Saturday, March 31, 2018

Trail Karma

I thought I was running late but when I got over to my neighbor's house, he was running late himself so I rolled a few of his rocks in his driveway.  He has a killer roller that I want to try at some point.  When he got going we headed down to Pond Brook. I wanted to see if the bridge was still in the same position and it was.  We rode up the Mulikin and then took the Unmarked and Unsanctioned Trail down.  Further down the trail I noticed that a tree that was across the trail was cut.  I thought that might be a good sign for other trees that recently came down due to the recent Nor'easters.

Well, the tree blocking the Brew Crew Roller was cleared but our Up and Over was changed.  All that work for naught.  Not sure why the trail gnome couldn't have left a section of the log where the up and over was but it was completely off the trail.  I guess the trail gnome did us a semi-solid.


Bucky was a little saddened when we found the logs cut on the new Reach Around turns.  So was I.  While we were doing a little clearing on the trail, a large stick came down at the point of where my tire and rim come together and air from the tire started rushing out.  Of all things.  I guess that's Trail Karma for you, in reverse, I guess.  

I expended a CO2 cartridge putting air back into the tire but I all I got was a gurgle. Since there was no puncture, my guess is that the stick must have knocked the bead out of the rim.  When I put more air in the Stans that collected there came out with the air because it had time to collect.  When I got home, however, I put air back in the tire and it held.  I checked it all day and it was holding fine.

RAW: Gabby's Good Friday Gaelic Club Loop

Gavin and I were going to ride to work in the morning but the weather wasn't cooperating so we decided to meet after work at his office, which happens to be right next to the Fairfield Gaelic American Club. The day turned out to be a lot warmer than I expected and I was over dressed for the ride.

We rode inland through Fairfield and then down through Westport ensuring that we weren't riding with the majority of commuters trying to get home.  Our first stop was the Inn at Longshore.  Then it was over to Compo Beach.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Thirsty Thursdays: Jacks Abby Excess IPL

For the longest time I haven't been the biggest fan of India Pale Lagers or any other beer that has a citrusly like flavor. However, I have developed a new appreciation for these beers.  Not sure what it is but I really enjoy the hoppy flavor that these type of beers offer.

A riding buddy from the Newtown Lunartics dropped a 4 pack off of this Excess IPL for doing some work on his bike. I threw caution to the wind and opened a can and I found that I really enjoyed it.  Now I am going to have try some more.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

A Decent Ride on the Voodoo Bondye

Originally, I wanted to ride almost 70 miles this past Sunday but I left kind of late and new riding to Lake Waramug would have to be taken off the route.  Of course, you can't ride north from Newtown without stopping at the world famous Ovens of France.

From Woodbury, I rode up Flanders Road to Bethlehem and then into Morris and then to Litchfield and along side Bantam Lake.  The wind coming off the lake was brutally cold.  

There was one pretty steep descent that I took in which I felt unease going so quickly.  That's one thing I have noticed is that the handling of the bike at faster speeds tends to be kind of twitchy. I have noticed this on past rides but this one confirmed it.

Pedaling on the Voodoo is really smooth and climbing is really nice now that I have a compact crankset on it (50/34).  The bike is light, probably 18/19 pounds and despite the twitchy response on descents it handles really nicely everywhere else.

I am also enjoying the ever so slightly smaller frame.  It's a 60 cm and I actually can tell the difference.

Given how cold it was I opted for toe warmers again and oh what feeling! I don't know why I have avoided these past but they are the best! I now think it's time for a Century!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Leave it to Beaver

Bucky spotted this as we were riding up the Poly Brody Forest Road this morning.  At first, I thought it was a turkey but then when we got closer I realized it was a beaver!  It must have come up from the lake in search of something yummy.

Despite the packed snowy sections the rest of the Upper Gussy Trail seems to be drying out pretty good now.  At the Brew Crew Roller, Bucky and I cut up the downed tree over the roller the best we could with hand saws.

