Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Ride after Work: On a Sunday!

One of the drawbacks of working for a financial company is sometimes you have to work on a weekend due to month end. What made matters harder was that it was a holiday weekend.  Since the family was heading to the beach I opted to take a spin on the Cannondale and try a new route that included a lap around Lake Waramug.

I initially followed the LOF Lake to Lake route for first 10 miles into Woodbury but then started following the 75K route in reverse by heading up Route 132 towards Bethlehem and Morris.

I found this great climb called Camel Hill

At the top of the Hill is the Golden Pear, which at one time was Bed and Breakfast that my wife and I stayed at once.  It didn't look like the B&B was still in business, though.

I found this sign on Camel Hill Road

I rode to Route 202 from here and then headed to Rt 341 

Rt 341 was newly paved a so smooth!  I took this to Rt 45 and down to Lake Waramug.  I did one lap around the lake then headed down Rt 202 towards New Milford

I found a D&D and stopped for a Boston Creme and a Coolotta.
Then I it was hammer home.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Gravle Independenza

The desire to explore more gravel roads in Western Massachusetts has been high on my list and since I had the Friday before the Fourth of July off I made plans to meet Will in Copake to do just that.  Of course, I couldn't resist hitting Mount Washington State Forest, home of the biggest road climb, albeit dirt, in Connecticut call Mt Riga Road.  What was disconcerting about this route was hitting Mt Riga Road and 50+ miles of riding but from the starting point in Copake, there was just no other way.

The steepest climb on this route is Sunset Rock.  It has an average grade of 12% and the steepest section is 22%.  Will and I made short work of it being right out of the gate.

Looking north towards Great Barrington

Before descending toward the Jug End of Mount Washington State Forest stopping at the intersection of West Street (Gravel) and East Street (Pave) is always nice to take in the view.

Pretty wildflowers

Riding across the Eggermont/Sheffield plain yielded more gravel roads that I found on the map and confirmed with this ride.  Eventually we came to this covered bridge that I never knew existed.

The Housatonic River was a flood stage

I wasn't sure whether Covered Bridge Lane actually went through or not.  

On the satellite photo it appeared to turn into someone's house but it does go through and it's great cut through.

Climbing up out of the Housatonic River plains we eventually came to Umpachene Falls Park.
The bridge over Konkapot River is blocked off to traffic and it's a nice dirty climb past the falls, too.

The bridge that connects Umpachene Falls to the Canaan Southfield Road is also blocked and goes over Umpachene River looked so cool and inviting.

We rode up River Road, which on most maps is not there but I had heard from a reliable source that it does go through and it did.

Eventually we wound up at The Southfield Store.  I remember this place as a kid when my father had a ski house in New Marlborough and we used to drive down Norfolk Road to get to Winsted and Route 8.  Of course, back then, the store was a general store/post office.  From here, the route took up East Hill Road, the second significant climb of the route.  What have annotated on the Tri State Gravle Map shows the dirt starting further towards the center of Southfield but it really doesn't get dirty until you crest the hill.  The route swings through Cookson State Forest and eventually drops down in Canaan Valley.

Riding back across the Sheffield Plain and back over the Housatonic River the route eventually lead us to the border with Connecticut.  While riding down one of the many dirt roads up we rode past a farm where this grisly old farmer emerged from a barn and I swear it was Gerry Garcia!  Then it was between the lakes, down Wildcat Hollow, back along the Housatonic and then climbing back to Salisbury where we stopped at Sweet William's Bakery for pastry and beverages to get ready for the last climb, Mt Riga Road.

There were so many cars passing us it was nuts

The road was in fine shape

It's the type of climb that seems to go on and on

Passed a couple of guys on mountain bikes

Coming out of the State Forest, Will's rear tire was getting mushy so we stopped to put air in it and hoped that it would hold till we got back to car.  It did.  From here is was a quick rip down into Bash Bish Falls and eventually back to the parking lot.  We drove over to the Four Brothers Pizza restaurant in Hills Dale for couple of Chatham Brewing's Farmer's Daughters and a pepperoni pizza!

Sunday, July 05, 2015


A quick lunch time ride is awesome!

The only downside is that my bottom bracket was making a clicking sound. 
 I hope it's because I rode in the rain last weekend and they just need a little oil.

I can't believe this is the first time I have ridden to the top of Castle Hill this year!

The view is worth every pedal stroke!

