Gone Fishin'


I'm not actively blogging here anymore. But if you got here because you were searching for something about bikes, you might want to check out my latest project, Vermont Goldsprints. In summer of 2014, I bought a used goldsprints racing setup and have made it a mission to get more bikes in more people's faces by putting on fun races in unexpected places. Come join me!


Cycling Colchester (also Burlington and Winooski)

Kate and I got out for a nice 23 miler tonight in what felt like the beginning of fall- dry air, golden light across Lake Champlain, purple Adirondacks. I didn't get pictures of much of that, but I threw the pocket point-n-shoot in my jersey and snapped off a few frames when concentration levels and balancing skill allowed: Malletts Bay
Unflattering, blurry like Sasquatch, but an action shot nonetheless.


The River

On the last day of our long Bennington Battle Day weekend, Kate and Ben and I got down to the river for a swim. Vermont has plenty of rivers, but the New Haven River upstream of Bristol will always be "the river" to me. This is a spot called Split Rock, which I visit far less frequently than other places. We had the place to ourselves, and I swam under the whitewater of the falls, in the black calm space below, and rolled up to look at the foam, like I did so many times 10 years ago. There's a moment in that space, between the deep and the turbulent, between where there is no light and where the water is as much sun as it is water, when you can't tell which way the current will push you. Every time, in an instant, that moment passes and you float on your back, to serenely eddy out again, until the comfort of round cobbles comes under your feet.
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Anniversary Redux

Hydrangea, Calla Lily, etc from me to Kate. reflecting our wedding flowers. Bird of Paradise from Kate to me, reflecting our honeymoon:

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Night Photos

Ben and Kate taking some night shots in Winooski:

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Bennington Battle Day!

-And a holiday for me! After a wonderful third-year wedding anniversary celebration on Wednesday night, Kate and I were able to go out again last night and hook up with Jack,Travis, Ryan and Devon, as well as Chris and Yong-Nam, in town from Tokyo- as well as Ben, who came up for the long weekend. What a great night and we laughed until we couldn't breathe anymore as stories were swapped and lives caught up again. There is nothing better. Pictures are blurry, due to lack of flash usage.
We also watched more of the Olympics (gymnastics and swimming) than I think I've seen in a long time, as it was on the TV at both of the places we went to. What was surprising to me was that other patrons seemed similarly transfixed at the feats we were watching- and I even heard some applause as Phelps won yet another swimming event.
Chris has the pictures on his camera, (so please share, Chris!) but you'll have to see the results of our face-shaking photo contest. I can't adequately describe this, but basically you let your face go slack, then shake like a bulldog, and pop the shutter. The results were hilarious, and provided way more entertainment than it should have. I think I heard about this on zoomdoggle.
Ben's up for the weekend, so hikes, bikes and other Vermont-outdoor stuff is on tap. The second half of August in Vermont is often cooler and drier than the rest of summer, and that has played out so far.


If you haven't yet done so...

...go and rent North by Northwest.  I'm embarrassed that it has taken me this long to sit down and really watch it.  I'm really not a big movie buff or a Hitchcock fan or anything, but I feel like my visual cortex is finally getting to the point where there are enough wrinkles to process something like this.   The architecture, the shot composition, where have I seen this all before?  Wile E. Coyote cartoons? maybe.  Surely those artists had a greater appreciation for this kind of stuff, surely it influenced them.  (OK, so there's probably thousands of grad school theses moldering away out there about this very topic.) Anyway, I'm not saying anything new or profound, but the visual depth and breadth of this movie beats anything you can pump out with cgi these days.



Not the bike, really, more me than anything. I finally got the front wheel on this beast trued to my satisfaction, added the tire and got it back on. I've only been just a little way around the neighborhood with it, but all systems seem to be go for now.
And hey, if you're gonna take a wheel apart and put it back together, why not let Lance keep the hub clean? (I'm far from the first to do this, by the way, it tends to show up on lots of hipster fixies and such- but it really will keep the hub nice and shiny and makes a good conversation starter.
I've pumped the front tire to a mere 60, I hope to leave it out for the night to settle down before heading north of 80 pounds and taking it out for a little cruise tomorrow night. Of course, Nick could also show up any time to pick it up if he wants.... (maybe we can hit the causeway this weekend, eh? )


