Sunday, August 30, 2009


The last three weekend rides I did were solo on the Brands route and West Hills. A good training route, but mostly it was a combination of weather, work, and family schedule that kept me from hooking up on any group rides. I was glad to see an e-mail from Todd last night about getting together for a ride up to the North shore.

I went out early for two solo laps on the Jones Beach Bike path. Stopped home to grab a banana, then met up with Todd, Harvey, and Matt by 7:30 AM. We did a moderate pace ride to the North shore, Bayville, Brookville, etc. No way I could remember the exact route but lots of familiar roads from the Gold Coast, Triangle Ride, and Mansion Ride. We had planned to go to Sagamore Hill but a triathalon in-progress had the road closed, leading us to an unexpected ascent of the steep Mill Hill Rd.

We made one short stop for a couple of guys to refill bottles, and headed back. Together, we probably did about 50 miles. My total for the day, 74.36 miles. A good endurance ride with enough hills to keep us honest. Thanks Todd, Harvey, and Matt for a great ride!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Eaton's Neck and East Island

Great ride today with Mike W. Exchanged a few e-mails, text messages, and phone calls and agreed to meet this morning at 5:30 AM for an 85-100 mile ride to the North Shore. Mike had a few route options in mind. In the end, we settled on a loose "triangular" route from Wantagh, northeast to Eaton's Neck, west to East Island, then back south to Wantagh. Eaton's Neck and East Island would be connected by a VERY hilly 35-mile portion of the Gold Coast route.

At Eaton's Neck.

We met up at Brands before dawn with headlights and blinkies. Heading up Round Swamp Rd. there was no longer any need for the lights by the time we go to Old Country Road. We took OCR to Greenlawn then followed Mike's GPS out to Eaton's Neck, covering about 30 miles. A few people fishing there, otherwise a calm, quiet morning. We snacked on some energy bars and took a couple of photos.

Back on the bikes we left Eaton's Neck and hooked up with the Gold Coast route on Rt. 25A. It didn't take long before we started grinding up the short steep hills that this route if known for. We followed the road markings for about 35-miles, constantly ascending and descending along the hilly North Shore. By mile 65, we needed a short break for another energy bar and also to figure out how to link in a diversion to East Island.

As luck would have it, we ran into another cyclist also heading to East Island and he put us on the right track to the beach there. Soaking up the scenery there, bathroom break, and a couple of more photos. By now we were both feeling the heat of the day and taking note of our dwindling water supplies. A few short miles after leaving East Island we found a little coffee shop and replenished our water bottles.

The next goal was the traditional Gold Coast rest stop in Roslyn to evaluate our options for the last miles of our ride. We pulled into Roslyn with 75 miles covered so far. At this point, we were both feeling the effects of the midday heat and the hills and decided to head for home. Following the Gold Coast route until it intersected Westbury Rd., we then headed south, finally connecting with Merrick Ave.

After a quick rolling handshake, we headed our separate ways, a total of 88 miles done. Thanks to Mike for coming up with this great route, navigating via GPS, and posting these photos. Looking forward to our next ride.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Improvised Century

Woke up to a warm, sunny day today. Planned on doing the Brands group ride at 7:00 AM, so I had an early breakfast and was out by 6:00 AM for some warm-up miles on the Jones Beach bike path.

Had good legs today and the warm-up turned into a 20-mile ITT, probably around 21-22 MPH average. Pulled into the Brands lot just in time for the ride start. Up Round Swamp Rd., six of us split off the front and set a brisk tempo up the LIE service road. Usual attacks on the hills, but some peleton etiquette should be reviewed.

(stepping on to soapbox...)
I'm all for attacking on the climbs in the name of friendly competition, but if a rider is strong enough to blow up the group on a climb, he/she should pitch-in and take a pull on the flats, not just wheelsuck for 90 percent of the ride.
(stepping off soapbox...)

We stopped on the way back down the LIE after one rider got a double flat. By then, the main group caught us and we all continued back to Round Swamp. Here is a photo from Mike (@M1CW on Twitter).
Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

I was feeling like I wanted to ride more so I split off solo to do West Hills, another lap on the LIE, West Hills in reverse direction, one more trip up Round Swamp to Rt. 25, then home. Nabbed the century and really enjoyed a great ride in the sun.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Familiar Ground

Back on Long Island on Monday night, did the old Brands route solo on Tuesday and Friday and mixed in a couple of short runs on Wednesday and Friday. I want to add in running one or two days a week for some cross training and also thinking it will be a good alternative to the bike in bad weather.

Did the Kreb Friday Night race for the first time all year. Got a mediocre 9th place in the B race. No breakaways so a big sprint at the end. Tried a small dig with 2 laps to go but got pulled back. Some effective team tactics going on, four or five riders with red tape on their arms worked together to setup one guy for the prime at 9 laps to go. Not common for the B race, usually not very organized in terms of team strategy.

Saturday, was a fast group ride with the Brands crew. Group of 7 or 8 formed in Dix Hills and we kept a high pace for the rest of the ride. I took a direct route home skipping the regroup at Brands.

This morning, supposed to rain so I did a couple of laps on the Jones Beach bike path. Second lap, at the third bridge, I see a guy running back, wearing cleats, pushing his bike along. I ask if he needs help and he says he got a flat, another rider tried to pump his tire with CO2 but it wouldn't hold air. I stop to help, he's never had a flat on his bike before and he has no tube, no pump, no tire levers, no patch kit, nada. We locate a sliver of metal in the tire. I patch the tube for him, remount the tire and inflate with CO2 to get him on his way. My good deed for the day!

