July 27, 2014
Itinerary and prep

3 Nights Before Departing:

Two brave parents, a teenager, and a toddler (in trailer) bike 200 miles in a 10 day summer vacation.

 Our route is posted on Ride With GPS here.

Daily Itinerary:

Biking – Day 1

26 miles

Leave our car and campsite at Parc national d’Oka

Take the Oka/Hudson Ferry across the Ottawa River

Camping at Voyageur Provincial Park, Ontario.

Biking – Day 2

43 miles along the Prescott and Russell Trail

Brunch/Lunch in Vankleek Hill

Camping at Camping Paradis

 Biking – Day 3

29 miles – along the Prescott and Russell Trail

Arrive in Ottawa!

Hotel room at Cartier Place Suite Hotel

 Ottawa visit – Day 4

A second night in our hotel room.

 Biking – Day 5

39 miles

Camping at Parc national de Plaisance

Enjoying the Ottawa River – Day 6

We stay put for a day on the river, visiting a local village (we hear of a Chocolatarie and a Fromagarie in Montebello).

Biking – Day 7

36 miles

Camping at Camping Municipal Brownsburg-Chatham

 Biking – Day 8

25 miles

Our return to Parc national d’Oka

Post-touring luxury: 3 nights in a cabin, with day visits into Montreal

Some of our favorite Montreal sites we plan on visiting:

The Lachine Canal Bike Path

Brasserie Reservoir

The Atwater Market

Schwartz’s deli

July 27, 2014
Hardest race yet. 12hours on the singlespeed.  Decided to let that guy win (animal was fully rigid on a 32x17) I was up 40min going into the last lap. Nausea and shivers got worse so I bailed to keep the experience “positive” . Now there’s a goal for next year.   #realpicklesracing #millstone12

Hardest race yet. 12hours on the singlespeed. Decided to let that guy win (animal was fully rigid on a 32x17) I was up 40min going into the last lap. Nausea and shivers got worse so I bailed to keep the experience “positive” . Now there’s a goal for next year. #realpicklesracing #millstone12

July 26, 2014
12 hour mtn bike race. Quiet before the storm. Solo singlespeed . #millstone12 #realpicklesracing

12 hour mtn bike race. Quiet before the storm. Solo singlespeed . #millstone12 #realpicklesracing

July 20, 2014
Sweating naked men was not the Horror at Harding Hill

…or maybe it should be titled, “Sweating with Naked Men: My New Training Regiment.”  

The Night Before

The night before the 2014 Horror at Harding Hill mountain bike race in Sunapee, NH, I attended my buddy’s bachelor party. No we didn’t go on bender in Montreal or get stupid at Foxwoods. Jacob is way too cool for that. 9 hours before the race start, we were next to a sawmill, diving under a bonfire in the middle of a murky pond, digesting venison cooked to perfection on the open fire, and taking turns entering the sweat lodge with six naked manly friends. There was lots of beer and ol time fiddling too. It was a great time.

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The Gear Choice

Fortunately I had the foresight to put on a light cog out back - 32x19. A ‘spinny’ gear for a flat course is necessary when you stay up late consuming several too many alcoholic beverages. There is a careful equation for proper singlespeed gear selection. Up late with beer + lots of meat for dinner + chilling with naked men >/ =  conditions similar to a sustained downpour right before the race =  large cog (light gearing) . 

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The Race

I pre-rode for about 10min and quickly changed my gear back at the car. I surprisingly felt feeling pretty good- must be the detoxing sweat lodge.

Horror at Harding Hill isn’t very scary . It’s an excellent singlespeed course with a couple of perfect smooth double track sustained climbs broken up by some singletrack with ample rootiness and rocky lines to keep everyone honest. There a few downhills that beg for bombing, until they the bottom gets chunky. In essence there is a little of everything.
It’s not my favorite course do to the long double track road sections, but it was super fun. 

The mass start is a great way to go. About 1 mile in I passed the entire expert field and held 2nd or 3rd place overall. As usual I went hard the first lap, negating any concept of pacing. On lap two I felt the dehydration kick in. Cytomax in the bottle wasn’t doing the trick. Fortunately at the mid-point , I picked up a gell flask of dill pickle juice. This really helped flush my body with needed salts and my light-headedness cleared right up. At my juice pick-up I pelted a bystander with my wallet, which I was carrying for no reason at all..fortunately he found me at the end of the race. 

Sensing I had the SS win in the bag, I slowed down a tad, but was aiming for top three overall. I just missed it- 4th overall, expert - SS win, by a lot.  It’s a haul up to that neck of NH . Race promoters: how about The Pinnacle and Horror at Harding Hill back-to-back . Saturday and Sunday showdown. I’d go every year for sure…especially if there is a sweat lodge happening in between. 

July 16, 2014
Light touring rig does double duty on Mt. Tom

The woods were wet so I took the Casseroll on a 17mile jaunt up Mt. Tom this evening. First time on the bike after family vacation in ME - haven’t ridden for 5 days, and that includes coffee runs with Eleanor !  There was some great fresh pavement up the mountain and then a chunky forest road to Goat’s Peak (I think that’s it) . I couldn’t resist dropping a few PSI and hitting a short stretch of singletrack on the way home. 

