Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cross Training

No, not Cyclocross, but running! Started running a bit over the summer and now am looking forward to splitting workouts between cycling and running over the winter. I think this will provide a good, alternative workout when the roads and weather are not favorable for the bike. It will also provide a good variation and motivation to try something new.

Away in Corning for the Thanksgiving holiday, I signed up for the 16th annual Pie and Glove 5K in Denison Park on Thanksgiving morning. Yes, it is a race, but its really a family-friendly event. My niece and nephews were also running, and saw lots of kids and parents running together. Prizes for top three finishers in each age category are pies, and everyone gets a free pair of gloves to help keep their hands warm in the chilly, November air.

I felt good on my run, finished 162 out of 800+ runners. Also signed up for the Snowball 5 mile run in December, here in Wantagh.

800+ runners ready to start the Pie and Glove 5K run.

Me in the final few meters of the Pie and Glove 5K run.

Saturday was a travel day back to LI but was glad to get on the bike this morning for 50 miles in good weather and sun. Enjoying what will probably be the last few days of good weather before winter really settles in.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Change of Seasons in the Wind

Catching up on few weekends of riding, since TOSREC.

The Saturday after, did 54 miles solo on the Brands route and through West Hills. Sunny, but windy, the leaves not quite as far along here on Long Island as they were in Connecticut, but still a good ride. We went out of town for the rest of Saturday and Sunday, so only one ride that weekend.

Last weekend, still recovering a bit from being sick earlier in the week, did a pair of 40-milers. Saturday, was wet and windy, so I took the rain bike out for a loop of the Brands route, solo. Didn't get rained on but roads were a bit messy. Sunday, bit of a late start, needed to recover somewhat from Saturday night reunion with friends from Sunrise Park elementary school days. Thirty-two years since we graduated from the sixth grade. Was a lot of fun catching up with everyone and we had a great time at FG Quinn's. Anyway, it was a brisk morning but the sun was shining and I did I nice solo ride up to Sagamore Hill, Teddy Roosevelt's house. Foliage looking great and feeling really good on the bike.

Which brings us to this morning, another wet and windy Saturday morning. Not sure of my schedule this morning, so, by default, went solo. Did the 50-mile Brands loop and West Hills. Hard work fighting the wind alone but got a bit of tailwind on the return. Cleaned up the bike (after many weeks of neglect).

Just getting into the Fall routine. BTW...Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Kris, John, and I cycling past a vineyard, TOSREC 2009. Photo by Pyzahl.

That is, the Tour Of Southern Rural Connecticut! A century ride designed by John Y. from SBRA Early Birds, this year assisted by Pyzahl. Actually ended up with about 112 miles with a few spontaneous route modifications.

Ride info and approximate route can be found here.

Also, Pyzahl's Garmin track and photos from today's ride.

Five of us departed Orient Point this morning on the 7:00 AM ferry to New London, CT. Downright COLD, temp in the low 40F's, but would warm up to mid 50F's during the day. We arrived in CT by 8:30 AM, disembarked with our bikes and worked our way out to the CT countryside.

The scenery on this ride is MAGNIFICENT, especially at this time of year with the foliage starting to change and riding little back roads in the crisp, cool, fall air. Kevin was not feeling too well, and when we stopped for coffee at mile 42, he decided to take a direct route back to the ferry. The remaining four of us continued on the full route.

Cruising through the fall foliage on CT backroads. Photo by Pyzahl.

This ride is deceptively difficult, constantly rolling hills, netting about 5,700 ft. of elevation gain. A few map errors did not dampen the spirit of the ride in any way. Another short stop at mile 80 for water, then time to knock out the last 30 miles. Percy and Kris were riding very strong, sometimes gapping John and I on the longer climbs, but we all finished together, back at the ferry by 4:00 PM. We coasted into town in search of some calories before the 5:00 PM ferry back to Long Island. After boarding, we secured the bikes, grabbed some coffee and had an uneventful voyage back.

Thanks John and Py for putting this ride together. And, to Kris and Kevin, for making this a great ride!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Brands 55th Anniversary Ride Report

Bob, Todd, and I, in early April. Photo by Cecilia Grace Mizin Photography.

Over one hundred riders showed up this morning for the Brands 55th Anniversary ride. Fifty-five miles for 55 years! We met up in the LIRR parking lot across from Brands and picked up our cue sheets. A chilly morning (around 45F) but the promise of nice warm weather as the sun was coming up. After a few words from our leader, Jamie, the big group slowly headed out.

Riders of many levels, so a very easy pace up the usual Brands route, Seamans Neck Rd. and Round Swamp Rd. to the LIE. Started to beak into three groups around the first hill on Old Country Road. Still, a pretty easy pace through West Hills and up to the North Shore, and Lloyd's Neck. Despite the big group, no crashes (that I saw) and just a few isolated flats/mechanicals.

Looping through Caumsett, we headed back south and stopped at Lloyds Neck to meet the Brands van for water and Clif Bars. Then back along a similar route to Brands. Picked up the pace a bit on Round Swamp Rd. Finally back at Brands for a HUGE brunch of fruit, bagels, pastry, sausage, eggs, bacon, hash browns, pancakes, coffee, and tea.

Ended up being 58 miles for me, including a couple of miles to and from home. Was a fun ride, lots of smiles at the end. Scenic route (once North of the LIE). Thanks, Jamie and everyone at Brands for making this possible!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Blazing EB North Route ** Photos Added **

After yesterday's washout, decided to head out East for a (hopefully) fast, hard group ride at the Early Birds. Was NOT disapointed! A group of 12 riders met up in Manorville at the King Kullen. Regulars Percy, John, Robin, and Gerald there, plus good representation from East End Cycling team, Owen, Mike, Craig, Guy, Chris, Chris, and another rider I did not know.

We wanted to avoid flooding on Dune Rd. so we headed off to do the North route. Good, fast paceline to Doctor's Path. At this point the wet roads claimed their first tire casualty. The group stopped and waited for the repair. Off again, but another flat within a mile or so. Moving again on Sound Ave., found myself pulling just before the hill up to the tanks. Made the right turn up the hill, the group surged by me and I sag climbed until I latched onto Owen's wheel. Owen, Mike and I caught back on the the main group and stayed on until IPBSP. Another sharp acceleration up the hill there and Mike and I were gapped again. We chased hard on Sound Ave. but the group up front was too strong to catch, especially with Craig just putting the hurt on everyone. Owen dropped back to give Mike and I a hand and we rolled in to the regroup point a minute behind the front group.

More fast pacelines to Cutchogue for a water stop, then off again for the last 25 miles. Everyone sharing in the work. Finally, on Rt. 51, selection at the first long hill. Was 4th wheel, rider in front of me got gapped and the rest of the group swarmed by on ether side. By the time I could get by it was too late and I could not close the gap.

Eventually rode up to Guy and the two of us worked together up Rt. 51 and Rt. 111. Hopeless chase of a strong six-man group ahead but we came in just a minute or two behind. Total of 55 miles. Haven't done a ride where I've been in the red zone so much for a while!

PS: Here is a link to PyZahl's report.

And some photos, by PyZahl:

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tour of the Hamptons 2009 Ride Report

Drove out to Southampton this morning for the Tour of the Hamptons bike ride. Met up with a bunch of the Early Birds to do the 100-mile route. A bunch of new faces too, so we had over 20 riders in our group. Also met Harvey and Matt (from the Brands group) at the registration table. They headed out at the official 7:30 AM start time, our big group went out at 8:00 AM.

Fast pacelines, even with the wind. We did the 106.5 mile route with a 20.8 MPH average speed. New rest stop location confused us. We skipped the first stop at mile 20, thinking it was too early. We didn't realize as we headed out to Montauk Pt. that we wouldn't hit the next one until mile 60! Last one at mile 96! Finally, we were pulled in the last 6 miles by a couple riding a road tandem (at 20+ MPH), which was kind of cool!

Great ride, weather cooperated, a little wind but lots of riders to share the work. Good EB group. Was a lot of fun!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Early Morning Escape

After the mental and physical challenge of last weekend's Highlander, a busy week at work, and a somewhat "confused" Brands ride on Saturday, I was in the mood for one of those quiet rides, just getting in the "zone" for two or three hours. Decided to do an early morning solo ride on my tried and true Brands/West Hills training route. The morning was decidedly cool, mid 50's temp. Started to warm up once the sun got above the trees. Turned out be be a nice, mind-soothing workout. Here are a couple of photos from the ride.

