Monday, November 30, 2009

Mountain Biking without a Bike!

No, this post is not about the Citibank commercial or what ever that was where the guy was biking without a bike, rather, the first time for me in the woods without a bike but doing something for biking! I was using my feet and GPS to scout out a potential new trail that could be of epic proportions.

This new trail could have some fantastic views from this vista and depending upon what's available for us to use in the woods we're bound to have an incredible trail.

This picture looking downward from this midway ridge in which the first two pictures were shot from.

There appears to be an old cart path there that very well could be part of the future of trail.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Qball Monster Cross on The Larkin State Bridle Trail

Finally found the the time to ride the Larkin Bridle Trail end-to-end and great way to put the Qball Monster through it's paces after a major overhaul. So I hit the trail a little after 8 AM Saturday morning and pushed hard all the way to the end of the trail. The ride down the trail went faster than back up the trail but up and down is relative because the first five miles you are actually climbing and then next five you are descending. The back took longer because of the head wind and I stopped once to take a picture.

At the parking lot on the Rt 63 side there is this sign that caught my attention and I thought it was funny. I guess this is mountain biking trail, too?

The rail road bed ceases to exist at Route 63 and off to the left is the Hop Brook Dam, which before that was built it was just a stream flowing through there but in the big flood of 1955, this stream flooded a wiped out a big section of Naugatuck. However you can see where it starts up again. On some maps it says the trail continues but on the maps it shows railroad tracks coming not quite to the dam area. When I have more time, I will have to explore the other side.

At the turn around point I tried a new food item, Peanut Butter, Jelly, Banana Butter and Na'an. It didn't get crushed in my bag because the na'an was so stiff but because of that, all the Peanut Butter, Jelly and Banana Butter oozed out the sides. Guest that won't work. I think what I need to use are the end pieces of loaves of bread. Regular bread slices get squished too easily.

Another Houses of the Holy Trail Shot. I love this section of the bed because you can see how they blasted the railroad bed through the landscape.

Back at the car, the Qball was a mess. You need to ride with a fender if you are going to ride this trail all the way to the end because there is once spot just past Towantic Pond where there is open water in the middle of the trail and you have to ride down the middle of the bed. Either side it very muddy and you'll never pass.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Rigid in Mianus

Took the Dillinger to Mianus this morning. I would have preferred to have had the 'Horse but I am still waiting on the replacement hanger that I ordered, but Mianus is great for riding it rigid as I found out so long ago when I first got the Qball. The dark purple track on the map above was today's route and you can look at it interactively on on MTBGuru: Turkey Burner.
When I got in the car it wasn't raining but it had obviously rained the night before. The radar map showed a 50/50 chance of getting more rain this morning and the drive down to Stamford certainly proved the weatherman's accuracy. When I got to Merribrook Lane I was taken by surprise by two things: (1) the new parking lot between the road and the red bar and; (2) the fact that the parking lot was really empty. Seeing that I was also a half hour early I got ready. Decided that it was too cold for shorts so I put on the bibs.

Shortly thereafter Glenn, the CT NEMBA Secretary showed up, then a few other people started to trickle in and by ride time we had 9 people raring to go. By this time it was raining however, it was a light rain and nothing heavy.

The trails at Mianus are perfect for singlespeeding and no suspension. I tried a few smaller hucks, hit just about every up-and-over, and had no trouble keeping up with everyone else. Two hours into the ride the rain stopped and a half hour later the sun even poked out for a bit. With the exception of a few stream crossings where you would always expect to find mud the trails were not muddy at all, except for the Swamp Trail, but what would you expect?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thirsty Thursday: Yeti Imperial Stout

Great Minds Drink Alike! That's what the cap says and I don't know if it's the alcohol content (+8%) or what this is surprisingly a great stout! First swig comes off a little like Guiness but the fuller body and rich taste ascends to new levels. Perfect libation with the Turkey or what ever you like to consume on Thanksgiving.

Up the Gussy and down the Dingle Brook

I wanted to take the Qball over to Soutbury and ride the Larkin, end-to-end, but as I was getting it ready I noticed that the rear hub was loose, so it looks like I need to take it back to the shop, after I just got the bike back from the shop the day before! I went to a 9 speed cassette and a deore 9 speed rear derailleur. I am not sure how much longer I am going to keep the drop bars on the Qball because I am kind of jonesin' to see how this bike will do on trails, rigid with gears.

