Friday, September 30, 2022

Red Sky at Night 3 Handle



As it turns out September was going to be a big riding month where I it will be second the time I have ridden over 900 miles in 30 days. I also did it in May of this year and as of last night I bested that month the night before.  I was planning on riding after work today and Scott said he was swinging by house at 5 PM so I kitted up and we headed north into Bridgewater. He was just out for a quick twenty but I wanted to get a 3 Handle (30 miles) which would put my total miles for the month at or over 950 miles at the conclusion of tonight's ride.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Maple City Gravel Grinder and the Three Bears


This year's Maple City Gravel Grinder was a blast despite the weather. Leading up to Sunday we were nervously watching the weather forecast as each day it kept changing and the predicted rain for Sunday moved earlier and earlier. There was no doubt it was going to rain so you just had to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Today's ride marks Will and I's second visit to the Maple City Gravel Grinder, the last one was in 2019. 

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Tour of the Dirty Litchfield Hills


Today's ride in Litchfield was an exploration of sorts and follow up to my last ride dirt road ride in Litchfield, The Litchfield Dirty Thirty. Accompanying me today was my friend Leslie who lives in Litchfield and is no stranger to some of these roads but like many of my exploration rides we're bound to find some dead ends, hike-a-bike, and probably a Napoleon's Death March. 

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Sympathy for the Devil

 


Don't you just love it when your wife wants you to go for a ride? That's how this ride came about. We had Will's apartment keys from when my daughter spent a few weeks this summer cat sitting and brought the keys home before going off to school. Sondra, Will's wife, thought it would be great idea if we got together this Sunday so I could hand off the keys. Our wives conspired and here we are are!

Sunday, September 04, 2022

Ralph Pruitt's 40 mile Gravel Grinder

You might say Ralph Pruitt is somewhat of a legend in our area. He is a prolific gravel rider and I have had the pleasure to ride with him a few times and kills everything. Before he moved the south the last time I rode with him was back in 2017 where we did a 70 mile gravel ride to the Barrington Brewery. Prior to this ride I had a made a few suggestions to get a few more dirt miles in but Ralph really wanted to hold the route to 40 miles so I decided to do his ride in three parts:

  1. Ride to Gaylordsville and along the way meet Mike and ride a little dirt along the way
  2. Meet up with Ralph and his crew from Pawling Cycle and do his route
  3. Ride home and hit some gravel roads in Newtown and perhaps stop at a Brewery

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Litchfield Dirty Thirty

Climbing Blakeslee Road

Last fall, Mike and I rode what I called the Litchfield Hills Roubaix in which we rode from Roxbury to Thomaston and then back through Litchfield and we just scratched surface of all the dirt roads between Roxbury and Route 8. I decided to come back and try a few more.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Good day for the beach


Since I didn't get out Friday to ride because I was helping a friend of a friend who is a cancer survivor and can't lift anything, carry anything heavy or walk very far rearrange her house a bit and take things to Goodwill I decided to ride down to Compo Beach in Westport. I had to leave before noon because I had to help pack my favorite daughter's and wife's cars as she was heading back to school today.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Scott, is that an ice cream scooper in your pocket or are you just excited for Ferris Acres?


This week's RC Ilumenati's Tuesday night ride, which happened on Wednesday, was without Dear Leader. The consensus was let's ride lightly traveled roads and stop at Ferris Acres for ice cream.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

2022 D2R2 115K Ride Report

What a hot day! I think this was the hottest day of riding Will and I have ever ridden at D2R2. We rode the 115K route with a few routing changes because I didn't want to lollipop the northern section. The course had three new climbs for us, River Rd, Stage Road, and Pennel Hill, which to me has to be the hardest climb in the area.

It's a good thing we left early because we got to lunch early and from what I heard by noon the lunch stop at the Covered Bridge was fairly picked over. Some other highlights include meeting and riding with Joe Bamburg from New Jersey, cramping on the Patten Hill climb and getting back while the sun is still up.

Friday, August 19, 2022

2022 D2R2 Pre Game


After checking in at the main tent, I got my camping pass and drove over to this year's camp ground where I met Todd. He picked out a good spot although we had to carry our stuff in but it was a lot flatter than there other places. We set up our tents and then had a beer, or two.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Broken Pedal Metric


I met Marshall at the Newtown Flagpole with the intention of riding to Ridgefield for some kind of Nosh and then riding back for around 40 miles. After climbing up Castle Hill and heading towards Birch Hill my foot came off the pedal, or should I say the pedal came off the spindle and then it disengaged from my food.  Good thing we were only 4 miles from my house and it was mostly downhill, so we rode back to my house so I could put on a new set of pedals.

