Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Sprint like Cavendish

The weather boffins predicted rain would start around 8 PM in the lower foothills of the Berkshires so Mike, Scott and I headed out from Roxbury Market on an unscripted gravel ride. It was again another hot afternoon reaching into the 90s but given that we would be riding mostly in the shade I wasn't terribly worried about it. There was no question of a happy ending but how wet was it going to be?

Mike showed up in his Ultraromance Gravel Kit and we headed to Judd's Bridge. We came across two guys headed in the same direction but didn't really slow down to chit chat. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The Creepy Doll in Poverty Hollow

My daily commute from work has me driving up Poverty Hollow Road in Redding and Newtown, which also happens to be a popular cycling route and one that ride frequently. It also tends to be a mainstay for our evening Illuminati rides. On Monday, while returning from work I noticed a big doll that someone had propped up against one of the graves.  That evening, one of the Newtown Lunartics, Gabby, rode by there and went social media on it.

I wasn't thinking about the doll when I planned out the route for Tuesday's ride because I was more concerned about getting to Ferris Acres before 8:37 PM.  

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Dante's Inferno

Having just gotten back from vacation and wanting to ride something different Mike suggested we do section of a ride that a friend of his did the previous weekend.  The friend rode 130+ miles but Mike only wanted to ride around half that distance and then go back to his house to cool off in the pool and drink some beers since it was going to be a scorcher of a day.  The route that he picked had us leaving from his house and heading up to Millerton, NY and then coming back on the Harlem Valley Rail Trail and then back roads back to his house.

Of course, as most of my cycling friends know, when I see an intended route I am liable to make changes to it and of course I couldn't help but change this one. I modified the route so that we would go north of Millerton, ride up to Boston Corners and come back on the new section of the HVRT that just opened this spring (Millerton to Boston Corners). I always have a cycling agenda.  

On the way up to Sharon we met up with Steve, on the right, who told us he lives on Westwoods Road No 1. If you have ever ridden this road you will recall that it's brutal, dirt road climb up the backside of Skiff Mountain. Steve told us that he usually drives down the hill and parks at the bottom so that he doesn't have to climb back up after big ride. That's pretty smart.  Steve was meeting a friend in Sharon who was going to ride Deep Hollow into Millbrook.  We parted with Steve and Mike and I continued north.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Checkpoint Charlie


Right after High School, in 1983, I went to Germany as an exchange student and one of the trips we took as a group was to Berlin.  At that time, the Berlin Wall was still standing aimed at keeping the west out when it was really meant to imprison those in the east.  That socialistic pipe dream came crashing down five years later.

43 years later, here I am standing at another border crossing, having ridden to it from where we were staying on Lake Champlain, on a day of fierce winds that made fishing nearly impossible. I got the same feeling as I did back in Berlin, only this exclusion from another country wasn't due ideological/political reasons rather the Global Pandemic that has closed our borders to all unless deemed essential.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Cycling in the North Country

The border with Canada was still closed to tourism and thus my father and I had to settle for another trip to Lake Champlain for the annual father and son fishing trip.  On the second day of the trip the wind was so strong we got blown off the lake and I was glad that I brought a bike to ride for these situations. I did it last year, too, as we had some not so pleasant days out on the water, too.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Kent Falls Roubaix

This is now Marshall's second gravel ride with Mike and I and you could start calling us the three Gravel Amigos.  We started from Mike's house in Gaylordsville and out of the gate began the first climb to the top of Stillson Hill.  Stillson wasn't the biggest climb on the route but it was dirt.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Illuminati Summer Solstice Ice Cream Social

Photo Credit: Scott Davidow

This week's Illuminati ride started a little bit earlier than your normal ride time because our goal today was to ride 50 miles.  However, we got off to a late start because John invited some buddies from the Hartford area and one of which had car trouble and was running late.  We went out for a warm up loop that netted us almost 6 miles.  By the time we got back to the Library, John's friend was ready and off we went.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Thank you God!

Remember that scene in Animal House towards the end of the movie where the kid is sitting on his bed looking at a Playboy and one of the women dressed as a Playboy Bunny was catapulted off the float and lands on the kid's bed? He exclaims, "Thank you God!" Well that's what it was like today on the Mullikin Trail at Upper Paugussett State Forest.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Joe versus the Volcano Roubaix

After last year's Lake Winnespaukee Gravel Grinder ride I took an interest in this part of New Hampshire to add more dirt roads to my Roubaix to Brew dirt road and breweries map. Being somewhat of a topography/cartography nerd I found that were quite a few circular shaped mountains in this area. After some research I found that this part of the state was home to quite a few ancient volcanoes and Pawtuckaway State Park caught my interest. Also known as the Dragon's Eye, the concentric rings around a center mound mark the center of an ancient volcano where the magma chamber solidified and then collapsed upon itself, called a ring dike.

Friday, June 11, 2021

My first Titanium Bike

I have been thinking of getting a new bike lately. A friend of mine had given me a carbon frame to build up and I just about have everything I need for the bike but then I was perusing Facebook Marketplace when I found this:

Frame is custom Waltley 60cm 
Prime Pro Race disc wheelset
30c WTB Exposure tires
Shimano 105 11 speed groupset
Duraace 50/34t 175 mm crankset
Ultegra 11-32t Cassette
TRP Spyre SLC disc brakes with Ultegra Rotors 
44cm Superlite Handlebars
Ritchey stem and seatpost
Fizik Argo Tempo R5 Saddle