Quaker Meeting House (built 1684), and little attached cemetary, just getting lit by the morning sun.

Golfers on Bethpage Black, waiting for the sprinklers to finish so they can get on the green and putt.

Tree-lined Sweet Hollow Road, in West Hills preserve.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Highlander 2009 Ride Report

Tenth Anniversary of the Highlander Cycle Tour, and my 5th year, running. Two big changes this year from the past four. First, a new route, second, I was joined by three riders from the Early Birds group who also made the journey to the Finger Lakes to check out the ride. Thanks to Percy, John, and Marco for making the trip up.

Here's a short summary of the road trip:

Friday, 9/11/2009
3:30 PM - Marco arrives at my house and we load up the minivan for the drive up to Corning, our "base of operations" for the weekend. We head off into the rush hour traffic under gray skies and intermittent rain.

9:10 PM - Long ride up to Corning, lots of traffic until we got to Rt. 17, then some heavy rain, on and off. In Corning, we met up with Percy and John to sort out the plans for Saturday morning. Group decided to start a bit later than the 7:00 AM suggested start time. Thinking more like 7:30 AM.

Saturday, 9/12/2009
5:00 AM - Alarm sounds and we get up and get our gear together for the ride. Checking the weather report, it looks like 60% change of rain and cool, mid 60's. So, base layers, long sleeves, shoe covers are pulled on. We meet in the Days Inn lobby at 6:00 AM for complimentary breakfast. Finally on the way by 6:30 AM or so.

8:20 AM - Finally getting started on the ride! Cloudy, misty, and wet, we roll out of the Bristol Mountain lot. Later start than planned, just seemed to take a little longer to get bikes together and additional prep for the wet weather. After a few miles of gradual uphill, we hit long, steep Gannet Hill. We all got warmed up in a hurry on that one!

9:20 AM ??? - Just about an hour in, first flat of the day, Percy's rear wheel. He's running the new tubeless rims and tires and starts the repair by filling the tire with sealant. The foam starts leaking out and we start to think the gash in his tire might be too big for the sealant to be effective. I eventually holds and we proceed. It seems the likely culprit for the flat is some new chipseal put down just about a week before the ride. Its nasty stuff to ride in, and a bit dangerous on the downhill sections. Despite the difficulty, I think we're all appreciating the EXTREMELY challenging course and the rural setting (at least as much as we can see of it through the heavy mist).

10:20 AM - We haven't seen Marco for a while as he was up the road while we were working on Percy's flat. Caught up with him at a rest stop, which, unfortunately, was nearly out of food. Luckily there were some bananas and fig newtons left! Only 30 miles covered in the first two hours, but we attributed it to the long steep climbs and the flat. Finally, the repair seems to be holding.

11:00 AM ??? - More fresh chipseal and the 2nd flat of the day, Marco's front tire. A good size cut in the rubber, but the casing is still in good shape, so a new quick change of the tube and we're off again. We're now in a good rhythm of tackling the steady diet of climbing and descending. Taking the decents a bit easy on the damp roads, we're still hitting 40+ MPH in many cases.

12:20 PM - Rolling down a steep descent into the rest stop at mile 50, I can't believe my eyes that its taken 4 hours so far! Wondering it we'll finish by 5:00 PM in time for the post ride meal.

2:00 PM - A good section from mile 50 to 73, we pull in to the next rest stop. We've ticked off the miles at a little better pace and getting some confidence back. You know the group is working well together when there is minimal communication needed to keep things rolling smoothly. Only 32 miles to go, should be done around 4:00 PM or so. Some favorable winds, actually a few miles of pacelines. We seem to be riding mostly as two pairs, Percy and Marco up ahead, John and I a little behind, Catching up after long climbs and rest stops.

2:10 PM - A mile or so out of the rest stop, its my turn. Just starting climb, I stand on the pedals and feel my front tire go squirrely. John and Marco continue on to the top and Percy gives me a hand with the repair. I find a sharp stone that I have to push out from the inside of the tire. New tube, a blast of CO2, and I'm good to go. The three guys have started off and I need to struggle a bit to catch on. Just getting up to John and my chain starts ghost shifting in the rear. I need to stop and twist the barrel adjuster. John waits for me but now we've lost contact with Percy and Marco.

2:40 PM ??? - John's turn for a flat, again in the middle of a long, steep climb. We're noticing people repairing flats every couple of miles now. The wet roads are just eating up tubes! We get it repaired and grind up the climb. Between the four of us, we've no doubt spent at least one hour fixing flats today.

3:30 PM - John and I meet up with Percy and Marco who have waited for us at the last rest stop, about 15 miles to go. Overhearing others at the rest stop, it seems like half the riders have had a flat today. Our group is batting 1000! Now we're just hoping to make it in by 5:00 PM, and I know from prior rides, we will be facing a HUGE test at mile 100: Bopple Hill. Supposedly 23% grade at some point (Percy's GPS measured 19%, close enough).

4:45 PM - A long steep ascent of Miller Hill Rd., Percy and Marco gradually pull a little ahead of John and I. Mist has finally cleared and we get a nice view of Canandaigua Lake as we ride along its shore. The odometer just ticks over 100 miles, we turn right, and face a wall, Bopple. I drop to my lowest granny gear, 30x26 and start grinding. John doesn't have the low gearing and drops back a bit. As I get to the steepest part, I get up on the pedals and the few remaining bystanders clap and give shouts of encouragement, "Allez!", "Good Job!", "You can do it!" Below my tires are the names of all the Highlander registrants painted on the road (I see two Mitchell's, wonder which one was me). I pass one guy who is forced to walk his bike up, still gettin encouragement from the few people left at the side of the road. Finally cranking up past the cemetary at the top of the hill (too late for the bagpipes this year), Percy and Marco are waiting, Percy taking a few photos. I join them and John follows a minute or two later.

5:00 PM - Mostly downhill the rest of the way back to Bristol Mountain, we've done the full 105-mile route, 10,000 ft. of climbing. Elapsed time 8 1/2 hours! No idea of the actual ride time. A long, exhausting, wet day, but an incredible feeling to have done it! I ride all the way up to the lodge, park by bike and pickup my "goody" bag containing a bottle of wine, ride t-shirt, etc. They are still serving food so the four of us sit outside replacing calories and reliving the ride in all its dramatic glory. I get a grape pie to take home and wet slowly start packing up for the drive back to Corning. It takes a while, we're cold, wet, and tired.

9:00 PM - Having a beer and dinner at the Gaffer on Market street in Corning. The dining room is full so we're eating in the bar. Its crowded and the music is loud, so we're sort of a quiet bunch. We inhale our dinners but still have some room for coffee and dessert at the Soulful Cup coffee shop across the street. There is an acoustic guitar player there and just us and another small group in the place. We discuss plans for a short ride tomorrow morning before heading back to Long Island, then walk back to the motel, taking in a picturesque view of the Chemung River at night from the bridge.


Sunday, 9/13/2009
7:30 AM - Quick breakfast of coffee and cereal, then out to put the bikes together for a quick blast to the top of Harris Hill. We need to be back before 10:00 AM to get showered and checked out by 11:00 AM.

8:00 AM - On the road! I lead most of the way through the town of Corning out to Harris Hill since I'm the one who knows the way. Great weather today! A little morning mist has dissipated by the type we start climbing. Our legs aren't all the fresh but this is the only climb of the day. We regroup at the top and take a few photos, the bomb back down the other side of the hill and get a fast paceline going back to Corning. We make it in plenty of time.

PYZAHLS BLOG (with photos!)

11:00 AM - Stop at Wegmans for sanwiches for the ride home, top-off on fuel for our cars get on Rt. 17 for the long drive back.

Its been a memorable weekend and I'm glad Percy, John, and Marco made it up for the ride. I think the ride presented the challenge we had all hoped for. Flats and wet weather were part of the equation, but in retrospect just make the accomplishment sweeter. This kind of sums it up: we're already talking about NEXT time!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Lost in Glen Cove

Been thinking all week to get in a long, hilly training ride this weekend, in preparation for next weekend's Highlander, traditionally my big ride of the year. Unfortunately, I found out that the Brands 55th Anniversary ride is the same day, which is a ride I would have liked to do.

Out early for 20 miles on the Jones Beach bike path, back home to drop off my lights and pickup my sunglasses, then over to Brands. Good size group heading out at 7:00 AM, including Mike W, Harvey and Matt, Bob, and lots of the regulars. Todd had a flat in the morning and would meet us later in the ride. No Jamie, so pace was set by some of the young guns. A brisk pace up Round Swamp Rd. and just 4 of us together for the LIE service road out-and-back.

