Tag Archives: bike

Fall (ing)

Man, I have no idea where this summer went. Between vacation, and camps, and not knowing if I was going to be working or not (I’m a fed, so the furlough thing hit close to home. Not in the “Oh my golly we’re going to lose our house” kind of close to home, more in the “Yippee! A summer full of three day weekends!” kind of close to home. Savings rate would have taken a hit, but, hey, who really retires these days?), and a couple other things, I never really felt like I was getting to relax.

More importantly, I never got into the groove this summer of doing bike rides with my lovely bride.

We rectified that this morning – 7 AM, out the door, and rolling down the road.

One of the reasons I love to ride (and only like to run) is that riding isn’t nearly so weather dependent during the summer as running is. As soon as you get moving, the miles just kind of click on by, and the temperature pretty much self-regulates. Make your own wind and what not.

Today was a great day for that. Wet and sticky, not hot in any way, shape or form, but uncomfortable nontheless (love New England summers!). But, once we got going, the weather was nice. Go too fast, and the humidity started choking the oxygen from the lungs. Too slow, and everything just felt damp. But, cruising along, watching the stone walls go past, everything was good.

We pulled into Stonington Boro about the time 7 AM mass was letting out; all sorts of confused by the huge volume of traffic coming over the railroad bridge – wondering if we’d missed a tsunami warning or something while on the road. Did the lap to the point and back, past the cannon that held off the British in 1814.

Back in downtown Mystic, Missy had to cruise on home to get ready for church. I loitered; had a coffee at Bartelby’s, and watched the Sunday morning crowd roll by. Downtown Mystic’s a great place to watch bikes on a weekend morning – there’s everything from the green stickers of bikes refurbished for Mystic Community BIkes (Free bike share for way longer than most places in the US) to the dude who rolled up to wait for a group ride on the Parlee with Lightweight wheels. My favorite, by far, are the tourists for whom this is like their only weekend on a bike, and for whom cruising down River Road (awesome road, next to no traffic, plenty of bikes, runners, rollerbladers, etc, so cars kind of feel like jerks for driving on it) and doing the short spin in traffic on Main Street (lots of cars, but enough pedestrians, parallel parkers, etc that noone honks at cyclists) leaves them feeling like I live in a bikeable community.

Ended the ride with a trip up to Old Mystic and B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill for a half gallon of sweet cider and a dozen cider donuts. Tucking the cider in my jersey was surprisingly refreshing.

Today was a good day.

I ought to be asleep right now, ready for the New Haven road race, but I’ve been unusually productive today, and can’t quite spin down. Which means I ought to crash hard once I get on the road.

Juneathon – Fireflies

The road is smooth, it’s warm and wet, the moon is hidden behind a blanket of cloud, and punctuating the translucent summer night are thousands of fluttering points of light.

Juneathon is still in full effect – been having a great month.

Stopped by the church on the way home this evening for a work night. We’re a small (~200 parishioners) church, and there’s a group of four of us who’ll get together on a Friday evening about once a quarter to fix stuff that’s broke at the church. We’re mostly engineers or management technicians, but it’s nice to use some tools, sling some paint, and do some actual work once in a while.

After we’re done working, we’ll swing by someone’s house close to the church, have supper, and sit on the porch for a while watching the world wind down.

Biked to work today, and over to the church this afternoon for work night. Stayed for supper, and had a preview of heaven climbing up Flanders road on the way home – still air, smooth pavement, turning circles, and fireflies dancing in the night. Full belly made the ride slow. Barley, hops, and yeast made the night smooth.

New England Summer at its best.

Juneathon 3/30

Earlier this year, I talked Melissa into letting me buy her a bike. She acquiesced with the caveat that I had to ride with her until she felt comfortable on her own.

Spend time with my wife? Twist my arm…

River road home from school

Sunday Morning, we’re up at 6, on the bikes, and miles squeaking by under our tires. It’s a truism around here that, if you want to climb, pick a road with ‘Hill’ in its name, and we did.

20 miles and a bit over an hour later, we’re rolling back into the driveway to get ready for church. The big son learned how to make crepes this week for French class, so this was waiting for us:

Crepes

Juneathon 1/30

Half day at the office. Didn’t bike in, ’cause my hope was to get a bike ride in with my lovely wife after work. But the meeting went long, and we were up against the kids getting out of school.

So, mowed the lawn and saddled up to pick up the big kid from middle school. Awesome late spring day, great spin down to the school. Picked up the boy, and we headed home via downtown and River Road. And, again, I’m struck by the surreality of my kids’ lives – this is ‘normal’ for them. And I want it to seem normal, but not entitled. But it was an hour of good talk, an hour of spin, and an hour that I’ll treasure for a long time.

