Saturday, February 11, 2012


Back in the 80's I was running lots of road races and cycling. Most days would find me doing both before I went to work, and  that was part of my regular routine. A few years later, triathletes started calling these workouts "bricks" or when they were combining workouts as preparation for races. Ummmm....

Now it's many years later, and I'm back to doing "bricks." Although this time around the knees don't allow me to run. Since it's winter here in Maine, I decided that it was time to spend more time on my xc ski's. It has been a challenging winter for everyone with the lack of snow, but I've been fortunate to get out a fair amount since January. Of course, that also means that it is quite often very "icey" and not being  a seasoned nordic skiier, well let's just I work a bit harder simply to stay on my feet. :)

Once the skiing is done for the day, then I'm back to the shop to hop on the trainer. Although there is definietly less pounding with nordic skiing versus running, my legs are definitely telling me that this is my own personal version of a "brick." So after a few weeks of doing this type of workout, it was time for me to take a week to "recover." All that simply means is that there is less time on skis/trainer and a lot less effort.

So now that the snow levels are getting very low, I'm going to have to come up with another activity to replace my time on ski's here in the near future. Anyone have any ideas?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

It's Trainer time...

Well, it's January and the time of year where it's time to lay a foundation for the upcoming season. Although 'spin' classes are now the "rage"; we've been doing this for quite some time. Actually the reality is that we were doing this before spin classes even started, so I guess you can say a couple of things. First is perhaps we are showing our age OR even a better idea is that we saw the need and wanted to have others join in on the fun. AS everyone knows, we all have more fun, are more motivated when others are there as well AND we are less likely to skip a session.

Over the years, I've had people who were triathletes join us, people training for the Boston marathon, others who race either on the road or off, and others training for various charity rides. This years group is a bit different. Brenda is someone who joined the group last year. She was raised on a farm, so obviously is no stranger to hard work. She hikes, rides, accompanies me on some xc ski jaunts and her future is looking brighter and brighter everyday. Tim is a nordic skiier and manages the family xc ski center(Akers Ski). He's a busy man to say the least, but is full of enthusiasm and perhaps enjoys working off some of the stress from the week. All I know is that even though he doesn't have alot of time in the saddle so far; he certainly can push the pedals and is enthusiastic each class. Although like myself, he continually looks as the weather report in hopes of getting out on his xc ski's. So my only question is this? TIM when are you going to mount your new ski's? HA!

The sound of snow

Well, it's certainly been awhile since I've updated the blog... some days there were simply "outside" rides that needed to happen and others well... I was simply lame. And considering that it is a winter with very little snow, well of course you have to take advantage of the snow when it's here. I can hear the trails beckoning me, you know the ones that you haven't seen since your last mountain bike ride. Only this time, we are on xc ski's and loving every minute of it. Those are the days where the only sound you hear are the ski's sliding across the snow and perhaps your own breathing. Ocassionally you'll hear the local inhabitants looking for food or playing in the sun. And then your last thoughts of "do I really need to get back to the shop now?" Can't I simply stay out a bit longer?
Well, some days we simply have to put a limit on the everything, and unfortuantely this day was one.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A change of seasons....

I have to admit that once I jump on my mountain bike, it feels like a new season has begun. All of the late season energy that has become non existent, has suddenly shown its face again. The rides never seem long enough, and I'm always looking for a period of time each day where I can sneak out with my two wheels. Of course, living here in the Northeast where daylight is becoming less each day, that in itself can present a challenge. It's simply a balancing act, home and shop projects are scheduled at odd times of the day and everyone is happy... although perhaps a bit tired.
The above picture was taken nearing the end of a ride, one in which we've rode 13 miles and have the final 10 miles all downhill back to the shop... although on the pavement. This shot, although not all that clear is one taken in an area where there was some logging this summer. I enjoyed the humor of the workers and consequently my fellow rider snapped a picture. It was as though the rock was speaking to us and telling us that all of the climbing has now been completed and some major amounts of fun are about to happen... albeit 10 miles of downhill!

This last photo wa taken of my friend Kathy riding through some snow. The ironic part of this ride is that it has been at least 50 degrees out all week, and although we had rode plenty of miles in the sun and under gorgeous blue skies... here was another reminder that we should always be prepared for any weather conditions.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

R.I.P. Sadie

This is a photo of my two buddies and I sharing some great weather last February while nordic skiing. Shanna is the chocolate lab and Sadie the golden retreiver.

