Friday, May 29, 2020

Brown baggin' a PBR

Summer hours started officially today and when I went to get ready to ride after work I discovered that the Bondeye had a flat tire. So I came up with an alternate plan which was to take the CAADx on a dirty thirty adventure into Roxbury to ride the lower section of the Shepaug Rail Road bed.  The only legal approach to it is from a single track trail off of Minor Bridge.

As you might imagine the trails in Roxbury Land Trust are hardly sustainable and very mountain bike unfriendly. There are fall line climbs and descents, little to no armoring on stream crossings and in a lot of places if you can imagine a worse place for a trail to go most of these trails are doing just that.

The closer you get to the old ROW which leads to a field and then another cart track to the railroad bed do the trails get better but until that point it's a Napoleon's Death March. 

I have bread new life into the CAADx and riding it once again. I used it primarily for commuting but now that I am working from home for the foreseeable future I riding it more as a mountain bike it seems than anything else. Fat Amy is at the shop and could be that way for some time due to the fact that repair parts are kind of hard to come by right now.


The closer you get to the field the buffer the trail gets. After you ride around the edge of the field there is a short descent to the railroad bed and then you are off to the races.

At first you can't really tell its an old rail road bed

But when you get to the bridge over the Shepaug River it really opens up.

Except of a fisherman and two runners there was no one on the trail

Coming out at the Blue Barns on Botsford Road I rode up to Weller's Bridge and then turned south on River Road, which turns to dirt.  It's dirt for half the length of the road but near the end is a little road called High Bridge Road. It has a punchy little climb but its dirt.

Then the climb up Flag Swamp Road.

It's a challenging climb that starts out paved but then a quarter of the way up the hill turns to dirt where it gets steeper.  

After crossing the 4 way intersection the road turns into West Flag Swamp Road and comes out by this old water tower that was part of the Southbury Training School complex.

When the road changes to paved so does the name which is Cassidy Road. Riding down it I looked to the west and saw some ominous looking clouds. There was rain in the forecast but it wasn't supposed to start till 9 or 10 pm. 

Before heading up Peach Orchard I rode down Spruce Brook looking for the cows but they were too far away to get a good shot of them.

Then came the descent on West Flat Hill and then I made my way over to Fairfield Hills.

I rode the dirt roads that lead to Old Farm Road and then up Old Farm Road to Queen Street.

Stopped off at the Packy next to Carraluzzi's for a couple of PBR pints.  Started drinking one in front of the store when the store manager told me I couldn't drink them here. I asked for and he gave me a brown bag so I could hide the fact that I had an open container.

I rode down the back way over to the bagel store where I knew there were some chairs and finished drinking my beer.

The funny thing was, and I never noticed it before, but during the whole time I was enjoying that beer there was a police car parked across the street! He/she never came after me, though. I did however, put the other can of been in my back pocket and then headed home.

Turning onto Echo Valley Road I felt some drops of rain and by the time I was on Sanford Road it was raining but when I got to Hanover Road it was pouring! I wasn't sure what the total mileage of this route would be but it turns out it was 30 miles, and dirty. Also, wet at the end. Rain came a little sooner than the weather people predicted.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

I found Huggy Bear's car in upstate NY

My Sister-in-law conspired with my wife to give our daughters some time together after they both have been secluded in our houses for so long due to the Pandemic. My daughter and I drove up to Spencertown. There are a lot of dirt roads up in Columbia County but if you stick to numbered county roads you can avoid the dirt. I planned a route from their place, up to Stephentown, over the Brodie Mountain Road and then back to Spencertown.

Riding up County Road 295 we came across the is pimp Lincoln Continental. I immediately thought of Huggy Bear but later I found out he drove a Grand Torino. Still, those opera windows on the side remind me of my Grandmother's Lincoln. It was blue with a white top and had the softest leather seats. 

Will I and discussed the meaning of life as it pertained to Strava and Clmbpro on the Garmin 530. We both agreed that paying for Strava is still not worth it. To me it would only make sense if I was so competitive that I needed it for training but ironically Garmin Connect gives you all those features and more, although they are not as in depth as what you see in Strava. 

