Sunday, September 21, 2014

Looks Like I am not the Only One

On Saturday I was driving down Oakview Road after my Son's Soccer game and noticed a new Open Space marker and kiosk that I have never seen before.  I wanted to ride with Elliot in the afternoon but he wasn't feeling it so I headed out on the Bianchi San Jose for a quick jaunt.  

Rode out to this new trail off of Oakview and headed down it. I had heard about it from a friend and rumor had it there was bridge over the Pootatuck connecting this trail to the trails at The Hills.  The trail head was covered in wood chips with some nice benches. Wood chips on a trail is the worst thing in the world and riding on them felt like both my tires were flat. I pressed on but found no bridge. 

There were some trees down over the trail that made for some good barriers to hop over in true Cyclocross fashion and then I found a sign pointing down the hill to the community off of Oakview Road, which was actually up the hill.  I was kind of hoping that the trail might wind around Newtown's version of Duck Dynasty into this over grown field next to the highway but and then the trail just ends.  Play the Prices Right loser horn.  All I could do was turn around and head back the way I came.

I rode back to The Hills trying some new stuff here and there that I definitely need to ride again, only in the other direction.  Coming out of the lower field I took the dirt road that runs behinds the Dog Pound which ends in a single track trail that then splits.  The trail to the right goes straight up the hill and there is no joy in attempting that climb on 42:17 gearing and the trail to the left, which I tried, was a little better but I ended up running up it any way.  

From there I rode up to the water tanks for a loop on the Naunawalk Meadows trails and then back down the Rec Trail.  I wanted to hit the trails on the other side of the tracks but was out of time and needed to head home so I rode down past the dog walk and up Old Farm Road.  There are mowed sections on the fields on either side that seem like trails that I want to hit again sometime.  Rounding the last barn before Queen Street on the Right of Way, I encountered another guy on Cyclocross bike heading the other way who remarked as we passed "Looks like I am not the Only One!"  I shouted to him:  "Get Some!"

Friday, September 19, 2014

Foggy Fun on the Bianchi San Jose

Headed out early Wednesday morning on the Bianchi San Jose for a 15 mile ride around town. Leaving the house and heading down towards Sandy Hook, it got really foggy and it was an interesting temperature.  It was 43 degrees but the humidity made it seem a lot warmer.  The temperature ramped up the higher I climbed to the top of Castle Hill.    

Thursday, September 18, 2014

This week in Bike Commuting

Bob Maxon, the NBC Connecticut News Channel 30 weekly morning meteorologist, said Tuesday morning that it was going to start raining at 8 AM and sure enough, he was spot on!  I was leaving later because I had an early call (for me) with my off shore programming team Initially, I was going to ride my singlespeed but the rain meant I needed fenders.  

The morning rain kind of dampened my spirits because the last time I tried a rain commute I ended up with a Bike Commute Fail consisting of two flats due to broken glass in the road.  My Continental Tour Ride tires failed me miserably.  Still, I went for it because this week this would be one of my two opportunities to ride.  Despite getting wet, it was actually a pretty good commute and the Cross Check performed handsomely.

Rolled out the magic drying carpet for the Cross Check to drip dry off.  By the time I got to the office I was soaked through and through.  I used the waterproof duffel for the laptop today and it worked flawlessly.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mt Riga Randonee

"Doubly happy, however, is the man to whom lofty mountain tops are within reach." 
-- John Muir

There is a mountain in the Northwest Corner of Connecticut that is both the longest and highest climb in Connecticut, but don't bring your skinny road bike tires because Mt Riga road is a 3 miles of dirt road and 1300 feet of climbing fun.  I have seen some websites refer to the climb as Mt Frissell but there is no real road to the true highest point in the Connecticut.  Mt Riga Road is the highest you can get on a bike in this State.

This is now the third time I have made the climb up Mt Riga Road and each time gets better and better. If you are a Gravle Randoneur then this is your Mountain!

Friday, September 12, 2014

This week in Bike Commuting: A Cold, 90 mile week

All the weather boffins are saying that El Nino is going to have a major impact on our weather patterns this year and after this week of riding to work, I am starting to believe they might be right!

It's cold enough for shorts and warm enough for long sleeves!

Fifty degrees right now seems a lot colder when it's a lot drier out.  It's still comfortable riding, though.  I did see a roadie on Rt 302 Tuesday morning decked out in full Roadie Mufti!  Tights, gloves, long sleeve or arm warmers, and an ear band?  Yikes, it's not really that cold!  Coming home, I wore a short sleeve because it was nice out and got a 20/10 on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, I rode a 20/20, twenty + miles on the way in and back, although it's getting darker now, earlier.  I rode through town and stopped at the CVS to pick up a prescription and ended up chatting with a friend in the parking lot as it continued to get darker.  The last three miles home, I switched my light from flash to full on.

Friday morning I went with another layer and it made things a lot more comfortable and the morning temperature never climbed above 54 degrees.  On the way home I put on a short sleeve but it was definitely borderline and probably would have been more comfortable riding with a long sleeve.  I had to rush home so my wife could pick up my daughter from Dance Class and I made it home in 36 minutes!  A new record.  Friday was a 10/10 day.  I think this is the most commuting miles I have ridden in one week and the funny thing is, I probably could ride more days now that school is in session and all the kid's activities are now set but I think I am going to stick to Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

The cyclists you see below popped out in front of me on Tower Road.  I think he was riding a 63 cm frame and still had the seat jacked way up!  I don't how anyone can ride without a spare tube like this guy was but then again the absence of a seat pack or a jersey with back pockets could only mean one thing ...