Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holiday Break

First ride this morning after a 3-day holiday break. We were out of town for Christmas and I decided not to bring the bike this year. Actually, its been about two weeks since the last good road ride due to cold/snow/ice/rain these past two weeks.

Did a nice 30-mile ride in unseasonably warm temperatures (58F today!). Roads were wet from overnight rain so after I got back home I spent about an hour washing and lubing the bike. I got a couple of nice bike-related items for Christmas from my daughters: a Road Id and a portait of my bike (see below).

Other than that, most of my rides have been on the trainer. On the plus side, I'm glad I got to try out my new headphones for my iPod. Inexpensive, but have a nice, warm sound.

Hope the weather stays warm for a few days!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Got bike!

So, for the first time in the past three weekends, the weather cooperated and I finally got two back-to-back long rides in. Both 7:00 AM starts, both days about 30F at ride start, same routes (Brands route along the LIE and West Hills) and both done in 2 hr 50 min, give or take a minutes. These are elapsed times, so include traffic stops, etc. Well, at least there is some consistency there!

Saturday was more windy and it was a little rough going at first until I got warmed up. Sunday, felt better. The muscles got used to riding again.

Takes so long to get all the layers on for these cold rides:

base layer
bib tights
ski gloves

Typical summer ride:


Well, a cold ride is better than no ride.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Almost a Weather Repeat

Similar to last weekend. Saturday was a cold morning but I set out early for a solo Brands and West Hills 50-mile ride. Temperature was 28F at start but the sun warmed things up to the low 40F's by ride end. A few other bikers out.

Woke up Sunday morning to SNOW! Nothing major but slushy and icy roads, so no road ride in the cards. Opted for a short run with Linda instead of the trainer.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bailed Out

Just about to step out the door this morning for a ride and the rain and sleet started! We weren't supposed to see this until 10:00 AM. So, taking a day off. Gonna watch the Giants and Jets instead.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Colder Today, But a Better Ride

This morning's ride started at 34F but, for some reason, it felt more comfortable than Thursday's "Turkey Day" ride. No half-measures with the kit today: full shoe covers and ski gloves, but just a cycling cap under the helmet, balaclava was in the wash!

I headed out solo to do the Brands route and West Hills but bumped into Mike and Bob just a mile in. We rode together for about 10 miles, to about the midpoint on Round Swamp Rd. At that point, I wanted to pick up the pace so I headed off on my own. Wind was favorable heading east on the LIE service road to the turnaround. Now into a headwind but not too bad. The sun was out by this time and really started to warm things up.

Felt great back at Round Swamp Rd. so proceeded through West Hills, seeing the horses out and running around a bit in the paddocks off of Sweet Hollow Rd. Through the preserve then a fast return down Round Swamp Rd. passing Bethpage State Park and the golf courses there.

By surprise, caught back up with Mike and Bob on Central Ave., now joined by Harvey, too. We rode in the last 5 miles together to Jerusalem Ave. and I then took the shortcut home. All in all a really great ride for the end of November. Hoping for another good one tomorrow!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Hard to Disconnect

Hard to get in the groove for today's ride. Hands got numb quickly due to my last minute substitution of neoprene cycling gloves instead of my ski gloves. Also had a stiff back, I think due to having to stand the past two nights for the train ride home from work. Thinking about a lot of things that need to be taken care of before the end of the year. Anyway, I carried on and by mile 20 I started to loosen up and get more comfortable on the bike and getting a little into the "zone".

Very light traffic in the morning so it was a nice quiet ride. No howling winds today.

Did the 50-mile Brands/West Hills route again, solo. A lot of other cyclists and joggers out to burn some calories before today's traditional Thanksgiving feast. Can't wait!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Difference a Day Makes

Today I did the 50-miler that I wimped out of yesterday. Temperature was still only 27F at the 7:00 AM start but much less windy. I was outfitted the same as yesterday but felt good at the LIE and decided to go for the 50. Nice tailwind as I headed west, and light traffic. At the turnaround, I hit into the wind. The sun started to come out a little bit by then and I tried to catch every bit of it that I could.

Starting the West Hills route on Sweet Hollow Rd., I was surprised to meet Mike W.! We chatted a bit as we climbed up through West Hills on Sweet Hollow Rd. and Mt. Misery Rd. (great names!). We split at Round Swamp and I got into a good cruising mode, especially when I headed back south.

Numb feet by the time I got home but good to get in a long ride!

Hey, check this out! I always thought it would be cool for my picture to appear on, now here it is, but unfortunately, its not me on the bike! I'm crouched between the 1st and 2nd riders, taking a photo (blue hat).

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Day at the Races

I went to Southampton this afternoon to catch some professional cyclocross racing, the 2008 Whitmores Landscaping Super Cross Cup. It was a bitter cold and windy day, but the racing action was HOT! Here is an article from, too.

Here is a slideshow:

Some video too:

Elite Women

Elite Men


And finally, a picture of a (small) group of fans from the moveitfred blog. I'm the guy with the blue hat pulled down over my ears.

Earned that Hot Cup of Coffee

Was planning on the usual 50-mile Brands route this weekend but a glance at the weather forecast last night started to but some doubts in my mind. Predicted temperature of 24F and 20-30 MPH winds, wind chill of 12F! I do have cold weather gear but 3 hours in sub freezing temperature and high winds gets uncomforatble no matter what you're wearing on the bike.

I settled on a planned 25-mile ride up to the LIE and back, via Round Swamp Rd. Going to see the cyclocross races in Southampton this afternoon and I figured if those guys could race an hour in this cold then I should be able to get my ride in too! Depending on how I felt at the halfway point I could extend to 30 miles by doing the West Hills loop or 40 miles by doing the whole service road. Since this was going to be a shorter-than-normal ride, I skipped the pre-ride meal and kitted up for a 7:00 AM start. Broke out all the cold weather clothes: balaclava, ski gloves, barrier jacket, windproof bib tights, full shoe covers.

Started right off into the headwind. Tough going but at least it kept my core warm. Predictably, fingers and toes were the first victims of the cold. At the LIE, I felt okay and decided to go for West Hills. I took my last sip of water at mile 14 as the water bottle froze up at this point.

Got the tail wind for the return loop but it actually seemed to be colder coming back, maybe due to the increased wind chill or maybe because I wasn't working as hard without the headwind to fight. Back home in under two hours and fumbled to get out my house key with numb fingers. First order of business after peeling off all the extra layers...get the coffee going!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Brrrrr! Looks like a COLD Ride Tomorrow AM! says it will be 30F tomorrow morning, winds 22 MPH and a wind chill of 18F! Some real winter weather. Breaking out the AMFib bib tights!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Rain One Day, Wind the Next

It rained all day on Saturday, so no riding for me.

This morning I met Mike W. at Brands to do the regular route, 7:00 AM start time. Heavy rain last night so I took the rain bike thinking it would be a wet ride. The strong wind dried everything out so the roads were in good shape after all. We had favorable winds for the first 20 miles, out to the turnaround point on the LIE service road.

Then the fun started!!! We did the next 28 miles into a 22 MPH headwind/crosswind. It was a hard ride. Usually this is a 2 hour 40 minute ride, today it was 3 hours! I was drained at the end but glad that the weekend was not totally washed out. Temperature was about 50F, so not bad for the middle of November.

Need to lube the Trek drivetrain, it was squeaking like a rust bucket for most of the ride, probably since I didn't have a chance to clean it after Thursday's and Friday's morning wet rides.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Thats how I would describe this morning. The rain from the past couple of days left and this morning I headed out under cloudless, sunny skies, no wind, and temp around 51F. Nice fall cycling weather and the cool temperature kind of woke me up and got me motivated for a vigorous ride.

I started at 7:00 AM, solo, as I didn't want to wait until 8:30 AM to meet up with the Brands group (although I did see Mike, Bob, and a couple of other riders starting out as I was almost home). Did the usual Brands route and West Hills on the Specialized. Little or no wind for the first 20 miles, then the wind seemed to pick up and I had headwinds and crosswinds for the last 30.

Fall foliage was lit up by the morning sun so it was a colorful ride, in contrast to yesterday's rainy, gray day. Just need to do some minor bike cleanup and chain lube later this afternoon. Hope we get a few more weekends like this before things get really cold.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Wet and Windy Saturday Ride

Some time constraints this morning in order to make it to my daughters' 9:00 AM soccer game, her last of the season. No way to make it to PyZahl's RP2IPBP ride :-(.

Up and out at 6:00 AM, fueled with banana, yogurt, and granola. Lots of rain last night and possibility of showers this morning, so I used the rain bike (the Trek). Still dark at 6 AM so I attached my headlight and red blinkie and headed out. Splashing through the wet roads and leaves, taking it slow around the corners.

Tried hard to keep a good pace. At the midpoint turnaround, already 1 hour and 10 minutes, so I knew I would not have time for the West Hills loop and this ride would have to be kept to 40 miles. Against the wind on the way back but, luckily, no real rain on the ride, just wet roads and occasional mist or drizzle.

