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.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Muddy Onion 2019!

muddy onion gravel ride montpelier vermont onion river outdoors
"Fun, fun, fun," that's my summary for the 2019 edition of the classic Vermont gravel ride, the Muddy Onion.

Be sure to also check back to past Muddy Onions: 2018 2017 2016

Starting and finishing in beautiful Montpelier, and hosted by Onion River Outdoors, the Muddy Onion has been a staple on my spring ride calendar for a few years now.

We've been blessed with generally great weather for previous years, but the forecast leading up to this year's event included lots of rain. Between the late snow melt and the precipitation, some of the pre-event course pics looked like it would indeed be a muddy onion.

The lovely wife and I headed up Friday, grabbed our ride numbers, had some great food and chillaxed at the Inn at Montpelier. As if obsessively checking the weather app... okay, multiple weather apps, would alter the predictions, I just about wore out the "refresh" part of my screen. Get pics & video here (below)

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Oh... the elbow!

worst case of medial epicondylitis that has ever been endured by a human
I've been working in healthcare for more than 10 years, the majority of that in emergency medicine. I teach at a number of universities including Tufts, University of New England, and Mass. General Hospital's Institute of Health Professions. It is with that background and experience that I claim that I have the worst case of medial epicondylitis that has ever been endured by a human. That's right, no human has experienced the elbow pain that I have, and a lesser man would be in tears.

You might scoff, and say, "ha, that's just golfer's elbow," and that's where you'd be wrong. Yes, technically medial epicondylitis is commonly known as golfer's elbow (the opposite of tennis elbow which is lateral epicondylitis, on the outer part of the elbow), but I don't golf, so, ha!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

More Kingdom Trails!


I've been up to Vermont A LOT this year... gravel rides, mountain bike festivals, races, it's all been good because I do love the Green Mountain state. As the season winds down, some friends and I made one last sojourn before the leaves were all down and the temps dipped below freezing.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

CircumBurke 2018

circumburke 2018 east burke, vermont, kingdom trails
I’m not afraid of making bad decisions and biting off more than I can chew, but when I registered for the CircumBurke Challenge, I actually had a plan.

That plan hadn’t included a crash and a really, really, really uncomfortable groin injury that kept me off the bike for a few weeks followed by a brutal work schedule that also kept me off the bike for a few weeks. So, when Glen and I headed up to Vermont, I was mentally exhausted from work, and hadn’t done a serious mountain bike ride for about two months. But hey, the race is only 26 miles so…



Monday, September 24, 2018

West Hill Grinder, Putney, Vermont

Another great weekend in Vermont, and another great gravel ride, this one put on by the legendary West Hill Shop in Putney, Vermont.

The course was great and the weather was amazing. I had originally signed up for the 4-Gap  loop, for 40 miles and about 4800ft of climbing, but with my leg still recovering, I opted for the 2-Gap, for 34 miles and about 3800ft. It was super fun, and I've love to do the 4-Gap next time around.

Jean, Liz and Dan rode too, and had a blast on the West-West loop.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

2018 Rose Mountain Rumble Gravel Ride



It's hard to know if I was rumbled or if I did the rumbling, but the 2018 Rose Mountain Rumble has been completed, logged, video'ed and documented on Strava, No fake news here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

OCD MTB (and BMX too)

I'll admit it, I’ve got some quirks.

Most of my friends know at least of them, for example, my bike’s tires have to match. This is non-negotiable. I can NOT have, for example, a Kenda front tire and a Maxxis rear tire. Not only do the brands need to match, but the models must match too. I couldn't have a Kenda Nevegal and a Slant Six on the same bike. Although, I will make an exception if a specific tire is designed as a front or rear (think of the Panaracer Smoke & Dart). But, again, they MUST be paired, and I couldn't willy-nilly choose a front and rear tire, even if they're the same brand. I KNOW it doesn't make sense, but I CAN NOT do it. Also, if one tire needs to be replaced prematurely (torn sidewall or something), I need to replace both. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, I can't help it. But there's more...

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Trail Work



I think my tally by the end of 2018 is going to show that I've spent more time working on trails than riding trails. And that's okay...

Saturday, July 28, 2018

NEMBAFest 2018

NEMBA Fest 2018
Well, well, well... more than a month has passed since I was in East Burke for the 2018 edition of NEMBAFest Powered by Pedro's. I guess I lose some points for not keeping my blog up to date, but you, the reader, get what you pay for.

It was, by all accounts, another excellent event. The trails were in primo condition and it was great to hang out with friends and family. The group included Mississippi Dave, Tito the Swedish Bimbo, and myself in my luxury camper; Glen the Cottage of Wattage in his tent; and my brother, brother-in-law, nephew and a smattering of North Conway hooligans in my brother's camper. There were more than 1000 other riders there as well, but I don't have much to report on them.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

WATA Gravel Ginder

waterbury area trail alliance gravel grinder vermont 2018
And then at about mile 9, I knocked my wife to the ground...

That was just one of the highlights along the WATA gravel ride in and around Waterbury, Vermont.

Ever since we did the Muddy Onion a couple of years ago, Jean and I have been fans of gravel rides. Great routes, great vibes, and great views have pulled us back for more and more rides, and this was our first year at the Waterbury Area Trail Alliance Gravel Grinder.

We opted for the shorter "traditional" loop which included about 27 miles and 2800ft of climbing and it was filled with--as promised-gravely goodness.