Sunday, April 03, 2022

Tour de Flanders, Connecticut

In keeping with tradition, Mike Sage-Robison and I did our own Tour de Flanders, “Tour de Flanders, Connecticut.”

Starting from Mike's house in Gaylordsville I picked the flattest route possible while trying to ride as many dirt roads as possible for a 100 KM ride. It was a variation of my Kent Falls Roubaix, only longer and starting from a different location.

However, riding in this part of the state, no matter how flat of a course you try to map out there's always going to be some climbing.

Riding up Church Road from Mike's place, First Dirt and the first big climb of the route was Stilson Hill. 

It's a little over a mile climb at an average grade of 7% and a max grade 11% according to RWGPS. The last time I was on this road was last fall in my truck and it was pretty worse for wear but today it was pretty nice. 

In case you were wondering what is in the back of Mike's Jersey, it's a can of Pringles. One of the benefits of the Tour de Flanders, CT is a beer stop at Kent Falls Brewing Company and salty snacks are much needed on a ride like this.

Then we headed over Boardman Bridge and into Sega Meadows, which appears to have had a new layer of gravel added to the bike route.

Popping out onto River Road we headed north along the Housatonic River and then began the climb up to Mud Pond. Not really a climb per say but it kicks off the ascent to the brewery. In keeping with the notion of trying to stay flat we of course didn't go up Front of the Mountain. I was tempted, though.

Before climbing up Frenchman's we rode down to the check out the closed bridge on Chermanske Road and found that the bridge is not out, just closed to cars. 

I just need to ride the other side to complete my Wandrer miles for this area.

Frenchman's Hill is another punchy little climb that unfortunately can't be avoided because it's a real nice dirt road near the brewery.

Mike and I ate the Pringles and a big meat stick while enjoying a couple of pints. At the brewery we met up with some other Gravel Cyclists that were there doing the same thing we were doing. Two of them I actually follow on Strava but didn't realize it until later.

From the Brewery we rode north along the lake and then headed up Rt 45 to 341 into Warren and then turned onto Brick School Road, which is a wonderful way to bypass Rt 341 for awhile at least. Then we descended down to Rt 7 and rode through the namesake of today's ride.

Veering off Rt 7 we headed onto Cobble Road for another section of dirt road.

A little over half way now!

Cobble Road has a punchy little climb on it.

Passing through Kent we headed down Schagticoke Road 

and stopped off at the Cascades since they were running full tilt

Then we headed towards New York to Dog Tail Corners then into Duell Hollow

In the middle of the climb to Quaker Lake, the road changes name from Duell Hollow to Quaker Lake.

There was a road closed sign just past the bridge crossing over Duell Hollow Brook

We continued climbing until we have a metal barrier blocking the road and discovered that it was washed out.  

We continued north past Quaker Lake and then onto Tracy Road which got really interesting.

Tracy Road was soft and there are some brutal climbs on this road that averaged 8% and a max grade around 14%

Given how soft it was I wasn't sure I was going to make it but Mike and I didn't have to put a foot down.

Rounding the corner on the paved portion of Tracy Road we came to Kirby Hill which was the steepest climb of the day, albeit paved

I almost had to Paper Boy the 18% portion of this climb

Turning onto Game Farm Road and looking west we figured we had about another hour till sunset and warmth

We rolled up on a farm that had a bunch of calves

We lost the sun after visiting the cows and it started to get cold

We stopped off at the top Briggs Hill to admire the view before beginning the long, cold descent into Sherman

Jericho North was the last dirt road of the ride and then began the descent back to Mike's house. My feet were starting to get cold and my hands were numb. I am glad the roads weren't really that muddy otherwise I think we would have been a lot slower.

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