August 2017 - BICYCLING & MOUNTAIN BIKING
The Cycling Season Payoff!
By Dave Kraus
If you are an avid cyclist, you know that August into September is the payoff for your cycling season. After three or more months of riding, your legs are strong, your cardio fitness is peaking, and the late summer weather makes it tempting to head out for a major ride every weekend. Fortunately, the Catskills and Capital Region northward have a full schedule of cycling events to let you set up a ride schedule to envy.
First on the list… On Sunday, August 6, is the 15th annual Christine Nicole Perry Memorial Bike Ride, starting at The Hub in Brant Lake. The event raises funds for a variety of North Country charities and celebrates the lives of Christine Perry, who was killed at age 18 in an automobile crash in 2003, and her father, Mark, who died unexpectedly in 2014. The scenic rides offers two different routes of approximately 15 and 40 miles, and registration includes lunch at The Hub after the ride and other extras. Preregistration is appreciated at bikereg.com.
Sunday, August 20, offers two distinctly different events for area cyclists. The first is the second annual Rensselaerville Ride: From Hill to Hollow, at the Carey Institute for Global Good in Rensselaerville. With four different, fully supported routes through the hills and hollows of the Helderbergs in Albany County, this event has something for everybody! Rides include the Rensselaerville (10 miles), Berne (24 miles), Westerlo (44 miles), and Potter Hollow (64 miles) challenge that dips into northern Greene County. Registration includes a T-shirt, and family-friendly post-ride festival with live music from the Lustre Kings, BBQ lunch from Carriage House Restaurant, craft beer and cider from Helderberg Brewery, and swimming in Lake Myosotis. Check-out bikereg.com for more information and registration.
Farther north also on August 20, the Lake George Bike/Boat Ride starts in the morning from Lake George Steamboat. Carry a change of clothes or stash a bag on the Mohican tour boat, then pedal north 40 miles to the dock in Ticonderoga, where the Mohican will pick you and your bike up, and take you on the 2.5-hour cruise back south. A later 1pm boat departure gives you more time to enjoy the bike ride north! With a snack bar, beer and wine, and the incomparable scenery of Lake George, it’s a great workout (especially Tongue Mountain), then unwind on the Queen of American Lakes. To celebrate Lake George Steamboat’s 200th anniversary, ask about special discount pricing. Visit lakegeorgesteamboat.com for details and to buy tickets.
Give yourself a week to recover, then head north to Saranac Lake where the 17th annual Pat Stratton Memorial Century Ride will treat you to more beautiful Adirondack scenery on Saturday, August 26. The event winds through the region on wide-shouldered highways and quiet back roads, sticking to valleys and easier grades to give the mountain views without the mountain climbs. Proceeds from this event benefit the Saranac Lake Kiwanis, and the fully supported routes of 25, 50 and 100 miles take you past a host of Adirondack villages and lakes including Gabriels, Paul Smiths, Mecham Lake, St. Regis Falls and Lake Clear. Registration is free for active duty military and law enforcement members. All rides start and end at Mt. Pisgah Ski Lodge in Saranac Lake, where riders will enjoy BBQ, music, sports shirt, prizes and homemade pies after the finish. To register, go to active.com.
On Sunday, September 3, the Catskill Mountain Cycling Challenge heads out of the Catskill Recreation Center in Arkville, with routes that will show you the scenic beauty of the western Catskills. The Cycling Challenge brings you six road routes – five of them new – from 29 to 99 miles, plus a challenging 53-mile gravel grinder (5,986-foot gain) to test your fitness. The road rides offer varying degrees of difficulty so you will have a suitable route available no matter what your fitness level. Entry fees will help increase affordable recreational programming for all ages at the Catskill Recreation Center, a non-profit “go-to place” for fitness. You will find rest stops along the routes, commemorative T-shirt, free lunch and use of all CRC facilities on your return to Arkville. Learn more and register at bikereg.com.
The weekend after Labor Day is always chock full of great cycling events from which to choose, and this year is no different. On Saturday, September 9, the Camp Challenge Bike Ride (and 5K Trail Run/Walk) returns to the Double H Ranch in Lake Luzerne. You can ride through the southern Adirondack woods on the 30-mile road ride route, or choose the 5K trail run/walk, and 100% of your proceeds will go toward sending a child living with a serious illness to the Double H Ranch, free of charge. After you finish the ride or run, don’t forget to stay for the food and live entertainment. For more information, registration, and to set up your personal fundraising page, go to doublehranch.org.
On September 9-10, the 47th annual MHCC Saratoga Century Weekend, with new routes of 25, 50, 62 and 100 miles, starts and finishes at Saratoga Spa State Park in Saratoga Springs. This is the Mohawk Hudson Cycling Club’s largest event and all are welcome as it attracts hundreds of riders from across the region every year. It’s a great chance to meet new friends and get to know the quiet backroads of Saratoga County on fully supported rides that follow well-researched routes. One registration fee lets you ride both days, so if you’ve ever wanted to ride two fully supported centuries in one weekend, this is your chance… The century rides start at 8am, and an included catered lunch and craft beer awaits finishing riders! Get more info and register at bikereg.com.
Also on Sunday, September 10, the Tour de Daggett Lake will again be hosted by Daggett Lake Campsites near Warrensburg, with scenic rides of 20 and 65 miles through the southern Adirondack countryside west of Lake George. The 20-mile ride is supported by a rest stop, and 65-mile riders stop at the Adirondack General Store in the hamlet of Adirondack, on the eastern shore of Schroon Lake. Proceeds from the ride support Rosie’s Love, a local charity for children with cancer. Riders get a T-shirt and you can find details at daggettlake.net.
The fourth big cycling event of the weekend is the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Cycle for Life at Saratoga Polo in Saratoga Springs on Sunday, September 10. Cycle for Life offers routes of 17, 32 or 62 miles at your own pace. There’s also breakfast before the ride, a post-ride party, and plenty of sag and mechanical support along the roads. For particulars and to register, visit fightcf.cff.org.
No matter which weekend you want to get out and enjoy riding as summer heads toward fall in upstate New York, there are many excellent organized events. Don’t worry, the cycling season’s not over – we’ll be previewing more fantastic rides in the September issue!
Dave Kraus (firstname.lastname@example.org) of Schenectady is a longtime area cyclist, photographer, writer, and a veteran of many bike/boat rides and century weekends. Visit his website at krausgrafik.com.