Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend Trail Building

Joint effort Trail Building with CT & FC NEMBA chapters on Memorial Day Weekend.

Made some tweaks to the planned trail.  Above we took out the fall line climb (which wasn't really that bad) and made it less steep at the same time finding some fun stuff along the way.


Paula brought her backpack blower and did the whole trail!

Lots of Benching!
That's some bench! 

Dave Francefort and Kyiera Tucker benching

Sweet, new singletrack!


Always need some signature, Dave Francefort rock work!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tandeming the 2012 Bloomin' Metric

Today was our 3rd riding of the Bloomin' Metric on the Burley Rock'n'Roll Tandem and it was a blast.  This year Sound City Cyclists moved the venue to Sherwood Island which was much better if you ask me.  After spending the night at my Dad's house we figured it would be easy (and closer) to get to the starting point coming from New Canaan rather than Newtown and yet upon arriving at 8:00 AM the parking was already pretty crowded!

At registration we learned that Katie won a $200 gift certificate for Trifitness but come to find out is basically $200 off one of their Triathlon Training programs.  Rats!  Here I was thinking new pedals, a headset, some bar end shifters but turns out to be something useless.  Oh well.  This years' shirts are cool, basically riding shirts with a bunch of logos.  Better than the cotton shirts we got in the past.

While driving into Sherwood Island we saw Katie's Grandfather who usually helps out with radio communications and the SAG wagons but by the time we got back to the communications tent he had already taken off.  So, the Commo guys let Katie talk to him over their portable shortwave radios.

My father and his girlfriend had already taken off so Katie and I started riding by ourselves.  We nearly collided with this guy right out of the gate who decided to cut in front of us to check something on his bike.  Dang, that is one color coordinated bike!

We caught up to my father around the three mile mark along the mansions of Southport.  We shot some videos of one another and took a few pictures.  Katie and I left them at the beach since we are a lot faster.

Since the new course had these loops in them I figured that we would probably take a second lap to let my father catch up but as we were coming to the end of the first loop my father and his girl friend crossed in front of us so ended up doing another go around on the first loop again so we could ride together a bit.

Katie and I rode to the top of Merwins Lane and took a break waiting for my father and his girl friend.  But they weren't deterred.  We realized that the new route was a lot more hilly and it was slowing them down quite a bit.

I let Katie try one of my Peanut Butter Guu shots, non caffeinated of course and I noticed that she had a lot more energy leading up to the Food Stop.

We got to the Food Stop about 10 minutes ahead of my father and proceeded to chow down on Bananas, orange slices, cookies, drinks, and trail mix!  It was a smorgasbord of energy foods.

But he turned around and went back after Peggy.  She decided to wait at the turn off to the second loop thinking that the Food Stop was after it but it turned out that it was in the middle of the second loop.  So my father had to go back after her.

The Food Stop was at the old Westport Nike Base which I have always seen from the Merritt Parkway but never had the opportunity to stop in and check it out.  The missile silos are long filled and the buildings are used for an amateur astronomy group.  From there, it was 10 miles back to Sherwood Island.

Katie and got back to Sherwood and were able to get the tandem on the car and get our lunch before my father showed up.  The weather was spectacular and it couldn't have been a nicer weekend to spend some real quality time with my daughter.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Single and Stoopid again!

After another week of dreary weather, Friday afternoon turned out to be priceless.  I put new cranks on the Unit earlier this week and finally got the chance to test them out.  I just love the new RaceFace Evolve SS crankset.  I have to thank my LBS, The Bicycle Center in Brookfield, CT, for hooking me up with a great deal on these cranks.  I have them on the Spot and now they are on the Unit.

I wanted to ride Waldo but had to tie up a few things at work that went later than expected and evening plans that popped up all of sudden meant that I was heading out to Upper Paugussett to test out the new crankset.

Despite all the rain from the previous week, Upper Paugussett was stellar.  There was the usual wetness on the Poly Brody and there were a few soft spots on the Gussy but it was perfect for riding.

Of course the evidence of a Moto on the Poly Brody was not very encouraging.  Hopefully, they are just using the fire road as a cut through to get somewhere else.

