Monday, December 15, 2014

Thanksgiving: Turkey, Football and Lincoln Gap

In what has quickly become a Thanksgiving tradition.  I made a trip up to Lincoln Gap to sample the powdery goods that the closed Lincoln Gap road has to offer.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Green Mountain Trails and The Fourth Lap

Coolest. Medal. Evar.
It happened in an instant.  My wandering mind had led to a wandering front tire and the rain soaked bridge was offering no quarter and no forgiveness.  In the blink of an eye I was over the handlebars- hurtling face first into the abyss.  I could only close my eyes and pray for a soft landing.  But I deserved no mercy.  After all, this was all my own doing.  Despite my exhaustion, the pouring rain, the chilly September air and the mud seeping into every crevasse of my clothes and bike-- I had chosen to do another lap.  My fourth lap.  And I had to earn it.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Hampshire 100: It's Really Just an Eating Contest

More than seven hours into my day at the Hampshire 100 something my friend Brad had said to me echoed in my head as I ground my way through a long steep climb.   I was ten minutes past my twenty minute deadline for downing another Gu but the thought of one more oozy ounce of the sickly sweet gel made me want to get off the bike and barf.  Despite extra gulps of Gatorade, I could feel my legs starting to seize.  The last thing in the world I wanted to do was eat something.  And then the meaning of Brad’s seemingly absurd advice became clear: 

“It’s really just an eating contest.”

Saturday, June 14, 2014

European Cliches: La Rioja Bike Race, Toblerone, and the Tightest Pants in the World

Four benadryl later I was wheels down in Frankfurt, Germany. I awoke to a teeny tiny Toblerone on my pillow, the capstone finish to three courses of hospital grade airline food. The sleek obsidian finish and pitch-perfect resonance of Europe's busiest airport surrounded me - Frankfurt literally  hummed with efficiency. And techno.

My stomach rumbled in time with the smooth sounds of the latest NOW! Thats What I Call Music electronic mashup of Lana Del Ray. Having meant to change out of my compression tights before landing, I was unable to dislocate both hips to accomplish this inside the coach-class bathroom. Stumbling off the jetway, I was relieved to find I was not the man wearing the tightest pants in the airport. Not even the 2nd or 3rd tightest, in fact.
Pain and horror. And 40 minute descents.
Welcome to Spain.

Never having played with over-the-counter sleep aids before, I was unsure how capable I would be after 7.5 hours on Luftansia's finest not-quite-A380 quality European bicycle portage. Three or four teeny tiny coffees would clear my head, and nothing is more sobering than trying to order up a large Americano with soy milk in broken Spanish, in Germany. 

"Soy grande americano por favor." 
"No s#it you are, brah."

I f#cking love Europe. Time to ride bikes, bitches.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Rare Day in Colorado's Front Range

High above Colorado Springs.
There are some pretty weird hobbies in this world:  rubber band collections, dressing up like a stuffed animal, or jumping off bridges with a parachute to name a few.

When you really think about it, climbing and descending hiking trails on a bicycle is no more or less reasonable than collecting porcelain figurines, running ultra-marathons or re-writing all the endings to Disney movies to make them horror flicks.

But for some reason I've chosen mountain biking.  So, what exactly do I get out of it?  Why do I spend an inordinate amount of my free time either mountain biking or thinking about mountain biking?  Why is it more appealing to me than, say, chasing a little white ball around a meticulously landscaped yard?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Answering the Riddle at Charlemont Trails (June 2014)

Something tells me the skiing in this glade isn't too shabby either.
A couple of years ago I was enjoying an evening ride on the singletrack around Belmont Rock Meadow when I came across another mountain biker.  We stopped to chat for moment and he presented me with a riddle that I've been struggling with ever since.

"Where can I find the real big hills around here? The long climbs and descents?", he posited.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Other Side of Ellicottville (May 2014)

This is what flow looks like.

In what is fast becoming an annual tradition, I made a late May trip to ride the trails around Ellicottville, New York.  Almost exactly a year ago I made my first trip there and was awestruck with mostly smooth, swoopy singletrack I found.  I had sampled Big Merlin, Rain, Sidewinder, Mesa, among some of the other trails on one side of the mountain.

However, an offhand comment from a rider I met near the end of my day there, stuck with me.  When I told him where I had ridden, he exclaimed, "Oh, man, you haven't even seen the half of it!"   While the map showed a number of trails in the Northwest corner, I couldn't imagine they would differ so greatly from what I had already ridden.

Did they ever.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Blueberry Lake Trails: First World Problems

I'm getting really fed up with the beautiful scenery too.
This is getting ridiculous.  It's getting harder and harder these days to go anywhere in Vermont where you can pull your bike off the back of your car and not land on some fantastic singletrack.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Michaux State Forest and Rethinking Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania rock garden.

Pennsylvania, let’s be honest.  I haven’t given you a fair shake.  My impression of your burly mid-atlantic hollows has been tempered with long car rides on Interstate 81.  Usually by the time I get to your border the luster on a long road trip headed south has worn off.  I am bored and just cranking out miles.  It’s usually about this time that I pass through the Wilkes-Barre area.  Just the name evokes images of broad valleys, hills cut in half by strip mining, a massive car junkyard and perpetual construction. Not to mention the “ker-clunk-ker-clunk” of the endless evenly spaced concrete with only deer corpses and semi-trucks to keep you company.

Needless to say these are not positive associations. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Weekend of Mountain Biking in the (Lower) Upper Valley

Blue Ribbon trail on Gile Mountain.

If you're one of the many folks who make a regular pilgrimage to Kingdom Trails from your suburban hell of a life somewhere south of Nashua, you likely drive right through a hot-bed of singletrack and craft beer without giving it a second thought.  That might start to change.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mt. Tremblant: Our Fun Loving Aunt of the Nord

Officer:  “Do you have any alcohol, tobacco or firearms?” 
Justin: “No Sir.”
Officer: “Okay.  Have a good stay.”

I know for a fact that Justin had to pause and consider this question given his propensity to have one- if not all three- in his possession at any given moment.  But he was telling truth.  He knew the rules.  You don’t fuck with immigration.  Even friendly Canadian immigration.