Passed a cement company on Round Swamp Rd. and got covered with cement mud that had run out into the street. Hard to see through my glasses. Home by 8:15 AM and just enough time for a shower, make a hot cup of coffee, and head over to the soccer game. On a side note, my headlight lasted for the whole 2 hr and 15 min ride so that was a successful experiment!

Dirty bike sat outside in the rain all day until I finally had a chance to clean it up this afternoon. But this probably won't last long since I'll most likely be facing another wet ride tomorrow.

Planning on the same ride again tomorrow except that I will start later and probably get my usual 50 miles in. Tried to hook up with Mike W. for Sunday but he is doing the Brands ride and 8:30 AM is a bit too late for me. Check out the blog for Sunday's report.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Maintenance Rides

Home after Sunday's chilly ride.

Recap of the week's rides...

Did the 15-mile pre-work ride on the Jones' Beach bike path Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday (Wednesday was wet). Cold mornings so I was usually wearing a balaclava, ski gloves, and winter cyclinging jacket.

Saturday warmed up into the 50's. I did a good early morning solo ride on the Brands route and through West Hills park. Sunny skies and light wind. Especially nice was riding through the tunnel of gold leaves on Sweet Hollow Rd.

Set the clocks back an hour on Saturday night but I was still up and out early (6:00 AM instead of 7:00 AM) today (Sunday). Same route as yesterday but made more challenging due to the colder temperature (40F) and windy conditions. Riding against the wind for the first 35 miles, then got the tailwind when I turned back for home. Thought I might see the Brands group at some point on my way back but didn't maybe it was too cold for everyone? Or, possibly, I just missed them.

This time of year, I'm not really training for any specific long-distance rides or races, so just trying to make sure I get out on the bike for a few hours every weekend.

Coming up later in November, hoping to head out to South Hampton to catch the cyclocross races. These are the last two races of the NACT series. Should be good!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Two 50-milers This Warm Weekend

Got in two good 50-mile rides this weekend as things warmed up, compared to this past week. All week long my morning rides were down in the low 40F's. Temperatures were at least 10-15 degrees warmer for the weekend.

On Saturday, I headed out at 6:30AM for a Brands route and West Hills ride. Still dark at that hour of the morning so I brought the light for the first hour of riding until the sun came up. Rain was forecast for the day but not likely until after 10:00AM. Nevertheless, about one mile into my ride, some light drizzle started and continued for the first 10 miles of the ride, just about until I reached the LIE. If the rain got any heavier, I was planning to turn back at this point. But it stopped and I continued on for the rest of the ride, albeit on wet roads.

Back home, I cleaned up the bike (it was due anyway) and relubed the chain. Getting ready for what was supposed to be a nice Sunday. There were heavey rain and winds overnight and I started to have some doubts about Sunday. Around 10:00PM, checking e-mail and watching some of the delayed World Series game 3, an e-mail popped up from Mike W. with an FYI that the Brands ride would be continuing on Sunday (instead of Saturday) and with a later start time (8:30AM). Great!

So, this morning, headed out for 15 warmup miles on the Jones Beach path (full of leaves and sticks from last night's storm) then cruised into the Brands lot at 8:30AM. We started of with a total of 9 riders but various groups broke off here and there for different reasons. Ed was staying with a new rider and quickly went out the back. Ariel, Jamie, and Scott(?) had ridden to the ride start from Babylon, so they left for home at Deer Park Ave. That left Mike, Paul, James, and I as a group of four for the last 25 miles or so. We kept an easy but steady pace, most of the time ;-}, regrouping for a few minutes with Ed and the new rider, before speeding up to the finish at Brands. Nice ride and a sunny, autumn day.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Winter is Approaching

Another cold morning today, and even a bit windier than yesterday. Dug out the windproof tights, vest, hat, and neoprene gloves. I delayed my ride start to 7:30AM, hoping for some sun. Did the same Brands route again (Round Swamp Rd. - LIE Service Road - Round Swamp Rd.). This time I was riding solo.

I was riding against the wind on the way out. At mile 15.25, in the middle of a short, steep hill, I flatted in the rear after running over some piece of metal on the road. Made a quick repair and continued the short climb. Turnaround at mile 20 and got some more favorable winds for the return trip.

Back home, I usually would just toss the damaged tube but this one only had a couple of hundred miles on it (just replaced a month ago when I flatted on the Highlander ride). So, I took the time to patch it and put it back on the bike. We'll see if its still holding air by tomorrow morning!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Last Brands Saturday AM Ride for the Season

Nine of us showed up at Brands this morning for the last Saturday morning ride of the season. Everyone in good spirits and bundled up against the 42F temperature and wind. We set out all together, a few minutes after 7:00AM. Together until Round Swamp Rd. I went to the front and kept a moderate but steady pace, trying to get warm. Unfortunately, by the time we got to the LIE, my little group was down to three. I thought it was a fairly moderate pace but I think a lot of riders' efforts were muted by the cold temperatures and wind. For me, I felt that the fastest way to warm up would be to push a little harder. After a couple of hills, we lost James, and it was just Patrick and I for the next 30 miles.

We really did not push the pace, probably averaging out 18 mph eastbound and about 20 mph when we turned back around. It was really kind of cool, trading pulls for 30 miles with barely a word needing to be spoken. Just enough pace and hills to keep it interesting. A well deserved handshake at the end, back at the Brands lot. Good ride!

Monday, October 13, 2008

New Headlight - DiNotte 200L-AA-S

Put a new chain on the Specialized (SRAM PC 991) after yesterday's ride. It was due after 2,700 miles on the old chain. After removing the old chain and laying it side-by-side with the new chain, it was easy to see that the old one was stretched at least 1/4 inch. I put the new one on, made a slight adjustment to the rear deraileur with the barrel adjuster and it was good to go.

I got up early today to try out my new headlight. Four laps on the Jones Beach bike path, 25 miles or so, for about 1 hr and 20 min. There are no street lights along the path so it important to have a good, bright, reliable light for these dark morning rides.

I replaced my defunct NiteHawk 10 watt halogen with a new DiNotte 200L-AA-S led.

On the left is the old halogen and the big, heavy, SLA (sealed lead acid) battery. On the right, the DiNotte led batteries and battery pack.

The new light seems to be at least as bright as the old one. The difference in weight is tremendous! The whole DiNotte package (light and batteries is only 200 grams) is probably only about 20% of the weight of the battery alone from the old system. It worked great on this ride and the light was strong for the whole 80 minute ride. It seems to be well-made, the aluminum body also acts as a heat sink for the light.

Benefits of the new light:
light weight
easy mounting and easy to move between bikes
easy-to-find AA rechargeable batteries
handlebar and helmet mounts (included)
three beam intensities
2+ hour runtime
backlit power switch
waterproof light unit

Here is the light (turned on) and battery pack mounted on my handlebars. Only 200 grams so hardly noticeable. Check out the cool blue backlight on the power switch!

The light mounts with a silicone rubber O-ring stretched from a groove on the back of the light, around the bars, and then looped back over the front of the light. Benefits of this mounting system are that it can be installed and removed without tools and it works great even over cables and oddly shaped bars.

O-ring mounting system.

So, after one ride, I'm really happy with the DiNotte. It was a little pricey but its gotten great reviews online and really fit all of my criteria for a new light. I would say the only concern so far is with the longevity of the rubber O-ring mount. Two are supplied with the light. I'll see how they hold up after a winter of riding.

On a different note, I found this little video clip of the Highlander. I think it was done the year before I started doing the ride but it gives a little idea of what the ride is like. Check it out!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Great Fall Cycling Weather This Weekend

Two cool but sunny riding days this weekend, and, best of all, DRY for a change!

On Saturday I met up with the Brands group for a 40 mile ride on the usual route up Round Swamp Rd., LIE service road, then back to the shop. Eleven riders all together at the start but we split up into two groups by the end. We were missing our "leader", Jamie, as he had a minor run-in with car the day prior. I met up with him after the ride and he is doing okay, considering being hit by a car! The car clipped his rear wheel and he went down, resulting in some road rash on his knee. His rear wheel and chain stay are a bit messed up but he was bring the bike in to the shop to be repaired. Looks like next Saturday may be the last LBS ride of the season, due to darkness.

This morning I headed out on a solo ride, same route as yesterday plus a loop through West Hills. Again, perfect fall weather, just needed a long-sleeve base layer. Skipped the Early Birds again but kind of a busy day, so I needed to get home early.

Bike-wise, I need to replace my chain today, about 2,700 miles on the current chain and it is starting to make some noise. Also got my new light so I may give it a try tomorrow morning. Stay tuned for a review!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Sunday Soaker

The weekend started on a promising note with a nice ride with the Brands group on Saturday. It was a cool start at around 48F, but there was no threat of rain and a light wind. About 10 of us started out on a shortened route so that the LBS guys could get back early for a busy sale day at the shop. Just straight up Round Swamp Rd. to Rt. 25 and back.

