Sunday, May 01, 2022

Maibock Roubaix

At least once a year I try to do a ride from Norbrook Farm in Norfolk, CT and Sunday, May 1st was the perfect day.  Also, with the Farmer's Daughter Gravel Grinder just two weeks away I wanted to test my mettle to see how I would do for that ride and this was the perfect route for that.

I posted the ride on the Northeast Gravel Rides page of Facebook to see if anyone else wanted to join me and surprisingly a few people showed up to Norbrook Farm where the ride started. In addition to my usual riding partner, Mike, we had Ania & Brett, Chris, and Leslie.

If we left at 9AM it would have been perfect however someone misunderstood that a 9 AM ride means arriving at the start point before 9 AM and not after.  On top of the that, before we even left the gate Brett aka The Stunt Monkey, had an issue with his bike, thus delaying us further.

When I mapped this out I found some new trails that went back out to Rt 182 but little did I realize that they were actually winter trails and now that it was spring they were pretty wet.  

While that dual track trail leaving the brewery was dirt, First Dirt, in my reckoning, occurred on Green Road off of Rt 182.

Four miles in we had a our first mechanical - well sort of. Mike's rotor was rubbing against the pad making an awful noise and Brett came to the rescue.

The good dirt started on South Sandisfield Road while we were still in Connecticut

According to my Garmin, there were 21 climbs on this route

The first really big climb was on Barry Hill

If you weren't warmed up this hill did the trick

Here is Leslie cranking up the hill and all smiles!

Brett had an issue half way up the climb so Chris went back to see if he needed any help. When we were together again we crossed into Massachusetts and then road this phenomenal dirt road descent past Campbell Falls and then over the Whiting River.  

It was a good time to tell a few jokes and fuel back up

It was also a good time to remove our outerwear as the temperature was now above 60 degrees

Then began a four mile stretch of dirt road heading towards Brewer Hill

Amazing to see new construction out here on a dirt road in the boondocks

Turning onto Brewer Hill it started out paved and then past Hayes Hill turns to dirt

It's challenging climb

Brewer Hill

After crossing Mill River Road we came to another dirt road called County Road

Then we picked up New Marlborough Hill heading back towards Mill River and passed the Mill River Country Store but no one needed to stop so we continued on up Rt 57

This was the longest climb of the ride.

On Canaan Southfield Road there was a  bridge out sign and there was a another sign saying road closed. I checked the map and it recognized River Road and realized that it must be closed, too.

Sure enough, it was.  

At the top we were waiting for Brett again. Chris thought he might be trying to ride one of the skinnies that fell across the river. 

At the New Marlborough Green we took a small break to let Mike, Brett, and Leslie catch up

The six mile climb I mentioned earlier continued to Put Road.

These roads are primo F2G2 roads but for some reason this road is always skipped

It starts out nice

Then turns to a grassy dual track

there were some obstacles

Then became more of a trail

But still very rideable

Until it turned to singletrack

Coming back to the road that is usually included on the F2G2 course

The next demanding hill was Wallace Hall Road

A one mile climb with average grade near 7%

Brett couldn't help himself and had to pull a wheelie

Leslie and Mike just chugged up the hill

More Stunt Monkey antics

Then came one of the steepest climbs of the route

Chestnut Hill was a new road for me and it was a killer climb

At the intersection of Chestnut Hill and Cronk Road, another F2G2 favorite, Brett was MIA again and we were all wondering once again, where's Brett?

Cronk Road is great. Starts with a nice descent, flattens out again, and then descends to West Hubbard Road

Another really nice dirt road was Bosworth Road

and then after a short hop on Rt 57 we turned off into Sandisfield State Forest.

Turning east onto the rougher section of Dodd Road

we actually passed a 4x4

Then we were on the nice part of Dodd Road

Before turning onto Sears Road (above) we met a nice old man washing a classic Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. He let us fill our bottles up with his hose. Everyone was out of water except Brett, he had a Camelbak.

Then we started climbing Sears Road

It's no Viets Road but it's pretty close

and a challenging climb

Ania dished out in some leaves so I took that section on foot

At the top of the climb it gives way to really nice descent

Earlier in the week I called the Sandisfield Free Library to see if they had an outdoor water spigot for filling water bottles but they said they didn't. 

The nice woman who answered the phone said she would put some water bottles out behind their book drop box for me and it would be nice if I made a donation to the library. There they were, nine, eight ounce bottles of Poland Spring in brown paper bag with my name on it.  I filled my other water bottle, gave Brett a bottle and then divided up the rest of the bottles between Ania, Chris and myself to carry back up the hill to Mike and Leslie. 

I had texted both of them to not descend down the hill to Sandisfield because climb back up would be brutal

Both Leslie and Mike were very grateful that they we brought the water up to them.

Then we were climbing again

It was funny, we passed Clark Road, a dirt road I had ridden before and there was something nagging in the back of my mind saying that I think I made a routing mistake.

And boy, I certainly did.

Two years ago, I tried riding through here only to find this section to be one gigantic Napoleon's Death March!

There was this eerie cabin in the woods

The "road" was really washed out and a 3/4 of a mile walk

till you could start riding again

and that was still really tough

The last part of the climb was 19% and only Chris and Brett made it up

We had a really nice and fast dirt road descent until the next hill, of course

Climb 19 out of 21 was the last punchy climb and then it was mostly downhill back to the brewery. We did call one audible towards the end. Instead of trying to ride the dirt road back through the mountain bike trails we stayed on the paved road to ensure we got back in time before last call.

We just made it! I got the Cog Ale K├Âlsch, on the left, and the Ziegenbock Amber on the right.

The beer went nicely with Lobster Ravioli from the pasta food truck

Here is a link to the route so that you can see all the dirt:

If you want to try some other routes from Norbrook Farm, check out my other rides here:

1 comment:

StuntMonkey said...

Mark's May Metric GravelGrinder MarshMasher StreamScreamer BoulderBouncer QuadAndCalfCramper to be remembered...
Thanks a Bunch(of Electrolytes)!!!