Saturday, June 28, 2008

Warm and Windy River Ride

Another warm muggy day, with afternoon storms forecast, so I left late morning to go to Karen's Ice Cream and Produce Stand, in Auriesville, for lunch. It's about 22 miles each way, much of it on the Mohawk River Bike Path.

The sky still looked OK when I hit Amsterdam, the last turnaround point, so I continued on. Reached Karen's, and had a pulled pork sandwich with chips and 2 lemonades. It was a thirsty day. I also spiked my remaining Gatorade bottle with a little extra salt, just to be sure on the way home.

When I started for home, I saw very dark clouds in my rearview mirror. Then I started doing the math. If I average 15 mph, and the storm 30 mph, and I have 1.5 hours to the car, then as long as the storm is currently more than about 23 miles behind me, I win the race. I also started thinking about possible shelters along the way, mostly involving underpasses. Both of these items kept me pushing the pace a bit, albeit into a strong headwind. As it turned out, I only got a few sprinkles a few miles from the car, and the rain held off until after I was home and dry.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Sticky SWC Ride

After an entire day of showers and drizzle, the skies miraculously cleared in time for tonight's SWC bike ride at Galway Lake. The skies were only marginally "clear", the humidity was near 100%, and the roads still damp as we set off on a proposed 18-22 mile ride. As it turned out, we got a slightly late start, people had flats and other equipment problems, and after splitting up several different ways, we all cut the ride short for one reason or another. Our group wound up doing slightly less than 16 miles, including several backtracks for missed turns due to poor maps, unmarked roads, and inattentive riders at the front of the pack. Not one of the better weekly rides in terms of logistics, but a good ride nonetheless, with lots of up and down and a few serious climbs.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Windy Climb

Today was the best weather we've had in quite some time, with both cooler temperatures and lower humidity. Most importantly, there was no rain in the forecast. The afternoon was committed to other things, so I went for a morning ride.

I wanted to get back into some bigger mileage days, having been off the bike quite a bit lately, so I decided on the 30-mile loop to Duanesburg via US20 and returning via NY7. It was a tough ride westbound, with 4-5 miles of climbing 700 feet into a steady headwind. But the trip home down NY7 was very nice, downhill with a crossing tailwind. I definitely felt my legs after this ride, and I think that's mostly because of the backsliding my fitness has undergone with all of these rainy days and no riding. But I did pass 1000 miles for the season, and I'm still a full month ahead of last year. We definitely need more days like today, but it looks like more rain is on the way...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dodging the Raindrops

Popup thunderstorms all around this afternoon, but I watched the radar and saw a window of opportunity. Threw the bike in the car and drove to SCCC to get in a river ride between storms. Tough going westbound with a gusty headwind, then an easy ride back to the car. The rain never came, until at least 630 or 700 pm, and then it poured.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Long Hiatus

It's been a full week off the bike, for no particular reason except that the outdoor opportunities have been somewhat weather-limited and I've been doing other things with that available time. This morning I decided it was time to get back in the saddle, so I did a modified Grant Hill loop, returning via US20/NY158/County Line Rd instead of via Fuller Station. That made for a 23-mile trip, and I just got it in before the noontime rain.

In other news, my new Ortlieb panniers have arrived, and I'm updating and revising last year's Tour de Champlain packing list to use these panniers on this year's August tour around northern Vermont. More on that later - I'm going to set up a journal at for that trip, but it will be a self-contained 8-10 day tour on Adventure Cycling's Green Mountains Loop.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Two Rides in One

Holly rides regularly with a Glenville seniors bike group. Today, they were having their annual picnic at Saratoga Spa State Park, and I was invited (cajoled?) into going along. We did several loops around the park on various roads and bike paths, some paved others not, for a total of about 8.8 miles, and then had a potluck lunch. Lots of salads, some baked beans, a couple of desserts, and then it was over. I had planned to do a loop around Saratoga Lake after lunch, just to make the drive to Saratoga worthwhile, so off I went. I decided on clockwise this time, having done it in the other direction a couple of times already this year. I got in another pleasant 19.8 miles, but somehow that felt like about enough for today.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Hilly 19

Tonight's SWC ride was out in the Duanesburg area, up in the hills. I'd done parts of this 19-mile route before, as a 29-mile ride from Schalmont HS, so I knew what to expect, and I wasn't disappointed. Lots of rolling hills, one extended screaming downhill where I topped 40 mph, and lots of climbing. The last climb at about 17 miles was actually one of the worst of the night, especially with a dog chase at the very start. The beer and pizza tasted especially good tonight