Four of us peeled off to do the LIE service road rollers that are part of the usual Brands route. Then I went for a solo loop through West Hills. It turned out to be a great riding day.

Today (Sunday) I was really looking forward to doing the Early Birds, but when I got up at 5:30AM the roads were wet from overnight rain. I check a couple of online radar maps and forecasts and things didn't look to promising. I decided that I would just stay close to home and do a solo ride.

I headed out at 7:45AM on the Trek, just overcast skies and wet roads. Drizzle started almost immediately, then the heavy rain hit just 3 or 4 miles in. I though a few times about turning back but I didn't want to waste a weekend ride. Besides, I was already soaked through, so I figured I'd stay reasonably warm as long as I kept riding.

I ended up doing the Brands route and West Hills, solo, on the Trek. First hour was in steady rain, very heavy at times. Then the rain blew out after about 20 miles, just at the turnaround point on the LIE. Probably would have ended up with the same result with the EB's but by doing the solo ride I avoided the long trip home and got to use the rain bike instead of the Specialized.

A little bummed not to do the EB's but glad to have pushed through the rain and get the miles. Hopefully better luck next weekend.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Wet Ride With the Early Birds

I knew this was going to be a wet ride this morning but I decided to head out to Manorville for the weekly Early Birds ride anyway, hoping that roads would dry up once we got under way. Only a 30 percent chance of rain was forecast.

Oatmeal, banana, coffee, then out the door for the drive to Manorville. About 15 or so riders showed up, mostly the usual crowd with one or two new faces. The roads did not dry up as I hoped so this turned into a wet, dirty ride. I know 15 people who will be cleaning bikes today! No wind at all, so we were dialed up to 25 mph within the first 1/2 mile and kept a fast but comfortable pace for the whole ride.

But, as anyone could predict, the wet roads led to flat tires. Three flats in the first 30 miles. Flat number 3 was ME, just about 1/2 mile before the deli in Cutchogue. The group was going to bypass the deli stop to make up time lost fixing the previous two flats. John and Chris stayed with me while I repaired the flat on my front tire, but when we proceeded on to the deli we were pleasantly surprised to see that the whole group had waited after all. Thanks guys (and gal)!

The last 20 miles were at a high pace. Over the hill on Rt. 51 I stayed with the lead group of 6 or 7. Turning right onto Rt. 111, we had a slight tailwind and flew up the last big climb. Then, it was 30+ mph down Rt. 111 to the end.

Too bad about the flats but it was nice to play around at these high speeds for a change.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Beat the Rain (Almost!) predicted 80% chance of thundershowers this morning, so I didn't hold out much hope for the Saturday morning Brands ride. When I got up, it was not actually raining but still too dark to get a good look at the roads. I got ready to ride anyway and by 6:45am, the sky was very overcast but didn't look too stormy, so I headed out to Brands on my rain bike to see if any other riders were going to chance the weather.

No one there, so I went out and did the 40 mile route solo. The roads were wet but the rain held off until about six miles to go. It was a light but steady rain for those last 15-20 minutes but a good ride none the less. Nice and warm today so getting wet was not really a problem. I was still in shorts and short sleeve jersey.

Weather looks even worse for tomorrow, so I'm glad I got the ride in today!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

2008 Tour of the Hamptons Ride Report

Did my 5th Tour of the Hamptons ride today. Traditionally, this ride is in mid-August. For some reason it was pushed back to September this year. Frankly, this worked out great weather-wise since we've had a couple of the August rides where 90+ degree temperatures really wear you out.

Fresh off last weekend's Highlander, the legs are fully recovered and probably in good shape from all that climbing. Did the usual early morning pre-work rides all week and a nice warmup yesterday with the Brands crew of about 40 miles. Talking with riders at the Brands ride, it turns out that they had a group of seven or eight who were planning on riding the TOH as well, some doing the century and some doing the 65 mile version. I already had plans to meet the East End group and do the century with them.

So, up at 5:00am for some breakfast, getting the gear together and loaded in the car. On my way by 5:35am for ride to Southampton High School, the starting point of the ride. Got there by 6:45 but registration was a little delayed. Our group's planned start time was 7:30am so there was plenty of time to get ready. The forcasted high was 77F but the morning was cool so I started out with arm warmers and long-fingered gloves. Also was wearing my brand new Brands jersey, in yellow. I stood out a little in the group who were mostly in their East End Team jerseys.

Our group of 15 headed out on time, and with the good weather and a favorable wind, we were up to a cruising speed of about 23mph in no time. The group missed one turn early on and things were broken up for a couple of miles until we pulled everyone back together.

First rest stop after about an hour at mile 23 in Amagansett. Easy ride so far as the route is pretty much dead flat to this point and we had good wind. I grabbed some fig newtons, a bannana, and 1/2 PB&J. Then we mounted up for the loop to Montauk Point. A couple of people faded through Hither Hills. We took it slow through the middle of the town of Montauk and then hit the climbs out to Montauk Point. Some riders dropped off on the climbs and 2 or 3 just cut out the climbs all together. I was with the lead group to the lighthouse and then the loop back west.

At one point, aroung mile 45, on the way back to Amagansett, we saw a road marking indicating a right turn. Myself and 5 others took the turn and kept going. Some riders in the group thought it was the wrong way. The majority decided NOT to take the turn so we were split (for good, as it turned out). Our small group rode for about 5 miles until we hit a DEAD END! So, we backtracked to the turnoff and proceeded back the way the rest of the group had gone. Unfortunately, now we were about 10 miles (approx. 30 minutes) behind.

One more small misdirection and we finally arrived back at the Amagansett rest stop with about 68 miles on the cycle computer. No sign of the big group but there was really no concern as we had a strong group of 6 to share the work for the rest of the ride. More fig newtons, banana, and PB&J for me, plus a bottle refill.

We were now in a difficult section of the route with lots of rolling hills. The work was shared pretty well. It was a tiring effort but mostly nice woods and scenery. I noticed that the route was changed from previous years and avoided the dangerous section on Noyac which is normally plagued with alot of traffic on a road with little or no shoulder.

At the third and last rest stop, we rolled in with 101 miles already, and there we ended up catching the big group last seen at mile 45. It turns out they were delayed by a mechanical issue (broken chain). They were just heading out to leave as we arrived so we were resigned to doing the last 10 miles with out small group. More fig newtons, 1/2 banana and a bottle of water and we set out for the finish.

Some small rollers and then some fast, flat sections around the mansions in Southampton. I finished up back at the ride start with 111 miles, about 5hr 25min riding time. Talked a while with the big group that had just come in before us and I saw Jamie, Paul, and Ann from the Brands ride and talked to the for a few minutes, too.

Finally, packed up and headed home. Everything turned out great, especially so since we had really nice weather even with the late date. This is probably my last organized century for this year. Proabably get caought up with the rest of the Brands group at next Saturday's LBS ride.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Highlander Photo and Grape Pies!

Here is the traditional Miller Hill climb photo for this year:

Photo by AllAgesPhotography.

Tonight, we just finished off a delicious grape pie from Monica's Pies in Naples, NY. The area is noted for their vinyards and grape products. I'd never heard of grape pies before but they always serve a slice at the post-ride meal and the pies from this area are somewhat famous. So, I brought one back to LI on my way home from the ride. Great with a cup of coffee!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Highlander 2008 Ride Report

I rode the Highlander today, the hardest ride I do each year. One hundred miles around Canandaigua Lake (one of the NY Finger Lakes) with a total of 11,000 ft. of climbing and several hills > 20% grade. There is a good summary of the ride at the Highlander website.

I drove up to Corning on Friday night, leaving myself a 1-hour drive to the ride start on Saturday morning.

Up at 4:00am to get ready for the ride, eat some breakfast, and pack up. By 5:00am, I was in the car and started the drive north to Bristol Mountain for the ride start. Got there a little after 6:00am, checked-in, picked up my ride number (#32) and went back to get loaded up. The roads were wet from overnight rain and the skies were cloudy, but I managed to get through the whole ride without getting rained on. Temps were a comfortable 70F but high humidity.

Sorry no photos but I already killed one digital camera in the rain this summer, so I didn't want to chance it with another one. I intended to bring my GPS but it could not lock onto any satellites within 15 minutes due to the heavy cloud cover, so I left it in the car.

I headed out of the lot by 6:55. Within 5 miles, I was in the middle ring. Within 10 miles, I was in the small ring (granny gear). This is probably the only ride where I use every one of the available 27 gears, and the only ride where I need to use the little ring.

Got a rear flat tire at mile 17, which was a bit of a disappointment as I had just put on a new Michelin Krylion Carbon 80 miles ago for the specific reason to avoid a flat due to a worn tire. Alas, the upstate chipseal went through the rubber anyway. I now have had a flat on 3 of the 4 Highlanders I've ridden.

