Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Rain Rain Rain..Makes a Great Mud Ride

Well, it is December and no snow yet. We have gotten rain for the past few days, and everything is soaked. The road conditions are terrible. Lots of fog, so automobile visualization of bikes cannot be trusted.That sounds like a great opportunity to go for a mud ride.
Caumsett Park, in Lloyd Harbor, Long Island, is an 1800 acre former estate of Marshall Field III. It has rolling fields, and 20 miles of trails, from broad fire roads to single track. It is the perfect place to ride when mud is on the mind.
I built this bike from a frame 14 years ago, and it has not let me down. Now, several rear derailleurs and wheels later, it is my steady date in bad or borderline conditions. I have even raced it in cyclocross races several years ago. I had the honor of being lapped by Richard Sachs!
As this bike was created expressly for these trail conditions, my ride was wet, muddy, gooey, and very pleasurable. The 32mm knobby tires bite well in the uneven or soft terrain, and the Reynolds 631 steel frame is compliant enough when the going gets rough.
It was certainly a lot better than going to the gym on a less than perfect day. Most cyclists would keep their light, fast, or expensive machines home. This baby was born for slop, and that is where it really shines. Success!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

My Catrike Expedition Passes 4,000 Miles, and I Ride Shelter Island

I was off from work today, for the first time in 13 days! With the weather predicted to be sunny and the temperature in the low 70'sF, it seemed just right to trike my old haunt, Shelter Island. I started my ride at 3999.9 miles, and rode about 45 hilly Island miles. 
After Labor Day, the island is just about deserted, which makes for open roads and great water views. The terrain on Shelter Island is varied, including some good hills, rollers, and flat cruising. All in all, it has always been a great training ground for me off season. 
At about 20 miles, I pulled into town and had lunch at Marie Eiffel's. My favorite there is always warm Brie + Ham on a Baguette, with some unsweetened organic Green Tea. It is just enough to power me on for the rest of the ride. 
Not being in a rush, I took a little time relaxing on the trike and listening to the sound of the waves on the shoreline. So far, I have completed four Century rides on my Catrike Expedition. I would like to do more next season, including a 200KM Brevet. Over the Winter, I would like to make some speed modifications to make this accomplishment more likely. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Great Weekend in Montauk

Summer is about halfway through. There was no better time than to visit our friends in Montauk. The riding is always fantastic, and the beach, water, and food are the best around. Our traditional trip to the Point went very well, and the weather cooperated fully. 
Fortunately, we have friends who have a house in Montauk, and we are always invited to stay. We had a home made taco feast for dinner saturday night, fish, steak, chicken, or vegetarian. Town was extra crowded, and best avoided. The natural shoreline of Montauk is one of it's biggest drawing points. It is often called a drinking town with a fishing problem. I say that there's nothing there, but there's everything there.
The beach, shoreline, and cliffs are always fascinating. I did some photography at Camp Hero beach:
Swimming in the ocean had enough challenge to be interesting, but not enough to feel unsafe.

We had dinner Sunday night at Inlet Seafood, which has become my favorite Montauk restaurant. The view from the balcony over the inlet jetty was perfect!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Slime Boy!

I had worked hard all week at the hospital, saving lives, doing operations, and delivering babies. Today was my one day off, the next one being July 11th. I awoke to a soggy day, with on and off rains showers, always sprinkling a little bit. The roads were a mess, so I got out my orange 2001 Jamis cyclocross bike for a spin in the mud.
Of course, I went to my favorite trail system, Caumsett Park in Lloyd Neck, Long Island. For those 
that think that Long Island is an urbanized asphalt jungle, think again. Caumsett has about 20 miles of cyclocross-perfect trails, flattish to rolling. The overnight storm had created perfect off trail conditions, with lots of mud, ooze, slime, and even some peanut butter.
Even though it is two years since Hurricane Sandy, some of the single track trails have just been repaired so that they are now in good rideable condition. One of my favorites is one that I call the trail of ferns. It is slow, single track, quiet, and 
almost zen like in its solitude.
The park has flats, hills, rolling terrain, and scenic views: just about everything an off trail rider could want in an 1800 acre venue. I saw ospreys, red foxes, raccoons, and of course, lots of white tailed deer. Two hours of perfect cycling pleasure!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Very Wet Day: 108 Miles on My Catrike Expedition. 55 Centuries in the book.

