Sunday, February 28, 2010

You've got mail!

Headed down to the Pequonnock River Valley in Trumbull midday Sunday hoping for some buff, snow packed trail. What I got was sloppy seconds snow melt. Snow cover on the trails was 50/50 and while there was a lot of soggy sections and a few mud holes here and there. The rains on Thursday washed out some sections of the trails, too.

While riding in circles (on purpose) in the section between the picnic tables and the bat cave I came across this mail box lying on it's side. So I put it up on this roller and I am calling it the You've got mail Roller. I was tempted to give it a shot but it would be better on a full susser bike rather than rigid. I did hit the roller on the way in though. I tried to make sense of these trails but it's a rabbit warren of trails.

This part of the trail, if you were going the opposite direction and turned west you would head down into the ravine that would lead to the Bat Cave.

After crossing the rusty river I followed this seldom used trail that heads back towards the highway and then cuts back under this cliff. I actually rode underneath a cool gapper. It would be cool if this would become the continuation of the red trail.

The Dillinger still rocks granted the traction wasn't all too hot in the slush and some of the washed out trails were impossible to ride rigid. I am tempted to get some squish but riding this way is so much fun. I am not sure I want to give up the rigid ride.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Last snow shoe of the season?

Another lack luster snow storm to blanket the east coast with snow and we get a mere pittance. I think there might have been 3 or 4 inches on the ground but I headed out anyway because I really wanted to see what this other section of open space off of Sanford Rd is like. Parking along Sanford Rd is rather limited so if this trail comes to fruition it will be mostly for the local residents to enjoy. I was able to tuck my truck in at where one of the trail heads would be. You might fit another car there and then you can fit one near the trail head at the State Forest.

Below is this crater but I doubt it was created from some sort of explosion. It's pretty old so I would guess that it's hand dug, maybe 30 or 40 years ago judging by the size of the trees in growing out of it. It will make a cool terrain feature along the lines of a pump track.

Just past the north west section of the rim is a pin which I imagine could be the corner of the neighboring property. Ten yards west of the pin is a tree house that some kids built that I would assume are within the confines of private property.

The stream that flows through this little valley was flowing at full force. Of course, the three to four inches of rain we got on Thursday probably had something to do with that.

I wanted to yodel but didn't want to wake the neighbors. It's always a crap shoot trying to plan for the right amount of layers. Today, I did pretty well with a t-shirt, an insulated running top from Nike, and my old Army PFU jacket. Unfortunately, I only walked for 30 minutes and it wasn't really that strenuous that I barely broke a sweat.

I got these boots for my birthday and they are so much better than my gummed sole boots. They're from Lands End and I think they were like $20! They are insulated and really comfortable.
Below is an aerial of what the trail might look like. The lower left section, on both sides of the stream is full of invasive barberi and punching a trail through that will require some serious equipment, like a gas powered brush hog. The trail is going to need two bridges over the stream, too. Hopefully there will be an Eagle Scout or two that needs a project.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

L'accoutrements de Monstercross

Pulled the trigger on some new gear for the Qball Monster last night: Cane Creek Drop V Brake Levers, Linear Pull/Disc and Crosstop Cyclocross CX Brake Levers. I am gong to mount these onto Salsa Woodchippers that I ordered from my LBS (Brookfield Bicycle Center).

The Origin-8 Gary bars were perfect for off road riding but the bar end diameters were 19 mm and for barcons I needed a 20 mm opening. Still, that was the best riding and after riding the Dillinger rigid, I am really thinking about going back to SS mode and maybe even trying it fixed!

Maybe, I should try to find a Fargo Frame on eBay!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Yikes! Out of image space?

We interrupt this post to bring you the following:

I have maxed out my image storage capacity!

You might have seen a post from yesterday talking about another ride at Upper Paugussett and drawing the analogy that it was like being the second dog on a sledding team. Looking at this morning there were no pix because I hit my Gig of storage space. Probably going to buy the 20 Gb from Google.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Headed back to Upper Paugussett on Sunday for a slightly longer ride although coming back for the fifth time in a row is kind of like being the second sled dog, the view doesn't change much. There were things to do at home so at least I was riding. Tried something different in terms of my dress, wore a wool sweater and it really did the trick. It breathed when I got hot and kept me warm during the other times.

Definitely enjoying the Iron Horse. It pedals so nice that I just can't see giving it up. I think I will get some new pedals for it, red magnesium Crank Brother clipless platforms. Riding up the Gussy is so much fun now, it really becomes a different trail when you ride up it and then turn around and ride the other way. Only this time I hit the Mulikin, too.

There were some XC Ski tracks in the snow coming up from the Mulikin but the skier came straight up the ridge line. I have been meaning to explore this section some more but just haven't gotten around to it.

Otherwise, the Mulikin was virginal.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Back on the 'Horse!

