Tuesday, July 04, 2023

2023 Roe Jan Roubaix

I usually try to ride Mt Riga once or twice year to prepare for some really dirty, climby event. However, this year everything got screwed up with my back injury and I haven't been riding much gravel. However, my ride gravel ride last month on Father's Day was enough to prove that I am ready for some harder rides, now. 

With the long holiday weekend coming I reached out to Will to see if he would be in the area and wanted to ride Mt Riga and he was eager to do so.  

I purposefully created this route to try some dirt roads, or roads that according to RWGPS were dirt but when you looked at them on the Satellite map they were clearly paved. I didn't have them recorded on my Wandrer so I added them to the course. The first climb was Oxbow Hill and it's the 3rd hardest climb of the 6 that RWGPS identified. It's a tough climb right out of the gate and way better than Sunset Rock.  

The original route said First Dirt would be on the MA side of the Oxbow Hill descent however that road was paved but when I saw the No Winter Maintenance sign on Phillips Road on our right, it was time for an audible.

At 5 miles into the ride we got First Dirt! 
It turned out to be new Wandrer miles, too, so win/win!

When the road turns back to pavement there is a great view of Catamount and the Jug End.

With the rain earlier this morning the dirt roads were great condition.

Turning onto Townhouse Hill it becomes dirt again.

Looking back towards Catamount and the opening to the Jug End.

After some more pavement and crossing over the AT we turned onto the dirt portion of Bow Wow Road, another road that I have been meaning to ride but never quite worked it into a ride yet until today. I always favor coming in from the Jug End where there is a dirt road at the AT trail head and then taking Curtis Road.

Back onto dirt on Gibberson Road.

It was here that we started to feel the humidity.

Then came the closed portion of Giberson Road which didn't really look too closed but someone probably just stole the signs because there were some big puddles.

More puddles to ride through or around.

Then we were on Foley Road and riding along the Taconics with a fog enshrouded Mt Race in the background.

Play the Price is Right loser music as we enter Connecticut and road turns to asphalt.

Good view of Sages Ravine behind that new house.

More dirt between the lakes and a pretty good view of Bear and Riga Mountains.

The next climb on this route was on Between the Lakes

Nearing the bottom of Wildcat Hollow I stopped to see if these mountain bikers were OK. They said they were all good and they asked for directions. Apparently, they went out into the woods behind their house and got kinda lost and then came back on the road and found this one and then were curious where to ride next.  I told them about some pretty good mountain bike trails that come off Between Lakes Road.  They thanked me for the tip. 

Stopping at the Falls Village Steel bridge we observed that the Housatonic was nearing flood levels. It was also a great time to fuel up for the next round of climbing on Briton Hill.

After all that downhill from Rt 44 it was time now to climb up out of the River Valley.  

Briton Hill is paved but it's also steep.

But with the sun out and the humidity rising it made this climb exhausting

After a quick downhill to Salmon Kill Road

and a nice roll through the Salmon Creek Valley

we were climbing again up to a magical dirt road called Dark Hollow

The temperature drop in the shade felt 10 degrees cooler and it's a wonderful decent, too.

Coming back onto Salmon Kill and looking eastwards there were some dark clouds but fortunately they were heading away from us.

We stopped in Salisbury behind the town hall for to fuel up for the next big climb and why we were doing this ride in the first place.

Too bad these clouds weren't headed our way, a light shower while climbing up Mt Riga would be welcomed.

A bough from this old maple tree broke and it looks like someone in the town cut them to make them look like they are coming out of the ground.

I finished off my first water bottle, ate my fig bar and half my gel blocks.

Then we started riding up Mt Riga Road.  It's paved for the first mile and a half.

On the start of the climb we met this guy Martin and he rode with us a bit and then was gone.

When the road turned to dirt is when the real fun began

That water looked delicious

This was last I saw of Will until the top.

This part of the climb before the falls is probably one of the steepest sections.

Once you see the Revolutionary War blast furnace you know you are almost to the lake.

This is a great place to stop because across the road from the sign is a natural spring that's potable.

And the water is cold and refreshing. I drank this whole bottle, too.

Then we were climbing again!

The Mountain Laurels were in full bloom and smelled wonderful!

and we continued to climb

and climb some more.

Then we were over the state line and descending again. The cooler air felt wonderful.

I love passing by the entrance of my old summer camp when I was a kid.

Descending down to Bish Bash Falls Road we hit the last climb.

It had its share of the steep!

At the top of the climb it's a wonderful rolling shallow descent to Sunset Rock Road

Lovely gravel!

Then came the descent down Sunset Rock

This is a white knuckle descent!

Once down to Rt 22 we had the Yonder View!

There's even a beer at the brewery named after this road. It's a well crafted IPA.
I drank a lot of water at the brewery before having just one beer.
It was an awesome ride!

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