Sunday, January 29, 2023

Gravel: The answer to life, the universe, and everything!


I reached out to my brother-in-law Will and a few others to see if they wanted to ride Westchester Dirt Roads on Sunday. David and Will (pictured above) accepted, as well as a few others but then they bailed at the last second. I picked this route mainly for the distance, not wanting to go too far, since the last time I rode real gravel was in October.

This route contains some of my Dirty Martha route and Westerchester Cycling Club's Dirty Apple. The actual dirt road distance for this route is actually closer to 20 miles than the 13 miles that RWGPS says. I reached out to my Westchester cycling friends to get an idea for the conditions after the shallacking we got last week but everyone said the roads aren't muddy and it should be really good.

Leaving the Exit 4 Park & Ride we headed up to Darlington Road and hit First Dirt 3/4s of mile into the ride. I got really hot during the initial climb and questioned my layering decisions turns out later down the road it was perfect.

Turning onto Guard Hill we started climbing again, only it was paved. Crossing West Patent Road Guard Hill turns to dirt again, and it doesn't show up as such on the RWGPS.  

Riding through Mt Kisco we rode up over the ridge that separates the Saw Mill River Valley and Lower Croton Reservoir and rode the dirt roads along the reservoir.

Along the way we came across John Blye and his friend Gary who riding down to the Old Croton Aqueduct trail. John contacted me earlier saying that he would like to have joined up but had already made plans to do this ride. Never in a million years would I thought we would run into each other but we did.

Leaving John and Gary to continue their ride south we started climbing the first significant dirt road climb out of the reservoir valley.

Then we started descending back into the Saw Mill River Valley and I found a new dirt road that is a little connector road between Valley Road (what we were riding) and Glen Ridge Road, called South Road.

In the middle of the next significant climb, up to the Cross River Reservoir dam, we stopped for the customary photo op.  

Leaving the dam we continued climbing up

The road turns south and while we are still climbing on our right was Martha Stewart's house.

We rode through Katonah Woods and Beaver Dam, two more dirt roads that don't show up as dirt on RWGPS.

Turning onto Succabone Rd, which shows up as dirt we headed back to Rt 172 and the midway point of the ride. There was a lot of newly laid stone on Succabone making really difficult to ride and reminded Will and I of the time we were riding along the Blackfoot Reservoir in Southern Idaho. It was 15 miles of the worst gravel road we have ever ridden and the best quote from Will after we turned off that road was, I could really use some pavement right about now. 

More of that lovely new gravel was found on Clark Road, too.

As well as Clinton Road before you get to Bedford

We had to ride a bit of Rt 22 to get to Hook Road and then next significant dirt road climb of the ride. 

There's a bit of pavement and then we descended Upper Hook Road to then ride along the Cross River Reservoir

Then it was Miller Time!

or Millertown Road and it too doesn't show up as dirt on RWGPS.

The Strava Segment is called Miller Time.

And then there is the reward of more that new gravel.

I imagine by late spring it will be a lot smother again

The second to last dirt road climb, which also doesn't show up on RWGPS, is Mianus Road

The final climb of the ride was Fox Lane

The CAADx did really well on this ride. 
The new front fender and saddle are a nice addition.

Photo cred: David Molnar

Riding gravel is fun and you should have more fun!

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