In Maine’s Sunday Telegram.
[Additional info added 3/13/13, after writing the review. The following sidebar info (by Meaghen Brown) was published in the April 2013 issue of Outside magazine, page 76 in an article by Brent Rose entitled Play It By Ear. It's noted on their current magazine web page, but with no hotlink ( you gotta buy the mag):
Fatigue- music reduces perception of fatigue by 8%.
Time Flies- perception of time speeds up to 12%.
Get the Rhythm- as a beat generator, tempos of 120 to 140 offer the greatest benefit.]
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Quite useful, but repetitive, yet already dated (2012). Two medical doctors ( and a MBA) cite neuroscience backing up the practice of listening to music in order to moderate consciousness. The practice of ramping up and damping down via acoustic input has been a part of human existence for many thousands of years. Vibratory effects of sound have been well known, primarily in religious contexts. For example, Vedic tradition of mantra use for specific physiological effects.
Listening to my iPod while backpacking, bicycling, and walking has clearly resulted in elevated energy, increased happiness, surprising releases of emotion ( like crying), and help from boredom.
On my 2,700 mile Pacific Crest Trail, I used my iPod sparingly, due to battery life. It was engaged in late afternoons, when I was fatigued after 20+ miles, and had the effect of increasing my flagging pace. It is also effective on uphill climbs. In some instances the perceived effect was equivalent to the energy increase from eating a 200 calorie energy or candy bar.
Crazy weather here in coastal Maine in December.
I do what I can, trying for daily outdoor sessions.
A couple of days ago, it was still raining, but I had to get out- I did a 4 mile hike from the house around Moody Pond. We’ve had 4 inches of rain here in the last week. I started out walking down the abandoned Proctor Road, which is just a stream on top of mud.
After I leaped over a stream, I cut onto a snowmobile trail that led to the “closed” Martin’s Corner Road, where I was careful to stay out of the water here.
This was a big blow down from the wind a couple of days ago, which gusted to 60 MPH. I was afraid I might get electrocuted, so I pushed through thick brush where I scratched my legs on the briars.
Here’s a map of the hike. My house is just at the edge of the map, up top.
Yesterday the thermometer read 21 degrees when I left the house to join 8 other Bubbas for our regularly scheduled Sunday ride. Nate said that we’ve been able to get some good miles out each month this year, even through last winter. There was some mud out here in the lower portions of the ride, but major ice flows on the long exposed ledges up on the top of Mt. Pleasant. Not many of us were even willing to try and ride up, and chance a bone-crushing fall on the solid ice. Hike-a-bike is what I call it.
This was also the first time that we took an alternate route back down, heading way right off the summit, and snaking our way over abandoned jeep trails interspersed with dry steep granite, and low growing shrubs. Scary steep in places, but my trust in momentum and tire adhesion worked again.
I chose my fat-tired Pugsley for this ride. It continues to shine in these in-between-seasons conditions.
Lately, I have been able to keep ascending through muddy climbs and rocky stuff, even passing some of the guys who usually toast me when it’s dry and grippier. Love the white bike!
The best part of the ride for me today was the long descent at the end. You can see it starting on the elevation profile below, right about the 5.4 mile mark. I was riding behind Rigger, who waited for me half-way down. I like to follow him, because he’s excellent at picking good lines through impossible stuff. There have been some serious crashes on this downhill over the years ( Nelson comes to mind), so we all continue to watch out for each other.
I had some battery left in my iPhone, so I inserted the headphones, cranked up the volume, and had Neil Young and the Horse as my soundtrack for the ride out to the car. Do check out “Driftin’ Back”, the 27 minute extravaganza off Mr. Young’s most recent CD, “Psychedelic Pill”. I thank my peretually-musically-enhanced buddy Lock for being persistent in bringing Mr. Young to my ride today, and most every day this December.
The weaving through the winter countryside was magical today. I even pulled some holiday spirit back home with me.
“You ride all year and sometimes don’t get conditions this good out here,” stated Rigger as he and I exited the woods and climbed up to meet up and regroup before the next high-speed descent. Good means frozen. The Bog gets-well- boggy in the autumn season, where we’re at, at least for one more day. When it’s frozen ground, you don’t sink into moss, into deep piles of met leaves, into water, so much. You roll quicker.
