When I hate MTB’ing

OK friends, can you guess when I really don’t like mountain biking? I will give you some time…….






You might be tempted to say “well when you fall silly!” and of course that IS one of the times that I dislike mountain biking. But actually I have the least fun on my mtb when I am riding a semi technical or technical trail for the first time.

The problem, as I see it, is you can see how to go UP the big rock, but you absolutely cannot “scan the trail ahead” to see how to get down the big rock before you have to get down the big rock. (Authors note: I am using a big rock as an example to simplify things here. It could be any technical obstacle. No offense meant to rocks! Though there are a lot of them here in CT.) You also do not know which way the trail is going to go after you go down the big rock.

Then I find I am slowing down to look and then things become difficult (because sometimes faster is easier, as long as it is the right fast).

My first trip through the Nathan Hale State Forest was kind of like that. Too tight, too twisting, lots of rocks. Not little rocks, big rocks, sharp rocks. Lot’s of foot dabbing and walking.

My second trip through Nathan Hale was much better. Faster, smother, less dabbing. The difference was a little confidence and a little speed. It was also more fun.

Author’s Note: I rode there today for the third time. I had awesome flow when I started. Then for some reason it went away and the ride became a struggle. Some days you just don’t have it.



OK. You have seen the lake cottage. Remember?


Here is a tour of the inside. There is a kitchen:


A half bath


And two bedrooms



All told about 500 square feet.

Well I guess that’s not quite so accurate any more. There is no kitchen, bathroom or bedrooms anymore right now.

See here is the green/blue bedroom today.


All of the plumbing and vintage electric has been removed. The cottage is a shell on the inside.

The goal of this year is actually to redo the outside of the cottage. Facing the lake was the porch. It’s been a troublesome thing with a roof that has leaked more than once. So…… Off came the roof. It’s going to be re-sloped.



In fact, lets just take off all the walls of the porch. The one inside thing that was on our list for this year was to open up the front wall so that the cottage included the porch in the living space. Tomorrow that front wall is going to be taken out and placed with a structural header. And then we construct, new walls, new roof, new siding, new windows.

We removed A LOT from this little cottage. See, one dumpster filled…..


Picture of the Day


“Start the Day”

Yeah! Ahh…….

Monday was the last day of the big build before the Whiteface race.

My directions for the week:

“Take it easy and enjoy the time OFF THE BIKE this week…….make it count!”

To which I say….. Hell Yes! My legs are tired, my arms are sore. Even my brain is tired. Last week I spent 16.5 hours (that’s 230 miles) on my bike. I need to stop thinking about routes for 6 hours bike rides, and where the “steepest hill that takes 20 minutes” is. It’s definitely time for a breather. Not off the bike but easy on the bike. And fun on the bike. Lot’s of “ride how you feel” on trails this week.

That’s this week. Then a moderate week. And then the race prep week. Three weeks till Whiteface.

PS. We have been making a lot of progress on the cottage. Tomorrow there WILL be pictures!

Picture of the Day


“Connecticut Trails”


Next week I am going to Connecticut for rehab. No not THAT kind of rehab. Nope. Next week I go to to Connecticut to do phase 1 rehab on “the Cottage“.

This is our vacation dream house:


It’s time begin to get it habitable!

Phase 1 of the rehab (which will take place over the next two weeks) is to strip and fix the exterior.

We have hired a contractor and two strong bucks (me and my dad) to do the work. The plan is to replace all of the windows, strip and redo the roof, add a door, and side it up. Much as I love the classic green tarp roof, I am looking forward to a slate grey roof! By the time we are finished it will look like an awesome cottage from the outside. Next year we strip and redo the interior (new walls, electric, plumbing, kitchen, bathroom etc.)

I’m excited to see this get going. The reality that this is ours still hasn’t sunk completely in (though the tax bill helped that to settle in some!). I think when we have finally put our stamp onto the place that reality will set in.

Biking wise the comes at a good time in the summer. Next week is a rest week. That means shorter, less intense workouts, which allows for more time on the rehab project. It also means more “ride how you feel on the trails” kind of riding. Perfect since there are some really nice trails near to where the cottage is. Nathan Hale State forest is a short 5  minute ride from the door. All told there is about 14 miles of single track there. The other really nice place to mtb is Case Mountain. Both have the advantage of being 1. newer to me and 2. fairly technical in places. Looking forward to them.

The last little hidden nugget in going to CT for the next two weeks is that I am going to try to race in one of the Root 66 races on June 1. The Domnarski Farm race is that weekend. I think I should be able to fit that one into the schedule.

All in all it should be a fun couple of weeks.

Minimalist (not)

It’s no secret that I ride a lot, and that I ride long rides. My philosophy has always been that you should be able to get yourself home (or to the finish line) when things break. Pretty much no matter what. And so I carry the equipment with me that I need to fix my bike with things go south.

