Thursday, December 31, 2009

Once in a blue moon ski

skiing under the big blue moon at Ole's.

dark - but bright enough to ski.

Tour Divide or Tour Denied?

Asked the big boss about taking time off to race the Tour Divide.  He said it was a lot of time at a busy time of year... isn't looking good for me.  He said he would have to present the idea "upstairs."    Damn ...  I know I can meet my quota's and have Doug cover emergencies.  Chance of there being a radiological dirty bomb in Vermont those 4 weeks are about as likely as me setting a new record for the Tour Divide.  And if I did that I would only need 2 1/2 weeks off anyway!  22 years of working every deer season, every sugaring season, every winter spreading ban first week, every January thaw.. and don't forget the army worm invasion!

I guess I should start shopping around for another event.... suggestions?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tour Divide Contender or Pretender?

Who is competition and who is dreaming large?  Where do I stand among the others.  What do I look like to other racers?  Who is qualified and who has trained?  What is enough experience and how much is enough training?   Who is sitting in front of the computer dreaming and who is out riding in the snow? Beside those who have completed this race - who can say they can do it - and then pull it off?

It is really hard to guess who is going to make it and who more in love with the idea than the riding.  I always wonder if this might be me ... but I do love riding... and I have always loved riding.  My camping skill are rusty - but with a little help fro DaveB I have come a long way!  I did spend a whole summer working for the ATC/ AMC as a ridge runner - caretaker.  I did ride 1200k of the Paris Brest Paris in 73:50 and a 600k in <27hrs.  I spent six nights out last season out bikepacking  - I did the 6 Gap MR LAMB ride last year and did plenty of dirt road exploring.  I won the Millstone SS open age (pretty good for a 46 yr old racing against plenty of 20 and 30 somethings)  And I have always loved the VT50.

Then there are the counts against me:  last season was the first time I ever rode my mtn bike over 100 miles in one day.  I still suffered from the effects of my concussion from the 2008 Vt 50.  I broke my arm in April and it still doesn't quite straighten out.  I am starting to build strength in it again - but it is far from where  it was.  I rode on it 24hrs in the NE fleche  - six weeks after the break ( thanks Charles and Three Moons Accupuncture) Work is being uncooperative with time off.  It costs money to get there and back.  I am old! - yeah - years of crashing are adding up.

These quotes from bikepacking interest me:

"Preparation – with time constraints (work & family) I rarely rode more than 10-12 hours per week but mostly at higher intensities. Riding long distance at steady pace is easy no? I only did a couple of long weekends in the lead up to TD. Better to arrive in Banff strong and healthy than tired / stressed from trying to fit too much into your busy life. But follow Jay’s advice – you have to decide what will work for you."  Fettis (?)

"And now some inspiration for rcktfanatic; you can absolutely ride TD on seven (now almost six) months preparation. Of course your goals, and reality, have to mesh. See caveats above. But it can be done. In '08 I rode TD on less than 650 miles of training in the six months leading up to the race. Life, a monstrous winter, and a lack of motivation to ride the windtrainer conspired to deliver me to Banff in pathetic shape.  Since I knew I wasn't going to be setting the course on fire, my mantra became "I'll take whatever the gods and my body give me." I ended up turning in a semi respectable sub 24 day finish.."  Leighton White  

Of course Leighton White's day job is a professional firefighter ( and the real kind - not like me only responding to dirty bombs and other radiological incidents.)

So I blog on scoping out the competition.  Please provide me with more details on yourself if someone actually reads this and I got yer info wrong!  Or I can just shutup all together if my google-stalking you creeps you out too much!

Latest addition:
"Hi my name is Phillip Fogg,
I'm an ex Pat. living in germany. Came over here during the cold war(1987), met a girl, fell in love and well, I'm still here!
I started biking when I was a kid, around 1970. At nine my first bmx bike. At 16 I got my first motorcycle and bicycling took a back seat for a few years. In 1996 I bought a used Rockhopper and from then on I've never looked back. I've done numerous endurance races here in Germany.
As far as Bikepacking goes, I'm a greenhorn, never done it but I'm so intrigued by it that I'm collecting gear and getting ready for my first trip.
You all will think I'm nuts but I'm planning on doing the Tour Divide next year.  So I will be asking alot of questions about gear, training and othe TDR related stuff. "

A greenhorn and this will be his first bikepacking trip!  But coming all the way from Europe: ten points! Grüß Gott Phillip!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ole's 7 km ski map

The 10 km open at Ole's (really 7 km)

I guess the reason why I could do 10km in 45 min so easily was that it was really only 7 km that I was skiing.  I got suspicious when I did this entire loop in 30 min (including two ski dismounts and avoiding a couple of bare spots) 

It was nice to get to Ole's with the sun shining!  But it didn't last long...  days still short here.

