Thursday, May 20, 2010

Flatlander's Delight 200K Permanent Report

Managing RUSA permanents has several advantages. First, it's great to know that I can get out and ride an approved 200K at any time on a moment's notice. Second, it's wonderful to bring friends together to ride on some of my favorite roads and, three, I get to meet some very nice people who let me know how much they enjoyed a day in the saddle with kind notes like this one. The following came from a seasoned long distance cyclist eager to try his hand at randonneuring. This was his first 200K.

"Thanks for sending me on a spectacular ride! When it comes to landscape, New York has nothing to envy in any other state (well, maybe Hawaii). Our Hudson Valley is a beautiful place, and your route gets very intimate with it. 

Ninety per cent of the time I was alone on the road, without any other traffic of any kind. I don’t know where you found some of those back roads. Some of them seemed as private as driveways on some millionaire’s huge estate. I especially liked the dirty ones, like Oak Hill, but I was amazed at the intimacy (that word keeps coming up) of west Ghent Road, Snyderville Road, and even Abeel along the Rondout. The intelligence behind the cue sheet was always apparent.

I did manage to go the extra mile. The extra three miles, in fact, attributable to a wrong turn or two. Ah, well.  The weather was very kind. Had I gone in today’s dismal rain, I might not have spent so much of the ride saying “Oh, how beautiful!” over and over.

I put the card in the mail, accomplished and signed. This was my first experience of audax riding, and I can begin to feel the contours of the sport: self-determination, concentration, planning skills, and of course physical endurance. I look forward to improving my skills on longer rides.

Thanks again, George. I had a great time."

I'm off this weekend to scout a new permanent route through the beautiful Catskill mountains. Wish me luck.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Father-Son Odyssey: The Five Boro Bike Tour 2010

Well, at least this year it didn't rain. With temps topping out at 95, our annual father-son tromp through NYC with 32,000 of our closest friends on the 5BBT was quite different from last year's washout. It was bright skies and a light breeze the whole way.

What a joy to pedal through the streets of New York traffic free for a whole day. Unfortunately, this ride involves quite a good deal of waiting. We waited at the start, we waited at several points along the way where bike traffic actually results ingridlock and we waited at the end for the Staten Island Ferry. Luckily, though, the ferry didn't crash into the dock as it did five days later.

We spent the night again this year at my in-laws apartment a few blocks from the ride start and so were able to roll out of bed, grab a little food and roll to the start without getting into the car. Eli was a trooper again this year and despite feeling a bit under the weather, he rode strong and finished the entire 42-mile route without hesitation. He even "climbed" the Varrazano Narrows Bridge at the end with steady determination. Eli had a "new" bike this time around and while it weighed more than twice my steel Bianchi, he was happy with the upgrade. When he finally gets a reasonably weighted road bike in a few years, he won't have any idea what hit him.

Of course, there's no such thing as a perfect day, and this time dad forgot to reapply sunscreen so Eli returned home with a nice little sunburn souvenir to complement his white 2010 5BBT t-shirt. We need to make mom feel needed don't we? Next up for father-son fun: the Bike the River Valley Tour on July 18 or the New York City Century Tour on September 12? Time will tell. Can't push it too hard . . .