The Farmer's Daughter Gravel Grinder

Chatham, NY May 21, 2017



The 2017 Course

You can now access the final course and cue sheet for the 2017 Farmer’s Daughter ride here. There is a map and annotated cue sheet. For those of you who want to download the file to your GPS devices, click on the “Export” tab in the upper right hand corner of the page, where you’ll find links and directions for downloading .tcx files and .gpx files, along with directions for a number of devices. Note that the off-road parts of the course are approximations, so be sure and follow the arrows in the off-road sections and not your GPS device. Similarly, the cue sheet does not provide directions in the off-road sections, just follow the arrows. For similar reasons, the stated distances on the cue sheets are likely to be slightly inexact. The feedback we received in past years was that the course was very well marked, and that most didn’t need to refer to the cue sheets; that’s our objective again this year, but bring it along in some form so that you can refer to it if you need to do so.

In addition to the official course, there are two “go directly to the finish” routes available for download, the first from the aid station at mile ~27, and the second from the aid station at mile ~46. There will also be paper copies of the cue sheets available at those two aid stations. We hope that every participant plans to ride the entire course, but it is a challenging ride, and it may not be your day on Sunday. These two opt-out routes will get you back to the finish on well-traveled paved roads as easily as we can. They are not supported parts of the course, though. There are no signs, and no roving support, you’ll have to rely on the cue sheets (which are very simple). If you do get into a fix, you can still call Andy or me, and we’ll do our best to help you.

For those of you who have ridden in previous years, there are a few significant changes in the course: as we’ve mentioned above, the event venue is different. From the start at Crellin Park in Chatham, you’ll take a right turn onto Rte. 66. In about 1/2 mile you’ll take a sharp left turn that climbs immediately, you might want to be ready for that! You’ll ride up a hill that curves to the left and takes you to a short trail access to an old rail trail, which you’ll probably be on for 15-25 minutes. After leaving the rail trail, you’ll ride a short bit and come to the singletrack section that used to be shortly after the Ooms Preserve loop. From there, everything you’ll ride is the same as the old courses, with two exceptions: first, the Ooms Preserve loop is now almost at the end of the course (it has been the very first off-road section on the course). Second is that the very end of the ride is different in that it takes you to the new venue. We think you’ll find these changes create an experience that flows even better than the original and gets you onto the surfaces you’re there for much more quickly!

You’re free to ride on any of the roads at any time, but most of the off-road sections are not open to public use except on the day of the event, so do not ride on these. They’re on private property or property that’s not typically open for cycling, and riding on them may risk our being barred from using them. Landowners have been generous in opening them up at all. I plan to put together directions for a modified course that will give you almost the full loop but without the off-road sections that you should avoid (ping me with a comment here if I haven’t gotten to this yet when you want to ride).

If you’re pre-riding the course, be prepared for whatever conditions the dirt roads may be in (they appear to be well-maintained, but dirt roads in springtime can be unpredictable, sometimes dry and dusty, sometimes soggy or even muddy in spots). We were able to ride most of the course by April last year with only a couple of dirt road sections that were in rough shape. We’ll also be scouting out the course at about the same time this year, and will post condition reports.

This is a challenging course, though not designed to be excessively so. Andy’s and my intention in designing it last year was to provide an experience where even highly experienced cyclist would finish thinking “that was really hard, and it was a lot of fun,” and the rest of us would go slower, spend more time at the aid stations, get off and walk once in a while when something looked a bit too daunting, and still finish with the same thought: truly an epic ride that left us tired, tested, yet with a smile on our faces.

Some of you will want to ride hard through the entire course to see how fast you can do it, and that’s definitely a fun way to do it (please remember to respect the traffic laws, though).  Go a bit slower and you’ll find that there’s hardly a spot on the course that isn’t beautiful, and you’ll have time to get to know some of the folks around you. Also, if you’re not an experienced racer, you’ll be much more likely to make it through the entire course if you take it at a moderate pace; parts of it are tough! The entire course consists of rolling hills, none terribly long, but rollers can wear you down: you spend a lot more time working your way up than you do recovering on the way down.

You can expect to be doing a lot of climbing, and spending most of your time off the pavement on either dirt roads or off-road single or double track trails. All roads will be open to motor traffic.



  1. Michael Reade February 28, 2016 - 1:25 pm Reply

    Why not post a map? I’m sure people would like to do this or parts of this throughout the year. There’s a new app I’ve been trying out that is a co-venture between the coop REI and the International Mountain Biking Association. Here’s our local trail which I just posted. It’s not official yet, as they have a vetting process. The 3-D function is surprisingly good, especially if you have photos you can post along the way.

