Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday in The Valley - "Yay" to Braiding Blockage

I got started around 2 pm Sunday afternoon but it was not too hot as the Fall weather seems to be the norm now. I did a few trails in the reverse of what I normally do and that made the ride a little more fun.  Once up in the Central Maze I stopped to photograph the braid blockage on the Yellow Slab Rock Section. I can't believe it -- braiding is so prevalent here - its a shame!

Braiding Blockage - Yay!
Braiding has always been an issue in the Valley. The Park--being unmonitored and unsupervised basically by either the Town or State (co-landowners)--has brought a certain sense of freedom and creativity in the "evolution" of trails but the all-too-often dumbing down occurs as well.

It's a shame because there really are an enormous amount of trails with a wide spectrum difficulty levels. The Yellow Trail traverses through the Central Maze across a challenging series of rock slabs. It's not overwhelmingly hard and really can't even be called a "rock garden" but it offers a great chance to hone your skills for an intermediate! :-)

Why folks braided this is beyond comprehension! It has been one of my favorites trails in the park for years. Kudos to the Pequonnock Valley Trail Care crew for blocking this totally unnecessary braid! Ride the White Trail if the Yellow is too much for you!
Braid Blockage - Slab Rock Section of Yellow Trail
Descending from the Central Maze, I rode down the side trail (nearer the Fire road) instead of the usual Main Yellow and did the mini roller there - no big deal but it's been a long time since I tried that!

I turned around on the White before the dam and headed back north and decided - since it was dry -- to take the offshoot before the boardwalk in the Serengeti. Much to my surprise the dead-ended trail that used to head further south thru swamp was gone! Totally overgrown now - it shows that loops are needed to make a trail worthwhile to ride and of course mucky swampland and mosquitos can make any trail less enticing no matter how interesting the plant life is around you! :-)

Monday, September 7, 2015

Quickie in the Valley

I did a quickie loop of the valley today, trying to get some well-needed recreational exercise before the heat wave set in.

Starting from Whitney, I rode south on the White until the Dam and came back via the Blue. I was having some clothing issues* and decided to quit earlier just as the temperature went up quite a bit.

Its been ages since I visited this spot. It nice to see folks have built up a stone walkway across the river here. My son and I used to come bombing down the hill from the rail trail across the river and try to make it across on our bikes. We never succeeded making it all the way across and ended up with wet feet!

 These classic spots looked nice in the mid morning sun

* the dirty details: underwear slippage!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Schenectady Central Park (visit #2)

On Saturday, I was back  "in the neighborhood" and returned to Schenectady Central Park to finish the map.

This time I was joined by my nephew Andrew who is an excellent rider (and patient and polite when I pooped out on loop three!)


We first rode the trails south of the stream - which I GPSed to finish the map. They were great trails with up and downs, tight switchbacks and a few log up and overs. A couple of sections closely paralleled the fences of baseball fields - it was a fun trek...
Andrew by the stream

Loop 2

We then hit the main loop going clockwise -- it was getting hot but really not too bad for a summer day.
Loop 2

Loop 3

Lastly we finished off the ride by completing the 3rd loop. I was pretty tired at this point and choked on a bunch of the hills, etc. There are some tech sections and super tight switchbacks which are doable if you aren't already bushed!

Somewhere along the way I got bashed by my chainring but I didn't even realized it until I got home!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Waterbury - Perry Hill (Rasta Mountain)

One of my all time favorite trails is Campfire at Perry Hill. It seems almost magical as you descend on a perfectly sculpted trail that flows along natural contours of the mountain slope. It unfortunately takes a relentless climb to get to it :-(

Like last year, I ended up walking most of the climb up Permission but I decided to vary it a bit this year and ride along the lower part of Rasta Man that parallels I-89 and the railroad tracks.


