Sunday, March 22, 2020

Pandemic Ride in 3 States

I met Will in Hillsdale, NY Saturday morning around 10 AM and we headed out on a route that I planned out on Ride with GPS called the Roe Jan Loop. the night before. There is a new brewery off of Route 22 in Hillsdale called Roe Jan Brewing that I visited last month and realized it would be the ideal jump off point for either a road or gravel ride.

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, brewery was closed so all I could do was park in front of it. I had thought after the ride with Will I might take a spin down the section of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail that terminates at the brewery.
HRVT Terminus at Hillsdale, next to Roe Jan Brewing Company

We had to climb the Taconics, just north of the Catamount Ski area. I was wearing my new winter cycling sweater that I bought in Wyoming two weeks ago but I couldn't show it off because it was too cold and I needed a cycling jacket.

Then ride down Route 41 to Salisbury, which has to be one of the best roads to ride in Southern New England. While really sunny the north wind made it a lot colder and during half the ride it was out our backs but turning north in Salisbury it was head on and slowed our pace immensely. 

When we got to Salisbury we stopped at the spring to refill bottles and have a snack. I brought some LaylaBars, that a friend of mine down in Philadelphia started making and had my first taste. It was just what I needed. It's a mix of jams, nuts, and fruit bits all rolled up into a compact size that is gone in two bites.  Of course if you were pedaling you could fit the whole thing in mouth easily. 

From Salisbury, out route took us to Lakeville and around Wononskopomuc Lake and then over to Millerton, NY, which on any normal Saturday is usually crowded with people because it's also the terminus of the first leg of the Harlem Valley Rail Tail. Today, it was a ghost town. From Millerton, we headed down Route 22 to Route 199 to begin the third climb of the route towards Ancram.

Climbing up State Highway 199 I noticed the old railroad bed that parallels the road and at this sign is where it crosses the road. I have always wanted to see this bed after reading about it.  You can see the raised portion of the roadbed along Rt 22 just outside of Millerton, heading south.  After about a mile on Rt 199 you can see the roadbed again on your right. After crossing at the road you get a great view of the road bed again running along the northeast edge of the ridge.

At the top of the sixth and last climb of the ride Will and I stopped for a snack. We now had 8 miles to go till we got back to Hillsdale.  Two miles down the road, while trying to down shift for the next rise a head of us something snapped in my right hand shifter and I reached down to check the cable only to find it totally slack.  Guess I was riding a dinglespeed back to the car and no happy ending for this ride but a great ride and route none-the-less.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Dirty Social Distancing

I had not ridden the intervening days between returning from my ski trip and the weekend. I had planned on riding anywhere between 36 and 76 miles starting from the Roxbury Market to start training for the Frozen Apple next weekend but an email arrived saying that it's being canceled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  I guess it was good thing no one wanted to ride so I could practice social distancing. I decided to do a solo ride from Chez Cyclensack and just see where I would end up.

Monday, March 09, 2020

XC Skiing at Grand Teton National Park

It was snowing on my last full day in Jackson, Wyoming and My father and his partner decided to take me to Grand Teton National Park to Cross Country Ski.

Sunday, March 08, 2020

Cross Country Skiing in Jackson, WY

After 4 days of skiing and one day fat biking it was time to wind down the trip with a little Cross Country skiing.  I rented skis, boots and poles from Skinny Skis in Jackson and my Dad and I headed out to the Emily Pond, which is a levee along the Snake River.

Thursday, March 05, 2020

Winter Fat Biking at Cache Creek

The next part of my fat biking adventure in Jackson was to ride the trails at Cache Creek. I toyed with the idea of riding out to Teton Village but that wouldn't have been half as fun as riding here. The shop that I rented the bike from also highly recommended that I ride there.

I rented a Salsa Mukluk. Really light frame sporting two 4.8 wide tires that had a bouncy feel to it. It was shifting a little wonky and wouldn't hold certain gears but I wasn't going to take it back to the shop and then come back again. 

Aw ...

On a recent ski trip out west I was off the plane and on the mountain in an hour. It was really cool to know that I had been up since 3:30 that morning and now I was at 7,000 feet and skiing. Looking down at town of Jackson I realized that it was laid out in a grid pattern and then I had an epiphany!


Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Birthday Dirt

For my birthday this year I planned on riding my age in miles and I designed a mixed terrain route that was exactly 55 miles. However, 15 minutes prior to driving to Exit 14 in Southbury from where the ride was starting, Gavin texted me and ask if I could reverse the route so that we would initially end up at OOF (Ovens of France). I redid the course on Ride with GPS, sent out the link and headed out.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Do you know the way to Mianus?

I finally found a buyer for my Tandem and since they were going to the trouble of renting a van, they live in Brooklyn, I decided to meet them half way.  The deal went down at the commuter lot at Exit 4 off of I-684 in Bedford Hills.  After the new owners left the with the bike I got ready for a little gravel ride that I planned out which combined new dirt roads I learned on Dirty Apple plus roads that I have often ridden on the the Dirty Martha.


It was pretty warm and I probably could have gotten away with my regular riding shoes with covers but all I brought were my Lake303s. I figured a lighter outer layer would be sufficient and fortunately, I also had my rain jacket in the handlebar bag if I got cold. I hit first dirt on Fox Lane. This road is a little hidden gem I discovered a few years back. I have never ridden it from this direction though.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

NFW on the Hut

After waking up to 5 degrees Saturday morning I worked around the house till the afternoon and then I went out for a ride. Coming up to the parking lot at the end of Echo Valley I notice two guys talking about the trails so I offered my expertise. One of the guys was dressed in blaze orange and it looks like he was hunting so I asked what was still in season and he said squirrel. Glad I was wearing blaze orange!