For this year's distance rides, I again went on the Ride to Montauk with about 2,000 of my closest friends. I also chose my Catrike Expedition as my weapon of choice. The trike is about 3-4 miles per hour slower than my LOOK KG 381i carbon framed road bike, but is much more pleasant to ride, and makes me happier at the end of the day. As there was a weather forecast for rain, I fitted the rear fender in order to keep my back dry, and I'm glad that I did! Front fenders would have helped too, a consideration for the future. The heavens opened and it poured rain from mile 22 to mile 52. All involved got decidedly wet. With the weather at about 55F, that made for lots of shivering riders.
The 52 mile rest stop had lots of people becoming hypothermic. I do not understand that with the weather forecast, bikers would set out at 7AM in just shorts and sleeveless tops. I was better protected than most, with waterproof shoe covers, a waterproof and breathable helmet cover, and my Showers Pass waterproof jacket. 
After about 11AM, the weather cleared and was merely cloudy. Later in the day, the sun came out, and made a complete difference in the general mood of the riders. Lots of riders opted out and took the sagg wagon to the finish line. Even though at times I had doubts about myself riding in the pouring rain, I continued onward because I had something to prove. It has been now over two years since my brush with death from two concurrent medical problems. My regular exercise regimen has been very effective, and my lab numbers have been optimal for quite awhile. 
 It is a good feeling that for my 55th century ride, I was able to hang in there despite adversity, and have the feeling of accomplishment in less than optimal conditions. Next ride will be the Nassau to Suffolk Challenge on June 28th, a 100km hilly ride. That I will tackle on my LOOK KG381i. Onward to 6 weeks of hill training!

Friday, March 6, 2015

An Afternoon of Snowshoeing

After our small 9" snowstorm yesterday, I decided to go out snowshoeing this afternoon. Most of the local trails have been previously skied, and I wanted a little different type of adventure. The layers of snow from the various storms have made skiing a crusty affair, with my back country skis sinking into a crusty layered surface frequently. Perfect day for the very flexible art of snowshoeing.
My older snowshoes were made in Vermont by the Tubbs Company. They have since moved their operations to California, and the snowshoe designs have evolved over the years. My old Tubbs' seem just right for our Eastern conditions, so I have had no need to replace them. 
The learning curve on snowshoes is very short, and almost anyone can learn quickly. This is not a fast sport, but is quite enjoyable, while giving a great cardiovascular workout. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

We Go to Jackson New Hampshire for Some Cross Country Skiing Fun

Once per Winter season, we usually meet our long time friends from Boston, Ron and Phyllis, for some Cross Country skiing. This year, we decided to go to one of the best places around, Jackson, New Hampshire. The town is the center of a huge cross country network stretching into the surrounding hills and White Mountains. There is a large cross country lodge right in town. The ski touring foundation has made this area a significant destination for skiers of all levels of skill.

It was our luck to arrive when conditions were excellent. Our first day of skiing was blessed with extensive trails full of softly packed powder which was freshly groomed. We took off on the easier Ellis River Trail in the 23F temperature with clear blue skies. After a great sandwich lunch at the J Town Deli, we skied some more in the town environs. Dinner at the Wentworth Hotel was scrumptious.

That night, the snow fell for hours while we slept. We woke up to about 8" of fresh powder, and a beautiful landscape to boot. Our skiing experience at the Eagle Mountain House area, both in the fields and the more difficult trails, was superb. My favorite trail, The Wave, was in great condition for us all to enjoy. Luckily, I wore my gaiters, which protected me from the flying and abundant powder.

The Wave is a blue trail, which involves lots of climbing and then lots of descending. I have to say that Helen did a great job, never complaining about the climbs, and attacking the multiple descents which significant vigor. We all got lots of exercise.

Our stay at the ellis River Lodge was excellent. The accommodations were very comfortable. The staff was very friendly and helpful. Our breakfasts were especially yummy before a day outside skiing. All in all, our weekend cross country skiing with our friends was a great success. Where to next year?