Up Miller Hill, a photographer was taking pictures at the usual spot so after they post them I will try to include a link if I can find one of me (here is the 2007 photo). After that, I made good time riding solo, up the first two "monster" hills Bopple and Gannett.

Rest stops were plentiful and well stocked, just like last year. I was partial to the fig newtons, bananas, home-baked cookies, and watermelon.

At the rest stop at mile 62, I hooked up with a rider named Rob from Buffalo, NY, and we tackled Sliter and Griesa hills together all the way back to Bristol Mountain.

I collected my "goodie" bag with a Highlander calendar, bottle of wine, etc. and ate the included dinner. I drove back to Corning, took a quick shower and continued with the marathon drive back home.

A decent ride, really hard, but satisfying to have finished.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Tempo Rides Before the Highlander

I would have liked to do the Saturday LBS ride but Tropical Storm Hanna put a damper on that. Steady rain Friday night and threatening skies throughout the day kept the other riders away. I checked the radar in the morning and saw some space between the bands of rain for a couple of hours for riding. I stopped by Brands at 7:00am but no other riders were there. I went solo on the Trek for about 35 miles up Round Swamp Rd. and West Hills. Got wet from the road spray but no rain.

Hanna blew out overnight and this morning it was clear and sunny, mostly dry roads, and low humidity. A bit windy but nothing too difficult. Did the usual Brands route and West Hills on the Specialized. Then, back home, cleaned up both bikes.

An easy weekend but I concentrated on easy tempo riding and trying to keep a steady pace on the uphills. Hopefully this will be the key to a successful run at the Highlander next weekend.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Stony Brook Ride Photo

Did a short ride this morning up Round Swamp Rd. and West Hills, then off to the beach this last day of summer vacation. Turned out to be a great day!

Arial sent me this photo taken at the completion of our 70 mile ride yesterday. Check it out!

Ariel, me, Eric, and (the other) Nick, outside of Campus Bikes in Stony Brook.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Labor Day Weekend Rides

Lots of bike-related goings on this weekend, both on and off the bike. Regarding pro bike racing, the Tour of Ireland, Deutchland Tour, Vuelta a Espana, and U.S. Pro Championships all taking place this weekend. Lots of coverage on TV and online.

On the bike, starting with Saturday, steady rain in the morning washed out the usual Saturday morning Brands group ride. Had a nice big breakfast with the family and relaxed with a cup of coffee. Around 9:30am or so the rain stopped and things started to dry up a bit. I took the opportunity to take the Trek out for a 40-miler on the Brands route to dial in the cleat position on my new MTB shoes. I will be using this setup this winter when the roads are wet or full of road grime and salt. Hopefully this will cut down on wear and tear on the Specialized. Also, this will most likely become my normal pre-work ride when it gets too dark for the little AAA powered light and I need to break out the halogen. I stopped to adjust the cleats after 2 or 3 miles, then rode the rest of the way with no issues. Maybe just need one more sesssion to get it 100 percent.

This morning I hooked up with Ariel agin to head out to Stony Brook for a 70 mile A ride, similar to last Sunday. We started with 5 riders and ended up with 4. A steady A-pace with a 20.1 average over the 70 miles. Really a very comfortable pace, everyone sharing in the work and a few light hearted attacks on the hills. Ariel continued to amaze on the climbs but we all rolled in together and spent a few minutes chatting afterward. Ariel took a group photo so I might see if I can get a copy of it to post.

Got a couple of e-mails from Mike W. but I had already committted to the Stony Brook ride today and tomorrow we have some family plans that require me to be home by 9:00am, so I'll probably end up doing a short solo ride.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Stony Brook - Harbor Hills Ride

Went with Ariel to ride out east. A great ride with a strong group. Hills, fast pacelines, great weather. Here is Kris' GPS track of the 75 mile ride:

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Brands Ride - PLUS!

Once again, a fast, early morning loop to Jones Beach, then on to Brands for the 7:00am start of the weekly group ride. No Mike or Bob this week but most of the other familiar faces were there. The group stayed all together for the first 20 miles, all the way down the LIE South Service Rd. until Commack Rd. Five of us went north to Vanderbilt for a little different return route while the rest of the group continued back on the normal route.

We attacked the hills, regrouping as needed, hitting Wolf Hill Rd., through West Hills, and Avery. We had a fast paceline to head south again and finished together back at the Brands lot. With my extra morning miles, I finished up with 66.5 miles on the day.

Got an e-mail asking about the workstand I got, so here is a picture with the bike attached (check out my new saddle, too!):

The model is a Spin Doctor Race Workstand. Not the Park Tools model but the price was good and it feels sturdy enough. Time will tell.

Hoping to get another solid ride in tomorrow morning, possibly hooking up with Ariel from the Brands ride.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Solo Century - Highlander Prep

No organized century rides on the schedule this month, so I set out on a solo ride to prepare for next month's Highlander Cycle tour. Probably did only half as much climbing as the Highlander but I've found its just as important to prepare mentally to be riding for 6 hours as it is for the legs to be ready.

I did the "usual" Brands route with West Hills loop, then...did it again! Got the hundred miles with, probably 3,500 to 4,000 feet of elevation. Riding time: 5h 40m.

Home a little after noon and broke out the new work stand to clean up the bike. It worked great!

Its a euro-style stand where one wheel is removed and the fork is locked into a quick release and the bottom bracket is supported by a padded cradle. No camera handy today but I'll try to get a photo of it in action one of these days.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

North Shore Hill Ride

Did a loop to Jones Beach then stopped off at the LBS for the Saturday group ride. A couple of miles in, Bill came up to me and suggested that a few of us could split off and do a hill ride on the North Shore. It sounded good to me since I need to ride some hills in preparation for next month's Highlander. We checked in with the ride leader, Jamie, and a couple of other riders and so it was set.

At the LIE, we continued North wile the rest of the group continued the usual route East. Lots of turns on this route but mostly we headed up toward Lloyd Harbor and did pieces of the Triangle Ride and the Gold Coast Century. I'm sure I can't remember all the turns but we hit the familiar hills in that area: Stillwell, Snake Hill Rd., Turkey Hill, Avery. We were a strong group of five and stayed together. We had one flat in the group around mile 40 but then continued our strong paceline back to Brands.

Just past Bethpage Park, Bill and I got caught at a traffic light and the three other guys faded into the distance as we were left behind. We hammered and tried to catch them but got stuck at yet another light, so that was it. Back at Brands, the timing was perfect as we arrived just at the same time as the other group that did the usual route. It seems they had a slight mishap with another cyclist but no injuries. Great ride and good to change things up a little.

On the technical front, the fizik Arione saddle still feels great! Also, I ordered a repair stand which I should get today. This should make maintenance a bit easier.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Weekend Rides With the Brands Group

Saturday morning a did a quick loop to Jones Beach and a couple of laps of the Tour de Parc circuit in Cedar Creek before heading over to Brands for the Saturday morning group ride. We had a dozen or so riders show up. Jamie distributed cue sheets this time with a new return route. After heading east on the LIE service road, as ususal, we would return via Vanderbilt Ave. and Half Hollow Hills Rd. instead of the LIE south service Rd. A good variation with lots of hills and less traffic.

I was part of a group of four that was off the front of the main group when we got to Vanderbilt. I got dropped after the first couple of hills but the guys waited for me and we kept together until Sweet Hollow Rd. They headed North for another 5 miles through West Hills but I took the more direct route back as I had a 10:00am conference call for work. Still got 53 miles.

After cleaning the bike, I headed to Brands for a few odds and ends: chain lube, degreaser, a new water bottle [thanks Tina]. I also decided to treat myself to a new saddle. After 24,000 miles the old one was looking a bit worse for wear and I had also been wanting to get a true racing saddle. After checking out the selection and talking with Jamie, I settled on a fizik Arione. Not the super lightweight version but definitely more performance oriented than the Specialized B/G that originally came with my bike.

Got an e-mail last night from Mike that a few of they guys were going to meet this morning for another hill ride. I joined Mike, Bob, and James and we headed out on a similar route to yesterday except that we returned on Wolf Hill Rd. instead of Vanderbilt. We also did the West Hills loop twice. A more reasonable pace than yesterday but still some challenging hills. We kept our little group tegether for the whole ride and I ended up with another 50 miles. It turned into a good recovery ride.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Early Birds Sunday Ride

Back on Long Island after a weeks vacation with the family in Maine, around Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park on Mt. Desert Island. I did get a second ride around Acadia's Park Loop Rd. on Friday. It was a wet ride through the morning mist and overnight rain, but I did seem to have the whole park virtually to myself.

Ten hours in the car yesterday to get back home, so I decided to REALLY stretch my legs with a fast EB ride. Out to Manorville for the 7:30am ride start. There was a huge group today, at least 35 riders, I would say. We headed out on the south route and had a very fast pace with a bit of tailwind. At Dune Rd., things started off tentative but soon we were pulling 25+ mph into the headwind. After my pull, someone unleashed a strong acceleration and I had no time to recover. I lost the wheel ahead and two or three of us were off the back. We struggled on ahead and I eventually bridged up to 3 or 4 other small groups. Three of us powered up over the bridge and met up with the lead group at the regrouping stop probably only about 1 minute behind.

