Welcome to the site for all the latest information about Connecticut's dirty little century, roughly 118miles in early September, about half off paved surfaces. Please start by reading The Basics (this is a link)for information about the ride (if current year Basics is not yet available, the previous year will give a general gist).
Rather than answer individual questions repeatedly, please address questions as "comments" to the MOST RECENT post and I will answer in a blog posting for all to see.
In years past, about now, I'd be giving final tidbits of information, warnings, thanks, and other general drivel in preparation for the event in a week's time, but that all came to an end last year with shifting the ride to the beginning of September. So, relax, kick back, and then, well, it's nice out again so go take a bike ride. Even in the fall, The Detour is a long ride, so we'll hope to see a lot of fit fiddles the first weekend of September 2017!
Well, it happened again, another Detour. Wow. First of all, thank you to everyone who came out for the event. Without you, I would need more creativity to provide myself with a lot of imaginary friends for the ride. So thanks for making me appear somewhat sane.
Speaking of which, how about that dancing bear a mile into the ride? Thanks to Mary Lynn for sending us off with a smile, and also putting me up the night prior, cutting down my commute to the start now that I no longer call Manchester home.
And despite my late warning, Glenn came through with the water stop in Hampden again. Hopefully everyone who needed a refill found it.
And of course, many, many thanks to Justin for joining me this year, not just in promoting the event far better than I ever did, but also for his thoughts and opinions along the way. Two heads are better than one, especially when the one is mine.
So now relax, rest up, take a shower (you don't want to know how long it took me to get to that), and we'll hopefully see you again in twelve months, if not sooner!
Yup, pretty much a no brainer this year, the ride is on for Saturday (tomorrow!), no rain delay. Although, if anyone feels the ride just isn't quite hard enough, please, be my guest to start Sunday afternoon and ride it through the night in a the rain. Right, I didn't think so.
Also, please, if you haven't yet registered, get yourself over to BikeReg and do so! Looking forward to seeing everyone on Saturday.
For many years I've been a fan of the term Luddite, happily applying the moniker to myself, but it was only recently that I read about the word's origins. Rather than paraphrase the story myself, I'll opt for modernity and simply link you to Wikipedia so you can read their synopsis yourself.
All studied up? Great. So yeah, I'm a Luddite in many ways, one of them being the use of GPS for riding. Last year, when I was invited to a "Strava Ride" with friends, it was my intention to tape a Garmin sized and shaped rock to my handlebars for the ride. Yup, that's about as high tech as I get on a bike. What can I say, I like having to guess how fast I'm going. I even like getting lost. I even like like the fact that I'm rather odd. But I can change...if I have to...I guess (Yes, I'm a Red Green fan too--fitting, isn't it?).
And Justin is doing his damnedest to help me, and the ride, in that transformation. So guess what? Believe it or not, there is now an Official 2016 Detour de Connecticut GPX file. Wow, GPX, that just sounds fast! Ok, I've stalled as long as I can: here it is. Again, there are lot's of various files donning the title "Detour de Connecticut" in some fashion or other, but this is the right one. And please, still have a copy of the Cues along for the ride. If in doubt, trust the cues.
And as always, if you haven't already, be sure to read this years Basics, for all the, well, basic information you need to know...in just a month!
So, yup, I goofed, but that's just another good reason that I'm no longer organizing the ride in isolation. Many thanks to Justin for catching my mistake in the updates to this years cues, so if you downloaded the cues prior to July 26th, my apologies, but you'll need a new copy to get out of Willimatic, not that it's such an awful place: good coop, natural spring water, municiple dirt jumps, just try to avoid developing a heroin habit. Of note, any link to the 2016 Cues on this blog is now correct.
Also, if you're visiting this site for the first time, be sure to start with a read of The 2016 Basics.
I finally did it (with Justin's company): recon for this year's ride was completed a week or so back, the the route is finalized for this year! This is a yearly ritual, as the route does not stick entirely to public ways, and while this had never been an issue in the past, all things change eventually. In the past, the route ducked into a patch of woods on the south side of Willimantic, but the previous "No ATVs" sign has been replaced by ones reading "No Tresspassing."
But all is not lost, no, all is not lost, not yet. Adversity, turned upside-down, can be an opportunity. Forced to rethink our way through Willy, we discovered an amazing (and well hidden) pedestrian bridge into the center of town and even a view of water succumbing to gravity rather rapidly. All is well.
Falls, and bridges, and benches, Oh My!
Also, I'm anxious to see how the move to a fall date succeeds. Through the years, many lobbied for this shift to have more time to gain fitness through the summer. It had been my hope that a really cool event in the spring would serve as encouragement for people to ride through the winter, but that just showed how poorly I judged. In particular, with the cold winters that proceeded the last two Detours, a number of people felt even less ready than usual, so here we are, and hopefully, now everyone will be. Just be prepared for possibly more heat, and more green growth in places with time around.
