Thursday, October 31, 2013

Any Excuse for a Hot Cider Donut: Coffeeneuring Part 3

No autumn gastronomic cycling challenge in the Hudson Valley is complete without a stop at a local farm stand for some hot mulled cider and a fresh cider donut. The Apple Bin is a local favorite, perched on western shore of the Hudson River along a particularly bucolic stretch of iconic Route 9W. Last Sunday, I carved out a short loop in the crisp morning air, while enjoying the remaining color in the trees along the way.

Location: Ulster Park, NY
Venue: Apple Bin Farm Market
Berverage: Hot mulled cider
Carbs: Cider donut
Mileage: 16

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Coffeeeneuring Ramble to Stone Ridge: Day 2

Day two of the Coffeeneuring Challenge brought me to the village of Stone Ridge, NY, which lies just a few miles away from Kingston. Filled with stately colonial homes, Stone Ridge served as the temporary capitol after the burning of Kingston by British troops in 1777.

The weather today was again glorious as I pedaled through several lovely Hudson Valley towns (some which will be featured in future Coffeeneuring adventures) on my way to Stone Ridge.

The hamlet of Stone Ridge sits at atop a hill as the name implies so I was happy to see Jack and Luna's Cafe as I reached the end of my climb. I was less happy, though, when I saw the scant collection of baked goods that was left on the counter at 11:30am, but selected this miniature lemon poppy bundt cake in hopes that the tremendous flavor would make up for it's diminutive size. I was sadly disappointed, though, and the coffee wasn't much to rave about either. 

So after finishing up at Jack and Luna's, I said hello to a few friends and swiftly rode down Main Street and descended the ridge to begin my trek home, already visualizing where coffeeneuring would lead me next weekend.

Location: Stone Ridge, NY
Venue: Jack and Luna's Cafe
Coffee: Hot and black
Carbs: Itsy, bitsy lemon poppy bundt cake
Mileage: 36

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Little Late to the Party: Coffeeneuring Challenge Ride #1

I know, I know, it's been WEEKS since this challenge began. It's been a bit busy recently, so today marked my first stab at the Third Annual Coffeeneuring Challenge. Unlike past years, this time around I think I'll follow a theme or a plan of some sort. Yes, this year I'll ride to seven separate towns that represent my some of my the amazing richness of life in the Hudson Valley.

I begin my odyssey with a ride to one of the earliest European settlements in the area. Originally named Esopus, Kingston, NY was settled, along with Albany and New Amsterdam, by the Dutch in 1651. It persisted as a Dutch settlement for many years, but like most of the area, was taken over by English-speaking colonists during the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1777, Kingston became the capitol of New York State for a short time until the city was torched by British soldiers during the American Revolution. The historic Senate House and several of the other 17th century stone homes are open for tours.

Today, Kingston is divided into three sections, the most interesting of which is the Uptown or Stockade district. Filled with historic stone homes, the area is also home to a growing community of artists and creative souls. The Outdated Cafe is one of my favorites. Where else can you sit and enjoy a giant, freshly baked pear scone with piping hot Costa Rica gold alongside antique dress frames and manual typewriters? I almost felt like a hipster!

Location: Kingston, NY
Venue: Outdated Cafe
Coffee: French Roast Costa Rican
Carbs: Pear Scone
Mileage: 32

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The NYC 200K: Sometimes an Ending Feels like a Beginning

I've ridden so little this year, that when I clipped in for the NYC 200K this morning, it was only my third organized brevet of 2013. With a new job and the general family commitments that come with raising teenage children, it's been harder than usual to get into a rhythm of training and brevet riding. For a variety of reasons, today's ride felt more like a beginning than an ending. While others are winding down, I feel like I'm just getting started.

Today was one of those lovely fall days you just don't want to end. Chilly in the morning, but warm in the afternoon as the sun reached our shoulders through the trees whose leaves are starting to thin. It was great to see some familiar faces at the start and Robin L. and I fell into a similar pace as we crossed the George Washington Bridge to New Jersey. Not far off the pace of the lead rider, a guy from Connecticut named Chris (why is everyone form Connecticut named Chris so darn fast?), we settled into a rhythm that allowed us to catch up with each other and make good time simultaneously.

The Bear Mountain area was spectacular with view of the Hudson punctuated with the yellows, oranges and reds of fall. Even the Perkins Drive climb seemed well worth it for the panoramic view of the valley below. The route news of the day was not Perkins Drive, however, but Arden Valley Road which was repaved in black gold since the last time the event was run. This road, which winds through a deep and quiet section of the park, used to have a surface that was so treacherous, it was not only unpleasant, but downright dangerous to ride. That's all a distant memory now, as one can see from the photo above of Robin climbing one of the many hills in the park along Arden Valley Road with confidence.

The lunch stop at the Monroe Bagel Boys could not have come at a better time. I ordered up a delicious chicken salad sandwich (complete with grapes) on a sesame seed bagel which really hit the spot. We ate lunch with Mordecai S. who soon caught up with us and rode the second half the day in our company.

So while this ride was a season-ender for many, I felt as though I was just getting started, having combed the 2014 RUSA calendar one morning last week to plan for the season ahead.