Thursday, March 26, 2020

Pandemic RAW: The Ride at Five

It's rush hour and normally this stretch of I-84, just past Exit 9, is either backed up and moving really slow.

This was another one of those days that I had to get out and ride after work.

Even though the temperature was around 60 degrees I was expecting to get home after dark so I dressed accordingly.

I have never seen this section of Mt Pleasant Road in Newtown, just east of the Lutheran Church, this empty before. After crossing Mount Pleasant, I headed back down Taunton Rd, and this time I kept my eyes open for deer. I hung a right onto Plum Trees Road and rode down to Rockwell Road. I came up on two boys riding all over the road, from side to side, when I told them to make up their mind as to which side of the road they were going to ride. I might have scared them a bit but I was able to get past them.

Riding up Cod Fish Hill ext I am always amazed at how many people I see walking this stretch of road. This evening some mother was making her kids run down to the intersection and back.  Crossing back into Newtown and heading down Poverty Hollow I came across quite a few cyclists heading the other direction. Each one was about 1/4 mile apart - was that some sort of Social Distancing Group Ride?

The peepers were going crazy as I descended into the Aspetauck Chasm and the Aspetauk River was running full tilt.  

I looped around on Stepney Road and the climbed up Eden Hill.

By the time I got to the top of Platts Hill where it meets with Brushy Hill the sun was setting.

People were out playing gold this evening, too.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Pandemic RAW: Almost T-Boned by Deer

The day before we had snow and now look how beautiful it is!

I started my first of what I think will be many solo rides after work by climbing up Castle Hill and then enjoying a LaylaBar. It's a new product for cyclists made by my friend, Steve Taylor, from Philly. They are so good and each block is packed with protein and sugar in natural forms to keep you moving all day. I likened it to an all natural Guu shot, and I it provides with me a lot of energy without that sugar crash and gas I get from Guu.

This was the first opportunity that I had to try out my new Merino Wool riding sweater that I bought at Fitzgerald Bicycles in Jackson Hole. Combined with a thermal under layer it's perfect for 45 degrees and upward but below that I would need another layer. 

From Castle Hill I rode by Taunton Pond and then headed towards Plumb Trees. As I was descending toward the turn at the Brunot Preserve there was this car that was stopped in the opposite direction and I couldn't figure out why. When I was about 25 meters from the car this deer ran out in front of me. Had I been any faster or started sooner our paths would have crossed and I am sure it would have sucked for the both of us. I would like to give the driver of the car a big FU for not warning me though.

Riding by Castle Meadow Pond, aka Morgan's Pond according to old locals, is a place that I always like to stop at. Sometimes you see people fishing or others walking along the banks. It was perfect timing for sunset.

Riding through town, it was pretty empty

Monday, March 23, 2020

Pandemic Rail Trail Ride to Black Hog Brewery

It seems that after every big ride the prior day I make big plans to follow up with another one but I rarely execute on it. Today's ride wasn't the exception but had some roots. I wanted to do loop consisting of the Larkin Bridle Trail, Hop Brook singletrack, Middlebury Trolley Trail, Flanders Nature Center Trails, Trolley Singletrack and then ride dirt roads back to the car.  The consolation prize of that grandiose plan was to ride to Black Hog, get some beer, drink some beer and ride back to the car.

Looks like proximity to the Rail Trail has gotten popular for Black Hog Brewery because now there is the Hog Path. I was here maybe two or three years ago (from the rail trail) and we bush whacked through here and the singletrack just to the east of the brewery looked like a rake and ride trail right through a stream.

Play the Price is Right Loser music! 
I should have checked the website.

Riding the rail trail was interesting because there were more people out walking, since that is about all you can do right now with everything else closed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. When I rode by these people, some would move off the trail and others would not.

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

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!