After owning several goldens, Sadie was the first female. That certainly was not by choice, but it seems that this is the way that things worked out. She was also one of those dogs that truly smiled at you, and people would always comment on that... even strangers simply walking by. She was a dog that would get her feelings hurt, and I learned that early on when I yelled at her... broke my heart when I saw the look on her face. Needless to say, that was something that changed from that day forward. She instinctively knew when you were happy, sad, or wanted to "play." And play we did... from nordic skiing, snowshoe trips, backpacking trips etc... I think she enjoyed them as much as I did. We even shared that same birth date, although obviously she was a few years younger. :)

May you rest in peace my Sadie!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Kingdom Trails...Northeast Vermont

This time of year in New England is beautiful with the trees showing us their color(s)and is also one of my favorite times of the year to ride... my mountain bike. I'm fortunate that in my town alone there are hundreds of miles of trails, but for this day I chose to once again seek out Vermont. Jacob my nephew was also a willing participant, so we left home under a beautiful blue sky and temps in the middle 70's. We certainly couldn't ask for a better day! We were determined to ride on the Kingdom trails in East Burke, which offered  downhill runs, and over 100 miles of singletrack/doubletrack trails for every ability. And don't let me forget the famous "pump track" which turned out to be Jacobs favorite.... as seen from the below photo.
The amazing part of this whole Burke atmosphere is that the trails rely on over 50 landowners that allow use of their private property for these trails! Trail users obviously respect these folks as the "carry in carry out" philosophy was definitely in affect. It also sounds as though more trails/connectors will be added in the future.The trails are also used for nordic skiing in the winter along with the Burke area for downhill skiing or snowboarding.The area is simply known for people enjoying what Mother Nature has provided... and something that Jacob and I did for sure! After a great day of riding you can see Jacob(on the left) headed over the bridge and back to the car for some lunch. Picture on the right is the end of the day, bikes in the vehicle and headed to get ice cream. Thanks for coming out to "PLAY" Jacob... let's do this again!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Panniers vs bike bags?

Well, as I mentioned in the previous post, I thought I would give you my opinions of panniers vs bike bags. AS most of you know, two weeks ago I finished a five day/four night self contained ride. I chose to use bike bags and my friend Kathy used Ortheib panniers.

From the bag perspective, here are the areas that I noticed rather quickly.I soon realized that  although I'm organized in packing, from a  time perspective panniers have the advantage in terms of simply throwing items in a bag and being done. Now that isn't to say that you don't have to be careful in terms of keeping the weight equal in both panniers... but overall a bit quicker to get moving. The other advantage is that while stopping to pick up food supplies, you generally don't have to worry quite as much about where you will put the items that you just purchased.

There are several companies out there producing some great quality bags, and lots of people taking on projects of their own. Relevate, Phantom Pack, Cleavelend Mountaineering and Jandd offer some great quality bags. With that said, one of the first things that I noticed was the quickness of the bike. What I mean by that is that one of the first downhills we encountered, we decided to let the bikes go and see which bike travelled the quickest without any effort from either of us. The winner was my Soma, but the truth is that the added width of the panniers seems to be a bit of an air drag. The Soma and its bags seemed to be a bit more streamlined... nice ! :) The other interesting tidbit, was that although we generally carried the same types of things, it was quite obvious that the bike bags are much lighter than panniers and racks. I carried a seatbag, harness for the handlebars, pocket that attached to the harness and a small frame type bag. That also meant that I was wearing a hydration system bag as well, and a very comfortable one at that... THANKS VAUDE!! With the muliple bags in various locations on the bike, the bike tended to handle very well and truly wasn't affected by high winds or rough roads. Overall, the difference in weight between the two systems was ten pounds!! Thats'a alot to think about getting up and over some of the hills at the end of a day.

I will say however, that you tend to be abit more limited with space with the bags, so if you're someone that likes to keep adding to their already full load... then perhaps panniers would better suit you.

My choice at the end of the trip.....bags. I liked the difference in the weight of the bike, and the way that the bike handled. And what's great about all of this is the freedom and independence that the bike gives you. And although perhaps this was an odd encounter, vehicles and people are much more friendly to a cyclist that is loaded down, rather than seeing a single solitary bike on the road. So whether you ride to a friends backyard, or state park, get yourself out there. And finally, if you're like me, although I love my job and home, it was indeed a bit sad to end the trip and go home.

One last comment for the border guard at the Cannan Vermont border... my pictures showed a very small corner of your customs building. It showed no windows, signs, doors or anything that would lead one to think that this was a customs building.. could have been a house, garage, etc... So although I apprecaite you doing your job, making me delete photos that showed the "Welcome to the United States" sign was a bit over the top....besides do you realize how many other photos I have at other border crossings?I actually took some other border crossing photos at the beginning of the trip. You did your job well, but I would dare say that you could leave the "ego" at home.