Last day of vacation today :-( so back to the grind tomorrow morning. Not looking forward to it.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Early Morning on Harris Hill

Leaving for home today. Went for an early morning ride up Harris Hill in Big Flats, NY. Same ride as yesterday. Chilly 55F this morning and dense fog in the valley. Warmed up on the climb up Harris Hill and arived at the top in bright sun. Nice 30.5 mile loop.

Looking back at the road I climbed up to the top of Harris Hill.

Thick fog blanketing the valley.

Me and the bike at the top of Harris Hill.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Middletown to Corning Ride Report

I successfully completed my 2-day solo bike ride from Middletown to Corning, NY. I have to admit, it was a bit different than expected. Day 1 had an INSANE amount of climbing. I'm definitely in doubt of the 5700 ft. reported by Need some further investigation on this, felt like twice that! Not so steep, but lots of long grinding climbs in the 42x26. I'll try to put together a little narrative of the trip. It seems like there are so many little incidents over 2 days and 200 miles of riding. Lots of riding through the woods, farmland, and small rural towns. A couple of busy roads but they were few and far between. Sometimes testing my limits as a rider, most of the time enjoying the best things that cycling has to offer.

Day 1 - Middletown to Deposit
Mile 0 - Up at 5:00 AM at the Super 8 in Middletown, where I was dropped of the night before. PB&J for breakfast, fill water bottles and Camelbak, then checkout. Nervous about the rain and thunderstorms heading into the area. The desk clerk takes a look at me and my bike and says, "I hope you're not going far, it looks like rain." I think to myself, "Not too far, just 100 miles!" Rain starts, just as I clip in at 5:50 AM.

Mile 5 - Hook up with Bike Rt. 17. Rain has stopped, but I'm soaked to the skin.

Mile 25 - Good amount of climbing, then a 4-mile long descent, 35-40 MPH, awesome! Rolling into Port Jervis.

Mile 30 - Following Rt. 97, North, considered a "Scenic Byway" along the Delaware River. Yes, very scenic, but an extreme amount of climbing! Has anyone at the NYS Department of Transportation actually ridden this route on bike? Nothing really steep, but a challenge due to the frequency and length of the climbs.

Mile 35 - Came within 100 yards of a black bear. A woman in a car coming the other way warns me of a bear in the road. I see the bear, we look at each other, I back off. I wait for a couple of cars to go by and scare the bear back into the woods before I hammer past on my bike. SCARY!

Mile 55 - Rain starts again, slowly getting heavier as the miles pass.

Mike 70 - 35 MPH descent in the rain to test the nerves. I climb into Calicoon, rain gets alot more intense and the sky turns black. Rain is too heavy to proceed and getting a bit dangerous. I pull under an awning at a hotel and call Linda on the cell phone and ask her to login and check the weather. She says there is a storm cell over Calicoon but it should pass in about an hour. I wait for 45 minutes, eat a CLIF bar, until the rain lightens then head out again.

Mile 80 - Crest a 10-mile climb I've been ascending since Calicoon. Steady rain. Thinking about asking Linda to meet me at Hancock to pick me up and forget the whole thing.

Mile 90 - Arrive in Hancock, still raining. Bike Route 17 wants to send me on a 30-mile loop to Deposit. I talk to a local at the Sunoco and he gives me a route of about 20 miles. I go for the shorter version.

Mile 100 - The "shortcut" has sent me over 10 miles of new chipseal (gravel). Finally get to Rt. 10 for the descent to Deposit.

Mile 112 - Arrive at the Deposit Inn, dripping wet at the front desk. Talking to the owner about my ride, where I came from, where I'm going. He hands me a rag to wipe off my bike and doesn't bat an eye about me bring the bike into the room with me. Rinse out my bike clothes and hang them to dry. Get some dinner at Wendys. Tomorrow should be an easier day, good weather is forecast, and should be much less climbing. Later, I wheel the bike out of my room to oil the chain. The owner sees me and asks if I'm going for a ride! Take a little walk to stretch the legs, then relax in front of the TV.

Day 2 - Deposit to Corning
Mile 0 - Out at dawn, CLIF bar for breakfast.

Mile 20 - The right shift lever is stuck and won't shift the rear derailleur. My 27-speed is now a 3-speed. I fiddle with it for a few minutes with my multi-tool and get it working, but I will need to baby it for the rest of the day. Must have gotten mucked up with the rain from yesterday. There's heavy fog but at the top of the hills, I can see a little blue sky.

Mile 25 - Passing through Binghamton.

Mile 55 - Need some energy, stop in Owego for a cup of coffee and an apple danish.

Mile 80 - Been cruising the last 25 miles! Some climbing, but no problem compared to yesterday. Legs feeling a little drained.

Mile 102 - Meet the familiy who are driving to Harris Hill park for pool and BBQ. I'll finish the ride to Corning then drive back to meet them.

Mile 108 - Arrive in Corning. Mission Accomplished! Shower, yogurt, banana, and back out the door for a fun afternoon at the park.

So, 2 days, 220 miles, its done. It been said, "Adventures suck while your having them." Possibly true in this case with the horrendous weather and brutal climbing on Day 1. But I am SO glad I did it! A bunch of experiences I will thinking about for days, weeks, months, and years to come.

On the practical side:
0 flats on my Continental Gatorskins with 3500 miles already on them :-)
Probably packed too much. Besides my shorts, jersey, helmet shoes, and gloves:
- Camelbak Blowfish hydration backpack containing pump, spare folding tire, tube, 7 CLIF bars, mix for 3 bottles, maps, GPS, camera, non-bike clothes (shorts & t-shirt), sandals, rain cape, blinkie light, cell phone, money, credit card.
- Seat bag containing two tubes, multi-tool, patch kit, CO2 inflator, tire levers.

Whats next?...

P.S. According to elevation, Day 1 7418 ft., Day 2 3698 ft. These seem reasonable.