Picked up the 'Horse on Friday after getting the Zoke's seals redone. Riding out to the trails this morning was weird because the temperature gauge at the house said 35 degrees but felt a lot warmer and I wasn't 5 minutes into the first climb before I needed to shed my jacket. Riding with gears and suspension was an extremely alien feeling after riding single and rigid for the past three months.

Riding up and down the Gussy is cool because in both directions it's a completely different trail. I found, though, that riding in the snow, I was the first on the trail since the last snow, that I needed the fork locked other wise the breaking through the crusty snow was sapping all my momentum. Climbing the Gussy always leads to new insights and ideas on future tweaks. Last weekend I found a section in which I could add a half pipe as a cut out section.

Besides the snow, forcing myself to stay in the saddle while climbing and ensuring that I am in the right gear at the base of a climb added some frustration to the ride but having full squish allowed me to flow through all the tech.
I don't know what I have been thinking but this bike is too much fun to sell.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ice Maiden

Ventured out Wednesday morning after the weathermen finally got a prediction right. Got to test the new snow shoes finally. I climbed a small ridge that happens to be on town open space and did my best to try and remember where the property lies and where I might be able to put in a mountain biking trail. On the way home from work I was listening to Iron Maiden so naturally that is what was in my head during this little stroll.

I don't think if I were walking/hiking I would have been as thoughtful of where I was going and thus scoping out a trail while snow shoeing is perfect for said task. Unfortunately, the track didn't come out all that hot. Here is what it looks like in a bird's eye view on Bing Maps and at the bottom of this post is an edited version. Using the map below, it's best looked at zoomed in using the MSR Topo selection.

Snow shoeing is a tremendous workout. After 15 minutes I had to take off my jacket and hat and just go with a sweater. By the time I got home, I was soaking wet with perspiration from head to toe!

Outlined in white is there the first part of the trail may go. I might try to connect to Tamarack Road because there is a small sliver of land that connects there, too.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Alle guten dinge sind drei!

An expression that I learned in German many years ago ... good things come in threes. Three rides this weekend, granted all at the same place and pretty much the same trails but it's riding and riding is fun. Having done the super tour on Saturday, a quickie on Sunday, I decided to do an up and down the Gussy ride. I cleaned every climb on the Dillinger and every up and over, including the one on the funnel.

Took a stab at some more rerouting but this section further south is going to take more work to plan out. Also found an area on the south side of the funnel that might make a really good half pipe.

The forest road is starting to get soggy, more so on the east side of the forest but on the west side it's getting soft, too. You would think that it would be the west side first because the western exposure but this side is very well drained.

Found the missing DEP sign from Hanover Road. The ATV rapists most have thought it would be cute to bring it so far into the forest.

The Gussy trail is softening up, too, but there is no sign of mud at this point.

And yes, there is still hunting going on. Small game season right now. When spring rolls around, it will be Turkey season, but I never see any Turkey here so I don't why they bother.

Monday, February 15, 2010

To Upper Paugussett With Love

After discovering the Upper Gussy raped by an ATV I decided that it was time to start re-routing sections of the trail to dissuade any motorized user. I rode the first section twice and I think it came out quite good, however, it needs to be ridden the other way to ensure it flows both ways. My plan is to put in a spaghetti like route taking advantage of every little rock outcropping and up and down terrain.

I ended up riding it twice today because I had a little run in with a tree and I lost my seat bag. I thought I was going to have to ride all the way back the way I came but found it where me and this sapling got intimate.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I changed the pedals and re-tightened the EBB and now there are no creaks! Granted, I am not sure what the problem was but my guess is it was the EBB.
I did get one little surprise on the ride, I lost signal with the sats and my track said I rode 22 miles and I got up to 75K feet of altitude. That's flying! I did have the misfortune of dropping my Edge the other day - hope this doesn't mean it's broken!

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

It wasn't the Bottom Bracket.

I replaced the bottom bracket the night before on the Dillinger and then headed out Saturday afternoon for a good two hour ride at Upper Paugussett, hitting just about everything. The creaking came back fifteen minutes into the ride. Pretty sure it isn't the BB. Damn! Despite the unknown mechanical issue riding at Upper Paugussett was awesome! Snow was perfect for riding.

At the Gussy Trail, no recent signs of ATV activity, however, they have been using the fire road and my connector trail up from Pond Brook. Looks like I will have to try and put up some more deterrents.

The Gussy is riding sweet! Above is a shot of my friend Bill coming through the big pine. And below Bill attacking one the hike-a-bikes on the west side bridle trail. That's one the reasons I don't like this trail because of the hike-a-bikes. Still it was good to get back there and see if there was any more ATV damage and there wasn't.

Later, after dinner I did two things to the Dillinger: (1) changed pedals and (2) loosened and retightened the EBB. We'll see if that makes difference.