Sunday, November 8, 2015

Coffeeneuring #6, 2015 - more off road exploration

After my Coffeeneuring excursion last week, with some off road exploration between Bedford Road and Sandy Pond Road in Lincoln, my colleague mentioned that he was interested in that off road route to get to Walden without going into Concord on 2A and having to cross Route 2.  There was a gap in my knowledge between Sandy Pond Road and Route 126 so I decided to complete the exploration and see if the trails were passable on a road bike (or the CX tandem that he and his wife ride).

I had a somewhat early start, about 5:30 or so and started out under moon (and planet) light with lights and reflectors.  I took the most direct way to Bedford Road except for avoiding most of Route 2A between 128 and Hanscom.  It was light, although the sun wasn't quite up, when I made it to the Oxtail Trail.  The sun came up some time when I was riding around Flint Pond.

Morning sun.
 Once past Flint Pond and onto the unexplored section of the trails, I found rougher terrain, both hillier, steeper, and rockier.  I really enjoyed the Bedford to Sandy Pond section, which was largely gravel with a stretch of relatively open rock gardens, always with an easy line to follow.  This section was harder and I found myself stopping and walking in several places, both for ascents and descents (but level ground was almost always passable on my 700x25mm Clement Strada LGG tires.  There were also a lot more houses not far off of the trail.  It's be a fine place to walk, or take your CX bike but I won't be taking this trail in the future, at least on my road bike.  It's east enough to bypass using Sandy Pond Road to Baker Bridge Road.  I'll be curious to hear if my colleague tries this section of trail.

Coffeeneuring - yes, I did make a stop in Concord, at Main Street Market and Cafe.  I used to stop here somewhat frequently, if you can call several times a year frequent.  But with kids at home, most of my rides include very little no non-riding time, except in coffeeneuring season, so it's been a while since I was here.  The shop is more of sit down restaurant with pastries and OK coffee, including espresso drinks.  I had a latte and a coffee cake and enjoyed both.  It wasn't all that cold out today (relative to recent weekend bike rides) but I did appreciate sitting down inside and enjoying my coffee.

Heading home, I took 62 to Bedford, thinking I would take the Minuteman Path back into Lexington.  But I have new shoes - real biking shoes for the first time.  After my coffee stop, I was eager to see if the shoes helped me go faster, and they did.  So I took a more convoluted route that let me sprint here and there.  And it was fun.  In retrospect, I wish I had tried real shoes a long time ago.  That said, these shoes are pretty stiff and awkward to walk in.  I may yet buy replacement commuting shoes since these new shoes are way overkill for that purpose but I'll enjoy these super stiff soled shoes on any other kind of riding.

My ride for the day.  Yes, there is a trail on the other side of the tree.  With most of the leaves off the trees, the forest floor is covered completely.  This could have been the perfect coffee shop without walls, if I had a thermos of coffee.

The route.  Miles for the ride: 30, miles for the month: 100, miles for the year: over 3,600.

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