Saturday, December 31, 2011

A BMD conspiracy?

A few weeks ago, I received updated bone density results. It's been a year since I was first diagnosed with low bone density. At the end of 2010, my doctor gave me a choice of going on bisphosphonates (like Boniva) or increasing my weight bearing activity. I had heard scary things about this class of drugs, and I'm always leery of putting any kind of pill down my throat, so I chose the natural route. I began running.

Running utterly sucked at first. Two miles at 9+ minute pace destroyed my hips. I thought surely I'd do 20 years damage in two weeks taking up this abusive activity going on 50 years of age. But two miles became three, 9 minute pace became 8, and excruciating discomfort subsided.

Towards the middle of this year, I actually began looking forward to some of my runs. I learned it was a very efficient way to get my fix. Just sneakers and shorts were needed. Especially on wet days, there was no messy bike to deal with later. I didn't run a lot, typically around an hour per week. This was enough to net me a sub-6 minute pace 5k at the CIGNA race in August. That will probably be one of my top 2011 athletic highlights.

Surely all this pounding was beefing up my bones. I could feel it. It has been years, decades even, since I felt so solid on my feet. Amazingly, my titanium reinforced ankle had absolutely no qualms about running. I began counting down the days to my first follow-up DEXA bone density scan. I wanted confirmation I was doing something positive for my body. I suspect running diluted or degraded the quality of my bike workouts this summer, partially to blame for mediocre results on the bike. I felt diminished performance on the bike was a fair trade for improved bone health and higher level of overall fitness.

When I received the results, I was a bit dismayed. I did not expect mixed results. I'm still trying to get my head around this. The DEXA scan measures three points, your spine and each hip. Let's start with the spine. My spine bone mineral density (BMD) went down 1.5%.  I was 1.018g/cm3 on Dec 12, 2010, and now 1.003g/cm3 on Nov 11, 2011. This drove my T-score down from -1.8 to -1.9. A T-score below -2.0 is considered high risk of fracture, and below -1.0 in osteopenia range. This is disconcerting, as two cyclists I know have fractured their spines in 2011.

My right hip was essentially unchanged. BMD went up 0.7%, which is within the measurement error of a DEXA scan. My T-score stayed the same at -1.5, which isn't horrible, but I'd like to see this back into the normal range above -1.0.

The only good news that came out of this was my left hip. Left hip BMD was very low last year, most likely a result of being in a cast most of the summer. Bone atrophies just like muscle does. I suspect even if I did nothing special this past year, left hip BMD would have bounced back some. The DEXA scan shows a 5.3% improvement from last year, raising my T-score from -2.1 to -1.8. I'd like to say running did this, but then why didn't my right hip improve?

So all three measured areas are still at moderate risk of fracture and in the osteopenia range of -1.0 to -2.5. A T-score below -2.5 is osteoporosis. My spine is closer to osteoporosis than normal. I thought it odd my doctor didn't think this warranted concern or further action. In fact, he said things looked good and results were normal. I will probably seek a second opinion on this. My mother's BMD wasn't even as low as mine, and she was put on Fosamax. I engage in far more riskier activities than she does.

So where do I go from here? I do question my diet. I suspect my diet has a decidedly acidifying effect on my body. This can make calcium retention challenging. I also enjoy strong coffee, and caffeine can interfere with calcium absorption. I plan to increase my supplemental calcium to 1200mg per day (not a crazy amount) and add 2000 IU of vitamin D in the winter months. I get tons of calcium in real food in my diet, but if I have trouble absorbing it, increased supplemental intake might help. In summer months, I get enough sunlight exposure that I do not need to take a D supplement.

I will continue running. As long as I experience no ill effects from it, running will maintain balance in my body that  just cycling could never bring. There's more to bones that just BMD scores measured by some machine too.

There are groups out there crying foul, generally groups that are skeptical of all modern medicine techniques. You see, a Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) machine measures a particular physical trait of our bones. Drug companies have discovered that a certain class of drugs can quite effectively modify this trait, namely BMD. The assumption is that higher BMD is always better. After all, women with osteoporosis have very low BMD, and there is high correlation between low BMD and fracture rates. So is the converse true, that high BMD is correlated with low rate of fractures? The answer now appears to be not always.

You see, when a person goes on a bisphosphonate for many years, they will experience a significant boost in BMD. Studies show a sharp drop in fractures when first going on these drugs. However, these drugs have been on the market a long time now, and a few women that have been on them for more than 5yrs are experiencing freak fractures. Grotesque fractures. Femurs that shatter into pieces for no reason at all, and then the fracture doesn't heal well. For years in some cases.

