Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Catskill Climbfest 200K: PBP Tune-up Edition

Passing the Ashokan Reservoir with the Catskills off in the distance.

Some days it feels like I'm attempting to complete PBP on the absolute minimum amount of training possible and on others I remind myself that I've ridden a full series, a few hilly 200Ks and a fleche this year so everything should work out OK. Having completed the Lap of the Lake 1000K last summer without difficulty also brings me comfort as I realize that there is likely some residual fitness in there that I'll be able to draw upon in a pinch. With PBP a little over a month away, I wanted to top off whatever training I have under the hood with a challenging 200K and so put out the word and collected six friends to join me in the effort.

It was great to have such broad geographic representation on our little adventure with Robin L. (NYC) and Ed S. (NYC and Millerton, NY), Bob T. (NJ) Don N. (CT), David D. (CT) and Andrey B. (Rosendale) clipping in at the 7:00 am start.

One would be hard pressed to find a nicer 200K to ride on a warm summer day. There are two epic climbs on the Catskill Climbfest that give the route it's name. On each of these hills, our band split up a bit, but regrouped at the following controls, which made for a nice day of social riding that was (hopefully) neither too fast nor too slow for any of the participants. In between these two climbs are some healthy rollers and absolutely lovely valleys. It's a route replete with low traffic roads and stunning views. Deep in the heart of Rip Van Winkle country without cell phone coverage for much of the day, it's easy to feel like you've entered into a different world. I've never ridden a 200K I like as much. To ride it with friends brings additional pleasure.

There's nothing quite like a chicken salad sandwich at mile 90.9.

Even with some leisurely stops at the controls, we all finished at around the 10.5 hour mark, which left me feeling as though the day was not only fun, but that it, perhaps, also left us stronger than when we started.


  1. Thanks for the great ride George. It was nice to ride your route with others and to once again bask in the satisfaction of completing this tough and gorgeous permanent!

  2. Thanks, Don. Great riding with you again. Welcome back! Let's get out for another ride this fall.

  3. Good luck at PBP, George. I'll be rooting for you and all the other New England, NY & NJ, and PA randonneurs. Wish I could be there but I have a family reunion conflict. Instead, I did a big ride last week, the pre-ride for the Downeast 1000K. A real beast with 37,000 of climbing and steep. Maybe I'll see you at Westfield 200K in September. Until then--bon courage! Jan Dembinski