April 2018 - BICYCLING
Spring Is Here – Finally! Rides to Get Your Legs Pumping
By Dave Kraus
If you’re a dedicated upstate cyclist, then seeing clean, dry pavement outside starts the cycling juices flowing into your legs as surely as the sap rises in area maple trees. And just as surely as the sap leads to sweet maple syrup, warm spring weather will lead to a full menu of spring rides to get those legs pumping.
Here’s a sampling of some of the events coming up that are sure to get your 2018 cycling season off to a sprinting start.
A triple option ride on Saturday, April 28 at the Sean’s Ride is available with rides of 50, 20 and 10 miles, which are part of the Sean’s Run Weekend events on April 28-29, based out of the Chatham Fairgrounds in Columbia County. The 10-mile route covers roads close in to the village of Chatham, while the longer rides venture farther out onto scenic country roads surrounding the village. The weekend raises funds in memory of local teen Sean French, who was killed in 2002 by a drunk driver. Sunday includes a 5K run, Meghan’s Mile, and Firefighter’s 5K Challenge. The Saturday rides feature on-road support, multiple rest stops, and post-ride refreshments. For more info, check out seansrun.com.
On Sunday, May 13, Janey’s Ride at Common Roots Brewing in Glens Falls is a road ride to benefit Breast Cancer Care & Research Fund at Glens Falls Hospital. The routes of 62, 30 and 15 miles through the farm fields and hills in the surrounding area. The Mother’s Day ride is named for Janey Fairchild, a local breast cancer survivor whose husband Steve manages Grey Ghost Bicycles. The Common Roots Brewing 1pm after-party will feature a food truck, beer, raffles, and a silent auction. To save 10% on registration, use code GGBADK10. For details, visit bikereg.com.
The third annual Pedal to Plate Culinary Bike Tour is on Saturday, May 19 at The Hub in Brant Lake. The 55-mile “ride to eat, eat to ride” bike tour is on mostly quiet, scenic roads with some hills, taking you to three beautiful lakes and five Adirondack communities. While there you sample eats at 13 restaurants, a brewery and two ice cream stands, before finishing at The Hub. For more info, see bikereg.com.
Team Billy Ride & Walk for Research is on Sunday, May 20, and it’s a memorial to Billy Grey, who died of a rare form of brain cancer in 2001. This ride with 50, 25 and 10 mile options travels through Saratoga County, and there’s a three-mile walk – both raise funds for brain tumor research through the National Brain Tumor Society. Rides roll out at 9am from the Saratoga Farmer’s Market on High Rock Avenue and head east into the countryside toward the Hudson River. The shorter rides are near Saratoga Lake, while the 50-mile route includes a circuit of the loop road in Saratoga National Historical Park. There’s also a post-ride gathering at the Henry Street Taproom for food and drinks, with a percentage of the proceeds donated to Team Billy. For more info, check out teambilly.org.
The Farmer’s Daughter Gravel Grinder on Sunday, May 20 is named after Chatham Brewing’s “Farmer’s Daughter” Rye IPA, brewed right in town. It’s a very challenging early season ride, winding for 65 miles through Columbia County on scenic dirt and paved roads and off-road trails, with 6,100 feet of climbing. Organizers provide maps and cue sheets, as well as two fully stocked rest stops along the course. When you finish at Crellin Park in Chatham, enjoy the after party with live music, a full dinner with vegetarian and vegan offerings, and pick up a free beer. Bring your early season fitness, along with your favorite off-road bike. For details, go to farmersdaughtergravelgrinder.com.
Want to ride 11 miles up the Whiteface Mountain Memorial Highway, with its 3,500 feet of vertical climbing? Of course you do! Then the Whiteface Uphill Bike Race & Ride on Friday, June 1 at 5:30pm is ideal for you. When you reach the Whiteface summit, you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular 360-degree view from New York’s fifth highest peak. The Uphill Bike Race is part of the Adirondack Bike Race Weekend, which includes the Wilmington-Whiteface 100K Mountain Bike Race on Saturday – the only northeast qualifier for the Leadville 100! For more info, click on bikewilmingtonny.com.
The Tour de Freedom Bike Ride in Queensbury on Sunday, June 3 is a fundraiser to support Freedom Machines, a non-profit that provides free bikes to people in recovery from drugs or alcohol. Riders can choose from 50, 17, and 7 mile options that include cruising the easy Warren County Bikeway from Glens Falls to Lake George, and then heading out into the surrounding scenic countryside for the longer ride options. For details, go to bikereg.com.
On Sunday, June 10, Tour de Cure is a fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association and one of the largest annual charity events of any kind in the Capital Region, with more than 1,500 cyclists riding the roads of Saratoga County to support diabetes research, programming and advocacy efforts. Riders can choose from 100, 62, 50, 30 and 10 mile routes with available maps, fully stocked rest stops and on road support, and an after party with Mazzone Catering lunch, beer garden and live music.
This year there’s a new venue at the Saratoga County Fairgrounds in Ballston Spa, and the new start location means new routes on the paved roads north and west of Ballston Spa and into the foothills of the Adirondacks. New this year is a 5K Run/Walk so your non-cycling friends can participate and join you at the party! Learn more at diabetes.org/capitalregion.
The Farm to Fork Fondo is “a farm fresh feast from the seat of your favorite bicycle” is a series of rides from Wrenegade Sports. The 2018 series schedule includes Shenandoah (Va.) on May 20, Hudson Valley on June 10, Pennsylvania Dutch on June 30, Champlain Islands (Vt.) on July 22, Finger Lakes on Aug. 11, Maine on Aug. 25, Berkshires on Sept. 30, and Garden State on Oct. 14.
On Sunday, June 10 the Hudson Valley ride from Warwick Valley Winery offers routes of 83, 50, 35 and 10 miles. The event promotes local farmers and food products, while giving riders challenging, rewarding rides through great scenery. Each route in the series includes some climbs that will challenge you, with aid stations where participants can sample chef-prepared items made from local ingredients, as well as on the road support, a post-ride party and prize raffles. For info, go to farmtoforkfondo.com.
Finally, from April through October, the Mohawk Hudson Cycling Club offers group rides suited to all types of riders and riding. MHCC is the largest cycling club between New York City and Canada with over 700 members. Their schedule of over 375 rides features start locations and scenic routes all over the Capital-Saratoga Region and beyond, with a distance and pace to fit every fitness level. According to club president, Andy Swartz, this year’s club goal is to expand the social dimension in the club’s events with more post-ride gatherings to allow members to get to know each other better. See membership and ride info at mohawkhudsoncyclingclub.org.
Dave Kraus (firstname.lastname@example.org) of Schenectady is a longtime area cyclist, photographer, and writer who is looking forward to another spectacular season of riding in the Capital Region, Adirondacks, Catskills and beyond. Visit his website at krausgrafik.com.