AUG 2015 - BICYCLING
Early Fall Organized Rides
By Dave Kraus
September is the month of back-to-school, football season, and the sad certainty that another summer is almost over. It’s also the month when the work of a season of riding pays off for cyclists. Muscles are toned, cardio fitness is peaked, and the rides that were exhausting in May are suddenly easy. September is also the month of a wide variety of organized cycling events to give riders the chance to use all that fitness.
First, on Saturday, September 12, the sixth annual Double H Ranch Camp Challenge Ride and Trail Run/Walk heads out from the ranch in Lake Luzerne, just five miles west of Northway exit 21 (near Lake George). While runners and walkers tackle the 5K route on the grounds of the ranch, riders are invited to ride either 30-mile or 62-mile road routes through the beautiful Adirondacks. All proceeds benefit Double H Ranch, a serious fun camp to fund visits by children with serious illnesses.
All participants get a personal fundraising web page, fundraising tips and support, team apparel and fundraising incentives. When you finish your ride back at the ranch, enjoy a celebration with BBQ and live music. Fee for riders is $35, and the fundraising minimum for the bike rides is $250. To learn more and register, go to: doublehranch.org.
September 12 is also the CF Cycle For Life in Saratoga Springs, starting at the Saratoga Train Station. The ride heads into the southern Adirondacks for 15, 32, and 63-mile routes. Cycle For Life benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Northeastern New York, supporting research into a cure for this crippling and often fatal genetic disorder.
Rides start at 8:30am and conclude with the Pedal Party lunch for cyclists. Other support includes rest stops every 10-12 miles, mechanical support, ride marshals to cheer you on, and plenty of support vehicles to ensure safety along the routes. Support volunteers are also needed, so you can help even if you don’t ride. Registration is $35 until September 7, then rises to $45. The minimum pledge requirement is $150. For ride, registration and fundraising information, go to: neny.cff.org/cycle.
September 12-13, the weekend after Labor Day, is also the traditional date for the 45th annual Mohawk Hudson Cycling Club’s Saratoga Century Weekend, where one registration fee gets you two days of riding near Saratoga Springs, starting in Saratoga Spa State Park. This is MHCC’s main riding and fundraising event for the year, and all cyclists are welcome. Last year over 350 riders from six states participated in this event put on by the Capital-Saratoga Region’s largest cycling club, with over 700 members.
The ride is well supported with stocked rest stops, sag and mechanical support, and fully marked routes with maps and cue sheets. The rides are on quiet back roads in scenic Saratoga County, and there’s also a post-ride catered lunch provided. Participants can choose from routes of 25, 50, 62, or 100 miles – yes, that means you can ride two centuries in two days! For MHCC members the registration fee is $35, and $45 for non-members. For more information about the event and a printable registration form, go to: mohawkhudsoncyclingclub.org or register on bikereg.com.
If you’re in the Schroon Lake area on Sunday, September 13, you can also take part in a ride dedicated to Lance – no, not that Lance. The eighth annual Lance Gregson 1-Eye Classic is a memorial to local cycling enthusiast and stonemason Lance Gregson, who acquired the “1-eye” label after losing sight in one eye in a childhood accident. He died at the age of 42 after a workplace fall, and this ride is a memorial to him organized by his friends to promote cycling in the Schroon Lake area.
Routes vary from three miles (that’s right, three miles!), to 12, 26, 40+, and 60 miles, with the 60 starting at 8 am and staggered starts for the others. Riders who bring a potluck dish for the post-ride picnic get a registration discount on the already modest $10 entry fee, and the ride starts and finishes at the Schroon Lake Town Beach, so family can spend the morning relaxing while you ride. More information and registration forms are at: schroonlakecycling.com.
Also on Sunday, September 13th is the Tour de Daggett Lake with a start/finish at Daggett Lake Campsites near Warrensburg. This “Ride for Rosie’s Love” raises money for the Rosie’s Love non-profit organization. Founded in 2000, it supports cancer patients at Albany Medical Center in memory of Rosemary Frances Johnson, who died at age two from neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer.
The event includes a very scenic 65-mile route that starts at 8am, and a nice 20-mile loop that heads out at 9am. There’s also a kids ride with laps around the Daggett Lake Campground on Glen Athol Road, just north of Warrensburg. For registration, call the campground at (518) 623-2198 between 9am-4pm. Registration is $35 for adults and $15 for kids.
The next weekend, on Saturday, September 19, riders head into the heart of the Catskills at the Catskill Mountain Cycling Challenge. It is based at the Catskill Recreation Center in Arkville, and sponsored by the recreation center, Overlook Mountain Bikes, and Catskill Mountain Cycling Club. There are five different routes for riders at every skill level, covering 11, 29, 55, 76, and 103 miles – all in the beautiful western Catskills.
The 11-mile route caters to beginners, with an out-and-back route in the Dry Brook Valley. The 29-miler caters to intermediate riders with a rolling course that circles the Pepacton Reservoir. The routes of 55, 76 and 103 miles cater to more advanced cyclists, with some challenging climbs mixed in with the stunning scenery of the area. Participants receive a T-shirt, lunch, and a complimentary pass to the recreation center for access to the swimming pool. Learn more at catskillrecreationcenter.org, and registration for all rides is $35 at bikereg.com.
On Sunday, September 27, riders finally get to head south instead of north when the fifth annual Columbia County Rotary Ride cruises routes of 10 and 30 miles, rolling out of Volunteer Park in Valatie – just 20 miles from the Capital Region.
New to this event is the additional 62-mile (100K) blended dirt and paved route the organizers have dubbed “gravel (grinder) lite.” Road bikes should work fine on any of the routes, and proceeds from the $45 entry fee go towards supporting the CYCLE Kids program at Ichabod Crane Elementary School. The program helps teachers and families break the cycle of inactivity, poor nutrition habits, social isolation and low self-esteem, by teaching children life skills that help them achieve academic success, build self-confidence and develop physical fitness.
Riders will have maps, rest stops, sag service, and restrooms provided. There are also event T-shirts and a BBQ after the ride. For more information and links to registration forms go to: facebook.com, and type “Columbia County Rotary Ride” in the Search Bar.
Dave Kraus (email@example.com) of Schenectady is a longtime area cyclist, photographer and writer who is wondering how he can fit all these rides into his schedule. Visit his website at krausgrafik.com.