Sunday, October 25, 2020

All Day Gravel

 I got an invite to join a Westchester Cycling Club gravel ride starting at the Roxbury Town Hall.  Since I worked late Friday and didn't get out on the bike I decided to ride to Roxbury from my house, which is only 12 miles.  It was misting when I left the house and contemplated going back for a jacket but it was so warm to start and it was supposed to get warmer as the day went on so I pressed on.

In Bridgewater it was still misting but as I descended Rt 67 into Roxbury it actually started to lightly rain.

I met up with the Westchester Cycling Club behind the Town Hall. After introductions were made and the ride leader, Nick, gave a brief route description we headed off. We started with 11 riders and it started raining again.

First Dirt was Judd's Bridge, which is wonderful dirt road down to the Shepaug River. Turning onto the road one rider couldn't take the rain because she couldn't see and turned around.  We lost yet another rider near the intersection of Judd's Bridge and Tunnel Road when he had a flat and the next tube he tried blew out.

We made our way over to the Shepaug Railroad bed and then through the tunnel. Everyone was amazed with the tunnel.

There aren't many opportunities in which you can ride through an old train tunnel

We rode along the railroad bed until Tunnel Road was running parallel to us and we got on the road

Turning east we took the dirt road that goes up to Rt 199.

I pointed out to Nick the trail we usually ride up to Ferry Bridge but he decided to stick with his route.

We worked our way up to Buffim Road

And then headed over to Hidden Valley

I lead the way to biking trail which starts up a little incline south of the parking lot and then we rode down to the old railroad bed portion where bikes are allowed.

Then we followed the roadbed out to Romford

Time for a snack and aux naturel

My Vee Rubber 50cm tire upfront was rockin!

Getting back on the bikes we rode up the dirt portion to Romford Road and then it was hardball for the next 8 miles, riding up Rt 341 to Warren Road and then riding along the north part of Lake Waramug. We stopped at some picnic tables at the State Park to eat lunch. I drank my carton of Fuel and had a Cliff Bar. From there we rode Ash Swamp to signature climb of the ride, the dreaded Gunn Hill.

You actually start climbing on Ash Swamp but once your turn the bend and look up the hill is when you ask yourself, How did I get here? But you have no choice so drop into your lowest gear and grind up the hill.  What I find interesting is that Garmin Climbpro had the max grade at 24% at one point but RWGPS says it's 17.6% and Strava shows a max grade of 28%. I wonder if Gunn Hill is the steepest dirt road climb in Connecticut.

Bombing down Finlay I actually got a little air off one of the flat sections at the point where it descends again but the Garmin didn't register it.  Turning onto Church Hill I was with two other riders and by the time we got to Walker Brook we stopped and waited for everyone else but no one was riding up the hill. So we all headed back down the hill to the start of the climb on Wheaton and found that those following Nick, the ride leader missed the turn. They doubled back and we climbed back up Church Hill again. Funny, but that climb didn't show up on ClimbPro - go figure!

One last climb on Walker Brook and then its all down hill for next the 5 miles

My 29er tire upfront was awesome here and I was flying.

Then it was time to climb Judd's Bridge, my favorite climb of this route

From the top of Judd's Bridge we headed over to Mine Hill and bombed down that to Roxbury Station.

Then we made our way back to the town hall by way of Sentry Hill and the tail end of Judd's Bridge. I thanked everyone for allowing me to join them and got a few phone numbers to send pictures to and share my Roubaix to Brew, dirt road map. Then I headed off to hit some dirt roads between Roxbury and Woodbury.

I rode up Painter Hill to Topland Farms to check out the cows

Then over to Dorothy Diebold, Lower County, Old Roxbury and up Grassy Hill and then along East Woods Road.

4 miles of dirt and serious climb up Grassy Hill Road.
Average 8.7% grade with a max of 12.7%. ClimbPro said it was 18%

Turning east onto Ruccum Road I followed this till the end and found the last 1/2 mile of it unpaved. Across the street there was supposed to be a trail that leads down into Woodbury but it wasn't ride worthy so I headed to Roxbury International Airport.

There was a Woodbury cop parked at the main terminal and must have been waiting for a VIP to fly in or something because technically he wasn't in Woodbury.

I took the alternate route behind OOF (Ovens of France) and came across Gamera crossing the road.

He was pretty big and didn't look like he wanted any help. Just hope he didn't turn into a turtle pancake.

Riding down Flood Bridge in Southbury the sun finally came out!

I stopped off at Reverie Brewing for a couple of Oktoberfests (they call it Lederhosen)

Glad I wore my beer socks for this ride

Then I rode the last three miles home and hit a little more dirt along the way on Old Echo Valley

And then Tamarack Road

Temperature was dropping and I was freezing by the time I got home at 6 PM!

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