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NWCT Autumn Roubaix Classic

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

A Great Day for a Bike Commute


I was planning on going fishing after work but my friend from work with the boat hurt himself so I opted to finish the month with my 5th Bike commute for August.  Now that school is in session this is probably the last week I can get two rides to work in the same week.  Granted, I haven't been very good this year with keeping a regular bike commuting schedule. In fact, this ride will make my 14th ride to work this year for a total of 800+ miles.  I will need 4 more commutes to break a 1000 miles.  I think I might get them all in September.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Thirsty Thursday: Jack's Abby Copper Legend


Jack's Abby does it again with another outstanding lager.  Copper Legend, Octoberfest taste really good. The only downside is it doesn't have that Märzen flavor associated with just about all the German Octoberfest beers that I have had. Still, it's light enough to be enjoyed after a hard ride or fishing all day on Long Island Sound!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

NWCT Autumn Roubaix Route Recon

I thought it might be a good idea to spend a day reconnoitering the course I designed for the NWCT Autumn Roubaix Classic to see if there were any surprises on the route. The original thought was to have an easy and hard route, so I decided to ride the hard route, of course. The difference lies in two climbs, Front of the Mountain and Kent Road North.



Front of the Mountain is a beast of a climb that starts out at a 7% grade and then doubles to 14% in the middle of the climb and by the time you turn onto Long Mountain Road your are still climbing a 9% grade. I did it without having to stop, however, there were a few sections that were really dry and I almost spun out.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Do you want to know where the dirt is in the Northeast?

Northeast Gravel Riders
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If you like riding dirt roads and are looking for routes to ride, meet other riders, or learn a new area to ride in the Northeast this is the place.

Friday, August 24, 2018

HVNEMBA BYOB Ride #4

The Housatonic Valley Chapter of NEMBA's Thirsty Thursday BYOB (Bring Your Own Bike) ride series has a breath of new life.  Nick, from Waterbury, and I rode the Upper Gussy from start to finish, and we checked out the reroute that was done on the southern part of the forest, yeah the closed section. It's too bad that there are bad actors in the mountain biking community who just do as they please. Your illegal work here is just going to ruin it for everyone in the future, especially when I want to add a new trail.


It's been awhile since I was in the forest and discovered a trouble spot on the new reroute. Looks like I will need to do some more armoring but it looks like people aren't waiting at least 24 hours after a big rain for the trails to dry out and that makes me sad.


It's getting to the point in the evenings where you need lights around 7:30 or so.  Nick had a handle bar light and we were able to see reasonably well. I kept might light on low mode because I wasn't sure how much charge was on the battery.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Thirsty Thursday: Platform "Seeing Sounds" IPA


I had a couple of "Seeing Sounds" IPAs from at My Place (local Italian restaurant with an awesome tap selection in Newtown, CT) and it was incredible! It's a hazy American IPA reminiscent of a wheat beer and the same kind of hoppiness only missing that wheat beer flavor, but then again its not really a wheat beer. For an American IPA is really juicy and easy to drink one or three.  

Monday, August 20, 2018

A Rainy 156K Mystery at D2R2


The first thing we did Saturday morning was download the Long and Short Mystery Routes and then it started to rain! 


The weather report was saying rain in the morning and a midday shower. This was turning out to be the wettest D2R2 on record, for me, however not the wettest gravel grinder.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Prelude to D2R2: Camping in the rain

If you want to have the full D2R2 experience, you need to camp out before the ride. It's also nice to camp out after the ride so you don't have to cut your celebration short. This is my second year camping out and it's a blast. Especially since, I have fallen in with this great group of guys, and a lady, whom I met through one of my riding buddies, Mike.



Friday, August 10, 2018

NWCT Autumn Roubaix Classic



This fall, on September 23, 2018, Hunt Hill Farm, Northwest Connecticut’s experiential learning center of art, in New Milford Connecticut, is hosting a bicycling touring event on the scenic dirt roads of Northwestern Connecticut. The event supports Hunt Hill Farms’ children’s and emerging artists’ programs. The ride will feature three metric distances (30km, 60km, 100km) followed by a concert and cookout.

