle where i get to hang out with this guy. Yeah, he is pretty awesome and promised to lend me a bike to ride so I don't have to check the trusty Ritch-y. I'll try to post a report if we get out on two wheels this Monday.

Friday, October 12, 2007

To the Cape!

Usually I have to get on a plane to see my clients. On Tuesday I had a visit to a local client a mere 40 miles away in Attleboro. The timing couldn't have been better. There is a great Tuesday night cyclocross training series in Middleboro. I didn't have to pack the Ritchey this time since I was driving so I brought my race bike instead. If you can get to Middleboro, MA on a Tuesday evening, I'd strongly recommend this fun training race. There were McCormacks, Hot Tubes kids, women, fixed gears, and regular joes like me. At the end they raffled off some beer, coffee, and socks for everyone who paid to enter the race. Despite not winning the raffle, I had fun.

I'll be there again this coming Tuesday if weather permits..

Friday, October 5, 2007

Davidson miles

I got a nice 60 miles in on Thursday in Huntersville, Davidson, Mooresville, North Carolina. I'll post some pictures and more details soon. Overall it was a nice hot day for a ride. ...,m

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Hunting ground in Huntersville

I'm sitting in a bbq restaurant with one more day to burn in Boone county KY before heading a little further east to Huntersville, NC. I rode the excercise bike at the Courtyard Marriott since I did not feel like unpacking the Ritchey for what would have been a short ride tonight. Excercise bikes make me sweat more than riding outdoors yet feel more awkward, slow, and uncomfortable than any other piece of excercise equipment I can think of.

Tomorrow night I'll be in Huntersville and Thursday I have the whole day to myself to put in an epic 50+. Hopefully I don't get too lost since I do not know the area at all. Don't fail me now trusty Garmin gps!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Can't I get out of Boone?

Well, now I am in Boone County, which is quite different than Boone, NC. In fact Boone county is in Kentucky, near Cincinnati and CVG airport. I brought the trusty Ritchey with me and managed to find a ride on the good 'ole interweb. This guy showed me around and despite the rain showers that the area drastically needed, we had a good, hilly spin along the little river dividing Kentucky and Ohio.
Here are a few pictures from the ride.
It's nice to find a good spin when I really have no expectations. Unfortunately work has been overwhelming while I'm here so I'm awake playing catch up until 2am. Oh well, at least my legs are happy.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

More Boone play

Wednesday was another day of fun riding with the climbers in Boone. Check out the route details. We ain't got hills like that in Boston. Me and the Specialized rep got schooled by a world class triathlete. He was a friggin' rocket ship going up the hills. I am happy to say I was second to the top, although I don't think the rest of the group worked quite as hard as I did.

Judge for yourself, but I think Boone rocks for road riding. I've heard the mountain biking is sweet too. Next time.
Oh, and if you happen to stay in Boone, look out for this guy and this fine dining establishment.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I was looking forward to this week's trip to Boone, NC because I knew there would be lots of hills and amazing views. Unfortunately I was not sure if I'd be able to hook up with a group to show me around and the area did not look easily navigated alone.

Luckily these guys were nice enough to let me join them for their recovery ride. I rode with the shop owner, an NAV (NY-MA based club) rider, and a touring Specialized demo bike rep. Unfortunately I was scrambling to get my bike assembled in time to leave with them so I forgot to grab my camera. On the plus side I set a personal best time in assembling the Ritchey.

Tomorrow should be another fun ride with these guys. I'll remember the camera so I can capture some of the awesome views. In the meantime, google Boone, NC.

Monday, September 17, 2007

How I role

I’ve written a number of times about the places I’ve traveled with my bike this year. I haven’t written enough about the bike itself. I invested in a Ritchey Break Away cyclocross frameset this summer. The package includes frame, fork, headset, cable splitters, tube covers, and a reinforced soft case. The rest of the parts were up to me to supply.

I wanted the bike to be respectable, compatible with other bikes I already own, and most of all, durable. There seemed to be no reason to build a travel bike that couldn’t withstand the frequent rough handling of the airlines. Since I’m a Campy fan, the group had to be Campy. I am fortunate to have maintained friendships and connections in the cycling industry so the mostly Veloce build kit I used was rather inexpensive. Since I spent 6 years working in the bike industry and currently have a stable full of bikes, I was able to pull the remaining parts from my “leftover” bin.