I probably carry too much. Here is an example. Last year at Leadville I had two tubes, a frame pump, two 20g CO2 charges with a filler, a multi tool, a space master link, tire tools, extra gloves, a rain coat, etc. I figure I was ready for just about anything. Lot’s of people scoff at carrying a frame pump, but hell if I wasn’t going to finish it was NOT going to be because I ran out of CO2 (like Lance).

One of my favorite tools is my Topeak multi tool.


It has everything you need to tighten bolts, and includes a chain tool and a spoke wrench. I never leave home without it.

On Mother’s day we packed the family up for a little MTB trail riding. The kids wanted the mom to come along and so we got a bike for her and packed her up. It was a fun ride. Coreen had never been on a MTB before. The trails we rode were really nice and flowy. Noah and Coreen rode together. Bailey and I went a little faster. We rode for about 45 minutes. Then the kids and Coreen packed up to go home. They left me to ride a lap or two hard (my family is very considerate of my personal problem 🙂 ).

It was somewhere relatively early during my hard lap that I realized I had made a mistake. No cell phone. (If you crash and get hurt its going to be a bad thing. Yes, Yetti, thank you.”)

When I got the to farthest, and lowest possible part of the loop I shifted and felt my cranks spin free.

Crap, dropped my chain. So I stopped and went to put my chain back on. But my chain had not dropped. It dropped off the bike completely and was laying on the trail. Oh crap. Chain broke.

My mind flashed to the scene in Race Across the Sky where the guy is fixing his chain at Leadville.

Off the bike, and out with the multi tool. Pop off the bad links, reattach the chain. Problem fixed. Back riding.

On a funny side note. While I was fixing my chain a couple of riders came down the trail towards me. It was the other adult who has been helping me with my high school MTB club.

“Break down?”

“Yeah, chain broke.”

“You got what you need to fix it.”


Off they went. I got home and not all that behind schedule.

Totally worth the $15 for the multi tool. Totally worth it.


“Master, why do I bleed?”

“Grasshopper, you did not avoid that which was in front of you.”

“But I did try to avoid it.”

“That was the problem.”

“Master I am confused.”

“Grasshopper, you must look ahead to see that which much be avoided. Then you must forget it.”

“Master I am still confused.”

“When you worry about avoiding that which must be avoided, you disturb the part of you that knows HOW to avoid that which must be avoided. By doing so you risk running into that which you want to avoid. To truly avoid, you must avoid avoiding. Only then will the danger pass you by.”

“Master I must think on this.”

“Grasshopper, do so. And put some Neosporine on those cuts while you are at it.”


My first race of the year, The Wilmington Whiteface 100k,  is 5 weeks out. Last year I was recovering from a knee injury. I had started to feel better by this time, but I was still behind where Drew and I wanted me to be.

This year my body has been holding up remarkably good. So I am on track training wise for the race. That’s the good news.

The “bad” news is that I am in week 2 of a 3 week major build to the race. On the schedule is 3 weeks of intense riding, a week of taper and a week of race prep.

Drew uses “high impact training” (HIT) in his plans. Basically a week is set up like this: hard day, moderate/easy day, hard day, moderate/easy day, hard day, easy day, off day. Last week my riding went like this:

Wednesday: 1:30, 30 minutes of warm up with 4 x 60 sec all out sprints. Then 4×2 minute all out sprints. Do a 5th if you can.

Here is what I learned. 60 seconds of sprinting is “OK”. Totally doable. 2 minutes of sprints hurt, alot. Right about 1 min 20 seconds in my legs began to let me know I was being mean. And those last 40 seconds? Well they went really really slowly…..2 minutes? Totally doable as well. It just hurts a lot more. Probably as much mental training as physical 😉

This is what that looks like from a HR monitor perspective.


HR is not a perfect indicator of effort on those kinds of short intervals. HR lags.

Thursday: 1:30 east MTB flowing on trails.

I rode the trails behind my office. One lap alone, and one lap with my High School kids. A nice day, lots of mud!

Friday: 2-3 sets of descending intervals. 2 minutes hard, 2 minutes easy; 1:30 hard, 1:30 easy; 1:00 hard, 1:00 easy; 0:30 hard, 0:30 easy

I did 3 sets. Just because. 🙂 BTW, descending intervals remain my least favorite of all of the intervals I do.

Wonder what that looks like on the HR…….


Saturday: 1:30 Zone 1/2 endurance ride. Over half time in Zone 2.


Sunday: Optional rest day or another 1:30 Zone 1/2 endurance ride. I chose to ride. This ride is likely to be the topic of a post later this week…….

Monday: 5:00 Zone 1/2 over half time in Zone 2.

Luckily that ride came on the best day we have had so far this spring. Sunny, 73F, light wind, low humidity. One of those days when it is just nice to be outside riding. Surprisingly I felt good and was able to keep the tempo high.

HR? Well it looked something like this…..


Tuesday: Rest day

I had to drop my car off at the shop and biked 2.5 miles to my office. Legs? Jelly.

It was a good week.