We waited up for everyone else then set off again. Just before the deli stop the group split. About ten of us kept going, skipping the deli. A fast-paced 50-mile ride! Except for last Friday's race, I don't think I've dug this deep for months!

Vacation is over, so back to the work grind and the usual ride schedule tomorow!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Acadia National Park

On a family vacation in Bar Harbor, Maine. Got up early for a short ride in Acadia National Park on the beater bike. Did a ride to the Summit of Cadillac Mountain, then a loop of the park on Park Loop Road. Only about 31 miles but lots of climbing.

From the summit of Cadillac Mountain.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Recovery ride a day late

After riding Friday morning and racing Friday night, I figured a moderate paced Brands ride on Saturday morning would be just the ticket for a recovery. NOT!! Most of the usual group was there but once we hit the LIE service road things broke up on the hills. We kept a high pace on the 16 miles of rollers and finally called a truce back at the intersection with Round Swamp Rd., where we waited to get our group back together. We kept an easier pace back to the LBS. A great ride! As usual, it seems to take about 10 miles of riding before the legs get warmed up and start feeling good after a hard ride the day before (or 12 hours before, in this case).

Today, Sunday, I got up early to do a solo ride but as I was having my traditional oatmeal and coffee pre-ride breakfast, lightning, thunder and rain moved in. I took care of some items around the house for an hour or so until it cleared, then went out for 40 miles on the LIE again. Legs really sore today! An hour after I got back home, the thunderstorms started up again and have been going most of the day. So, good timing to get the ride in.

Heading out of state next week for a vacation with the family. Bringing the bike but most likely will just do one or two short, easy rides.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Kreb Friday Night Race Report

I drove out to Riverhead for this evenings Kreb Friday Night Race. I rode the "B" race, which is Cat 4 & 5 riders. After signing in and a few warmup laps, we all took a break to watch the kids races. When they finished, the A, B, and C groups lined up for the staggered start. The B race was 15 laps, which gave us a total of about 28 miles of racing.

I led the group around for most of the first lap. It was mostly status quo until the first prime at six laps to go. I got 3rd or 4th in the sprint for the prime, but the 2nd place rider kept going and I motored up to get on his wheel. Most of the others sprinting for the prime sat up. The two of us had a big gap for one lap. A chase group of three riders bridged up to us and we were a break of five. We hammered away for a lap or two. When I looked back, the rest of our group was nowhere in sight. We all put in some good, strong pulls to make sure the break would succeed.

On the final lap, I ended up in a less-than-ideal situation, taking the final pull to the bottom of the last climb before the finish. As I drifted to the back of the group, Dan opened the sprint with a strong acceleration. I could not respond immediately. Before I could get a couple of breaths, Victor was on his wheel and they two of them gapped the rest of us. They finished one and two, Victor with the win. A fellow East End teammate, Chris nabbed third, ahead of me by a couple of bike lengths. I gave it all I had and crossed the line for fourth.

A satisfying race in that I put in a big effort to make sure the break stayed away, and it did. It may have cost me a top three at the end but if the whole group of twelve made it to the finish together, I think there were a few more strong sprinters who could have finished ahead of me.

On a side note, I met my companion from last week's Brands ride. He raced the A group and got 5th. A great result for him. Will probably do Brands tomorrow morning. Caio!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Short Sunday AM ride, the TdF Enters the Alps

Shortened my early morning ride to 40 miles so I could get back and watch the pros hit the high alps for the first time in this year's Tdf (stage 15). Still, a good fast solo ride this morning along the Brands route. It was really warm out, 76F at 6:00am as I headed up Round Swamp Rd. I was home by 8:00am, fed the dog, brewed a pot of coffee and refeuled with some bacon and eggs.

Watching the tour on Versus now, peloton over the HC climb. Four man break out in front (USA rider Danny Pate in there for team Garmin-Chipotle!!!) but it looks like the real fireworks will be on the final Cat 1 climb.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Brands Ride Takes it Up a Notch!

I thought today might be an easy day, but the Brands ride turned out be a bit of a hammerfest today. I started off with a solo ride to the beach then arrived at the Brands lot to do the usual Saturday group ride. After about a dozen riders assembled, we rolled out at an easy pace as everyone warmed up. Things broke up a little on the long rise up Round Swamp Rd.

On to the LIE service road and it was still together until Dix Hills. Four of us broke away on a short steep climb, then one strong rider pulled us along most of the way to the turnaround point. With four strong riders, we didn't wait for the group and got a good paceline going back into the wind. At the next steep climb, I got away with one other rider and the two of us hammered our way back to Brands for the last 15 or 18 miles. Around the Bethpage golf course, we caught up with some of the original remnants of the starting group so them must have turned back early.

The two of us arrived back at Brands, big smiles and handshakes on a good fast ride. Also impressive was that my ride companion did the Riverhead races lastr night. Can't believe he had that much left in his legs. In summary a hard, fast ride witha grand total of 51 miles. Lots of fun!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Gold Coast Ride Report

Just back from the Gold Coast ride. I ended up with 115 miles as I rode to the start and headed home before the official ride end when the route came back down near Round Swamp Rd. At least I saved a couple of gallons of gas! One of the harder centuries on LI, due to the hills.

After riding to the start at BAE Systems in Greenlawn, I met up with the EB group and we headed out. Perfect riding weather and a challenging route. We kept it all together until the 2nd rest stop where most riders split off to follow the 70 mile route. Seven of us continued on with the 100 mile route. Kept fueled with Gatorade, PB&J sandwiches, bananas, and GORP (good old raisins and peanuts).

I was pleasantly surprised to meet up a few times with Mike W and Bob from the Brands group who were riding together on the 70 mile route. Good to see them doing well on the ride.

After the 3rd rest stop, and climbing steep Avery Rd., I split off alone on Rt. 25 to head home. I already had my hundred miles and cruised the last 15 home down Round Swamp Rd. Now showered, bagel, coffee, and fruit to refuel and watching some Tour de France highlights on TV. Feeling a bit battered, and so is my bike. Some really rough pavement on this ride. I feel like I really absorbed a beating from the road. Not to mention, someone knocked over my bike at the last rest stop, but no damage.

Percy had his camera along, as usual, so I'll link to his photos if he posts them.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

"Coast" Recon

Scouted out the route from home to the start of the Gold Coast century. I'm planning on riding to the official start, then doing about 80 miles of official route with the EB group, then continuing home on my own when the route swings back down to Round Swamp Rd. Did a loop of the LIE service road on the way home for a total ride of 53 miles today.

Should take me about an hour to ride there in the morning.

Monday, July 07, 2008

July 4th Wekend Ride Recap

Friday, July 4th
Headed out early on a cool (55F), misty morning for my traditional climb up Harris Hill. I've blogged about this ride before, its mostly flat until Harris Hill itself, which is a steep wall of a climb. Then a fast descent back down to the Chemung River valley, a circuit around the local airport, then back to Corning. This time, I doubled-up and did another ascent of Harris Hill and airport circuit. This turned the usual 35 mile ride into a 47 mile ride. Its been quite a few weeks since I've needed the gloves and arm warmers for a ride but the morning here upstate are 20F cooler than they have been on the Island.

Saturday, July 5th
Another brisk morning! Felt a bit tired so I opted for a ride that would be mostly flat, with the option of hills if I felt up to it later. I headed west out of Corning on Rt. 415 (Bike 17) to Savona. Still didn't feel great but I knew I had time for 50 miles today, the weather was good and warming-up, so I wanted to make the most of the ride opportunity. I made the right turn onto Rt. 226 and headed into the hills. The climbs are not steep until Weston, and I didn't go that far. Green farm country and small towns. A nice quiet ride on good roads and good pace. As soon as my odemeter click to 25 miles I turned back and retraced my route back to Corning. 51 miles on the day.

Sunday, July 6th
Legs were feeling great this morning, weather was clear and warm, so I decided to go for a long ride. I decided that I could make a challenging century by combining the full Savona-Weston hill route with a loop around Keuka Lake, which I had done once before without Savona/Weston piece. It turned out to be a 108 mile ride, lots of rolling hills, a couple of steep tough climbs, some fast tempo sections, and a hard return home with the last 25 miles into a headwind. Here is a map of the route:

I took the camera along so here is a little photo summary...

About 10 miles in, on Rt. 415, the sunrise is lighting up this wet cornfield.

My shadow as I cruise toward the turnoff at Savona.

On a small uphill section through the farm country on Rt. 226, headed to the town of Tyrone and then Weston.

Still on Rt. 226, about 20 miles into the ride, some horses grazing in the morning sun.

Mile 25, yet another nice farm scene! There were just too many picture opportunities so, around this time, I decided I needed to curtail the photo stops or the ride would take all day.

The post office in Tyrone. Now some big hills as I head back toward Keuka Lake.

