Detour de Connecticut

Today was the 2nd annual Detour de Connecticut. It was an epic ride conceived by Salem Mazzaway. He started it last year with only a handful of riders. This year, it grew a bit. Salem is a former pro mountain biker and local legend, who is now “car-less” and proud of it. There were several “car-less” cyclists on this ride, which made for some great conversation. He designed this crazy course throughout the beautiful countryside of northeastern Connecticut.

The weather was great. It was cold at the start, but it warmed up into the low-50’s. The sun shone brilliantly. I wore knickers, a hat, long sleeves, a vest, and long finger gloves all day long.

The “bow-tie” course was more than 50% off-road, which consisted of rail trails, dirt roads, double track, and some sections of single track. The road sections were on beautiful winding country roads. We only had to go on major roads a handful of times, and each time, it was brief.

This unofficial/unsanctioned group ride met at the Manchester Industrial Park and began on the Hop River State Park Trail. We live on the trail in Bolton, so I rode down to meet the 25+ riders who started. The course was approximately 115 miles. My GPS’ read a combined 122.5 miles when I was done. I needed two of them because my Garmin Edge 305 battery died after 9.5 hours, which I expected, so I also brought my Garmin Forerunner 305 too. It took me a total of 10 hours and 14 minutes to cover the distance, of which nine hours and three minutes was moving time. We took the Hop River trail to Willimantic (the center of the bow tie), and  then to Scotland, Canterbury, and Hampton on wonderful roads and trails.

After an unexpected, but welcomed water stop, we returned to Willimantic on the Hop River State Park Trail. This section is very rough, and I was dropped off of the front group. I needed fatter tires on the traprock covered trail.

After a bathroom break in Willimantic, we found our way on to the Air Line State Park Trail, another one of Connecticut’s fabulous rail trails. We rode it 17 miles (the entire way) to East Hampton. We stopped for a late lunch at a lovely cafe in East Hampton to refuel and refill our water bottles. The group of 25 had long since split up. Three riders, including Salem, were up front. I was in a group of three, including Art Roti, that eventually met up with three more riders in East Hampton.

The six of us rolled out of East Hampton together and headed for Meshomasic State Forest, a maze of dirt roads in East Hampton and Glastonbury. The legs were tired by this point in the day, but I stayed strong. We had some big road climbs heading back to Manchester, and made one last transition to trails at Porter Reservoir.

GPS Results Part 1

GPS Results Part 2

There was about 7,100 feet of elevation gain, so it wasn’t that hilly, but the ups were steep. Some of the toughest hills were on dirt roads. I was very pleased with my ride. I was also happy with my gear. I rode my Seven Tsunami with my Mavic road wheels and Panaracer Pasella 28 cm tires. I wish I had 32 cm or 35 cm tires. I had to be very careful on the rough dirt roads and in the woods. Taking a cross bike on some of those trails was really interesting and challenging.

My titanium frame/carbon fork combo was good for the ruggedness and my setup was pretty light. I carried two extra tubes and a patch kid and I’m so happy that I didn’t need them. I was way over geared. Truthfully, I was in such a rush, and being away for 11 days, I didn’t even think about this. My crankset was a 48 x 38 and my road wheels had an 11 x 23 cassette on them. I was pushing a big gear all day.

With the exception of that sandwich and a coconut water purchased from the deli in East Hampton, I went the whole day on water, Hammer Perpetuem, Hammer Gel, and a Pro Bar. I felt great. It was truly an epic ride.

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