The issue about ClimbPro that we both find frustrating is how the grade profile shows red (9 to 12%) but the actual grade could 4% and it's still showing in the red zone. Is that the Garmin not keeping up or is there some other flaw. The other thing that is frustrating is when you are still 3/4s of the way up a climb and it says Climb Complete! But I am still climbing here!

It Strava were to offer a cap or socks and a yearly price that would save a little month by month then I would probably do it but after 3 years of pushing subscriptions and now going whole hog I don't see anything happening from them.

After Stephentown, we rode into Hancock, MA and we got our first view of the Zephyr, Jiminy Peak's wind turbine.

You can see it from the town hall

the cemetery

and the last farmer's field before turning onto Brodie Mountain Road

Before we started the ride I wondered aloud whether Jiminy Peak still had any snow. Will said no way.

Sure enough, there was a big patch left on Whirlaway!

Then the long slog up Brodie Mountain Road started

Which took us to the highest point of the ride, 1,651 feet above sea level.

On the other side we had some screaming down hills. There was no way to avoid riding on Route 7 unless you wanted to ride dirt roads. Eventually, the route went away from Route 7 and something that I didn't catch was that Miner Road was partly dirt. Fortunately it was compacted enough from the previous night's rain that it was buttery smooth.

We ended up having lunch at Balance Rock.
It's incredible to see this rock pitched on top of another rock as it is and never moving or have been moved.

The engraved graffiti was interesting, going back to 1932!

The ride back to New York was awesome because he went down Route 41. It's a gradual descent with numerous rollers making it a fast way back.

Of course there was a climb back over the ridge for Spencertown but it had some great views of the Catskills.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Pandemic Roubaix to Brew: Kent Falls Brewing

We had a half day on Friday for the start of the holiday weekend. I changed packs on the CAADx because I wanted to ride to Kent Falls Brewery, buy a four pack, drink one and carry the other three home. Much easier than a growler.

My original plan was to ride the Shepaug Railroad bed from Minor Bridge in Roxbury and then up Walker Brook, over to Bear Hill and then ride in from the west. However, when I went looking for the start of the rail bed I was met with a lot of No Trespassing signs and didn't feel like back tracking to the singletrack so I rode up to River Road instead. 

I figured I would make better time riding up through Steep Rock and then up Bee Brook, over to Waramug and then drop down to the brewery.

Steep Rock was pretty empty but then again it was a Friday afternoon.

I decided to get a little flirty

Lake Waramug was looking really nice.  The town beach was pretty full. Didn't see any masks and people were kind of close to one another.

There is little or no cell service at the brewery so I had stand outside near the tap room and log onto their internet to make my order. I realized I forgot to bring a credit card and they weren't taking cash. Fortunately, they took Apple Pay so I was able to pay with my app.

Since I wasn't in a car I had to wait on the other side of the lot until the woman working there brought out my order. I took one can out and put the other three in my trunk bag.  I found a nice shady place to relax and have a Danny Boy.

It's a German style pilsner and under 5% for alcohol content.

Perfect for a ride!

Iron mountain off the north 

I have ridden down this road, Frenchmans, 3 or 4 times in the other direction but riding it this way is so much better. Coming in from Chermanske, you have a short, steep punch climb but from this direction is more drawn out enjoyable.

North Road is a great descent although the top part always seems to be off course

Bear Hill and what a bear that hill is!
It's short little wall. According to RWGPS its a 13% grade
but I think the Garmin said it was 19% and with road gears on a cross bike it felt like 19%!

All that's missing is Goldilocks!

Walker Brook is fun in either direction but heading south is so much better.

The cows were out but a little distant

As I was coming down Walker Brook I had a decision to make, back track the way I came and more miles to my ride or test myself with a climb up Judd's Bridge with road gears and three pints of beer.  I went for the climb. The interesting thing is my Garmin said it was a 17% grade but on RWGPS its only 13%.  It definitely felt steeper than 13%. I passed two cars going the other direction and they both stopped to cheer me on.

I saw this great bumper sticker riding through Bridgewater.

Rain wasn't supposed to start till 9 but off in the distant it looked like it was already raining.