Obviously the tree is still on the roller so if you got the skills to huck it, as one rider did that came through did.  The part of the tree over the trail at this point was still elevated above six inches.  Fortunately, there is a Rock Store next to the trail with a great selection that allowed up to build up a nice up and over.

Riding it made me think of Lump Gravy because the tree provides a little lump off the tranny.  Still, rides nice in bother directions.  

We looped back the usual way and then hit the Unmarked and Unsanctioned Trail.  That wet section is really pronounced right now and needs a re-route.  I see that a fat biker came up with one an improvised route but something a little more formal is definitely needed.

Down at the Pond Brook Connector Trail we found a bridge crossing over the stream.  Seeing that the bridge was perpendicular to the stream tells me that either this was put in by a hiker or a stupid mountain biker.  There was just no room to come down the trail and turn onto the bridge without rolling off.

I moved the bridge so you can now roll straight down and over it with out having to make the buzz killing turn. Rides super sweet. Hope it stays.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Snow Day no Snow Ride

We were supposed to have a Nor'easter dump a ton of snow on us today, however we had a few flakes in the morning. Guess there is more to come later in the day.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

RAW: Another Easton Loop

I got to the Easton Library earlier this time by changing a lot earlier and forcing myself out the door by 4:45 PM.  I am going to have to try wearing my lighter thermals under my clothes next time. Today, however, seemed a lot colder than last week and that too was right before a storm.  The first climb, up Flat Rock Road, took care of that.  

This route has a few nice climbs in it as well as riding WILSON! in the other direction. When ever I ride WILSON! Road, I try and do my Tom Hanks impression of yelling WILSON! The only down side of this route is that you do have to ride 200 yards on Rte 136 with the traffic to get from WILSON! Road to Staples Road.  On the way back you have to take 59 going south, which isn't that bad but then getting over to Everrett Road can be a little hairy.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

I am just a material girl living in a material world

After sitting in the car for 4+ hours  (round trip) to take my son to a ski race up at Jiminy Peak where it was 25 degrees I jumped on the bike and headed out to Upper Paugussett for a quick rip before heading to a Saint Paddy's Day party.

Monday, March 12, 2018

RAW: Easton Public Library

If you are looking for a great place to ride in the afternoons, especially after work, then you should check out the roads in Easton, CT.  Starting from the Easton Public Library on Center Street there are a plethora of roads that are all parallel to one another that run kind of north and south that are great for riding.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

After the Storm

Headed back out to the Gussy on Sunday with my neighbor's son again.  I gave him a pack for his water this time, so I wouldn't have to carry it, and an extra fender that I had laying around, but what I really need to do is give him a pack with all the essentials tools he would need to change a flat.

We headed into the forest on the Jeep Road off of Sanford Road and it was really sloppy.  Riding up the Gussy Trail was hard.  I probably should have let air out of my tires but I trudged on anyway.  Bucky was having a hard time as well but really stunk was all the branches down on the trail.  I would ride 20 or 30 yards and have to stop to play Pick Up Sticks.  At the split off for the Reach Around, I decided a reroute is necessary.  That will have to happen later this spring along with 3 other re-routes that I have planned.

We then headed over to the Echo Valley Parking area - the tree that was down on the wires before the yellow house had been removed, along with all the other trees blocking the way in to the lot.  Riding the Polly Brody Forest Road was a little better but there also at least three blockages.  It was getting dark and we didn't have lights so we turned around and headed back out.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Lunartics Detour to the Beach

The original plan was to ride to OOF, then head up to Roxbury and then down to the beach and back to Sandy Hook for the Lunartics first century ride of 2018 but then my schedule changed along with everyone else and we decided on a shorter beach loop. However, the aftermath of Winter Storm Quinn on lower Fairfield County meant that many of the routes we tried to take turned out to be blocked. 

