Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Ride Along the Hudson

It has been something I've wanted to do ever since we purchased our weekend home in the Catskills; ride my bike from NYC to Windham, NY; apartment door to home door; approximately 140 miles.

This past Friday, I finally had all the pieces fall into place to allow me to pedal the 140 miles. A great beginning to the Labor Day weekend with time to recover and get in a few more rides, the weather was perfect and I convinced my good friend PC to join.

We departed the city at 6:30am making our way up the west side of the city to the George Washington Bridge, across to 9W and headed north. The route was simple enough with a few detours, but basically we headed north on 9W.

Cruising through Nyack and on to Haverstraw, which is always a sketchy place to ride when going to Bear Mountain, we kept the pace conversational and enjoyed the fresh morning air. At our first stop on the north end of Haverstraw we encountered and interesting gentleman/street bum who thought he could shock us with a guessing game on his place of birth. "Born in Beirut, Lebanon" pulling a piece of paper out of his wallet to prove it. I think we won the game of shock when he asked if we were riding to Bear Mountain and we said we were going further to the Catskills. "Holly SHIT! That is far!"

Passing Bear Mountain, I was now on new roads, I've never ridden out of the city this far north before.Our first detour came at the town of West Point where we opted to take route 218 around the mountain. This turned out to be on of the most spectacular roads we encountered all day. A winding road through the trees, no cars, great pavement, opening up to a simple climb looking out over the Hudson along a cliff. Amazing.A quick stop in Newburgh for a Dunkin Doughnuts egg sandwich we were at or close to the halfway mark.

9W is nice but not the most scenic from Newburgh to Kingston and as the heat of the day replaced to cool morning air and the head winds from the north kicked up, we found this section to be grinding.

We both were suffering a bit when we pulled into a little Italian deli on the north side of Kingston and were very happy to sit, rest and refuel.

This was the scene of our second comical encounter of the day; a few overweight, rough locals were telling us about their friend who rides bikes and began asking us where we were coming from and to where we were headed.
"We started in the city at 6:30 this morning."
"Whoa, I don't even dive my truck that far."
"We are headed to Windham."
"You going the back way or straight up the mountain?"
"Straight up."
"You guys are F-ing crazy."

After filling the tanks, the little banter with the locals, stretching and reapplication of Aquaphor, we were refreshed and rolling at a good refreshed pace to Saugrities where we would make the hard left turn to climb in to the Catskill Mountains.

Just after making the left-hand turn on route 32 up the hill I suffered a flat rear tire. My summer of flat tires and wheel problems continues. We entertained ourselves during the tire change and were back on the road pretty quickly.

One last stop in Palenville before the road turned up to present us with the most difficult climb of the day; a four mile UCI rated category 2 climb into the town of Hunter.

We both made the climb relatively easily and continued the last few miles to our house.

Pulling into the driveway, we were pretty happy to be finished and very happy to be getting off our bikes.136 Miles
6000 Kilojoules of energy
8hours 15minutes
6 Gallons of Gatorade
6 Gallons of water
2 Cokes
2 Iced Teas
1 PowerBar
1 Clif Bar
1 King Sized Snickers Bar
1 Pop Tart
and A LOT of Aquaphor...

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