Back at Round Swamp, 50 miles done so far, I headed north on my own to Greenvale (up Old Country Rd.) and picked up the route markings for the Gold Coast 55-mile ride. Felt good, and was following the route with no problems until somehow I lost the road markings in Glen Cove. I doubled back to the last marker and tried again but still felt somewhat disoriented. Nothing looked familiar from the two other times I did the route this summer. I called home and Linda checked Google maps. She gave me a simple route that would get me back to Post Rd. in Westbury, which is the route I intended to take back home anyway.

Met a group of riders from the Massapequa Park Bike Club who suggested another route, which I tried. This put me on busy Rt. 107, so I doubled back to the route Linda had gven me, and all was well.

Got my miles (105.4), and a good hill workout, though I missed a few more hills that I would have gotten had I stayed on the GC route all the way to Roslyn.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


The last three weekend rides I did were solo on the Brands route and West Hills. A good training route, but mostly it was a combination of weather, work, and family schedule that kept me from hooking up on any group rides. I was glad to see an e-mail from Todd last night about getting together for a ride up to the North shore.

I went out early for two solo laps on the Jones Beach Bike path. Stopped home to grab a banana, then met up with Todd, Harvey, and Matt by 7:30 AM. We did a moderate pace ride to the North shore, Bayville, Brookville, etc. No way I could remember the exact route but lots of familiar roads from the Gold Coast, Triangle Ride, and Mansion Ride. We had planned to go to Sagamore Hill but a triathalon in-progress had the road closed, leading us to an unexpected ascent of the steep Mill Hill Rd.

We made one short stop for a couple of guys to refill bottles, and headed back. Together, we probably did about 50 miles. My total for the day, 74.36 miles. A good endurance ride with enough hills to keep us honest. Thanks Todd, Harvey, and Matt for a great ride!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Eaton's Neck and East Island

Great ride today with Mike W. Exchanged a few e-mails, text messages, and phone calls and agreed to meet this morning at 5:30 AM for an 85-100 mile ride to the North Shore. Mike had a few route options in mind. In the end, we settled on a loose "triangular" route from Wantagh, northeast to Eaton's Neck, west to East Island, then back south to Wantagh. Eaton's Neck and East Island would be connected by a VERY hilly 35-mile portion of the Gold Coast route.

At Eaton's Neck.

We met up at Brands before dawn with headlights and blinkies. Heading up Round Swamp Rd. there was no longer any need for the lights by the time we go to Old Country Road. We took OCR to Greenlawn then followed Mike's GPS out to Eaton's Neck, covering about 30 miles. A few people fishing there, otherwise a calm, quiet morning. We snacked on some energy bars and took a couple of photos.

Back on the bikes we left Eaton's Neck and hooked up with the Gold Coast route on Rt. 25A. It didn't take long before we started grinding up the short steep hills that this route if known for. We followed the road markings for about 35-miles, constantly ascending and descending along the hilly North Shore. By mile 65, we needed a short break for another energy bar and also to figure out how to link in a diversion to East Island.

As luck would have it, we ran into another cyclist also heading to East Island and he put us on the right track to the beach there. Soaking up the scenery there, bathroom break, and a couple of more photos. By now we were both feeling the heat of the day and taking note of our dwindling water supplies. A few short miles after leaving East Island we found a little coffee shop and replenished our water bottles.

The next goal was the traditional Gold Coast rest stop in Roslyn to evaluate our options for the last miles of our ride. We pulled into Roslyn with 75 miles covered so far. At this point, we were both feeling the effects of the midday heat and the hills and decided to head for home. Following the Gold Coast route until it intersected Westbury Rd., we then headed south, finally connecting with Merrick Ave.

After a quick rolling handshake, we headed our separate ways, a total of 88 miles done. Thanks to Mike for coming up with this great route, navigating via GPS, and posting these photos. Looking forward to our next ride.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Improvised Century

Woke up to a warm, sunny day today. Planned on doing the Brands group ride at 7:00 AM, so I had an early breakfast and was out by 6:00 AM for some warm-up miles on the Jones Beach bike path.

Had good legs today and the warm-up turned into a 20-mile ITT, probably around 21-22 MPH average. Pulled into the Brands lot just in time for the ride start. Up Round Swamp Rd., six of us split off the front and set a brisk tempo up the LIE service road. Usual attacks on the hills, but some peleton etiquette should be reviewed.

(stepping on to soapbox...)
I'm all for attacking on the climbs in the name of friendly competition, but if a rider is strong enough to blow up the group on a climb, he/she should pitch-in and take a pull on the flats, not just wheelsuck for 90 percent of the ride.
(stepping off soapbox...)

We stopped on the way back down the LIE after one rider got a double flat. By then, the main group caught us and we all continued back to Round Swamp. Here is a photo from Mike (@M1CW on Twitter).
Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

I was feeling like I wanted to ride more so I split off solo to do West Hills, another lap on the LIE, West Hills in reverse direction, one more trip up Round Swamp to Rt. 25, then home. Nabbed the century and really enjoyed a great ride in the sun.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Familiar Ground

Back on Long Island on Monday night, did the old Brands route solo on Tuesday and Friday and mixed in a couple of short runs on Wednesday and Friday. I want to add in running one or two days a week for some cross training and also thinking it will be a good alternative to the bike in bad weather.

Did the Kreb Friday Night race for the first time all year. Got a mediocre 9th place in the B race. No breakaways so a big sprint at the end. Tried a small dig with 2 laps to go but got pulled back. Some effective team tactics going on, four or five riders with red tape on their arms worked together to setup one guy for the prime at 9 laps to go. Not common for the B race, usually not very organized in terms of team strategy.

Saturday, was a fast group ride with the Brands crew. Group of 7 or 8 formed in Dix Hills and we kept a high pace for the rest of the ride. I took a direct route home skipping the regroup at Brands.

This morning, supposed to rain so I did a couple of laps on the Jones Beach bike path. Second lap, at the third bridge, I see a guy running back, wearing cleats, pushing his bike along. I ask if he needs help and he says he got a flat, another rider tried to pump his tire with CO2 but it wouldn't hold air. I stop to help, he's never had a flat on his bike before and he has no tube, no pump, no tire levers, no patch kit, nada. We locate a sliver of metal in the tire. I patch the tube for him, remount the tire and inflate with CO2 to get him on his way. My good deed for the day!

Last day of vacation today :-( so back to the grind tomorrow morning. Not looking forward to it.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Early Morning on Harris Hill

Leaving for home today. Went for an early morning ride up Harris Hill in Big Flats, NY. Same ride as yesterday. Chilly 55F this morning and dense fog in the valley. Warmed up on the climb up Harris Hill and arived at the top in bright sun. Nice 30.5 mile loop.

Looking back at the road I climbed up to the top of Harris Hill.

Thick fog blanketing the valley.

Me and the bike at the top of Harris Hill.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Middletown to Corning Ride Report

I successfully completed my 2-day solo bike ride from Middletown to Corning, NY. I have to admit, it was a bit different than expected. Day 1 had an INSANE amount of climbing. I'm definitely in doubt of the 5700 ft. reported by Need some further investigation on this, felt like twice that! Not so steep, but lots of long grinding climbs in the 42x26. I'll try to put together a little narrative of the trip. It seems like there are so many little incidents over 2 days and 200 miles of riding. Lots of riding through the woods, farmland, and small rural towns. A couple of busy roads but they were few and far between. Sometimes testing my limits as a rider, most of the time enjoying the best things that cycling has to offer.

Day 1 - Middletown to Deposit
Mile 0 - Up at 5:00 AM at the Super 8 in Middletown, where I was dropped of the night before. PB&J for breakfast, fill water bottles and Camelbak, then checkout. Nervous about the rain and thunderstorms heading into the area. The desk clerk takes a look at me and my bike and says, "I hope you're not going far, it looks like rain." I think to myself, "Not too far, just 100 miles!" Rain starts, just as I clip in at 5:50 AM.

Mile 5 - Hook up with Bike Rt. 17. Rain has stopped, but I'm soaked to the skin.

Mile 25 - Good amount of climbing, then a 4-mile long descent, 35-40 MPH, awesome! Rolling into Port Jervis.

Mile 30 - Following Rt. 97, North, considered a "Scenic Byway" along the Delaware River. Yes, very scenic, but an extreme amount of climbing! Has anyone at the NYS Department of Transportation actually ridden this route on bike? Nothing really steep, but a challenge due to the frequency and length of the climbs.

