Thursday, July 20, 2017

Please help support me in the CT Challenge!

What touched me about this organization is that they are out there helping survivors, especially kids, by providing activities and events that they may otherwise never dream of participating in. From summer camps to college scholarships, the CT Challenge is making a difference for people who have survived this deadly disease.

Please help me reach my fund raising goal.


Sunday, June 04, 2017

Fat Amy likes Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo

It was time to take the big girl out to some real trails.

Headed out to Huntington State Park Sunday morning to ride some single track.
It's been 3 years since I last rode here and it was a little confusing first.

I felt more comfortable with the flats that came with the bike but they also have a cost.
Found some new connector trails off of Old Dodgingtown Road but everything was done by amateurs.

Rolling down Hoochi Koo, came across a pile road apples.
Equestriennes really need to learn to curb their horses

But wait there's more!

This was on South Park.


Saturday, June 03, 2017

TGIFat Amy

I had grandiose plans last Friday to ride 40 miles after work but I had to run an errand that took a lot more time that I wanted.  As a consolation prize, I threw the mountain bike on the car and headed over to George C Waldo State Park. It was windy on Friday and there were some blow downs that I took care of.

The Cujo, aka Fat Amy, was riding exceptionally well.  I run my tires at 20 psi and it just floats over anything and everything.  It feels like riding a full susser.  I just don't feel comfortable doing any big hucks.

You can't ride Waldo and not visit Lake Lillilonah.  Today was simply breath taking and had me longing to go out in my boat but I had riding to do. I usually don't ride up Extra Credit but I figured what the hell, it beats the fire road.  One thing I noticed is that it had purple blazes all the way to the parking lot. 


It took me 4 tries to clean the skinny on what I thought was called Thing Two but with the purple blazes the whole trail should be called Purple Rain.  I got confused with this trail a few times and rode it back and forth trying to get the flow of the trail. Right before the skinny on the way down again, while turning a corner I stalled out in some rocks and nearly didn't get my foot unclipped.  That's when I had the epiphany that I should probably start riding with flats again.  If I had fallen right then and there I would have easily broken my leg.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Singlespeeding the Bloomin Metric

I brought my tandem down to Westport for my brother-in-law, Will and his daughter Julia to ride this year since my oldest son is no longer interested in staring at my fourth point of contact for 26 miles. I decided to ride my singlespeed again, only this time I kept it free wheel.  Have ridden 130 miles two days ago I didn't want to take any chances straining anything. 

We set off at a brisk pace by my father's standards.  Granted he is 75 and mostly rides rail trails but he still rides!  Some of the hills on the course were too steep for him and he walked a few of them. He was able to ride up Burr Street, though. On the singlespeed I had to attack every hill otherwise I would be walking.

My dad crossing over the Parkway

At the rest stop there was the customary pickle juice shot

Wasn't really necessary but it's tradition.

I think my father has been riding the Bloomin Metric every year for the past 20 years!  I have done it now 7 years in a row.  Hopefully, I will get another one of my children to come out in the coming years. Until that happens, and my father is till riding I will stick with the singlespeed.

After lunch I headed over to Aspetuck Brew Labs for a flyte and half growler fill.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Paul's Birthday Rando: a 211K Brevet

When fellow Lunartics cyclists Paul mentioned that he had a birthday coming up and liked to take the day off and go riding I asked him if he wanted some company and he said sure.  He wanted to do a big ride up to Barkhamstead Reservoir and since it's hard for me to do a birthday ride because my birthday is in the middle of winter I planned out a route for us to hit as much dirt as possible.

Paul has the yellow jersey on

The first leg of the journey was to accompany some other Lunartics riders on the Friday OOF (Ovens of France) ride for breakfast.

John (l) and Steven (r)
From Woodbury we rode up to Bethlehem and our first dirt road was Gros Road near Long Meadow Pond. At first it looked like a drive way but as we continued up the road it was indeed a nice gravel road.  From there, we road up the paved portion of Munger Lane and continued onto the dirt portion as well.

We then rode Headquarters Road, that I originally thought was dirt but when I road by it last year found that it wasn't.  Of course if I continued a mile or so up the road I would have found that it indeed had a dirt portion.  

Another new dirt road was Shepard Road (pictured below)

As well as, Hemlock Hill Road
(also pictured below)

Once in Goshen we searched for a store and found a Shell Station with a Quickmart.

Can't ride through the Connecticut Country side without at least one obligatory cow picture!

Eventually we made it to Winstead and we should have refilled bottles because little did we know that there wasn't a convenience store to be found for the next 30 miles.  

We rode into Barkhamstead

And then Riverton and along the Farmington River

And then headed around the Barkhamstead Reservoir

Little did I know that on the east side of the Bark'stead Reservoir there was going to be a tremendous climb.

Passing by Ratlum Road I saw the sign for Ski Sundown and thought that it would be nice to roll around in some snow right now. It must have been 90 degrees and both my water bottles were empty.

Turns out the brewery I wanted to stop at didn't open till 4 so we ate lunch at a diner located in the Collinsville Antique Gallery. I ordered a glass of pickle juice which tasted fantastic!

Of course if you are going to ride through New Hartford and dirt roads, you must pay a visit to the one road that never has a road sign.  The name of this road doesn't even show up on most online maps.  Those of us, however, in the know, know the name of this road. It's called Pussy Lane!  This has been on my bucket list for quite some time and now its blogged into history.

