Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Vermont 2012 - plan now!

I am now accepting reservations for a 4 day / 3 night trip to Ascutney Mountain in Vermont for August 26 - 29, 2012. The price of $400 per person includes transportation from NYC, 3 nights lodging in a suite and use of resort facilities / amenities.  Our rides will go along country roads and through/to the quaint towns of Quechee, Woodstock and Windsor as well as up Ascutney Mountain and through Okemo State Forest to climb Ludlow Mountain

Amenities and facilities:
  • High-speed Internet Access
  • Wireless Internet acess
  • Sauna
  • Outdoor tennis courts
  • Racquetball courts
  • Outdoor basketball court.
  • On-site trails
  •  Indoor and outdoor pools,
  • Extensive fitness club
  • Nightly complimentary movie in the Alpine theater with free popcorn. 
  • On-site Guest Self-Laundry Facilities (washer/dryer)
​The hotel has an on-site cocktail lounge and a restaraunt for dinner.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

On pace and riding style

My rides are usually listed with the NYCC.
Anyone reading these posts who does not know how the NYCC rates it's rides there are two components: difficulty and pace. The difficulty gets a bit tricky as it also implies a certain riding style. NYCC doesn't have B+ indicating a more challenging ride with 'B' riding style. In NYCC, 'A' rides use a fast rotating paceline and riders are expected to take their turn at the front pulling at the listed pace -- not miles and miles but a couple of minutes.  B rides might use a paceline and we teach that in our SIG program but it's not a requirement. B pacelines rotate too but slower and spaced out a little further.

As a leader, when I get a rider on the front pulling who actually reads the cue sheet and makes the turns it makes me very happy. Conversely, when I get someone on the front who doesn't look at the cue sheet and decided to have their iPhone plot a route to some street of similar name (e.g Peconic Bay Ave vs. Peconic Ave) and then goes off the front taking half the group along -- that makes me less than pleased though I do try not to get hopping mad about it.

Pace is much more straightforward and is explained in the NYCC self-test chart

Friday, July 1, 2011

July 3rd ride plan

I decided to plot the Long Meadow loop as an add-on to the main plan for this Sunday's ride and I tweaked the route. From my prior experience with trying to use the Google maps cuesheet track I decided to plot a Garmin route more-or-less following the track -- which showed me a few turns to eliminate.

The final route is in 3 pieces:
Before lunch which will include an optional stop at 7-11 after we climb Little Tor
After lunch 40.5 miles, 1888 feet of climbing

On the 'After Lunch' route, at Haverstraw and Mayer Drive we have the option to either continue homewards on Mayer Drive or detour through Harriman and/or Tuxedo. A loop down to Sloatsburg and up 7 Lakes then out Gate Hill is 25.5 miles and 1888 feet of climbing.  A loop around Tuxdeo Lake and back out through Sloatsburg 24.9 miles and 1492 feet of climbing. The Long Meadow - Tuxedo Park - Sloatsburg  , with the climb up the highest point in Tuxedo Park, 955 feet, loop is 30.6 miles and 1830 feet of climbing. The idea of Long Meadow across and out through 7 Lakes at Sloatsburg is exceedingly long and challenging, even without the High Mountain climb, at 33.9  miles and 2296 feet of climbing (Google maps thinks we could do it in 3 hrs 40 minutes as if we could keep a 10 mph average with all that climbing).

The Tuxedo Lake loop seems potentially feasible if we are at the Sloatsburg entrance by 2PM and accept coming home to NYC by 8 PM. The advantage of Gate Hill is that there's a good long fast downhill out and down.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Longer and higher

I came up with an alternate route for the ride. I had wanted to go through the southwest portion of Harriman and Sterling Forest / Tuxedo to get the climbing.  Before lunch instead of coming over Little Tor from the North it comes up from the south, heads up to Cheesecote and climbs to almost 900 feet before coming back down and heading to lunch. That makes the route to lunch 46.6 miles and 3311 feet (it would be more if I left in the Alpine climb in Palisades Park). The route after lunch heads over to Sloatsburg and enters Harriman on Long Meadow and has a climb up to 992 feet elevation from 640 (of course, Long Meadow starts at 453 feet and before that Orange Turnpike is at 300 feet). After all that climbing and mileage I had to find the shortest way home but it still comes to 68.6 miles and 3646 feet after lunch. Total would be 115.2 miles and 6957 feet.

I am thinking maybe this is a bit much though with having the next day off ...still, should probably get an earlier start than 7:45 AM. I did the Tour de Cure about 105 miles and lots of stopping and was still back in NY 6PM from a 7AM start.

