A quick addendum to the ride guide based on our course setting today:
Dirt road conditions are very good overall, with good hard surfaces and no dust. Some medium-sized potholes filled with water, but those mostly easy to avoid. They are fast.
There are some wet sections on the trails:
The rail trail may have some puddles, especially toward the end. In addition, there is a muddy section close to the beginning that we have created a detour around. Most of the rail trail is in nice shape.
The Highland trail is particularly muddy just past the third stream crossing. It’s almost always muddy there, but particularly so this year; you’ll probably end up walking up the hill at least a bit here.
Hand Hollow also has its share of muddiness in the middle section. It’s usually wet there for this event, though not deep mud, and this year is no exception. There is one section that most should walk through. You’ll see a makeshift bridge with edges painted orange; while it’s probably rideable by some, we recommend walking for your safety.
We had to radically modify the last of the trail sections, Ooms, due to large areas of standing water in the fields. You’ll enter in the same place as usual, but ride on an interesting little section of bridges, singletrack, and skinnies that parallels the road, then exit from the normal place.
Wadsworth Hill Rd. (the first dirt road you encounter after exiting Hand Hollow) has a section marked “road closed”. We were able to drive it without problem, and it seems that it’s fine for cycling. They are improving the gravel road, and it seems that the signs are for when they are working on it. The one thing to keep an eye on is that very close to the end of the section there is some exposed underlay material. That may be slippery, so we suggest that you go carefully there.
Weather Conditions in Chatham: Temps in the 60s AM rising to high 70s PM, periods of sun and clouds throughout the day, a shower or thunderstorm in spots late in the afternoon.
See you all in the morning, Jon and Andy