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. EVALUATION 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.