Apparently, bisphosphonates can stay in the body for decades, so when you stop taking them, their effects can linger for a very, very long time. Bisphosphonates halt bone mineral turn-over, and thus repair of micro-fractures. When micro-fracture repair is halted, over a period of many years, a bone can become filled with fractures lines until one day the bone shatters like glass. Without warning. Yet a BMD scan would show all is well.

So pundits charge it is a scam. A machine is invented that finds a problem, then a drug is sold to fix said problem, when in fact, a high BMD score does not necessarily mean a strong bone. I generally don't subscribe to conspiracy theories and don't believe one exists here. I do believe money is to be made, as half of our population is female, and most females will develop osteoporosis late in life. New guidelines are now prescribing that women go off these drugs for periods of time to let bones self-repair.

I certainly want to avoid bisphosphonates. The big question on my mind these days is this. Are my bones stronger now than they were one year ago even though my BMD score stayed the same? I would think over 400 miles of pounding on pavement has had some impact. I certainly feel more stable on my feet, and I feel at lower risk of injury in other ways due to running. I'll keep running in 2012. I will go another year to see if some real improvement can be obtained. Since my doctor said I was "normal," I don't have another follow-up DEXA scan planned. I will have to discuss this with him, and if he still believes there is nothing to worry about, I'll seek another opinion.

Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Toy for Christmas

Wifey was good to me this Christmas. She got me a Garmin Edge 500. I did a little research recently on runner's GPS units. Requirements were simple: not a lot of bells and whistles I didn't need, long battery run-time and barometric altimeter. Out of Garmin's line, only one runner model partially met these requirements. It was the Forerunner 910, and it costs $400. The 910 has way more features than I need, and it appears to be a dedicated watch band style only.

I really liked the simplified feature set of the Garmin Edge 500, but it is designed as a bicycle computer for mounting on a bicycle. The 500 sells for about $250.  Then I found this blog post showing that the 500 can be wrist band mounted. I ordered the wrist band accessory on  Mounted this way, the 500 is a tad larger than the 910, but I can also use it on the bike with a power meter someday too.

I'll primarily use the 500 for running and XC skiing. I have been using my Edge 705 with a modified iPod arm band around my bicep for running and skiing. It is much bulkier, and arm mounting causes more interference with motion that wrist mounting. The 500 with wrist band weights a fraction of the 705 with arm band too.

I took the new Edge 500 for a short run this morning through some trails behind my alma mater. Unlike running with my 705, I couldn't even tell the 500 was there. Charging and download work the same as my 705. Receiver sensitivity seems quite good. My 705 will still serve its role in navigation with I travel or try local experimental routes.

4.5mi loop with bit of trail thrown in

Monday, December 26, 2011

Robinettes Orchard & Luton Park

Had myself a fabulous double-header on singletrack Monday. The temp reached 50F, the sun was out, and a nice breeze dried things up nicely. I first hit Robinette's Orchard. Robinette's has opened their land to mountain bikers for at least 15 years now, probably much longer. Races were held here back in the heyday of mountain biking.  I last rode Robinette's 14 years ago.

The orchard sits up on a hill with a large gully that wraps around the back portion of the property. What the Midwest lacks lacks in sheer vertical is made up in steep, punchy climbs dropping in and out of river bottoms. There is very little conservation land in southwest Michigan. I suspect this is because most of the land is "productive," meaning you can farm it or build on it. New England has much more wetlands or ledgy outcroppings that are extremely expensive to develop. It is easier to relegate this "unproductive" land to conservation.  This probably explains why the northeast has so many more places to ride despite much higher population density.

Course at Robinette's Orchard

Riders pay and must sign a waiver to ride Robinette's. Some say the 4.5mi loop isn't worth it. But if you ride it two or more times, the challenging terrain is easily worth the $3. Dropping into the gully is a test of wits in staying off the brakes. The grade climbing back out often exceeded 15% or even 20% in a few places. I had a serious burn going in my legs by the end of the second lap. It was nice having the whole place to myself.

Terrain at Robinette's

About five miles up the road is Luton Park. I first rode Luton this summer when I came home for a funeral. Trails were only recently constructed there for mountain biking. Hitting all the loops tallies up about 9-10 miles.  The trails are signed for one-way travel, making encounters with other riders much less frequent.  The flow is superb, with barely a rock or root to be seen.  The parking lot was full when I got there before noon. I had planned to ride only one loop of Luton, but it was just too much fun and the weather too nice to not go around a second time.

