Author Archives: swampyankeecyclist

About swampyankeecyclist

I'm Andy Engel, just a middle-aged, middle-class guy from Roxbury, Connecticut. I've been married to my best friend since 1988, and we have two grown sons. I like riding bikes, and my biggest accomplishment is the 180K D2R2. I own 5 bikes but my go-to rides are a 2016 GT Grade gravel and commuter bike and a 2016 Specialized 650b hardtail mountain bike. Additionally, I have a 2000-something carbon-fiber Orbea road bike, a 1990-something Specialized Sirrus that's my old dirt and commuter bike and which now serves as a spare and a trainer bike, and a 1985 Ross Mount Hood MTB. All but the 650b have Brooks saddles. I work from home now, but used to commute 32 miles round trip to work by bike year round. I was a carpenter and still love building things, but regular paychecks, insurance, and vacation time lured me into journalism. I've written a couple of books on carpentry, and I've been an editor at Fine Homebuilding, Fine Woodworking, and Professional Deck Builder magazines. Currently, I manage construction events at the JLC Live and Remodeling Show trade shows. Additionally, my wife and I run Transylvania Guest House, an Airbnb. Find us on Instagram. Come stay with us and I'll show you some great cycling.

I’m Afraid of my Bike

Last Thursday’s Dirty Thirty ran long. I did 46 miles, probably the longest ride I’ve done in a year. Sometime after the halfway point my back knotted up. On the final hills, every pedal stroke brought with it a corresponding … Continue reading

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Why?

Last Thursday I went all in and cleaned a particularly gnarly climb for the first time. Shortly after that I found myself, lactic acid searing my quads, hammering three abreast across a long, empty, ridge top in the clear evening … Continue reading

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Cleaning Paddy’s Hollow

“It’s not often we get to accomplish something new,” Jeff said, “especially as we grow older.” It was dark now, and we were riding by headlight and talking about why we cycle as we ascended Wykham Road, the climb after … Continue reading

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Riding with Glinda

Cycling is a simple equation: Success = fitness/physics, or S=F/P Except it isn’t. I won’t bog down in discussing the value of S or the corollary idea that “Any nice bike ride is a success.” Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let’s stipulate … Continue reading

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Number Eight

You’ve tried this climb eight times. You know this because, well, Strava. The first six that little hollow got you. Last time you got that little hollow, but the rock just below the top stopped you like the bumper at … Continue reading

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The Desolation of Smaug

The macroburst that went through Connecticut two weeks ago did major damage to two of my favorite mtb parks, Gussy and Waldo. These photos are from Waldo. While there are trees down in random locations through the park, there’s one … Continue reading

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After

Scenes from rides run through my head like post-game films – Things I did right, things I did wrong. These images are like videos taken with a drone-camera; I can move the camera around for a look from any angle. … Continue reading

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