Rode Wilton Woods yesterday for the first time, after work, and what a place. 160 acres of the twistiest, gnarliest, technical trails that I have ever ridden and all within an area the size of the playing fields of the local high school! Rode with the main trail guru, Dave, who has been doing beaucoup work here. There are other trail gnomes building their own little side projects and some really sick stuntry, but Dave is definitely Papa Smurf as far as the trail gnomes go.
I usually take the train to work but my new company was letting us go early in anticipation for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, so I drove down to the office with my bike on the Saris Rack. What a perfect opportunity to ride some trails that I have never been on before. I could have hit Bennett's Pond but I have wanting to check out Wilton Woods for quite some time.
Met up with Pete (pictured above and author of iBike) and Dave around 2:45 off of Branch Brook Road in North Wilton and did a quick warm up loop waiting for another guy from Crankfire.com who wanted to ride with us to show up. The warm up ride was an eye opener to this place! We rode up the orange trail and back on the blue and I thought my fillings were going to fall out on some sections of the trail.
Picked up the other guy and I put more air in my tires and went back in for more punishment. This time we rode up the other side of the blue trail to what Dave calls the first Rock Ridge in which he has created a ride out of. It's actually two rock out croppings in line with each other.
It was really hot, probably close to 90 degrees and the humidity you could cut with a knife! My stamina was great but on one particular climb leading up to this point my chain started to jump off the lowest gear and I knew that my earlier work to ensure my rear derailleur was working again failed. Still, the nice thing about this area is that there are very few pray-to-the-porcelain-gods-once-you-get-to-the-top climbs and I was able to climb just about everything. Still, knowing that the rear derailleur wasn't working right took some of my confidence away.
Pete broke off from us at this point because he had to get back in time to coach his son's little league game. We continued onto a trail that Dave just built, which is on the Wilton Woods Trail map below listed as New Mt Bike Trail. It was a nice, flowy, singletrack trail at times with many little launches and rollers along the way and it also included some really gnarly rock gardens. I guess I can't complain about Al's Trail anymore, the section between Kissing Oak and the opening to the Pond Brook inlet. I feel more confident riding rock gardens thanks to Dave and his trail.
We got back to the parking area around 5 pm and I felt like I dropped 5 pounds. That was the most technical riding I have ever done in my life. Two hours of riding and only 5 miles distance! On the way home, I stopped by Bicycle Goodie Shop to see what was going on with my rear derailleur and it appears that it might not be derailleur, rather the hanger. It was loose and wouldn't tighten anymore which led them to think that hanger might be cracked. Hopefully, I can get this squared away before Saturday's ride.
Here is track from yesterday's ride which you can compare to Dave's map underneath. His map was GPS'ed as well but the scales are widely different.