Here are some of the highlights and the reasons I chose these particular parts.
The Truvativ Compact crankset was one of the parts in my leftover bin. It fit the bill perfectly. It’s already used and scratched up plus the compact gearing allows me to survive even the steepest of hills without the complication of a triple ring (I loath the triple setup and will never use it in case you are wondering). Also the Time mtb style pedals allow me to walk around anywhere I might find myself. If I choose to bring off road tires, I don’t have to think about switching pedals and shoes as well. Plus I found these pedals in a parking lot a few days after a race so they didn’t cost me anything:

The cockpit is fairly simple. I didn’t consider the added benefit of the hidden shift cable routing but it has definitely proven easier than packing the exposed Shitmano handlebar assembly. The bar tape is a synthetic from Fizik that is not as susceptible to ripping as a traditional cork. Since the bars are crammed in close to sharp parts like the chainrings, I didn’t want to deal with the tape getting ripped up too easily. The bar and stem are simple aluminum bits that I had in my leftover parts. No reason for high zoot carbon on a bike that is being shipped around the country on a monthly basis.

In my opinion there is no option on headsets. I always spend the extra dough for the Chris King. They are maintenance free and carry a long warranty. Plus, when the fork is being removed and installed as frequently as it is on this bike, I want a headset with as few parts, all sealed, as possible. Chris King, you are my hero!

I love the Garmin Edge 305 for recording my workouts. Plus it gives a great insight when I’m in a new area. The GPS doesn’t require sensors on the wheels or fork and easily fits in my carry on luggage. Plus the mini-USB re-charging is the same as my work and personal phone so I’m already carrying a charger for it. The cork bar end plugs are just for fun. Unfortunately I just lost one of them this weekend while racing ‘cross on the bike so now I need to drink another bottle of champagne.

The brakes are standard issues Tektro cantilevers. I was initially skeptical of their performance since they cost less than $30 for the pair. I’ve quickly come to appreciate their light action and easy adjustment. Plus they are lighter than the Avid’s and Shitmano’s in addition to being cheaper.

One of the most important and smallest parts on my bike is the Connex chain link. I prefer Campy chains but they unfortunately do not come with a re-usable master link. The Connex is the perfect solution. I actually use them on all of my Campy bikes since they allow for easy, tool free disassembly to pack up the chain or to clean it in degreaser. Some people seem to frown on the Connex link with the Campy chain but I have never seen the link fail. It is a great “unsung hero."

The wheels may vary as ‘cross season picks up. For now I am using a pair of Easton Vista SL’s. They are not the lightest, but they rely on conventional 270mm spokes which are easily replaced in the event of damage. Plus the wheels are not that expensive so I don’t feel bad if they get scraped up in travel (which they have). I also have a pair of Chorus/Open Pro wheels that may travel with me to ‘cross rides since they are already mounted with cross tires.

Overall, my travel bike is not likely to turn many heads or impress the people I meet while traveling but that is ok. There is not an ounce of carbon on the bike (this is intentional) and its weight is probably close to 20 or 22 pounds. But it beats trying to rent a bike when I travel or being stuck in the hotel gym on the crappy recumbent exercise bike.

Look for an upcoming post about the packing process. I already have the pictures. I just need the time to write about it.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Napa Valley beauty

On Friday I had some time to kill before heading to the Oakland airport for my red eye flight home. I had the bike and 1 hour so I decided to take a spin up one of the Napa canyon roads. There were a bunch of small vineyards and being "crush" season the grapes were looking as picturesque as possible.
This ride was a leisurely stroll since time didn't permit much else and my body was still feeling the effects of the whale's vagina. Here are some nice pictures of the grapes.

If I had more time and energy there were some great 30-80 mile loops going out of Napa that I would love to explore. Maybe I can do it on one of these next time...

Rumor has it that the single speed world championships will be in Napa next year so maybe I'll have a chance to do more exploring then.

Look for a post about the travel bike very soon. I plan on showing why I spec'd it the way I did and how it packs up for easy travel.

