This year's first Roubaix to Brew began on a beautiful spring morning. Andy, Jeff, and Jason rode in from their houses, Mike parked at the Brewery and rode down to meet us, and Paul and I drove. We left Roxbury Market at 9 AM and headed down Judd's Bridge.
On the way down I hit a bump and immediately following my saddle felt loose. Riding up Tunnel Road and onto the old Shepaug Rail Road right of way it was perfect. There was even still ice in the tunnel from this past winter and the temperature inside was at least 30 degrees cooler.
Turns out, the seat post cracked at the collar (see below). To fix the situation, I slid it further into the seat tube and turned around to head back to the Roxbury Market. First time, ever, I had to bail one of my rides. Once I got back to the car I drove home and starting thinking about where I should ride to because the weather today was absolutely gorgeous! I was in shorts, shorts sleeve jersey and fingerless gloves for the first time this year.
Then I figured out if I could get back to the Roxbury Market by 11, I could probably meet the guys at Kent Brewery if I just rode the course in reverse. I went for it.
I got to try some new dirt, too. Ash Swamp Road and Gunn Hill have now been crossed off the Dirt Road Bucket List!
Despite the earlier issue with the seat post, the new bike was riding nicely and I actually got to the Brewery before the guys got there. In fact I would say that the new seat post I put on was even better. I figured by the time I met up with them they would either be cursing or praising me for the route that I sent them on. Please read Andy's account of the ride: Mark's Ride Went to Eleven. I think he makes it clear what tune they were singing when they met me.
On today's route there were two unknowns: (1) What was the extent of the bridge construction on Romford Road and how rideable is the old woods road (aka Hardscrabble Road) that I found on a topo map running between Valley Road and Angevine Road. According to my friends, you can still get across the river on a shaky 2x8 but it's really muddy on the other side. The Jeep Road turned into Napoleon's Death March. There were no praises.
After sampling what Kent Falls Brewing had on tap I settled on a pint of Tell Me What My Dreams Mean. It was perfect. When I finished it I think it told me that my dreams of riding more dirt roads and trails would shortly come true. I split my lunch with Paul and Mike, which was two bean and cheese burritos that heated up in the microwave before leaving and then wrapped them in tin foil.
Andy, Jeff, and Jason didn't stop for a beer and after filling their water bottles, with water, they continued on. Paul headed back to Roxbury Market and Mike just got in his car and left because this where he started. I had my 32 oz Roubaix to Brew Growler Flask filled with Subtext, pale lager, and then headed out to do the course in reverse. Somewhere along the way, I missed aturn and lost the course.
I did find the entrance to the State Forest off of Route 341 so I headed in. It was all dual track and I thought this would be perfect to test the new bike. Had I stayed on the road that I was riding initially I would have ran into the course but the woods road seemed to be heading towards Angevine Road and I didn't feel like wandering through the State Forest no really knowing where I was going. I back tracked to another woods road that seemed to parallel the Forest Boundary.
Eventually, I came out in someone's backyard but they weren't home so I didn't get yelled at. Back on 341 I headed west to Jack Corner Road and then took Couch, which is dirt, too. Coming out on Route 202 I rode down Route 202 and then took a left and climbed of Whittlesey Road and then stopped at the Sound of Music vista.
On the old Railroad bed I only came across one other person walking there dog.