Where:  Hunt Hill Farm, 44 Upland Road, New Milford, CT
Time:    9am Ride,  1pm Cookout and Concert
Route:   Starting in New Milford, the routes will also cover stretches in Washington, Roxbury,
Gaylordesville, Kent, Sharron, Warren, Kent Hollow and New Preston Connecticut.
Cost: Riders pay $75 for 30km, $85 for 60km, and $95 for 100km.

For more information and to register for the event please go to: 

Thursday, August 09, 2018

D2R2 Primer


Need to get ready for D2R2? 
Then, let's start climbing!

Front of the Mountain
Ore Hill
Kent Road North

Route: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/course/20119796

Start Location:  Youngs Field, New Milford, CT
7 AM

Thirsty Thursday: Jack's Abbey Post Shift Lager


Except for those fruity beers, you cannot go wrong at the Abby.  This pilsner is light and crispy that reminds me of those hot days back in Austria when we had no air conditioning and drinking a cold beer really cooled you off.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Hippy Roubaix to Brew: Kent Falls Ride #2

My company has summer hours, which means, I can pop smoke at 1 PM. When Steve Taylor, a cyclist whom I connected with through Instagram said that he would be spending another week this year in Newtown, I suggested that we get together for a gravel ride in Litchfield County. I gave him a couple of routes to explore on his own but if you are going to ride gravel up here, you really should have a guide. The one thing that had me a little nervous, however, was the weather. According to the weather channel, it looked like we could get a shower or two around 5 PM.


I picked up Steve from his Air BnB and we headed up to the Roxbury Market.  There we met Andy Engel and Ben Maxwell. We got on the road and headed north via Judds Bridge and then up the Shepaug Railroad bed, through the tunnel and on to Washington Depot. It was a spectacular day.




Riding through Washington Depot, you'd think that there was no chance or rain today but it seems to be Monsoon Season in Southern New England this week and one minute it can be like this and the next we could get a thunderstorm and then it's raining cats and dogs. 


Riding through the tunnel is fun but riding through Hidden Valley always seems to be a little more exciting. Not sure if that's because of the railroad bed and proximity to the river or the remoteness of the location. The rocks on the trail were really greasy and everyone was taking it easy.


There is one little bridge that I have ridden before but given today's conditions my pucker factor was up and at the last minute I decided to walk it but my dismount, on the bridge, was bad and I ended up going over somewhat. The only thing that stopped me from going over completely was the three teeth of my big ring digging into my leg.


When we came out onto Romford Road we got a brief shower and then as we were climbing up Whittlesey it became a light shower.  At the top, we stopped for a snack under a big Oak tree that provided some cover.

Photo Credit:  Steve Taylor
I was literally stuffing my face with this awesome homemade energy bar that Steve makes when he took that picture. He brought one for all of us and it was insanely good.  Lots of different nuts on the outside and dried fruit on the inside made for the perfect all natural energy bar.


The rain had tapered off a bit while we were riding down Rt 202.  Then we took to Flirtation Avenue and it started raining lightly again.  Passing by the town beach on Lake Waramaug the light shower started to get heavier and then rounding the bend on West Shore Road it became a full on downpour. I thought about trying to find a tree to hang out under but I was so soaked it wouldn't really have mattered so we pushed on to the brewery.


At the brewery there were some other cyclists who had ridden from Litchfield but they were much more dryer than we were which means they probably only got a light shower before getting to the brewery. It was the perfect temperature in the brewery. The rain never let up and after a few lightning flashes and a power flicker, the rain just got steadier and heavier. 


I had the Danny Boy, a German styled lager, which tasted great. I decided that is what I will be taking home in my Hydro Flask only to find out that the flask was leaking. So I treated Ben and Andy to another round! We put on our rain jackets because it was still raining when we left and started climbing up Camps Road and then climbing even more up Gunn Hill.


