Saturday, November 25, 2006

Bruised Rib Ride

Out riding the Q Ball today in glorious weather with a guy that I met at the Massacre who lives right up the road from me and this guy can climb! Makes me wonder what I am doing wrong but I think it be more do to the fact that I started out wrong and Q Ball/SS is going to correct all that.

Ride was going great, started from Pond Brook, up the Fire Road (aka Polly Brody), did a little segment connector to the Horse Trail. Something needs to be done about the Horse trail, though because after the stream crossing (which needs armoring) you have that long steep climb. Need to find another way around it.

There are a few trees down in the canyon that need a solution. Maybe an up and over or two. I was hitting most of down trees with great success, though. Looped back on the MUT and I think I found a solution to the back bowl - that is once you leave the Echo Valley ROW/Farmer's Road (stonewall lined), climb up the hill and then head back into what I call the bowl, rather than climbing back up another hill rather steeply, stay to the west of the stream and then come up through a little draw.

Went down the Mulikin and it seems I can now put a face to a waffle print on the Mulikin! Almost cleaned the big up and over. I think a few more tries and I will be doing it. Also need to do some ribboning and water diversion at the start of the second downhill. Lots to do here.

At the stone wall turn we went North for the first time because I noticed the other day that it looks like there is a trail back there and there was. We made another up and over on a down tree that I cleaned. Unfortunately, there are two stream cuts that are pretty deep and need some actual bridging because the banks are so soft.

Once you get through the brambles it gets really flaky. Found some orange tape that looks like it ties in with an old logging track but not original forest road. Need to go in from the other direction and hack my back to see where it actually goes.

Never found the white blazed entrance that I marked with Snow Dawg, either. Could be because as I was coming down one particular ulta technical descent when the Q Ball slipped out from under me and I fell onto a nice rock. I think I bruised my ribs. So it looks like I won't be riding for at least a week, if not more! Ugh!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Day Massacre

There is a group of guys that meets at Pond Brook on Thanksgiving Day morning to ride river trail at Upper Paugussett State Forest. I think I heard about this last year but it was snowing and decided to stay in where it was nice and toasty and warm. It was posted on Crankfire that meeting time was between 7 and 8. Got up at 7:00 and noticed that it was raining and a cool 41 degrees! Got suited up and got on the AC and headed down there. (Should have put my Goretex on).

Only people that were there were Tren (aka Blazer on Crankfire) and two of his buddies from Danbury. So, rather than stand around in the cold and rain, we took off. I lead them up from Pond Brook to the forest road, then up to one of the trails that stays on west side of the forest. Heard quite a few gun shots off in the distance. Finally hooked up with my NEMBA/NBLA trail and rode that back to Echo Valley.

Took the Forest Road back. Tren's buddies split off to take the river trail back (No Thanks) and meanwhile I led Tren over to the Mulikin. We hit it hard and fast. I tried to chicken out on the Up and Over but momentum carried me through. I think Tren wiped out in the muddy section. Stopped at the logging road and noticed that someone has opened the trail that hooks around back behind. I wonder if that is the White trail?

Ran down the rest of the Mulikin to the river trail and back to the lot. There must have been 20 or 30 cars in the lot and a bunch of people getting ready to ride. Had a Heiniken and chatted with a few guys. Met a guy that lives in the Tudor at the intersection of Hanover, Dinglebrook and Lake. Turns out he rides in the forest alot, too! Gonna have to get his number and start riding together!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Cheap Seats

There was quite a crowd that showed up at the Birch Mountain Microwave Tower Parking Lot. Initially there must have been 30 to 40 riders, however, one group wasn't particularly jazzed about the 9 AM start time for the NEMBA ride, so they took off on their own. Most people were there on time, but there were a few stragglers that we knew were coming but got there late regardless.
We were wheels in the dirt at 9:02 AM with Al Tinti leading the way. If you don't know Al, he is a hammer god and he was riding with broken rib from a couple of week ago! There were 19 riders in our group including four people on 29ers (myself included). We did a small loop through the bottom of Case, crossed over 94 and headed down into Meshomasic State Forest.

Around three miles in the ride, I had a little problem after I tried to do a little skinny ride and ended up failing miserably. I went down and when I got up I noticed my saddle was loose. The rail popped out of the end of the seat and there was no getting it back in. Luckily, we were 20 yards from Al's house and we went over to his place and replaced it with one the many saddles that he had as spares.
Since the main body of the group had taken off by the time we got back on the trail Al figured there was no way we had a chance of catching them, so we took some other trail that took us to a pipeline where we waiting for the main body. 45 minutes later they showed up.

One guy in the group had his seat post bolt sheer off and they did their best to zip tie it down so that atleast he could ride it out. From there we headed over to Konigscut Mtn and then back down again. Had to hit up a little road ride to get over to the next trail head which took us to some cool slickrock, then out to a farmer's field for a group picture.