The ascent up Permission was brutal and I didn't even try to ride it.
The fire road up (Permission) is a wicked uphill climb
I took the very first trail off to the right which was probably an illegit trail thru this gully.
trail thru gully

Rasta Man (Blue Trail)

At the top of the previously pictured gully, I believe I connected with the Blue Trail as it was very compacted and obviously had a lot of traffic. I rode eastward.
Main trail eastward
The trail skirts the edge of a huge embankment (plateau). Way down below on the right is I-89.
Vegetation like this makes Perry Hill so awesome - especially when its sunny :-)
So much for my thinking this section of Rasta Man was gonna be relatively flat!
Elevation Chart includes Permission climb from start

There were a good amount of hills. Here you take a speedy descent into... amazing huge granite outcropping where a stream washes thru. (Be sure to click on this to see the enlargement)
On the far right of the photo above - this berm is naturally sculpted into the terrain.
I only went a bit further after the huge granite stream crossing and decided to turn around, It was hot, I was bushed already and I was dying to get to Campfire.

Rejoining the Relentless Climb

I got back on the main double track climb and keep slogging on upward.

Rest - Panorama

I took a rest at the same spot as I did last year and shot (and later stitched together) a four-photo panorama. (Be sure to view the enlarged version)
Perry Mountain Panorama
I was still pretty bushed so in my boredom of trying to catch my breath, I shot this selfie. The Yellow Trail (which is the way to get to Campfire) is showing behind me.

The Yellow Trail

This is an awesome trail...
The Yellow Trail
The signage here was a little confusing
Joe's Hill Intersection


But I continued on this way...
Campfire starts 
 Down Campfire - this is heaven!

Check out a HelmetCam (not mine) of the Campfire Trail

No more photos as it was a non-stop gorgeous descent!!!! The only issue was I finally realized--while on this descent--that I had forgotten my gloves and the bounciness of my hands on the handlebars kinda bothered me. Nevertheless, it was glorious and I savored every moment of it. :-)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Stowe - Cady Hill Trails

After a short visit to the Perry Hill entrance, I decided to forgo that ride today as it was lunchtime and getting kinda hot. I drove back to the Waterbury Train station--which is truly awesome--and visited the history exhibit there. Nearby was a small cafe where I had a "non-alcoholic" lunch. [Too many awesome pubs further up the street had great beer but I didn't want to get lethargic because I decided at that point to ride Cady Hill instead.]

The Ride

I opted to ride in from the south side this year instead (last year I went in from the parking lot on Mountain Road) but there was only one entrance on Cady Hill Road where you could park.
On Cady Hill Road there's a small space to park where a trail begins. The first trail section is labeled "On Private Property" but it quickly joins up with Charlie's (at that intersection is where I saw the "On Private Property" sign)
Where I parked and rode in
Charlie's is tough but doable. There are a lot of roots and sudden switchbacks on hills.
Zog's is great once you get past a series of tough climbs.  I was not in the mood to wear myself out so I did the Walk of Shame on most of those hills until I got to this spot.
Zog's after the climbs
I was aiming to ride the various Schween Loops but there wasn't any signage so I inadvertently veered off my intended path. Once I unexpectedly came to a street, I turned on the GPS and realized I was way over at East Shaw Hill! $&@$%$!! Yikes!

But (as I indicated on the map) the trails were wonderful. I started MapMyRide and retraced my way back on the same trails I had taken. These trails were rooty, traversing primarily thru Conifers. There were lots of moguls but the hills were gradual and the flow was real good. It was great to ride :-)
Great trail!!
Which way, dude?
Finally, I climbed back up Cady Hill Connector -- which is a pretty easy double track and found Florence. I knew this was my fun-filled ticket out on the park. Florence is a machine-built Flow Trail.
I had to force myself to stop and take this photo - you can't help but fly!

Check out this GoPro WebCam (not mine!) to get an idea of the ride
One of many berms (20?) 
Close-up of berm - these were solid!
At the end of my Florence run where it meets Charlie's,  I paused for a photo shoot. The downhill run went by in a flash - a fitting way to close out this visit. Woo-eee!
End of Florence