Went out yesterday after work and this marks the first time riding at Upper Paugussett during shotgun and rifle season. I wore my dayglo green riding jacket and sleighbells on the back of the seat pack. I am sure any hunter in shotgun range surely heard me coming. Didn't see any hunters, either, and there was a truck parked on Sandford Road but I imagine the hunter was on the blue trail.

I decided to try something new, I rode up the Gussy Trail and it was a blast! Maybe it was due to all the climbing because the Dillinger climbs so well. It's a completely different trail in this direction. I even scoped out a re-route that I had been eying for some time. After riding Nassahegen and Grayville, my perspective on trail building has greatly changed.

I guess if I didn't spend all that time with the reroute I could have caught a ride down the Gussy on the way home, however, the total ride was just over 9 miles! Throw in another loop on the Gussy and Poly Brody and you could get a 13 to 14 mile ride out of the two areas! The only thing that would make this route better is if the trail up from Dingle Brook was a little more flowy.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Iron Horse MKIII - Single Speed?

I put on an different cassette last night and tested out the bike in the driveway and up some hills in my backyard and everything worked great. Headed down to the Trumbull this morning seeing that I haven't ridden there in awhile. The ride down the blue trail was nice, then on the white trail above the Serengeti I wiped out on some roots and mud and I think I might have hit the hanger because all of a sudden I started to have shifting problems.

My chain got sucked in between the spokes and the cassette and I couldn't get the chain out. Looked like it was going to be the walk of shame until I broke the chain as close to the cassette as possible on both sides and the remaining piece of chain just slid out! So I rigged the 'Horse up single speed and rode back to the lot on Whitney Avenue.

However, the first 3/4s of the ride was really nice and technical. I tried the following the blue trail all the way down but lost it and wound up in some thicket that I had to back track out of.

Some one lost some keys on the Blue Trail after the old dam that were resting on this moss covered log. I posted the waypoint for them on the CTNEMBA blog.

Of all the trails at Trumbull, I like the Blue Trail the best because of it's proximity to the river it tends to be very rooty and rocky.

Before I got caught up in the thicket I came across this doe in the old lake basin.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Horror!

60 degrees this morning and pouring rain! Hopefully it will stop raining later today and I can get out for a quick jaunt, light assisted ride in the woods after work.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Holy Crap! A Hunter in the woods!

After missing spin class on Monday due to work and being offsite yesterday I was jonesin for some saddle time and looked like the only time to today would be at Oh Dark Thirty!

After the first 30 minutes it's time to take off the hat and open the zip pits.

It's funny, just the other day there was a thread on a local board talking about how you tend to endo more on a 29er. For awhile, I was starting to think that was the case after endo'ing at Grayville last week, and prior to that at Upper Paugussett, both on the new bike. Now it could be the different riding style on the Dillinger being rigid and single speed means you are up out of the saddle more often and in that position if your weight is more centered on the bike and something grabs the wheel, well you know the story.

Something grabbed the wheel of the 'Horse this morning, 6 inches of mud, causing me to go OTB. The Garmin went paused but I didn't figure it out until 200 yards down the trail, so being the OCD GPSer, I rode back to the point I endo'ed and rerecorded the route. Got a little muddy in the process, too. I guess I am getting used to them now and know what to expect.

I broke from my usual routine when riding the Dinglebrook Trail and ventured on the horse trails. It looks like Tom finally used my connector trail over to the other side of the property. Once on the other side I spied blaze orange about 100 yards off and at least 30 feet up! Holy Crap, I plumb forgot that today was opening day of shotgun and rifle season! Good thing I was oranged up! I waved at him and he waved back but I could sort of tell that he wanted me out of there quickly.

I did, however spook a few hooved rats in the open space that went off in his direction earlier. I wonder if those shots I heard when I got out onto Pond Brook Road were him blasting away at Bambi?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Call the Inquirer!

Finally got a picture of that Trail Gnome. He was taking a break when I snapped this picture but as I got closer he noticed me and took off into the bushes!

Monday, November 16, 2009


A new bike has joined the stable.

It has gears.

Front suspension.

A plush seat, with a shock post!

It's a Giant Sedona, comfort bike! Not for me but for my wife for her birthday. She has been hinting that she would like to come out on the family rail trail rides, so now she can! I picked this up from my LBS, Brookfield Bike, where service is always topnotch and deals are always great.

My wife tested the bike last week when I gave it to her but forgot to take pictures. So my daughter is seen here modeling for the photo op.

The scary thing is that she is 8 inches shorter than my wife and can ride this bike.

Looks like I need to find her a proper mountain bike, now! Yikes!