Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Got Fog?

I met Gavin at Cover 2 this morning in Sandy Hook at 5:45 and we headed out to OOF, our favorite French Bakery located in Woodbury, CT (aka Ovens of France).  The morning temperature was a cool 56 degrees but it was so humid and foggy it didn't feel that cold but it made for great cycling weather.

Monday, July 30, 2018

2018 CT Challenge Century

Team HomeServe at this year's CT Challenge Benefit Ride.
Our team doubled in size this year!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Thirsty Thursday: Grady's Better Bitter

I got a half growler from Veracious Brewing Company in Monroe, CT and it was awesome!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

I always wanted to ride to Massachusetts, so ...

I wanted to ride at least a Century this weekend to get ready for next Saturday's CT Challenge Century ride. True Cyclery had a True to Brew ride that I wanted to do but the distance wasn't what I was looking for and I wanted also to test my bottom bracket on the Voodoo on a long distance ride. That's when I thought about riding to Massachusetts.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Thirsty Thursday: Arrogant Bastard Ale

Not sure what took me so long to discover this ale but it's awesome! It has just the right combination of hardiness you would expect from ale especially after a nice, hard gravel ride. I have to get more of this!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Un P'tit tour d'OOF

From now on, if I wake up at 5 AM to ride, by golly, I am going to ride. Monday morning I looked out the window and my excuse for going back to bed was that it looked too foggy.  Lame! I should have rode anyway.

I wanted to ride to work on Tuesday, however, the weather wasn't going to cooperate so I decided to go on a big ride in the morning. I made that decision at the bottom of my driveway, actually. Originally, I was going to do one of my Chasing my average speed ride, where I climb the hill that is behind my house on a road called Butterfield then spend the rest of the ride trying to get my average speed up to 15 or 16 mph, while still riding some hills.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Meanwhile at the Office Bike Rack ...

This is the second time I have seen this bike locked up behind the bike rack at 501 Merritt 7 so I went in for a closer look asking myself if removing your front wheel is enough to deter theft? 

Turns out this is a BOTTECCHIA SPRINT BZ 78 TEAM ROAD BIKE, and from what I can tell in perusing the interwebs, retails for about $2300.

So, my question is, why would you lock up a $2300 bike with a cable lock so thin that you could cut through it with a pair of pliers?

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Upper Mulikin Trail Building (continued)

I had originally planned to go out and do some work early this morning but it was raining.  Went back to bed, woke up later, and thought I would let things dry out a bit.  Ended up heading out about noon and it was steamy to say the least, but I got a lot of work done, but there is much more to do.

First I armored this intermittent stream crossing. Also took out a small tree and clipped some overhanging branches that were ruining the sight lines.

Surly Bikes!

Returning to the Depot Deli after my Bastille Day Gravel Grinder I noticed these really nice Surly Bikes in the rack. At first I thought the black one belonged to someone I follow on Instagram who lives in the Hartford area but when I introduced myself to the owners I realized it wasn't him.  

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Qu'ils mangent de la brioche

Let them eat cake!
The Bastille Day Gravel Grinder

Last weekend Will emailed and was interested in doing some riding on Bastille Day (July 14) so I suggest that we meet at the Depot Deli in Copake Falls at 7 AM.  I live an hour and half from there so I had to get up at 5 AM to get to the meeting place.  I also put the word out to some Facebook pages that are aimed at Northeast riding, when I realized there was no group for Northeast Gravel Ridings so I created a group called Northeast Gravel Riders and posted the ride there but there were no takers. I also emailed a friend of mine, Shepard, who lives in the area to see if wanted to join us and he did.

We got off to a later start because Will's bike wasn't shifting well and Shepard, the mechanic, was able to set things right (he had dirty cables) and we were off.  The Morning Eye Opener Climb was of course Sunset Rock Road. It's now my annual tradition and a must do climb, especially if you are going to ride D2R2.

Sunset Rock is a 1.4 mile climb with grades as steep 12% and it's tough.  Shepard took off because he was running a 1x10 with a 49 tooth front chain ring, which was a bit tall for the climbing that we set out to do today.  Will is a great climber, too and I think they kept together during the whole climb. I, on the other hand, am just a slow climber and since the Sex Machine is 3x10 I called Granny for her help for this climb.

After bombing down Mt Washington Road and riding past the Jug End I called an audible and we dropped a section of the route from the script for the interest of time.  I needed to be at my Dad's house for a party at 2 which meant the latest I could get back to the Deli is 12 and I new the pace we were riding that the additional 8 miles that I had on the route would have made our arrival tight. Foley road was pretty tight. There was only one little muddy section and it looked like it had been graded within the last year.