Nearly 30 miles of singletrack riding in 3hrs had me properly anesthetized for family activities the rest of the day. Weather looks like a crappy mix on Tuesday. Probably a good day for a run.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Fort Custer

Endurance junkies that pursue XC skiing and cycling have insurance against whatever winter throws at them. Major snow, hang the bikes up and ski. Snow drought, keep the bikes going. This winter hasn't offered much for the Nordic skiers. Lots of skier/bikers are not that bummed with such great cycling weather we've had the last six weeks.

I think this is the first time in 14 years I haven't brought skate skis with me to Michigan. There is no snow anywhere, other than a light dusting last night that the sun quickly burned off this morning, and the lakes and ponds have no ice on them yet. I also normally bring my winter beater bike with studs, but with October riding conditions, I'd be crazy to not bring a nicer bike. I brought my Dean Ti hardtail.

Fort Custer is the "Kingdom Trails" of southwest Michigan. It boast only 25 miles or so of singletrack, but this is twice what any other contiguous trail system in the area has. A number of new, surprisingly challenging features have been incorporated into the trail network since my last visit. Riding in W. Michigan is like taking a breather. Compared to my 45+ mile ride I did last weekend in Groton, Mass, riding here is wicked easy. Even a beginner should be able to average over 10mph on the trails. Fast and flowy is the name of the game.

Rare: No ice and clear skies

I got out early on Christmas Eve morning for a 25 miler, basically riding everything at Fort Custer. A planned ride was accumulating in the parking lot. I was invited to join. But... I know how these large group rides go, I had finite bucket of time, and really just wanted to be away from people for a couple hours.

A bit like Sidewinder at NEK. Frosty off-chamber logs forced you
to carry the just-right amount of speed down this gully.

The light dusting of snow was not an issue at all. It was cold and the frozen crust on the trail actually enhanced speed, as some parts of this trail network can be a bit sandy and others a bit juicy. I laid first tracks almost everywhere I went. W. Michigan rarely sees bluebird skies in December, so it was a double bonus to have primo riding conditions on a brilliant day.

On my way home, I had to stop and take a picture of this sad sight below. These places were a staple of Fat Doug's diet. One day, not long after moving to New Hampshire, they all abruptly closed. They have sat idle like this for what, 10+ years now? Trees are growing in the parking lot. There was a Hot n' Now near where I worked in Holland. I'd order five $0.49 cheeseburgers, a large fry and a 44oz Mountain Dew. My resting heartrate was 80bpm and I bet I never exerted myself hard enough to raise it above 120. I'd probably be dead by now if I hadn't started riding in 1996.

Monday, December 19, 2011

What is it about eccentric muscle contraction?

I totally botched last weekend. Had high hopes of riding trails in North Conway, but radar images Saturday morning spooked me into believing they had gotten snow overnight. I abandoned my plans in favor of a local trail ride, only to learn later the ground stayed bare up north.

I still had to get my mountain fix in before heading back to the daily grind on Monday. It was cold Sunday morning, and the sky was that magical blue again. What is this, seven weekends in a row with bluebird skies? Been an amazing late fall for cyclists, but not skiers. Anyway, on a whim I decided to head over to Mt Monadnock. Turned out to be a great choice.

Only a handful of cars were in the headquarters parking lot. I still don't own hiking boots. I put on my street running shoes with braces on both ankle. The ranger said the wind chill was -4F up top. That would test the limits of clothing I brought along.

In the past, I've always hiked up the White Dot trail and come down the same or adjacent White Cross trail. This time I decided to take a longer route up, the Cascade Link trail up to Pumpelly to summit. This route spends more time on the ridge above tree line.

Cascade Link Trail

Hiking solo, I went up at an aggressive pace, something between tempo and threshold. After I passed a couple other solo guys on the lower flanks, I had the rest of the hike to myself. There was minimal ice on the way up. Only a couple bits made me ponder my mortality. My skin hasn't had a chance yet this season to acclimate to frigid air. Up on the ridge, I marvelled at how bitter cold it was, so close to Christmas, and yet zero snow up there.

Upon reaching the summit, there was not another person up there! Every other time I've hiked this mountain, it was a constant stream of people on the way up and dozens or more at the summit. The air was the clearest I've experienced. White capped Mt Washington, nearly 200km away, was clearly visible.

