Monday, December 14, 2020

Coneystock Day 3

 Day 2 was a winner of a failure.  I got to donate toys and ride my bike, but couldn't stay on course.  Will Day 3 be more fruitful?

After a rest day of shoveling snow and home projects with my Lovely (she got 8" of heavy wet snow), our riding options were somewhat limited.  

We would have to drive a substantial distance somewhere to find rideable trails.  We could drive almost back to my house to find something rideable. Or we could drive 1/2 hour out of our way so I could finally meet the latest Grandbaby, then almost an hour to The Summit General Store, ride Tiny Tim, and both have an hour drive home.  

Some people are worth an extra hour and a half driving.

We both successfully uploaded the course to our prospective computers, emblazed ourselves in orange, lubed our chains, checked our tires, and HIT START COURSE.

Climb up a road through a residential area to a cul de sac, where our computers tell us to continue straight.  Ok.  We find the trail, navigating around giant puddles on a dirt double track.  Above we hear the white noise of the windmills.

My Lovely has a tendency to smell the roses and snap pictures of them and other randomness along the way.  I'm prompted to turn right.  She's not insight so it would be best to wait, just in case.  With an ear to ear grin, she blissfully rides past the turn.  

Shouting after her, she pulls a U-ie and joyfully spins up to me with tales of all the nature she's captured in the last half mile.

Looking down at her computer, it's screen is blank.  "Aren't you following the course" I ask.  "I'm following you, but I have it if I need it" she replies,

Now I'm responsible for not getting two people lost...great.

Riding with eyes glued to the screen, waiting at intersections, comparing and contrasting my location on my phone with the image on my Garmin, looking at the sky, looking at the clock, wondering if Christine is warm enough, hearing shotgun blasts all around...nerve wracking.

But every time we reconvene, she has some positive spin; "aren't those canal like puddles pretty," or "doesn't that gun powder smell nice"?!

She's having a blast so maybe, just maybe I should mellow the fuck out?

I'm starting to see some familiar landmarks from Day 2; how often do you see matching gold Trans Ams?  It's dark, but we are in the home stretch.  I have blinky lights and my Lovely has a head light.  As we yo-yo down the Trestle Trail, doing  puddle slalom, I begin to relax and realize this might actually be fun and would have been more so If I could just be in the moment a bit more.

Coneystock Day 2


Using GPS to navigate; how hard can it be?  Recently, I used the mapping screen to find my way around a new riding area.  Granted, it was small, park but I never got more than semi lost.

There's annual Christmas toy drive in Rhode Island. This year due to the obvious, is a virtual affair.  Two different loops; Bad Santa at 50 miles, and Tiny Tim at 20.  Bad Santa was being promoted as 32% road, 49% gravel, 19% shit.  

Sounds good!

With a pocket full of pizza, wrapped in blaze orange, I crossed the border with some toys for tots.  The Summit General Store was kind enough to be the dropoff depot for toys.

Turn on my Garmin, go to the route, hit start and begin following the big blue on my screen.  

I along the Trestle Trail I run into  a group doing "Tiny Tim", the 20 mile version.  We chat a bit about navigating with gps and it sounds like I'm on the right track.

Keep on following that big blue line.

I guess Jim has routed us along the North / South for the first leg of the loop.

As the trail gets a little rowdier, I'm thinking "he wasn't kidding about shit"  I'm on the Coney LTD with a 34x18, so boulder strewn, bombed out moto trails aren't too much trouble, but a lot of people are doing this on cross and gravel bikes.

At this point it occurs to me I haven't heard or seen any navigational prompts.  There's supposed to be prompts, no?  Where are my prompts?!  I want my prompts!!!

Turns out you actually have to start the "course" you're looking at and not just the Garmin.

Ok, so 5 miles off course.  I've plenty of daylight left, so maybe it'll be a metric in steady of a 50 miler?

Back on course, using both my phone and Garmin to navigate, I'm getting my prompts.

Things are going pretty well, this is actually not too hard to follow.

The course turns down the Quinnabaug Trail in Pachaug State Forest , which has a legal 65 mile motorcycle trail in it.

This is fun, ripping down a moto trail towards what my computer is calling Hell Hollow.  Cross the dirt road, and follow the trail and prompts start shouting "OFF COURSE"!

I go back to the dirt road and turn left up it.  Now it's telling me I'm .7 miles off course.  Go up the other way, again .7 miles off course.  Go back the way I came; off course.  Start back down the trail that I think is right "MAKE A U TURN".

I look at where I am on the dirt road.  I look at the sky.  I look at the clock.  I have under two hours to find the course, and stay on it before dark.  I'm guessing if I can stay on course, I have about 30 miles to go.    

Signs point to unlikely.

I give up on following the course, and use my phone to navigate roads back to the start.

Still 42 miles, and toys for tots.  

Coneystock will continue...

Monday, December 7, 2020

Coneystock Day 1

You might have heard there's a global pandemic going about.  In such people have found a new appreciation of the common bicycle.  Unfortunately the bicycle industry was caught in the perfect storm of high demand / low supply as manufacturers do their best in a new reality.  Even repair parts to fix that much loved bike that "was fine when I put it away" (stored at the bottom of a swamp for the past 15 years).

Everyone in the bicycle industry has been working super hard this year.

Beyond 11.


Which brings us to the last page of the calendar with personal days that will turn into pumpkins if they aren't used before midnight.

Ideally personal days are used to go somewhere on some great adventure.  These days, you redefine those terms.

Coneystock.  A long weekend of adventure as far as my bike and a tank of gas will take me,

Day 1

What better way to start some home spun adventures than with the Central CT classic TdT  The TdT for those not from this niche of a niche is a ride from West Hartford to Tariffville following the Metacomet trail across the Talcott Mountain ridgeline (Tour de Talcott).  The first time I did it was the day Jerry Garcia died (8/9/1995).  I only did it one way that day as I met my a friend in East Granby at his house for a ride before dinner when he got home for work.

Subsequent TdTs have been out and backs.  They have been stretched to 50 miles, 100Ks, even a 100 miler.  The "standard TdT goes from West Hartford to the Chimney in Tariffville and back. 

Trying to use the available pallet of trails to create a route with as little redundancy is half the fun.

The Enduro Boys  have made that challenge easier and funnerer

I stopped to snap a pic of their awesome new launch and sign but no way was I going to miss the fun of the berms and earth jumps to stop and take pics.

The weather couldn't have been more ideal at the 2nd cookie stop.

All in all a great start.  

Will the use of internal combustion aid adventure and increase the fun?