March 2017 - BICYCLING
Start Early with Great Rides
By Dave Kraus
It seems that every year spring brings more different organized cycling events for riders who want to get an early start on building their fitness for the season ahead. This year is no different, as rides are popping up on the calendar like sprouting tulips in the local park.
The largest event will be on Sunday, June 4, when the annual American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure rolls out at a new venue in Saratoga Springs. This season the event is moving to the Saratoga Spa State Park’s Polaris Pavilion, near the Peerless Pool. The new location will offer several advantages for the growing event, said ADA Albany chapter director Nicole DeCelle.
“We wanted to create a sense of celebration, success, and excitement around the start and finish line that lends itself to a more festival like atmosphere,” Nicole said. “More importantly, we want to celebrate our riders and Red Riders (bikers with type 1 or 2 diabetes) as they cross the finish line and this change will help us do that.”
The Saratoga ride offers distances of 10, 28, 50, 62.5, and 100 miles, and has grown into one of the largest Tour de Cure events in the country, said tour director Laura Greenaway. She added that once again this year, lunch for riders after they cross the finish line will be provided by Mazzone Hospitality – this year in a picnic area near the finish line, with a pavilion roof and tents available in case of rain. New Country Lexus of Latham is a new sponsor, and will provide vehicles and equipment.
This event is always highly organized with multiple rest stops, on the road sag and mechanical support, and scenic well-planned routes. Highlights for 2017 include a new 100-mile route, outdoor festival lunch tent and food, Body & Soul live, even more streamlined check-in, and WaterMonster hydration stations at rest stops. For details and registration, visit diabetes.org/Saratoga. For more information, contact Laura at (518) 218-1755 x3606 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first big ride of the spring season will be Sean’s Ride, based out of the Chatham Fairgrounds, on Saturday, April 29. It is part of the Sean’s Run weekend of events dedicated to increasing awareness about the problems of underage drinking and impaired driving.
Other events will include a Zumbathon and several different running and non-sports events. Ride distances include a 10-mile casual, 20-mile fun ride, and 50-mile county tour. The first 250 registrants will receive a commemorative T-shirt, and the ride features staffed rest stops and a finish line party. For more information and registration, go to seansrun.com.
The weekend of May 20-21 is chock full of events for any level rider. The Tour of the Battenkill will once again start at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Greenwich, offering both competitive events on a 75-mile course, and the open Gran Fondo with 75- and 26-mile rides.
Over the years this race has grown into one of the largest in the country, with riders testing themselves against each other and the dirt roads and steep hills of Washington County. For details about the Battenkill, go to tourofthebattenkill.com.
Also on May 20, the second annual Fork to Fork “ride to eat, eat to ride” event will be based out of The Hub in Brant Lake. This 55-mile culinary bike tour of the scenic, tri-lakes communities in Northern Warren County will feature a variety of eateries, two ice cream stands, and a local brewery. This year there will also be an optional loop to North Creek that will add 20 miles to the ride and even more food stops.
According to Hub owner and ride event organizer Drew Cappabianca, the ride concludes back at The Hub, where brews from the local Paradox Brewery will be featured. The event is presented by The Hub, North Warren Chamber of Commerce, and the Tri- Lakes Business Alliance. For further information and registration, go to bikereg.com/f2f.
On Sunday, May 21, another relatively new event rolls out of Chatham, as the Farmer’s Daughter Gravel Grinder enters its third year. This 65-mile, mostly unpaved ride winds through the hills and hollows near Chatham and offers over 6,000 feet of climbing, plus the opportunity to ride some sections on private land that are open only for this event. It’s named after Chatham Brewing’s “Farmer’s Daughter” Rye IPA, which is brewed locally. This year the ride start/finish moves to Crellin Park, just north of the village, which will get riders out into the countryside even faster.
This year’s ride is once again capped at 400 riders, and riders who register before April 1 save $10 off the entry fee. The course will offer two fully stocked aid stations, and several water-only stops, and the event benefits the Columbia Land Conservancy. For complete ride details and a registration, visit farmersdaughtergravelgrinder.com.
Also on Sunday, May 21, is the 13th annual Team Billy Grey Ride & Walk for Research to raise funds for brain tumor research, honoring Billy Grey, who died at 12-years-old in 2001 from glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a highly aggressive form of brain tumor.
The event offers 10-, 25-, and 50-mile routes, including a loop through the Saratoga National Historical Park (aka Battlefield) for the 50-mile route, and a three-mile walk through the Saratoga Springs historic district. All the events begin at the city’s Farmer’s Market on High Rock Avenue, with the rides rolling out at 8:30am. Since it began, this annual local ride has raised over $2.3 million for brain tumor research. Get all the details at teambilly.org.
On Sunday, June 4, riders looking for a challenge can do the 17th annual Whiteface Uphill Bike Race, which climbs 11 miles and 3,500 feet up the Whiteface Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway. With an 8% average grade the race will challenge even the fittest cyclist!
There are race prizes, but the biggest reward of all may be the spectacular 360-degree view of the High Peaks, Lake Champlain and surrounding area from the summit. It’s part of the Adirondack Bike Race Weekend, also featuring the Wilmington Whiteface “Leadville Race Series” 100K/50K Mountain Bike Race & Qualifier on June 3, as well as a variety of family oriented events. Get full information atbikewilmingtonny.com.
Dave Kraus (email@example.com) of Schenectady is a longtime area cyclist, photographer and writer. Visit KrausGrafik.com.