After a long, tough climb into Weston, I'm about to lose a large portion of that elevation gain on this 40 mph decent toward Hammondsport and Keuka Lake.

Descending to Keuka Lake, passed this pond on the hills overlooking the Lake. The hills in the distance are on the other side of the lake, which is not yet in view.

This is upstate wine and grape country, as illustrated on the side of this barn. You can see a small bit of Keuka Lake, which is still below me, to the right of the barn.

I got down to the bottom end of Keuka Lake near Hammonsport at mile 35. Then is was a fast, flat 20 mile run up the west side of the lake to Penn Yan. See yesterday's blog entry for a photo from the boat harbor there.

Heading out of Penn Yan, I stopped at a scenic overlook for this photo looking down the western fork of the lake.

Heading back down the east side of the lake, the road is a continuous series of rollers and narrow, twisting roads, unlike the flat and straight west side. I was constantly getting out of the saddle to keep my momentum going. Finally, at mile 80, I got to the town of Hammondsport and stopped in the town square for a Clif bar.

Left Hammondsport on the way to Bath and passed the Curtiss airplane museum.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Corning Area Ride Report and Photos are Coming!

If you have been checking my velog, you know I was away riding in the Corning, NY area for the July 4th weekend. Got home late today and getting ready for work tomorrow. Ride details and photos to follow in a day or two.

Okay, here is one photo to start...

At the top of Keuka Lake, Penn Yan, NY.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Remember to Hydrate!

On Saturday, met up at Brands (LBS) for a ride with the group. We left with a group of about 14 riders. By the time we got to Round Swamp Rd., we had split into two groups and I bridged across to the first one. It was a strong group and a there were a few friendly attacks on the LIE rollers. Around mile 28, the group headed south back to Brands but I went off solo to do West Hills and try to get a few more miles and a few mor climbs in the legs in preparation for July 4th weekend (hopefully will be riding some hills upstate) and the Gold Coast century the week after that. I did the West Hills loop, another loop of the LIE rollers and then a second lap through West Hills. I had 65 miles by the time I got back to the intersection of the LIE and Round Swamp Rd. Although I took two bottles, I was almost out of water and feeling a bit light headed, to I stopped at the Mobil station on the corner for a Gatorade and a couple of oatmeal cookies before finishing off the last 10 miles to home. It was good to get 75 miles and 4 hours of saddle time. It was a nice warm (hot?) and humid day, so its not really surprising that I needed to replenish fluids enroute.

This morning (Sunday), I planned on doing my usual 50 mile loop. This time I took two water bottles instead of the usual one I have been bringing and I went through them both. Nice solo ride in good weather. Lots and lots of roadies out today, and I found myself in the middle of a charity ride on Sweet Hollow road.

I hope the weather is good upstate next weekend. Looking forward to riding some different roads!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Brands Route x 2

Saturday was looking forward to actually riding the Brands route WITH the Brands group. Showed up at the shop for the 7:00am start. It was a somewhat reduced group as a lot of the regulars were doing a century ride that day. Mike W. was there and we headed out with a group of 6 riders.

We had an easy pace out to Bethpage park, then a bit of adrenaline as one rider crashed at a tricky intersection. A car was approaching, and as the rider hit the brakes, the rear wheel locked up. She went down hard and ended up with some road rash on arms and legs. I offered to ride back to the start with her but she wanted to continue the ride. So we all regrouped and continued.

I made strong efforts on the uphill sections and we regrouped after each one. When we got to the turnaround on the LIE, I decided to split off from the group (for a few reasons) and picked up the pace for the remaing 25 miles on my own. Had some post-ride soreness in my right knee for the rest of the day so I wasn't sure about what I would be up for on Sunday.

Sunday morning, and its a clear but humid day. The forcasted rain didn't appear so I fueled up with a bowl of cereal and coffee and went out for another edition of the Brands loop. Two miles into the ride I realized that I forgot my repair kit at home, so I looped back home to pick it up. Tailwinds up to the LIE and had a good pace going east. Just before the turnaround I spotted two riders ahead of me and as I caught up to them I realized it was Mike and Bob, who were also on yesterday's ride. We rode the return leg of the LIE service road together. Mike was riding the new carbon frame he built up and it looks pretty cool. Its an unbranded Wilier Le Roi frame with Ultegra SL, Deda bars and stem, and Thomson seatpost, NICE! They went south on Round Swamp Rd. while I headed north to do my little West Hills extension.

When I eventually headed south, I encountered a headwind and gray skies. It looked like rain was on the way but I made it home before anything came down. Another good weekend of training and some variations of the usual solo rides. Starting to think about getting ready for Gold Coast Century and some climbing!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Saturday Training Ride

Solo tempo ride along the Brands route and through West Hills (50 miles). Felt a bit drained this morning, maybe overtraining? Met Jamie, Mike and the (real) Brands group on the way back and joined them for the last 6 mi.

After the ride, I put a new chain on the Specialized after the old one hit about 2,600 miles. I'm trying to change it regularly every 2,500 miles and see if I can get 7,500 miles out of this cassette. I've made the mistake in the past of letting the chain go too long and ruining the cassette. 2,500 miles seems to be the common rule-of-thumb for changing a chain.

Also got a new rear tire but I'm going to give the current one another 500 miles or so. Or, I'll just change it if I start getting flats. Gave the bike a good cleaning today, too. Hope the weather is okay for a ride tomorrow morning, thunder showers predicted for this evening.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Beating the Heat

Saturday and Sunday called for 90F temps, so I wanted to head out early to beat the heat, and also, to have time for the kids soccer game and dance recitals.

Saturday, it was hazy and cool in the morning, the sun didn't poke through until about mile 30 in my 50-mile Brands/West Hills ride. Average temp was in the 60's so it was a cool, comfortable ride.

After carbo-loading most of the day on Saturday ;-), I headed out on the same route for Sunday, but this time it was hot and sunny from the start (mid 80F's). I really felt like I was flying today, so this ride was a 10 out of 10! It felt really great to ride in the warm weather!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

BBB Videos

Youtube video from glennpw of his BBB ride. (I took the footage on the ferry!)

Here is a video from one of the nice people driving the SAG wagon. You can see a quick glimpse of me in the beginning, riding off of the ferry (orange East End jersey, white helmet.)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Bike-Boat-Bike Ride Report (PyZahl's Photos added)

PyZahl's photos here.

Some early morning fog, but otherwise a perfect day was on tap the the Suffolk Bike Riders Association annual Bike-Boat-Bike ride. There are various rides ranging from 25 miles to 137 miles. Our group settled on the 106-mile route.

We had a core group of about 8-10 riders and set out from Mattituck at 7:30am. An uneventful but very enjoyable ride out to Greenport for the first ferry. Nice fast paceline was the order of the day. Due to the number of riders expected to make the crossing to Shelter Island, they had someone selling the discounted ferry tickets in the loading area. They were extremely slow in making change and before we knew it, the ferry shoved off and left Dave S. behind. I met glennpw on the ferry and we talked about the Kreb race videos he made, including a new one he put up for the recent Empire State Games qualifier. He is also making a video of his BBB ride and I actually videod him doing a little monologue on the ferry (I'll post a link when he puts it up on (Luckily, Dave caught up to the group at the other end of Shelter Island as we waited for the ferry to the South fork.)

We let two ferries go waiting for Dave and John Y., who we missed at the start, but John didn't show so we proceeded on the next one. All I can say about the rest of the ride was that it was a fast group ride thruogh some great LI scenery! We rode through the Shinnecock golf course, past by the Big Duck, through tree covered roads. Just great.

I had no camera but if PyZahl posts a ride report, I'll link to it.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Weather Gamble

I checked the weather forecast this morning...80% change of rain for the day but most likely in the afternoon, only about 20% chance until 9:00am. I took the chance and set out for my usual 50-mile ride. Got the first bit of drizzle after 5 miles. It only lasted a couple of minutes and the sun even came out for a while as I rode east on the LIE srevice road.

Almost as soon as I made the turnaround, the heavy rain started! It was really pouring for about 15 minutes, then gradually let up. I started to think about cutting the ride short but by the time I got back to Round Swamp Rd., the roads were fairly dry, so I went for the West Hills loop as well.

Heading south back down Round Swamp, more drizzle and wet roads. I got the miles I wanted but ended up pretty soaked. I'll need to get the bike cleaned-up for tomorrow's Bike-Boat-Bike century, and figure out some way to get my cycling shoes dried out by then.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday Ride and the Blue Angels

The Blue Angels in formation at Jones Beach, May 25, 2008.