Latest Tour Divide racer:
Christian Vedder
41 years old
This guy probably serious contender.
raced in Portland, OR short track MTB in '08 (maybe that's a strike against him)
Also finished about a third of the way back in the 40+ category in TransRockies '08
won Grand Columbian  (Oregon) Ironman tri in 2004    11:10  That is a big effort in race mode.
His LOI is short but to the point: "I need to suffer. I'm in!!" At least he's not likely to talk your ear off....
Is this Christian Vedder?  Looks vaguely familiar........

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

skiing off steam

Edgecomb Field at dusk. 17'F - usual wind at Ole's, 1" new snow.

Today was supposed to be the office Christmas lunch but I had to go out on an Accepted Ag Practices complaint. I see why Doug always takes this week off. Probably the worst reaction to bad news I've ever delivered. Just bad timing, after the summers milk "prices" and being two days before Christmas. But the neighbor HAD to complain now - anonymously. Pure anger, pure frustration. But after some talking - I was there a couple hours, and some family came in, and the dogs, we worked things out. Equipment malfunction really. If the neighbor had just asked directly - maybe coulda lent a hand.

So - I needed a ski after work. I am loving skiing these days. I find it a lot like mt biking - cruising through the woods with no cars bugging you. But of course it was late and of course I didn't have my head lamp. Good balance training to ski in the dark. Wish I was a better skier but already getting more skill this year. 6th ski of the season - not bad.

New LOI for TD 2010:

Stephen Huddle
Cincinnati, OH
Looks like he's coming back for a second try. Did about 80 miles a day before pulling out on day 10 in Lima. Interesting blog. Longest race before 2009 was less than 35 miles! Quite jump to 2700 miles and he almost pulled it off. definite contender now for 2010.
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My ray of sunshine!

Number one daughter back from college! Here she is in her work-out togs!
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Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Equinox - Tour Divide LOI day one!

Last lap at Ole's- north end of the runway, 14'F with 30knot gusts - actually pretty nice with freshly waxed skate skis.

Days start getting longer now. Pressure on to train! Today is the day Tour Divide accepts Letters Of Intent. (LOI)

Three riders are on the list...with no statements! Who are they?  I will Google-stalk them and try to determine if they are contenders or posers.

2010 Start List
Kyle Paladini

12th place in a Florida mt bike race... Under 23?

Stanley Riffle
I Stanley Riffle do here by give my letter of intention. I intend to train for a long, long, long ride. I intend to adjust my diet of snackcakes and soda, to less snackcakes and soda. I intend to test all my light weight gear before I leave. I intend to reach my inner child and remember how I love to see what's around the next corner and over that hill. I intend to tell my wife...soon.

Confirmed!  This is THE Stanley Riffle:
He is in it for the adventure - Go Stanley!

Gili Torovezky Springfield, NJ
My name is Gili Torovezky, 42 years old from Springfield, NJ. I’m avid Mountain Biker and adventurer in my soul. So why do I want to participate in the great divide race? Well, I can find 1000 reasons why not, but there are at least equally reasons why I should do it: Passionate about mountain biking, passionate about the outdoors, passionate about pushing the envelope and aim high - nothing is impossible. My romance with biking and outdoors started back in Israel when I celebrated my Bar Mitzva with brand new road Fuji red bike my dad brought home from Japan. Shortly after I moved to New York in 1999, a friend introduced me to mtn biking and there when I got totally hooked. There is something special about mtn bike that is unparallel to any other sport: the fast moving pace, the adrenalin, the changing landscape, and mental and technical challenge that pushes you to excel every time. Ever since then I been racing in adventure racing (got first place in the co-ed group in 2007), XTerra triathlons, local X-Country races in NY area, I volunteer once a month to clean, build and improve trails in South Mountain reservation NJ to allow opening the park for MTN bikers. See South Mtn. Conservancy Group. Last but not least, on May 29th 2009 my dad passed away and I want ride for him.
In all, the great divide race is brings together all the things that I love to do: biking, navigation, the great outdoors and life time experience. I hope you will consider my enrollment positively and accept me to 2010 race.
Thank You,
Gili Torovezky"

He does trail work - that counts for a five minute head start!

