First real ride of the year. Took me damn long enough... Rode out Ridge Rd. to 22, and back on Hartford Turnpike. It felt smooth, and evidently was pretty fast. I guess the climbing is doing some good! Now to start some real rides.
Hill intervals up East Rock. First one was about 5:40, second was 5:50. Wanted to try a third, but felt ready to throw up. Guess the climbing only kinda helped my interval endurance. Also, I really need to deal with that front break. It's very obnoxious and noisy.
Followed the "Yale Loop" route on the Bulldog Cycling website, which goes out Ridge, then 22 to Sleeping Giant, then back Woods and route 69 on the west side of West Rock Park. The second half was quite pretty, though the road wasn't in great shape for a good part of it. The lake was very lovely. Only real problem with the route is that part of the return is on Rt. 69, which moves pretty fast, and doesn't have a big shoulder, though the lanes are wide, at least. Definitely need to deal with that damn front brake.
Headed toward Lighthouse Point, crossing the bridge on Hwy 1. As I got close to the point, I saw another rider ahead of me, and I followed him out a while into the winding roads around the houses and apartments to the East of that park. Passed another couple of beaches, and a number of wetlands and houses that will just float away with only a meter of sea level rise. He was moving pretty fast, and I struggled to keep up. He turned in to an apartment parking lot, and I turned around and took a slightly different way back. Could be worth exploring more out there.
Tried to find Neil's Donuts in Wallingford, after a recommendation by someone on Caucus (RIP). Did find it... eventually. It's a straight shot out the Hartford Tpk., except for a little jag where the road goes under then over Hwy 15. And that's where it went wrong. I went straight there, instead of left, and ended up on a nice bike path. To nowhere. The path goes 1.5 miles, under half of 15, and then just stops, inbetween the two lanes of 15. Pretty strange. I thought I'd be able to follow the path for a while, then hop on a road. So, I backtracked and got back on the road. And then overshot Neil's by 2 miles (I leaned in the window of someone stopped at a light next to me and asked them. "About 2 miles back that way!" Crap). And then, when I finally found it, I discovered that they close by ~2pm on Saturday. I'd gotten there about 6. Oops. And the ride back was into the wind, and more uphill than down. Oh-well, it was a nice ride and at least I now know where the place is.
Attempting to accelerate a hill interval doesn't seem to work. The first one was about 5:50, I then tried pushing a little harder at the beginning and it got slower, and the third was slower still. Either I need to rebalance the speed through the ride, or I need to just get stronger. *sigh*. Also, brake squeal still annoying.
First ride with Alina in a long time. Rode out toward Lighthouse Point, but turned and headed along the coast, instead of going into the park. Tried to find Short Beach, but I think we were a little bit short of it. Had some ice cream at Shoreline Restaurant, next to another beach. Alina did well, though not as fast as she used to be. She doesn't slow down hardly at all when going up hills, so I'd say she's got a fair bit of reserves!
Alina and I rode up to Wentworths, north of Sleeping Giant, for Ice Cream. Took Ridge Road to 22, etc. Came back on the Canal Trail. Ate a bit too much ice cream while at Wentworths. Weather was nice, but a bit humid, and shaded parts of the trail were still damp. Also, a section of the trail was still under construction, so we had to detour a bit. Nice ride, though.
Rode out to West Rock Park, but only went as far as the first entrance in the park. Felt pretty slow, which I suppose is unsurprising, considering how little I've ridden this year. One trail-crossing log had been removed since the last time I rode there, and one added. Still need to pull out that broken metal signpost that's in the ground near the entrance road. Speedometer not working, don't know if it's the battery or the magnet.
Donut ride! Out to Neil's Donuts in Wallingford, and back. Had two (plain old fashioned and old fashioned with apple cinnamon coating), and they were good, but I should have only had one. It made the return ride a lot slower. Nice weather, though, and they filled my water bottle. Going to have to go back.
Nice ride through West Rock Park, around the lake and then a little further. Was chasing a storm on the way back. Or, I guess, it was chasing me. Still feel like I need to tweak my front shock, or get slightly softer handgrips; my hands come out feeling rather battered. Re-trued my rear wheel before I started, as one of the spokes was completely loose. Tightened things up nicely, so it should hold for a while. Might want to get a truing stand, though, to perfect things.
