Tuesday, August 31, 2021

IlLUMENati Wacky Tracks Ride

Snack stop at Pete's Mom's house

This week's Ilumenati ride started and ended from the commuter lot at the intersection of Wolfpit Road and Route 7 in Wilton.  The planned route had quite a bit of different terrain including gravel roads, rail trails and a greenway. We headed south towards Norwalk and Silvermine and then turned north. 

Sunday, August 29, 2021

The Dirty Drunken Farmer's Daughter Gravel Grinder

Riding the dirt roads between Hillsdale and Chatham has been on my bucket list after the first Farmer's Daughter Gravel Grinder I rode in 2016. When Roe Jan Brewery opened up a few years ago it made for the perfect combination of riding, dirt roads and drinking beer but COVID dashed those plans last summer so here we are one year later riding brewery to brewery. 

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Abandon hope all ye who enter here!

The 160 KM route for this year's Deerfield Dirt Road Randonee was a modified version of the first mystery ride in 2016.  Of all the rides Will and I have ridden together, the 160 KM remains our favorite route and have been riding it since 2014.

Will and I attempted the first D2R2 Mystery route back in 2016, which I named my post about it: Napoleon's Death March. We probably would have had better success if we had did the roadie version instead of the mountain bike one. Today was our chance to take a mulligan on the original D2R2 Mystery route, accompanied by Will Boericke,  a member of our D2R2 crew with a similar lust for adventure and challenging bike rides. Wheels were rolling by 7:05 AM.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Gathering before the big event


When we learned that the organizers of D2R2 (Deerfield Dirt Road Randonee) weren't going to have camping this year due to COVID the Crew decided that we would make our own camping arrangements. We settled on Erving State Park, about 20 miles north of Deerfield.  Rob was already there but had went out with his wife and daughter so while Will and I were setting up the tent the others arrived.  We then went off for a little ride before dinner, not wearing any kit, around the park and on some back roads.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Gearing up for D2R2

I purchased a 11-42T cassette and a Wolftooth Road link before I went to Chicago and my plan was when I got back I would install at use that set up for the Farmer's Daughter and D2R2 Gravel Grinders. However, I didn't really look too closely at the Wolftooth instructions and when I got everything installed it didn't work correctly. It would shift into the lowest gear and then get stuck there!


That's when I discovered that the Wolftooth link only works for 11-40T cassettes, DOH!  For the Farmer's Daughter, I ended up going back to my old 11-32T cassette and putting my 32T front chain ring on and had no trouble climbing, albeit I was slow as molasses on the hills. When I got back to CT after the ride, I ordered the right cassette and the day before I was headed up to Massachusetts I installed the new cassette and it worked. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Price Drop!

Following up on my She cleans up good but buyer beware post from a month ago, the bike I sold to the Hartford Bike Flipper has dropped the price to  $1,200! It's a 7 year old bike with 21,000 miles on it. Of course any would be buyer isn't going to know that and neither does the seller because he never asked me.  I know bikes are still scarce right now but who would pay that much for aluminum 10 speed?

Monday, August 16, 2021


Lately I have been on a quest to ride as much unique mileage as possible driven by an application that works with Strava called Wandrer.  One of the motivations in going to Chicago for a week and bringing my bike is the target rich environment of roads that I have never ridden before.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Farmer's Daughter - Wandrer Edition

I signed up for the 2020 Farmer's Daughter but it was initially postponed due to the COVID Pandemic and then when things really went downhill during lockdown it was canceled altogether.  