Mile 35 - Came within 100 yards of a black bear. A woman in a car coming the other way warns me of a bear in the road. I see the bear, we look at each other, I back off. I wait for a couple of cars to go by and scare the bear back into the woods before I hammer past on my bike. SCARY!

Mile 55 - Rain starts again, slowly getting heavier as the miles pass.

Mike 70 - 35 MPH descent in the rain to test the nerves. I climb into Calicoon, rain gets alot more intense and the sky turns black. Rain is too heavy to proceed and getting a bit dangerous. I pull under an awning at a hotel and call Linda on the cell phone and ask her to login and check the weather. She says there is a storm cell over Calicoon but it should pass in about an hour. I wait for 45 minutes, eat a CLIF bar, until the rain lightens then head out again.

Mile 80 - Crest a 10-mile climb I've been ascending since Calicoon. Steady rain. Thinking about asking Linda to meet me at Hancock to pick me up and forget the whole thing.

Mile 90 - Arrive in Hancock, still raining. Bike Route 17 wants to send me on a 30-mile loop to Deposit. I talk to a local at the Sunoco and he gives me a route of about 20 miles. I go for the shorter version.

Mile 100 - The "shortcut" has sent me over 10 miles of new chipseal (gravel). Finally get to Rt. 10 for the descent to Deposit.

Mile 112 - Arrive at the Deposit Inn, dripping wet at the front desk. Talking to the owner about my ride, where I came from, where I'm going. He hands me a rag to wipe off my bike and doesn't bat an eye about me bring the bike into the room with me. Rinse out my bike clothes and hang them to dry. Get some dinner at Wendys. Tomorrow should be an easier day, good weather is forecast, and should be much less climbing. Later, I wheel the bike out of my room to oil the chain. The owner sees me and asks if I'm going for a ride! Take a little walk to stretch the legs, then relax in front of the TV.

Day 2 - Deposit to Corning
Mile 0 - Out at dawn, CLIF bar for breakfast.

Mile 20 - The right shift lever is stuck and won't shift the rear derailleur. My 27-speed is now a 3-speed. I fiddle with it for a few minutes with my multi-tool and get it working, but I will need to baby it for the rest of the day. Must have gotten mucked up with the rain from yesterday. There's heavy fog but at the top of the hills, I can see a little blue sky.

Mile 25 - Passing through Binghamton.

Mile 55 - Need some energy, stop in Owego for a cup of coffee and an apple danish.

Mile 80 - Been cruising the last 25 miles! Some climbing, but no problem compared to yesterday. Legs feeling a little drained.

Mile 102 - Meet the familiy who are driving to Harris Hill park for pool and BBQ. I'll finish the ride to Corning then drive back to meet them.

Mile 108 - Arrive in Corning. Mission Accomplished! Shower, yogurt, banana, and back out the door for a fun afternoon at the park.

So, 2 days, 220 miles, its done. It been said, "Adventures suck while your having them." Possibly true in this case with the horrendous weather and brutal climbing on Day 1. But I am SO glad I did it! A bunch of experiences I will thinking about for days, weeks, months, and years to come.

On the practical side:
0 flats on my Continental Gatorskins with 3500 miles already on them :-)
Probably packed too much. Besides my shorts, jersey, helmet shoes, and gloves:
- Camelbak Blowfish hydration backpack containing pump, spare folding tire, tube, 7 CLIF bars, mix for 3 bottles, maps, GPS, camera, non-bike clothes (shorts & t-shirt), sandals, rain cape, blinkie light, cell phone, money, credit card.
- Seat bag containing two tubes, multi-tool, patch kit, CO2 inflator, tire levers.

Whats next?...

P.S. According to elevation, Day 1 7418 ft., Day 2 3698 ft. These seem reasonable.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Making Preparations

On vacation this week, so been doing lots of riding over the past 5 days:
Saturday, Brands group ride, 63 miles
Monday, solo century with hills, 100 miles
Tuesday, solo ride with rolling hills, 60 miles
Wednesday, solo century flat, 102 miles

Besides just enjoying time on the bike, I wanted to get some big miles under my belt in preparation for a long, two-day, solo bike adventure that I've thought about doing for a long time. Looks like the pieces are going to finally fall into place. I'm going to follow New York State Bike Route 17 from Middletown to Corning, where I'll meet my family to spend a long weekend together. I originally wanted to start the ride from home, in Wantagh but that would have added another day to the ride and I wasn't thrilled about riding through Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan. So, the plan is that I'll be dropped off in Middletown on Thursday evening, ride from Middletown to Deposit on Friday, then Deposit to Corning on Saturday.

Day 1 - Middletown to Deposit, 117 miles, 5800 ft. elevation gain

Day 2 - Deposit to Corning, 110 miles, 5800 ft. elevation gain

It will be my first back-to-back centuries, some new scenery, and a fair bit of climbing to keep things interesting. Spending all day today analyzing the route, packing, and creating some rough cue sheets. Got my motel reservations for Middletown and Deposit. Only remaining question mark is weather for Friday, but that is out of my control. Ride report to follow!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ride to Sagamore Hill with Mike and Bob

Mike posted and e-mail that he was going to to a ride to the North Shore in the morning, 7:00 AM start from Brands. I though this would be a good recovery ride after yesterday so I e-mailed him back that I would meet him at 7. Mike mentioned that Bob and Todd were also interested.

Went out early for 20 miles on my own on the bike path and Cedar Creek loop. Then, met up with Mike, Bob and new rider, Phil, at Brands. Thought we would meet up with Todd enroute. We took an easy pace up to the LIE, where Phil split off to head east. Mike, Bob and I continued north to Stillwell Ave. to meet Todd but he wasn't there. A few phone calls to try an coordinate and we continued north, over some short but STEEP hills, eventually making our way to Sagamore Hill.

Taking a short rest break, I noticed my front tire was soft, so I broke out the tire levers, removed a small piece of glass from my tire and replaced the tube.

Somehow, we never hooked up with Todd, but the three of us, started back south, conquering the hills in reverse direction. I think Mike said we got over 2,500 feet of elevation in less than 50 miles. Total for me was 70 miles. No idea on the ride time, we had lots of stops and starts. It was a great ride in all respects: route, weather, and company of riders!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Putting the Hammer Down on the Brands Ride

Brands ride was a hammerfest again this week! Went out early on my own for 24 "bonus" miles on the Jones Beach bike path and a couple of loops around the Tour de Parc oval at Cedar Creek. Then, any easy ride over to Brands for the weekly group ride.

Another good turnout and some early clouds blew out after about half an hour. The group had three flats within the first 11 miles of the ride. Finally, when we got to the LIE, the pace picked up and the usual attacks started around Dix Hills. Mike W. opened it up and we were about a group of 5 until Ariel just blew things up! That started about 12 miles of constant attacks and counter attacks all up and down the LIE service road. Worked with Mike W. on the westbound leg after we dropped off the back a little bit. It was really hard work for the two of us going into the wind. I caught everyone except Ariel by the time we regrouped back at Round Swamp Rd.

More fast riding and attacks all the way back to Brands. Really fun, challenging ride, averaging about 19.5 MPH, which is fast for this ride. 63 miles total. Humid day, good thing I brought two bottles this time!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Saturday Group Ride, Sunday Solo

Nice weather on Saturday, went out at 6:00 AM for 20 miles on the Jones Beach bike path (2 laps), then met up with the group at Brands. Big group and a few new faces. Amazing how much this ride has grown this year. Met up with Ariel at the LIE service road. Followed the usual script, all together until the sharp climb in Dix Hills, then a group of 4 or 5 of us split away. We kept a high pace and Ariel, as usual, absolutely flying on the climbs. Stopped back at Round Swamp Rd. for a short regrouping then hammered back to Brands. A few riders taking it a bit easier to conserve something for Sunday's hilly Gold Coast ride. Toal of 60 miles for me.

Sunday morning, early solo ride for me. No Gold Coast century, first time missing it in six years. On call for work starting at 9:00 AM. Did a fast solo ride of the Brands route and West Hills. Roads a little wet from overnight thunderstorm that passed though but great weather, otherwise. Great legs today! Did 50 miles and just barely missed a 20 MPH overall average (19.74). Left it all on the road today, rode the LIE like a race.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

July 4th Weekend Rides

Busy day planned for Saturday, so just time to head out early in the morning for 50 miles on the Brands route and West Hills. The group did meet up for an 8:00 AM start but I opted to head out for a solo ride at 5:30 AM, just getting home around 8. Great riding weather and legs felt really good.

