Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Upper Paugaussett Trail Map

Spent an hour and a half getting throughly confused yesterday in Paugaussett SF. Rode the blue trail from the parking lot (olive green) at the entrance that intersects with an old Jeep trail (Blue & Red) on the eastern boundary. Interesting little ride that consists of two hike-a-bikes (the art of dismounting one's ride and pushing, carrying, schlepping, up a hill that is too steep to climb peddling, or if one is just too tired to do so), one was up a ledge along a little cliff. I felt like Lassie and little Timmie was trying to coax me up to safety.

Between the hike-a-bikes is a beautiful right of way (ROW) from days gone past. Both sides are edged with 4 foot stone walls. Unfortunately, there are too many trees down to make it passable. This ROW is the one that runs from Albert's Hill/Al's Trail intersection up past the house at the start of the SF and into it the woods (SF) proper. It's probably how the farmer(s) moved livestock and wagons into the area for farming. Acording to the maps I have seen, at one point it just stops which makes me think that it was the route to fields.

So, heading down hill I hit the old jeep/logging trail which starts on Sandford Road, so I guess this means it turns into the blue trail. There is a branch off which is marked with blue/pink engineer tape (olive & red), that I rode a couple of weeks ago. This trails appears to be a cut-off from the blue trail that gets around some really nasty climbing (yes, more hike-a-bike). I wonder if this might have been put in by a fellow rider. When I intersected with blue trail again, I went south to see where this goes and found that it climbs to the top of one of the highest points in the SF and then drops sickenly down (hence the by-pass maybe). Picked up the blue/pink again and found that it bypasses this steep climb another way, too. So, is the purpose of the blue/pink just to get around this steep part or what?

So I followed the other blue/pink cut-off back up the hill, picked up the blue, rode past where I the other cut-off intersects with the blue to where the blue turns due west towards the exit of the forest. At that point, there is a trail marked with pink tape that cuts over to the main Jeep trail. There were more blue markers headed into the woods in the direction of the Pond Book Boat ramp and Al's trail but after 100 yards I lost the trail and headed back. I did find a nice camping area with a fire ring. Getting back to the Jeep Trail (green) for the final down hill ride and the ride was done.

The upper part of the blue trail shown on the map above, starting where it breaks off from the olive trail was indeed a trail that lead straight into someone's back yard. I recorded this track on my GPS the first time I rode the eastern side of the state forest. Rather than back track to find the trail I should have been on, I bushwhacked until I found the blue blazed trail which led me down to the jeep trail and out of the forest. Bushwhack riding is challenging.

Also, I have captured part of Al's Trail (tourquoise). Three quarters of the way, where it does a 90 degree turn and heads due south is a white blazed trail that hooks up with another blue trail (engineer tape) that leads to the Jeep Trail.

More trails to come.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Bike maintenance at Middlesex. Amanda's (aka Rocky) bike front gears developed a loosened condition. So, jakejohn and Duffman came to the rescue. Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Middlesex Community College

Rode from Middlesex Community College with the Crankfire Crew today and let me tell you, these guys are some sick riders!

Above is the track of the ride. The waypoints are all the trail intersections with other trails. If you would like to see a more comprehensive map of this location check out this link: Middlesex Community College

I must admit, by the time I marked my first waypoint (001) I was ready for some dual track fireroad. Single Track riding here is brutal. Upon entering the forest you are riding/threading your way through a tangle of Mountain Laurels, open face rock, over many logs and bridges, and through various streams.

While riding in this terrain was a new experience for me I really appreciated the Crew for letting me catch up to them. I learned something very important about mtb in rough terrain: Momentum is key for negotiating difficult terrain - if you are going to slow, you are going down or you are going to walk. I also learned how to log jump and had some successes and quite few stop shorts, which came close bashing my nards on the handlebars.

I also learned that rocks are hard because one of the crew did a face plant on one. Ouch! Fortunately, Amanda, a.k.a. Rocky, didn't get hurt seriously. Just a bloody nose and cut on her cheek.

