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.
Above is the original route and below is my modified route using Wandrer and roads that I haven't ridden before.
Will was all for riding my route since he has a house in the area and frequently rides these roads. The major differences in my route and the existing route was that I took out all the single track, as well as riding nearby dirt roads that I haven't been on before. Some of the changes were awesome and one was not but that's the fun of riding gravel.
The start of the ride was at a new venue, PS21, or Performance Spaces for the 21st Century and there was a lot of fanfare prior to the ride, too.
And we were off - all 700 of us
I think this is the biggest field, yet
First dirt road out of Chatham, Highland Road, claims my First Dirt title.
You could not ask for a better day
There was rain earlier in the week so the roads weren't terrible dusy
The first divergence had Will and I headed down Rock City Road and you could see clear across the Hudson Valley today
Will and I turned north on County Road 13 and saw everyone coming the other direction
The DSIG crew from NYC with Fred Harris and Brian Sullivan rolled by
We turned into what was a gravel driveway but was actually called Spangler Road
This took us to the closed bridge over Kinderhook Creek
After crossing County Rt 32 we turned north onto Hanley Road. A group of riders came up behind us and Will told them that this wasn't the route they should be on and to go back to Rt 32. What a beautiful road and when it pops out by this fence line it's so idyllic. The only bad thing about going this way is that you wind up having to take Rt 20 for a half mile to get to Moshodak Road. It has a big climb from Rt 20 and then a real nice downhill to Jefferson Hill Road
We got to S&S Brewery but they weren't serving any beer
I did run into John Young and invited him to join us on our alternate route
My CAADx has turned into such a joy to ride. The extra wide bars (480mm) are so comfortable. I geared up for the Farmer's Daughter with Mountain Bike gearing, 32t front chainring and an 11-32t cassette. I wanted to do 38t front and an 11-42t cassette but the Wolftooth adapter that I bought only went to 40t.
The main route turned south on Riders Mill Rd we continued north on Ashley Hill Road and a really big climb
We worked our way over to Brainard and crossed the old railroad Bed of the Chatham and Rutland Railroad and rode by this old station house
Popping back out on Rt 20 we rode past the speedway and then turned south on Old Gale Hill
Turns out it doesn't really go through and it was quite a climb with a 25% grade that both John and I walked.
The gravel road ended and we found the old right of way
We popped out on the other Old Gale Hill and rode a section of the course before veering off and going back to Rt 20 and then coming up School House Hill. That was a mistake because we should have went a little further east and taken French's Hill, which is dirt.
The caterer for the Lunch out did themselves.
From Lunch onwards my route had a few deviations but we were mostly riding with everyone else
And climbing, too.
Instead of descending Colane Road to Schillings Crossing we went down Bamegat Road. It was a more gradual descent with no abrupt stop like the other road.
We deviated to Canaan to ride a dirt road called Gifford Road
and the non-drive side crank arm snapped on the spindle. We rolled down to Warner Crossing where he called his wife to pick him up so I left him and continued on. At that point I decided to stick to the regular course.
The climb from Red Rocks Road to the third rest stop is not necessarily the steepest but certainly the longest.
I caught up with John Young again at the Bee Bee Hill Rest Stop
Saw Laura, too
At the end of this road we stopped for watermelon. A woman on the course had her husband meet her with freshly cut watermelon and we had some. John caught up to us here.
At Ooms Pond we lost Pete. Laura, John and I were skipped the ride around the pond.
I got 25 new miles out of my route! As I was coming into the finish line, the lower part of my hamstring cramped up and I had to stop and then limp across the finish. Will drove over and met me for food.