Friday, September 7, 2007

whale's vagina?

no Ron Burgendy, Mt. Diablo is not German for whale's vagina. It is Spanish for Devil Mtn. On Wednesday I was determined to conquer the devil. In the spring the devil was victorious, crushing my will after a long day of 6+ hours in the saddle.

From the first turn of the pedals I knew Wednesday's ride was not going to be easy. I was not to be deterred though and I continued on my journey. This would be a 70 mile vertical assault and already my body said no. Maybe you should listen to your body...

I had the map and had ridden most of the route once before. The route is in San Leandro/Diablo/Walnut Creek and is beautiful and mostly void of cars. Here is the route map.

It is well worth riding if you find yourself with time to spare in the area. Just don't be surprised if you are crushed by the wale's vagina.

C'mon, that view was worth 80 miles of suffering, right?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

excitement of the chase

I'm not usually eager to travel for work because lately it has meant time away from the wife, friends, bicycle, and normal routine. But this morning I woke up extra early with my travel bike packed because I anticipate a nice 5-6 hour ride around the hills of San Leandro, Walnut Creek, and especially Mt. Diablo! Work is taking me to Napa Valley and along the way I am going to punish myself with some serious altitude and great views. I'll post some pictures, route details, and travel bike pictures later this week.

Friday, August 31, 2007

cycling in Walnut Creek, CA

back in March I was in Walnut Creek, CA for a business trip. I was able to stay through the weekend and do an epic road ride thanks to my good friend Robinson. He hooked me up with a very nice demo bike and two amazing queue sheets. I didn't have an odometer but by our rough calculations I rode 120+ miles and 7,500+ ft of elevation. I guess you can get away with that kind of a ride when you literally have nothing else to do that day.

Well, I saved the queue sheet and I'm headed back there next week for another business trip. This time I'll be bringing the break away. Here are a few pics of what I saw last time

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

cycling in Dallas

I had an opportunity to do some riding in Dallas area back in July. Despite being 95+ degrees and humid, it was nice to ride in a new area. It was also the maiden voyage for my break away so I was doubly excited.

The bike was a bit tricky to pack but it made it without incident. Assembly was easy. The first Dallas ride was a Tuesday night crit put on by these guys:

I got there with plenty of time to warm up and check out the course. About as standard as a crit course could possibly be. If you find yourself in Dallas and want a good Tuesday evening workout, I suggest giving this one a shot. No primes so the group stays together until the finish usually.

On Wednesday I tried to find this group: Mirage Apparently they meet somewhere other than White Rock so I didn't make it to their start. I did find a triathlon group doing intervals through White Rock so I jumped in with them and did some butt kickin' efforts before calling it a night.

If you're in Dallas area and want a nice place to ride without the effort of joining a group ride, check out White Rock. Lots of people ride there and there is very little car traffic due to all the cyclists.

some shops make you feel unwanted

I'm traveling for business this week and I decided to stop into a shop that I had called upon many times in my former life but had never had the opportunity to visit. I guess today I figured out why they didn't sell our product very effectively.

When I go into a bike shop, I don't want to be badgered by sales people, but at the same time I don't want to get a disinterested hello as if my presence was an inconvenience. Sure, they may be able to tell right away that I am nothing more than a tire kicker, but what else do they have to do? Continue sitting on their thumbs?

Enough about my shop blast. My secondary mission was to inquire about good club/training rides in the area since I will be back very soon with my bike in tow and hopefully will be able to jump on some of the rides. At least the shop was able to offer some advice on rides. I'll be sure to post details about those rides when I visit again.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

finding a direction

I created this blog a while ago but never really knew what I wanted to do with it. Well, I've decided to document the places I travel to and the cycling opportunities that one can find in these locations.

Since I travel a lot for business, I invested in a break away bike to travel with. Previously I've relied on the generosity of previous associates but I really prefer to have my own equipment. The break away has allowed me to experience cycling in even more locations and at no recurring cost (minus the initial purchase of course). I've raced crits in Dallas, climbed glacier roads in Montana, and I plan to do a lot more in the future.

I hope you enjoy the highlights and find the information useful!

Monday, May 7, 2007


sometimes i look forward to the places i go. more often of late, i've found myself going places i am not interested in and sorely missing places and people i am interested in. i guess i have to take the good with the bad, but is it really necessary to go to reading, pa and jonesboro, ar within 8 days of one another?