North panoram. View at 100% and pan.

I didn't have the summit to myself for long. I was soon joined by three others, one who just relocated from California and another from the UK. We ducked into the pocket at the summit to stay out of the wind. I wolfed down a sandwich before heading back down.

Wapack range to the east

Going down was the hard part. My knees instantly rebelled. I felt twice my age. I sometimes found it easier to sit on my butt and slide down than hop or step down the hundreds of oversized steps off the summit area. Then the ice flow started. A long section of treacherous ice had me grasping anything I could get my hands on to prevent this mountain from spitting me off its flanks. It appeared nobody had gone down the White Cross trail, as there was no evidence of spikes. Without warning, a large patch of flat ice I was walking across broke and both feet went in. Oh joy. -4F windchill with soaked mesh running sneakers. There was no way I could go remotely aerobic heading down to keep the fire stoked.

Start up White Dot, bear right on Cascade Link, left on
Pumpelly along ridge, then White Cross down. About 5.6mi.

By the time I got to the bottom, all the eccentric muscle activity left my legs in a quivering mess. I've run 500 miles this year, biked almost 500 hours, skied 500 miles, and yet a 2 mile slog down a mountain utterly destroyed my legs. Funny how the descent always takes me far longer than the climb.

By Monday afternoon, I couldn't even walk right. It seems odd that all the normal concentric muscle contraction does nothing to condition your legs for eccentric muscle contraction, where you muscles are lengthening under tension. I need to fix that. I hope to start up trail running again now that I believe my IT band issue is under control.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

GTF-Haystack Supertour

On Saturday, I had hoped to ride in the mountains at North Conway. The snow was gone, which is pretty rare this time of year. I got up early only to find radar images suggesting bands of snow were moving through the mountains. That really sucked. After many tough weeks in a row at work, I was looking forward to losing myself in the mountains. There's no XC skiing in the mountains, and I didn't want to risk a drive up to find there was just enough snow to make riding miserable. So I changed plans.

I've known for a while that a trail network on conservation lands has been growing around the MIT Haystack Observatory in Groton, Mass. This is only 30 minutes from my house, and I have never ridden there. I went data mining on Garmin Connect. There are over 100 MTB tracks in the Groton area from just the last year alone. The hard part was deciding which tracks were quality tracks. I filtered out all but long tracks. Guys on big travel bikes are more apt to session techy stuff and not cover a lot of distance. I want flow and distance, where I could get into the zone and stay there for four or five hours. My theory was long tracks were created by like minded people.

I downloaded about six tracks into DeLorme Topo. Then I went to work engineering a route that minimized road content and repeating or doubling back. 80% of what I was planning would be new to me. The only area on my planned route I've ridden before was Groton Town Forest, maybe over 10 years ago. The route would run at least 55 miles, maybe 60 miles. I thought maybe I could do it in five hours. Ha!

The hours I'd save by not driving to N. Conway could be pooled into riding, and I'd still get back early to do some Christmas shopping. I parked at the soccer fields near Haystack. In a few minutes, I was riding singletrack obviously designed by mountain bikers. It followed a knife edge esker. I felt a bit exposed.

A while later I was up on this ridgeline just off Old Dunstable Rd. The trail designers went out of their way to find every jagged bit of rock poking out of the Earth, which was not hard to find. This trail kicked my ass. Picking through dagger fields of granite at 2.5mph was not the kind of riding I was looking for today. I had some wicked close calls which spooked me, which meant I started hesitating and dabbing on everything. Hmmm, only 50 miles to go. Yeah, baby! Oh, and when there weren't natural rock outcroppings, the trail designers tested the limits on out frequently you could cris-cross a stone wall with tall, abrupt transitions. Not knowing what lie on the other side of the crossings meant more dabs and dismounts.

Eventually I got into some flowy stuff in another conservation parcel that was exactly what I had in mind. More techy material was to come though. A bit of pavement brought me through Groton. I entered the private Groton School grounds to access the conservation land behind the school. I remember this from 10+ years ago night riding with the Raytheon gang. I picked up a shadow. As I meandered to the back of the campus, a security guard followed me in an SUV. Fortunately I ditched into the woods and that was that.