    • Jon Stillman February 29, 2016 - 9:52 am Reply

      Hi Michael, There is a map linked in the first paragraph of the Course Page that you posted your comment on, together with a detailed description of some constraints on use of the course, which I hope everyone adheres to in the spirit of keeping our event in the good graces of the local people who have generously allowed us to used their land for that day. I see that you haven’t registered for our event; I hope that you do join us this year, it’s a great ride and after-ride experience. Jon

  2. Rod April 20, 2016 - 9:13 pm Reply

    Will your eventual full course route posting show the opt-out paths/routes?

    • Jon Stillman April 22, 2016 - 10:45 am Reply

      With one very small exception, the full course will be the same as last year, which we’ve posted. The off-road sections are approximate, but very close, and very well marked. As for the opt-out routes, if you need to cut your ride short we’ll have routes available for you at the two main aid stations, just ask there. They are not incorporated into the full course, and not “official”. There’s one course, which we encourage everyone to shoot to complete. Having said that, we realize that sometimes it’s just not happening for you, so we will provide cue sheets at those two places for paved road routes back to the fairgrounds. There will also be support vehicles out on the course that can help you get back.

  3. Spencer April 24, 2016 - 8:28 pm Reply

    Hi Jon,
    I think you mentioned that you might “move” the first off road section that goes around the pond to the end of the ride to avoid the back up at the beginning.
    So, we should adjust the mile posts on the route sheet to accomidate for the change?

    • Jon Stillman May 1, 2016 - 3:56 pm Reply

      Hi Spencer, I do plan to adopt the course and provide a slightly modified course, not quite as you described. The Ooms section remains the first off-road section, but we’re changing the first piece of that loop to be the last. Basically, there’s a second entrance to the Ooms Preserve, about 1/8 mile further down the road from the one we used last year, that bypasses the little bridge-and-skinny section that became a bottleneck for some last year and puts you into Ooms where you went into the fields from which you’ll do the same loop, just with that little bridge-and-skinny section at the end of the Ooms loop, after the group has been broken up a bit by the rest of the loop.

      We won’t release an official version of the 2016 course until a couple of days before the event. We’ll give you time to download it, but when you’re working with as much dirt road and off-road as we do for FArmer’s Daughter, there are sometimes last minute issues with roads getting washed out or excessively muddy trails needing to be routed around, etc., and we’ll want to have time to make any necessary changes. However, our plan is just the one modification I described above, so downloading the 2015 course should be very close to what you’ll ride.

  4. Will April 28, 2016 - 8:04 pm Reply

    Are you posting a link to the downloadable course for this year, or should we just use last year’s and download from that?

    • Jon Stillman May 1, 2016 - 3:57 pm Reply

      Hi Will,

      I think my response to Spencer immediately above should answer your question, too.

  5. James Coggeshall May 2, 2016 - 3:22 pm Reply

    Is there a chance to camp the night before at the fair grounds?

    • Jon Stillman May 2, 2016 - 7:07 pm Reply

      I don’t think so, James. I will double-check, but that site gets used a lot, and is probably not available the night before. There are some KOA campgrounds pretty close, though. I haven’t been there in a long time, but Lake Taghkanic state park used to have camping, and I think it still does. It’s probably 30-40 minutes away from the fairgrounds, and a beautiful spot. That might be an option for you.

  6. tim February 6, 2017 - 11:02 am Reply

    recommended gearing for an SS cross setup? 🙂

    • Jon Stillman February 6, 2017 - 10:18 pm Reply

      Hi Tim,
      I’m not going to venture an opinion on this other than I’d try it first with a multi-geared bike. The course has a bit of almost everything: lots of rollers, a few longer and steep climbs, doubletrack, singletrack,a couple of very steep short hills, over 6100 feet of climb in 67 mostly unpaved surfaces. you should be able to download last year’s course to get a sense of the terrain profile. If you’ve done something similar with a singlespeed, use the same if it worked for you. Or you might want to look to something like the Leadville 100 MTB race. Their hills are longer and just as steep, but they also have some pavement, some flats, etc. People who race that with single-speed 29ers typically use a 32 up front and something between 18 and 20 in back. If you’re committed to riding FDGG with a singlespeed, something along those lines might be the right configuration.

  7. Jason Kahn May 20, 2017 - 9:35 pm Reply

    You realize that the latest map is completely different that the one you had up a few days ago. This is the old 2015 course. Is this a real change or a boo-boo on someones part?

    • Jon Stillman May 21, 2017 - 9:32 pm Reply

      Sorry,I forgot to update this page in the last couple of days. The correct course was published and is on the first page of the site, and was also in the official 2017 ride guide. I’m sorry if that caused you any confusion. Thanks for pointing out the omission.

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