Sunday, I wanted to do a longer ride. Again, started early, 6:00 AM this time. I cobbled together a century ride, riding from home to BAE Systems in Greenlawn, the usual start to the HBC Gold Coast rides. The official Gold Coast ride is next weekend, but I knew they had already painted the streets with the cue markings for all the rides. I would have 40+ miles just riding to and from Greenlawn, so once there I did the 55-mile route as marked. Once again, great weather.

It was a hard ride, lots of climbing, though a few of the big climbs from the full 100-mile version were missing. Pretty much non-stop except for two bathroom breaks. My last few solo centuries, I've been able to complete the whole ride on two bottles and two Clif bars, so its been convenient not to have to make any food and water stops. I took the GPS this time, here is a link to the ride. Elevation gain looks a little high and there is one hiccup where the satellite signal was lost. I know for sure I did not hit a high speed of 55 MPH!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Weekend Rides - Corning

Had to miss the Tour de Cure charity ride with the Brands group on Saturday as I was out of town with the family. Tried to make up for it with a couple of long rides through the countryside.

On Saturday, family function at noon, so I hit out early to do a 70-mile version of the century I was planning for Monday, just skipping the loop around the lake. Ran into an unexpected road closure so I doubled back to Corning, did the Harris Hill loop with its single long, steep climb, then another 20 rolling miles for 77 total. Didn't feel great that day but it was a good workout.

Felt much better on Sunday, early start again and this time I worked out a detour around the road closure. Favorable winds heading west. Beautiful scenery, why didn't I bring the camera!?! Most flat and rolling route, one steep climb. Saw a few deer, wild turkeys, woodchuck, gophers, chipmuncks, some kind of soaring bird (a hawk, maybe?), horses, cows. Bit of headwind heading back and it was hard work on the rolling west side of the lake and the long (but not too steep) climb from Hammondsport to Bath. Nice cruise back to Corning and good timing as the rest of the family was just sitting down to brunch. 108 miles on the day.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Brands Ride and Bonus Miles

A good morning, weather-wise, getting a break from the rain that has been hanging around all week. Had a great 80-mile ride today, some solo, some with the Brands group, and some with a 4-rider group that split off from the Brands ride to hit some hills on the North Shore.

Did two laps solo on the bike path before heading over to the bike shop. Met Mike W. on the return and the two of us went over to Brands. There was a steady stream of buses on the Wantagh Parkway ferrying spectators to the U.S. Open Golf Champoinship.

At Brands a group of about 10 riders assembled and Jamie gave us a last minute route alteration to avoid Round Swamp Rd. bacause of the U.S. Open. It was the exact same variation I did on my own last weekend.

The group broke up (as usual) once we started hitting the rollers on the LIE service road. There were a few attacks on the west-bound leg and I finally just decided to hammer off on my own and see if the group had any desire to chase me down. Mike W. and I had chatted about heading North to do some hills at the junction with Round Swamp Rd., so I waited there until the group came by. Some riders filled water bottles, Mike W. sharing his extra Gatorade with me (thanks Mike!!!). So Mike, myself, and two other riders from the Brands group headed up into West Hills, crossed Rt. 25 and did a few climbs around Cold Spring Harbor, Woodbury, etc. Mike was our navigator and those few hills really added to the ride.

We retraced our route back south and back to Brands, trading some strong pulls. All four of us agreed that it was a great ride. I thought I'd be doing 50 miles today, it turned out to be 80, and I have no complaints. Legs still feeling great at the end. Not sure what the weather will bring tomorrow but this weekend is already a success!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Soggy Sunday

Another early morning ride to be home in time for work. Start time 5:30 AM, same route planned as yesterday except this time threat of rain, so I headed out on the old rain bike, expecting to get wet. Just 5 miles in and the rain started, light but steady for the next 20 or so miles. Rain stopped about halfway back on the westbound leg of the LIE service road. Slow climbing through West Hills then a welcome tailwind as I headed south, back home. Another 51 miles.

I made a point yesterday and today to avoid Round Swamp Rd., expecting closures around the U.S. Open Golf tournament at Bethpage. I only realized later, they will be playing NEXT weekend. Doh!!!

Spent a few hours on the phone and the computer with work, then cleaned the bikes under sunny skies this afternoon.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Early Solo Saturday Ride

Early start today because I needed to be working by 10:00 AM. Did a modified Brands route to avoid Round Swamp Rd. and any congestion and road closings due to the U.S. Open golf tournament. Instead, from Central Ave., made a left on Broadway, up to Plainview Rd., a right on Old Country Rd., which let me out right at the corner of the LIE and Round Swamp. From there, just the usual LIE service road, then West Hills (both directions). Then, the same route home.

Warm, humid day, a little taste of summer!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Two Great Rides This Weekend

After three straight days of rain, the weekend weather forecast looked promising for some good bike riding and especially for Sunday's annual Bike-Boat-Bike group ride.

On Saturday, a good spin with the Brands group was in order in preparation for the longer ride on Sunday. Went out at 6:00 AM for an hour on my own before meeting the group at the Brands lot. A good turn out of riders, including Jamie, Mike, Bob, Harvey, Todd, and Ariel. We kept and easy pace up Round Swamp Rd. then the LIE service road to Dix Hills. Scott and Ariel picked up the pace on an uphill, I grabbed Ariel's wheel and then the two of us hammered to the turn-around. We soft-pedalled to St. Matthews church, then waited a minute or two to regroup with the others. Stayed mostly together back to Round Swamp Rd. Mike and I decided to loop through West Hills, then headed back to Brands. A very enjoyable ride, and a good workout. Total of 60 miles, for me.

Sunday morning, out early for the 1 hour drive to Mattituck for the Bike-Boat-Bike ride. Met Harvey, Todd, and Bob from the Brands ride at registration. They were doing the 65-mile route in prep for the Tour de Cure century later in the month. I met up with the East End group, 100 mile route on the agenda. We had a dozen or so riders and made for a fast group. Great weather, fast pacelines, Pyzahl taking some long pulls (thanks!). Just a really fast, challenging ride! Various riders broke off at points if they were riding straight home or had other plans. Five of us ending up back at the Mattituck lot with 103 miles, 20.8 MPH average moving speed. Only one flat for the whole group. Great fun riding with this group!

As usual, Pyzahl documented the ride with some great photos. Here is a link to the photo album.

Here are a couple of photos from Pyzahl's album:

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ride Recaps for This Weekend and Last

Last weekend was a three-day weekend, with Memorial Day being Monday. Did a 100-miler on Saturday, detailed ride report here. The next morning, got out for a little later start and did the Triangle Ride, a very fast paced group ride that originates in Little Neck and follows a circuitous route around the North Shore. Last time I did this ride I wrecked my rear wheel, but no such troubles this time. A hard ride with lots of short steep climbs and accelerations. I managed to stay with the group and hooked up with Mark from Babylon Bikes for the ride home. A total of 60 miles for me that day. Finally, on Monday (Memorial Day), did an early morning solo ride of the Brands route and West Hills to get home in time to see my daughter march in the local parade and prepare for a family BBQ at the house. Was really happy with a 210-mile total for the long weekend.

This weekend, did 50 miles solo on Saturday, another early start, 5:00 AM. Nice weather and light traffic made for an uneventful but pleasant ride. This morning, wanted to stretch my legs at the Triangle ride again. Rode the 9 miles to meet the ride at Steele Hill Rd. in Westbury and waited a couple of minutes with a few other riders for the big peloton to whisk by. We jumped on and the group kept a nice steady pace, heading east, then North up Sweet Hollow Rd. At 27 miles in, one rider crashed hard when he tried to replace his water bottle and touched wheels with the bike ahead of him. He launched over the side of the bike and landed in the lane of oncoming traffic. Luckily, cars were able to stop in time. Rider up fairly soon but lots of mechanical issues with the bike. Seeing that he was okay, and a bunch helping him with the bike, I decided to head home. Did an extra loop through West Hills to get the mileage and ended with another 50.

Noticed this year a lot of riders on the Triangle ride wearing jerseys. Check out their webiste for a little Triangle Ride history.

Thinking about Bike-Boat-Bike next weekend, probably meet the East End team for 100 or 125 mile route.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Solo Century

Had been hoping all week to get to do a long ride this weekend, and it turned out the weather, work, and family all worked out so I could do it today. I also wanted to ride with the Brands group this weekend so I incorporated the group ride into my plans.

