Sunday, July 21, 2013

Rapha Rising: Mission Accomplished.

The Rapha Rising Challenge? Climb 7235 meters in eight days. Upload your rides to Strava.

Sunday, July 14 - Catskill Climbfest 200K
I began this week's challenge with a great solo ride through the Catskills. Unfortunately, Strava feet are not the same as Garmin feet or RideWithGPS feet (or so it seems) as I quickly realized that Strava "discounted' all of the climbing I did this week by at least 20%. This ride clocks in at 9,663 on my computer and Strava claims it's only 7,557. Hey, they're throwing the party so who's to argue? I guess I just need to climb a bit more.

Monday, July 15 - Carney-Popletown Loop
Right out the backdoor, I was able to enjoy 2095 feet of climbing over 19.7 miles. Yum!

Tuesday, July 16 - Catskills Loop
I had to meet with a colleague who lives up by Haine's Falls, right off one of my favorite Catskill climbs, so I decided to drive to Woodstock and ride to her house in the morning and back to the car in the afternoon. The result? 48.3 miles of riding with 3661 feet of climbing (and some pretty spectacular views).

Wednesday, July 17 - Short Afternoon Ride
More hills, nothing fancy. Only an hour and a half to spare.

Thursday, July 18 - Mohonk-Mountain-Carney-Popletown Loop
This afternoon, I strung four of my favorite climbs together for 3,767 feet of vertical over 38 miles. That's 100 feet per mile, folks.

Friday, July 19 - Carney-Popletown Double Cross
At this point in the week, I was reduced to looking for maximum feet vertical for every mile ridden. Luckily, I have two big hills just a few miles from home, so I could get 2100 feet of climbing over the course of 15 miles.

Saturday, July 20 - Pre-Bat Mitzvh Double Cross
Same ride as Friday, but I just squeezed it in early in the morning.

Sunday, July 21 - Minnewaska-Mohonk Loop AND the Popletown Quadruple Bypass
I started the day with a nice ride with an old riding buddy. We met up at his house and took in a favorite loop over the Shawangunk Ridge via 44/55 and Mountain Rest Road. This morning's ride pushed me over the top, but I had a slice of time between yard work and dinner and knew that one more Popletown crossing (this time a Quadruple Bypass) would push me just a few more spaces up the leaderboard.

The final result? Mission accomplished. 26, 246 feet of climbing in 8 days. The prize? A patch, that may or may not even show up in my mailbox. The best outcome? I think that this training overload really did improved my climbing fitness a bit. I also think I'll take tomorrow off.

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!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Just Another Medium Training Ride

It's strange, but lately I've been forgetting about the good old "medium" training ride. Seems like I'm either heading out for shorter 1-2 hour rides or spending the whole day in the saddle. Missing have been the glorious half day rides that make you feel good to be alive. Last weekend, it was a trip down from the Catskill High Peaks and today it was a 70-mile loop that took me over the Shawangunk Ridge to the far side of Ulster County where, if the bumper stickers on the pick-up trucks are an accurate measure, quite a few people are none to happy with our President. Politics aside, the climbing was robust and the views were sublime. 

The Shawangunks always remind me places I've been out West.  

This guy brought a smile to my face.

My favorite local "S" curve is now paved in black gold.