Friday, August 12, 2022

OOF with Gavin



I think after a couple of days and being extra careful around my wife, wearing a mask, and staying away from here as much as possible and not having any symptoms I think I have dodged the COVID bullet. Gavin and I decided to ride to Ovens of France Friday morning. Since the Jamis was in need of a gearing overhaul I replaced my rear tire on the Waltly with a replacement that I bought while I was in Chicago but had it delivered in CT by accident.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Greis-n-sprinkles


Heading out Thursday morning I checked the weather and it said no rain in Newtown so I decided to ride the reverse way to Greisers for a little Greis-n-Shine, a delicious egg, cheese and bacon sandwich with a cup of coffee. Greisers is a Lunartics favorite breakfast ride destination because it makes a great jump off point if you want to ride down to the beach or just ride back to Newtown and still get a 40 mile ride in for the day.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Save Weed Street!


Woke up early Wednesday morning with no tell tale COVID symptoms but I did have a scratchy throat, not sore, though.  I headed out on another 30 mile ride instead for riding with my night group this evening. The Ilumenati asked me to stay away from them, too, as some of them don't have the best health insurance. 

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

COVID in da House

 

After taking a rest day on Monday I rode to my local polling place to cast my vote in the Democratic Primaries and then proceeded to ride 30 miles.  When I got home, I noticed my wife's care still in the garage which was odd because she usually goes to work on Tuesdays.  When I got upstairs and found her in her office and asked her why didn't go to work she pointed to a rapid test result on her desk and said that she has COVID!

Sunday, August 07, 2022

Roe Jan Roubaix


It's just two weeks till D2R2 and I wanted to get in a good training ride to ensure my worthiness to climb the massive dirt road climbs for Franklin (MA) and Windham (VT) counties on the D2R2 115K Route this year.  I reached out to my brother-in-law Will and asked if he wanted to ride Mt Riga starting from the Roe Jan Brewery in Hillsdale, NY. 

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Thirsty Thursday - LCCC Group Ride


Following the advice from the group at Tighthead Brewing and I found the information about the Lake County Cycling Collective's Thirsty Thursday ride from Meetup. The ride started at the Buffalo Creek Brewery in Long Grove.  

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Tighthead Brewing Company


I didn't ride Tuesday because it rained again in the morning and I had dinner plans with my uncle and his family.  On Wednesday, after work, I headed out on the singlespeed to ride to the Tighthead Brewery.  It was pretty hot, nearing the 90s but again the slight breeze that seems to be always blowing and the lack of humidity made riding here very enjoyable - what can I say, I like the heat.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Whole Foods has a bar?


Up until this point I have basically just been riding solo but I had been continually keeping an eye out for a group to join. Through one of the cycling Meetups I found a post from a northern suburbs guy looking for others to ride with so I messaged Darren and said that I would love to ride with you since I am in the same vicinity.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Singlespeed Tour de Chicago - Bonked


I have always wanted to ride my singlespeed through a city and today I was going to ride through Chicago.  From her house and back it was around 65 miles and despite a little early unpleasantness it turned out to be a really nice day.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Beermiscuous

I found what I thought was another brewery to try, Beermiscuous, in Highwood, which is between Highland Park and Lake Forest. In fact, right across the street from the old Fort Sheridan. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Cock Sizing


My front brake cable was acting funny on the Waltly so I rode the singlespeed this morning to the Northbrook Veldrome

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Buffalo Creek Brewery Ride after Work

With the mercury into the 90s but very little humidity I headed out Tuesday, July 19th on route that would take me north to Libertyville and then head south with a brewery stop 3/4s of the way through the ride.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Singlespeeding the Des Plaines River Greenway Trail

 

After over two hundred miles of riding on the Waltly it was time to give JustGoodBeers some lovin. Afterall, why did I bring it in the first place if I wasn't going to ride it? 

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Fred's



I dropped off my Aunt's dog, Lilly, with someone who would watch her for me from Saturday through Sunday so I could do my ride to Wisconsin. My Aunt told me about a famous burger joint in Burlington called Fred's and if I was in the area I had to stop.  My plan for this ride was to visit my family's ancestral farm and resort which was on Brown's Lake in Burlington.  The route that I planned out was 120 miles and figured with the flat terrain and the speeds I can achieve here that doing this distance in around 8 hours would be fine.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Beer Shopping

On Friday, it rained all day, so after dropping my Aunt off at the airport I went shopping for more food and of course I needed some more beer only to find out you can't buy beer before 9 AM in Chicago. Seriously?