Did the 40-mile Brands route, again, with great weather. I was a bit tired from a busy day on Saturday and we also had plans to see the air show at Jones Beach, so I cut the ride a bit shorter to just 40 miles

We joined some friends out on their boat and really enjoyed the airshow and a leisurely cruise back to Freeport when it was over. We all had a fun time and enjoyed the nice weather. Here is a little video snippet of the Blue Angels roaring overhead as we bobbed offshore in the boat.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend - Saturday Ride

Great weather forecast for the weekend. I set out this morning for the usual 50 mile Brands Ride, but it was too nice out! So I did a second loop out on the LIE for a total of 65 miles...a metric century. Should have brought more water! Anyway, I wanted the extra miles for training because next weekend I'm planning on doing SBRA's Bike-Boat-Bike ride. Most likely, I will attempt the 135 mile route, so that will be a DOUBLE metric century. I did it a couple of years ago with John Y. so I hope to hook up with John and maybe some of the Early Birds at the start.

Tomorrow should be a good riding day too! Was thinking of doing the BBB 100-mile pre-ride but I have a few other things planned for this weekend besides the bike, so I'll just save it for next weekend.

Monday, I'm planning for a day OFF the bike, which I haven't done since April 11th! Looking forward to spending the day with the family.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tour de Parc Race Photos

Photo of me and Larry U. in the peloton, by Skip Straub.

Here is a link to more Cat 4 race photos.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Tour de Parc Race Report (updated with results)

My first race of 2008! I signed up for the Cat. 4 race, 20 laps, about 20 miles.

Got up early this morning to find sunshine and spring-like temperatures. A nice surprise since a possibility of showers was forecast right up until last night. Had a leisurely breakfast then suited-up in my EECT kit. The race is only a couple of miles from home so I ride the bike there and picked up my number.

I headed down to Jones' Beach for a 9-mile warmup and was back just in time for the Masters 45+ race, the race before the Cat 4's. Met Dad there and chatted for a couple of minutes until some other EECT guys showed up. We rode a few loops around the park to warm up, made final pit stops, then lined up for the race. I think there were about 6 EECT guys in the race including me.

A good size field, maybe 50 riders. We got our final intructions, then we were off. We had a fast start and one rider overcooked the initial hairpin left-hander but he kept it upright on the grass and rejoined the group without a problem. Exiting the left-hander we were straight into the wind. After the small hill at the other end of the course we had a tailwind so it was a fast-paced drop back down to the finishing straight.

Aside from a handful of short-lived break attempts the group kept together, for the most part. About midway through, one rider was forced into the left-hand curb and did an endo! I think he ended up in the grass and was not seriously injured. As we got closer to the end the group got nervous and there were lots of shouts of "hold your line", or "on your right", and a few other expletives that won't be described here!

One EECT rider was in a final break of three but when his two companions dropped off, he was left alone in the wind and was reabsorbed with 2 laps to go. It ended in a bunch sprint. The EECT rider thinks he may have gotten 5th. I finished mid-pack, happy not to have been dropped and adrenaline pumping from the fast ride in the group.

Glad I did the ride and happy that the family made it out to the race. All-in-all, about 40 miles of riding on the day. Will post photos, and results later if available.

Results added this eveing. Looks like EECT took 5th and 6th in the Cat 4 race!

Cadence Tour de Parc
May 18, 2008
Wantagh, New York

Pro / 1-2-3
54 starters

1. Amaury Perez (GS Mengoni)
2. Rafael Meran (GS Mengoni)
3. Ward Solar (Nerac)
4. Lisban Quintero (CRCA/Foundation)
5. Gavin Robertson (CRCA/Foundation)
6. Tom Dolan (Sommerville Sports)
7. Anthony Lowe (WS United)
8. Edwin Morrel (TOGA)
9. Brent Arthurs (Evolution Cycling)
10. Barry Miller (Mike Fraysee)
11. Martin Lechowitz (CRCA/Foundation)
12. Jermaine Burrowes (WS United)

22 starters

1. Rebecca Wellons (NEBC/Cycle Loft)
2. Ann Marie Miller (CRCA/SanchezMetro)
3. Stacey Jensen (Kissena)
4. Sarah Sauvayre (CRCA/Comedy Central)
5. Brooke O'Connor (Hub Racing)

Category 3
53 starters

1. James Joseph (WS United)
2. Juan Pimental (CRCA/Global Locate)
3. Gary Steinberg (CRCA)
4. Patrick Gellineau (Team Squiggle)
5. Greg Olsen (CRCA/Jr. Dev)
6. Frank Negri (Colavita)
7. Marcus Dahllof (CRCA/Merril Lynch)
8. Douglas Dicks (Bennetts Bikes/FDNY)

Category 4
56 starters

1. Aessandro Matteucci (BVF)
2. Edward Zimmerman (CRCA/Die Hard)
3. Shusaku Sheroyama (Kissena)
4. Eric Robertson (Kissena)
5. Charlie Rey (EECT/Kreb Cycle)
6. Lawrence Uhrlass (EECT/Kreb Cycle)
7. Mark Spottiswoord (GBSC/Babylon Bike)
8. Guy Weinmann (Kissena)

Masters 35+
40 starters

1. Wilson Vasquez (GS Mengoni)
2. Jan Micko (GBSC)
3. Matthew Howard (CRCA/Bandit Racing)
4. Robert Lattanzi (CRCA/Sid's-Cannondale)
5. David Sommerville (Sommerville Sports)
6. John Raheb (Unatt)
7. Kurt Gustafsson (CRCA/Axis)
8. Gregory Lee (CRCA)

Masters 45+
24 starters

1. Scott Willingham (CRCA/SanchezMetro)
2. Jan Micko (GBSC)
3. Ken Plundeke (CRCA/Global Locate)
4. Gregory Lee (CRCA)
5. Jerry Martinez (CRCA/Global Locate)

Category 5

1. Neil Bezdek (Breakaway)
2. Brian Breash (Unatt)
3. Akin Dorsett (Pedaller's Paradise)
4. James Stevens (Unatt)
5. Christopher Clark (CRCA)

Thanks to all the officials, registration volunteers and Robert for pacing all day. A special thanks to Cadence Cycling for supporting the Kissena Cycling Club Races.

Charlie Issendorf
Race Director
Kissena Cycling Club

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tour de Parc Criterium - Tomorrow Morning

I'm doing the Cat 4 race, 10:25am, weather looks good!

Here is more info.

50 mile (almost) Ride

Nice sunny morning but roads were still wet from rain all day yesterday. Perfect conditions for.... a FLAT. Which, fortunately occurred just down the block from home. Made a quick call home and got picked up. Fixed the flat and gave the bike a superficial but much needed wash and lube.

Race tomorrow!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Montauk Century Ride Report

After two days of rain, things cleared up nicely this morning for the SBRA Montauk Century. I decided to ride from home to the start in Babylon this year, so I got another 13 miles as a bonus! Got to the ride start and picked up my cue sheet, then headed out on the official route at 6:55am. Seemed to be fighting a North crosswind most of the way with a little relief when the route briefly swerved south. I guess thats the problem with a point-to-point route, if the wind is against you to don't get the benefit of a tailwind on the return like you do on an out-and-back or loop ride.

The sun came through the clouds on occasion and the wet roads dried for the most part after about 25 miles of riding. I took a few photos on the way (see below) but didn't make any stops longer than about 60 seconds, however long it took to snap a photo or open a Clif bar package.

I tried to keep moving steadily to make it to Montauk by 1:00pm (which I did!) and met Mom and Dad for lunch and a car ride home. The ride had its challenges, like any long ride, but at the end I still felt strong. This despite doing the entire 113 miles solo and dealing with alot of wind. Conditioning must really be coming back. Two centuries in four days, a first for me!

Saw Kevin and John S. and some other regulars on the route heading back west while I was heading east. They were meeting up with a group out of Babylon and invited me to join but I didn't want to add any more miles to my ride and I was feeling comfortable enough on my own, so I continued on to Montauk as planned.

Enjoy the photos, and a big THANKS Mom and Dad for the ride home and the company.

Heading out for 100+ miles on the bike.

Ride start, registration table.

In the Hamptons. There are some huge mansions behind these hedges.

A bucolic scene out East.

Made it!

Now, if we can only get this bike to fit in the trunk...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Spring Century Ride Report

The group at the ride finish in Riverhead.

Took a day off from work today to ride the annual Spring Century with a group of riders from SBRA, mostly the Early Birds group. This was my fourth year doing it and it is a nice ride, mostly following a modified Bike-Boat-Bike route, i.e. heading east on the North fork of Long Island to Greenport, taking the ferry to Shelter Island, across Shelter Island, ferry to the South fork, then west through the Hamptons. In this version, the start/end point is Riverhead (BBB is Mattituck).

Weather was perfect with temps between 60F and 70F most of the way, sunny skies, and light wind. We started with 14 riders (ended with 12 at the finish). It was a fast paced ride (20.1 mph average moving speed) although the total ride time was about 6 1/2 hours, due to 3 flats, waiting for ferries, lunch stop, and a few regroups. The East End scenery was great, as usual.