Just past the intersection with the white trail and where the Poly Brody starts climbing I noticed a nice pair of glasses at the base of a tree. They must have fell out of someone's pocket. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

A front fenders for the Sex Machine

I have had this Planet Bike Mountain Bike fender laying around for years and finally decided to try it on the gravel bike. The hole at the bottom of the fork was too big and since it mounts using an expander I cut up an old tube and wrapped it a few times and then put into the whole and tightened it. The fender piece was a snug fit but I got it in the groves. 

It performed reasonably well, granted it's made for 26" wheels so while it protected me and the bike fairly well it wasn't 100%. I still need something for the rear wheel, which might prompt me to get full wheel fenders at some point.

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Norbrook Farm Brewery Trails in the snow

On Friday I called Norbrook Farms and asked whether or not their trails would be open. Wasn't sure how cold it has been in the Icebox of Connecticut but they did get some snow this past week so I decided to check. The woman I spoke to said, of course they are open. Whether or not she really new the answer now points to she really didn't know since the consensus from Facebook says that there were closed due to the freeze/thaw taking place this winter.

I found frozen trails with a crunchy under layer and 1 to 2 inches of fresh powder. It was snowing on my drive up to Butternut this morning (I went Telemark skiing for 4 hours before) and snowing once again on the drive back down to Connecticut.

After a quick cursory lap on one of the green trails I came back to the car because I forgot something and the snow stopped.  I didn't have a lot of time because I got their late and I didn't bring lights.

Saturday, February 01, 2020

Mr Robison's Neighborhood Gravel Grinder

One of my riding buddies from the Newtown Lunartics, Mike, was celebrating his 50th Birthday and wanted to do Gravel Ride from his new house in Gaylordsville, a hamlet of New Milford. He invited some of his high school friends from the Hartford area to join us so I planned a route that would hit the dirt roads near his house, go into NY and back into CT.

First Dirt was on Jericho Road but what was really surprising was when the road turned into a gravel trail. I had ridden through here a few years prior and back then it was a washed out right of way. This was awesome!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

It's Back!

On a mountain bike ride at the end of last year at Rye Street Park I broke the Boa Rachet on my LakeMX303 riding boot. I sought out some recommendations on what to do and Al Tinti suggested some contact cement. I was all set to do it but I didn't feel comfortable with the way it would settle and not mess up the cable or stick to it. I called Lake Cycling and sent it to them to do the repair.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

FrogToggs Storm Gauntlet: The best cycling over mitt!

Disclaimer: I haven't been paid to review these over mitts or received them in compensation for making this post. 

This all came about a few weeks ago when I was on a exploratory gravel ride in Southbury and then down through Monroe and Trumbull. The day started in the low 40s so I was wearing my gloves that are perfect that temperature but brought along another pair of warmer gloves in case it got colder. Since those were getting ratty I started thinking about a replacement. What I decided was that I really wanted an over mitt that would work for cycling.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Winter is back!

It seems that winter has finally arrived here in Southern New England.  While the snow is a welcome reminder the frigid temperatures really are not. There was snow from a storm over the weekend but on Sunday it warmed up above freezing and then Monday the temperature plummeted and all all the snow froze again.  

Heading out to Upper Paugussett today, I found a mixed bag of conditions. Where the fat bikers had ridden on Sunday the track was good but going on unbusted trail turned into Napoleon's death march.

The temperature started at 25 degrees but as the sun went down so did the temperatures with it and by the time I got home from my ride it was 19 degrees. I was still sweating with my windstopper fleece hunting jacket and the vents open.

Yesterday would have been perfect but as luck would have it I was out of town and missed all the fun. I made my own fun today by finding a potential new section of trail on the Gussy. 

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Spring Gravel in January

Gavin and I left from Cover 2 at 7:30 am. Originally I was planning on an all day ride of about 70 miles but Gavin didn't have that much time so I had to knock off 30 miles from the route.

First things first, we had to stop at OOF (Ovens of France) for breakfast. We did, however hit a few dirt roads before riding through Soutbury, though.  After breakfast we headed to Scuppo Road for the first serious climb of the day.

Before hitting the dirt portion of Scuppo I noticed that the old trolley bed had been graveled and so I rode down through a gated access way to check it out. Turns out a contractor was hired to repaint the water tower and to bring in equipment and materials they had to improve this section of the bed.

Sunday, January 05, 2020

Easter Eggs and Melon Heads

There have been a few roads on my to do list to see if they really go through or for that matter are truly dirt roads. With the early winter warm up taking place I was not going to ride the trainer again this Sunday so I headed out on the Sex Machine to hit a few of these roads.  Also, it would be a good test of some gear that I recently added to the bike as well as a pair of shoes that I brought out of retirement since my Lake303s are now out of action.

Nelson Road Right of Way

I rode down to the steel bridge from house and crossed over into Southbury. I rode up Fish Rock for the first time and I started shedding clothes. Good thing I had the handlebar bag! My first quest was to see of Sanford Road West actually went through. On the maps it showed a dead end, however, the property lines showed that there was still a right of way.  However, when I came out of North Georges Hill I noticed a dirt road off to the south and rode over to it and it started climbing.  The dirt road ended but the right of way continued.  I turned around and headed back to Sanford Road because that was my main objective. However, looking on the Southbury, CT GIS map they still show Nelson Road as a town road!

Saturday, January 04, 2020

I never new handlebar bags were ever out of style!

Well, that is if you are a gravel rider, according to the Bike Snob in Outside Magazine.

I don't really go for any of the style that the Bike Snob professes to be in vogue, however, I do have a few different handlebar bags that have collected through the years and so I thought it would be appropriate to dress up the Sex Machine with some gear. Too bad Cannondale never made and orange bag because it would go so nice with my current gravel bike.  At some point I might try to have one made.