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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Single in the Snow




My first ride in the snow in 2 years but by the time I hit the Gussy on Wednesday it was more of a inconvenience if at all.  It made the trail slushy at times, and very wet.  The Raleigh XXIX was riding really nice, in fact I would say that I have it dialed in now!

  


I was surprised to not have found any tire tracks in the cleared section that I worked on last Sunday.  I was the first!  It could be that people were just riding down and like the new reroute.  What's interesting about it is that the log is so high that I didn't have duck to get underneath it while riding! In fact, I never even noticed it.

 
 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Larkin Trail Monster Cross



Headed out Friday with the NYC relatives to ride the Larkin Trail in Southbury .  It was windy and much more colder than the prior day.  In fact, I added one more layer of snivel gear, a riding jacket.


Warm up on the Kettletown Hill climb
Will is hard core in shorts
Descending down to Jeremy Swamp Road
 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Black Friday: NEMBA Turkey Burner @ Case Mountain

Today's ride captured red/yellow, last year's in blue

Case Mountain is one revered mountain biking destinations in the State of Connecticut and this was my second time riding it and I still can't get over how awesome it is.  Not to mention TECHNICAL!  CT's Chapter on New England Mountain Bike Association held it's second annual Turkey Burner on yet another outstanding day.  Last year's weather was equally fabulous.  One thing that I noticed right off the bat was the parking lot was now a lot more organized and could hold a lot more cars. 



 Turn out this year was not as many people as last year but there 25+ present.  There were 4 groups heading out initially: The advanced ride led by John Isch, a DH, huckle & buckle group led by by Brett Metzger, the intermediate group led by Al Tinti, and a beginner's group led by someone from the Leisure Trail Riders Association. 


The intermediate ride was three miles longer than last year, mainly because we did a different singletrack section then following the trail like we did last year down to the steel bridge.  This new route (for me) was technically insane and it was some of the best riding since Trail of Tears this past summer that I did.

 
  
 
 


At the power lines before the start of the Tinti Trail, which Al will not take credit for.  If you ever come to Case Mountain, you have to ride this trail!  There is even a Strava Segment for it (not surprisingly) called Tinti Down.



Everyone taking a breather after riding the Tinti Trail
Legendary Al Tinti


From there we wrapped around the Reservoir, this time from the other direction and made our way to the Summit over looking Hartford where we did the annual group photo!  This ride was 3 miles longer than last years and every mile was worth every minute!

 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Blaze Orange and Belled



Headed out to Upper P for a quick workout on the Raleigh.  I think if I get a slightly shorter stem, somewhere between 50 and 90 mm my cockpit would be perfect on the XL frame.  Still the Raleigh is freaking heavy and I might be destined to conversion land, 1x9, and invariably sold on Craigslist, assuming I can still get a hanger for it.  The other thing I noticed at the get go was my right pedal was loose so I found a nice sunny spot to see what was up with my cleat.  Tried tightening it but that didn't work so I figured it won't come off because it was still on pretty tight and that I will be fine for the ride and fix it when I get home.   



There were no pickups on Sanford Road and only one car in the lot at Echo Valley meaning the this side of the forest should be free and clear of hunters.  Only come to find out that the car belongs to this old Hungarian couple from Fairfield that hunt here regularly.  The wife appears to tag along to be with the husband, now that is love!  While she looks pretty tame I bet she is the skinner of the duo and can gut the kill  like a surgeon.  We chatted about dear and the Gussy Trail.  They know it and said they go up on it but never see dear the higher they climb.  Now that I think about it, I haven't seen dear up there as well.  All the dear that I have seen have been in the other direction, close either to the water or Sanford Road.



The Gussy Trail was really nice today with only one minor issue, the ramp at the new up and over needed some fixing.  A friend of mine and I are going to meet Sunday morning and we are going to cut the trees that are blocking the main trail where I have already rerouted around the blowdowns.  



The plan is to cut the trees on the ground, making a low-bridge situation that you should still be able to ride underneath.  Cutting the high tree just seems too sketchy.  I hope to get some new new skinnies out this, too.   Once this is re-opened there be more choices to vary the ride both up and down the trail.  Third time down Sandy's Re-Route and it's definitely fun to ride, and it serves as an alternative for the equestriennes, too.  Of course, I probably need to clear a bit higher up in some places for them (on Sunday).  Also there are a few sections that need some more benching and I think I might try a berm on the big curve on the lower section.

 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Riding Rockland Preserve



After 3 hours of trail work and excellently catered lunch with Gyros, corn on the cob, french fries, and deep fried macaroni and cheese balls, John Biehn led Corey and I on a 6 mile ride on all the new singletrack at Rockland Preserve.



This place has a lot of climbing!



Above is the rock armoring project from earlier in the day.
 
Corey and John hanging on some slick rock. 


Awesome day to be riding!  The new wheel on the Spot rolled nicely and I really like having the Panaracer Rampage up front on this bike.  The Schwable Racing Ralph tire was just way too big and clunky.  The Rampage, being thinner gave me a better feeling of control and it was really fast.  



Above is a comparison of what we road to the current trail map at the Preseve.  What you see on my map that is lines up with the map on the right is the dual track old cart roads that make up a large portion of the preserve but what you don't see on the right side but on the left is the new single track and it was awesome riding!  Can't wait to go back for more!

Benching Trail at Rockland Preserve



I took charge of the benching effort on a section of trail that really need this to be done.  The soil was really easy to work with and my new Hoe cut bench so easily!  In our group we had John Biehn, his girlfriend Katie, and a couple of freshmen from Madison High School.  We were working on a 150 section of the trail.

 


Some mountain bikers stopped to thank us for all the hard work that was being put into the trails.



We uncovered a rock in the middle of trail that was too big to move and an odd shape, like a corner of a rectangle pointing straight up.  John put soil on the top side that made it into a nice little huck and we ramped the other side for those riding on the way up.



Amazing what 5 people can do in 2 hours with Rogue Hoes!



Another view of the ramp (below).

 
 

Building Bridges at Rockland Preserve



The Connecticut Chapter of New England Mountain Bike Association was supposed to have Trail Building Seminar in Madison, CT but then Sandy came.  Today was the make up session.  Jason (in the green jacket) organized three projects, the construction of this bridge, a 100' section of trail benching and rock armoring at a stream crossing the locals call the Water Fall.  I took charge of the benching detail which you can read about in the next post, Benching Trail at Rockland Preserve.

 

The Bridge spans a low lying section at the base of a ridge that collects a lot of water in the spring 

  


Jason and some of his High School students that are helping build the trails