When I first heard about Strava's Rapha Rising Challenge, I immediately thought of the Catskill Climbfest, my favorite local 200K permanent. It's a route that's packed with climbing and peaceful mountain roads, many of which are shaded and cooled by mountain springs and waterfalls. To commemorate the climbing done this week by ProTour riders in the TdF, Strava and Rapha have teamed up to challenge hacks like us to amass 7235 meters (or 23,736 feet) of climbing between July 14 and July 21.
There's pretty much water everywhere in the Catskills. In fact, the majority of NYC's drinking water is pumped down from reservoirs like the Ashokan here. Roads often ride alongside rivers or creeks that have cut through the mountains over thousands of years to make "cloves" and valleys.
This section of road through Peekamoose Valley is shielded from sun on both sides by mountains and further cooled by a spring-fed river and countless waterfalls. Every so often, I was treated to a gust of cool air as if walking into an air conditioned room.
It's a wonder what water has done to shape the Catskills.
In fact, today, I was forced into a pedestrian detour as road crews had completely demolished a section of road compromised and degraded by Hurricane Irene. That's right, Irene, not Sandy. This road has been down to one lane since August 2011.