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