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!