Making our way into Connecticut we rode Between Lakes and stopped to check out the view of the ridge line that we would be riding in about in an hours time.  We bombed down Rt 44 and then rode the Railroad Ramble over to the Salisbury Townhall and to Sweet Williams Pastry Shop.  Will had a Scone and I had a Cinnamon Bun that would give Ovens of France a run for the money.

Then we started climing up Factory-Washinee Road towards Mt Riga Road.  It appears that this road was paved within the last year. It wasn't Black Butter, but it was still pretty smooth.

Then we started climbing Mt Riga Roadd


It was really dry

And a lot of cars, too.

The climb up is 6.4 miles with an average grade 4.6% and its a grind. This time I let granny rest and just ground my way up the hill. Of course Will and Shepard flew up the hill and I met them at the Lake Riga.


The guys waited for me to catch up to them at the Lake. It was really tempting to stop and take a dip but there wasn't really any time. I made it this point without asking Granny for help and continued that way.

Just 500 more vertical feet to go to the top! From the lake, its pretty steep, 9%, and with the dry roads and abundance of loose stone made this part a tough climb.  Some of the descents down to the State line were equally treacherous.

The State line is alway good place to stop.

Got back to the Deli with an hour to kill.  Will took off so it was just Shepard and I and we met this guy, Jack Day, that had started riding earlier this year from Iowa and now was going to ride up to Canada.

He had a ton of gear on his bike, however, I didn't notice at first but his bike is electric. Isn't that cheating?

Still, had to give this guy props for making it this far.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Roxbury & Washington Roubaix

On last Friday's commute I rode just about every dirt road between the office and home but what I was really missing is another ride on the Sex Machine.  One of the Newtown Lunartics, Mike, decided to join me on a 30+ mixed terrain, aka Roubaix ride through Roxbury and Washington Connecticut starting from Roxbury Market Sunday morning.

Thirsty Thursday: Old Style Pilsner

While on my fishing trip to Canada earlier this summer I picked up a Tall Boy (24 oz) of this "Old Style" Pilsner that I was hoping would taste like a (Heilaman's) Old Style, which apparently is now owned by Pabst. Unfortunately, it did not live up to it's name in relation to what we had at one time in the States. However, it's a pretty good pilsner that tasted like a cross between a Molson and Coors, and it happens to be made by Molson. I would buy it again. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

2018 CT Challenge

On Saturday, July 28th, I’ll be riding my bike to fundraise for the 14th Annual CT Challenge Bike Event. It is an amazing charity to help all those battling cancer. I’m hoping you will be as motivated to support my efforts for cancer survivors as I am to ride. This is especially important to me because both my parents are cancer survivors.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Ride after work from Veracious Brewing Co

New Team Jersey came in today for CT Challenge and I had to break it in

Gavin, Mike and I did a hot and steamy 26 mile loop starting and ending at the Veracious Brewing Co in Monroe.  Gavin set the course and mostly pulled the whole way but his bottom bracket was creaking awfully.

Beers afterwards were awesome.  I had the Irish Red Ale and Better Bitters ESB. Not too strong and very tasty. I ended up filling to two half growlers with them.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Thirsty Thursday: BYOB (Bring your own Bike)

It's been awhile since I have led a NEMBA ride but with the new Chapter that I am part of I thought I would do my part and offer a weekly after work ride at Upper Paugussett State Forest.  Four people showed up to the ride with one person a chapter member.  Another rider parked in another location and caught up to us later.

Right now, there isn't much variety at Upper Paugussett with the southern part of the forest closed due to the storm damage.  It will be interesting to see what happens to the Upper Gussy Trail after the timber harvest.  There will be a lot of work that needs to be done. I am hoping that it will also be an opportunity to make some changes as well.

Thursday morning Ride to OOF

Friday's forecast called for rain so I checked the Lunartics group chat to see if anyone wanted to ride to Ovens of France, Thursday morning.  I got one taker.

I met Paul at Cover 2 in Sandy Hook. I discovered I grabbed the wrong strap for my bike light and I forgot my heart strap. I was able to use the hook and loop strap for the light but I had to keep adjusting it through out the ride. Paul insisted on a cow picture but they were all in a paddock, far, far away.

It was very humid and foggy in places. The air seemed so thick you could cut it with a knife.  With the bridge work on Spruce Brook Road we now have to take Yankee Drive which cuts through the Southbury Training School.  The nice thing about the route change is that it adds a little more distance to the ride rounding it out to 25 miles.  However, descending this road is scary due to the fact that there are three hairpin turns.

I am still in awe from the Macroburst/Tornado storm damage that has ravaged our area. The purge destructiveness of those winds that tore thru the area leaving some places untouched and others snapping the trees like twigs truly amazing.

At the Ovens, it had been a while since I had the Ham and Cheese Croissant so I went with that. I was tempted to try the sausage and cheese on baguette. 