LOF Lake to another Lake Ride

The weather was not cooperative on Sunday, June 28th, for the third annual LOF Adaptive Water Skiing Charity Ride.  I poured from 2 to 5 AM Sunday morning and the wet conditions scarred many people off.  I had been asked earlier to lead a group of hand cyclists on a 50K ride but none of them showed up so I waited around at the start point and then took off at 9:30 on the 75K ride to Long Meadow Pond.  Fortunately, I loaded the track in my Garmin the night before so I was prepared.

On Westwoods Road in Woodbury I had my first flat while riding.  I have had my tubes go flat right after a ride, or after a day or two, but this was my first, out in the middle of no where flat tire!  It took all of 5 minutes to fix thanks to CO2!  Boy, do I love C02 inflators now.

Food stop before the 75K and 100K routes split off from one another.  Had an orange, a banana, and got my water topped off and chatted with the Wolf's of Newtown.  The 75K route splits off up the road from the rest stop and immediately starts to climb West Mountain Road, which starts out at a 13% grade.  While slowing ascending the hill I said hello to a woman walking down who offered my free food and water further up the road!

While the weather was overcast it was a little cool and really pleasant for riding.  I have never ridden through is part of Litchfield County before.  The climbing was great and the descents even better.  

I am loving the new glasses!

On the south west side of Morris, CT I was supposed to take a right but the road had been recently chip sealed and didn't want to take my skinnies down a gravel road so I detoured around.

I confirmed a dirt road on my Tri State Gravle map, too, but I wasn't going to ride it.  Eventually, I came out south of Bantam Lake and then headed south.  At the turn onto Rt 61, it started to rain and foturnately, I had my rain slicker with me so I put it on.

When I got back to Morris I stopped off at a deli for potato salad, salt and vinegar chips, pickles and a chocolate milk.  All fueled up and ready to ride some more I headed back.  Tried to pick up the course again, only to find more chip seal on that section so I kept detouring until I finally found it again.

It finally stopped raining about 15 miles out from the starting point while I was on Weekeepeemee road.

I got back the Shepaug Dam and I was the last one to return and it started raining again!

The post ride libation was perfect!

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Quadbury Gravel Grinder

I set off Saturday, June 27th, to ride what I call the Tr-bury Gravel Grinder which consists of the Larkin Bridle Trail, Middlebury Trolley Trail and the Woodbury Trolley Trail (the last two are the same road bed, just different towns) only I went about it in reverse and I wanted to scope out the route for a ride that I would be leading next day for the LOF Adaptive Waterskiing group.

I headed up Purchase Brook to get in some gravel on Peach Orchard and then head down West Flag Swamp.  I really love riding these two roads and like to ride them in both directions now.

West Flag Swamp is just a gravel road with nothing on it.  There are no houses but there could be some trails coming off it but it's a great gravel road and the decent after Mallory is insane.

After riding the section of road that I would be leading the ride on I headed over to Middle Quarter Road in Woodbury to ride up the Woodbury Trolley Trail only to find the entrance really overgrown and lots of poison ivy everywhere.  I blasted through and then stopped further in and sprayed water on my legs just in case.  

It would appear that this trail isn't seeing much use and that's too bad because it's cool to ride a piece of history, in which passenger and freight trolleys moved up and down this line over a hundred years ago.

This right of way is truly a diamond in the rough. 

After the climb, the bed turns to the north at the old Woodbury Reservoir but there are quite a few trees down along the way.

I got on Rt 64 and passed by the sign.  
That had to have been a hard name to grow up with.

Riding through Middlebury, I basically stayed off the trolley trail except to get around the traffic light at Rt 188 because there were too many walkers on the trail and eventually I got on the Larkin Bridle Trail.  There, too, were a lot of walkers, runners and few bikers.  At one point there was a runner in the middle of the trail and gave warning that I was coming from behind but she had earbuds on and couldn't hear me.  It was hard getting past her and she was surprised when I passed but if you are going to tune out the world on a public trail don't be surprised if something like that happens again!

The wet part at Towantic Road is still pretty awful but what a lot of people down't realize is that if just ride down the center of the trail you will avoid the mud.  There's no way avoiding the water but the middle of the trail is the hardest and you won't sink.

Thinking that I was short on time because my daughter said she wanted to go hiking in the afternoon once I hit Rt 67 I by passed the rest of the trail and rode straight home.

Upon arrival, turns out she was still sleeping have not slept at her sleepover from the night before so I got to enjoy my 8 Barrel IPA from Chatham Brewing.  It was well worth the wait!