Discussion in 'rec.bicycles.rides archive' started by Pete Salomone, Jun 16, 2003.

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  1. Ride Report: CycleFest

    I arrived at Rogers Park school, Danbury about 7:15 am, June 8th to start the Hat City Cyclists
    invitational ride. Since there were just a few cars in the lot, I asked about attendance last year
    and this year. One of the registrars said they had 300 riders last year; but fewer so far this
    morning perhaps because of last night’s rain. I was given a map and a fanny tag to prevent banditos
    from stealing food from rest stops.

    The map had the rest stop on the 25 mile route closing at 12:30, so century riders had to do that
    route first. I would have preferred to ride the 78 mile route and then see how I felt and check the
    weather before committing to the century.

    Around 7:30 I was off under sunny skies and roads damp from yesterday’s rain. Within minutes I was
    on the first climb first across some small brooks and then along Limekiln Brook enjoying the
    freshness of air cleaned by a strong rain. A great start to what I hoped would be a great ride.
    The road was well marked with large yellow arrows in advance of the turn, at the turn, and beyond
    the turn. Sometimes there were just straight arrows. This was one of the best (if not the best)
    marked routes I’ve ever ridden.

    After a short distance on US302, I stopped to take a picture. A SAG drove up behind me wanting to
    know if I needed help. I should have asked which f-stop to use, but I just waved my camera at him.
    Since I was doing this ride alone, it was comforting to know that SAGs were out; I was passed often
    by SAGs during the rest of the ride. Soon I was off US302 and in the middle of the woods often
    without another rider in sight and more importantly no cars in sight. After riding along the north
    end of the Saugatuck reservoir I turned back north toward Danbury. Around here I rode by the first
    rest stop because I didn’t need water or food.

    After I got on CT53, I saw some cars until I turned off in two or three miles. Again I was on
    almost desolate road with few other riders or cars around. For a while I rode with riders who were
    familiar with the route until one dropped a water bottle. I continued on almost to Memorial Drive,
    Danbury, but I skipped the rest stop there. I followed a SAG through Danbury until he made the
    light by the train station and I had to stop. It was a long mile before I crossed I84 and into a
    residential area.

    The route went close to Lake Candlewood, but it was a while before I was close enough to see the
    water. About this time Team Zephyr came by. I tagged on at the end of their paceline for a while.
    They dropped me on the descent to Squantz Pond. When I was between Squantz and Candlewood I stopped
    to take a picture of the large house halfway up the hill to the west.

    About this time I began noticing that I was dodging lots of potholes. I was also noticing that I was
    getting hungry and thought that I should have stopped in the bakery I passed. I can remember my
    father taking me to the local bakery when I was less than five and having the baker pass me a jelly
    donut through the window. I thought about eating a Clif bar, but decided to wait for the rest stop.

    The ride continued along the lake until reaching Sherman where I rode almost in a circle following
    the route. It directed us off CT39, first west, then north and east, and finally south back on CT39
    less that a mile north from where it left CT39. That part of the route was particularly pretty.

    After a few more miles I rode into the Gaylord’s rest stop. The first food I spotted was a large
    box of jelly donuts. From that moment this ride became the jelly donut century. At the rest stop it
    was - now you see it; now you don’t and that jelly donut was history. There were other kinds of
    donuts there. I looked at some cookies and decided to put a couple half bagels in my back pocket. I
    had half a banana passing up oranges and watermelon. While I ate a second donut I thought about the
    sushi century; the Harmon Hundred serves sushi at its second rest stop.

    The Gaylordsville rest stop was long the Housatonic River which I crossed a couple of tenths of a
    mile after leaving. Onward to Kent, Macedonia, and NY state. The route which had little traffic and
    lots of scenery went along the river and the Housatonic railroad line until the route crossed the
    river at Kent. I rode along with a couple of other riders who left the rest stop about the same time
    I did. Then a tandem with a rider in tow went by. Two of us grabbed onto the train and went along
    for a while. Just across the river, the Appalachian Trail crossed our route on CT341 and then I
    crossed into New York. Rural roads in New York were quiet with too many potholes while state routes
    had too much traffic. As I rode on NY22, I ate a bagel. About half of this upper loop was in New
    York. When we crossed back into CT we were just a couple of miles from the Gaylordsville rest stop
    and another jelly donut. The rest stop was running out of bagels.

    Initially the ride back to Danbury went along the Housatonic and then along Lake Candlewood. While
    the ride was pretty, there were lots of cars and potholes. Views along the lake were great. After
    passing the end of the lake I was ready for the ride to end. I muddled my way across I84 and
    through Danbury to Rogers Park and the registration tent where the “survey person” got to give me
    an oral survey. And my question back was: “The Hat City Cyclists gave free t-shirts to the
    pre-registrants. How come the Hat City Cyclists aren’t giving free hats
    - cycling hats, baseball hats, towel hats, straw hats, etc?”

    The refreshments table still had jelly donuts, so I got to take a jelly donut for the drive home!

    Delorme’s Topo 3 assessed the route at 106.6 mi and 8025 ft of climbing.


    Brochure – I never saw a brochure, but there was some good information on the Hat City
    Cyclists website.

    Routes – good. Excellent terrain if you like hills, lakes, rivers. Some roads had too much traffic;
    others too many potholes. It’s not necessarily easy to find alternate roads

    Intersections - well marked with at least one warning mark, a mark at the intersection, and a mark
    after the intersection plus many straight arrows indicating the route.

    Cue sheet – good. No map – not so good, since a map gives you the option to pick a short cut if you
    are tired, it starts to rain, etc.

    Rest stops – good. Great jelly donuts. There was a good selection of bagels, cookies, fruit, but an
    alternative drink to water or Gatorade would be appreciated. Shouldn’t run out of bagels. Great
    jelly donuts.

    Sags – sag wagons were all over the route.

    Value – excellent.

    Conclusion – I’ll be on this ride next year looking for jelly donuts.

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