Thursday, May 31, 2018

Upper Paugussett State Forest Riding Status: WYSIWYCR

What You See Is What You Can Ride at Upper Paugussett State Forest. After doing a re-route around this one tree that fell on the Tree Stand Trail, some folks came in and opened it.  I didn't even ride my reroute on this trip.

After the stream crossing where the lower Mulikin (purple blazes) turns I found the this tree was cut.

As well as the tree right before the little stream crossing with the rock spine crossing

And the trees immediately following the Mulikin's first Up and Over

However, there is still this obstruction blocking the Upper Mulikin

The blowdown on the forest road (Poly Brody) still hasn't been addressed and may not for quite sometime. I need to come back and figure out a good go around for this.

Once I was on the Gussy proper I was amazed at the number of trees down across the trail. I lost track after 15 but there still more than that.

A new skinny to be added to this area

And the one further back will need some tweaking since there is a tree now lying on top of it.

The double stream crossing wasn't spared either

But the most disappointing discovery is that the trail is completely blocked after the intersection with the Unmarked and Unauthorized Trail.  

Given the terrain and the fact that there are so many trees down in this location trying to re-route around them will be tough and not to mention I don't know what's going on after this.  I have heard that it's pretty bad.

The Unmarked and Unauthorized Trail had 5 or 6 blowdowns but not nearly the amount of destruction that is on the Gussy.  The good news is that there is at least a one loop at Upper Paugussett that is now open.

Thirsty Thursday: Lagunitas Sumpin' Easy Ale

So Juicy! 
It's got that Fu Manchu, California Crossing vibe that's perfect after a long ride on the bike!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Breaking with Tradition

I met Paul Saturday morning for a ride up through Roxbury and then we would stop off at our favorite French bakery in Woodbury.

Temperatures at 6 o'clock in the morning were pleasant and my clothing decisions were perfect but the weather got considerably warmer by the time we got to Toplands Farm, which is at the top of Painter Hill and over 1000 in elevation.

The view looking south was awesome

Heading down Painter Ridge, the view was equally breathtaking

We got to OOF right before 8 AM meaning the coffee would be free

We don't come hear for the coffee, it's pastry which is the attention getter. I have gotten only one croissant for the last 2 years and this time I decided to try something new. I got the Almond Croissant and it was outstanding!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Bikecommute: Breakfast at Tiffany's

I met Paul at the Newtown Flagpole and we rode to the West Redding Market for breakfast.  From there I headed down and up Giles Hill, which had a new layer of Black Butter and it was heavenly. The weather was perfect!

The ride home was hot, dusty and dry. Our summer hours started so I was able to leave a little early but the temperatures stayed in the low 80s. My eyes were really dry but I couldn't believe I wasn't having any allergic reactions.

The one thing I did differently this time was I tried riding with my new work backpack. It was certainly comfortable but when I got home and noticed the salt stains I think this is the end of the line of this bag for bike commuting.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Larkin Bridle Trail is a disaster!

The first official chapter meeting for Housatonic Valley NEMBA took place at the Black Hog Brewery in Oxford, CT and prior to the ride it was decided that we would do a quick ride down the Bridal Trail.

Thirsty Thursday: Black Hog Easy Rye'Da

There's no better way to start a ride than having a great tasting beer from Black Hog.  This was the Easy Rye'Da IPA.  I am usually not a fan of Rye Beers but this one is outstanding!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Bloomin Metric double header

My father, who is 75 years old has been riding the Bloomin Metric every year for the past 20 years! That's longer than my riding career, which started 13 years ago.  Granted, I rode a lot in college but afterwards not so much. 

I have always wanted to ride down to Sherwood Island from Newtown, ride with my father, and then ride home.  I have never done this before because I was always tandeming with one of my kids or letting a relative borrow the tandem for the ride.  This time, however, I thought I was going to do it. That is until I woke up to a rainy, wet morning, that prompted me to drive down to Sherwood Island.

If I was riding from my house, I would have ridden the Voodoo, however, since I was riding with my dad and didn't need to worry about speed, I brought my new gravel bike, the REI Coop ADV 3.1.  Kind of a stupid name, so I call the bike the Sex Machine, because riding gravel is kind of like sex. I can be dirty, slippery, fast, bumpy, hard, and it's a lot of fun.  

