Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Interesting Numbers

1,415. That's the number of calories we burned on a not so recent mountain bike romp at Fair Hill. I know this because Andy's GPS-HRM-thing-a-ma-bob said so.

1,350. That's the number of calories in a McDonald's Big Mac meal (super sized like they suggest when ordering). I learned this from McDonald's own nutritional information posted on their website

I think that is staggering. I know people that don't do that much work in a week, and they are the same people I used to see at McDonald's before I swore off fast food last December. What the heck are these people thinking?

Here's another set of numbers that I think are interesting: 4,000, 100, 1,415, and 14.

4,000 is the number of calories burned in a road century. I found this information on the Internet so I know it is true. 100 miles is a century. So that's 40 calories per mile when road riding. 1,415 is the number of calories we burned on our 13 mile mountain bike romp, which is 109 calories per mountain mile, or 2.7x the caloric burn rate of road riding.

So the next time your roadie friend at work asks you how many miles you rode on Sunday, ask them if they mean "roadie miles or mountain miles?"


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Dog Days and Tan Lines

It's the dog days of summer so don't forget your UV protection, but beware those tan lines.

This morning's ride got off to a rocky start when we had to roust one rider out of bed, at 9:00. Said rider was apparently not entirely clear that we were riding this morning so elected to burn the candle last night. On the other hand his wife was pretty clear that he was riding. How do we know this? Well as we were congregating in the driveway (and said rider was chugging a pedialyte) the garage door opened, a loaded camelback skidded across the garage floor, and the door promptly closed. I think this was the biker wife's version of "don't let the door hit you on the way out."

An honest ride ensued, we worked both sides of the lake, whitnessed a good old-fashioned baptism at the boat launch, and by my calculation sweated about 2.5 liters of liquid. I will not elaborate on the how I did this calculation, but you get the picture. Hot and humid.

We only have a month or two of morning rides left before shortened days and hunters put an end to them., don't miss out. The scenery on these rides is incredible, and the endorphin rush you get at work later in the morning will power you through anything the job can throw at you.

See you guys, Tuesday morning 6:00am, sweeping north on Kaiser...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Cute Tomatoes

I felt like an extremely ripe tomato at the top of a very tall cheese grater.

Let me start at the beginning.

After a day of guided XC biking with my brother-in-law, we thought we would take it up a notch and try some downhilling at Sunday River. My understanding is that Sunday River was the first place to offer lift-assisted mountain biking in the US (world?). It's a sizeable east coast mountain with the summit lodge perched 2,300' above the base.

So we grabbed bikes, gear, and power bars and made the 2hr drive to the mountain. As soon as we pulled into the parking lot, we encountered the regulars clad in head-to-toe body armor - knee/shin pads, thigh pads, chest plates, back plates, elbow/forearm pads, arm pads, kidney belts, full face helmets, etc. We must have looked pretty cute with our baggie shorts, short-sleeve t-shirts, "half" helmets, and XC bikes because we were definitely getting some curious looks.

We bought our lift tickets and headed to the lift. I was feeling pretty good about myself as I pedaled past a downhiller pushing his bike up the hill to the lift (downhillers don't do much pedaling for a variety of reasons). Anyway this would be the peak of my downhilling performance for the day - ironic that it would occur while going uphill...

In the lift line the curious stares continued from the body-armor-full-face-helmet crowd so I broke the ice by commenting in a self-deprecating manner that "I feel a little out gunned." Nobody disagreed. The last clue was from the lift operator who asked, while loading our bikes into the lift, "hmmm, you guys are clipping in???" We nodded sheepishly and took the last big step down the proverbial slippery slope by hopping into the next chair.

The 1/2 mile vertical climb to the summit gave us plenty of time to yuck it up (nerves) and pick our first trail from the map (we elected to start with "Easy Tiger"). At the summit we took a few (last?) snapshots, mounted up, and headed off in search of Easy Tiger. The next few hundred yards was the ripe-tomato-and-cheese-grater part where we (the tomatoes) took a wrong turn and had to descend a massive expanse of treacherous ledge rock (the cheese grater). Fully armored with a full face helmet, this would have been rideable, barely. With short sleeve t-shirt and half-helmet, it was barely walkable.

Anyway we got ourselves down to the top of Easy Tiger and were treated to an awesome descent, probably 1,000' vertical, of VERY steep but flowing singletrack with seriously banked turns, some rollers, and a few stream crossings, and one bloodied rider awaiting the bike patrol (EMT on an ATV). Don't confuse Easy Tiger with the traditional bunny slope for skiers - this trail was a handful on an XC bike and not a place I would bring the wife and kids. Eventually we rolled down a dirt access road to the bottom of the lift.

This time the lift operator offered some free sage advice that if we decide to make this a habit we might treat ourselves to full-face helmets since just last week they had pulled a guy off the mountain "who will never be the same" due to lack of protective gear. Point taken - we decided to stick with Easy Tiger for the second run.

The second run went even better - we skipped the cheese grater part and pretty well nailed the Tiger part. At that point we had to wrap up for the day due to a family commitment. This was probably best as I think we had done all we could safely do as a couple of ripe tomatoes without proper equipment.

Add downhilling to the list of things "ventured and gained" but for now it's back to pedaling up hills for a while.


"I'll try it if you try it."
-- Anonymous

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Maine Mojo

I've got my Maine mojo on. It's the mojo you get from riding miles of sweet backcountry singletrack in the morning, taking a dip in a pristine New England lake at lunchtime, and then knocking back a stiff mid-afternoon Tanqueray and tonic on the back deck.

Thanks to Cliff (our guide from Back Country Excursions) for leading the ride, providing us a few welcome riding pointers, and administering first aid as needed (it was needed). We even stopped for a breather at a natural blueberry patch bursting with fresh natural energy food. Also kudos to my brother-in-law Jeff who gamely jumped from the mundane grind of roadbiking into the unfamiliar territory of mountain biking. He even got a "granite kiss" on the forearm to memorialize the ride (note the mo7s crash counter reset).

If the G&Ts and Advil do the trick, we may head north this Friday to Sunday River for a taste of downhilling.


"Great things are done when men and mountains meet. This is not done by jostling in the street"
-- William Blake