Thursday, October 29, 2009

Critical Mass This Friday: All Hallows Eve Eve

Tomorrow evening, join us for the Halloween edition of Hartford's monthly Critical Mass ride.

Meet up in Bushnell Park at the Carousel at 5:30 or so, you know the drill. Wear a costume, or dress up your bike (last year I dressed my 15-year old beater Trek as a Colnago-- red duct tape and paint pens can do wonders!)

Also tomorrow evening is the Hartford Alleycat
For those of you not on Facebook, It starts at 7:45 PM at The Warehouse, 45 Bartholomew Ave. in Hartford

P.S. That sweet bike zombie art is from Post Carbon Comics by Ken Avidor.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More Cross Posting

With the help of digital photography and insomnia, I present to you a few of my pictures from Sunday's race. First of all, mad props to Brendan and everyone else who made this happen. The weather was fantastic, the course was sweet, the turnout was great. I was kinda bummed about not getting my ghettofabbed slimstyle dropbar 96er together in time for the race until I saw how ridiculously outclassed I would have been. I did see at least one racer rocking sneakers and platform pedals, so I wouldn't have been alone in that regard. The Riverside Park area has always been a great place to ride (except perhaps when flooded) and it was a strong setting for this inaugural race.

I started spectating in some of the more open and visible areas near the boathouse before shadowing the course on foot and hiking up to the top of the big climb. It wasn't long, however before I was drawn to the woods. This was my favorite part of the course. The ground had a nice mix of firm and muddy bits, and the racers would spread out a bit more. Here it felt much more like rider versus terrain than the frantic jockeying for position that took place elsewhere. This is not to say the riders slacked off in the woods by any means, there was just something more swift and quiet about it, like locomotives in a snowstorm.

Maybe it was just the lack of spectators in this section... Anyway, it was pretty freaking cool, especially the area around the bridge.

From there it was back along the river and back out into the open, where glory and swag awaited the victors.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Cross pictures

I've got a couple of pictures now.

I've also got some by Luis Cotto on picasa. CCBA has them on facebook.

Here are some taken by Cedric De La Cruz of the men's 1/2/3 race:

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brrrrr..... ice bike one, friday, oct 30

two posts in a day, kickass!!!!!

brendan rocked it with the cross race and it looks like it will be a feature in the future as well with the huge turnout. making hartford more interesting is always a good thing and for the city to see people on bikes doing anything positive increases awareness and certainly moves the ball forward for all of us velocipeders. i saw a pretty good number of out of state plates at the event as well, nice.

the days are getting shorter and the nip is out in the air. maybe not as much as the picture would indicate.... but its getting colder for sure.

come join the ccba at jojo's coffee on pratt street this friday morning from 7-9 for our first icebike event of the season. this time breakfast is on you, but the chance to meet and greet others and make sure you are geared up and prepped out for the winter is priceless.

now if i could only find plans to build this thing....... Read more!

Hartford crossed

Hartford's motto is post nubila phoebus, which means "after the clouds, sun". I suppose that's true pretty much everywhere except those strange cities in the northwest. Luckily for the race yesterday, the cloud part was on Saturday and the sun part was Sunday. We had incredibly beautiful weather, but more than adequate mud to make things cyclocrossish. For those reasons, we had way more people than I anticipated. Like I was hoping for around 100-120, but 180 showed up. The C race had 53 entrants.

I took a break from the hectic registration table and enterred the C race. I had a really strong (for me) start and finally got a chance to ride the course. After the first lap, I think I may have been in the top 10. Then my deraileur caught a stick and messed everything up. So, I sadly DNF'd.

So, thanks to Melissa, Johanna, Art, Jonathan, Jason, Ben (x2), Sean, Chris, Craig, and everybody else who lent a hand. Also, to the sponsors: Ghostship, Central Wheel, Hooker Brewing and REI.

Oh, if anybody has good pictures, send them to me. I took a grand total of one. It's not even a good one. Read more!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Reminder! Hartford 'Cross!

In addition to my new kitty, Alina, something has been keeping me awake: Sunday's 'cross race. You may recall Eel 1, when people showed up and it was cool, and Eel 2, when not so many people showed up and it was still cool. Those were low-key and there wasn't much money or whatever to worry about. Sunday's race, on the other hand is a sanctioned event and there's money and there are people whom I don't know. I think I have my ducks in a row, but you never know.

People have been signing up with greater frequency this week. I just paid Riverfront Recapture $750 for use of the park. So, sign up! come watch! become a sponsor! let me get some sleep!

I hope the person who had their cool old Schwinn locked in front of City Hall is racing. And, a bike of that vintage shouldn't have been named "CrissCross", it should have been "Kris Kross". Read more!

Monday, October 19, 2009

No more bikes

Johanna and I got a new kitty, who's about eight weeks old. She's a Russian Blue and much cuter than a bike. I'm thinking that I should give up on bikes and just blog about cats. Any name suggestions?

Considering my performance at Mansfield Hollow last weekend, it may not be a bad idea.

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Friday, October 16, 2009


The weather is turning nasty and yesterday I got a really wet butt riding home. This was unacceptable.

I've been trying to wrestle the bottom bracket out of the Long Haul Trucker for months to no avail, well I've availed myself of a damaged wrench. So, I took it to the bike shop and paid $25 for two men (maybe three) to fight with it for a half an hour and get it out. I brought it back home and put the UN-54 in. The spindle wasn't as long as the old one, so I had to take the 28t inner ring off the triple. I never used that chainring anyway, so no loss. It looks a little sleeker now anyway with 48 & 38. A low gear of 38x30 is enough. I rode it to work this morning and my butt stayed dry.