There is definitely ice here- two types. We have hoar frost, which occurs when exposed ground is subject to freeze/thaw cycles, resulting in huge crystals that are not able to support weight. You are riding along and bang- suddenly your front wheel drops into the ground. You might or might not go over the handlebars. Then there are regular sheets of ice that occur when pools of water freeze solid. We go around them when possible, but when not possible you stay off the brakes and try to keep steady and just hope you don’t land on a hip, or break through the ice.
Here’s a very cool 6 minute YouTube video of today’s Bog ride recorded and posted by John Anders. John is following me after the initial bridge section- I’m with the white jacket on the white bike. Our favorite frog is at min 4:45. Check out the up and downs on the dreaded Meatgrinder (along the stream with ice on both sides). John closes with some scary, scary ice at the end. It’s all good.
Several presentations at Snow Walkers Rendezvous this past weekend highlighted polar travel, albeit by foot, ski, dogsled, and even kites. How about bikes? How about the Surly Moonlander, with clownish 5″ diameter low pressure tires?
From Outside, written by Joe Spring:
“Eric Larson plans to start pedaling toward the South Pole this December, on an expedition he’s titled Cycle South. It will be the fourth Christmas in the past five years that he’s spent in Antarctica. This time, he’s given himself a pretty small window—about a month and a half—to get things done.
In 2010, 41-year-old Eric Larsen completed a year-long Save the Poles expedition in which he climbed Everest and traveled to both poles. The Minnesotan has snowshoed, dogsledded, swum, trekked, and skied across polar habitats on a slew of expeditions.
He’ll stay in touch using a DeLorme beacon and Iridium satellite phone to tweet, post Facebook messages, and provide online updates. You can follow him on EricLarsenExplore.com, @ELExplore on Twitter, and on Facebook.”
Five members of the Bubbas in the Woods met, as usual on a Sunday morning, to ride Mt. Pleasant, a 1,027 foot summit that overlooks Penobscot Bay. As usual , we saw no one out there hiking , biking, four-wheeling, or truck-mudding it up over the ledges, mud pits, and trail up to summit and beyond. Here’s the profile of the 7 mile ride.
This trail suggests that one be in shape, as it starts out on a fairly level access road that quickly starts to go up some 2.5 miles, where it switches to gravel, at best. Sections of this trail are even frequented by four-wheeled-drive trucks that really churn up the path and create washed-out sections that are a perennial challenge to clear.
Up close to the summit, there is an option to try and power your way up a particularly challenging section of ledge that is wet, lichen covered, and also something that I have not yet personally mastered. It was no problem for Rigger today.
The summit is always rewarding, although it is often windy and cold up there. Today it was not too bad to add a jacket, sit for a while, eat a bar, and check out the terrain and features below.
I’m loving the new panorama option of my iPhone’s OS 6 free upgrade. Soon there will be snow and ice on this particular trail that will make this view just a memory.
Here’s a video clip of Neal descending Mt. Pleasant. Neil is known for his rapid, full-speed descents on his Turner. From this point of the ride, there’s a mile of downhill on the way back to the cars. Nice way to end this ride.
Most Sunday mornings find me connecting my soul to the expansive universe – on a bicycle. Today saw the last of the peak foliage here in coastal Maine, and what better a day to view the finality of color than by climbing 800′ (in one mile) to the top of Ragged Mountain with a pack of Bubbas to see the sights.
I’ve not yet been able to piece together an actual ride to the top- at most I have been able to ride just a third of the trail to the top. It doesn’t matter, I get there- and most of the time I’m faster walking up there than most of the riders.
I did a lot of hiking this Fall- by backpacking and enjoyed several trips to Baxter State Park and the Appalachian Trail in the past two months. Right now, it’s so much fun to bike.
We had two inches of rain on Saturday, and there is this new downhill trail that was built here this summer, but a couple of sections will be filled with water today , so we decided to choose the traditional descent which turned out to be surprisingly solid, with no mud pits at all.
There’s treachery around every turn, as Chris found out today when he found his face planted upon a rock that threw him off his Rocky Mountain 29er. It happens. I am sure to wear elbow and knee protection when I ride Ragged. Most days, they earn their cost.
