Wednesday, August 3, 2022

ECGA Gravel Goodness

On Saturday July 30,  Noah Leavitt and Dan Tieger, along with some other folks, worked with the Essex County Greenbelt Association to host an informal gravel ride starting in West Newbury.

The roughly 25-mile loop included a mix of road and off-road accessing Maudslay State Park, the Martin Burns Wildlife Management Area, the abandoned J.B. Little Road, trails around the Indian Hill Reservoir, and some quiet paved roads.

About 30 riders set out in multiple groups broken down by an estimated average speed. I tried to go back and forth between everyone, but the fast riders were long gone. That being said, I was able to snap a bunch of shots of the majority of the participants, and from the smiling faces, it seemed like everyone was having a good time. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Muddy Onion 2022

I love bikes, Vermont, and hills, and the Muddy Onion gravel ride combines all three. This has been one of my favorite gravel rides since "gravel rides" were a thing, and after being on hold for the past two years because of the 'rona, it was great to be back for this early season test of fitness. 

Rolling out of Montpelier, the Muddy Onion offers two route options, 21 and 39 miles, the latter with about 3500 ft of climbing. I chose the 39'er, as did Jason G and Glen G, and in total there were about 697 other riders lined up with us on Saturday morning.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Gran Prix Beverly Cyclocross

You can tell by the fact that you can't see any 
riders behind me how far out front I am...
Thanks Jen Carter for the pic!
So there it was, my triumphant return to cyclocross racing. And, by *triumphant* I mean I didn't die. About 10 years ago I was racing quite a bit, but it's been a while since I worried about which side I needed to pin my number on or obsessed about tire pressure. Okay, I NEVER obsessed about tire pressure, but you get the point. 

With the race happening in my proverbial back yard, I had to do it, lack of training or semblance of fitness be damned. In fact, the entirety of my "training" for the race consisted of the one-lap pre-ride I did shortly before the start. 

If you want to skip past my ramblings and see some pics of my teammate/work colleague/bro, scroll below, but if you want to subject yourself to a tiresome description of the course, read on.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Kill Your Lawn, Grow "Weeds."

Over the past few years, my view of lawns has shifted from just apathy to total disdain. 

I've never been a "lawn guy," I've never really cared enough to dedicate much time, effort and resources to my grass. Sure, I *tried* and had done some stuff... watering, fertilizer, de-thatching, aerating, overseeding, etc, which, when I actually list it out, seems like a lot, but I was only barely interested and didn't do all of these things often enough or consistently. My lawn's appearance matched my efforts, but it was usually "good enough," and I was fine with that. The weeds were green, the grub patches weren't too bad, and I had better things to do. And while I wasn't a dedicated grass guy, my OCD made sure that what I did have was usually neat and clean.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Beverly Bike Park?

I've been kicking around the idea of a bike park somewhere in Beverly.

UPDATES WILL BE BELOW

Exactly where? Who knows.

How big? Dunno.

When? No idea.

But, all things start with an idea, so if you're interested, please fill out this short form.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Battle of the Blowers vs Bloviators

It's that time of year to start the leaf blower battles. The autumn leaves are down, trails are covered and the debate rages as to what is better--"clean" or "natural."

I say there is no universal right or wrong approach, but generally I favor groomed trails. 

In fact, for the most part I don't think leaf removal adversely affects trails and more likely may confer benefits to trail users.

Before you load your aspersions and invectives in a flaming bag to hurl at me, let's lay out some facts or at least some informed opinions that I'll use to make my case.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Poultry Power


It started innocent enough. Jean's friend in NH asked if we wanted chickens, and of course the answer was, "yes!" They gave us a small coop and all we needed to do was build an enclosure and get a permit from the city...

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Arizona Adventures

I’ve never been one to shy away from biting off more than I can chew, so when Glen tossed out the idea of a one day epic 100-mile ride along the very remote Arizona Trail, I was in. I even started to train for it, but then, well, life got hectic, and “training” turned into drinking lots of coffee hoping that it would be a suitable replacement for proper sleep, diet, and exercise. 

It wasn’t.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Let Me Tell You About My Shovel

William Macy's Shoveler from the 1999 Mystery Men

I’ve mentioned before that I’m always looking for convenient and efficient ways to get tools out to the trails. Many times the best tool for the job is relatively big, or heavy, or both, and in those cases I will either schlep that stuff out by foot or load up the bike trailer. 

There are, however, some pretty kick-ass tools out there that are strong enough to do real work, yet packable enough to stow in a bag. 