Usual oatmeal and coffee pre-ride breakfast, then out the door at 5:30 AM. Rode down the Jones Beach bike path (before the airshow crowds showed up) and it was a good ride except for the swarms of gnats at each of the three bridges. Was going to do two laps but the gnats made me think otherwise. Instead, I opted to do a dozen or so loops of the Cedar Creek Park loop road, same course as used for last weekend's Tour de Parc criterium.

Time check, 6:55 AM so headed over to Brands for the 7:00 AM start. A good turnout of familiar riders, at least 15. By the time we got up Round Swamp Rd., we were in three or four groups already. Up the first LIE hill, I saw Ariel, who was taking photos of us and I stopped to say hi. He is out of commission right now with a separated shoulder. I got back on the road but the group was long gone. Ate a CLIF bar at mile 40. I caught up to groups of 1, 2, or 3 riders but it looked like the group sort of disintegrated. Most of the rest of the way like this, then I turned solo again, to do West Hills. Stopped at a little park for a bathroom break and refilled a water bottle. Up to Rt. 25 then straight back to Brands.

Now with 73 miles, it took a fair bit of willpower to head back out into the wind. Ate another CLIF bar and went straight up Round Swamp Rd. again, up to the Northern State Parkway, then looped back home. One lap around the block to get the odometer to tick over to 100 miles!

A good ride, great weather, but a little less wind would have been nice! Wish the Brands group would have stayed together a bit longer but it was my decision to stop and visit with Ariel. Maybe I'll get to see some of his photos, should be some good action shots!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tour de Parc Photos, Video, Links

Race Results

Video of me at the front of the peloton chasing a breakaway in the Cat. 4 race at Tour de Parc on Sunday.

Racing through the rain in the Masters 40+ race. Photo from

Coasting in after a fast, wet Masters race. Photo from

Photo sites where I found the above:

Will post additional links here if I find any. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tour de Parc Race Report

Today was race day at the Tour de Parc at Cedar Creek in Wantagh, my own backyard! I guess I was feeling strong when I registered a rew weeks ago and signed up for two races, the Masters 40+ and the Cat. 4.

Both races were 25-mile criteriums and happened to be scheduled back to back. Masters first at 9:30 AM, then Cat. 4 at 10:30 AM. Had my usual pre-ride breakfast of coffee and oatmeal and added a bananna knowing I'd need the fuel. Chance of rain predicted all morning so I was a little concerned abount negotiating the hairpin turn on the course in a fast moving pack. Roads damp when I left to ride to the park but not raining... yet!

Picked up my race numbers from the registration desk, pinned them on the jersey, one over the other, and did a couple of slow laps around the park while the Cat. 5 race was going on. Promptly at 9:30 AM, the Masters riders were called to the line. I saw Paul C. and Mike I. in the field, so I think we were the only three East End riders. No sooner did the start whistle sound and the rain started. First few laps were blistering fast, nipping at 32 MPH on the back stretch (wind aided) and about 22 MPH on the finishing straight, into the wind. The rain was intense and lots of road spray. Two riders attacked on lap 3, and that was the last we saw of them for the rest of the race. A few bridge attempts were not successful and teammates of the leaders foiled most other attempts. It was a hard fast race and on the last lap, I could not hold on to the group that sprinted for the finsh. I ended up at the back of the main pack, but I did accomplish my goal of not getting dropped. My first Masters race, under my belt, and an epic one at that!

I did a quick u-turn at the start/finish line and had Ed pull off my Masters race number to reveal the Cat. 4 number underneath, just as they were calling the Cat. 4 race to the line. Had about 1 minute to drink something and catch my breath before the whistle to start the Cat. 4 race. East End represented well in this race, me, Karl, Rob, Chris, Larry, George, maybe one or two others. Again, a fast start. Amazingly no crashes in either race! By now the rain had stopped and the roads actually started to dry out a bit by the end of the race. There were five or six breakways, solos, but they were reeled in. The last one stayed away for about 6-7 laps, only to be caught on the final lap.

East End was successful in the end with Karl taking the win and Larry picking up fourth. Again, I was poorly positioned for the sprint and ended mid-pack at the finish but I tried to make a contribution to the team by working to pull back some breakaways and pulling for the team as much as I could. I'm afraid the Masters race took a bit out of me and I didn't have much punch left at the end of 50 miles of racing.

I'll check around to see if I can find any race photos later in the week and post some links here if I find any. Even with the rain, an exciting day of racing. Legs sore now but I felt strong and easily stayed with the group in both races. Satisfying day of racing, tried to do the EECT jersey proud.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Brands Route with Joel L.

Came home yesterday evening to find a voice message from Joel L., one of the original Brands group riders from a few years ago. Joel has since moved away from the island but he does come down a few times a year and we have met up for rides on a few occasions. I had an early start planned to be home in time for Mother's Day breakfast.

We planned to meet at Brands at 5:45 AM to start a 50-miler, usual Brands route and West Hills. Nice sunny day, strong wind from the West. The early favorable winds gave us ample opportunity to chat during the ride and catch up on what we've been doing the past two years: jobs, kids, cycling, running (for Joel), etc.

After the turnaround, I flatted on piece of glass at mile 23. Repaired quickly and we headed into the wind to Round Swamp. Roads were in good shape, all dried out from yesterday's morning rain storms. On the way home, Joel flatted after hitting a pothole at mile 47. Repaired the flat and we continued on home, said our goodbyes, and I raced home, now late for breakfast.

Had some bacon and eggs and mimosa's for Mother's day. It was great to meet up with Joel. Had a good strong ride on a nice day.

Joel and I on Hilltop Rd.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Who'll Stop the Rain...

The plan was to do a 3-hour (50-mile) early morning ride. Had a hard stop time of 9:00 AM to get ready for a first communion in the morning. I figured on a ride start at 5:30 AM to be home by 8:30 AM, leaving a cushion for a flat or other mechanical. I woke up with the alarm only to find that a storm cell was moving through Nassau County. Heavy rain, thunder and lightning, not good riding conditions.

Delayed my start by 1 hour, checked the local radar and saw that the storm had passed to the east and nothing headed my way. So, I had some coffee and oatmeal, suited up in shorts and a short-sleeve jersey, and headed out on the rain bike at 6:30 AM. Since I lost an hour of ride time, I decided to do the 35-mile route I did with Mike W. a few weeks ago. I estimated it should get me home right at the 2-hour mark.

Predictable, the roads were wet and full of sand and runoff from the storm. It was a messy ride, no doubt, but the light wind, no rain, and warm temperature (60F) kept it from being a truly "epic" affair. Up through West Hills, it reminded me of some footage from an old Liege-Bastogne-Liege race video I have: wet, misty, narrow road through the forest.

On the ride, I passed Bethpage Park, where there is now a huge tent city and grandstands for the upcoming U.S. Open. Quite a project going on there. The course itself is lush green an manicured thanks to all this rain we've been having.

Home right at 8:30 AM as I hoped, very wet and covered in mud. Hosed off the bike, glad to get 35-miles in today. Hopefully the rain will hold off tomorrow morning so I can get some morning miles in on Mother's Day.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Bratwurst Century

Did the annual "Spring Century" with the SBRA EB group, better known as the Bratwurst Century. As usual, we loosly followed the Bike-Boat-Bike route, heading east from Riverhead on the North Fork to Greenport, short ferry ride to Shelter Island, across Shelter Island, another ferry to the South Fork, then back west to Riverhead.

A cool 50F at the ride start, overcast, wet roads, but no actual rain. We headed out with 15 riders. First flat at about mile 15, quickly changed, and we were off again. Steady pacelines, 20+ MPH. At about mile 30, a pothole took out Charlie and also caused Rick to flat. Charlie hit the ground hard! Two motorists stopped to assist but as the shock of the crash wore off, Charlie felt okay enough to get back on the bike. He continued with us to the ferry and Shelter Island, but decided to take a direct route back, accompanied by John Y. Hurt something on his right side, hoping its not too serious. Had a Clif bar on the ferry ride.

Last little delay was another flat at mile 50. Took a few minutes to extract the offending sharp stone, but after the flat was repaired just another 10 miles to lunch in Amagansett. By this time the sun was out and we had a nice lunch, sitting outside at some picnic tables. We were obviously in the "Hamptons" as my turkey and cheese on whole wheat was a pricey $7.30! A bag of peanut M&M's and a bottle of water and we were off again.

