August 2018 - BICYCLING
Banner photo: Tomhannock Bicycles represents at 2015 Tour de Salem. Thomas McMorris
Late Summer Rides - MHCC Century Moves to Altamont
By Dave Kraus
Late summer rides are the best rides! You’re in shape, the weather is perfect, and there’s no shortage of cycling friends with similar peak fitness. But what if you want to meet someone new? Explore some new routes with a wingman in case you get lost?
That’s where organized late summer and early fall events come in! There’s no shortage of events happening upstate that will offer new routes, new people, and all the ingredients to make a satisfying day of riding.
The biggest event of the late season is undoubtedly the Mohawk Hudson Cycling Club’s annual Century Weekend on Saturday-Sunday, September 8-9. MHCC is the largest club in upstate New York, and already offers over 300 different organized rides each year. Next year they will be celebrating their 50th anniversary. After 17 years based out of Saratoga Spa State Park, this year the club’s signature event moves south to the Altamont Fairgrounds’ Old Dutch Barn, where riders will have new routes, abundant parking, overnight camping space if needed, and full on the road support including pavement markings, maps, cue sheets, and sag and mechanical support.
Minor repairs and bike adjustments will be available on Saturday and Sunday by the Capital Region’s new mobile bike shop van service, Velofix, and the club will also be collecting both bike and parts donations for the areas bike rescue charities.
The catered meals from Four Corners Luncheonette in Delmar will offer refueling with grilled chicken, hamburgers, veggie burgers, an omelet station and salads. Riders of legal age also receive a post-ride beer from local craft brewers, Brown’s Brewing Company.
According to Century Weekend co-chair Bill Little, the new routes from 25 to 100 miles offer a wide variety for hard charging enthusiasts, weekend warriors or newbies. There are also seven-mile and 12-mile routes designed, so you can make the day a family affair.
Bill says the change in location is in response to rider feedback. “We’ve been thinking about holding this event in this terrific area. There’s some great backroads with lakes, reservoirs, back county roads and farm roads. There’s very little traffic. It’s a great combination of views and rolling hills. We’re excited to showcase these roads to Capital Region cyclists.” For complete information and a link to registration to ride or volunteer, go to mohawkhudsoncyclingclub.org. The club is currently running an offer for early registrants to get a free T-shirt highlighting the event, and sign up before ride day to save $10 off the registration fee. Watch the club’s Facebook page for more event news and other special offers for early registration and, like all MHCC club rides, helmets are absolutely required for all riders.
Later, on Saturday, September 22, the Warren County Safe & Quality Bicycling Organization will be hosting their fifth annual Harry Elkes Ride, starting and ending at The Hub in Brant Lake. This relatively new event with 15, 32, and 50 miles rides is named for famous area racer Harry Elkes, who was from Glens Falls. The routes wind along the quiet, well-maintained roads in the countryside near The Hub and showcase the northern Warren County’s beautiful scenery.
After receiving a bicycle at age 15, young Harry quickly realized his gift for cycling and began a racing career that included many awards, including national and world records. He became one of the leading professional cyclists in the world during an era when bike racing was as big as professional baseball. Tragically, he was killed at age 25 in a racing collision in Boston. Elkes is buried in Glens Falls, where a granite monument calls out his accomplishments in cycling.
After this year’s ride, participants can enjoy post ride lunch and refreshments at The Hub for a nominal cost, and you can get more information on the event at bikewarrenco.org. Click on the News & Events/Current Events pages.
The next day, Sunday, September 23, the fifth annual Tour de Salem Flame Fighters will take riders on one of four great routes winding through the fall scenery of Washington County and Vermont! The 10, 16, 25, and 62-mile routes all begin and end at the Salem Fire Department’s carnival grounds in Salem, with the 62-mile ride rolling out at 8am.
The rides feature T-shirt to all preregistered, fully stocked rest stops, an on-site mechanic, full sag support, post-ride food, and some great views. For registration information and links to maps of all the routes, go to tourdesalemflamefighters.com.
Earlier in the month on Sunday, September 2, the Catskill Mountain Cycling Challenge will start at the Catskill Recreation Center in Arkville. There are three distances to choose from: Pepacton Short of 29 miles; Pepacton Long of 57 miles, and a Century Challenge of 99 miles. The challenge carries forth the long tradition of recreational road cycling in the Western Catskills!
Afterwards enjoy a free lunch, T-shirt, and use of the rec center facilities. The ride benefits recreational programming at the center. Register at bikereg.com and for info go to catskillrecreationcenter.org.
On Sunday, September 9, the Tour de Daggett Lake will roll out of the Daggett Lake Campsites on Glen Athol Road in Warrensburg to offer participants both 65- and 20-mile rides in the beautiful surrounding countryside of the southern Adirondacks. The 20-mile ride has a staffed rest stop, and the 65-mile ride includes a stop at the Adirondack General Store.
This annual event is a fundraiser for Rosie’s Love, a charity for children with cancer. The organization specifically benefits Camp Hakuna Matata, where cancer patients, their siblings, and parents can enjoy a comfortable break from the hospital treatment environment and be together as a family. For more information and registration, go to daggettlake.net.
If you’re a particularly ambitious rider, then the Adirondack 540 from Friday-Sunday, September 14-16, may be the ride for you. The centerpiece of the event is the 135-mile loop course that winds through the Adirondacks, including the High Peaks region and Lake Champlain.
Whether you’re looking for some long climbs, speedy descents, or just loads of spectacular scenery, then sign up to do either one, two, three, or four laps of the 135-mile course. For more information go to adkultracycling.com. Don’t forget to charge up your headlight for this one!
Also, on Sunday, September 30, Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Mass., will host the Farm to Fork Fondo: Berkshires, which combine breathtaking scenery with supporting the farm to table movement that involves farms and other producers in the local area.
Choose from rides of 10, 30, 50, and 80 miles through the scenic countryside of eastern New York and western Massachusetts. The ride format for the Farm to Fork series 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 information and registration, check out farmtoforkfondo.com.
Finally, don’t forget to mark your calendar for the second annual NYBC Bike Summit to be held this year on Thursday-Saturday, September 27-29 at the Gideon Putnam Resort and Spa in Saratoga Spa State Park. This year’s summit has something for everyone with attendees ranging from cycling enthusiasts to representatives from government, advocacy groups, and the statewide business community. For more information on the wide range of activities and to purchase tickets, visit nybc.net/action/bike-summit.
Dave Kraus (firstname.lastname@example.org) of Schenectady is a longtime area cyclist, photographer, and writer. Visit his website at krausgrafik.com.