These rides are the best!

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Thirsty Thursday: Misty Mountain IPA

After my 40+ mile gravel ride in the foot hills of the Berkshires I picked up a sixer of Back East Brewing Company's Misty Mountain IPA and let me tell you, it was absolutely wonderful!  Finally a locally brewed IPA that tastes the way an IPA should taste. Don't get me wrong, I like the more juicier IPAs but I have always been a fan of traditional IPAs.  Misty Mountain IPA is a traditional IPA that I will keep coming back to. 

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Independence Day Roubaix

Rich and I planned to do a 50K route recon ride for a charity ride event he is planning. He was referred to me by some of my cycling associates because of my Roubaix to Brews dirt road map. Rich is setting up a gravel grinder ride to be held this fall for Hunt Hill Farm, a local 501c organization that does educational outreach to adults and kids. Since I am pretty familiar with just about all the dirt roads in NWCT I offered to lend a hand with route planning and anything else I can do to help make this event a success and hopefully a destination ride for the years to come.

I met up with Rich at the Roxbury Market Wednesday morning at 6:30 AM and we headed down Judd's Bridge to do the climb up to New Milford. We rode down into New Milford proper on a few dirt roads that I know of. One of the highlights of the event is also to show off New Milford's River Walk trail, which we also rode  It's a beautiful little greenway across from Young's Field but terribly short.


Then we headed up Boardman Bridge over to River Road where we came across a Railroad Maintenance vehicle on the Housatonic Railroad line to Canaan. The worker said there was an 8 foot  in diameter oak tree down across the tracks.

Rich snapped this picture of me. I wore long sleeves because I took a preventative dose of Doxy last night after getting a deer tick attached to me the other night while riding at Upper Paugussett. It was hot and humid but having the long sleeves actually felt pretty good.  The Sex Machine was running great, too. The only thing amiss was my speed and cadence sensor.

After River Road we headed up Old Station Road to Mud Pond Road. For this future event there might be an extra credit route that includes Front of the Mountain.

About a half mile down Meeting House Road we stopped so I could see if I could fix my wonky speed sensor. While I was messing around with that Rich got a call and then looked at the time and said he needed to get back to the Market to get his car because he had something planned for later in the morning. I don't think he was planning on riding so slow, even after I warned him I am somewhat of a slow rider, especially in the climbs.  By that point we were averaging about 11 mph. It think it was the heat slowing me (us) down.

So I headed down the road and then turned onto Mine Road which turns into N(orth?) Rd.  Two New Milford dirt roads that I have never ridden before.  Then I rode up into Merryall and made my way over to Chermanskie Road.  I turned onto Frenchman's road, which is another dirt road that I have never ridden before, too, eventually, made my way over to Kent Falls Brewing and found that they have pigs!

At first they had no idea that I was there but when I started calling to them, "Here, pig, pig, pig, pig!" The boar pulled his head out of the trough, gave a snort and the all bunched up in the corner of the pen.  They were looking like they were going to charge me if I tried to get into the pen.

I actually checked the night before to see what Kent Falls Brewing Company's hours were and knew they were closed but I was kind of hoping someone might see me and offer me a cold one.  Of course it was 9 AM and being a holiday I don't think anyone was awake at the farm.

Rode by Lake Waramug and was surprised there were very few riders out. There were more people on the water or running than there were cyclists. 

The bacon, egg & cheese with a can of coke more than made up for the disappointment at Kent Falls.  It tasted so good! From New Preston I rode up to Whittlesey Road and down to the Rumsey Hall School where I picked up the old Shepaug Railroad bed and rode it all the way back to Route 47. 

Riding through here is always one of the highlights of my rides through this area. You are exposed to a piece of history that very few people are aware of and it's a great trail to ride. It's just a straight trail, not cindered or paved like most railtrails. This has roots, rocks, and muddy sections, with an occasional downed tree you have to bunny hop or jump over cyclocross style.

After Hidden Valley I rode down to Steep Rock. You can ride the old Railroad bed, which is cindered, straight into the tunnel but today I stuck to the dirt road. There were a few people out walking and even a family on bikes.

I was hoping for the Tunnel to be a lot cooler but it wasn't. There was a nice little cool breeze coming out of the north portal but inside it was kind of dank.

I followed the railroad bed to the trail that leads to the power line access road and then finally to Tunnel Road. Then it was back to Judd's Bridge and finally Roxbury Market where I ran into a Paul Zackin, another gravel rider, who was riding Roxbury dirt roads.  

Not a bad loop.  It was way more than the 50K route would be for this fall. After the brewery, which will be a rest stop for the event, the shorter route crosses over 202 and goes back to the farm on a mix of paved and dirt roads.