The last 40 miles had us in good pacelines but no one could quite remember the exact route so there were more than a few misdirections and wrong turns that kept breaking our momentum. Finally back to the start with 101.9 miles, 19.4 MPH moving average speed, elapsed time just uder 7 hours.

It turned out to be a great and and a great ride with friends. Will be back next year!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Fast, Wet, EB Ride

Me and Robin at the start of Rt. 51. Waiting for 2nd flat to get fixed. Photo: Pyzahl

Wanted to get in a fast ride before Tour de Parc races in two weeks, so despite the threat of rain, I made the trek East to Manorville of the Early Birds group ride. Group was mostly made up of East End/Krebs Cycle team, so we were in for a fast ride.

We had light rain for the whole ride, tailwind headed east, then a bit of headwind for the return. Fast paceline the whole way. There was an early split due to a flat tire. Again, I was in the group that waited. Strong group of riders still, and lots of old friends: Pyzahl, Mike, Kevin, Tom, John, Robin, George (I'm sure I left someone out). Brian, Tom, and Mike seemed to be pulling us along alot of the time but I think we all managed to contribute a good share.

I felt really good on the ride and was at the front part of our group for the critical sections: the tanks, Rt. 51 and CR 111. Did not get dropped! So, I feel like I won't make a fool of myself at the races (May 17th, Cedar Creek Park, Wantagh). I think we ended with 54.8 miles, about 21.5 MPH moving average.

I see Pyzahl posted some photos from the ride so I'm going to try to link to a few here:

Waiting for the first flat. Tom S. rocking the East End sub-team purple and black! I'm up the road in the regular orange and blue. Photo: Pyzahl

Regroup after the tanks. Photo: Pyzahl

Cutchogue deli stop, mile 30. I'm on the left. Photo: Pyzahl

Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Rain Bikes Make an Appearance

Rained all night and still raining when I got up this morning, so I took my time getting ready to ride. I figured the Brands ride would be a washout so I was resigned to doing a short solo ride on the rain bike. No rides at all on Thursday and Friday due to work schedule and rain.

As I was having a cup of coffee and checking e-mail, I got a twitter from Mike W. that he was heading to the Brands ride start. Great! I quickly gulped down my coffee and got ready, arrived at Brands just about 5 minutes late. Met James and Mike there, so the three of us set out on the usual route. All of us on our "rain bikes", me on the Trek 520, Mike W. on his Specialized Allez, and James on an unbranded frame he built up himself. James was not feeling 100% so we kept a comfortable pace. It gave us the opportunity for some good conversation as we tackled the rollers on our route. Luckily no wind, and the rain stayed away for just about the entire ride.

After the LIE service road out-and-back, Mike and I went through West Hills and James went up Old Country Road. We regrouped at Rt. 25, then headed home. I was happy to end up with 50 miles on the day, more than I probably would have done on my own. Thanks to Mike and James for braving the elements, it turned out to be a great ride!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Brands Team Photo Shoot

Check out some of the photos from yesterday's Brands Team photo shoot! It was a lot of fun. Thanks to Todd N. for setting the whole thing up.

Copyright © Cecilia Grace Mizin Photography

Entire Gallery

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Short but Sweet

Busy day on tap but I arranged to meet up with Mike W. for an early morning ride. Had two hours available so we agreed on a 35 mile out-and-back route, up Round Swamp Rd., through West Hills, up to Rt. 25, then back. Click here to view Mike's GPS track.

Weather was PERFECT! Temperature 65F, sunny, light wind. Nice and flat to start and get warmed up, some easy climbs, then a nice quick spin home. A short ride, but sometimes quality is more important than quantity.

No mechanical issues, which is a good thing after all the maintenance work I did yesterday. Thinking about switching to a 12-23 cassette for these local rides for more gear choices when cruising these mostly-flat roads.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Excellent ride this morning with the Brands group, then some much needed bike maintenance.

I planned all week to make the Brands ride on Saturday morning. The forecast predicted great weather and I was looking forward to a good ride with the group. The usual Brands ride is about 38 miles, and I wanted at least 50. So I headed out at 6:00 AM to do a couple of laps on the Jones Beach bike path, then stopped over at Brands a little before 7:00 AM. I was great to see everyone again, Jamie, Mike, Bob, Ed, Harvey, Todd, and a couple of other guys whose faces were familiar but not sure of the names.

A big group of about 20 or so, we started off at an easy pace to everyone could get warmed up. Ed attacked on Central Ave. and so the pace picked up on Round Swamp Rd. A few other guys taking off the front. I bridged then led up to the LIE service road. I turned around and it was just me and two other guys. We took a quick straw poll and we decided to keep going on our own. We kept a strong pace out on the LIE srevice road. One rider dropped off and headed for home, leaving just Dan and myself to finish up back at Round Swamp.

Met a group of 5 riders from our original peloton and we did one more repeat of the first hill on the LIE. Pick up some more remnants of the original group, then we all headed back to Brands. Nice, steady pace!

After our post-ride chat at Brands, I took a spin over to Seaman's Neck Park to catch the first half of my daughter's soccer game (they won, 6-0!!!). A total of 61 miles on the day.

Back home, I had some lunch and had a long session of bike maintenance:
- full bike wash
- new chain
- new cassette
- new brake pads
- mount tire on my new Easton Circuit rear wheel (replacing the one I broke on the Triangle ride)
- mount the trainer tire back on the spare wheel I had been using while waiting for my new wheel

A few photos:

My dented rim, tire bead folded in and braking surface deformed.

New brake pads

New chain and cassette

New Easton Circuit rear wheel

Busy tomorrow, so just a short ride planned.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

EZ Century Ride with SBRA

Met up with 7 SBRA riders for a flat century on the South Fork, out to Water Mill and back, 105 miles, just under 6 hours riding time. One rider doing her first century, so we had a few more waitups than usual. Fast ride East on Dune Rd., lunch at Water Mill, then back on a more inland route. A few familiar faces and met a few new riders. Good to spend a day on the bike in this nice weather.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Long Weekend Rides

Friday, day off from work for traveling but had time in the morning to do 50 miles on the Brands route and West Hills. Weather was good, not too cold or windy. I've been riding on my spare rear wheel while waiting for a replacement Easton EA70 for the Circuit I wrecked last weekend on the Triangle ride. It was a really good ride, despite the workday traffic.

Saturday, up in Corning for the Easter Holiday. Its quite a bit colder and windier here. Managed to get in 65 miles from Corning to Savona, up to the Hills in Tyrone and Weston, back down to Keuka Lake and Hammondsport. Across to Bath, then a straight line back to Corning. A really strong headwind from the Northwest that I fought against for the first 30 miles. Took a lot out of me by the time I got to the hills but at least I got the tailwind for the 20 miles home.

This morning, only time for a short ride before Easter brunch, but I got in 25 miles on a FREEZING cold (25F) morning here. Did the big climb up Harris Hill, so I would not exactly call it a recovery ride. Good to do some rides in a change of scenery, but wish it was warmer and less windy.

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Sunday, April 05, 2009

Triangle Ride, Cut Short by Pothole

Decided to do the Triangle ride today, hoping to meet up with Ed, from Brands, and Mike W. Sunny skies, a little chilly, but quite windy. Left home at 8:20 AM and rode 9 miles straight into a headwind up north to Steele Hill Rd., just off the LIE to meet up with the Triangle Ride peleton (ride start is in Little Neck).

Met Craig G. there from Sanchez-Metro team. We didn't have long to wait for the peleton as they would be having a slight tailwind for the first part of their ride. As they passed, I jumped onto the end and it was a pretty civilized pace at the beginning of the ride. Met Ed in the group but did not see Mike W.

Things heated up on Fish Hatchery Rd., group split up and I ended up in no-man's land between the front group and the chase group. I was hammering trying to get back to the front group. Made a high-speed right turn, into a shady section. Before my eyes could adjust to the reduced light level, BAM!, rode straight into a pothole at 25 MPH. I coasted for a few seconds, waiting to hear the clink and rattle of a broken spoke. It didn't come, front rim looked okay, bike was stable, so I jumped back on the pedals and kept going.

A couple of miles outside of Oyster Bay, a chase group of 5 picked me up and we rode into the town of Oyster Bay, just about 30 seconds behind the front group, 30 miles into the ride. As I squeezed the brakes I felt a strong pulsing in the back brake lever. At this point, I realized it was the back wheel, so I dropped out of the group and got off the bike to evaluate the situation. Rear wheel bent! Crap!