Groton Town Forest along the Nashua River

Groton Town Forest was just the way I remembered it, except a few sections still had not been cleared from the October snow storm damage.  It looked like motorized traffic has been largely curtailed in there. The trails certainly don't have that carved up feel anymore. It took a long time to ride the moto loop. Then it was over the trestle to head east along the power lines. The train tracks have been abandoned. I used to ride across this bridge and think nothing of it, along the side just a foot or two from 30ft drop into the deep Nashua river. Glad I didn't even try today. Many railroad ties are rotting and a couple were even missing. Even walking down the middle freaked me out. There were a couple gaps easily big enough to fall through. Exiting the bridge, I passed three NEBC riders going the opposite way. They asked if I was starting or finishing. Neither. I told them I was parked at Haystack and working my way back (meaning 25 miles to go). I got weird looks.

Heading down the power lines, a climb we used to call "The Grim" was next. Along the way a sign for more new conservation trails caught my eye and I went on a diversion. This was in area of Flannagan Pond. Really sweet stuff. I notice that most marked, official conservation land trails have been brushed out. They also didn't go out of their way over the roughest features the terrain had to offer.

Heading up The Grim, it seems the old trail that went over the summit has been abandoned. At least there was so much tree debris in it that I didn't want to bother with it. Bummer. That always put a good burn in the legs.

Next up was another new loop that pops up in Garmin Connect tracks. I quickly realized it was going to be another one of those no-rock-missed kind of trails. A few hundred meters in, I went over the bars. For no reason whatsoever. Choice words were said. I have no idea what happened. I was going slightly downhill off exposed granite, and the next thing I know, the ground is coming at my face really fast. I got arms out to protect the neck, but only one foot got unclipped. Smashed knee, hyper-extended wrist, yeah, I was happy. I cut my losses right there and will have to try that loop on another day. I was four hours into the ride at that point, in severe calorie deficit, and fading fast.

Climbing ledge just after crashing

Next was more esker riding in Knops Pond area. There is quite a maze of singletrack here. Some of it dropped fall-line off eskers and right back up another one, kind of Zippety-Do-Da style. I realized my enthusiasm in designing this route exceeded my ability to execute it, so I started making guesses as to least risk, least energy expenditure way to get back to the car.

Esker bombing in Knops Pond area

Picking up trail again on the east side of Knops Pond, I found I was in over my head again, at least for the spent state I was in with about 5hrs riding time so far. I had already cut out chunks of the ride and my GPS track suggested I had at least 10 miles to go with over 40 tallied so far. I had used all my bonus time saved in driving already. Once I got to pavement, I would have to take roads back.

Duck Pond

I skipped all the stuff east of the Haystack Observatory. The GPS tracks from that area are not massively dense spaghetti, so maybe it is some decently flowing material. I got back to the car with 45.3mi, 3500ft in 5.5hrs moving time on the GPS. My wired computer battery died two miles into the ride. I suspect with the tightness of so much of the ride, I could well have logged over 50 miles. I know my GPS under measures the FOMBA trails by 25-30%. My GPS track also shows I stop 132 times during the ride! I'd say at close to half of those were due to tree debris blocking the trail or stuck in the drivetrain. The other half are indicative of how badly I suck in techy terrain.

It was a great day to be in the woods despite a lot of nuisance tree debris and a bit more techy material than I typically like to ride. This area has huge potential for a flowy, 50 mile loop. I just have to learn what pieces of trail to exclude and include. It seems most of Groton is conservation land and packed with trails. Most of it is singletrack. Perhaps the high point of the ride was the Starbucks Ethiopian Clover machine coffee afterwards.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ridge riding

Leg searing climbs? Check. Tunnels of mountain laurel? Check.Gnarly ridge riding with views? Check. No, I didn't head down to North Carolina to ride in the Pisgah National Forest this weekend. We have that kind of riding right here in New England.

I rode a section of trail I haven't been on for at least 10 years, back when it was featured as a hidden gem in Bike magazine. Today, bicycles are less welcome on sections of this trail, so I won't give search bots anything to bring unwelcome attention here.

I set out for a three hour ride on this frigid Sunday afternoon, only to find it took me over three hours just to reach the turn-around point. I barely made it back to my car before the sun set. In those first three hours, I encountered other people only once. Much of the trail is barely-there singletrack, where route following can be challenging and brush is always rubbing against you. No manicured Kingdom Trails material here. Finished with 30 miles, nearly 4000ft of climbing, in 4 hours on the Garmin. I'll leave you with a few photos.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Feeling my age

The weather this weekend afforded copious riding opportunities. Just when I thought the mountains were taken off-line, a warm week dissolved all of the snow, even the high peaks. The XC ski season is not looking promising at this point. But when life serves you sunny, snowless days, you put tires to dirt.