The bridge was out on Carpenter Road but we found a way to cross the river without getting wet. After crossing Route 202 we headed down through Harwington and down to Terryville.  On Route 6 in Plymouth we found another deli to get a snack and fill bottles again.  From there we stayed on Route 6 to Watertown and then headed down to Route 64 and Middlebury where picked up Route 6 again in Woodbury, right across from Ovens of France.  From there it was a straight shot back to Sandy Hook.

At Cover 2, I had an ice cold PBR that never tasted better!


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Roubaix to Brew: 3 State of Gravel

Ralph in the lead up Mt Riga Road, followed by Mike and Curt

After a long winter and wet spring, by the time May rolled around it was finally starting to dry out a bit and that meant it was time for another gravel ride involving a brewery stop. I wanted to do a variation of last year's Big Elm Roubaix to Brew ride only start in Salisbury and get the big climbing out of the way first.  If you are going to ride dirt roads in this area you have to ride Mt Riga Road and Sunset Rock. However, since we were riding on a Sunday and Big Elm isn't opened on Sundays the brewery destination became the Barrington Brewery.

I got a few people to join me that included a fellow Newtown Lunartics rider, Mike, as well Ralph, whom I have ridden with before, and one of his riding buddies, Curt. This ride was also intended for another Lunartics rider who is slowly getting into dirt roads in order to wake him to what it really means to ride dirt roads but he bailed at the last second.

The climb up Mt Riga Road was a great way to warm up for the rest of the ride and a few miles in Mike had a shifting issue that Ralph helped him figure out. Turns out he had a bent derailleur hanger, which is common with Cannondale CAADX bikes. The hangers are really soft and if ever bumped will quickly fall out of alignment.

Descending down through Bash Bish to the Copake Depot was really chilly but once out in the sun at the Depot Deli we were able to warm up, get more water, and put a little more fuel into our bodies before tackling the steepest dirt road climb in the area, Sunset Rock Road.

At the onset of the climb up Sunset Rock I quickly fell behind.  Being a seasonal allergy sufferer, it was hard a little hard to breath and my eyes were watering profusely.

I finally made it to the top of Sunset Rock, albeit really slow, but I didn't walk.  The road was in pristine condition and if you are planning on ever riding D2R2 you need to ride these two roads to give you a taste of what it will be like.

The descent down behind Catamount was refreshing and cooled us off.  Instead of turning right onto Jug End Road, we turned left and headed into an area that I have never ridden before with new dirt roads to try. It was also the dirtiest route to Great Barrington, this side of the Housatonic River.

The dirt roads that I found leading up to Great Barrington all went through and were really good. 

This part of Housatonic River Valley really flat and gave us the opportunity to make up some time. The weather, on the other hand seemed to be changing. It started out partly sunny when we left Salisbury but now it was cloudy and the clouds seemed to be getting darker.

Before turning onto Route 7 we were riding along one stretch of road that was wooded to south. Suddenly, I noticed this small black thing just inside the tree line and I didn't realize it was a bear cub until Ralph shouted out bear.  Realizing it was a bear cub and that it's momma must be nearby we picked up the pace to get out of there quickly.

We got to the brewery just in the nick of time because after we parked our bikes under their fest tent the heavens opened up and it started to pour!  We were so lucky that they had the tent set up but weren't serving outside yet.

It poured for at least an hour and a half.  The forecast did call for a 20% chance of rain so it appeared we were in that 20% chance area.  We decided to stick it out until the heavy rain moved out of the area.

Of course, this meant more time for lunch and to sample their beers.  I had a flyte consisting of their American Pale Ale, English Bitter, American IPA, Porter and Stout.  Of the five beers I sampled I filled my half growler with the porter for just $5!  It's funny but it seems only in the Boston area is where the micro breweries will only fill their branded growlers with their beer but here in Western Mass, you can show up with just about any type of container and they will fill it.

Getting back on the bike after lunch and 20 oz of beer was kind of tough, not to mention the temperature had dropped 10 degrees. Fortunately, I had a cycling jacket which kept me warm, while Ralph and Curt both had plastic garbage bags.  The ride up towards Beartown State Forest was a steep climb up Blue Hill Road and then the road continued into a preserve that was really grassy and full of ticks.

It was a tough slog up hill because it was really wet and traction was really pour.  We walked some sections and rode others and by the time we got back to the paved portion of the road again it was time to take off all the snivel gear. 

I had never ridden this road before but knew it was a climb and it was a big climb!  A couple of turns later and we were in Beartown State Forest and riding the dirt roads that the Fall Folliage Gravel Grinder has used over the years.

Right before descending down into New Marlboro there is a driveway to someone's house that has the interesting rock garden configured and is a perfect vantage point to look down the valley.  

From this point you can see Mt Frissel and Mt Everett.  Of course it looks way better if it's sunny.

I call this view the Sound of Music because it reminds me of the lush, green valleys, of the Austrian Alps when I lived over there.  The picture above was taken on the first running of the Fall Folliage Gravel Grinder (F2G2) and when ever the route goes through this part I make sure to stop and take a picture.

From here, we rode the dirt roads down through New Marlboro, where at one time was my home away from home during the winters and where I skied at Butternut throughout my high school years. Then we made our way through all the dirt roads through the Sheffield plain and back down into Connecticut and road Between the Lakes and then back into Salisbury.

You can relive this ride.