Enter the DMOS Delta Shovel. Available in both steel and aluminum, it folds down to be easily carried in a back pack, and it extends to allow you to dig, move rocks and do anything you want a shovel to do.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Get Off My Gravel


So, the buzz has been that USA Cycling has its eye on gravel racing. Not to be left behind, the UCI is apparently looking too

I would like to point out that this is not new. I found a Cyclocross Magazine article from 2015 where USAC's former CEO, Steve Johnson said, “The gravel segment is the Wild West of bike racing, and it really needs us right now.” 

Dunno... seems like gravel riding and racing have done just fine.

2019 Video Recap

Just a video montage of some of the rides we (Racer-X) slayed in 2019. X Gon' Give It To Ya.


Thursday, November 28, 2019

Hitting the Trails with my Big Boy

That's a Silky Big Boy that I'm talking about...

It seems like trails ALWAYS need work, from minor fixes like moving some branches to major builds or re-routes; it's hard for me to be out riding or running without seeing something that needs attention.

One of the recurring problems we've had over the last few years in my neck of the woods have been blow downs. Yeah, we get PLENTY of small (and not so small) branches that can easily be moved, but we also get many large branches and whole trees that come down with the wind.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

911-Rider Down!

I AM LOOKING FOR COMMENTS (commend box below): I will update and refresh with new info as applicable.

Let's face it, accidents can happen anywhere as can medical emergencies. A little slip of the tire can lead to that "perfect crash" with a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, vascular injury or any or all of the above. I took a handlebar to the groin a year or so ago and was convinced that I had a traumatic femoral artery dissection (the softball sized hematoma that almost instantly developed was one of the reasons...). Likewise, even the healthiest of us are not immune to the possibility of a heart attack; or a simple bee sting could lead to anaphylaxis.

So, do you stay inside and play video games? No, you live life to the fullest because living in fear isn't living. My job probably has me a little more focused on the things that can go wrong, and that perspective also has me think about what I would do if I was out in the woods and had to deal with a medical emergency on the trails.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Stowe!

For many people, think mountain biking in Vermont, and you're going to think about Kingdom Trails. And, that's for good reason, the trails in East Burke are world-class and getting better every year. But, Vermont is a big state and there are plenty of other spots to ride. Jean and I had a free get-away to Stowe so I thought it would be a perfect chance to see what's going on in that part of the state. I had seen some killer video of various trails and I wanted to check 'em out.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Rose Mountain Rumble--2019

This marks the fourth year in a row that we've done the Rose Mountain Rumble in Lyndeborough, NH, and every year the ride it's been awesome (2018, 2017, 2016).

Great course, great support and amazing post-ride food.

Before I get to the ride, let me mention the nearby accommodations...

One year, Jean and I camped at a campground in Brookline, NH called Field and Stream, It was, and is, a favorite campground. Another couple of years we camped at Salisbury Beach State Park campground. A different vibe, and a little too far to be convenient. This year we were going to go back to Field and Stream but we waited too long and couldn't get two sites (for ourselves and LizDan and their travel trailer), so Dan found a campground in nearby New Boston, NH called the Friendly Beaver.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Tour de Heifer, Brattleboro, Vermont

The combination of camping, Vermont, and a good gravel ride makes for a perfect weekend in my book.

Those three factors came together on the weekend of June 8th & 9th as Jean and I, along with the illustrious Liz & Dan, brought our travel trailers to Brattleboro, Vermont, for the Tour de Heifer.

Brattleboro is one of my favorite towns, with a cool downtown and an amazing farmer's market, books stores, antique stores, coffee shops, and restaurants (like the Whetstone Brewery with great beers and awesome outdoor seating). We were there last year for the West Hill Grinder and had been looking forward to a return--the Tour de Heifer was the perfect reason.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Waterbury Area Trails Alliance Gravel Grinder

Well, it's spring 2019, so that means rain... April, and so far early May, have been rainy, rainy, rainy. Mountain bike trails are a mess, and events like the Muddy Onion, Rasputitsa, and the Waterbury Area Trails Alliance (WATA) gravel grinder have been impacted by the rain in one way or another. I did the Muddy Onion, and while it was a bit muddy, I fortunately finished right before the cold deluge began. Rasputitsa is on my bucket list, but I haven't committed yet, and this year's course seemed miserable with not only rain, but sleet and snow.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Connecting the Green Dots

I'm not one of those people that's lucky enough to live next to a huge national or state forest. I can't roll out of my back door and climb foothills or mountains, and just disappear into the wilderness. I live in the 'burbs, just north of Boston, close to major highways, commerce, and other aspects of residing in a relatively dense population.