Dave, Isaac and I headed up to Campton for a 100km ride on mostly dirt roads with cyclocross bikes on Saturday. The loop entailed about 7000ft of climbing, one I tested solo in October. The route was a keeper. Taking the risk of boondoggle out of the picture, I could safely bring others. Seems every time I try a new route with others, be it an alternative way up a mountain out west or local jeep roads, massive hike-a-biking ensues. Our route today was not all buff gravel roads. A six mile section of Algonquin Rd, a gated forest service road, was left in rough shape by tropical storm Irene. It is more mountain biking material than CX biking material.

Dave's Sock Monkey lunch box. He said it was his
son Zach's, but we all know better.

It wasn't nearly as cold starting out as we expected. Maybe 30F, brilliant skies, and zero wind. In other words, as good as it gets in December. In minutes, we were climbing double-digit grades up Campton Mtn. Paved to start, but then the gravel 20+% grades kick in near the top. There was an icy patch to ride around. We finished the climb on a "secret" double track to nice overlook of the Pemi Valley.

Pemi Valley from Campton Mtn

First 1000ft+ climb was out of the way. A hairball decent quickly brought us to the next 1000+ft climb, Sandwich Notch. This is a forest service road that closes when the snow comes. It was still open to cars. Dave and Isaac set a rigorous pace up this one. A few more icy patches had to be dodged.

Losing about half the gained vertical on the other side brought us to Algonquin Rd. Dave bolted and Isaac chased. I brought the widest, most aggressive tires and was still cringing on all the embedded rocks I was bouncing over. How Dave and Isaac maintained 20% greater speed on 30mm semi-slick tires is beyond me. I had 35mm knobbie Racing Ralphs. I thought surely one of them would flat. But no. After a while, I was by myself. A few downed trees toward the far end slowed them down a bit.

After Algonquin Rd is a series of mostly gravel roads I pieced together. It circumnavigates Prospect Mtn. This loop rolls non-stop, steep, peeky climbs from 100ft to 400ft. Each roller cuts you down a notch. We weren't going none too easy either. I was beginning to fear the last major climb of the ride up to Stinson Lake.

The roller section left me barely intact as we barrelled down a dirt road to I-93. Passing under, we climbed Bog Rd, another dirt road with barely any traffic or houses for a while. Just brilliant sun, moderate temps and no wind.

After dropping down into Rumney, we began climbing Stinson Lake Rd. Isaac set pace the whole way up this 1000ft beast. I was beat down by this point, about 3.5hrs into the ride. Multiple times I started to come off and thought about throwing in the towel. Dave would've given me crap if I did. I suspected he was hurting too. We both clung on until the high point above the lake. Then again it was, guess what? Another rolling section!

Even though the three major climbs total 3000-4000ft of climbing, it is these rolling sections that provide the other 3000-4000ft of climbing in the ride. They really add up. And because they are steep and not that long, the tendency is to go at them with something in between threshold and VOmax effort. My match book was empty.

After Dave humiliated me on the last couple town line signs, I new one more was coming up, on a descent of a big roller. I think Dave knew it was coming up too, as we were half wheeling each other to the top. At the top, I found my big ring, put head down, and drilled it. Downhill dirt road sprints are not my thing, but I claimed that one. There was one more town line after that I had forgotten about. Isaac took that one with no effort. I was damaged goods.

Mt Tecumseh (I think) from Ellsworth Hill Rd descent. Those peaks
should be white by now!

Turned out to be a fantastic ride, a bonus ride in the Whites so late in the season. Loading the bikes up after the ride, a front spoke just spontaneously popped on Dave's bike. The wheel went badly out of true. Moments earlier we were bombing down Ellsworth Hill Rd at 45mph. Guess maybe Algonquin Rd beat on his equipment after all.  Later in the evening, I was pretty much in a catatonic state. 30 miles of rough gravel and intensities I haven't been riding at much lately beat me to a pulp. Rides like these didn't used to hurt as badly. Riding with much younger guys might have something to do with it. I felt my age.

Hey, if the weather holds up, Dave and I plan to MTB in North Conway on Friday. Right now there is no snow in the extended forecast and it looks like a mostly dry week. Conditions could be superb. Let me know if you are interested in joining us.