Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mission Accomplished!: The Coffeeneuring Challenge: Cup #7

Ride to seven coffee shops in four weeks. It was a challenge this die-hard rando-coffee freak could not pass up and I'm pleased to say that I made it and just in the nick of time. 

With temperatures hovering around the freezing mark this morning and an unprecedented October snow storm on the way, I got up early, dung some winter gear (wool hat, toe covers, full-finger gloves, winter tights, etc.) out of the deep recesses of my cycling drawer, drank a quick cup of hot coffee and I was off.  

My house sits right on the edge of some of the world's most incredible cycling. The Shawangunk Ridge and the Catskill Mountains are reachable in minutes. The only trouble is, I need to cross the freight line that runs up the east side of the Hudson River from NYC to Albany to get there and, every now and then, I need to wait for a mile-long train to pass before getting on my way. Today was one of those days.

My destination this morning was New Paltz, site of my first coffeeneuring ride, to pay a visit to The Bakery - one of my favorite Hudson Valley coffee shops. When I arrived, the owner (a friend of mine who also serves on the board of the Walkway Over the Hudson) was busy working with his staff to prepare for the annual "Night of 100 Pumpkins" which thrills community members of all ages with a pumpkin contest and party on Halloween night.

After a quick cup of coffee and a scone I was back on the road to make it home before the first snow flakes fell. With climate change wreaking havoc on the local weather, I think it's time to buy some studded snow tires if I'm ever going to complete this R-12 goal of mine this year. Peter White Cycles seems to have a pretty good selection.

Thanks MG, for establishing a great challenge. It sure was a lot of fun!

24 miles, black coffee and a blueberry scone, done!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

"Caffeinated in Kingston." The Coffeeneuring Challenge: Cup #6

Today's coffeeneuring challenge ride brought me to the artsy Rondout section of Kingston, NY, just a few miles up the road from my house. Kingston is an interesting place. The first capital of New York State, it was burned by the British on October 16, 1777 and is divided into several distinct sections. The Rondout lies right at the confluence of the Rondout Creek and Hudson River and is home to boat moorings, restaurants and art galleries.

There is still an interesting maritime presence in Kingston, 91 miles north of Manhattan, as one can see from this 1898 steam powered tug boat that sits right outside the Hudson River Maritime Museum.

Finally, lots of local farmers are hard at work getting ready for winter.

20 miles, cup of espresso.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

"When in Rome . . . " The Coffeeneuring Challenge: Cup #5

When in Rome, drink tea like a Roman . . . or something like that. Today, my Coffeeneuring Challenge ride had nothing to do with coffee and everything to do with a beautiful late afternoon ride to the Village Tearoom in New Paltz. After a disappointing trip to northern Dutchess County to scout a route for a winter 200K permanent, I capped off the day with a nice solo ride, a personal pot of chai and a crispy ginger cookie. All of these hit the spot.

26 miles, personal pot of chai with honey and steamed milk + a ginger cookie.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Few More Pictures from the Weekend Ride

Here are a few more picture from our wonderful Catskills Climbfest 200K permanent ride this weekend. Thanks for sending them along, Jon.

While the storms may be over, there is no shortage of water in them thar hills. One of the many waterfalls that we saw (and heard!) along the way.

Rip Van Winkle's ne'er-do-well cousin Pirip Van Winkle after a hard night on the town.

Jon eats the world's largest muffin at the Mama's Boy cafe in Phoenicia.

One of the things I love most about this route (after the climbing, of course) are the views throughout the day of the hills you have either just climbed or are about to climb.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

An October R-12 Permanent with a Coffeeneuring Chaser.

It was an outstanding day to ride a bike through the Catskill mountains. I know, because Don and Jonathan and I did just that and enjoyed the heck out of it all day long. The weather was great with temps a bit cooler than usual in the high 50s and low 60s; it was clear that late fall was in the air. Many of the leaves in the high Catskills have fallen, but we were treated to some amazing colors along the way.