UPDATE! I even took the thing off to the reservoir for some cumbersome "mountain biking" and it passed the test with flying colors. My partner was on a fixed gear; we were certainly a mötley crüe.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cool or exploitative?

So, I saw this video of a downhill event in the slums of Rio. The course looks cool, but I'm wondering if any of these residents were asked by Red Bull if they wanted a bike race through their homes. What do you think? It's a little more obtrusive than Danny MacAskill riding by and doing cool tricks. Do downhillers worry themselves about such things? Read more!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Vermonsters & leaves

So, in middle of an epic ride (kidding) my shifter broke on my Stumpjumper. It answered the question what the rattling was in the shifter/brake lever contraption. I thought that it was brake cable stop or something like that, because that brake lever had a little bit of play in it. But, nope, it was the shifter falling apart. So much for the reliability of XT (XT circa 1996). Anybody got one of these? I'd really appreciate it.

So, I did some hiking instead.

On Saturday, Johanna and I found the elusive summit of Mt. Hor. Actually, this preceeded my shifter braking. I broke it when we got back.

Sunday was the day of actual bikelessness. I think that if I give myself eight or nine hours, I can do all four (five?) peaks of the Franconia Ridge Trail. But, I only had time for three on Sunday. Hiking still makes my legs hurt and coming down the Mt. Flume trail is really difficult.

Fucking cycalists!
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Friday, October 9, 2009

A few items for consideration

  1. >I don't want to get shot this weekend. Once again, I'm returning to Vermont. I don't usually go during hunting season. VMBA advised to wear orange or red and not ride where people are hunting a lot. VT Fish & Wildlife says that you can hunt within like ten feet of a road. Much of the land where I go in Glover is posted no hunting. However, the people who own it can hunt there and might do that. I plan to stay on roads, but some of those roads are pretty quiet and I've seen blinds near them. Any advice? Only ride at Kingdom Trails, where hunting isn't a concern?
  2. Why wouldn't you want to say hi me? I'm a nice guy and look non-threatening on a bike. Last night, though, I had like a half dozen unreturned greetings at the Reservoir. I'm hurt. At the onset of the ride, there was a nice guy with whom I was leap frogging picking up blow down from the recent high winds. There weren't over the top or anything. Just "hey" to someone who's oncoming or someone whom I'm passing.
  3. Chris is at Interbike in Providence. Cool, eh? He's also spreading the word about Hartford 'Cross. He better write up something cool for us.
  4. Speaking of Hartford 'Cross. If you come day of with a usable part or tool for the Urban League, the $5 surcharge'll be waived.
I have no plans to run in the marathon.
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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The course

Art and I went over to Riverside Park last night for some kibitzing about the course. I think we successfully incorporated both of our ideas quite well into a kick ass course. It's mostly flat, so it's going to be very fast. And, faithful to my description on bikereg, that levee is tall. It's also rideable, so we're thinking there might need to be something to make that more difficult. The other cool thing about this levee is that it creates the opportunity for some cool off-camber nasty stuff. Further, the course is going to have a fair amount of pavement. There's also a nice section that goes right along the river, though I doubt most racers will be thinking about the picturesqueness. I hope people like it.

Pictures are unrelated to post. Although, I would like you to note that this bottom picture illustrates how nice of a guy I am to trails. See, those planks there are always getting jiggled and jangled apart by the bikes that ride over them. Most people just keep going and leave them askew. If I go over them and separate them, I stop and put them back together. That's what I did here. The ring of pepperoni is not something that I would eat. Read more!

Monday, October 5, 2009

We cleaned

Thanks to everyone who came by on Saturday to help clean up the river. Isn't it impressive how there was a break in the rain that lasted the entire time we were cleaning? Also, I owe Kerri a tshirt. (Does anyone know who picked up the most trash?)

I suppose I should have taken a picture of Chris' cool cargo bike, but here are some other pictures:

UPDATE! Bianca got a picture of Chris' cargo bike.

UPDATE 2! Bianca also got a picture of the sex toy box that Kerri found (which was the most interesting piece of trash):
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Friday, October 2, 2009

The otherside

I've never lived anywhere other than Hartford County. I started in West Hartford, then lived in Avon and now I'm in Hartford. I suppose briefly I had a dorm room at UConn, but I generally slept in Middletown, West Hartford or Avon for those six months. The dorm life (at age 21) was not something I could stomach. And, since I've spent all my time here, the west vs. east of the Connecticut River rivalry was deeply imbued in me and I was taught to be a member of the pro-western forces.

Starting in around 2006, things started changing in me. I worked as the 1st Congressional District Coordinator for Ned Lamont. More or less, the 1st CD is comprised of Hartford County minus New Britain and the southern & mid-Farmington Valley. So, I got to start learning about east of the river. I met some great people. Since then, my political stuff & my job have been Hartford-based, so I've touch with some of those people over there.

However, I have expanded the network of people with whom I ride bicycles. In that expansion, I've met a lot of east of the river types, because they seem to be more friendly and inclusive in their group rides. They also stray in the interesting and accessible terrain of that side of the river. It's more rolling, steeper and taller than over here. I kinda like. They've also got a lot more dirt roads.

So, I shall lay down my arms and preach east/west understanding from now on.

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