Sunday, November 14, 2021

Ride Gravel, Hail Satan!

Hitting First Dirt that starts out as a Hike-a-Bike really makes you wonder what evil forces are at play here in Satan's Kingdom. I noticed last week that there was a group of people that did a 30 mile route starting from Collinsville that included Satan's Kingdom and I came up with a slightly longer route that hit some more dirt roads that have been on my bucket list in the New Hartford area. 

After the hike-a-bike section the forest road became much more enjoyable to ride and at the intersection of trail that comes up from River Road is where we met Doug Hungerford. This is the first time Mike and I have actually ran into someone (as crazy as we are) in the woods like this.

Doug was riding his new Salsa Cutthroat that he got at Pedal Power. We were drooling over it. It was tubeless with 29x2.2 tires and plenty of braze ons for additional water bottle mounts.  It's essentially a drop bar mountain bike.

Then the forest road started going up and even though it was less than a mile it was devilish steep. 

With a max grade of 24% and I had to put a foot down in the middle of that section while Mike never stopped.  

He was on fire today!

It was like Satan himself lit a fire under Mike!

We came to a junction where the route I layed out turned to singletrack. We tried it for a bit but then headed back and decided to ride the forest road all the way through Nepaug State Forest to Route 44.

We were supposed to skirt Collinsville but Saturday's storm brought down trees onto wires and Torrington Avenue was closed. We backtracked and found that while Town Bridge was closed to cars you could still walk across it.

After Colinsville we started climbing on a paved road that took us to the Nepaug Reservoir and a closed off called Clear Brook Road. There we met Jimmy B who was following the route that the friend of mine road last week.  According to RWGPS, it was dirt but the website was only partly right as it was just an old deteriorated road. 

At the end Clear Brook Road we climbed up to Burlington Falls.

After the falls we started riding this old road where we met Jimmy B again.

The road turned north but it was blocked to prevent vehicles from accessing but once we got through it was wide open and a nice section to ride.

Jimmy B was following us and then he was not somewhere he split off.

We then hit this short but steep climb

It had a wonderful view of the Nepaug Reservoir

I had to put my foot down again and that's when I came to realization that perhaps my hanger is bent.

After the climb we met up with Jimmy B again. Apparently he took a shortcut that avoided that climb. I am going to have to come back and find that shortcut. Eventually we popped out onto a paved road and started riding back towards New Hartford. At the end of Burdick Road I called an audible and we bombed down to the Duncan at the intersection with Rt 44. 

After lunch we climbed back up Steele Road from the other direction back to Burdick Road and we met Jimmy B again coming from the other direction.

He told us wife usually rides with him but she was on a tribute ride for a fallen comrade.
At the end of Burdick Road, we turned west on Town Hill Road and continued climbing to the next dirt road on today's route.

The next road dirt is named after cat for some reason there are no signs.

From the road with no street sign we turned west again and rode down Stub Hollow and then hit more dirt roads in the direction of Harwinton. 

Country Lane was nice little climb and in the middle there are couple of doggies that said hello.

Their barking as we rode by made me think they thought they owned the road

Thank god for electric dog fences!

We continued heading south until we found Sabocik Road.
There was Road Closed sign but it was perfectly fine for bikes.

Turning north we started riding up Shady Brook Road. It starts out as paved but then a quarter of a mile in it turns to gravel.

Then it becomes a forest road/trail and just a wonderful road to ride as it parallels a quaint stream.

We were supposed to ride Richards Road but decided to not ride it because the marvelous weather that we had in the morning was getting colder and overcast. I was kicking myself for not bringing the removable sleeves for my vest. The sleeves were forgotten after climb up to West Hill Pond.

We turned into a Boy Scout camp on the west side of the pond and continued climbing and then descended down through another camp till we came up some administration buildings for the Boy Scouts. This route is kind of a poach because technically it ends at a gate for a private community. The people we passed, though, didn't give us any grief.

The descent down to Rt 44 was steep, fast and chilly. We got on the dirt road on the other side of the Farmington River which I was pretty sure would connect to the old New Hartford Branch of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad.  

The road gave way to singletrack and it was really fun to ride. Then we came upon an old road bed that might have been part of the line. 

I had read that there plans to take the line all the way to Massachusetts but the remaining track was never laid.   

We did find some piers that might have held track or it was part of an ice slide to the tracks similar to what was at White Memorial in the late 1800s.  From here we just road back to the cars and to dinner and beer at Brewery Legitimus.  Afterwards we kind of crashed an end of season party for Eastern Bloc Cycling Club and chatted with a few of the members. One guy recognized me from my NEMBA days.


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