Saturday, November 21, 2015

My Coffeeneuring Round-Up (2015)

Autumn is a lovely time to be alive in the Hudson Valley and this year was no exception. In fact, it's been one of the most spectacular years anyone seems to remember. Mild temperatures, dry weather and gorgeous foliage have all contributed to create pretty much ideal riding conditions. While work and family demands kept me off the bike more than I would have liked, I was still able to get out for some remarkable riding and the Coffeeneuring Challenge helped me to make this happen for a fifth year in a row.

Coffeeneuring helps us celebrate and enjoy not only the coming of fall, but also the restful transition between the intensity of summer riding and the buildup to base-training for the cycling season ahead. No wonder this global phenomenon is so popular!

Ride 1 (October 17)
The Mudd Puddle - New Paltz, New York
3 miles
Double espresso

An important autumn ritual involves bike maintenance at the end of a busy season of riding. I stopped at the Mudd Puddle, one of my favorite cafes in New Paltz, on my way to the Bicycle Depot to have them investigate some shifting trouble I was experiencing. Turns out I needed a whole new drive train. Maybe I should have had something stronger than a double espresso. Ack!

Ride 2 (October 18)
Fika - New York City
8 miles
Black coffee and a blueberry muffin

While I had to work in NYC on this particular Sunday, I made sure to stop off for a coffee and a muffin on my way downtown from Grand Central. I was finally able to justify an annual CitiBike membership now that the network has spread above 59th Street and riding in NYC never gets old. It may have been the most expensive cup of coffee in this series, but it sure hit the spot.

Ride 3 (October 24)
Minnewaska State Park - New Paltz, New York
25 miles
Hot chocolate and chocolate covered macaroons

My daughter arrived home for a week-long college break just as the leaves reached peak form. I took the opportunity to swap my road tires for a pair of Clement 35mm cyclocross tires and we hit the gorgeous carriage trails in Minnewaska State Park to enjoy the season in all its glory. Since there were no coffee shops for miles around, we decided to fill a Thermos with hot chocolate and brought along some gourmet chocolate macaroons for nourishment.

Ride 4 (October 25)
The Apple Bin - Esopus, New York
14 miles
Black coffee and an apple cider donut.

One of the several short rides I was able to fit in this fall brought me to the local Apple Bin farm stand where I was able to enjoy a hot cup of black coffee and a fresh apple cider donut, one of their seasonal specialities.

Ride 5 (October 31)
The Bakery - New Paltz, New York
51 miles
Black coffee and a classic black and white

On my longest ride in the series, I arranged to meet up with my friend Doug, a fellow PBP ancien, to explore the carriage trails in Mohonk Preserve while discussing our travels to Paris in August. On the way home, I stopped at The Bakery in the village of New Paltz for a hot cup of coffee and a classic black and white cookie just in time to see the award-winning pumpkins in the annual Halloween pumpkin contest.

Ride 6 (November 14)
Slabsides - West Park, New York
4 miles
Black coffee

I spent the penultimate day of the challenge blowing thousands of leaves off my lawn with a rented leaf blower. As a result, there was no time for riding until sundown when I grabbed my bike, a light and some coffee and headed for the top of the ridge behind my house to the site of John Burroughs' rustic Slabsides cabin to watch the sun set.

Ride 7 (November 15)
Shaupeneak Ridge - Esopus, New York
10 miles
Black coffee

I spent the final day of the challenge on some important seasonal house chores, but I was also able to get in one final ride up Shaupeneak Ridge as the sun fell low in the sky. Thank goodness for the Coffeeshop Without Walls rule or I would not have made it this year! Thanks too, MG, for all of your Coffeeneuring leadership. Onward to 2016!