David Tremblay - what do I look like with a google "bike+david+tremblay" ?
hasn't raced in 13 years! That is an old one! Interesting to see that I was beat by Peter Guyer. - all the other usual suspects are there: Jon Rowe, Jon and David Lamb, Brian Moody, Steve Wright, Brian Lyster and Troy Michaud - all still beating me 13 years later! Interesting to see Whitney Kaulbach racing as an Expert woman: I now live in her house! She has since married Olympic skier Marc Gilbertson. (who has also beat me in many a race.) Really people should look at the one and only race I did this year: scroll way down to the Single Speeders - wow! first place! actually - kinda lousy time if I think about it - well I felt good but look who beat me on geared bikes and by how much - Lyle Gilbert, Stephen Wright, Ben Silberfarb (13 yrs later - I still haven't met the guy - he now lives in the next town over!) What does this mean - I better come up with something interesting in my LOI less someone decides to gooogle me for more info!

Dave Blumenthal - and what does google give us for my neighbor Dave? His awesome linkn'd page and the fearsome  This guy is serious!  TD racers - you want to know what this guy is made of?  Read it and weep:  He is a manimal.
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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ole's at sunset.

Got out on the skate skis at the end of the day. Another hour on the 10k of what is groomed. Cold and squeaky but sure beats the rollers in the basement! Forgot my wind pants and wore Carharts instead - try that on a bike! Also didn't bring the HRM or any other gizmos - just skiing!
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Friday, December 18, 2009

Thuoars Vortex

This is my brother's site specific art installation in the new Thouars museum. It is actually ride-able - I was hoping he was going to get me a plane ticket to be the rider for the opening - but instead he ended up going with a local cycling club. Some were more successful than others.
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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Last Ride

I've been in a funk lately, so when I saw a window to ride last week - I took it and went long. Lincoln - App Gap loop. Lincoln Gap has been closed for about a month - as seen above. Now my Van Dessel is oozing brake fluid and I am back on the Litespeed. It was a bit snowy going over the top on the west side but clear sailing after that.. and best of all: no traffic! I knew snow was coming and this would be the last dry riding for a while. I ran into Jack H. and he cheered me on to "extend the season." A ride like this is a great way to bring a season to its end.

Just enough room to get through with skinny tires.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Off to Paris! Here's the Paris-Brest-Paris web site. Dear family, friends, neighbors, associates, and others; This August I will travel to France to participate in Paris-Brest-Paris. Check out the link for more info... it is the oldest bicycle "race" in the world - held every four years. It starts outside of Paris, goes 600k to Brest and then back to Paris. An utra-cycling marathon of 1200k ( 746 miles) that must be completed in 90 hours or less. This will be my first trip to Paris. As many of you who know me - I hate being a tourist. I will be wearing a jersey that says "Ne se dispute pas je, je suis local." ( Don't hassle me, I'm local) In order to get the most out of this trip I'm am reaching out to you, my worldly knowledgeable friends, for any thing French: tips on food, places to see, free couches to sleep on, catchy phrases, - anything to make me an immediate citizen of France. Or - if you are one of my un-worldly friends - I can try to fulfill you requests by bringing you back a souvenir of something French, a part for a Renault, or a photo of the basement of the Eiffel Tower or anything else you've always been curious about. thanks for your input, David.
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A stone in the wall will cry out. A beam in the roof will answer it.

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Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

Stick the level on top and hammer in a little wedge of rock underneath to bring it to level. Put the wedge of rock in the spot that rocks - like putting a napkin under a wobbly table in a restaurant. If you don't have any wedges - you gotta make them - which should be doable with a rock/ brick laying hammer and the Rose Sandstone. Or you and Cathal can go on a wedge hunting trip at the local stream. cut into the slope where wall is parallel and stair case the wall down the slope. Backfill space between wall and slope. Generally looks weird when attempt to follow slope with wall. - although it can be done.
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Stone Wall Building 2007

