Moon Shadows are Evil

stb222

Love Drunk
Jerk Squad
#1
As the mornings get colder and darker and the moon gets seemingly brighter and bigger, I final succumbed to my need to post up my non-training escapades where non-training escapades is defined by: a place to put all of my crap. As fairly recent history has shown I am likely better off contained than left to run amuck posting my rides and such all RNG style.

A lot has happened since the ending of my last thread in both my riding and non-riding life, but most related to this site, I became an outlaw for the better part of a week in what was referred to by only me and myself as “ban-gate”. The pisser was that I was going to start a thread that fateful day, but it seemed that was not to be. It was probably better off, as it allowed me to lurk the site without the constant pressure to post on 20 different threads on what pressure to run your tubeless tires at. Ironically, during my sentence, I had my most social week this year after making a point to get to one of wobbegong’s road rides and in my excitement of actually riding with people, I tipped over at the last intersection, which is a very humbling experience that I would recommend to everyone.

So anyways, I always like to start a thread with a good ride or something that was a milestone or something. I almost started it after the CINJ century for the cure ride, which I rode extended to the century +20 for the cure, which topped my previous one day total of 110 miles, which was made earlier this summer. I also almost started it after I started dirt jumping again, but it was not to be. So being in Italy last week and doing a little bit of riding there, I thought it was a good starting point for Moon Shadows.
In typical fashion I almost always play all my cards on my first post and then fizzle from there. In an attempt to not do that this time, I will just leave you with my first ride in Italy and I will expand on it later….all I can say is; Amazing.

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/50696690

 

Shaggz

A strong 7
#2
Finally! I have been looking forward to your stepping back into the MTBNJ Blog world. So what do you feel about cats and cradles?
 

MTBTyler

Active Member
#6
I had my most social week this year after making a point to get to one of wobbegong’s road rides and in my excitement of actually riding with people, I tipped over at the last intersection, which is a very humbling experience that I would recommend to everyone.
Good times:D
 

stb222

Love Drunk
Jerk Squad
#8
Giro, here i come....

As I often like to live in the past, this is a recap of a ride I did last Tuesday while I was in Italy and a slight recap of where I was and such. This was our (my wife and I) first vacation without our son of 3 and ½ since he was born and started out as going to Vegas (bootleg here I come!) and somehow turned into Italy. We went to Italy on our honeymoon 7 years ago and my wife has been itching to get back ever since. We wanted to go to the lakes region and Milan. As I was researching the area, I realized that a few climbs that have been in the Giro were in the area we were going. I also found a place with a website that rented mountain bikes and racing bicycles. I emailed a few times with no response and I even used google translator and sent an email or two in Italian (probably said I would like to rent your mother for the night or something, but still, no response. So I packed one kit, shoes and pedals and hoped for the best. I had found some garmin routes on a site but I forgot to upload them to my garmin, which would have been really helpful.
On Saturday we flew out of Newark and into Milan on Sunday morning. We rented out Fiat Panda

and were on our way to Stresa, which is along Lake Maggiore, one of the huge lakes in Northern Italy, very close to the Swiss border and on the edge of the Alps. We had a GPS and who knows what way it was taking us but right near the airport we went through a small town and up ahead I see what could only be described as a peloton (if it was a race, which is wasn’t), which I followed for awhile. Over the next few miles, before getting on the highway, I saw at least 30 – 40 cyclist all decked out in kits and riding all sorts of frames I never heard and also pinarello’s and some colnagos. My wife mentions, you must be jealous.
After getting off the highway, we are on a ton of switchbacks on skinny little roads with picturesque views at ever corner. I think to myself, how the hell can I not get a ride in here! And I hope this bike place has road bikes and if not, I am riding a hybrid around for awhile.
After two days of visiting small little lakes towns in Italy and Switzerland and seeing tons of cyclists on the one road that connected all of these towns, I found the bike rental place and they did have a road bike or two (seriously, maybe just 2). So on Tuesday, we took a cable car to the top of one of the low peaks (4,500’) and this was the finishing spot of where I intended to climb. So this is the view from the bottom (I would start climbing to the left):