Eventually, we made it to the beach, but we ended up bypassing Fairfield Beach and ended up at Southport Beach. It was also a good opportunity for a little bladder relief.  It seemed that on the ride down we had a head wind but when we got to the beach it was even worse.

We then rode over to Compo Beach and then stopped off at Donut Crazy for a snack. The donuts were totally outrageous but I went with my favorite Boston Creme which was so much better than what you would get at D&D.  From Westport we road north, up 57 to Lyons Plain.  Tried to go up Valley Forge but the road was closed so we headed up through Easton.  Afterwards I was going to meet Mike and Stephen at the Red Rooster but my wife called me and said the power went out again and I needed to come home and start the generator.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Another Napoleon Death March Ride

With the power back on, it was out for 24 hours due to the storm, I thought I might check out the forest.  My neighbor's son got a mountain bike for his birthday and I promised him I would take him riding with me.  After a few starts and stops, he couldn't find his helmet, he needed a pant strap, and I had to put his water in my Hydrapak, we finally headed towards Upper Paugussett State Forest.

Riding down Tamarack Road we came upon this obstacle.

Heading to the Echo Valley parking area we encountered another obstacle.

The snow was pretty crusty and almost impossible to ride

I was able to pedal through it just barely and Bucky was having a terrible time.

We turned around at the gate and headed home.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Fat Biking in Winter Storm Quinn

Winter Storm Quinn started out kind of slow Wednesday morning.  We were expecting a lot more snow but when I met up with Pete at the Echo Valley Lot there was only a 1/2 inch of snow on the ground. Still, perfect conditions for fat biking.

Riding up the Brody Road to the Upper Gussy Trail head was pretty sloppy.  Glad I brought the fender but it only kept the mud off my back side.  Once on the Gussy, I took some videos of Pete riding all the good terrain features.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Smell that? You smell that? Cow Shit, son.

Nothing else in the world smells like that. 
I love smell of cow shit in the morning!

I was going to play pick up sticks on the Upper Gussy this morning but then Gavin texted about wanting to ride to OOF and that sounded like a better deal. Test the new cranks that I put on the Voodoo the night before, see some cows and have breakfast at my favorite pastry shop. Not to mention get back on the road after my skiing accident 6 weeks ago.

Unfortunately, the cows at Spruce Brook Farm were all huddled behind the barn. Still couldn't miss that unmistakable stink of cow shit, especially upwind from the girls.

My descent down Spruce Brook was cautious but descending on brakes made things wobbly and on the steepest part I left off and my speed shot up to 40 mph and the Voodoo was smooth as butter.

The headwind through the Transylvania lowlands was brutal but the temperature was perfect for late winter riding.

Breakfast at Ovens of France was perfect.  Ham and Cheese Croissant and a hot cup of French Roast!  

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Back on the Big Gurl

It's been five weeks since I broke my ankle and the doctor finally gave me the all clear to start riding outside and he even said that I could go skiing, too.  Not sure I want to ski again this season but definitely start riding outside again.  In fact, with the warming temperatures this week I decided to head out Thursday morning.

The weather channel said it was 35 degrees this morning but that's usually just an average. By the end of the ride the Garmin said it was 28 degrees and my kit decisions this morning were perfect. However, I did make a slight change to my footwear.  I had an old pair of snowboard boots laying around that thought might have the right amount longitudinal stiffness along the ankle that would give me some peace of mine.

The boots totally rocked.  They were super warm, plenty stiff, and did not impede my pedaling in any way.  Definitely going to be my go to boot for future cold weather rides, especially when there is snow.

Its been two months since I have seen the trails and those portions of the trails that still had leaf cover were looking really good.

However those sections that were leaf blown were really soggy and muddy at times.  Now there are few sections of the Gussy that I will have to fix this spring. I hope the person that leaf blew the trails sees this and gets the message to stop.

I haven't seen the Wetspot actually wet in years.  Looks like I might need to do some more armoring on it and create a few nicks so it drains quicker.