The ride on the Unit was exceptional with neither the cranks nor the chain ever falling off!  Of course I think chain tension is a major factor in the latter issue that I should have spent more time on before the great single speed race! I discovered that the built in tensioners have 2.5mm hex endings in them so adjusting the tension is a lot better now and I also found how this can effect the chain line, too.  In fact, I was climbing so well that I think I am ready to go to a 19t and my goal is to be riding 18t for next year's SSAP.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Messing around the Blow Hole

The are many trails in the park to lead the biker across wooden bridges, over streams, along the 150 foot high bluff, or down to the water’s edge past a unique geologic feature known as the blowhole. Here one can hear the wind as it whistles past the bluffs. The Native Americans came to listen to the "wind being caught by the spirit of the earth." When the colonists arrived they called it Devil’s Blowhole, believing it was an act of Satan. Sailors knew it as an area of quick winds as the park is just upstream of one of the tightest bends on the lower river.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Tandeming The New Milford River Trail

There is a new Greenway in the neighborhood and it's called the New Milford River Trail.  Well, sort of.  The first part of the New Milford River Trail runs through Sega Meadows Park and it's a little rough around the edges than your more typical rail trail type of Greenway.  It dumps out onto Rivewview Road which runs from Boardman's Bridge to Gaylordsville (a hamlet of New Milford).  

Upon entering the Sega Meadows Greenway portion at Boardman Bridge, be careful as there is a lot of poison ivy at the entrance.  I was a little nervous rolling through Sega Meadows on the Tandem with Katie because the slicks I have on the Burley Rock & Roll are old and probably should be replaced.  I was almost wishing for mountain bike tires but we made it through OK.

Riding along the Housatonic River was really nice and Katie and I want to do this again so we can linger along the river a bit more and explore some other areas.  I don't know if I would bring my younger kids on their bikes on this route because there are cars using this road.  Older kids would be no problem.  Hopefully, to the south the future route will be more conducive to families with kids on smaller bikes.

We stopped at the Gaylordsville Country Store for a cool drink and a snack.  Kind of an unassuming storefront but inside the place was a rich history of a Country Store that had been in business for decades.

Now this is the Burgerrittovile that I have been dreaming of!  The one in Newtown doesn't sell beer but this one does and it has a patio in the back.  Definitely need to come back here in the summer!

A little further down the road is this weird looking structure that kind of looks like layer cake.  According to local lore, it's a Spite structure.  It's called Jan Pol's Tower and it was built by local resident because he angry with state authorities for taking his foster daughter away from him after it was discovered that she was pregnant and the authorities assumed it was Jan.  In 2009, The Danbury Newstimes, did a story called:  Sad story behind cake-box structure in Gaylordsville.  But that recent news account pales in comparison to Lorraine Balint's recollection of the story of Jan Pol and the "Monument of Injustice."

We gawked at the 5 Layer Cake building and snapped a few pictures and then took off back to Boardman's Bridge.  It seemed the route back was a little more downhill than it was coming up.  I think the next time we ride this, we are going to start from the ball fields in the center of New Milford or maybe even Lovers Leap.  According to Tom O'Brien, the person who contacted me about this Greenway is working on connecting it from Gaylordsville to the 1/4 mile section of the Still River Greenway that starts on Silvermine Road in Brookfield.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mud On the Spot

Dark Blue is Today's Ride
It's been awhile since the last time I rode Upper Paugussett so I jumped On the Spot and headed down to Silver City to enter the forest there because I am getting tired of the other route that I usually take.  I had heard that Cannondale had a demo day at the Boat Ramp last Sunday so I also wanted to get an idea of how chewed up the trails might be.  The Gussy was fine but the Mulikin Trail was another story.

I am still dialing in the Spot.  I only have 5 or 6 rides on it so far and climbing the fire road to the Gussy trail was interesting.  I made it up 3 of the four sections of the climb but spun out on the last one, the easiest one, too!  I think, because the bike is so light, I should have been in a higher gear and not out of the saddle.  Something to think about.

The Mulikin Trail is really bushy and need of some trimming.  

And really muddy, too!  All the rain last week didn't help, either.  The section of trail shown in the photo above needs to be closed and re-routed because it's just way too muddy and has been for a long time.  There is a re-route, it just needs to be better defined and what's cool is off of that you can see a really big roller that I want to try sometime.

The trail gnomes have been busy, they armored this stream crossing.  The two other stream crossing further up the trail need armoring, too.  Hint, hint.  Especially since now that the trail is getting so much use.

Episode 1 of the South Park Trail

Last week I met with Ryan and Dave of FC NEMBA and we rode over to the first section of the South Park Trail to discuss some issues they saw with what was currently laid out as far as the trail goes.  We made a few changes here and there and then came up with a tentative plan to continue working on the trail.

Monday, May 07, 2012

On the Spot at River Highlands State Park

After the CT NEMBA and West Hartford REI Trail Work Day at River Highlands State Park we took a little ride at the park.  

Incredible to see 29er's dominating the field
Cory is the only one in the group with 26" wheels

River Higlands State Park (aka The Blow Hole) is an interesting little park with a surprisingly great network of trails.  I would not call this a destination riding location but if your in the area and want a quickie, this place is for you.  Trails are reasonable well marked and DEEP map is pretty good.