Also, I wanted to try riding with my new front trunk. It was made in Korea and supposed to arrive at the end of the month but it came 5 days later from when I ordered it.  I put on my front rack to hold it. For the Bloomin Metric I put my rain jacket, rain pants, and a pair of gloves in it for the ride since it was supposed to rain and it did for about 15 minutes.  I only used my rain jacket and then afterwards I used the top tie downs to hold it for the rest of the ride.

From the pictures online the color of the bag looked like it was going to match the color of my bike perfectly but it doesn't. Its close enough.

I have been riding through Westport 2 or 3 times month, and quite often along Hulls Farm Road where this picture was taken.  Only this time I noticed this plaque and it says that this location was where Richard Rodgers lived, of Rodgers and Hammerstein fame.

Towards the end of the ride the sun came out and the day went from cold and crappy to warm and lovely. I think my dad was eager to get back to Sherwood Island so he pulled almost the whole way.


And yes, my father is a total Fred.  I told him to take off his helmet but he didn't want to.  I picked up some good swag from the MS Society table.  Got a hat and some cycling sox.  Stopped in at the LOF Booth to say hello.  The Lake to Lake to ride is just two weeks away and I can't wait because this will be the first time in two years that I will be able to do the ride once again.

Since we still didn't have power at home, my wife planned to meet up with one her girlfriends whose kids like to hang with my kids, so I took this opportunity make it a double header.  It was so nice out it would have been a shame not to enjoy the nice weather after such a horrible week.

I tried to ride the causeway between Sherwood Island and Compo Beach but found it gated off.  So I rode out on Greens Farm over to Hills Point and into the Compo Beach area.  I used to fish off the jetty for snappers and black bass when I was a kid.

After the beach I rode up 136 towards Cross Highway and then across the top of Westport.  I have ridden most of this before but then I found a stretch of road, still Cross Highway but not as highly trafficed and kind of bucolic, that goes into Fairfield.  I made my way over to Rt 135 and then over further till I ended up Bridgeport and the highlight of this ride, Aspetuck Brew Labs.  Not a true Roubaix to Brew ride because it was all pavement except for the a little dirt at Sherwood Island, but there was still a beer stop.

I had my favorite beer, the Cosmic Siesta.  I also happened to have my 32 oz hydroflask with me so I got a fill of the Cosmic Siesta, too.  Although billed as an IPA its more of a New England IPA. A little juicy and hoppy.  I love it. I struck up a conversation with the guy sitting next me.  Turns out he used to work for GT and coached a BMX racing team in the area.  He is also a mountain biker who knows Trumbull like the back of his hand.  We exchanged info and plan to meet up sometime at Trumbull to ride.

I headed back on the bike route towards Sherwood Island. This ride was kind of a first because it was the first time I wasn't following a route.  I forgot to load the route and decided to just wing it.  I had to stop a few times for bearing checks till I got to the brewery.  Afterwards, it was easy peasy.  However, by the time I got Southport the Back Teeth were Floating and I stopped at Sasco Beach for a Papa Romeo (Personal Relief).  When I got back to Sherwood Island and loaded the bike in the car it started to rain again but it was a quick shower. It felt really good.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Reroute of the Reroute

Went in on a cold and rainy Saturday morning and started opening the trails back up.

Started with the Pond Brook Connector

Up on the Hunter's Tree Stand Trail I did a reroute around the big tree that fell in the middle of the trail.

Looks like a bomb blast!

The destruction on the Mulikin Trail is breathtaking

There was just too much tree crown to cut away with a handsaw

So I cut as much as possible and routed the trail around it

Another section of blowdowns is in the middle of the Mulikin Trail

And it ripped right through my reroute work from last Saturday.

Some tree crown was blocking the rock wall cut through
but I was able to cut enough out so that it's still rideable

To get around the blowdowns I had to take the trail way back further into the woods.

I am going to try and open this section of the reroute first so that the trail will be useable once the rest of the trail is open again.  All this work and I have barely scratched the surface.