For 2021, I initially opted not do the event but after returning from Chicago there was nothing going on that weekend and Will wanted to know if I wanted to ride with him. Seeing that it was a last minute entry to this year's Farmer's Daughter Gravel Grinder. Will was trying to see if he could get me in by some other means when I found someone on FaceBook selling their registration so I bought it off of them and was in. Had I registered with the normal people I would have had a personalized name bib.  Looking back, Will and I have ridden this together twice:
In 2017, Will and I rode the Columbia County Gravel Grinder that was put on by his bike shop and the Chatham Rotary that hit many of the same roads. So when I got the route and looked at it through the eyes of my Wandrer application I decided some route changes were needed in order to get more points.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

HVNEMBA's Rockhouse Hill Sanctuary Challenge

When planning a mountain biking event sometimes you have to roll the dice and take a chance on the weather. We did that this Saturday for the Rockhouse Hill Sanctuary Challenge.  The Housatonic Valley Chapter of New England Mountain Bike Association held their new fund raiser at the Oxford High School, which happens to neighbor one of the up and coming premier mountain biking destinations in Western Connecticut.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

More Cowbell

While I was in Chicago the 90mm EC90 Carbon stem that I ordered came in and so I took off the Ritchey handlebars that came with the bike and retaped the Salsa Cowbells that I got from a friend last month and installed the new stem.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

And we're back!

When I got home from work on Tuesday I rebuilt the Jamis so I would have something to ride the next day.

Monday, August 09, 2021

Beyond the Velodrome

For my last day in Northbrook I decided to hit a few more roads to add to my Wandrer total and ride some more at the Velodrome.

Sunday, August 08, 2021

Brats and Beer for Breakfast

I took a rest day on Saturday in anticipation for a big ride on Sunday to Wisconsin.  Kenosha is only 35 miles aways from Northbrook and that like my beach ride, only here there is no climbing.  I left my Aunt's house before 5:30 AM and took a circuitous rate to Highland Park where I planned to take Sheridan Road north. At this time in the morning I could have ridden Lake Cook Road because there was no one on it.

Friday, August 06, 2021

Wauconda Forever!

With Summer hours in effect at work I was able to knock off early and go for a bigger ride, 10 miles more than yesterday. I really wanted to ride to Fox Lake where my Aunt keeps her boat, which would be a 50 mile round trip but I was meeting a friend from college this evening for dinner and couldn't afford the extra distance. 

Thursday, August 05, 2021

Suburbia Sucks ...

... if you are a road rider.

Had to work today and since Chicago is an hour behind New York and I couldn't get up early enough this morning to beat the heat so I had to settle for a ride after work.  It didn't look like there was smoke haze today but the afternoon sun had a unique quality about it that you don't find on the East Coast.

Wednesday, August 04, 2021

2757 West Jerome Street, Chicago, IL

Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother's house we go! My original plan for my first day in the Chicago area was to ride my grandmother's old house in the Rogers Park section of Chicago but after the little maintenance issue I needed to tweak my route a bit. My grandmother's house is a place of many memories and having never lived in Chicago and only visited for 40 years I always considered it my second home.

Ride back from Deerfield Cyclery

 I called the shop at 2 pm and they surprised me saying that it would be ready by 3 PM!  That was awesome, only my Aunt couldn't take me to get the bike. She said, "just take an Uber." That's what I did. I got kitted up, through my cycling shoes into a little shoulder bag, requested a car and went over to the bike shop.  The bike was ready to rock!  I even bought a jersey to say thank you for turning it around so quickly.

Leaving on (another) Jet Plane ...

A cousin of mine from Chicago reached out to me in June wanting to know if I was coming to Chicago for a family reunion and I had no clue that it was happening I immediately called my Aunt and she told me what was going on and that I welcomed to stay with her. I was inadvertently left out of the planning because the thought was that I wouldn't be able to bring my family due to the cost of air travel and some other issues. As it turns out, the weekend of the event was the same time my wife would be taking the boys and her sister to Maine for a long weekend.

Turns out that it was more economical for me to come out for a week then it was to come out for the weekend so I booked my flights for Wednesday and returning Tuesday.  I borrowed a bike bag from a former Newtown Lunartic who moved to New Jersey and the Sunday before I was supposed to leave, took the Jamis apart and put it in the bag.  It was so light, both the bag and the bike together that I was able to get a bunch of other things in the bag as well. I am getting one these bags.