Thursday, July 14, 2022

North Chicago Bailout


My original intention on this ride this morning was to ride further north, to Lake Forest and then pick up Sheridan Road and ride back down to the Baha'i Temple and then loop back on Green Bay Road. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Morning at Lake Michigan

 

My first ride this summer in Chicago took me to the shores of Lake Michigan down off of Sheridan Road, which is a major cycling route. One of the challenges of riding in the Northern Chicago Suburbs is trying to avoid the major thoroughfares, like Lake Cook Rd, Dundee Rd and Willow Rd, and then finding ways to get over to Highland Park to Green Bay Road.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Heading to Chicago

 



I drove to Chicago to live with my Aunt, who is like a big sister to me, and of course do some riding. I drove 7 hours to Youngstown, OH and we stayed over at a Comfort Suites. I drove the whole way and we talked the whole time.  I brought my singlespeed to ride the bike trails and Northbrook Velodrome and the Waltly Titanium, which I now consider my long distance bike.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Roxbury Dirt Thirty


Mike, Marshal, Scott and I went out on Sunday to ride a little gravel from Roxbury Town Hall. Afterwards, we would get Ferris Acres ice cream. I layed out a route inspired by my late friend and cycling colleague, Andy Engel. First dirt on this route is the second climb of the ride on Old Roxbury Road.

Monday, July 04, 2022

4th of July Century


I met Scott at the Newtown Flagpole on the Fourth of July for a ride down to the coast. We did the usual route by riding first down to Westport to Long Shore, then by the Minute Man and then to Compo Beach.

Friday, July 01, 2022

Heckled by a Rabbi on Segar Mountain

 


After spending a couple of days in NYC visiting with my best friend from High School I finally got out on the bike early Friday afternoon because we have half day Fridays at work during the summer. I drove over to Mike's house in Gaylordsville and we rode up South Kent Road to Segar Mountain Road or Route 341.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

New Shoe Day!

My new cycling shoe dilemma is over. Earlier this spring I bought a pair a Pearl Izumi road shoes but when ever I wore them my feet would go numb.  I tried everything: thin socks, no socks, super loose, and nothing worked so I took them back.


A month ago, I went to my local bike shop, Brookfield Bicycle Center, and they ordered me a pair of Shimano Road Shoes. I was told that Pearl Izumi's run narrow and Shimano's, that they ordered for me were generally wider.

Sunday, June 05, 2022

Roe Jan Roubaix

All my riding buddies were off on their own adventures I decided to have my own. I have always wanted to ride to the Roe Jan Brewery in Hillsdale, NY but never had the time or never made it. 5 or 6 years ago an attempt was made with my friend Shepard, starting from Wassaic but it was cold and raining and we were on the verge of hypothermia by the time we got to the Depot Deli so we turned around.

I parked at Kent Town all and plotted a route that would net me some more Wandrer miles and take through some different parts of Dutchess and Columbia Counties. I could not have asked for a more beautiful day. Perfect cycling temperatures.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Kent Falls Brewery rain audible


To start the Memorial Day Weekend right Scott rode to my house and then we drove up to Bridgewater to meet Mike for a 40+ mile road ride to Kent Falls for a beer.  Descending from Bridgewater into Roxbury our average speed was 21 mph and Mike joked about calling it quits.  


Thursday, May 26, 2022

Two fiddy for an Old Crappy Tenspeed?


It's unbelievable what some people are trying to sell a bike for these days. Yes, there are still supply chain issues with road bikes and that's for good bikes.  While this might be in pristine condition, in my humble opinion, you got to be insane to pay more than $100 for 40+ year old bike.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Monday, May 23, 2022

A little dirt and a haunted road on the road ride

I usually take a rest day on Mondays but since I didn't really ride very hard over the weekend I went out for a road ride with Scott.


Southern Fairfield County doesn't have many through dirt roads so when I found out Pearmain Road in Shelton was dirt I had to ride it.

It's always good omen when there are cows on the side of the road

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Blackbeard Pub ride to Beardsley Park


 Trying to stay cool on Sunday and get a good ride in we met at Gavin's home pub, The Blackbeard and rode down the rail trail to Beardsley Park

Saturday, May 21, 2022

He came back!


Tomas came back for another Ride to OOF (Ovens of France) and the prior night's rain made things a little damp

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Sunset RC Ilumenati Ride




We began our Tuesday Night Ride at 6 PM to take advantage of the beautiful weather and later sunset times


Tuesday, May 17, 2022

New Frame Day!


