Thursday, February 27, 2020

Pandemic RAW: Chasing Daylight

For me, variety is the spice of life and I can't ride the same route day after day so far the next ride after work I decided to head north into New Milford.

There was a bit of a delay at the Rt 133 bridge that crosses into Bridewater. The State DOT recommenced their surfacing project which means they have to block one lane on the bridge.

Since it was warmer out today I gave the new cycling sweater another go, only this time I added an extra layer underneath consisting of a cycling jersey. The additional jersey gave me extra pockets to carry more things, too.

When I got to the highest point of the route, it was taking me longer than I had anticipated due to all the climbing and I might have to cut out some of the course.  

The view to the west, while gorgeous, the sun was telling me that I had maybe an hour of daylight left and 1/2 hour of light after that. I will probably be riding home in the dark. The only part that I wasn't too happy about on this route was the descent down Buckingham Road. That steep descent you see above in the routing profile has a max grade of -15% and is a 1.6 mile descent, combined with sections of rough roads and little curves make it treacherous.  It it, however the only way to get to Paper Mill Road, which is an awesome gradual descent along a river that takes you right into the heart of New Milford.

The setting sun was still high enough to paint the town in orange.

Being a train buff I always go to the train station which still looks like it did many years ago when passengers used this rail line for travel.

From New Milford I rode along Lake Lillilonah but up here it has a current so it might still be considered the Housatonic River.  There were quite a few boats on the water with people fishing.

One of the best roads between New Milford and Brookfield is Errickson Road because it's a carpenter's dream, at least for the first reason. 

After I turned onto it I realized that I should have just climbed up Pumpkin Hill because I was going to be cutting the course short and to get back to the center of Brookfield I would either have to climb up Rt 25 which is not bad given how there are so few people on the roads these days but I thought it was (not sure why) or Silvermine which is usually even busier, narrower, and windier, essentially not safe at all. 

In any event I was going to have to climb some hill tonight so I figured it would be a great time for a little energy boost. I broke out another Layla Bar that was the perfect energy boost, which to my chagrin I decided I would climb up Baldwin Hill to Ironworks Hill.  Basically the hardest hill on the ride.

By the time that I got to the center of Brookfield it was pretty dark and cold, too. I turned my light but it was still a little warm enough that I didn't need to put my jacket on.

From Brookfield Center to home it was lights on!

I did call an audible from Brookfield Center and it was nearly the same distance.

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!