Just a wafer thin ride
Ok, ok, it's true, I resisted, kicked, scream, and generally offered a childish unwillingness to acknowledge a shorter version of this ride, but finally demand, age/wisdom, and sensibility have won. So, here it is, a Wee Tour de Connecticut for those someone saner, but not completely sane, few who think 118 miles of half-dirt is a bad idea in April, or possibly any time of year.
My goal for the Detour in general is to share some cool parts of the state I've found, but also to get people out riding together. The more the merrier, so I'd like to see attendance grow. Last year, my father arrived late for the start and I was please. No, not that he missed us, but rather that, despite missing the group launch, he still various groups to join through most of his day. My hope is that we'll have enough riders so everyone and every pace will have company.
So, here's my idea for a shorter version: the large loop is actually two loops forming a bow-tie shape with the center in Willimantic. While one possibility would be to start with the long riders and turn back west on the Airline Trail when the ride reaches Willimantic the first time, I am of the opinion that the better option is to join the long riders on their first pass through Willimantic and ride the eastern loop with them. This is more remote, and I think more interesting, section. It also allows for the greatest number of people to ride together for the longest time.
WHERE: The junction of Routes 66 & 32 in Willimantic where it drops into the cemetery. On the CUE SHEET, this is two instructions down from the top in the 2nd column of the 1st page (look for the mention of Valley Oil).
WHEN: Same date and rain date as the Detour, April 27/28 for 2013. As for time, the long ride departs Manchester promptly at 8am, and it is 20.6 miles of dirt path with a long gradual rise and long descent to the Wee Tour start; figure out what average pace you would like to ride for those conditions and divide that into 20.6. Add that to 8am for you start time.
For example: if you'd like to ride with a 12mph group, you should be ready to ride at about 9:40 and jump into a group that comes along. In picking your pace, remember to factor in slower speeds for dirt. For reference, the fastest overall average speed for last year was about 13mph.
PARKING: On Rt66 in Columbia, at the junction with Rt6 (MAP HERE), there is a CT state Park & Ride lot for free, legitimate parking. This is under 2 1/2 miles from the Wee Tour start. It may be possible to find suitable parking closer, but that is at your risk.
As a VERY rough estimate, this loop is about 50 miles. If joining for just the Wee Tour, please still read through THE BASICS as there is more useful information in there, and I'll hope to see some of you in Willimantic and beyond....