Bike was rideable, no noticable cracks in the rim, so I turned back around and headed home solo. Twenty miles later, back home. Got my 50 miles, and a good workout, but at a price.

Really disappointed I wrecked my rim. Its been trouble-free since I got it 17,000 miles ago. Never even been trued! I guess I'll try to get it to Brands today to see if they can fix it. First I'll swap my tire to my backup wheel, that has a trainer tire on it now. Fingers crossed they can fix it.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Finally Back On The Road

Did not get to do a road ride since last Saturday's rain ride on the Trek. Last Sunday was more rain so I skipped my ride, and, I came down with a really bad cold. No rides at all on Monday and Tuesday. Two short trainer sessions on Wednesday and Thursday as I was still recovering from my cold. Relegated to the trainer again on Friday morning because of rain.

Despite a late night at work on Friday, I was glad to see the Weather forecast for today, with rain not predicted until after noon. Decent temperatures in the mid 40's. The only problem would be the wind, steady 20 MPH out of the West, gusts to 33 MPH.

Not sure how deep my energy reserves would be after being sick earlier in the week, I opted to try a primarily North-South route to avoid riding directly into the wind. On the Specialized, solo, up Round Swamp Rd. to the LIE, did the first big hill on the service road, then back to Round Swamp Rd. and through West Hills.

Felt pretty good but after a small taste of that howling wind, I was glad I didn't head East on the service road! Heading back south, I met up with Ed from Brands who was out riding solo. We rode the 12 miles back to Wantagh together, and passed Mike W. who was heading north, on his own. Ed mentioned that this morning was supposed to kick off the regular Saturday A.M. Brands group ride for the season, but he was the only one that showed. Good to know this ride is starting up again, another ride option for Saturday morning! Ed is planning on doing the Triangle ride tomorrow morning. I think I will try to do it, as well, if the family schedule allows. Its a ride as challenging as EB but doesn't involve the long car ride out and back.

On the racing front, the Tour de Parc is on for May 17th, can't wait!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spinning (Steel) Wheels

Planned on a 7:00 AM start but mother nature had other ideas. Rain showers moved through so I delayed until 8:00 AM. Started out in a light rain on the rain/commuter bike, my 2nd hand late 80's steel Trek 520 touring bike. In the rain for about 45 minutes, up to the LIE, with a slight headwind. Made the right turn onto the LIE South Service road into a crosswind. By this time I was feeling the weight of the bike and had to start spinning some lower gears, especially when climbing. Although, the Shimano Biopace chainrings are nice when climbing out of the saddle!

Was thinking of shortening the ride to 40 miles, but a patch of blue sky and the tailwind after the turnaround at mile 20 encouraged me to go for the full 50 miles. Recovered a bit heading west on the North Service road, then headed up into West Hills, keeping a high cadence.

Heading back south on Round Swamp Rd. past the Bethpage golf course, the sun started shining and it was a nice ride home. Grit my teeth a little into the wind last few miles. Glad I did the full ride, tougher than usual on the old bike. Now need to clean it up, the drive train sounded like a cement mixer the last 10 miles, not a drop of lube left after 3 hours in the wet.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Awesome Early Bird Ride

I decided to ride with the EB's out of Manorville today, wondering if all these base miles are actually adding up to something. In a word, YES! Had a great, fast ride, and felt strong for the whole route. It was also an interesting ride with respect to the group dynamics.

Oatmeal and coffee for breakfast, then loaded the car for the ride out to Manorville. Got there by 7:45 AM for the 8:00 AM start. We had 20 riders by the time we rolled out. It was nice catching up with the gang for the first few miles: Pyzahl, John & Robin, John Y., Fintan, Gary, Karl, etc.

Seven or eight miles in, someone lost a bottle. There were lots of shouts for the group to slow-up so he could retrieve the bottle then rejoin the group. But, the front group had a head of steam going and did not slow down. The back group that I was in, waited until the rider rejoined and then headed in pursuit of the front group. I initiated a chase but no one else wanted to try to bridge. In the end, it was futile.

Now on my own, I caught up to Fintan who also had lost his bottle and was unable to catch back on the front group. He and I rode together to the climb at the Northville tanks, just as the second group was about to make contact from behind. We had a good pace up the climb and were joined by Gary. The three of us had a pretty good gap on the group behind and worked hard together figuring that we would regroup with the front riders at the usual spot.

When we got to the regroup point, we were greeted by an empty parking lot. The front group decided to keep going and bypassed it. We three decided to wait for the group behind to catch up. Once we were back together, we headed out to the Cutchogue deli stop, the next point that we might have any chance to get back with the front group.

At the deli, just a couple of riders who bypassed the tanks in the hope of catching the front group at the deli, but were unsuccessful. We stopped so some riders could refill water bottles and grab a power bar. At this point we found that Robin had a shredded rear derailleur cable and could not shift out of the smallest cog. Luckily, she had a hex key and a couple of us proceeded to adjust the cable to a better gear in the back. At least she would have two gears to use by shifting the front ring.

After the deli, we would now be heading into the wind. We kept an easier pace, 19-20 MPH so no one would get dropped off the back and have to ride alone into the wind. The last major obstacles were Rt. 51 and Rt. 111. No major attacks in our group but everyone rode strong. I think we must have finished with a ride average over 20 MPH for the 54 miles, thanks to the tailwind for the first part of the ride.

For my part, I took some long, strong pulls. Felt really good today, and I'm pretty sure I could have stayed with the front group if we didn't have that early split. Kind of strange they didn't stop but I guess its hard to stop a fast moving train. All-in-all it was a great ride for me and I realized how much I miss the sensation of riding in a fast-moving group. I need to get out to this ride more often this season.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Great Early Ride, Numb Feet Aside

Had to make it an early ride today so that I could take Tina to her soccer tournament this morning (they won 2-0!). Got up at the same time I usually do for my pre-work morning ride and got out the door by 5:30 AM. Below freezing, 28F, but no wind. Flicked on my headlight and taillight and got under way for a 50 mile ride along the Brands route and West Hills.

Some issues with my headlight, I've noticed that the rechargeable battery performance really drops off when the temperature is below 35F. After 15 minutes, the red "low-battery" light was on and the light dropped to low power. About 30 minutes in, I set it for medium power and I had no problems for the rest of the ride.

Sun was starting to come up at the 20-mile turnaround on the LIE service rode. I felt really strong today, especially when riding out of the saddle. Did a lot of extended climbing standing on the pedals. No water after mile 30, water bottle frozen! Finished with an 18 MPH average for the ride (total time, not just riding time).

Back by 8:30 AM, time to put the bike away, shower, eat some yogurt & granola, update my ride journal and head to the soccer game.

On the bike racing scene, a dramatic finish at Milan-San Remo! Here is a video of the last kilometer (anyone understand Flemish?).

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pre-Dawn Ride

Family gathering at the house today for brunch, so I went out pre-dawn at 6:00 AM for the ususal 50-miler, solo. Headlight and taillight for the first 90 minutes. Pretty good ride, a little warmer, a little less wind. Another 50 in the bank!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Couldn't Decide on Today's Ride

Checking the weather on Friday night, I new today would be pretty good for a ride, cold in the morning but supposed to warm up. No threat of rain, light wind. Hard to choose through my ride options:

- Meet up with Percy in Rocky Point for his usual Sunday 55 mile "Easy A Pace"
- Meet Mike W. and Harvey at Brands at 8:30 for bit easier pace
- Get thrashed at the Triangle Ride
- Usual solo ride, 50 miles, Brands Route and West Hills

Woke up this morning and took the path of least resistance, did my usual solo ride. Out at 7:00 AM, temp right at 32F. Legs felt a little blocked but that is not unusual for a Saturday morning. Sun finally started to appear about 20 miles in. At mile 35, I made the turnaround at Rt. 25 and was joined by another rider. With not much more than a "good morning", we headed South and traded pulls down to the LIE. Marcel said he was heading to Wantagh, me too! It seems we are neighbors, only a couple of block from each other! Passed Mike W. and Harvey (and Bob?) on Round Swamp as they were heading North.

Marcel took the direct route home, I detoured slightly to get my 50 miles. Marcel invited me to join him for the Triangle Ride tomorrow but I realize I'm going to have to pass since tomorrow is the girls' family birthday brunch and I need to be home early. Maybe I can meet up with him next Sunday.

Still planning on a ride tomorrow morning but its going to be a pre-dawn affair, with lights, etc.