Last year I considered the Truxton-DeRuyter ride, but thought I would make it into a mini-tour by winding up through the state forests, camping overnight near Truxton, and riding the loop and back home the next day. When my front rack broke off in Shindagin, and rain started to fall, I turned around and bailed on that plan. I was glad to have another opportunity to make it to this route again.
Apparently with the full sun shining, and expected temperatures in the mid eighties, a few other groups formed that wanted a shorter or closer to home route instead. There was no chatter on the list though, so the actual advertised ride only had 3 takers, with no one starting in Truxton. Oops.
Being as warm as it was, I was sure to take enough stops to refill liquids. I actually kept up with drinking enough for once, which kept the riding in the hills possible. Shortly after Deruyter was the only major climb, the worst of which was about 400ft up in 1.7 miles, which is roughly the same as my typical commute home. I stopped at the top in the shade to wait for the others. On the way down the hill, I had a hornet fly into my unzipped jersey, which stung me three times before I was able to stop and get it out of there. I can’t remember being stung in a long time, but at least I had no reaction to it afterwards.
I was still sore from running the day before, so I decided to cut the route short. When it turns to go back up Taylor Valley to Truxton, I continued to Cincinnatus. Then I realized that was a poor decision, since the best route out of there was through some killer hills. I wished that I stayed with the group a bit longer until County Rt 159 to cut off the hills, but this instead turned into a great adventure.
Knickerbocker Road was a fun hill to climb passing by a golf course. I flew down the backside into East Freetown, never seeing anything that looked like a town. Freetown Cross Road leading to Freetown was rough pavement, but with no traffic it was easy to avoid the worst spots. The climbs continued out of Freetown as I approached Hoxie Gorge State Forest. Up and up I went as I was sipping on the water bottles hoping they would last. Then of course after a rather steep climb and coming partway down the back, there is a “Road Closed” sign. The options were to test my luck and ride on the newly graveled road hoping to be able to cross, or turn right to go more north, still through a state forest, and hope it comes out somewhere.
I took the gravel. It was rough on my 28/23mm tires, but I stayed near the tire tracks. Then the road splits, where the construction and closed road heads south away from my route, but ahead of me was smaller gravel and a big hill as far as I could see. I could see horse hoof marks and buggy wheel tracks leading up the hill, so how bad could it be? I struggled for traction on the smooth rear 23, but made it up into the forest. I would love to come back on the cross bike, as the decent was 2 miles long for a 500ft drop on a good dirt road. I took it carefully, but found it hard to either stay seated through the bumps or put all my weight on the pedals while standing.
That section ends with a sketchy path under the interstate, and comes out on state route 11. As soon as I pulled out, I see a cop car with lights on, and wondered what I had done. But they didn’t pull over, and instead a line of classic cars passed me. There must have been some car show they were off to. I was only on that road for a few miles, so on the slight downhill before my turn I sprinted to merge into the slow traffic and made my left turn without issue.
From there, it was back to the aerobars on 392 and 13 back home. I was trying to make up some time, but tired after the hills. I had a few quick stops near Greek Peak to get water from a spigot and stop in the shade. I made it back home after 112 miles in 8.5 hours after starting. It was a fun route, and I’m glad to have explored farther into the northeast than I had gone before.
Strava data: http://app.strava.com/rides/8967254