and this is the view from the top



So after coming down off the mountain, I rented the bike (it was in the cable car station) and all the guy wanted was my driver license (no credit card, which was interesting since I practically had to sign my life away and put a $2000 hold on my credit card when I rented a bike in seattle earlier this year). It was a specialized Allez, so at least it was a capable bike. After a seat adjust, I was off back to the hotel. I lollygagged alittle since my wife had a spa appointment and soon enough I was out the door. I had driven the panda around a bit to scope the start of my route and spun for two min on the flats and then started right up. I just followed signs to Mottorone, which was the peak I took the cable car too. I didn’t have enough time to climb to the top, but I would get as far as I could.

The climb started out with a really low grade and eventually started to kick up a bit and before I know it, started to switchback and forth. I was on a lesser used road then the one I would come back down on and didn’t see any cars. A couple hundred of feet up, I took this picture:



So I kept grinding up and up and it wasn’t too bad as it would level for a bit and there were a few sections where I would get up to the high teens before the road would rise up again. At one point I saw a bunch of writing on the road and I wondered if this was the road that the giro was on as I could not find the actual route. I know at least some of the roads were (it eventually ended up being one road) but who knows. I was going through a couple of small town perched on the side of this hill. It was amazing.
So after going through a larger town , I made a turn right, following the signs and things really kicked up. Around MP 6 of my ride/climb there was a ½ - mile section of super steep road, where I found out why compact cranks were invented and it was downright painful. I kept thinking it would level and it just didn’t let up. I stayed seated for most of it, but had to stay a few times because my legs were on fire. So at this top of this little push, was the town of Alpino, which was at 2,600’. So in around 6-7 miles I climbed somewhere around 2,000’.



At this point the grade leveled a bit but still kept going up. Eventually I crossed into a park or something (there was a guard station) and there was just one road and I felt as if I was in the middle of nowhere. There was a short downhill and then back up. Now the switchbacks were long and the grade mellow and I just kept moving on. Look closely to the right and you can see the road below.



At this point I was approaching my time limit where I had to turn around, but I just kept going because I wanted to get as high as I could. I was in a forest, so I had now I idea how close I was to the summit. So around 11 miles of climbing and 3,800’ (one hour and 10 min?), I turned around after snapping this:


and this


and this, probably one of my favorite shots.


On the way back down, I was behind a car and had no problem keeping behind them through all the switchbacks. I would like to note that I was not wearing a helmet, but I knew in Europe a cycling cap provides the same protection, so I was good. I lost the car on the small little climb to the guard station.

I took a different way down (by accident actually) and the roads were just awesome and my hands were cramping due to the poor position of the brakes levers from the drops. So I ended up doing the last 11 miles in just about a half hour, less than half the time it took me to get up. I finished the ride off with some really cobblestones and was stoked to ride more the next morning…..

So I didn’t make it to the summit, but I was probably about 800’ in elevation, so I should have just kept going. Oh well, next time.
Tomorrow, I will recap my second and last ride there….

O-so tough and o-so euro
 
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743power

Shop: Bicycle Pro
Shop Keep
#13
Dude, good stuff getting a nice vacation after so long and well deserved for sure. Looks like you couldn't have picked a better spot. I can taste the food and espresso just thinking about it.
 

stb222

Love Drunk
Jerk Squad
#14
All good things come to an end

Continuing the tread of living a week ago, last Wednesday I took my second and last ride on my trip to Italy. I ended up having the bike overnight and was returning it in the morning, so ofcourse I got up early to get in a sunrise ride. Since I didn’t have lights, I had to wait until about 6:30 before I could see enough to ride. There were only two options to ride, stay on the flat along the lake, or climb up the hill again. Of course I choose to climb again since I can ride the flats anytime. I also didn’t have many option on what way to climb since only a few roads went further up the hill, so I choose the way I can back down on my Tuesday ride.

