Chilly Willy Nilly Old Ride

I spent yesterday afternoon fretting about the ride I was to do last night. It was a cold day, breezy, with little sun and occasional snow flurries. Adding in the fact that we weren’t starting until after sunset wasn’t inspirational.

I kept hoping Joe would text me that he was bailing out. Turns out he was hoping the same thing. Neither of us did though, so at 4:45 we found ourselves dressed in tights and layers and balaclavas, pedaling up my driveway with lights a-blinking.

The first mile was cold, but as soon as we started to climb our legs got the blood pumping. Two minutes later my hands were sweating. Cresting Grassy Hill by the airport, we caught a beautiful, bloody sunset through a small aperture between the horizon and the clouds. The run down 317 was right into the wind though, and we were glad to enter the shelter of the woods on Welton. In a theme repeated several times, cars gave us a wide berth, mostly crossing the center line into the far lane when passing us.

Perhaps the drivers thought us insane.

Booth was fine, its climb tough as always. I dropped Joe on that climb, because, as it turned out, he didn’t downshift soon enough and had to grunt his way up. It would be the only time I dropped Joe last night.

I hadn’t ridden the abandoned section of Chalybes in two years and half expected it to be blocked with trees downed by last summer’s wind storms. It was fine though. That section needs to make it into more of my routes.

I thought the coldest we’d be would be riding through the cornfields on Ridge, exposed to the wind a thousand feet in the air. It was cold, but but the wind made us work and colder still were the runs down Chapin and Walker Brook. By the time we hit Battle Swamp both of us welcomed the chance to warm up on the climb. I didn’t clean it, haven’t yet this year, but only put a foot down for a few seconds. The same proved true of Moosehorn, except both of us walked a bit of that one. By then our quads were beginning to cramp on the climbs.

But we weren’t cold.

On Dorothy Diebold, we caught up with, of all things, a Corvette, chugging slowly down the dirt road. Happily, it turned down Booth, its driver probably wondering just what the hell had caught up with him. The clouds had cleared by then, and the home run down Upper County and Bacon was moonlit.

It was a good ride – My legs only cramped up once during the night.

About swampyankeecyclist

I'm Andy Engel, just a middle-aged, middle-class guy from Roxbury, Connecticut. I've been married to my best friend since 1988, and we have two grown sons. I like riding bikes, and my biggest accomplishment is the 180K D2R2. I own 5 bikes but my go-to rides are a 2016 GT Grade gravel and commuter bike and a 2016 Specialized 650b hardtail mountain bike. Additionally, I have a 2000-something carbon-fiber Orbea road bike, a 1990-something Specialized Sirrus that's my old dirt and commuter bike and which now serves as a spare and a trainer bike, and a 1985 Ross Mount Hood MTB. All but the 650b have Brooks saddles. I work from home now, but used to commute 32 miles round trip to work by bike year round. I was a carpenter and still love building things, but regular paychecks, insurance, and vacation time lured me into journalism. I've written a couple of books on carpentry, and I've been an editor at Fine Homebuilding, Fine Woodworking, and Professional Deck Builder magazines. Currently, I manage construction events at the JLC Live and Remodeling Show trade shows. Additionally, my wife and I run Transylvania Guest House, an Airbnb. Find us on Instagram. Come stay with us and I'll show you some great cycling.
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