Monthly Archives: April 2013

Gentlemen’s Ride

On Friday, my long-time riding companion Guy came up for a ride. He was kind enough to ride from the Poughkeepsie train station to New Paltz, where I picked him up (did I mention that I got my driver’s license on Tuesday?) I made him drive us back because I remain a less than enthusiastic driver.

We got up bright and early the next day for our gentlemen’s ride. A gentlemen’s ride is when you don’t worry about time, stop when you want, and generally just have a relaxing day. Instead of frantically trying to fit X number of miles into a certain number of hours, we planned on taking the whole day for just 60 miles. We stopped for pictures. We stopped at the top of major climbs. We stopped for lunch. We stopped for dinner. It wasn’t really exercise, but it was good fun and a nice way to spend 8 hours. It was also nice because I overdid it in the previous 7 days, logging about 200 miles. Not much, but a lot for this early in the season after a winter that was bad enough that I didn’t manage to keep in optimal shape.

I won’t bore you with the details of the ride; suffice it to say we went over Peekamoose again. I was there just last week, but it is a really beautiful ride. Plus it is ideally suited to a gentlemen’s ride because 75 percent of the effort is concentrated in the first 15 miles (although the first climb is a brute). After that it’s mostly coasting and enjoying the day. The route is here if you are interested.


Some pictures.

Headed into the major climb of the day: just 1000 feet, but it includes ramps of up to 16%.

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The long coast down off of Peekamoose. Spectacular as usual. Click on this one for full size.

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I tried to convince Guy to climb this gravel driveway/road. Just for fun.

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Rondout reservoir, at the base of Watson Hollow Road. We ran into some cyclists headed the other way up Peekamoose on a decidedly more serious expedition, which to me–even if I’m trying to get exercise–seems like an unpleasant route since it’s 12 miles of false flat and outright climbs, followed by a descent that is far too steep to enjoy. I’d rather do the massive climb at the beginning and then enjoy the high-speed run down the other side.

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We stopped in Grahamsville for lunch. The deli there is actually quite good; if you have a chance plan a trip through town, it’s a good place to stop and very friendly.

From there, we rode back on 42 crossed over to Ulster Heights Road, and then descended at very high speeds on Irish Cape Road.

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On the return trip from Ellenville, on Berme Road just past the prison, we ran into this roadside shrine. One hypothesis is that it was the scene of a fatal car accident, which would be odd because Berme Road is so torn up I can’t imagine anyone going fast enough to hurt themselves on it. (This picture also, incidentally, illustrates the resolving power of the Foveon sensor in the Sigma DP1 Merril. The second and third pictures are crops from the first).

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From there, we did the climb back to my place. The countryside is lovely, but I’ve done it so many times now it’s left me wishing for a teleportation device.

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And that’s all for this week. Short ride tomorrow, then off to Chicago for a couple days of meetings. I’m hoping to talk someone into a ride over Slide Mountain next week, or maybe Ferguson Road.

And one last bit of news: The 650B English is done and is off to paint. So maybe within the next two weeks the bicycle stork will be delivering something.


Sometimes Things Just Work Out

I was supposed to go to London for work. Canceled! Now I don’t have to panic work to get everything done before I go. Sometimes things just work out.

So: Ouch Mountain or the Undiscovered Country this weekend?

This photo, which I took on my last ride, is of a Brockway truck; the hood ornament is a husky pulling a sled. I am surprised that it hasn’t been pulled off yet as they can sell for a significant amount on E-Bay. At some point I want to return to take some proper photos.

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New Route: One Down, Seven to Go

After weeks of 15 hour days, seven days a week–and only 30 minute to 1 hour daily rides–I finally told everyone to just leave me alone and took a day off. Clients, if you reading this, sorry! My efficiency is optimized when I can ride my bike. Days off are good for you and for me.

You’ll recall that, a while back, I wrote a post on the 8 biggest climbs in the Catskills. Peekamoose is just one, and it is the most accessible for me. I’ve done this route 6 times now, but this was the first time this year, and I took a new route.


Plus, this was the first time I’ve had a chance to ride the route in decent weather. Every time I’ve ridden it in the past, it’s been cold, foggy, and generally wet. I guess that goes with riding it in the fall.

The route starts at my place, as usual, but instead of taking Mountain Road, I opted to ride down to Route 213, which eventually joins up with Route 28A, which in turn takes you to the base of the climb. I spotted a cyclist headed the opposite direction on 28A, which is rare. Anyone I know?

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Maybe it’s just me, but when I spot a cyclist in the distance I get in the drops and try to look serious, even if I’m just meandering along. I’m a poseur, I guess.

From 28A, I turned onto Watson Hollow Road, which is one of the most beautiful roads in the Catskills. Also known as Peekamoose Road on some maps.

