September 2017 - BICYCLING
Fall Payoff Rides
Fitness, Foliage and Fabulous Events
By Dave Kraus
Ah, fall! The weather cools, you’re in shape from an entire summer of cycling, and the expanding palette of fall color turns every ride into a new explosion of stunning scenery.
Fortunately the Capital Region and North Country offer a host of organized fall riding events, starting with the weekend of September 15-17, when there are no less than four different events with a selection of routes and terrain to suit every cyclist.
But first you may need some inspiration to ride, or just want to learn the latest about the growing bike movement across New York State. For that, you can attend the New York State Bike Summit kicking off the weekend on Friday, September 15 at the Hearst Media Center in the Times Union Building in Colonie. Adirondack Sports is helping sponsor this event, presented by the New York State Bicycling Coalition, to bring together many organizations and constituencies leading the growing bike movement across New York State with the goal of making New York the most bicycle friendly state in the country.
The daylong schedule of workshops and social opportunities will cover the entire cycling spectrum, from funding and improving cycling infrastructure to cycling safety, rider education, bike-based tourism, bike share programs and much more. Speakers will include representatives from government, the cycling industry, and advocacy organizations that are working to expand cycling opportunities across New York State – and all are welcome to attend. For full information, go to newyorkbicyclingcoalition2017.sched.com.
Moving to the riding events, the Adirondack 540, starting on Friday, Sept. 15, is arguably one of the most challenging cycling events in the country. The race headquarters is the Alpine Country Inn & Suites in Wilmington. The route winds around a 136-mile loop that travels through the High Peaks, eastern Adirondacks, and along Lake Champlain.
Route options range from the one-lap 136-mile “Bronze Blast,” two-lap 272-mile “Silver Sojourn,” three-lap 408-mile “Golden Gallop,” to the mind boggling 540-mile four lap marathon that is the centerpiece of the Adirondack Ultra Cup series. The ride is open to individuals and teams. If you have what it takes to conquer this ultra cycling challenge, get learn more at adkultracycling.com.
On Saturday, September 16, the annual Bike MS: Hudson River Ramble, will start at Thacher State Park, near Albany, with available distances of 10, 30, 62 and 100 miles. The two shorter rides stay up on the Helderberg plateau, but the routes of 62 and 100 miles descend and then climb back up to the park, offering a bigger challenge for cyclists.
The fully-supported event is a fundraiser to support Multiple Sclerosis research and services for victims of this debilitating disease. For details, go to bikems.org and search for Hudson River Ramble.
Meanwhile, Sunday, September 17 will be the tenth anniversary of the 1-Eye Classic Rides and Picnic. This relaxed pace, wonderful event starts at the town beach/park in Schroon Lake, commemorating local stonemason Lance Gregson, who lost an eye in a chainsaw accident, but didn’t let that stop him from cycling all over the area. The event offers routes from the “Cyclist’s Dream” of 45-56 miles; “Lance’s Loop” of 26 miles around Schroon Lake; “Scenic Route” of 10-15 miles; and the “Easy Does It” ride of 3-8 miles.
The “registration fee” is simply a contribution to the post-ride potluck picnic. In fact, you don’t even have to ride. Just bring some food and enjoy the picnic! For updates, go to schroonlakecycling.com or facebook.com/schroonlakecycling.
On Thursday-Sunday, September 14-17, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation sponsors the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes that is based at the Saratoga Springs City Center and offers multiple distance options on a mostly flat to rolling routes from 25, 60 and 100 miles.
Type 1 “Juvenile” Diabetes was once thought to be only a childhood disease, hence the name. But now it’s known that the disease can strike victims of any age, and this ride raises funds to specifically target research to cure the disease. The event offers full on the road support for riders and a variety of activities through the entire weekend. For more information, go to jdrf.org.
On Saturday, September 23, the fourth annual Harry Elkes Ride will start at The Hub in Brant Lake and wind through the beautiful North Warren County area scenery just as the foliage is beginning to turn. The ride offers options of 15, 32 and 50 miles, with lunch and drinks available at nominal cost at The Hub after the ride.
This event, presented by the Warren County Safe and Quality Bicycling Organi-zation, is named for nationally known bike racer Harry Elkes, who lived in Glens Falls and is buried there. In a cycling career that last from 1897 until his death in a racing crash in 1903, Harry set a variety of cycling records, including many motor-paced track events that were popular in that era. For details, go to bikewarrenco.org or bikereg.com.
The next day, Sunday, September 24, Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Mass, will host the first Farm to Fork Fondo: Berkshires, that offers routes of 10, 31, 59 and 98 miles through the scenic countryside of eastern New York and Western Massachusetts. This series of Farm to Fork Fondo events, originated by former cycling pro Tyler Wren, combines breathtaking scenery in a variety of northeast locations with supporting the farm to table movement that involves farms and other producers in the local area of each ride.
The ride format also means each rest stop offers a different selection of local culinary expertise, which make for an exciting cycling experience that includes more than the ride itself. There’s also a post-ride barbecue and on the road mechanical and sag support. For more info, check out farmtoforkfondo.com.
Also on Sunday, September 24, the seventh annual Columbia County Rotary Ride, which has moved to the Niverville Fire Department in Niverville. The fully-supported event has a 10-mile fun ride for everyone, 38-mile road ride around the historic Kinderhook area, and 54-mile gravel grinder ride (road bikes fine) on dirt/paved roads in scenic Columbia County.
The Kinderhook Tri-Village Rotary Club and Steiner’s Ski & Bike, invite you and your family to join them in a fun event that raises funds to benefit the CYCLE Kids program at Ichabod Crane Elementary School. CYCLE Kids promotes healthy lifestyle choices by introducing them to the joys of cycling, and educating them on safety and nutrition – empowering them with active lifelong habits. For details, go to bikereg.com.
Finally, there’s the Drops to Hops Race on Saturday, September 30, organized by the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown and starting at Brewery Ommegang, five miles south of town. This race/ride through the beautiful rolling scenery around Cooperstown, offers a 43-mile “A” ride for experienced men and women, and the 23-mile “B” ride Citizen’s Fun ride.
If you’ve never raced before, but think you might be interested, choose the “B” ride. If you decide racing is not quite your cup of tea, remember that it’s just a ride so enjoy it! Brewery Ommegang will host a party at the finish line for cyclists and their families. Learn more at clarksportscenter.com or itsyourrace.com.
Dave Kraus (email@example.com) of Schenectady is a longtime cyclist, photo-grapher, and writer, who has no desire whatsoever to ride 540 miles – but wishes good luck to those who do! Visit his website at KrausGrafik.com.