Sunday, May 31, 2015

Tandeming the 2015 Bloomin Metric

Elliot and I were out the door at 6:30 am headed towards Sherwood Island.  It rained the night before and was cloudy up in Newtown but as we headed south, the cloud cover broke out and the sun was out.  We left the house without sunscreen and had to stop and find some.  That meant by the time we got to Sherwood Island the traffic to get in was horrendous.  Then again, it always is.

Parking this year seemed to be shifted over to the west side the park

The Sherwood Island Connector had fresh black butter

Since my father got there ahead of us he was ready to go and I still had to get a few things set up on the Tandem so I told him to head out and we'll catch up.  It was just as well because I knew riding with him would be a lot slower, after all he is 72 years old!  When Elliot and start riding we were able to maintain an average speed of 15 mph and we caught up to him after 6 miles.  

Sound City changed the 40K route this year so that everyone had to climb Hills Dale Road.  It makes sense because the previous years route always had this loop that I am sure confused riders because you crossed over the path and I am sure many riders missed the loop and thus short changed themselves of some good ridig.

The roads were wet north of the food stop

Three generations of riders!

More black butter on Greensfarm Road.

This year they did food trucks instead of Subway.  It was so much better!

It was great to finally have something that Elliot could eat!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Tandeming into the Sunset

With the Bloomin' Metric just two days away it was high time I break out the Burley Rock and Roll and take Elliot for a spin.  Had to give the rear derailleur a little tune up, raise the stoker's seat an inch and then we set out down to the lake.

Elliot was a little nervous at first but quickly overcame his fear and we started to find our rhythm. He wanted to ride to town to get ice cream but time was short because we ate dinner later than I wanted.

The Lake was like glass!

Everything on the Burley was working perfectly!

These yellow lilies were picturesque!

And we rode off into the sunset towards home!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Old Mount Tom Gravel Grinder

Rolling down Peach Orchard

After riding Roxbury Dirt roads two weeks ago in one direction it was time to do it in the other.  On this ride, however, my intention was to ride north tracing the old Shepaug Railroad line as far as one can ride.  From the Shepaug I thought I would check out some of the dirt roads around Mount Tom and Mount Prospect.

On the map it looked like there was a dirt road that skirted a forest and that you could ride down to one of the reservoirs of the Shepaug, so that was what I was aiming for.

My route started off be reversing the tail end of my Raid Roxbury route by heading up Purchase Brook and then Riding down Peach Orchard to West Flag Swamp and then onto River Road.  By the River Road Preserve I ran into Roland and his girlfriend about to roll out on some singletrack.  We chatted a bit and then we parted ways.

Following Judds Bridge and then to Tunnel Road I headed north on the Shepaug Rail Road bed

It's so different in the other direction!

There is no straight view to the tunnel

As you round the bend it opens up

It's unexpected and eerie

It's shadier looking into the south portal

Riding out of the north portal is cool because of the straight view down the bed

This is the best section to ride because there is a lot more pea gravel on the bed

It always seems there is more light at this end of the tunnel

When ever I ride through Hidden Valley I miss the turn and end up on the singletrack along the river.  It's rideable, even for a cross bike but it's also a little hairy.

The Shepaug River looked so inviting

The top end of the Shepaug Railroad bed dumps out at one of the athletic fields for the Rumse Hall School and you can see where the right of way continues but it's clearly posted with No Trespassing signs.  So, I hit some new dirt on West Morris Road.  It's a steady climb and then a fast descent back over the Shepaug.  At the second crossing of the Shepaug it turns to pave.

Coming out to Route 202 I stopped at Merritt Clarke's Store thinking it was a general store but turns out they sold clothing.  The girl working there let me fill up my water bottle and it was good that I did because I went through three bottles on this ride.  I need to start planning on bringing at least another bottle, if not two for these kinds of rides, especially if there is no chance at resupply.

After riding up the edge of Prospect Mountain, which tops out at 1100 feet, I found my plans thwarted to ride around the reservoir by a big green gate and more No Trespassing signs.  I headed down Prospect Mountain Road which turns into gravel about a half mile from the intersection with Headquarters Road.  It's awesome.

Where the dirt road ends, there is this cool dairy farm call the the Kar-Mic Dairy.  It's here where I learned not to store bananas in my handlebar pack with other loose items.  The banana had turned to mush from all the bouncing around and by the container of trail mix.  I was able to salvage some of it but I had to toss the rest and it was gross.

Heading west on Old Mount Tom Road you are immediately greeted with gravel and it descends into a little river valley and then starts a steady climb.  Eventually it turns to Pave and then the real fun begins.  The climbs starts out at 6% and then steadily increases until a whopping 14% for the last ten yards to the Stop Sign.  Reminded me of a mini Dibble Hill in Cornwall.

After the big climb, Old Mount Tom is paved until a big bend in the road and goes back to dirt.  This is a nice flat section for gravel road for almost a mile.  It climbs up a bit and then there is a quick descent down to Route 202.  From here, I rode down Rt 202 to Rumford Road, which is dirt and then climbed out of the Shepaug River Valley on Whittlesey Road.  From there I rode over to Church Hill and headed up to Walker Brook.  