The hill on Camps combined with the climb up Gunn Hill is a 4% average grade for almost a mile. The pouring rain made it all the more difficult. Then we bombed down Finlay Road, cut across 202 and then made our way over to Chestnut Hill.  The climb up Walker Brook was nice and the rain actually started to taper off somewhat.  The descent down Walker Brook was a blast but the grime from the dirt road was nasty. Steve had fenders on his bike so he was pretty clean by the end of the ride, but not for the rest of us. My trunk bag acts like a fender but does nothing for the rest of the bike.

Photo Credit:  Steve Taylor
Andy suggested that we go for a post ride dip near the Shepaug and I thought I heard him say at Roxbury Pond, so we drove down River Road to the parking area. One look at the pond and I said no way am I going into that quagmire but then he said, we are going to a swimming hole past the pond on the Shepaug River.  While the water silty from all the rain it felt great! Need to remember this place for future post ride cool downs.

Friday, August 03, 2018

eBikes are not permitted on CT Trails - it's the law!

From the Bike Walk CT Newsletter:

Electric bicycle legislation (PA 18-165) was passed in July that recognizes e-bike riders as vulnerable users, and provides guidelines for where e-bikes are permitted to be ridden!

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Thirsty Thursday: Köstritzer Schwarzbier


From one of the oldest breweries making Schwarzbier (black beer) in the world is Köstritzer. I can't put my finger on the taste but if you have lived in Germany and enjoy German beer you will immediately recognize that distinctive taste. It's great after a long road ride or after some huckling and buckling in the woods, or for any occasion.

Noch ein Bier daß Ich Dir empfehle!

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

The Gussy was Greasy

The past two days I have been putting in some long hours at work, but today I needed a break, so I headed home at little earlier than normal.  Bucky texted me to find if we were still going riding today and I asked about how much rain we got when that storm ripped through but he said it was a quick shower. Since it wasn't a soaking rain and it had been hot all day I figured the trails would be fine.




Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Got Fog?

I met Gavin at Cover 2 this morning in Sandy Hook at 5:45 and we headed out to OOF, our favorite French Bakery located in Woodbury, CT (aka Ovens of France).  The morning temperature was a cool 56 degrees but it was so humid and foggy it didn't feel that cold but it made for great cycling weather.




Monday, July 30, 2018

2018 CT Challenge Century


Team HomeServe at this year's CT Challenge Benefit Ride.
Our team doubled in size this year!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Thirsty Thursday: Grady's Better Bitter


I got a half growler from Veracious Brewing Company in Monroe, CT and it was awesome!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

I always wanted to ride to Massachusetts, so ...

I wanted to ride at least a Century this weekend to get ready for next Saturday's CT Challenge Century ride. True Cyclery had a True to Brew ride that I wanted to do but the distance wasn't what I was looking for and I wanted also to test my bottom bracket on the Voodoo on a long distance ride. That's when I thought about riding to Massachusetts.



Thursday, July 19, 2018

Thirsty Thursday: Arrogant Bastard Ale


Not sure what took me so long to discover this ale but it's awesome! It has just the right combination of hardiness you would expect from ale especially after a nice, hard gravel ride. I have to get more of this!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Un P'tit tour d'OOF


From now on, if I wake up at 5 AM to ride, by golly, I am going to ride. Monday morning I looked out the window and my excuse for going back to bed was that it looked too foggy.  Lame! I should have rode anyway.


I wanted to ride to work on Tuesday, however, the weather wasn't going to cooperate so I decided to go on a big ride in the morning. I made that decision at the bottom of my driveway, actually. Originally, I was going to do one of my Chasing my average speed ride, where I climb the hill that is behind my house on a road called Butterfield then spend the rest of the ride trying to get my average speed up to 15 or 16 mph, while still riding some hills.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Meanwhile at the Office Bike Rack ...


This is the second time I have seen this bike locked up behind the bike rack at 501 Merritt 7 so I went in for a closer look asking myself if removing your front wheel is enough to deter theft? 


Turns out this is a BOTTECCHIA SPRINT BZ 78 TEAM ROAD BIKE, and from what I can tell in perusing the interwebs, retails for about $2300.


