Winter riding recap (skirt off!)

After 11 years of road cycling, this was the first in which I had ridden through the winter months. Of course I had to pick one of harshest winters and top 3 coldest Februaries of all time here in NJ…and another year of 100+ temperature delta’s.

PL Mtn Pk

Not many know but the northeast, particularly NJ has one of the most severe climate variations in the US. Consistently with more than 1 day of 100°+ to more than 1 day of negative zero, 0° to 5°. It’s not something many consider given the brutal heat of the southwest and the brutal cold of the northcentral regions.

snow fleece

I managed to get out for 4 rides from Dec 21st onward. 9 rides in January, 5 times in February and so far 3 times in March. Albeit mostly short rides, but 21 rides nonetheless. Now it looks like this month is warming up nicely which will be good for continuing the base miles (or at least something that resembles base miles!)

When the snow piled up and the roads were somewhat impassable, I took to the mtb, which was a good change up and kept my bike handling skills sharpened. Aye, though the snow, salt and ice wreaked havoc on me drivetrains!

Slushed gears




My rides varied as did the temps, from a low of about 15° in Feb to a high of 46°, battling misting rain, ice and snow, hedy winds and treacherous roads. But, I made it through like everyone else who chose to keep riding through old man winters wrath and I’m thankful for the coming Spring….Bring on the Summer!

“the infection has been removed…the soul of this machine has improved….”

Lance Armstrong registers to ride in 2015 Livestrong Challenge

Go chief! Nice to see LA back on the bike…

I’m sure this is going to really ruffle the feathers of all those muppets who seem have a lot misplaced and displaced energies- spewing their vitriol. I always wonder why most of these ‘fans’ of cycling don’t get that upset over the corrupted criminal governments drone bombing women and children…but instead get so angry over an athlete using ped’s and lying. In the end, it’s ALL entertainment. But when governments destroy liberty, that’s REAL life.

 If nothing else I’ll get a huge kick from those who are going to implode over this news! C’est la vie I suppose.

Odds, Observations-n-Ends

I was on the fence about the almost ‘obligatory’ year-end synopsis riding post…because after all, these types of posts are mostly self-serving…but what the hell. If nothing else, it’s a post…

My 2014 riding year started a bit late, due to the hellacious and brutally cold, snowy weather in the northeast last winter…I was nearly dormant from January to April. Having put in only 3 measly rides (1 in Jan, 2 in Mar) So, I figured I would be behind the ‘curve’ so to speak for 2014 season.


Indeed, 2014 was a bit of an odd riding year for me, with the usually ups and downs. On the plus side, I was building a new rig over the winter. I was excited going through the process of assembling and piecing together my first ‘proper’ bike. (Meaning, a mostly all carbon machine that would be relatively light- as my previous carbon bike weighed in at almost 20 lbs!)

Med S6300934

I had visions of setting pr’s on all of my local climbs, speeding down the road on my new stealthy, sleek steed…but because of my late start and some other varying reasons, those visions never really materialized, except for a few climbing pr’s here and there. The oddity of the human body never ceases to amaze me. Obviously I’m not a professional athlete or even what some might consider a high-level amateur athlete. I do not ‘train’ on a regular basis or do I have a training plan for that matter.

But, I think I’m in decent shape, enough so, that I feel I should be able to cycle 50 to 100 miles without any serious difficulties. Which, thankfully I am able to. But sometimes, just climbing a few flights of stairs can be tiring. Or, hiking for instance. There were a couple of occasions this past summer I had been on hikes of 3 to 5 miles and I struggled. Inexplicably, struggled. Which, is massively frustrating.

There were days on the bike that I was fairly strong, then there were days that I had felt like a was run over by a bus the previous day/night. Days I could hang and even pull with small faster groups averaging 17-18 mph. But then on some days, barely able to sustain a 13 mph average pace. Though I did manage to claim a bunch of kom descents and even top 85 kph on a fast 1 mile descent. But I digress…for whatever the physiological reasons, I have always had a sort of yo-yoing level of fitness, but it is more pronounced on the bike.

There are some notable explanations, but sometimes the body just say’s no, not today buddy, fuck you. Sure it’s extremely irritating, but the body is the BOSS. Whatever you say boss…not much one can do to beat the boss. Sooner or later, the boss has the final say! So, over the past 2-3 years I have just begrudgingly accepted these ‘human’ failings, or let downs if you will. Plus, at 50 my expectations have dimmed somewhat and that too is okay.

