Distance: 12.00 miles
Terrain: Road: Hills
Bike: Fuji Sandblaster SX XC Mtn
Club: 2010 TerraTrike Car-Free Challenge
Weather Conditions: 9 – 10a: 61F, sunny, low humidity, cool air – the best weather this year, in my opinion.
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Today’s ride was excellent on many levels. Weather, attitudes, struggle, beauty in nature, mystery, and triumph all came into play during this ride. I plan to make this a regular route.
The weather kicked ass. Sun on my back, cool air, no humidity … it was gorgeous, and it was written on everyone’s face that I passed and greeted. The only lady who didn’t say “hi” to me was the one crossing her street on the way to church. At first I thought, “oh sure, talk to a crucifix but not to me,” but I quickly started trying to think more positively, like, “she didn’t hear me,” or “she probably thinks I should be in church, not on my bike.” Fair enough.
I proceeded on my Burr Pond route that I devised on Google maps this morning. This gave me an opportunity to explore the new additions to the Sue Grossman Still River Greenway trail. They’ve done a great job with it. I can’t wait to roller-blade along it and see how far it takes us. It’s supposed to eventually connect downtown Winsted to downtown Torrington. I hope they’ll keep it up. While short, it’s currently in much better shape than the Farmington River Greenway, which has become rather bumpy and cracked from roots beneath (not that I care – I’m a mountain biker for chrissakes).
My casual cruise then took a major turn as I started up Burr Mountain Rd. I never really paid any attention to what a climb it is when we’d gone to the pond up there in the car, nor did I realize how much more of a climb there was past Burr Pond itself! I’m not sure if I’m reading the topography map correctly, but it looks like it was a 600 – 800 foot climb over a 1 mile distance. It was really steep at points. I stayed on the bike, but I did have to stop about 4 times.
About half way up the climb, I decided to investigate the temperature of the water at Burr Pond to see if it was anywhere near suitable for some swimming next weekend. This turned out to be a very fortunate opportunity for me to watch a couple parent geese with their chicks as they enjoyed the grass, the water, and the sun. It was a cute family scene. One little chick kept jumping into the water for 20 and 30 second swims, then would join everyone else rooting around for whatever geese eat. The water temperature, incidentally was more than warm enough for swimming.
Continuing up the endless climb of Burr Mountain Rd., I checked some directions I had scrawled on some scrap paper. I needed to be on the lookout for Peck Rd. on the right. I asked someone if Peck Rd. was still up ahead, and he said it was, so I pushed ahead until finally, as I coasted down a blessed downhill, I came across an unmarked but very wide road on the right. I circled around debating my options. “Worst case scenario,” I thought, “is that this dumps me back onto Burr Mountain Rd. or meets up again with Old Route 8.” No big deal. So I took it. My next turn was to be a left onto Mountain Rd. The next left I arrived at was unmarked. “What the heck – one random turn deserves another, right?” I thought, and I took that. As I cruised down this, I started to cringe as it looked like I was headed for a cul-de-sac. Alas, thankfully, it was a wide, round-edged, 3-way intersection, and lo’ and behold: this one had a street sign: “E. Wakefield Blvd.” It was exactly where I had wanted to be. My hunches had been correct (it doesn’t often turn out like this when I guess at directions).
The rest of my ride was very enjoyable, through consistently hilly. The road kept dropping down along the mountain to the water line of Highland Lake, then would retreat back up, and then dip down again. I decided that this area is where I hope to one day have a house. The lake is so beautiful, and some of the properties would be amazing for parties and get-togethers.
I came out of the ride with a new goal: I want to be able to climb Burr Mountain Rd. without stopping. My deadline is winter.