Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bloomin' Metric - Ride Report (with video)

A damp beginning out of Norwalk
A few weeks ago, one of my friends (let's call him Teacher) suggested that we try riding the Bloomin' Metric. It was a ride that he had heard about for years and had always been interested in trying. Apparently many people had recommended the ride for its organization and beautiful route. Three of us (Teacher, Driver, and myself) did the ride this past Sunday and it was a really great experience.

(Just as an explanation for the names, Teacher is for the guy who taught me and my friends many of the rules and etiquette of cycling and Driver is for a friend who literally drives hours and hours to get to rides. He's driven as much as 10 hours in a single day to ride his bike.)

The weather here in the NYC metro area has been really crappy the last few weeks. Rain has been in the daily forecast on virtually every single day. But by some lucky happenstance, the forecast for Sunday's ride predicted a clear day with no precipitation.

Of course, that was wrong.

When we arrived at the start area at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk, it had started to sprinkle and by the time we started to ride, it had turned into a light but not insignificant shower. And it was cold... probably aroun 55 degrees. Which would've been fine except for the fact that I was in bib shorts and short sleeves and forgot to bring my arm warmers (or any rain gear at all). Not exactly the best start to the day.
But after about 15 miles or so, the showers started to sputter and soon went away. The tarmac was still damp but was starting to dry a little bit and all of us got to enjoy the ride quite a bit more.
The Driver (in his new Rapha jersey) circling the Saugatuck Reservoir
The route itself is a beautiful, winding route through the Connecticut countryside. Perhaps the precipitation emphasized the green colors in the forests but it felt like we were wandering through some Technicolor movie set. The most notable thing about this route was that there were very few turns over the course of the 65 miles. We got onto a road and would ride on it for miles on end... enjoying the meandering path through the trees as well as some really pretty descents that would dip and swerve through the countryside. When we hit the Saugatuck Reservoir, most of us were just astounded by how pretty it was.

There were hundreds of other riders out on the road... enough to feel like we were part of a large group ride but not so many that the roads felt crowded. (Though there was this one stretch where a huge contingent from the Danbury Audi Cycling Team came through being motorpaced by their team car. Me, being the child of my group decided to chase after them. See video below.)
Racing through green forests
The organization of the ride was fantastic! Check in was quick and they even had people available to help pin the ride numbers on our backs! The route itself was very well marked and many of the signs gave useful pointers such as "Watch for gravel on turn" or "Intersection coming up". All the rest areas were well-stocked, both with food and drink as well as with restrooms (er... stalls). And a nice lunch was provided for everybody at the end of the ride. Really, a great experience overall and one that I will definitely sign up for next year. 100% recommended.

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