I felt good on the ride, my first century for 2008. I had a big, carby breakfast, a Clif bar on the ferry and a sandwich and a bag of M&M's for lunch. It was definitely enough fuel. The comfortable temperatures meant that two bottles sports drink and two bottles of water was enough fluid. The group kept a high pace but I didn't take many pulls. It was an effort to stay with the group when they hammered on some of the uphills but there were plenty of regroups to pull things back together. I think we all pulled in to the finish within 1-2 minutes of each other.

All-in-all, a good group ride under excellent conditions. Can't wait until the next one! Speaking of the next one, in three days I'll be doing my next century, the SBRA Montauk Century on Saturday. Much of that will probably be solo, but we'll see.

On another biking note... I read on the MasiGuy blog about artist Taliah Lempert and here bicycle-themed artwork. I checked out some of her work online and really liked it. So, I am now the proud owner of this pen-and-ink and watercolor drawing, which I just received today. Just need to get a frame now. Check it out!

Malcolm's Bike - Color Chart #1 by Taliah Lempert 2008

Sunday, May 04, 2008

50 Wet Miles

Checking out the weather forecast last night for this morning in Manorville, it called for 80% chance of rain and possible thunder. Once I saw that I pretty much wrote-off the Early Birds for today and started thinking about alternatives. Trainer? Rain bike? Road bike with rain wheels? Just ride the road bike anyway? Take a day off?

Looking out the window this morning, it was overcast and misty, but the sky didn't look dark enough for really bad weather. I also read on that it was supposed to clear up in the afternoon. So that clinched it...I settled on taking the Specialized knowing it would get muddy and grimy but I would have a chance to clean it all up in the afternoon (as I write this, the sun is already out and everything is drying up nicely). Actually, I haven't cleaned it well all winter so its the perfect time to do it now before the two big century rides this week.

Did the same route as yesterday without the Jones Beach loop. The ride turned out really well! Legs were a bit worn out from yesterday's ride and I had to be a little more careful to avoid road debris due to the rain. I ditched the vest today but wore wind-proof tights so I wouldn't freeze up from the road spray.

For some reason it seemed as though there was less traffic today. So it was kind of nice to climb steadily through the woods in West Hills hearing only the hiss of the tires on the wet roads, the birds, and the clip-clop of the horses when I passed the riding center.

As was the case yesterday, headwinds going out and tailwinds heading back, which is a good thing! As I passed over the Wantagh Parkway, I saw some of the runners doing the Long Island marathon. Other bike events today: The 5-Boro Bike Tour (30,000 riders!) and the Long Island ESG Qualifier. Looks like they both will have avoided the rain, too. Looking forward the Wednesday's century! It will be a real test!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Base miles

Fueled up with a bowl of oatmeal and a big cup of coffee and headed out the door at 7:05am. Today's riding goal was to accumulate some endurance miles in preparation for two centuries that I'm planning to do this week. The unofficial "Spring Century" on Wednesday and the official SBRA "Montauk Century" next Saturday.

A cloudy, cool, and damp morning today, but what really matters is that the rain held off and I was able to get in a nice long ride on the road bike. Did the usual Brands route and West Hills extension. Felt good after that so I added a loop to Jones' Beach for a total of 60 miles.

The ride was good with only light car traffic. Wind was not bad either until I got to the Jones' Beach path, and it was really whipping across the water. SO the last 10 miles of the ride were really slow. I see they are getting the Wantagh Parkway ready for tomorrow's Long Island Marathon!

Hopefully the rain will hold off tomorrow morning and I will head out to do the Early Birds ride. If its raining, I'll stay closer to home. I think a lot of the EB regulars will be doing the ESG qualifier race tomorrow, so maybe it will be a bit easier ride and I won't get dropped again! ;-)

Friday, May 02, 2008

Pro sighting???

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge this morning on my way to the office and spotted a cyclist sitting on a bench, in the middle of the bridge, checking out his Blackberry. Full Bissell pro team kit and beatiful, shiny Pinarello bike! Didn't want to bother him, but made me think back to Richard England's recent stage victory at the Tour de Georgia. Cool!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Windy One

Did 50 miles this morning, Brand's route following Round Swamp Rd., the LIE service road, plus the loop through West Hills Preserve. Started out a little cloudy and cool (swapped shorts for knickers at the last minute) but a strong wind out of the east blew the clouds and the threat of rain away. Unfortunately, had to fight that strong wind all the way out to the turnaround point on the LIE service road. Made the turn then had a sweet tailwind back to Round Swamp Rd. Glad the rain held off today!

Met Mike W. as I was nearly home and stopped for a couple of minutes to chat. He told me the Brands group is starting to ride again so maybe I'll try to hook up with them for a Saturday morning ride in a few weeks. Trying to accumulate some miles in preparation for two planned centuries in early May.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tour de Parc Criterium - May 18th!

Mark your calendars, race fans. The Tour de Parc Criterium is scheduled for Sunday, May 18th at Cedar Creek Park, Wantagh. I registered for the Cat 4 race, maybe will do Masters 35+ (still deciding). Will probably be my first race of the year.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Early Birds, North

Joined the Early Birds ride out of Manorville this morning. A bit colder than yesterday. About 1/3 of us in shorts, the rest in tights, knickers, or leg warmers. The usual strong pace but not killer. Wind was a factor for the first half of the ride but the group stayed together unil Penny Lane and the tanks.

I seemed to get dropped at every hill, so the climbing legs are definitely not back. Caught back up to the group as they waited at the first regrouping spot. A quick stop to refuel in Cutchogue, where we almost lost Pyzahl as he got caught by some traffic. The group slowed to get all back together.

Pyzahl snapped this shot just as the group was heading out from the Cutchogue deli stop (I'm the orange jersey on the left).

(Check out Pyzahl's ride report.)

We had a fast tailwind-assisted return to Rt. 51, where I preceeded to get dropped again, this time, for good. Dave S. and I worked together most of the way down 51 but when we turned on to 111, I didn't see Dave to I rode in the last few miles solo. Arrived at the lot just as some of the first guys were leaving!

A good challenging ride, good to meet up with the guys who I haven't seen in 6 or 7 months. A wake-up call in terms of where I am in my overall bike fitness. Gotta do some hills!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Ride to Bellport

Rode out to Bellport today on a quest to pickup my new EECT jersey at Kreb Cycle. I ordered the team jersey over the winter but have not had a chance to drive out to Bellport to get it. Since I'm trying to build up miles to get ready for a couple of century rides in May, this seemed like a good opportunity to get in a long ride and finally pick up the jersey.

The object of my quest.

Great weather today, ride started in the mid 50's and was high 60's by the time I completed the 72 mile ride. Took about 4 hours, which is what I was estimating. The route was very familiar as I just got on Merrick Rd. (which soon becomes Montauk Highway) and headed east. Just after Patchogue, I got on Rt. 36 (South Country Road) for about 3 miles, which passes within one block of Kreb Cycle. Got my jersey, ate a Clif bar in the parking lot, then headed back home.

I ran the usual gauntlet between Massapequa and Babylon, where there is virtually no shoulder on the 4-lane road for almost 10 miles. I was sure to take a big drink in Babylon because I knew there would be no way I was taking my hands off of the bars until I got through to Massapequa.

Exchanged e-mail with John Y. this week so I am looking forward to doing the Early Birds from Manorville tomorrow. Hopefully won't get dropped. I don't know, my legs are kind of toast right now. Ride report tomorrow.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Same route as yesterday but this time with my regular road bike. Dry roads today but 10-15 degrees colder and windy. Legs not quite as fresh as yesterday but still feeling good, all in all. Glad to get two long rides in this weekend.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Old School, Baby!

Warm weather this morning but wet roads and threat of rain today. I decided to take the rain bike (1980's Trek 520, heavy steel touring bike). Switched out the cage pedals for the Shimano's from my Specialized and headed out for the LIE route.

I was looking forward to at least 40 miles, and hopefully more! Saw a notice on the SBRA web site about this year's spring century (a.k.a. the Bratwurst Century) that is traditionally on a Tuesday in April or May, leaving from Riverhead, going up the North Fork, across Shelter Island and back to Riverhead via the South Fork. I really want to do this ride and need to get some miles on the legs!

Ate a Clif bar at mile 20 and was still feeling strong when I got back to Round Swamp Rd., so I headed North and looped through West Hills Park. The old Trek did okay, and the ride was sort of "old school" with a steel bike, downtube shifters, 6-speed cassette and 27x1-1/4 tires. No computer on this bike so ride speed was strictly by "feel". Of course, this is 2008 so I had my cell phone, GPS, and CO2 inflater in my jersey pocket!

Downtube shifters

Quill stem

Reynolds 531 steel frame

Lugged construction

The sun peeked out for a while and the roads began to dry up. Used my new shorts from Performance today and they worked out fine. I think this was the first ride in shorts this year. Just a baselayer and jersey on top.

No significant wind and I felt pretty good on the climbs, even with the heavy bike. West Hills was nice and scenic and I saw some kids taking horseback riding lessons at the stables there.

Just like last Saturday, would like to do the same ride tomorrow, hopefuly the weather will cooperate.