I spent all last week super focused on a big work project so couldn’t ride my Selma in the woods. The lack of sleep and semi-poor eating (I’m a cookie fiend) gave another lesson in balance: take care of yourself, even if you just have small moments to do so. Remember what makes you strong and feeds you energy. Even when stress is mounting, focus on getting over the hump - so you can ride again!

I’m super looking forward to having  a CX bike with discs brakes for this kind of romp- hopefully by summer’s end.  For now the 26lb. Cass does pretty well, though the canti brakes blow. 

Found this gem of a play structure at the small park on the top of the mountain:

June 30, 2014
Latest rendition of the urban kid commuter include a Jones Loop bar, v-brakes, and a rack.

Latest rendition of the urban kid commuter include a Jones Loop bar, v-brakes, and a rack.

May 12, 2014
Treasure Valley Rally 2014 - Singlespeed win

It was my first time to Rutland for the TVR race. My team mates ‘had to work’ and my teenage son had other stuff to do likely involving an ipad or sleeping late, so it was a solo adventure. Overall it was a fantastic venue, well organized, and super fun.

My goals of the race were to have fun, ride some new trail, and try to get my endurance back (3mile baby pull trips to the store isn’t doing it).  In the morning I mounted a light gear, put on my race wheels, and drove the long pretty way from Northampton, MA. I was too nonchalant to take 15min to change my Magura TS8 fork form 80mm to 100mm… laziness that I suspected I would regret, and did.  

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Clashing blue bibs through the river.

In the spirit of the Boy Scouts, who’s land hosted the event, It was with positive attitude and focus that I ended up winning the single speed class, finishing 2 laps in 2hour 19minutes. 

The second lap was much better as I knew where to run and could trust most of the lines folks had made on lap one. Focus and resilience is what racing technical trails is about . Once you starts swearing at your faults the body tightens, you get tired faster, and shit just starts to suck. I focused on maintaining momentum and looking ahead on the trail. This helped me feel more relaxed as the race went on.

I also credit real food- not energy gu crap- for giving me the energy needed to maintain. Real food for race energy is something I’m experimenting with.  High quality pickle juice and dates seem to pack all the minerals, electrolytes, and energy that I need. I still ride with one bottle of Cytomax, but the real food provides a lingering sense of nourishment. Riding with salty garlic pickle taste in your mouth is way better than gu sugar crap. 

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Real Pickles waiting at the 10mile midpoint. 

At the starting line, I noticed a few of the 10 or so SSers had stiff gears and seemed pretty fit.  These were either roadies or bad-asses. I suspected bad-asses, so resigned myself to focus on a mid-pack finish. A few hundred meters in, I passed a few guys knowing they weren’t a threat. A few miles in and another fast(looking) dude with a carbon fork was messing with his carbon wheels. My strategy was to put as much space between us as possible to psych him out- mind games do work sometimes. I thought there were 2 or 3 more guys up ahead until I inquired at the start of lap 2.  When the time keeper stated I was first or second, I ate a garlic pickle,  chugged some pickle juice (Real Pickles, vinegar free of course) , downed a few dates, and pocketed  the figs in lieu of the Gu-  I was ready to put the hammer down.    

In my mind I was chasing a humble guy on a gray steel rigid bike. I may have never actually seen him - he could have been a ghost, or a vision of a hipper version of myself with mad skills. Regardless, I was in the hunt and riding the hills better than on lap 1 and feeling more confident as I ran the super chunky sections instead of bumbling through them building frustration and tension. A highlight of the race was riding with Crystal Anthony, elite rider, for the last 5 miles or so. We switched places a few times and her relaxed technical abilities helped keep me calm and focused.  Another highlight were the volunteer water givers at the giant boulder - thank you kids!  Sometimes a good head soak is the perfect energizer. 

Crossing the finish line I still thought I was in second. Apparently my time was pretty good and I took 1st.  Too bad our Real Pickles/ Hampshire Bike Exchange team kits are just days away from being in.. I’d look a lot sharper on that podium stump. 

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A dip in the lake is the best recovery for muscles.  

May 8, 2014
#yepp #superfastkidsbike it’s gona work, I can’t believe it.

#yepp #superfastkidsbike it’s gona work, I can’t believe it.

February 10, 2014
Now that’s puffy.

Now that’s puffy.

January 18, 2014

Eleanor’s walking!

January 7, 2014
This is how we roll

This is how we roll

December 24, 2013
Could use some elves right about now #xmashomeimprovement

Could use some elves right about now #xmashomeimprovement

December 5, 2013
Asheville, NC travels: for family, turkey, and singletrack

Book hotel while driving 80mph at midnight

Llama, Eleanor, and I drove 880miles each way to Asheville, NC for Thanksgiving week. The target was  Llama’s brother and family. Eleanor got to meet her sweet cousins Olivia and Maggie for the first time. I road my bike some, we had a successful AIrbnb experience, and all was good. 