So there it is, you've a little over a month. Best be riding!
When: Saturday September 3rd for 2016 (with Sunday the 4th kept as a rain date--final decision to be made Friday). Start riding promptly at 8am. That may sound early, but this will be a LONG ride. Add roughly 50% to your time for 118 paved miles; bring lights if in doubt. Sunset is at 7:22pm on Saturday.
What: The 2016 Detour de Connecticut, with its move to the fall, looks to build on the last five years' rides and the relative success of previous "invitation-only" events, or as one participant described the 2010 ride: "Nobody died." This year's "bow tie edition" (the rough shape of the route) looks like it will be 118 miles. Here's the kicker: about half that mileage is off paved roads, with maybe 5 miles tops on numbered highway routes, thus the Detour de CT. If you can handle passages less-buff than D2R2, adventures, mild orienteering, don't mind getting a toe wet (ankles should stay dry), short rough sections, not to mention loads of gorgeous back roads, this is a ride for you. DO NOT THINK GRAVEL GRINDER! This route, at times, is a rock crusher, stump stomper, and mud slogger. Note: this is a self-led ride; you are responsible for finding your way from the directions.
Route: Many thanks to Jessie, the route exists as a single text document of cues (there are 3 columns per page, use one page at time--complete full page before continuing to columns on next page). The file can be downloaded from Google Docs HERE. (NOTE: Use only this link from this 2016 Basics for the correct cue sheet. The Interwebs have many iterations, including some from 3rd parties. There are no accurate GPX files for this year's route.)
The route has changed significantly from last year, largely in the passes through Willimantic due to a new bike path (yay!) and new "No Tresspassing" signs (boo--but there is a super cool new bridge because of it. And a waterfall!). There is also a modification out in Canterbury to avoid poisen ivy (side effect of the new fall date). Last year, I clarified the directions within the Mohegan Forest to keep more people on track, with variable success. Within the cues there are references to numbered maps for which there are links below. Note, not all of the route has/can be mapped (you need the cues) and Maps 3 & 8 have been removed due to changes this year. Also, Map 10 has one deviation from the cues (cues are correct) in the last 1/2 mile. Again, trust the cues; the maps are just visual aids.
The Bicycle: Minimum 32c tires are good for the soft soil sections, although I would avoid knobbies as there is still a lot of pavement, but an inverted tread tire might be nice. Some woods roads on the loop are very rough, but nothing a Model T couldn't handle. There is one uncontrolled rail road track crossing where I had to walk as well as some potentially wet woods roads in the Mohegan State Forest. Some sections have significantly more vegitation than in the past with the fall date.
I'm not trying to impress anyone, but in choosing your equipment, keep in mind this is the evaluation of a retired pro mountain biker who is generally disposed to riding the wrong bike for the situation. If you consider a cross bike just a dirt-road-bike, a mountain bike might be a good choice. There are sections rougher than D2R2.
Lastly, there is a bike shop in Willimantic, but they are open only on Saturday, so if rain date is used, you get the idea. Regardless of the day, there are LONG stints with nothing resembling support, so plan for self sufficiency. Also, it can be quite hot still at the beginning of September. Be prepared for LONG stints without water available.
The Cost: I like free things, so this ride is free. If, on Monday, you feel like you did a fantastic ride, I'd encourage you to donate $5-10 to some bicycle organization of your choice. Again, this is completely voluntary; there is no cost for riding this loop.
All that said, we are adding registration for this year's event. And, of course, a waiver. Please click on over to https://www.bikereg.com/30506 and add your name to the list. If you don't register, you aren't on the ride, just some creepy interloper.
Food: The center, or knot, of the bow tie is Willimantic, CT, and the route passes through at roughly 1/3 and 2/3 distance. These will be opportunities to buy food. I recommend the coop in town which is not far off the route. Also, on the second pass through town, the loop will go by a roadside natural water spring.
Parking: I know not everyone will ride to the start, but you get serious bonus points if you do. There is limited parking right at the trail head. Nearby are Progress Dr. and Utopia Rd. which should be reasonable for street parking. If you drive, you are responsible for obeying parking laws.
One more plug: Why am I doing this? I like riding a bike, and I like riding bikes with other people. I like back roads. I like dirts roads. I like woods roads, and I like sharing what I've found with others. I'm cruel like that. This loop is not for everyone, but I love it. It's challenging, frequently beautiful, and comprises so many of the reasons I enjoy spending time on two wheels.
Disclaimer: This is just a possible route. I will be riding the loop at the specified day and time. If other's choose to do the same, they do so at their own risk and choosing. To my knowledge, there is no restricted open public access sections of the route, but I do not guaranty this. Obey all no trespassing signs. Route is not solely on maintained public roads.