Stone Wall Building

Hey there; When asked what he was planning on doing in his retirement, Lance Armstrong said he has been dreaming about building a stonewall on is Austin Texas property. these are the rules I have discovered: Move the rocks as few times as possible. Keep a good selection on hand so you have good shapes from which to choose. Keep a good selection of wedge pieces to level the tops of stones Use the lumpy - mis-shapen stones and wrong sizes as fill. Keep em tight - stones should be sturdy after placement. If it looks wrong from a distance - it is wrong. Try to tie two stones or three together by overlapping with another. you must do this in both directions in a free standing wall. Watch your back. I like to mix in old bricks I find and interesting rocks. The retaining wall I built around the garden is not my best work. Originally I was going to have a retaining wall that was strictly built ruble style. But I started manipulating the pile and before you knew it I had my level out then I got the hammer and started putting in wedges. In this wall there are only about a dozen wedges. In my tighter walls nearly every stone is wedged - often with more than one wedge. I started on the right and worked left. This wall was built very quickly and with virtually no planning or design. The last section I did I worked back from the right corner... this ended in a nice pile of small ruble stones which got covered when I tilled the garden. The wood serves two purposes: It keeps the dirt off the wall and it allows me to weed whack the bottom of the wire fence. I probably would not have used the wood if it hadn't been given to me free and it weas already sitting in the garden having been used two years ago for our hockey rink. I tried to tie the 8' cedar posts into the wall. Originally the posts (set at 94" apart) marked where the top of each 3' roller of my bmx-pump track was to be located - now I hate to hide the wall with unsightly mounds of dirt ... but I am going to try to do it anyway. I changed several things as I went along. I adjusted the sizes of rocks - this was because I was digging rocks out of my foundation excavation pile as I dug them... generally two big ones and the rest small flatter... but I went more with how they came out of the pile. I should have stacked them all before I began but some were too big to move twice and it was a lot faster to work right out of the bucket of my tractor. Some of the bigger ones I pryed out of the bucket and let them lay right where they dropped and worked with it. On the going back wall - I layed a big flat then put in table legs of support stones and then covered with big flat again and repeated - kinda liked this look and wanted to keep working with it. Note that the garden stock tank tub is sitting on a pile of ruble stones from the garden. let me know if you have questions.. i try to send a shot of my culvert wall if I can get the weeds out of the way.. David.
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Quebec 300k
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Quebec 300k
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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Trans Canada Trail

The rain behind me - .Petit Temis Trail - Quebec, Canada.

I just completed 5 days of riding on dirt, fully loaded - tour divide
style (without the elevation gain.) It was an amazing adventure and for
that reason alone I am going ahead with Tour Divide plans!
But it was a lot slower than I thought it would be, hard to maintain more
than a 12mph average with speeds around 6mph on the rougher stuff. (note- computer was mis-calibrated)
riding flat for me is tough as climbing though I need to do more loaded
climbing to work out kinks and mabe shed some pounds.
It was a stunning trip - very beautiful. I rode 84 miles from Moretown
crossed the border in Beebbe Plains and got right on a little rail
trail... had to do a little go around Lake Massawippi but then right on
the Route Vert - off road almost entirely to Quebec City... then about a
hundred on road/bike lane up the St Lawrence to Riviere du Loup,
then up over the watershed on the Petit Temis Trail - pretty cool - right
into NewBrnswick where the trail kind ended. After 25 miles of
pavement I founda fourwheeler track that I rode 70 miles along the st john
river to woodstock NB (where I-95 ends in Maine) where I now must get on
bus to be with family. about 600 miles ? in two half days and three ful
days of riding. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
would be great training pulling trailer with child(ren)
photos to follow
so technical questions:
bivy vs tent ... i used tent to organize and pack and mosquito fre map

how do you dry stuff if you are racing? Never had this issue hiking.

food turned out not to be a big deal every gas station here has good
yogurht and egg salad sandwiches

giardia - I used to fork mounted water bottles but they got so much road
dirt on them... camel backs take more time and fuss to deal with but seem
to stay cleaner. I used a uv light to sterilize questionabe water.

packing - took me four days to get it right on the bike - but takes so
much time in the morning to sort through - re-organize and to get
evrything on the bike!

Rohloff idea made a lot of sense here too as last 70 miles was very wet...
chain was in constant need of lube and why not with that lower derailleur
pulley just inches off the ground. I am thinking hammerschimdt my self.
(note: went with Alfine)

My chain needs 30 min wiorth of maintenance - really should pull the cogs
and empty the bb. pedals are trashed to - no more Crank bros for me! had
to buy onesided wellgo brand at gunshop/snowmachine/chainsaw/oh bikes too
goto go.... at this crazy hostel in new brunswick

see all photos here:  
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