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.
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
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.
Amazing to see new construction out here on a dirt road in the boondocks
It's challenging climb
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
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.
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
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
But still very rideable
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
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.
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
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
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
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!
till you could start riding again
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
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: