Thursday, November 29, 2012

Recent happenings

There are a few events that have happened on the bike and I never got around to writing about them. One of them was an alley cat race called the Great Turkey Chase. I did it with my friend Joe, who turned me on to it. It was our third time in a row. It is a benefit for the VT Foodbank. The just of it is you race around Burlington from store to store following a map and buying items that they request. It's somewhere in the neighborhood of 15-20 miles worth of riding all the while the bag on your back is getting heavier with the food you collect for the finish. There is time bonuses for bagging a turkey before the finish. We don't ride fast enough to be in contention for a win so you just do it for the sport of it.

This year we did quite well, getting in way better than half the field. We rode strong and ride pretty well paced to each other. The start is downtown at Maglianero cafe. From there you work your way downtown with a few stops before heading out to North Ave to the Hannaford and then back. This time the route went into Winooski which was very nicely laid out.

It is an exiting time and I will continue to do it each year. It's for a good cause as well. This year the weather was very nice. The most interesting thing that happened to me this year was leaving my bike in a bad spot while I went in a store to come out and find that it was backed over by a SUV. The bike was not hurt but the saddle took a good beating. It bent the seat rails which I worked back the best I could. Only thing that hurts from that is the $170 price tag if I care to replace it. I don't!

Another, and even more exciting, event I did was a fall (read: early winter) S24O similar to the one I did 13 months ago. I spent the night at a leanto but I got to sleep in my new Tarptent Moment. I will do a review on that in the near future. I have only camped in it twice so I would like to get a few more trips in it first. I also got to try out my bikepacking setup which includes my new bags from Scott Felter of the Porcelain Rocket. I have to say that these bags are fracking awesome and are premium quality. I knew that they would be great even before I got to use them. I will also do a write up on them soon as well.

On this trip I went solo. I had plans to get out with Mike but he feel sick a few days before the trip. It was not good weather but the foulness was a good personal test so I took the challenge. I set up an impromptu route that maximized dirt roads. This is the map:

I went through Westford, Essex, Jericho, Richmond, Waterbury. I worked my way up through Cottonbrook into Little River State Park just in time for dinner. After night fell I had a bit of rain that turned into a snow squal that lasted about 45 minutes. I was afraid that this was going to last all night but it actually tapered off before I hit camp. When I got there I tried to get a fire going and was successful at first but I couldn't find a way to keep it going with nothing but wet wood all around me. I decided to eat dinner and setup my tent. After I ate, I changed and hit the bag. It turns out that I got a lot of sleep. I did get up one time for the bathroom and I woke up a few times during the night either slightly uncomfortable or cold. I think the overnight low was around 28 degrees. I was using a 20 degree bag but I think that it has lost a bit of its insulating value to age.

When I woke in the morning, I was cold enough to want nothing more than to pack camp and hit the road. I did just that and came down the front of the park to route 2 and headed for Richmond. It was there I stopped at a cafe to warm up and get a bite to eat and some much needed coffee. After hanging out for a bit, I hit the road and finished the ride to my house. I made it back 23 hours after I left for the trip. The ride out was ~60 miles and the return trip was ~30 miles. Good time and I felt pretty good in the process. The bike was flawless.

Will I make it out again before the snow flies!?

Here is a photo dump from my S24O: (phone pics)

Lost Nation Rd.

old Vermont charm


new Vermont charm

nothing beats Vermont dirt

lunch break

VT art

the rig

there's snow up there

hey wait, i'm going up there

flat in Waterbury

Cottonbrook just at dark

morning after a cold night

Monday, November 12, 2012

Lazy on the posts, lots happening!

I'm am working through some thoughts and will be posting here soon. I have thoughts on a recent illness, the VT50, an overnight bikepacking trip and more. I have plans for the winter and into early spring. Please stand by while I sort it all out.