This route had the roads that the giro might see with awesome switchbacks and perfect pavement. Also this was the main road into the town, as it was a whole 20’ wide. The switchbacks started right away and while the grade was around 6% for the first 3.25 miles (I hit my lap button when it leveled a bit for the first time) it was a very constant 6%, never letting up that whole time and being steeper around the turns. It hurt, but a nice hurt. One thing that is very different about these long climbs is that you can actually settle into a rhythm and churn it out as opposed to the short climbs I am used to where by the time any rhythm is established, the climb is over. After MP 4, I was on the same road to Alpino as I was on Tuesday. Around MP 5.5 you can see the steep section I mention yesterday, this section hurt even worse on this ride but I thank the gods for creating compact gearing. I more short on time so I peeled off and road to the cable car stop, took a picture of a horse and made my way down. I saw a car take a road down the hill and followed and was treated to some lovely switchbacks. I finished the descent pretty much the same way I climbed up on Tuesday but took a few roads that cut the switchbacks and you can see a few between MP 12 and 14 where it was super steep.

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/50696684



OK, time for more pictures.




alpino cable car stop (2,600’)


Italian horse




bidet’s are so damn multi functional!
 

rlb

Well-Known Member
#15
Awesome write-up and sounds like it's a world away from NJ (which...it pretty much is I guess :hmmm:). This is once in a lifetime kinda stuff so I'd be reliving it for months if I were you.
 

stb222

Love Drunk
Jerk Squad
#16
Fast forward and retun to reality

I think i did a good job of not blowing my load on the first post and than fizzling from there. Instead, I blew it over 3 posts and now we will return to my usually scheduled programming. However, I still have not touched on a bunch of things outside of vacationland, so I think I can keep this going for at least one more day.

As far as riding goes, I am right back on track of my usual hour+ rides and have only riding a few times since i returned from vacation. I had a pretty jammed back beginning of the month riding wise and I am just chilling a bit, waiting for the tour de pink, of which I am riding just Saturday. I am no superstar like Bill and his wife, who are doing the whole thing. The second day route comes from King of Prussia, goes Northeast to across the river from Frenchtown and then goes down the river. The route comes within a 1/4 of Martin's dreaded uhlerstown road hill, so I think I will take alittle detour and descend it and climb back up. It will be a good place to test out my compact crank, which i just put on this past week. Now I can spin up steep climbs at like 150 rpm, just like the pros, but not that doper Contador, more like the skeletal Schleck (well, Schleck plus approximately 100 lbs.).

Saturday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Like I said, just normal stuff for me. The other thing to note is I am now running tubeless tires on my synapse, but do not feel I have ridden them enough to really make any comments. I also rode in yesterday but had to take a work vehicle home because of a meeting that came up, so I will be riding home today in this lovely weather.

Speaking of weather. I am totally done with this humidity and warmer temps. While the warm temps are welcome, the humidity is not. I am yearning for the chilly clear morning of fall, which we have been cheated of as of late. I will make a disclaimer that I am wishing for the cold weather to come until the time I actually have to ride in the first sub 45 degree morning, at which point I will start wishing for warmer weather again. This time of year, that isn't too hard as you can just ride during the day in 50 degree weather until we get closer to November. Really, what does it matter, I will be riding regardless.

And just following along right into more cold weather talk. I have already starting thinking and beginning the never ending search of the best winter riding gear at a working man salary (sorry assos and rapha, how I wish I could love you). While I was in Switzerland, I went to a store that had a huge amount of assos stuff and found it was not any cheaper in it native country. However, I did try on the early winter glove, which is the middle glove of their layering system (I have the outer lobster shell, which is awesome). They say it is for 40's - 50's but I would think it would be pretty sweaty in the 50's. In any case, it fit, well, like a glove. A perfectly fitted glove that is. So after returning to the states, I ordered a pair for $90 shipped. Why the hell not, I know most of the other gloves out there are junk or I know the limits of what I already have, so i thought I would go for it. So I guess I have take back the assos comment, but I can't image buying anything else aside from socks or a hat.

