Sunday, August 26, 2018

NWCT Autumn Roubaix Route Recon

I thought it might be a good idea to spend a day reconnoitering the course I designed for the NWCT Autumn Roubaix Classic to see if there were any surprises on the route. The original thought was to have an easy and hard route, so I decided to ride the hard route, of course. The difference lies in two climbs, Front of the Mountain and Kent Road North.

Front of the Mountain is a beast of a climb that starts out at a 7% grade and then doubles to 14% in the middle of the climb and by the time you turn onto Long Mountain Road your are still climbing a 9% grade. I did it without having to stop, however, there were a few sections that were really dry and I almost spun out.


The other killer climb on the route is Kent Road North, sometimes called Kent Road No 1. I am pretty sure I rode this last year, and I know I rode it the year before but today there was a surprise on River Road.  About a mile in there is a gate preventing all vehicular traffic from proceeding any further. I was able to ride around it but if I had to guess I would say that its designed to keep out people from parking further down near the camp sites and partying.

Also, that sign is new.  What does it mean if it's closed daily?  With the gate where it is on River Road when is this road ever open? Heading in, I noticed that the road had been completely redone and I thought to myself, this is going to be a breeze but then the good surface turned to crap, washed out, loose marbles everywhere. I was able to climb some but also walked others. It's still Napoleon's Death March for me.  Maybe, this fall after a rain or two I will try to hit again. There are some other dirt roads going up the backside that don't show up on the map but are visible on the satellite photos that would be great to ride sometime.

I never noticed this little ravine on River Road before so I stopped to admire it and take a few pictures. That water looked so inviting to soak my feet in.

This ride began at Roxbury Market and headed out to Judds Bridge and then up Judds Bridge. After D2R2 last week I got to thinking that using my saddle trunk with my front bag was a little overkill since all my spare tubes and other tools fit nicely in the front bag along with extra snacks, sun screen, and some cables for charging the phone and Garmin. I was also able to mount my top tube bag on the down tube to make accessing Guu's a little easier, too.

This type of Rando Bag I bought from Ebay is called a Zimbale front rack bag. I didn't what a real big front rack bag and this seemed to fit the bill for it's size and capacity. The only thing that isn't good is the straps used to attach the bag to the rack. On an earlier ride, I used it and knew that those straps would never hold it so I improvised using a small bungie cord and some velcro straps in the back. It says its water resistant but it can't take a deluge.


Mounted under my step is a quick release attachment for little Topeak bags.  I use one of the tool bags to hold a charging battery so that when my Garmin is close to being out of charge I can connect a cable from the battery to the GPS and it will recharge while I ride. Last year I used my top tube bag as to hold the battery while I was climbing East Road on the D2R2 160K ride and this year I tried the new system out also on a D2R2 ride and it worked perfectly. I didn't need the battery today for my Garmin but I did use it put on a little charge on the iPhone after the ride.

Should I need more carrying capacity I can always use my front barrel bag to hold a jacket but for now I am good.  I think the Brooks Cambium Carved saddle is finally broken in. Starting out it was a little squeaky but by the end of the ride it was fine. Of course, if I am going to fill a growler then the trunk bag will be back on.

I stopped in Kent for a bottle fill and some chips. I was saddened to learn that the coffee shop had closed. It was a good stopping point on the ride, 28 miles in to recharge and get ready for the hardest climb of the ride.

After the slog up Kent Road North you are back on Skiff Mountain Road and you are still climbing. The road turns into dirt when you cross into Sharon and the name changes to Modely Road. There is a cool horse and buggy sign at this point.  

Modely is mostly down hill and always fun to ride. The Roubaix route would head down South Ellsworth but today I rode another dirt road about 200 yards north of Modely called Loper Road. It has a nice little climb in it, too.

Then you turn west onto West Woods No 2.  Which is all dirt until it turns into Keeler Rd.  There are some nice short and steep climbs on this road.

After Caray Road intersection Keeler Road turns to dirt.  When it hits Macedonia Brook Road and then crosses over a little bridge there is a hand pump for water and I have always been curious as to whether or not you can drink it. Finally I asked at the State Park's Ranger Office about it and guy behind the desk said yes it is. However, the water by the pavilion was even better.  So, now I know there are two places to water the next time I ride through here.

After the Schagticoke Indian Reservation I love stopping at the Cascades along Schagticoke Road. Although small, they are really high up and really cool off the air surround the area.

Then it was on to Bull's Bridge and through the covered bridge.

The Housatonic was running well today

After riding back on Camps Flat Hill from Bulls Bridge

I turned down Old Mine and then went up N(orth) Road where I came out on Barker again.

Eventually my route took me by Kent Falls Brewing Co where I just had to stop. It was like a magnet pulling me in.

I debated whether to ride up Gunn Hill but it either that or detour around the lake and tack on an additional 5 more miles to the ride.  I climbed Gunn Hill and was then admired by these cows.

Finally, back to Roxbury Market where I discovered I had a dirt tan.

And of course, I couldn't pass up the opportunity for the renowned Ferris Acres ice cream. In Newtown there is always a line and the place is always crowded but here, I was the only one in line!

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