So, my question is, why would you lock up a $2300 bike with a cable lock so thin that you could cut through it with a pair of pliers?

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Upper Mulikin Trail Building (continued)

I had originally planned to go out and do some work early this morning but it was raining.  Went back to bed, woke up later, and thought I would let things dry out a bit.  Ended up heading out about noon and it was steamy to say the least, but I got a lot of work done, but there is much more to do.


First I armored this intermittent stream crossing. Also took out a small tree and clipped some overhanging branches that were ruining the sight lines.

Surly Bikes!


Returning to the Depot Deli after my Bastille Day Gravel Grinder I noticed these really nice Surly Bikes in the rack. At first I thought the black one belonged to someone I follow on Instagram who lives in the Hartford area but when I introduced myself to the owners I realized it wasn't him.  

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Qu'ils mangent de la brioche

Let them eat cake!
The Bastille Day Gravel Grinder

Last weekend Will emailed and was interested in doing some riding on Bastille Day (July 14) so I suggest that we meet at the Depot Deli in Copake Falls at 7 AM.  I live an hour and half from there so I had to get up at 5 AM to get to the meeting place.  I also put the word out to some Facebook pages that are aimed at Northeast riding, when I realized there was no group for Northeast Gravel Ridings so I created a group called Northeast Gravel Riders and posted the ride there but there were no takers. I also emailed a friend of mine, Shepard, who lives in the area to see if wanted to join us and he did.


We got off to a later start because Will's bike wasn't shifting well and Shepard, the mechanic, was able to set things right (he had dirty cables) and we were off.  The Morning Eye Opener Climb was of course Sunset Rock Road. It's now my annual tradition and a must do climb, especially if you are going to ride D2R2.


Sunset Rock is a 1.4 mile climb with grades as steep 12% and it's tough.  Shepard took off because he was running a 1x10 with a 49 tooth front chain ring, which was a bit tall for the climbing that we set out to do today.  Will is a great climber, too and I think they kept together during the whole climb. I, on the other hand, am just a slow climber and since the Sex Machine is 3x10 I called Granny for her help for this climb.


After bombing down Mt Washington Road and riding past the Jug End I called an audible and we dropped a section of the route from the script for the interest of time.  I needed to be at my Dad's house for a party at 2 which meant the latest I could get back to the Deli is 12 and I new the pace we were riding that the additional 8 miles that I had on the route would have made our arrival tight. Foley road was pretty tight. There was only one little muddy section and it looked like it had been graded within the last year.


Making our way into Connecticut we rode Between Lakes and stopped to check out the view of the ridge line that we would be riding in about in an hours time.  We bombed down Rt 44 and then rode the Railroad Ramble over to the Salisbury Townhall and to Sweet Williams Pastry Shop.  Will had a Scone and I had a Cinnamon Bun that would give Ovens of France a run for the money.


Then we started climing up Factory-Washinee Road towards Mt Riga Road.  It appears that this road was paved within the last year. It wasn't Black Butter, but it was still pretty smooth.


Then we started climbing Mt Riga Roadd

 

It was really dry


And a lot of cars, too.


The climb up is 6.4 miles with an average grade 4.6% and its a grind. This time I let granny rest and just ground my way up the hill. Of course Will and Shepard flew up the hill and I met them at the Lake Riga.

  

The guys waited for me to catch up to them at the Lake. It was really tempting to stop and take a dip but there wasn't really any time. I made it this point without asking Granny for help and continued that way.


Just 500 more vertical feet to go to the top! From the lake, its pretty steep, 9%, and with the dry roads and abundance of loose stone made this part a tough climb.  Some of the descents down to the State line were equally treacherous.


The State line is alway good place to stop.


Got back to the Deli with an hour to kill.  Will took off so it was just Shepard and I and we met this guy, Jack Day, that had started riding earlier this year from Iowa and now was going to ride up to Canada.


He had a ton of gear on his bike, however, I didn't notice at first but his bike is electric. Isn't that cheating?


Still, had to give this guy props for making it this far.