I am going to have to get some better gear, first on the list is shorts. The sweatshorts I was wearing this morning either kept getting caught up on the bike seat or wedged up my fourth point of contact.

It's cool how you can find a website dedicated to mtb in your local area, hook up with people you have never met and have great time. The webiste I am talking about is called Crankfire, its really a forum for MTB only the moderator has a passion for GPS and when you marry to the two together, you make maps, like the one above.

By the time I arrived back at the parking lot, both legs were bleeding from various cuts and scrapes receive along the way and I was soaked in sweat. Granted, I was wearing a long sleeve T and a short sleeve T underneath. I drained my Camelback and not once took a leak. I think might have dropped a few pounds today!Posted by Hello

Friday, May 27, 2005

Here is my map of Burr Farm Open Space Ride. I have the start point at Bramble Trail (though not really shown on the map). I used GPS Visualizer to make this map. This is a good ride that can be done in about an hour and provides a great mix of terrain. The trails are mostly single track riding, except for the rights of way (ROW). There is alot of climbing, crossing streams and riding through some really interest property.
You can park at the Burr Farm Open Space Kiosk located at the top of Dinglebrook Road but from Bramble Trail its almost a seven mile ride. Going up Hawley Road is challenging because its an old right of way (ROW). The homeward leg, going down Lake George Rd, another ROW that is impassible to vehicle traffic.
I plan more updates to this map because there are numerous trails coming off of the Open Space Trail (blue blazed) that have yet to be explored. I hope to find a trail that connects the Newtown Forest Association property north of Pond Brook to this area which would make for some really good riding.
Posted by Hello

This my ride!

This is my ride. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

My ride is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

My ride, without me, is useless. Without my ride, I am useless. I must ride my ride true. I must ride better than another rider who is trying to ride better than me. I must ride by him before he rides past me.

My ride and myself know that what counts is not the time spent riding, the time thinking about riding, nor the time dreaming about riding. We know that it is the trails that we ride that count.

My ride is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its gears and its breaks. I will ever guard it against the ravages of weather and damage as I will ever guard my legs, my arms, my eyes and my heart against damage. I will keep my ride clean and ready. We will become part of each other.

Before God, I swear this creed. My ride and myself are riders of trails. We are the masters of the trail.

Posted by Hello

Mountain Biking at 40

My father told me life begins at 40 and here I am, 40 years old, a house, a wonderful wife and two beautiful kids, and another on the way. I enjoy what I do for work and I am involved with my town's government by volunteering to perserve open space.

I have seen some of my contemporaries, when they hit 40, go through the proverbial mid-life crisis. They go out and get a fancy sports car to make them feel young again. I don't have the time, nor the cash, for that kind of extravangance. I have two young kids that keep me young.

I still need exercise though and after fifteen years of military service, which comprised of Active Duty, Connecticut Army National Guard, and the United States Army Reserve, Physical Training or PT as it's called, has taken its toll on my knees. Thus, the mountain bike.

Now, take Mountain Biking or "MTB", add a GPS, and what do you have? A new hobby that's good for you. With GPS, I track where I ride in the woods, then come home, download the data to my computer, and voila! I have a topo map of where I have been and where I might go again.

I have found two websites that cater to this, MTB and GPS, in the State of Connecticut. You will find their links on my links payne. The Crankfire Website is hard core riding with a GPS. Bikerag has maps that the webmaster has created and a few others have contributed, as well as myself. Check out my Burr Farm Map on Bikerag. Its also on Crankfire, too.

So, the purpose of my blog is to bring you anything and everything to do with MTB'ing in my life. I will post maps and ride reviews of my own jaunts around the state. I also thought I would separate my MTB endeavors from my other blog, Meine Aufnahmen (My Pictures). There you find pictures of my family and artistic pictures I attempt to take with my digital SLR.

Let's see what happens.