Last Thursday my sales appointments led me by Singletrack.com’s “Second Best Mountain Bike Trails in CT,” at Cowles Park in East Granby, CT. How could one not pack up their bike and see for themselves? I have ridden there before, but not since it’s been so famous, so I decided to check it out again. Conveniently I recently moved closer to this area, which inconveniently also means I moved a lot further away from the “Best Mountain Bike Trails in CT.” It seems I’ll have to make myself more familiar with Cowles.
After a recent storm blasted through the area, Cowles was one of the first in the area to be declared “cleared”. Facebook certainly has it’s own mix of yin and yang, but the buzz that quickly sputtered and spread over its groups and comments detailing where trails needed be cleared and which downed trees were going to require heavier equipment than hand held saws was awesome. I decided to give the GPS another try for this ride, giving me the ability to take my time and prioritize exploring vs trail clearing at my own speed.
The newly recoined “Mullet Mobile” and I headed out for some pre pedaling peddling. I don’t think Garmin or Strava could help me with my parking, but then again they probably couldn’t hurt it much either.
Aside from all the glamour and suspense associated with Medical Sales, there is some downtime once in a while where I can stop and get some strategy work done between sales calls. Or, maybe make a quick note for my blog.
As you can kind of make out from the picture above, my computer bag is falling apart. I’ll have to start looking for a new one. I bought a couple purse hangers from Amazon recently, and they make a pretty handy storage hook for it. It keeps the bag secure during my high G turns and makes more space for other gear and work supplies.
With no noon business appoinments , my cooler helped me enjoy a nice lunch in the MM and stay on track for my “30 days of challenge.” Remember to read that with a Russian accent. Packing my own lunch not only saves money, but it saves me from making bad decisions on what I eat when I’m out and about and looking for something to eat on a demanding and mean tempered empty stomach.
I brought my GPS unit, loaded with the a track I saved from a NEMBA Group Ride I had joined earlier in the summer. As you can see in the picture below, the Compass needle points in the direction you need to follow to stay on the track, which in this case was the route I had saved from that previous ride.
The image below is an overlay I made in Google Earth using the CT Walk Book’s Map and the track I saved from my NEMBA ride this summer. You can see the start labelled “NEMBA”. The light blue line is the track. You can see the beginning and end of the loop intermingle at a couple spots. This confused my GPS a bit at first and I ended up riding a very short loop out and back to the parking lot.
With a little more thinking and less blind following, I figured out how to get back on the loop and went on my merry way in a counter clockwise direction around the light blue noodle above. Upon further inspection, I noticed the Walk book has a vista marked off along the Metcaomet. I think next time I’m out there, I’ll see if I can find it. I marked it with the yellow “thumb tack” in Google Earth, which I can save as a waypoint to my GPS to help navigate to it later.
The track I followed wound uphill and led up to power lines. After some more twisty singletrack, The trail started to head down into Smaug’s Lair.
At the time I took this ride, Daylight Savings hadn’t yet ended, but it was still getting dark early. You can see I have my light attached to my handlebar just in case. Any post work rides will be in darkness for the next few months.
“Smaugs” and “Taj Mahal” were the only trail signs I saw. I’m not sure if there are others. The descent takes you all the way down to the Farmington River.
Cowles is certainly a popular destination. These trails are all well maintained and I only moved maybe one branch or so during my ride. I’d like to link up Cowles and Mary Wilcox Park/Penwood to the south to make a long epic ride along the Metacomet ridgeline. From my new place, I could realistically do the whole thing from my door. According to the walk book, parts of the Metacomet trail itself seem to allow biking, if they are on town or state land and marked that way. The trail is off limits to bikes on any private land, so I would have to take special care to make sure I wasn’t breaking the rules if and be mindful of indicative blue blazes.
I didn’t have my GoPro with me on this ride. I finally got a new case for it, and will hopefully be getting some Feeney Hollow video production rolling soon. The following links are to my ride at Cowles this summer with NEMBA and a video by Jordan Byron, CT’s own local Youtube producer. If you haven’t seen his channel, you should take a look, give a thumbs up on his vid, and subscribe
Thanks for reading my post. I’m hoping that writing this blog will help me stay active and healthy in mind, body, and spirit during the next few months of short days and dreary weather. These months are always a real challenge for me and I’m sure a lot of others. Leave a comment below if you have any suggestions or tips for weathering the change of seasons or if you have any questions for me.