Sunday, July 14, 2013

Catskill Climbfest 208K (Rapha Rising Edition)

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.

All told, it was a slow but steady solo ride. I was finished in 9-1/2 hours with 129 miles and lunch in the bank. Most importantly, I logged 2303 meters (7555 feet) of climbing towards my weekly total. As riders upload their activity, I've dropped to 1025th place. Now, I thought I had a pretty good start, but it looks like I need to get out there for some more climbing tomorrow!


  1. My friend Robert keeps telling me "we need a route with lots of shade in the summer." I keep pointing out shady roads (in the winter) -- he says that doesn't count.

    However, I think I can now direct him to some shady summer roads / rides.

    I'm so confused:

    208k in the title.
    129k in the summation paragraph.
    205k listed on the RUSA website.

    1. Great route, you really should try it out. What a knucklehead am I. It is 129 miles, which equals 207.6 kilometers so both the RUSA site and I are wrong. I meant 129 miles where I wrote kilometers (now fixed). All this conversion after a long ride gives me a headache! Hope to see you one day. Thanks for visiting the blog.

  2. Robert indicates that the Catskills are too far away. It is awfully hard to get him to do any rando perm other than Leesville-Leasburg-Leesville, the north of Raleigh (+ Durham) hillfest, the start / finish of which is less than 2-miles from his house. (Full disclosure, on occasion, I can get him to travel all seven miles to the start of one of my perms. Beyond that, for a perm, doubtful (click-here for evidence) --oh, "Ricochet" = "Robert".)

    Although Robert indicates the Catskills are too far away, he did once travel a bit further to do a ride.

    I was just trying to be a bit humorous with the "kms comment."


    1. I'm generally of the "don't drive farther than you're going to ride" strategies, so I'm with Robert on this one. That said, I would love to get down to NC for a brevet one of these days. I'm still giggling from the good times riding with the NC crew at LEL in 2009. I will break my own travel policy for PBP 2015 myself . . .

      Thanks for helping me with my kms comment. Now, do you have any sway with Strava? They logged my 9,800 ft of climbing as 7,500 ft.

    2. I generally ride to and back from my rides, as does Robert (but my commutes are longer than his).

      On my bike, I have only a simple wireless cycle confuser, indicating time-of-day, distance, time-in-motion, speed, avg speed, max speed. The only non-simple function is the temperature.

      For the more complicated electronic gizmo stuff, I refer you to RUSA #12 and/or RUSA #1609. Of the two, Pamela seems more likely to have some "pull" with Strava.