Ugh. East Rock hill intervals hurt me. Got one last ride in before Irene hits. Fortunately, it's been downgraded to probably be only a category 1 hurricane, or maybe just a tropical storm by the time it gets here. So that's good. Not many people out, a few joggers going up and down. The park gate was closed: I guess they don't want people hanging out at the top of the hill during a hurricane? Could be fun though: you wouldn't have to worry about flooding!
Rode out toward Lighthouse point and Morris Cove to check out the damage from Irene. Didn't see anything major, though a number of trees were damaged and several UI trucks were out fixing downed power lines. I could tell that power was out throughout the region, because there were a lot of people out walking around. Probably wouldn't happen otherwise! Lighthouse point park was closed, likely because there was a tree down over the road to the parking lot. The beach smelled like dead algea, and there was a lot of sand blown/washed up onto parts of the road. I almost wiped out when I unexpectedly hit a deeper patch of sand, but my practice riding on snowy roads saved the day!
Nice ride in West Rock Park, with a couple of people from Meetup.com. Their bikes had much longer travel suspension, and they had more experience on downhills, so I had some trouble keeping up when going down. Fortunately, I could crank the flats and climbs pretty well. But, after the descent at the north end of the park, I can now see why people get long travel bikes! Only sad part of the ride is that my speedometer fell off somewhere on that descent. I went back to look for it for a bit, but it was probably much higher on the hill: there were quite a few medium sized drops over slickrock, which would have jarred it loose.
Fast solo ride out to Short Beach and back. I tried pushing hard to see how badly yesterday's bouldering at 7 Falls Park (which was awesome, with Vipul and Alina) messed me up, but it appears that bouldering and bicycling use quite different muscles. This ride was quite fast, considering the number of hills (some rather steep). Took Short Beach Road through Short Beach, up to Hwy 1, through Kohl's parking lot and back on Alps to Short Beach. Nice ride, and could be easily extended to quite a bit further distance. Also sold the cycling tights to a guy in Milford. Might be fun to ride with him some time, though he'd probably wipe the floor with me.
Easy group ride advertised on the Yale Cycling listserv. About 8 people on the ride, one of whom was a freshman from Turkey who had just started riding. The group kept it fairly slow for her, but we didn't exactly stick together (no drop, but it always feels odd to me if someone is hanging way in the back). Rode out Ridge Av., then up and around the north side of Sleeping Giant. I split off when we got to Quinnipiac, as I needed to get home to eat and walk the dog back to Gibbs. Pretty hard sprint on the way home, keeping it around 30km/h most of the way. Might try one of their faster rides sometime (this was on the Yale list, but it wasn't really a Yale ride).
Joined the Lulu ride on Sunday, and did the "short" Lulu (distinguished from the "little" lulu by it's much faster pace). Quite a big group, probably 20+ people at the start, and the initial pace was pretty high. It's amazing how much wind resistance gets cut when in a large 2-abreast paceline. My first big group ride in quite a while, so I was a bit nervous. Still don't like decending. I now know where the Whirlwind hill is; it's the one just before the turn-around point at a cross-road with three farms. Should head out there and try it sometime. Smaller group came back for the short version, larger (faster) group took the longer route. Nice folks; should try it again. Oh, also met someone who used to live on Lyon st., who said Jupiter was an "awesome Poodle!" So, there is that.
Biked out to Milford Photo to return the Olympus flash that I'd bought. Milford is further from home than I thought! Plus, going along the ocean isn't exactly a direct route, and the wind was pretty strong. First time trying out my new insulated knickers, and they worked pretty well. Could have had warmer gloves (especially for the return, as it was after 4pm and cooling off), but my core stayed pretty warm. It is quite a pretty ride, though. Next day, up at dawn to take pictures of sunrise from East Rock!
Still no speedometer on the MTB, so the time is an estimate. The speed, whatever it might have been, must have been pretty slow: I rode up the "closed" road in West Rock, then on the light blue trail (from the antenna station), then down the orange trail. Which was very rocky. And wet. And steep. Not a good idea. Need to remember not to do either of those again: far to rocky to be fun. The main trails were pretty wet too, so it wasn't a very good ride, sadly. Exercise, though, which I need since CTRockGym went belly up. Not to have some of the leftover birthday cake! Yum, Lucibello's!