Anyways, I was in Halters last night to get my front derail adjusted (apparently the concept of adjusting a front derail is beyond me and I thought I better take it in before the synapse became a 1 x 10). Actually, it turned out it was the position of the derail, not the limit screws/cable tension, so I feel alittle better. While I was waiting, I was looking around at the new winter stuff that has arrived, mainly the Castelli stuff. I think I have mention before that i love Castelli stuff. I don't know if it is the scorpion log (I am a scorpio, ok, lame excuse) or what, but the fabrics are awesome and I have not have any other jerseys that breathe as well. So after fondling some bib tights. I picked up an awesome winter cap with a dandy little brim and ear cover, which I will model for you below:

Practicing my: Its cold as f face


From the front, my surprised how well this thing keeps my head warm face


Here I am happy I can flip the ears up when it warms up and also, if I take my helmet off, I will look like Robin Hood; Bonus!


Just a reminder, they have them at halters, get 'em while you can!!

Tomorrow is start of October and the start of Boob month and apparently this month we will be celebrating by painting the entire inside of my house in pink. Until then.....
 

stb222

Love Drunk
Jerk Squad
#17
Its OK to worship boobs this month

While it is ok to worship boobies all months/days/waking seconds, October is where you can express you love for them all month long without fear of being thought of as a creep. To get some of the newer member up-to-speed, my wife is a breast cancer survivor after having a bout with cancer last year and murdered that shit in the face. As a result, me wife is involved with a bunch of organizations relating to cancer and more specifically breast cancer. Since October is breast cancer awareness month, we literally have events all month long and 4 different events this weekend.

I plan to not mention my wife in this thread outside of today, where I would like to share some pretty cool stuff that has happened has a result of this terrible disease. Back in the summer, the store White House / Black Market had a contest to select 25 women to come to NYC for a photo shoot and some other stuff. I told my wife she would get selected and she sent in a picture and her story. A few weeks later she was selected and in June went to the city, got to pick a couple of outfits from the store and had a legit photo shoot and video interview. As a result of all of this, black white compiled all of this stuff on to their website and fall catalog. They have an ad that hangs in the window of their shops with a picture of each of the 25 women and the ad appears in the latest catalog and in Elle and Self magazines. From those things right there, it was pretty cool and even cooler that I am now married to a super model. Last week they released the website portion, which was even better. On the website you can see all of the pictures and they put together professional level videos of all of the women. To top all of that off, they are sending the women to a gala (and dressed them for the event) in philly this weekend where black white is being honored.

Here is the link:

http://www.whitehouseblackmarket.com/store/page.jsp?id=58609277

Scroll to the right and select the picture of my wife


Here is one of the pictures:


Pretty awesome stuff and something that we would have never expected a year ago. How undeserving I am of such a beautiful and strong woman.
 

jdog

Shop: Halter's Cycles
Shop Keep
#18
Good stuff. Kev!

How was the English to It stuff over there. Did most folks have a good grasp of English??

The stuff about your wife made my sissy eyes water. She is a trooper on many levels.. and a Supermodel to boot! Nice.. I Like (In a Borat Voice)

I love that cap you chose.

Keep us posted on the tubeless road findings. Keep an eye on the sealant levels (every 800 miles or so) and I bet you will have super luck.
 

stb222

Love Drunk
Jerk Squad
#19
Good stuff. Kev!

How was the English to It stuff over there. Did most folks have a good grasp of English??

The stuff about your wife made my sissy eyes water. She is a trooper on many levels.. and a Supermodel to boot! Nice.. I Like (In a Borat Voice)

I love that cap you chose.

Keep us posted on the tubeless road findings. Keep an eye on the sealant levels (every 800 miles or so) and I bet you will have super luck.
Most people in restaurants speak pretty good english. One or two places it was difficult but we got through it. A few stores we went in and most notably a grocery store, I don't think they spoke eny english. Overall, most people spoke enough to communicate. You also had people who spoke more proper english than myself (the master of the language that I am).
 

RNG1

Active Member
#20
Man I just read that whole thing and went to that website and read that too,then shared it with my wife. I am speechless (which says a lot), and happy for you and your family.
You know what, I feel so warm and fuzzy now I am willing to give you that old pos riding mower I still got if you want it.