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Out to Lunch

After several consecutive sweltering days in the mid-90s, today was a real treat, with lower humidity and more comfortable temps, a perfect day for a ride. I did something to my back yesterday while trimming some tree limbs, and didn't want to overdo it, so I settled on a loop to Indian Ladder Farms for lunch. Going up Grant Hill seemed very easy today, and it wasn't until I hit Voorheesville and turned west that the northwest wind came into play as a headwind. Lunch came at 17 miles, and it was a big sandwich with turkey, cheese, apple, walnuts, lettuce, and cranberry mayo, along with a big glass of cider. After lunch, I headed north to Altamont, then NY397 to West Old State Road and home, for about 34 miles total.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Historical Tour of Clifton Park

Today, the Town of Clifton Park, across the Mohawk River from Schenectady, sponsored a 16-mile bike ride, with the town historian, to several sites of historic significance in the northern part of the town. Originally, it was looking like a hot humid day near 90 degrees, with possible storms in the afternoon. That forecast improved a bit, with a lesser chance of storms, more clouds, lower temperatures, and a stiff breeze, so I decided to bike the 13 miles from home to the starting point, do the 16-mile ride, and then bike home again, for 40 or so miles total. It did hit 90 around mid-day, but dropped into the 80s during the ride.

Since I arrived early, as always, I stopped at the Jonesville Country Store for a very good sandwich before the ride. The ride itself was slow-paced, with 4-5 historical stops with commentary, and a couple of refreshment stops as well. After 14.4 miles, I found myself at Lakeside Farms, and the remainder of the ride was simply a return to the starting point. Since I was also now at the point nearest home, I had some ice cream and then bailed out and headed home. Despite the heat, I had no problems with this 41 miles, probably because I was hydrating WAY more than usual.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

SWC Thursday Night Beer/Pizza Ride

Today was warm and humid, but by this evening, things had cooled a bit, and a breeze had come up. For the SWC ride, I had a choice of 15 or 21 miles. Given how much I've been riding, I went for the 21. Tonight was the first time all year that I felt like I pushed it a little, aside from an earlier SWC ride when I was tired and didn't enjoy it at all. The pace was quick, and there were several times when I needed to step it up a notch, and it came almost effortlessly. Hills were easy, as always, compared to the rest of the group, and I even sprinted a couple of times to get back with the group after I stopped for a drink while they kept rolling. But there was no pain, no fatigue, and the recovery was almost immediate. A good ride, even if not exactly my usual style.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

800 Miles

Yesterday's ride left me only about 20 miles short, so I needed to push it over the top. Last year, it was mid-July before I reached this point, and this year, there are no commuter miles included.

Rode the Grant Hill/French's Hollow loop again, and the climb seemed pretty easy. It's time to head down the Mohawk and do some of those big climbs up out of the valley. Rain later today and tomorrow, then an SWC ride Thursday evening.

Monday, June 02, 2008


Well, sort of. I did 25 miles out and back from Amsterdam to Canajoharie on the Canalway Trail, which is dead flat. The wind was gusting from the west (a headwind) between 20 and 30 mph, and riding on stone dust really knocks the speed down too, so it wasn't all that easy. The other thing about riding on the flats is that you don't get any ups and downs, no coasting down hills, no respite from pedaling, which is constant. So, it was 50 miles, but a different sort of 50 miles from your normal half-century. I did get almost 4 hours in the saddle, which was another good goal in itself.

I was hoping to have lunch at Peruzzi's Meat Market and Deli in Canajoharie, but since the flooding of several years ago, they no longer serve any sit-down food. The entire space is now filled with antiques, another side business. Oh well. Went next door to a stereotypical small-town coffee shop and had a sandwich instead. Met a couple there biking from Brooklyn to Rochester, on Day 4 of their trip and having lunch. Talked for a bit, and continued on my way, until I was stopped by the Chamber of Commerce lady at the booth on the corner. Saw me heading down the bike path, and wanted to know if I needed any information. Kind of a sad and lonely job, it appeared. We talked for a bit about small down decay, I signed her book, and was on my way.

Stopped at Karen's 15 miles later for an ice cream float, and caught up with another retiree I had met earlier at the parking area. He had gone to Sprakers and back to Karen's while I had gone to Canajoharie, had lunch and came back to Karen's. Compared notes some more on the joys of retirement, and then I left him behind. About 5 hours elapsed time back to the car, and I still felt pretty good.