Open Letter to a Local Company

I got squeezed off the road, hard, today by a van on my way home. This is the message I sent to the company. I tried to stay pretty cordial- how did I do? TO: customerservice@XXX Hi there- I commute to and from work by bicycle. Today, I was traveling down XXX Street toward XXX Avenue on my bicycle. I was on the right side of the road, about a foot from the edge of the pavement, traveling at approximately 15 miles per hour. As I approached XXX Park, a van with your logos on it passed me at a high rate of speed with less than six inches of clearance to my left shoulder. As the van passed, it moved further to the right, forcing me off the pavement and to the dirt shoulder before the van had completed its pass. The number on the van was XXX. I continued to ride behind the van as it decelerated to make the left turn on to XXX Street. The driver then turned into the XXX parking lot. As I passed him, I noticed that he was on his cell phone, holding it with his left hand and steering with his right. I am a very conscientious bicycle commuter. I signal my turns, I ride with lights in the dark and I follow all of the rules of the road. I use my bike to get to work because it is a viable way to transport myself that also promotes fuel conservation, something folks at your company surely must appreciate. I'm not sure if your driver was distracted by his cell phone call, just didn't see me, or worse, saw me but felt that my space on the road wasn't worth his consideration. Whatever the case, I hope that if this driver or other drivers of yours are showing a pattern of disregard for some road users, that you consider an awareness campaign for them. The generally accepted practice for passing a cyclist is to give the cyclist at least three feet of room, and if this is not possible due to oncoming traffic or visibility constraints, to wait to pass the cyclist when those constraints are no longer present. Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. Sincerely, Matthew Boulanger Burlington

Welcome to New Ireland

At least that's what Vermont is feeling and looking like these days.  We've had an awful lot of rain, much of which passes close to our apartment in the form of a a very swollen Winooski River.  In recent weeks, it has been possible to feel the spray of the falls even while riding a bike on Riverside Avenue.  As to looks, the whole state is an explosion of every shade of green in the world.  Coming from brown, dry Missoula, it seems almost tropical.  When we first moved back, the humidity was noticeable, as if something was on me all the time.  Now it just feels normal. 

Despite the moist weather, Kate and I headed up to Maidstone Lake this weekend for a little camping.  We reserved a lean-to site, which is always worth the extra couple of bucks on a rainy weekend. Maidstone is a great little lake in the middle of nowhere, sadly ringed by camps and fraught with powerboats, but still incredibly peaceful at night.  And, there are loons.  I've never seen one, but the sound of their calls across the lake in the early morning is one of the biggest reasons I have for wanting to go to Maidstone. The whistling calls cut through the sound of rain, the sound of the crackling fire, even sound of the kids who have appropriated the empty lean-to next door for a rainy-day iPod karaoke session.   

Much of this trip was also about doing a shakedown trip to get all of our camping stuff back in order since the move.  I'd really like to get things to the point that an impromtu camping trip involves packing clothes, throwing three or four duffles in the back of the car, grabbing groceries on the way out of town, etc.  How did it go? Pretty well.  There's a duffel with all the stoves, pots pans, and eating stuff, another with sleeping pads, tent and folding chairs, and a cooler.  What did we miss?  Well, there needs to be a toiletries duffel.  We ended up with one hotel size bottle of Dr. Bronner's between the two of us for the weekend, and while in a backpacking scenario this would be fine, toothbrushing with Dr. Bronner's is my least favorite of its fabled 18 uses.

Adiitionally, I set up a board and some old front hubs so that the two road bikes can travel in the back of the Jeep in a stable manner.  That all worked well and left plenty of room to pack other stuff, but it was all for naught when we got to the campground and I discovered I hadn't brought my shoes- and sandals on Look pedals just wasn't going to cut it for any real riding. It was pretty wet out there anyway, but I'd love to come back in  the early fall and ride up and down the Connecticut River Valley.

On Sunday, we packed up early and heded out.  We too the Granby Road from Guildhall across to Lyndonville, through such Vermont gems as Stannard and Victory, towns with little more than a church and a whitewashed one-room town hall at their centers.  In Lyndonville, I introduced Kate to breakfast at the Miss Lyndonville Diner, which was a gem as always.

Once we got home and unpacked, we headed up to Old Spokes Home to get a helicoil put into Kate's left crankarm.  This has been something of a saga- week one- we took the crank in, they tapped it for the helicoil, but found that they only had one helicoil in stock and it was bent.  Week 2, we went back and waited while they tried and discovered that each and every new helicoil they had ordered was mis-tapped on the inside.  This week, sucess! Just waita day for the Loctite to set up and Kate will have her old crankarm back again.  We cruised on over to the Alpine Shop in South Burlington for a look around- they deal in Redline, Masi and Bianchi, three of my favorite bicycle brands right out there. They had a Redline Monocog Flite 29'er in stock as well as many sizes of Masi Speciale Commuters and Bianchi Volpes.  All really fun to look at. 

Finally, I spent the night wrestling with Nick's front wheel.  I just cant get the tension right, and ended up driving myself to distraction and mis-lacing some of the spokes.  Back to the workbench for tonnight then- it's tantalizing how close this bike is to completion.  And nick is champing at the bit to get out and ride the Colchester Causeway now that the August ferry is back in operation.  Soon.

Oh, and there are no pictures with this post, since I left the camera with my bike shoes all weekend.