10month old Eleanor is a traveling rockstar. The key to success is long stops to romp about, and having a parent sit in the backseat for playtime with plenty of toys and snacks. We used Yelp and hotels.com to find great stopping points along the route. Yelp is my favorite app - it kept us well fed and off of highway food. I drove until I got tired, then booked a hotel from the driver’s seat using hotel.com connected to paypal.  Tech has changed how we travel for the better (though we still sing and listen to books on digital device, NO TV screen in the car) 

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Asheville North Carolina - so many foodies and breweries

Asheville is cool place. Aside from the interstate intersecting neighborhoods making urban design severely flawed, there is strong neighborhood character, beautiful mountains, and a laid back artisan vibe. The bounty of delicious eateries and micro breweries is curious as the economy is fueled by the tourist and services sector. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of mid to high income jobs here that typically supports a vibrant restaurant community. 

The mountain biking   - backcountry all mountain not so good on a rigid

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First I must say that I have an awesome wife-  she encouraged me to get out twice on my bike. 

On Thanksgiving morning, I rode my rigid singlespeed at the famous Bent Creek area on the edge of Pisgah national forest. Despite the rain the day before, the trails were in great condition. The climbing was awesome , though compared to Western MA, the trails lacked technical features.  Due to it’s close proximity to Asheville and ease of navigation, Bent Creek is a must ride for any mountain biker visiting the area. One day was plenty to get a sense of all it has to offer - I covered 20miles in just over 2 hours. 

Strava map of my ride:

The day after the deep fried turkey feast, I had the opportunity to digest in style, riding some of Pisgah’s more remote offerings .  Thanks  Shanna of Endless Bike Co.  for the ride recommendation!

The Laurel Mtn loop was much more remote than what we have in Massachusetts. Because I was alone and out of cell phone range, I took it easy. As the trail went up the snow and ice cover increased. The views were stunning and the silence refreshing. The downhill trail, called Pilot, was too nasty for my rigid bike. I took it easy and opted to walk a bunch instead of falling off the mountain. As I got back to my car, two singlepeeders were heading on the loop!

Pisgah is truly amazing for adventurous type mountain biking. The map by Pisgah Map Company showing the huge trail network, makes me want to spend a few weeks bike-packing in those mountains. 

These trails also shift my perspective on full suspension bikes. Instead of never swaying from hardtail singlespeeding, now maybe I’ll take one - when I’m 50. 

Go to Asheville. Ride your bike in Pisgah. Eat and drink . Bring the kids. Travel safe. Be happy. 

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My brother in-law, my niece, and I got to tour Industry Nine .  Above are some sweet hubs in the raw. Below are the finished goods. 

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The extent of my black friday shopping: 

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November 27, 2013
Toured Industry9 today . Bomber bike bling! #I9

Toured Industry9 today . Bomber bike bling! #I9

6:04pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZsMesr-dO6QQ
Filed under: i9 
November 12, 2013
Whole Enchilada ride Charlemont, MA - CTS review

Over the last couple of years, the CTS (Charlemont Trail System)  trails have received a dramatic dose of human powered mountain bike trail development. Charlemont is located in the Northwest corner of Massachusetts, along the Deerfield River and the scenic Mohawk Trail. About twenty minutes West of Greenfield, this network is easily accessible for anyone in Western MA or from locales such from Boston to Southern Connecticut. Anyone who is looking for a fantastic and unique trail shredding experience, should make the trip to CTS.  

This past Saturday (11/09/13)  7 guys with shivering nipples and winter gloves completed a 27 mile, 5 hour journey that included almost all of the trails in the network. We climbed about 5,000 vertical feet. It was tough, yet three of us were happy on single speed bikes, so anyone with gears and hardy 1-speeders can handle these trails.

The trails are a great mix of smooth/fast and technically demanding. The technical bits are not of an “all mountain” flavor, but rather are full of challenging features common in New England; ancient rock masses tweaked with an added rock here or there to enable a sweet rideable line or quick up-and-over requiring full body english (sometimes called ‘humping’ or ‘twerking’). 

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only 1 flat and one broken chain all day . 


Many of the descents at CTS are very fast, inviting total shred. Yet keep a finger on the brakes as the singletrack widens and narrows rapidly and downed trees or swooping turns come on fast. This is an awesome place for riders of all skills and abilities to explore their control edge - that point that falls between super fun and somewhat sketchy. The many switchbacks and twisting trails are for most part very well bed-in. Bridges and other man-made structures are well placed and increase confidence and rhythm over some dangerous areas. 

I really enjoy the climbing on this network - at least when I am guided by one of the many folks who helped build these trails. Some are long and are peppered with repetitive steep spurts yet since traction is very good, finding a personal rhythm is not hard. At the end of the day on Saturday, the steep quick climbs started to get hard yet the downhill rewards were never too far off.  

There are a couple of large group led rides each year at CTS- MAKE IT!  For folks coming for a weekend adventure, hit up the NEMBA forums or contact CTS directly for trail info. I suggest hitting the People’s Pint in Greenfield for post ride foods and brew. Also stop at the co-op in town and pick up some locally made Real Pickles sauerkraut and dill pickles for fermented food adventures at home.  

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imageFrom the 2012 Whole Enchilada CTS ride. Those mountains in the background are part of the network also!

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