Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A ride gone wrong...

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So while about 90% of the time I get lost while riding it can be attributed to google maps telling me there are roads where there are not a recent ride gone wrong I can only blame on myself (or perhaps as I later found out, the town of Simsbury).

A couple weeks ago I was scheduled to work a six day week which meant that on a couple days I was going to get out at 2.00. I had not been out on a 40+ mile ride yet this summer so I figured this would be the perfect opportunity. Unfortunately, however several factors would prove to derail my plans, shorten my ride, and leave me cold and wet trapped in the rain.

While I had planned to leave work at 2.00 this happened to be the week (much like this week) where we saw rain and thunderstorms every single day. The day had been fair but at about 1.45 a brutal thunderstorm rolled in that soaked the roads and kicked up the wind. I saw no point in trudging through the rain so I delayed my departure till the rain stopped at about 3.15. I raced home, quickly changed, and pulled up the radar. It showed a series of small thunderstorms moving in a line with 30 minute gaps between them. Not a fan of modifying my plans due to the weather I calculated a route by which I could race ahead of the storm, head West, and loop through Simsbury, into Barkhamsted, and South around a second storm. I wrote down my route which was a loop along routes 309, 179, 219, and 44. I stepped out the back door to the sounds of rumbling thunder, again questioned the intelligence of my decision, and hopped on the bike. As I rode North along Quaker, Asylum, and Steele St. and jumped onto 185. The whole time I was right on the edge of the storm as a picture taken over my shoulder along Elizabeth Park looked as such:
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And this...
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After moving down 185 towards Bloomfield the view to the West looked like this...
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The view to the East however, was less inviting...
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I headed up over Simsbury Mountain and noticed this foreboding sign on the way down which made me again question my choice to venture out...
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READ MORE after the jump!



The weather was great though and I continued on through the back roads of Simsbury which turned out to be much more scenic than I thought. Here are a few pictures of the rolling hills and fields that remain in this increasingly sprawling area...

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And...
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I wanted to ask this little lady the answer to the proverbial question but left her to her bug hunting...

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Things were going smoothly until I get to the intersection of Stratton Brook Rd and Rt 309. My route list informed me to turn left on 309, however I came to realize at this point that none of the roads are signed with route numbers!! (I found out the next day from a customer at work that allegedly Simsbury only recently moved away from the route numbering in favor of road names. Perhaps the numbers were a little too urbanizing in a pristine town like Simsbury (note sarcasm)). This I knew would turn out to be quite the problem as I would have to guess which road was which. I made my series of turns not confident that I was heading in the right direction. Eventually, however, I turned onto a major road which I sensed was Rt 44 and felt a little better as to my situation. After a couple miles, however, I realized that I was rather on Rt 202 and not only very far from my intended location but heading right back into the heart of a round of storms.

Along the river....
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Clouds coming...
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I had meant to travel counter-clockwise but somehow while making the same series of left and right turns had gone clockwise and was now heading South back into Simsbury. This meant that I had not only lost about 10 miles of my intended ride but that I had NOT ridden around the storm and would soon be soaked. The rain started slow at first and I rode on but soon it was coming down in sheets and the lightening started to pick up. At first I grabbed a spot under a tree but then noticed a nice awning across the street.

Here is my pathetic set-up as I waited for the rain to clear.
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After about 20 minutes the rain cleared and I made my way back over Simsbury Mountain and home again. A few shots along the way proved that had I been about 20 miles West I'd be nice and dry...
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The roads were quite wet...
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As was I when I got home...
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All in all still a pleasant ride but I sure learned never to ride without as much route information as is possible. Because everyone remember, Simsbury hates route numbers!!!

7 comments:

Brendan said...

once the routes are triple digit state routes, you don't see many signs. especially when they're greater than 199.

urban areas are actually worse. tell me how many signs you see for the state routes that go through w. hartford or hartford?

did I edit your html ok?

Nomad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nomad said...

I have long been a fan of GPS in my car (Garmin 660 has saved my life many times) and am now learning to be a fan of it on my bike as well. I got a Magellan model without maps, so all I know is there I came from. But it has been invaluable in making me feel free to wander, because I always know the way back.

Of course, if you have a natural sense of direction, it is certainly cheaper to use that!

Rich said...

It sounds you were somehow able to avoid the poultry-terrorism of Simsbury.

DAAAAMMNNNN YOOUUUUU, SIMSBURYYYYY!!!

*shakes fist*

Karma said...

I was wondering if that chicken was loaded when I set up to take the picture. Alls well that ends well I guess.

As for the Rt signs, where I grew up they use Rt numbers in lieu of road names. But I guess Southeastern CT is just lower class than Simsbury. we drink beer not wine and call slacks pants, Neanderthals.

El Presidente de China said...

Nomad:
What's frustrating about having a natural sense of direction (as I tend to) is that it doesn't help you if you don't know the local windy roads. I almost always know which way the cardinal directions are, but frequently there are no roads that connect to where I want to go, so I end up pointing my bike south, riding for five miles, and running into a dead end. This is why I like cities more than country roads, scenery and improvised explosive poultry notwithstanding.

Brendan said...

I suppose growing up in Avon also helps me navigate the Farmington Valley pretty easily.