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.

Monday, September 11, 2017

7 In the Bag

Usually around this time, I'm thanking a lot of people for their parts in helping the Detour actually happen, and I will do that, because I'm incredibly grateful to Justin for helping get the word out despite not being able to ride the event this year, Glenn as always for the Hampton water and fruit stop despite never having been able to ride the event, Brendan for coming out to join us on the now ChampionHill-free-route despite his certainty family responsibilities had kept him from sufficient fitness, and of course, everyone who came out to ride despite it being an event I organized.  THANK YOU!

But beyond that, wow, seven years seems significant, like this is more than just a passing fad.  Over the years, the ride has evolved as I found even better routes, no-trespassing signs appeared on good old ones, and people finally convinced me fall is a better time for a long ride even if the vegetation is a bit taller and unruly.  Through all of that, the Detour has remained essentially the Detour, and I've enjoyed every iteration as well as meeting the people who will actually show up for a ride like this.

Despite my suggestion of where to stop for water, and my (painfully) obvious color coordination, neither I, nor the ride, are sponsored by any purveyor of frozen cow products.

So this year, we had wonderful weather and certainly the most benign roll-out pace of any year, except maybe for poor Brendan.  Earlier, I decided I wanted to mingle more through the opening rail trail miles, so I elected to pick someone else to start us riding.  But in an oversight, I forgot that saying "Go" to Brendan results in an exuberant response; he took off like a shot and we didn't see him until over an hour later on the far side of Willimantic when he became bored of riding solo.  In effect, I was once again leading the group out as we began to roll, but I did happen upon an effective way of working my way through the group: after a couple miles of rising body and air temps, I dropped my hat upon removing it, which rocketed me to the back of the group as I stopped to retrieve it.

Hi everyone!  What a great crew we had, and what a wonderful mishmash of bikes.  I've said there's no perfect bike for everything this ride will dish up, and it's nice to see people take that to heart with a sweeping variety of equipment from mountain bikes, to road bikes with 39x25 gearing, and everything in between.  Myself, I've ridden the event on everything from a road bike that barely managed a 28c tire to my old MTB commuter with fenders.  This ain't no mere gravel grinder, a term I dislike for its seeming unpleasantness.  I'd prefer Dirt-Dandy or something of that ilk.

So, yeah, it happened, and for the next ten hours more or less, continued to happen.  I was stung by bee on my thigh, but avoided hitting any dogs, with Brendan taking on that duty instead.  I jammed a stick in my rear wheel, and Simon manage to jam a bike into his gigantic stick.  I met the friend of old friends, who is now a new friend of mine.  I saw the new trail my father helped build in Goodwin Forest.  I got to ride dirt jumps (sort of) on my road bike!  I didn't bonk on the way to East Hampton.  I kept my bike upright despite washing the front tire in the Meshomasic Forest, and then wasn't as successful during the final jaunt through Porter Reservoir.  I finished in one piece, elated.

One more THANK YOU!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Game On!

I am willing to trust a three day forecast even if I know better.  So, the forecast for Saturday looks great, while Sunday is predicted wet.  That was easy, Saturday Detour de CT this year, no rain delay.

Also, if you are planning on joining the ride, but haven't registered at BikeReg.com, please change one of those things, preferably the latter.  Don't worry, it's still free and they are really good about not inundating registrants with email of the potted meat product variety.

Thank you and see you in a few days!

Friday, August 18, 2017


Justin came through again in his attempt to bring the Detour into the modern era of mobile GPS units, stoplight cameras, and government wiretapping to bring us an updated .GPX file of this year's ride!  You can find it at https://ridewithgps.com/routes/24277869, and don't worry, your 3rd grade teacher probably won't know if you download it, but she'll still be disappointed, that you NEVER LEARNED TO FOLLOW DIRECTIONS!

See you in a couple weeks; I'll be the guy in the tin foil helmet banging a couple rocks together.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Musings on the Seventh Year

So yeah, wow, this will be seven years of the official Detour de CT, and while there have been tweaks here and there following the most substantial route changes the second year, the ride really has stayed pretty intact from year to year.  Not sure I can say the same for the riders, but I sincerely believe that some have actually enjoyed the experience.

As for me, I really like the loop and find myself looking forward at least as much as ever.  Even with the route pretty much the same, I've definitely had a different experience riding it over each of the last six years.  For one thing, I only ever endo-ed over an errant dog on the Airline Trail the very first year.  But canine calamity aside, it is the other riders, the weather, or any number of other factors that have made each year a unique experience.  And underlying it all, I just really like riding this route.

So seven years (we might make a decade yet!), and I'm looking forward to a full day off from swinging hammers and instead rambling around a bit of eastern CT, hopefully with you!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Now with more disorganization than EVER! 2017 Detour Basics

Well, it's sort of about to happen again; we're about a month away from the 7th running of the Detour de CT and I've finally posted THE BASICS for this year.  What can I say, I've been busy.

When not disorganizing weird bike rides,
I'm pretending to build a house, or at least a garage.

Anyhow, Justin has moved to Mass, and I'm allegedly building a house up that way as well, but hey, the Detour lives on, or at least we think it does.  Help prove us right and come out to ride.  In the mean time, read through THE BASICS, download your cue sheet, and mosey over to BikeReg to sign up (fear not, it's still free, damn free!).  

See you in a month as long as I keep my balance putting up the garage roof.


When: Saturday September 2rd for 2017 (with Sunday the 3th 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 2017 Detour de Connecticut, in its  second year moving to the fall, looks to build on the last six 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 119 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 Drive HERE.  (NOTE: Use only this link from this 2017 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...yet.  I'll cajole Justin to mock that up.)

The route has changed a little from last year, largely to avoid running people into a wedding party as I did last year.  Oops.  Also, work has extended the improved section of Airline Trail beyond the center of East Hampton, so we'll make use of that.  Two years ago, I clarified the directions within the Mohegan Forest to keep more people on track, with variable success, not that get lost is automatically a bad thing.  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 vegetation 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.  There is no perfect bike for everything.  Except maybe a late 80's Technium.

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/detour-de-connecticut 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.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Spring Sprung

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!

Flowers are growing,
now do the same for your fitness.