It all started at 7:00 am at the typical start control in Rosendale. The climb up towards the Ashokan Reservior was filled with brilliant fall foliage and the roads were just about devoid of life at that hour. The bridge outside of Palenville is still out, so we had to again make the 3-mile detour to avoid the problem. I decided (after many years) to move the first control stop from Palenville at the base of the 23A climb to the Stewarts in Tannersville at the top of the climb. This was a much better choice and psychologically makes that hill a bit easier to summit.  We even got to spend time with Rip Van Winkle, a local favorite, as we rested.

The next change we made to the route involved another control switch in Phoenicia. I've long hated the Valero gas station, with its cranky staff and nasty generic offerings, but it wasn't until this summer when I volunteered for the Englewood 600K that I realized what a great alternative we had right a cross the street at Mama's Boy. We stopped in there today and feasted on freshly baked muffins and dark coffee. Since Frost Valley-Oliverea Road is still out, we again climbed Peekamoose Mountain Rd as an alternative route to Grahamsville.

Once we crested the nasty Peekamoose climb, it was smooth sailing (except for Jon's flat) until Grahamsville where we took in a great lunch at the deli before tackling the last 35 miles.

After lunch we got a receipt that appeared to be over 10 years old. Maybe it was a Y2K problem that never got fixed on the cash register.

Postscript: Coffeeneuring Challennge (Cup #4)

After returning to Rosendale and having our cards signed, we shot off for a two-mile round trip to the Rosendale Cafe on the shortest Coffeeneuring ride possible. Jon and I ordered coffee while Don had an Anchor Steam.

2 miles and a black coffee, yum

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Time to Plan 2012!

I feel a bit like Steve Martin in the The Jerk when he runs around screaming "the new phone book's here, the new phone book's here . . ." because today is one of my favorite days of the year. I've been checking in on the RUSA calendar ever since we slid into October and was very pleased to find out this afternoon that the complete 2012 calendar of events is now live. I immediately set about combing through the schedule of rides within a 5-hour radius of my house and adding anything interesting and not in conflict with my existing commitments to a Google calendar. There's always some disappointment when I realize that a perfect event is in direct conflict with something I can't move, but there are lots of options living within two hours of four brevet series. It going to be a great year! Take a look and see what's in store for you.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Coffeeneuring Challenge: Cup #3

With my Yom Kippur fast fresh in my mind, it was not coffee I was in search of this morning, but rather some sweet, greasy carbs. I knew exactly what to do: build a nice gentle loop from my front door to the Apple Bin, the closest coffee shop to my home that I've been saving for just such an emergency. So off I pedaled through the lovely fall foliage and arrived an hour later ready for a few fresh cider donuts. I did get a fresh cup of Costa Rican coffee to wash them down, but it was the donuts themselves that make this roadside farm stand a stop worth making. Thankfully, the Coffeeneuring Challenge gave me the motivation to slow down and smell the donuts.

A few more signs that fall is in the air.

16 miles, two cider donuts and a black Costa Rican coffee.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Coffeeneuring Challenge: Cup #2

I was scheduled to ride in the VT Fall Classic 200K this weekend, but with the Rosh Hashanah holiday, family in from out of town, a pile of work to dig into and a forecast for steady rain and unseasonably cold temperatures, I opted to stay home and secure my October R-12 ride later in the month. Since I was keeping it local, I decided to spin over to the People's Republic of Rosendale to complete my Coffeeneuring Challenge ride for the weekend. The day began wet and cold, but the skies cleared around midday, so when I arrived at the Alternative Baker I was able to sit outside at one of the lovely sidewalk cafe tables and enjoy my coffee and mixed berry scone in style.

I love Rosendale for lots of reasons. The Rosendale Theater Collective, which was recently organized to take over a decaying local movie theater is one of them and the Alternative Baker, which recenlty moved here from Kingston, is another. Today's scone was spot on, but the coffee was nothing to write home about.

30 miles, mixed berry scone and a black coffee. Where will my coffeeneuring passion lead next? Stay tuned.