Made our way back to Rte 94 where we then rode in on an old farming road which brought us out to the Power lines, near where we started. From there, the group splintered off in many directions. Some went into a case, others went for a quick loop into Gay City, and the rest headed back to the cars. Total miles for me was 13.65. I am thinking that the main body rode somewhere between 17 and 19 miles. We ended up at the restaurant with 9. Pizza and beer was picked up by CT NEMBA. We picked up two new members and the epic bug has hit a few in the group to plan some more rides like these next summer. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Wooster Mountain Ho Down!

Rode Bennett's Pond today for lunch after my dentist appointment with Alex and we went on a tour! Found a great trail that climbs up into Wooster Mountain State Forest, which was probably an old farming road from 100 years ago. I was on the AC and that was smart because this kind of ride definitely called for some squish.

This trail, we are calling the White Dot because there were white dots marking it, eventually meets up with the Ives' Trail. What we should have done is instead of taking the Ives Trail, follow the little by pass through the wetlands (see the Orienteering map below) which I think met up with the more rideable section of the Ives' Trail at the Danbury Town line.

There were many trails coming off this trail, which I marked with waypoints (those little circles you see in the that require further exploring but based on what we have seen today, Bennett's Farm, could be the next Ninham! Of course, that is what I have been saying about Upper Paugussett.

Below is a Rick DeWitt's Orienteering map I found on the ROSA website which I have been looking at and did an overlay using the map above in Photoshop to show where we rode today. I found all the maps that I downloaded on the Ives Trail and what I indicated as heading north isn't the case, rather the trail snakes around that hill top where I have the "Ives Trail Intersection" and winds its way down to Route 7. Not sure how rideable that section might be. I would think that its more rideable coming up from the gun club.

Last time Alex rode here he said that he found a trail coming off the red trail that does a fantastic climb up to Pine Mountain that gradually climbed up into the valley we discovered. Going to have to give that a try a next time around.

As you can see, from the past two rides that I have had at Bennetts Farm, there are quite alot of variety and I have yet to scratch the surface on Pine Mountain.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Katie and Aiden

Katie, her friend Aiden from school, his father and I rode the Monroe Rail Trail together and we all had a blast. Katie rode her Aunt Tiffany's first bike, a steel Huffy with a banana seat, chopper style handlebars and 20" wheels! She still has a little problem with stopping because the bike is just a wee bit high for her but she rides it great!

Aiden is still riding a little BMX style bike with 12 inch wheels but he is a good rider. We rode down to Wolfe Park and rode around the lake once, stopped off at the play ground, of course, and then did another lap around the lake before heading back up the rail trail to the parking lot.

After the ride, we out for lunch at a new burger joint in town. The weather held out for us, too. We got some sprinkles but no real rain, thank fully!

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

OTB and other discoveries

I have gotten into a patter now of alternating every other ride with my two bikes. Last Friday, at noon, I rode Upper Paugussett on the AC and I am finding that I really like riding it now despite the weight. It could be that the single speed is just building up my endurance so that riding the AC is now becoming easier because I now have the power the climb stuff that I was unable to in the past.

Friday, last, I was I took the white trail from the Polly Brody and instead of hanging a right and going up to Kissing Oak, I went straight, in search of the continuation of the logging road, for that matter the original road that traversed this property. Before the forest road, there was a much narrower road that accessed the property that was probably improved through the years until the State bought the land and created the current forest road. You can still see some remnants of this older road off of the forest road.

So, following this track in past the turn off, its gets lost about 100 yards in. Probably becasue of the fresh leaf fall. Need to wait till winter and try it again because the snow will compress things and I think the trail will open show itself better. Found a nice rock in this one area to roll. I picked up the road again after a little stream crossing and followed it till I couldn't follow it due to the overgrowth. Ended up bushwacking until I hit the Mulikin trail. I think if I come at from the other direction I will be able to define it better.

I did have one other success, though, I cleaned my up and over on the Mulikin for the first time. I just hit it at the right speed and rolled it nicely.

On Tuesday, Halloween, I rode Huntington with a guy from Danbury. We started the ride on Rock and Roll and about a quarter of the way into the trail (from the south) I endo'd for the first time on my 29er. Ouch! Both knees got it good and I got a nice bash to my left elbow. Chain popped off, too. Figures, the first time I decide to ride something really technical, I ride without protection and I get banged up.

The rest of the ride was great, though, despite the initial wounds. Took a trail that isn't on and found a connection to what Alan and I first thought might be Aunt Patty's Road but upon checking another map I found that it was the other side of Old Dodgingtown Road, I guess you could call it the Bethel section.

From there, we rode back up the hill to the trail intersection that I have come to on past rides and have always wondered if you went right, where would you end up. Of course coming up from the other section of Old Dodgingtown Road was a huge climb that I was able to do most of! Man, can I climb with a light bike.