I hope to get in two more rides this week, on Tuesday and Thursday. It’s going to be cold and snowy soon, and attendance at the Church will be under different conditions. But today was superb
Here’s a shot of Nate and Rigger, as we regroup for the descent.
The Ragged Mountain Trails delivered once again. It’s going to be a great week!
The day started with the big Bubba breakfast sandwich, enabling us to crank out 20.8 miles that took 6 hours for us to complete. The moving time was just over three hours, so we rest and snack— frequently— and often.
Again, the 60% chance of rain never materialized, but at the end of the day we cut trail time back by shooting up Darling Hill Road to stay ahead of the black storm clouds and thunder.
Today’s path covered Jester, Burnham Down, Church Path to town, up Darling Hill to Loop, Bemis to Troll Stroll, up River Walk->;Loop to Bemis, back down Tap and Die, up River Walk etc. this time to Tody’s Tour, Eager Beaver , Dry Feet, West Branch, Hog Back, Old Web’s to stop at Chapel. Storm coming at us so Chapel down to Darling Hill Road to Wildflower Inn, to Bill Magill to Heaven’s Bench, ridge to Rim, East Branch to Vast, Leatherwood, Vast, Sugarhouse Run, Kitchell , and lastly lower Herb’s out to the truck. The ride is tracked on Strava:
Here’s a shot of the Bubs on Heaven’s Bench:
Banged myself up falling off a narrow elevated section of boardwalk on Burnham Down; bruised up my thigh and arm. Found a pair of riding glasses with clear lenses on the side of the road, wore them, liked them.
Downing a Five Hour Energy appeared to keep me from bonking and cramping up today.
Feasted on burgers, grilled sausage, and all the fixings. We thought we were responsible campers, but management had paid us a brief visit to remind us that quiet hours are in effect at 10:45 PM. Employing the “time-out ” technique with one of our unmentioned members on Saturday night ( it wasn’t me!) ensured our continual welcome at the Campground next time.
We dodged all weather predictions for showers and thunderstorms here on out first day of Bubbas-hit-the-best -trail-system-in-the-northeast in Vermont.
Check out Kingdom Trails website to understand just how glorious the riding experience is here.
Parrs Yard, Magill Fields, Moose Alley, White School, Swan Dive, lower Pond Loop, Vast, RiverWood, Leatherwood, Beat Bog, Sugarhouse Run, and Herb’s back to the Welcome Center where we piled the bikes into the back of Rigger’s truck and up the hill to the campground.
My Strava program logged 12.2 miles of riding. Really fun. I rode well and kept up with the fly boys fairly well.
The boasts grew big around the campfire last night while we were woofing down multiple plates of Chris’ beyond tasty spaghetti. Chris and Stevie were talking trash challenges to each other about riding Moose Alley uphill today. Both were distortingly fueled by multiple rum-drinks called Wimpies. Crazy bike talk.
This Saturday morning Chris and Steve each have very different weather reports on their smart phones. They ate at each other again. Shut up Steve, we don’t want to hear about 80% chance of rain for day 2.
25 miles today ? We’ll see…,
Reposting a truly incredible report of mountain biking achievement on world class terrain. On the same day that I received this blog post, I also read a post from The Minimalists, shouting the praises of Western Montana, and these two guys have been everywhere:
“We have borne witness to what is perhaps the most visually astonishing place on earth: Western Montana [my emphasis], driving past its flannel plains and evergreen mountains and skylines of a cowboy cliché, and past its cobalt rivers overhung with century-old pines and flecklets of sunlight through them on the water bending downriver, to the place beyond its sprawling canyons, where fields divided by train cars simmer in the afternoon heat.”
I’ve been accumulating maps and guidebooks of the Continental Divide Trail route and the ride that Lincoln posted can be found on Map 22 in the Montana Atlas and Gazatteer (Delorme). Upfront topographic closeups of the route around Targhee Peak where it goes up over 10,000′ in elevation are in the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail Map Book: Montana. Along Montana & Idaho’s Continental Divide Trail also has a narrative of this section of the CDT ( Targhee pass to Interstate 15), which is the highest section of the Montana Idaho CDT that hikers ( and bikers) can easily access and also overlook the Lee Metcalf Wilderness to the north.
I will post a pic of the books and maps that adorn the coffee table that I am studying in prep for my CDT thru hike attempt in 2013.