I picked up this NOS, 2015 Giant TCX 1 frame from a local bike shop in Central Connecticut for $100

Monday, May 16, 2022

A new member on the Newtown Lunartics Squad

Photo credit: Gavin Arneth

Tomas, center, and I worked together GE Capital in Danbury a few years back and he's been riding for a couple of years. I invited him to join our weekly, Saturday morning Ovens of France ride.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Farmer's Daughter 2022

Today marked my 4th Farmer's Daughter and 6th Gravel Grinder ridden in Columbia County. The first time I did this ride with Will back in 2016, we said, 60 miles? Piece of Cake! So the day before we did a Sunset Rock and Mt Riga Loop and that was a mistake because the Farmer's Daughter the next day kicked out butts!


In the past, Will and I have ridden it mostly alone but I have met people we know along the way and have ridden with them a bit, but this year we actually started out with a nice little grupetto. To start we had Margaret, Mike, and Paul (former Newtowner moved to Pittsfield), but we lost Paul at the first Singletrack section.


We didn't wait for the opening ceremonies and just started from the car park. We hit First Dirt 5 miles into the course on Boice Road. I made some routing modifications to the course which bypassed the first two singletrack sections and added two more big climbs to the route in order to get more Wandrer miles.


The night before I met Will at the Roe Jan Brewery in Hillsdale for dinner and we kept looking at our weather apps and it kept changing as the evening progressed. Around 5 AM Saturday morning it rained pretty good till Will and I left from his place in Spencertown. At go time the apps were telling us now to expect an afternoon thunder shower.


We were making good time and even caught up with a couple of groups that had even left earlier. Two of the racing teams caught up with us on Jefferson Hill 15 miles into the course.


The first feed stop was at S&S Brewery in East Chatham 16 miles into the course.


I was feeling really good, too. Having taken a rest day on Saturday I felt really strong the whole day and having changed my gears to a 46t was a big bonus, too!


The sun started coming out about 2 hours into the ride but the roads not directly exposed to daylight were still a bit greasy. The Ass Saver came in handy!



It really started to warm up with the sun out


On Gale Hill this woman passed us wearing cutoffs and a tank top jersey and I wondered if that was the Farmer's Daughter?


Lunch, as usual was awesome. I wasn't sure whether or not I was hungry but I made myself eat anyway because I was going to need the  


The first additional climb was a two parter starting with Salls Road following lunch.


Everyone's GPS was showing the grade to be much steeper but mine wasn't


Will said his GPS said this part of the climb up Salls Road was 20% and it sure felt that way, too.



The descent down to 295 was wild and fast and when everyone was down we headed west to pick up the main course and next big climb, Schilling's Crossing.


There is a nice run up to the climb, with an average grade around 4% and it there is a flat spot to let you rest up a bit still you hit wall. 


Again I think my Garmin was lying to me because this had to be steeper than 17%


There were some walkers


Tunnel Hill was equally massive, however, shorter but I think much steeper than what my Garmin recorded


The next big one was Dean Hill


This hill is a grind and with the sun out it made it all that more harder


Everybody that was riding around me stayed on their bikes


Mike was not having fun. He started getting cramps on Tunnel Hill and fared no better on Dean Hill


The last part of my modified route included Maple Hill. Margaret and Mike opted for the regular route


Another uphill grind


That leads to some spectacular views. I thought Mike was done for when I got a text from him saying that he was seriously cramping. Will and I rode up to the intersection of Fog Hill and Old Austerlitz Road and I waited for Mike. That's where I met Slowpoke Pete. Pete lives in Hillsdale and rides through here all the time. Today, however, he was cruising the route on his BMW Touring motorcycle. He told me he didn't see anyone fitting Mike's description.



Will and I caught up Margaret and Mike at the last fuel stop. They were about to leave when we pulled up. After fueling up we headed out for the last bit of singletrack, Beebe Hill. 


As far as singletrack goes, it's not that bad but the 27% trail climb always turns into Napoleon's Death March.


The fire tower climb is a little better


 I have cleaned this climb in the past but today I took a bad line and almost fell over


Mike was fast on my heels


then came Will


followed by Margaret


then it was all up and down hill back to the start


with some great dirt roads


On the climb up 10 Broek Road I met with Pete Marchaud, limping on the right in the picture above. He was seriously cramping and knew exactly what he was feeling. I stopped and offered him one of my Haribo (the guys that make Gummy Bears) salted licorice candies and he immediately grateful. Once his spasming muscles calmed down he rode with us for a bit.


One more beautiful shot with cows in the background. I can't believe how well I did this time around. No cramping what's so ever! Not during the ride home, getting out of the car at home, unloading the car, or later that night. Taking a rest day prior to the ride was key.