Ride Recap, Grafton Cheese Grater ADV Ride, Nov. 19

riders starting cheese graterMan, am I glad we moved the day ahead one.  Sunday turned out to be gnarly and I ended up going for the first fat bike ride of the season.  Saturday was epic weather and it was really cool to have a small group show up to let me lead them on a good romp around Grafton.

I gotta start from about 20yrs. ago to lead up to this.  I never quite understood cyclocross.  45 minutes of riding and running around a short course, over and over never got me excited.  But, I really loved the purpose built frames and the ability to fit tires bigger than 25’s on.  Granted, 32’s are puny now but it was good enough back then.  I have raced a bit here and there over the years and it was fine, but I never like training or dedicating my weekends to driving all over the place just to smash some dudes for a couple of hours.

riders departI love clicking in to my Time pedals, just 10 steps from my door and just kinda having a rough destination or loop in mind and being on one bike that can pretty much ride it all.   I used to work at a friggin’ cool ass shop back in the day and we sold Cannondale, and even though I am crazy in love with my , Cannondale made a super cool bike back then.  The XS800 cross bike had a Headshok that sported a modest 20mm or so of travel, but it was the cat’s PJ’s to me.  One thing about those Headshok’s was the slick top cap knob to lock out the fork.  That red sled was such a cool bike.  I tweaked the gearing for more range and just rode that thing everywhere!

Eventually I turned the bike into my commuter and put some S&M flat pedals on so I could wear my burly welted soled hiking boots with gaiters for winter riding.  Fenders and a rack and some vintage Cannondale flat mtb bars off one of those early mountain bikes that sported the 24” rear and 26” front wheels.  They had a pretty big sweep back and I think the modern Jones bars are just a progressive step beyond that.

Anyways, before all that bit, It was as I said, an awesome bike for it’s day.  I ended up in some really interesting situations that often involved hiking over mountains on crazy steep old moto trails.  Picking my way down descents that you would normally rip on today’s trail bikes.  A few times a sliced sidewall was patched with a Powerbar wrapper.  Now it’s a legitimate and crazy popular new sport this, Gravel Grinding.  I love it!  Purpose built drop bar bikes that can fit up to 45’s and geometry that is more stable and comfortable for long days in the saddle.  It is sweet!

Kona Ti Rove
The modern Gravel Grinder. My special tweak to this Titanium beauty are 27.5” XC mountain bike wheels with 2.0” race tires on. This bike goes pretty much anywhere if you stay committed.

So, what I typically ride day in and day out is my GG or ADV or Monster Cross bike, right from home and I think I know just about every road, town trail and quad/moto trail in southern Vermont.  For the Cheese Grater, I wanted to share my daily routine with the group so I was quick to figure out a route that in some form or fashion, I have ridden many times over the years.  There are some crazy beautiful dirt roads taking off in all directions from Grafton, so I had to narrow it down and come up with something that would allow for a half way stop that included Pete’s Camp by the old ski area, Timber Ridge.  I figured out the route in minutes once I settled on that lunch stop.  The fun part was laying it out and setting the course arrows.

79 xl 185s
Moto’s are my other love. Especially this classic Honda. Perfect for recon and course setting

What an amazing day for a ride.  The weather couldn’t have been more ideal for the middle of November.  In the first 20 mile section of the ride we climbed around 3,500’ but you really didn’t feel it cause it was just so consistent, instead of up a wall and down and over and over again.

stuff your face
Lunch at Pete’s Camp

After stuffing my face with Chili, grilled cheese and cookies and coffee, we departed for section 2 and the good times and big descent really made my day.

Ingalls road, right after lunch sure was a good way to start and thank god it was warm out.  That old town road is always wet.  Then we had the long and technical DH section of Turkey Mtn. Road, which was the real fun and challenge with the drop bar bikes.  Trying to send it down a trail, thick with slick ass Oak leaves that fill in wheel swallowing holes always gets me excited.  I love that downhill!

west river trailAfter regrouping with the now smaller “fast group” we crossed rte. 100 and hit the cool ‘cross section of the West River Trail down to West Townshend.  I love the flat, grassy single track.

Most everyone that road rides in Southern Vermont knows about the awesome Windham Hill climb, but few are aware that just parallel to that road is a dirt climb not to be missed.  Back Windham road is such a great climb!  Half way up I had Andy Jackins waiting with a (real) Coca-Cola aid station.  Then it was up the Chase Hill wall and down the final Pave’ section of Jordan Hill to Acton hill and ending with a full throttle time trail on the 3 mile slab finish on the Grafton rd.

Shit, that was fun!  I am so psyched to share these rides with everyone.  Thanks for coming everybody!

west river floating bridge
West River Trail in West Townshend
Roseanne Wesley Aidan
Shiny Happy People