Monday, June 27, 2011

4th of July weekend

Elevation chart
The Metro North bike train rules prohibit bikes on trains this Sunday and Monday (with the day off on Monday, Sunday is a perfect day to attempt Woodbourne).  So I've planned a long (98 mile) hilly ride for Sunday with a short recovery ride for Monday.. According to google maps, it should have 6738 feet of climbing. It's a Rockland County ride and of course I put in a stop for lunch at Bubba's Bagels of Wesley Hills.

Updated route

Thursday, June 23, 2011


This Sunday I'll take a short, 31.6 miles, ride into Teaneck to Butterflake Bake Shop. I could just do River Road but this is a bit more interesting route through Bergen County including a nice fast down hill ride on Clinton Ave. . The shortest way back is up Ft. Lee Road but I don't like that because it is narrow, busy and steep. Van Nostrand isn't as busy and it's wider.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Strawberry route (updated)

This Father's Day, take a ride along the North Shore of Long Island to the annual Strawberry Festival in Mattituck, NY. Along the way, we'll ride on quiet country roads and have some harbor views. While this is not a flat route, there are no long climbs in the rolling hills of the North Shore. We'll have a food stop at a kosher bagel shop in East Northport. We return to NYC via LIRR, arriving before 7PM (assuming no LIRR delays). I expect us to have perhaps an hour at the Strawberry Festival before we have to continue our ride to the LIRR station for our train home.

Bring your MTA bike pass and $14 for the train ticket for our return via the LIRR. Also $5 for admission to the festival (proceeds to the Lions Club of Mattituck).

Note: due to crowding for the Festival, there are no bikes on trains on the Main Line Sunday June 19th.

The route is split into two parts:
Before lunch
After lunch

Elevation charts:

Before lunch
After lunch, to end

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bagels and Little Tor

Let's take a ride through Rockland and Bergen counties for some hills, a noted regional climb and bagels for lunch. After lunch, more climbing with a view from the top then a stop for refueling at a great bakery before the ride back to NYC.  93.2  miles, 6168 feet elevation gain
From start over Little Tor to Bubbas
Return from Bubbas

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Liberty Epic cancelled and rescheduled

due to the rain and especially thunderstorms tomorrow, I've rescheduled the ride for May 22nd which the forecast calls for sunny and 70F.

Also I found that the Highlands Bridge is under construction. The google streetview doesn't show us having access to the ramp to the bikeway and looks unpleasant to ride through. I still think the Bayshore bikeway, in dry weather, is worth a look but we'll hook down to the Shrewsbury bridge instead of the Highlands Bridge on the revised route.

Friday, May 6, 2011

White Bakery

I was going to try to hang on to the NYCC A/19 "recovery ride" this Sunday but that seems to have been canceled. I've got to get home by 12:15 PM or so in order to be ready for Mother's Day lunch with my wife and Mom in time. A fast ride over moderate terrain is what I need, along with a destination. So it's off at 8AM to the White Plains Bake Shoppe via the South County Trailway and the Bronx River Greenway which should allow some good sprints. Here is the route. It's 53 miles and supposedly 2651 feet of climbing.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Liberty Epic route revisions

The ride now will feature a triumphant (to us) entrance to Philadelphia over the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, quick photo op option at Liberty Bell (or save it for after dinner when it's dark out and the Bell is lit) followed by dinner at Hamifgash restaurant which we need to reach by about 7PM.
Lunch in Deal, NJ 52 miles out from the start we should reach by noon. Our choices include Jerusalem Pizza of Deal and The Chocolate Soda (dairy luncheonette cuisine).

The route to lunch from Newark will use the Henry Hudson Rail trail and more time on Ocean Ave. than last years ride to Cherry Hill. The route from Deal to Philadelphia will take us down the rest of the North Jersey coast into Bay Head then swing west through a pleasant neighborhood, through the Pine Barrens to Lakewood (whose bus terminal is the next bailout point after we leave NJ Transit's North Jersey Coast line behind) and beyond.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Liberty Epic

I've gotten some feedback with concern about the plan to ride an additional 12-1/2 miles after dinner and that this ride would be in the dark. The second objection I can address by moving the start location from Newark to elsewhere. Elizabeth only saves 7.4 miles (and perhaps 5 minutes less time to exit the station since it's just a platform not a complex). So that's perhaps 40 minutes savings but the travel time is slightly longer. A more dramatic step is moving the start to South Amboy, since that's where the riding starts to really get nice. It's a 55 minute train ride (with a $12.25 fare). That allows us to reach Elkins Park in time to finish dinner and ride the 12.5 miles to Market East in daylight.

The objective of this ride is to ride our bikes and take the train home; Newark via PATH provides the means of getting across the Hudson and past Secaucus to where we CAN ride our bikes.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Liberty Epic

An epic ride from Newark to Philadelphia. Along the way, we'll see some of the Jersey Shore and ride through the Pine Barrens. We'll stop for lunch at a kosher dairy restaurant in Deal, NJ  and have dinner at kosher meat/fish restaurant in the Elkins Park section of Philadelphia. Along the way, we'll take a spin on the boardwalk and along the Schuylkill River before we pass Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. We return from Philadelphia Market East Station at night.