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The climb itself gets easier each time I do it. There are distinct landmarks along the climb, so I can easily recall where I felt like I was going to die on the previous ride. I’m making it to the top without too much suffering these days.

Once you make it to the hairpin at the top, you’re home free. Pretty much all downhill for the next 15 miles. My high-speed descent was spoiled by a high-velocity headwind; there was one point where I should have been going 30 mph where I was blown to about 12 mph for a moment. The following pictures are all Watson Hollow Road.

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It’s really worthwhile to do this ride at least once a season. In the winter–or the spring before the leaves grow in, you see some truly majestic waterfalls on both sides of the road that I’ve heard many times before, but never seen. I tried to take a few pictures, but they really didn’t do justice to the subject, so you won’t see them here.

There are few places to stop for water between about mile 12 and mile 31 of this route, so make sure you carry everything you need, particularly in the summer. Unless, of course, you want to trust to the whims of whomever runs this shack, which is apparently open whenever the owner feels like it. In short, don’t depend on it being open when you need it.

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Now, I made a choice. I advise everyone to continue on Watson Hollow, and eventually make a left on Greenville Road for a second climb that really takes you to some spectacular views. Here’s the decision point.

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I took a right, which first led me past next week’s climb, Sugar Loaf.

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And then led me to the Rondout Reservoir…

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Grahamville hosts a nice deli if you want to stop. They have a full convenience store, plus they make sandwiches, etc.

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After sitting in the parking lot for a while, soaking up the sun and having a nice, well, actually lukewarm, Coke, I turned onto Route 42. This is where things got interesting because it is territory I haven’t really covered before.

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Ultimately, this route will take you back to 55A, and then to 55. I do not recommend traveling (south)east on 55A or 55. The pavement is extremely broken up, turning a nice descent into a white-knuckle bit of nastiness. The pavement in the opposite direction is fine. I have no idea why one side of the road is just awful, whereas the other side is nice clean pavement. It is, however, beautiful.

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With that said, you might use this route instead, which keeps you off 55A and 55. I’ve done some of these roads, including Irish Cape Road. This route is equally beautiful.

The way home was just the usual. As always, regardless of which direction I travel I have 700 to 1000 feet of climbing to get back to my place.

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A few more pictures. First: Baby animals. Who doesn’t like baby animals? The goat was cute, the baby cow just looked plain irritated.

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Next, a few “artistic” photos. I try and fail. The second one has nice colors, at least.

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Next week: Sugar Loaf, provided the work gnomes can manage to leave me alone for an entire day. Have a good week!


Photo Safari 3

With 16-hour work days, I’ve only been able to get out for an hour or two at a time over the last week. This camera is weird. Or I am an idiot. Probably a combination of the two.

Now, let’s see if this gallery thing works. What do you think, should I use the gallery or put the images in-line with the text?

I didn’t like the gallery. So here they are.

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My Little Pony

The design for the sub-15 lb 650B English (well, at least hopefully sub-15 lb, it’s going to be close). I am really looking forward to this bike–the 700C bike that Rob built for me is spectacular. I’m looking forward to it particularly because almost all of my rides include significant sections of gravel and terrible pavement, and as much as I love the 700C bike, I sometimes have to go a little slower than optimal because of road conditions. Shaved tubeless Hetres at <50 psi should take care of that issue.

Keep in mind that I quite literally broke my neck in 2008 (crushed discs) so I unfortunately can’t be as low and pro as I’d like. Envision with grey paint with rainbow sparkles. You’re going to hate it, but I don’t care.

My little two-wheeled pony.



Photo Safari Part 2

More attempts to use a camera that is far more advanced than I am.

I had planned on getting out a little earlier in the day–there’s nothing I hate more than pictures of sunsets. Unfortunately, I was stuck on a teleconference, and by the time I got to where I wanted to be, the sun was low and golden in the sky. As a result, my pictures are even worse than usual.

All of these are taken at the Ashokan Reservoir. Getting there from my place is a lot of fun as it’s mostly downhill. My average speed on the way there was 26 mph. On the way back? 14 mph.

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This weekend, hopefully, I’ll get out for an 80 mile plus ride. We’ll see. Work has been, um, interesting. But I did get some good news today: Peter Weigle is going to shave some Extra Leger Hetres for me, even though my bike is going to be a 700C. Don’t go writing him requesting tires, you have to be in the club (seriously, he only sells shaved tires to customers, at least right now).


Photo Safari

It took me nearly 3 hours to ride 32 miles today. I recently purchased a new camera, and I made frequent stops for photos. Stopping every few miles is actually harder than a continuous ride–I never really get warmed up.

The following photos have not been HDRed or really messed with much at all aside from bringing down the exposure. If you’re on a PC, you can right click to “view image” to see them full size. Not sure what you do on a Mac, but you can always see full-size photos (including many I do not post here) on my photostream.