River road home from school

But wait! There’s more!

It’s still recovery week after the Vermont City Marathon, but the young son looked up at me with his big doey brown eyes and asked if I’d run the short Bluff Point Twilight Trail Race with him. Duh, of course I can.

This is one of my favorite races – great cause in the New London County Women’s Center, awesome course at Bluff Point State Park, and early in the nice weather when being outside is a huge treat after winter breaks. The short course is about 3.8 miles – out to the bluff and back via the hill in the peninsula. Nice two-track the whole way; packed dirt or crushed granite.

Bluff Point Twilight Trail Run 2012

The run was awesome. Small son has a great sense of pace, and we started passing folks about halfway. He gutted it up the hills, flew down the downhills, and about blew my doors off when he sprinted for the finish. Nice.

Wife ran with the big son – they flew, both setting PRs for the course. Funny how happy I am being the slowest in the family.

BPTTR rocks for post-race. There’s always corn chowder from the US Coast Guard Academy goat locker. AND there’s massage students from a local massage school hitting their requirements for sports massage. I got the hook-up this year; Stacey completely worked out the residual stiff from Vermont, and I was happy.

Only down side was forgetting to check the tide tables and parking in the lower lot – the tide was still coming in, and I had to wade out to the car.

Spring tide after the Twilight Trail Run

Even I need reminders I’m not entitled sometimes.

Bike Month Day 4

Fog, cows, stone wall

Friday wasn’t quite a work day – had some admin to take care of in Newport first thing in the morning, but made it back to Mystic in time to take another ride with my lovely wife, who’s starting to ride. And was reminded again of why I love riding in rural Connecticut.

Out of the house, and within 20 minutes, we’re on thin, low-traffic two lane, surrounded by walls of Connecticut’s state flower, granite, and bucolic bovines.

Rode easy for two hours, fog rolled in off of Fisher’s Island Sound, and back home to meet the kids after school.

I threw in another 4 miles up to the top of the hill near the house. Feeling pretty good, but dreading the last long runs before Vermont City.

Father’s Day Metric Century

So, my DailyMile buddy Steve’s going under the knife this week to fix some tendon in his knee that apparently doesn’t exist any more. Wah. Such is the cost of getting old, I suppose.

(He’s brokenhearted too, about missing the Vermont City Marathon this year, but he missed it due to his knee, whereas my owie seems to be getting better>

Anyhoo, he wanted to bang out the route that the Pequot Cyclists use for their 100K before he went under the knife. Father’s Day seemed to be a good morning to do it, so Steve, Alex, and I set out from our local gas station (just east of the ‘official’ start) at 0530.

The beautiful thing about late spring in New England is that we’ve got like 20 hours of effective daylight, so 0530 on a Sunday morning was bright and clear. The funk that we’ve been in, both mentally and meteorologically, lifted over the weekend, and the morning found Alex, Steve, and I ready to ride. There had been tragedy in recent hours – I’d hit a valve cover on some road about to be resurfaced the morning before, and am about to shell out a couple of sawbucks for a new rim. But I’ve got a cool tire cut pretty much in two, so that’s all good. Alex checked his bike Saturday evening and found two flats on his road bike. So, rather than fix the flats, he showed up on his ‘cross bike. Nothing like pushing 60+ miles on 38 mm knobby tires…

The first hour of the ride – to quote my sainted grandfather (usually about the 3rd tee), “I wonder what the poor folks are doing this morning”. Down CT 215 to Groton Long Point (with the added benefit that the valve covers I’d shredded my rim on the previous morning all seemed to be on the other side of the road), and 3 miles of brand-new skim-coat pavement to downtown Mystic, and a great spin up US 1 to Stonington.

There’s a small climb on Rt 1 right before you hit Montauk Ave in Stonington. Alex’s shtick on recent rides and runs has been to pull alongside and start asking “deep” questions. So, on this one, he hits me up with “Does God Exist”? Feeling slightly guilty about possibly missing church ’cause we’re all old and fat, and what should be a 3.5 hour metric century is probably going to be a 4+ hour ride, I say “sure”. Alex presses, so I launch into the Apostle’s Creed

There’s more, but hWordPress for iPad ate it (I’ll blame equally operator error and poor app design) and it’s wicked late. I will say that (a) I wish I’d taken more pictures; and (b) Steve’s flat at about 40 miles couldn’t have been more perfectly timed.

Fathers' Day Flat

So to both Steve and Alex, huge thanks. Best ride in a long, long time.