This ride will end after sunset: bring front and rear lights and expect a late return home to NYC. We will adhere to the listed pace: we cannot allow pace-busting on this very long ride. If you cannot keep up or have any other problem, there are a limited number of bailouts: early by train and later by bus. There are long sections with no public transit available, so bring your cell phone and some extra cash in case you need a taxi to get you to the train. Train fare: $1.75 PATH; $24.25 adult / $11.38 Senior citizen for SEPTA + NJ Transit combination back to NY Penn station.

Yes, if you inform me in advance you can meet us in Newark. Anyone can take the train to anywhere on the return.

Miles until lunch51.5
Miles from lunch to dinner83
Maximum elevation:250 feet
Elevation gain: approximately 2500 feet
Sunset time: 8:08:57 PM
I'm still tweaking the route through Elkins Park to avoid the steepest climbs and the route through Browns Mills to provide an option for a rest stop.

Meet the Gunks

When 30,000 cyclists descend on Manhattan, it's time to leave the city if you want to ride your bike. The Shawangunk Ridge in Ulster County is lovely place to ride and so every year on the Sunday of the 5 Boro Bike Tour I lead a group of cyclists on a Gunks ride. This year, I've done some changes to the route to swing out onto some of the other quiet back roads as well.  The ride climbs both Minnewaska and Mohonk. There is a scenic overlook south/east of Minnewaska.

The view from the scenic overlook sout/east of Minnewaska in the Gunks
The light is better for a nice photo of the view on a clear afternoon,but the weather forecast is for mostly cloudy this Sunday afternoon. So this year we'll climb Minnewaska first, stop for a quick photo opportunity and continue on to Minnewaska State Park. We will then ride downhill to the outskirts of Kerhonkson on a nice long descent until the terrain more or less levels off. This makes the route slightly more than the listed 55 miles but the extra miles are downhill. and we'd probably blow the turn on the slope of the descent anyway. After the descent, we'll  loop around and then climb Mohonk from the west. The golf clubhouse makes an excellent spot for a rest after this second major climb of the day.

When we get back to Poughkeepsie, if time permits we may stop for beer at Annie's. Those who aren't strictly kosher may choose to get some dinner before the long train ride home.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Good Darlington

I'll ride out tomorrow to the Ramapos on an NYCC listed B-ride. . Darlington Lake Park is open but not for swimming yet so no admission charge yet. Nice spot to picnic. The route is only 68 miles and 3600 feet elevation gain.

Stony Point

I've updated the Stony Point route and plan for this year. It's listed as B-16 with NYCC. I originally put it in as a B16 82 mile ride but I've changed it to make it a little shorter and a little faster 78.4 miles at a B17+ pace. I'm also moving the start time to 8:45 AM from 8:30 AM.  A cue sheet and GPS route generated from the foregoing is here

Thursday, February 24, 2011

New wheels arrived

My existing wheelset for my 'road' / 'touring' /'cyclocross' bike are pretty durable custom wheelset built from Mavic A119 rims and Shimano Deore XT (mountain bike) hubs.  They have 28mm tires on them and have proved a fairly good ride but, although I climb much better than on my hybrid, I'm still way behind those on lighter-weight bikes. More importantly, from standing stop, the fast riders on bikes with skinny tires and light wheels leave me struggling to catch up to the paceline.

Lightweight vs. aero wheels are a subject of considerable discussions from various sources from the well-regarded Jobst Brandt to wikiepdia Bicycle weight and power.  Here, though, I'm changing two variables: rotating weight and contact patch width (along with higher pressure tires).

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Strawberry shores

This Father's day, June 19th,  I'll lead a group of cyclists out from Manhattan to Mattituck's Strawberry Festival. The festival has free admission for fathers. Presumably with kids in tow but it doesn't say that on the website.

I  have a nice route drafted which will take us through Queens, onto the LIE then up along the North Shore. It's a hillier route than hauling out along the LIE but scenic with harbor views, quiet roads and of course the ride is free for NYCC members. Lunch plan is to stop at Bagel boss in East Northport for a quick bite then continue back north and east.

Along the way we will pass through downtown Port Jefferson, pass the Stony Brook Grist Mill and generally have a great time riding.   I plan to keep equivalent to a 17 mph cruise with a 6:15 AM departure from Central Park Boathouse. We return home via LIRR with our bikes, but not from Mattituck: the Greenport - Ronkonkoma train is a 2 car train which cannot accommodate more than 4 bicycles, 2 per car. Negotiations with LIRR are in progress.