Before heading up the big hill on Judds Bridge I fueled up for the climb.  At the top, I was beat and bagged the last section of the Shepaug Railroad Bed and road down to Old Turnpike Road and took that back up to 2nd Ridge.  Boy what a climb that turned out to be! Road down 133 towards home and after the Bridge I started to cramp in my legs so I jumped off and tried to relax on the side of the road.  I ate my last piece of beef jerky and finished off the rest of my water.  A few minutes later I was able get back on the bike and ride home!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Third Annual Lake to Lake Charity Ride

Please come out and support a great cause!

On Sunday, June 28, the Third Annual Lake to Lake Charity Bike Ride will take place at the Shepaug Dam Recreational Area (click here for directions). All proceeds will help fund the LOF Adaptive Skiers programs for disabled children, adults and military veterans.
100k & 75k start time 7am – 9am; All other start times 8am – 10 am

More Information:  Lake to Lake

Registration:  Bikereg

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Raid Roxbury

I headed out Saturday afternoon on an unscripted ride, meaning no preset course that I mapped out on RideWithGPS.  I had 4 hours to explore some new areas that I have been meaning to ride.  Today's ride was also the first time I would be riding with the Ventoura Handlebar bag with the customized handlebar bracket that I had made.  Also, it was the inaugural ride on the new Schwalbe tires.

Heading north on Transylvania Rd
Right out of the gate, I was having issues with my drop outs.  I thought I had it fixed but it just wasn't right.  Finally, I just took everything off and would deal with it when I got home later.  I headed down towards the Housatonic towards Southbury but missed the NY & NE path through winery.  The one thing I forgot to bring were my eye drops.  My eyes were really itchy.  

I rode north on Transylvania Road and that is great road to get in the mood for a Gravle ride.  It was a slow and steady climb but it felt good and that's when my Velo Wa kicked, all the stress and anxiety was instantly flushed out of me and I was one with the bike and the road.  I took Rucum, which according to Bing it's supposed to be dirty but it wasn't and then headed over to East Woods.  I stopped at Badger's House but he wasn't home so I continued over to East Grassy Hill.

Schwalbe Land Cruiser HS 307 Cruiser Bicycle Tire - Wire Bead (Black - 700 x 40)

The new tires were rocking!  Plenty grip and yet roll smooth on the Pave, and no road noise!  I rode 65 psi in the rear and 60 psi up front and they were sweet!  I think they are the best tire yet.

I flew down Grassy Hill and then rode over to Old Roxbury and then up to Lower County.  I remember the first time I descended Grassy Hill, 5 years ago on the Tour de Roxbury and all I remember is the group that I caught up were flying and I crawled at a snails pace.  Today, I flew!

I took Dorthy Diebold to Moosehorn and then cut over to Battleswamp.  I stopped at Judd's Bridge and what I should have done is dunked my head in the river because it was so dusty and dry and my eyes were still bothering me.  The climb up Judd's was slow but worth every push of the pedal.  There were some soft spots that I thought I might spin out on but the Schwalbe's just ate it up!  I took Hartwell down to Shinar Mountain and when the Pave started I took another break and washed my face and eyes.  I also changed glasses and that seem to help, too.

On South Fenn Hill I had my banana, ate another Guu block and finished off my first water bottle.  I go this way in order to catch the Gravle section of West Church Hill Road and then drops into Steep Rock Reservation.  On the descent, I think I might hit 40 mph!

Not a lot of people at the Reservation today which was kind of surprising.  No horses either.

One of the highlights is riding down the Old Shepaug Rail Road Right of Way.  There were plenty of packed go-arounds on the muddy sections but there was really no mud.  There is a new tree down somewhere in the middle but it doesn't block the right of way entirely.

The highlight is riding through Steep Rock Reservation is riding through the old Shepaug Railroad Tunnel.

From where I took the picture of the Cross Check (below) you could feel the cold air of the tunnel coming out.

My eyes were doing much better, largely I think due to the different glasses.  On the transition of the Shepaug Railroad Right of Way to the powerline access road, I had a slip in the drops that I had to fix but it took a few seconds to get it right.  That's why I need to go back to some sort of tensioner so this doesn't happen.

Riding up Judd's Bridge towards Roxbury Center I felt, for the first time, a hamstring cramp coming on so I stopped and stretched it out and then continued riding.  I was going to head up Hemlock but it was getting late and I had to be home by 7:30 PM so I rolled down 67 to River Road instead.  River road was riding nice and then I tried something new and rode up Flag Swamp.  While I wasn't bonking I was feeling tired but kept pushing.

Another new treat was the Gravle on West Flag Swamp.  I can't believe I have been missing this so long.  After the last house it turns rough and there is some short ups on it.  It comes out at a farm and at the Cell Tower turns to Pave.  Next to the cell tower is a red and while water tower and this area resembles a landing strip.  The last dirt of the ride was on Peach Orchard Road.  It had some soft spots and newly laid gravel making it tough in some spots.

When I got home I was wiped and later had some cramping, even after drinking a bottle of Powerade, three glasses of water and 4 Tums.  I think I need to take the tums before the ride, or it's just ant acids don't really help.