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.

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.