The relative silence on this blog should not be read as a sign that I’m being lazy about updating it. Instead, read it as a sign that there’s really been nothing to discuss. I’ve barely ridden in the last 5 weeks…it seems like something happened around then, like maybe a new baby or something. It’s all a little hazy.
In any case, on Saturday, I finally did something noteworthy. I went up to Worcester for the Major Taylor George Street Hillclimb. This year, I brought the Gazelle and the Chariot trailer to bring Jude up. Having seen my pictures from 2008, Jude was very excited to take part this year. In fact, every time he saw some of the Tour on TV, he’d say “they’re going to George Street.” After that he thought they were going to Churchill. Go figure. I took Jude out to try climbing with him a couple weeks ago to try to make sure it’d be possible, and we rode up Sherman in my neighborhood. That worked fine, but I was a little worried about the much steeper profile of George, but figured with a low gear of 24-26, I should be fine. So when we arrived, I set up the bike and decided to give it a try, sans warmup. I was probably in 24-23 or something, and I made it ok, but the chain skipped a bit, and it was really hard and I had to weave back and forth at the steep section. Decided to just spin up int 24-26 for the actual climb. That proved to be a bit easy, in fact. I would have actually preferred a little more resistance, but in any case it worked fine and I looked smooth climbing for the pictures, which was really the point anyway, right? After that, I did it again solo in a time (32.8 seconds) that was a few notches slower than 2008, but not horrible for not being in shape and having done it twice with the trailer. We were placed in the tandem category, which meant Jude and I were even able to score bronze medals, since there were only 2 other entries. Apparently I was the first to ever attempt the climb with a trailer, so I had lots of support and interest. We even made the Worcester Telegram!
The next day we went up to Maine for a little vacation, and I brought the cross bike. Maine was one of the primary reasons why I wanted this bike to begin with. I’ve been riding in the Small Point/Phippsburg area for years, and while the riding is almost idyllic, it’s also gotten a bit boring. There are only a few different roads to take, and getting off the peninsula involves a 40 mile round trip ride to get to Bath, where the riding isn’t particularly exciting anyway. So I usually just do one of a couple routes and ride out to the dead-end at Popham Beach. But in addition to the paved roads, there is a fairly extensive collection of dirt roads, most of which are not really suitable for road tires. I finally got to explore them a bit. This time I rode on Basin Road, which I discovered has a decent climb from both sides. The side headed up from Phippsburg starts paved, but the pavement ends before the top. It gets pretty messy at times before you reach Sebasco at the other side, and there’s a steep section coming the other way. I rode it both ways while I was there.
Yesterday’s ride took me over another dirt road, Sam Day Hill road, which I had done on the road bike last year (and it’s not too bad), but this time I noticed a little dirt road climbing steeply up from the eastern side of Sam Day. Very hard hill. I was glad to have my 26-28, and had to use some of the same techniques I used to get up the Mowry Fire Tower hill last year. It’s not as hard as that one, but still pretty nasty in parts. The surface is very rough, and hits a maximum gradient of almost 22%, so popping the front wheel and skidding out are both serious issues. (As with the Mowry, I rode seated in the drops, which seemed to alleviate both problems.)