In staying with the odd (or just amazing) for 2014, there were the ‘odd’ ride adventures. Getting caught in a mega downpour (actually reported as heavy micro bursts) only 6 miles from home, but man those 6 miles took almost an hour. The rain was so dense and slashing, I could barley see. Not too mention the rivers of flash floods I had to traverse! I was utterly soaked and shivering to the bone. Then there was the bear ride! Spotted two black bears in Califon NJ while on a quiet side road. I was climbing at the time and thought, well if I had to retreat, at least it would be downhill. So, 40+ would be do-able…

There was the odd spotting of the typical road debris- road kill, trash, discarded water bottles and of course the occasional sneaker. But also underpants, bra’s, baby pacifiers and I even eyed a bucket full of light bulbs…then throw in the ever-present wildlife of scampering deer, elegant foxes, big fat bunny’s, colorful turtles, frogs and garden-type snakes! While mundane in so many ways, my riding season had offered many the odd sights and hazards along the way.

To that ‘end’ I managed to throw a leg over my bike(s) 8 more times than I did in 2013, despite being off from riding 18 days during July. The big push in the 4th quarter certainly helped that achievement. Scanning back to November-December 2013, I had ridden only 4 times (3 in Nov, 1 in Dec) compared to 23 rides in 2014 (13 in Nov, 10 in Dec)

2014-2013 ride stats

In analyzing my 2013/2014 stats, it appears that I have surpassed last years totals in rides and hours (miles too, but I don’t worry about miles- I measure my riding by time rather than distance)  Though a deeper analysis reveals this; In 2013 I averaged 2.25 hrs per ride, but in 2014 only 2.2 hrs per ride. In ’14 I climbed 19,214 feet less than in ’13. So, like I said earlier, it was a year of ups and downs though the overall take away is positive. I enjoyed most of the year on and off the bike and that’s not a bad thing. So here’s to 2015 and all that it has in store, bring it on….

Even though I despise the cold weather, I have forced myself to go ride in the cold, even if it’s just a 10-15 mile jaunt. I’m hoping it pays some aerobic dividends this coming year. Fingers crossed mates!

Safe riding and a Happy New Year to all!

Ciao, Adios, Wiedersehen, DagAu revoirДо свидания, Ha det, Até logo, buh-bye…

R002 – SS | Rollout and Shakedown Run

The official rollout and shakedown run of the Black Blade R002 Supersport took place
on Wednesday, March 26th at Valley Park circuit. First ride, though short provided a
limited amount of feedback, but the 2014 machines chassis setup and geometry seem
decent enough to work with going forward. This was the first time that the bike had
turned it’s wheels in any significant way. As expected, there were the obligatory teething problems. Again, this was anticipated but that is what testing is all about.


My saddle, brake lever/hood  settings were loosely based off of my previous bike, so
I knew that dialing these settings in would take a bit of time. First few pedal turns I could
tell that the saddle height was nearly perfect, but the fore/aft setting was a bit too close to the center of the bars. That perception was confirmed up once I measured my knee to the ball of my foot ratio with a plumb bob. So, after moving the saddle slightly rearward about 1mm from the center of the seatpost and aligning the brake hoods to my liking I put a few more miles on the bike.

The range of adjustments with the saddle fore and aft, saddle height, stem length
and rise, though limited will all play a significant part in getting the setup as close to correct as possible. While balancing  the overall ‘fit’ and ‘feel’ of the machine. Initially, the steering feels twitchy, not sharper but ‘nervous’ and certainly not as comfortable as my previous Pro-Lite Galileo, which is extremely stable on high-speed descents. It will take some time to sort out this issue and get used to the feel of the R002 – SS chassis.


I am confident that I will be able to improve upon the inherent performance of the
R002 – SS and find a good compromise with the setup over the next few weeks.
Another longer test ride is planned for the following week.

Beware the Ides of Mud…

A short Saturday ride, with lots of drama and action…

Base Miles sure don’t come easy…as this was a ride to forget.
The roads were in bad shape, salt and water everywhere.  Then I sank my
right foot in the mud up to my ankle. Oh nice… (in my best Brit accent)

Then while at the local airport for a quick pit-stop….I was chased by an angry Rottweiler.
My quick thinking and memory of reading about how to fend off the pooches had me
fencing the 4-legged chap with my carbon steed. At first, I just tried to discourage him,
but he kept coming at me. So then, I attacked him, using the pedal to try and hit him in
the snout. But he was relentless.

Finally what seemed much longer but probably after about two minutes, an
elderly gent thankfully came running over and restrained the stout mongrel. Whew,
that dog Wanted a piece of me in the worst way…I remounted, bid farewell to the man
and the ambitious dog then sprinted out of the airport lot!

Another stop for a scenery pic and the bike fell over. Result? Scratched the carbon fork,
the rear stays and broke both bottle cages and that were not bad enough, I was almost T-boned a block from home. Aye, bugger me…

A T-6 Texan…(trainer) on display and ready for guest rides at George Walker Field
in Bedminster NJ