Bicycles | Clothing | Components | Backpacks | Books and Movies | Bottles | Electronics
Glasses | Helmets | Lubes | Nutrition | Pumps | Racks | Safety | Shoes | Skin and Muscle Care | Tools
Trailers | Trainers |Wheels and Tires
Search
rule

Why We Ride:

rule

Why Michel Marcuse Rides


Why Ali Rides


Why Brenna Rides


Why Gary Rides


Why Dan Rides


Why Lisa Rides


Why Carmelita Rides


Why the Editor of Bicycling Magazine Rides


Why Craig Rides



Favorite Ride

Well, I've done a lot of good rides in my first couple of seasons as a cyclist. I have ridden on the Long Island Expressway, around Nassau County, out to Suffolk County, to the Montauk Lighthouse, through Manhattan, in Jersey and up some monstrous hills. I've done the Tour of the Hamptons, the Northeast AIDS Ride and the Alpine Ride. With all of the good rides that I have done its hard to decide which was the best one.

The one ride that pushes ahead of the others is a ride that I did upstate. The place is the Upper Delaware Region, near the Catskills in upstate New York. The ride started in my hometown and stretched through 60 miles of neighboring towns along the Delaware River.

For many reasons this ride stands out. One element is that there is a pristine beauty that is captured in the mountains, rivers and trees in that area. My hometown will always be breath taking to me. I lived there for 22 years and it still leaves me awestruck. This ride is immeasurably beautiful. There are mountains, river valleys, waterfalls and farmlands at every turn. There is no traffic, no car alarms, no sirens, and no horn blowing to get you out of the way. People smile as they pass you safely and conscientiously. Road rage is non-existent. Basically, its not the city.

Aside from the beauty and relaxing calmness the countryside is extremely mountainous, which makes it a uniquely challenging ride.


So, let's get to the ride.

I was training for the Northeast AIDS Ride, in June of 2002. I knew that NEAR was going to be tough so, I wanted to train to be tougher. I took a week of vacation and went upstate to see my family. Of course I brought my bike.....

I took the time for 2 rides that week. One was a solo ride and the other was with a friend from Long Island. My friend Scott was doing NEAR also and he needed some hill training as well. He drove upstate about mid-week and joined me on a monster hill ride.

The night before the ride it had been rainy and very nasty. The morning of the ride it was still grey and ominous. The weather could shift at any moment. We figured that if we faced inclement weather, it was all part of the training.


The Ride was on!!

At 7AM we wheeled out of the house. My house is on a half mile long dead end road that trails back into the woods.

house

Once you hit the main road there is a sudden 2 mile downhill that's steep enough to set speed records on. And indeed we did set records. Scott and I both set our own personal high speed records. Scott even rode the brakes a bit because the roads were still a touch wet. Little did he know, it was going to get worse.

After the steep racy downhill you can coast about 2 more miles into a sleepy, one traffic light town. The town is a small river stop along the Delaware River. Once you pass by it, you don't see civilization for quite some time. After the town, you wind along the Delaware River and up and down various notable hills. When we had gotten about 12 miles out it started to rain. Scott said, "Well, its all part of training."

I agreed and we rode on. The entire trip is scenic. The road we were on overlooks the river valley for the entire time you are on it. One section goes over a road called Hawk's Nest. To someone who is new to mountains it might be considered a scary route. Hawk's Nest is such a treacherously beautiful site that is used in a lot of car commercials. Its a 55MPH zone with a suggested speed of 25MPH. It twists around like a snake slithering along the side of the cliffs. On one side there is a sheer rock face that shoots up several hundred feet. The other side is a man-made stone "Guard Rail" over which is a several hundred foot drop off that sinks down into the river valley. The view is spectacular and the ride is exhilarating.

Hawk's Nest

After Hawk's Nest, you spin for a few miles down the mountain side and back in to civilization. The area that you come to might even be considered a small city. The rain had been drizzling on and off since mile 12 but for now it had stopped. We rolled through town up to a steel deck bridge. The bridge crosses the Delaware River and heads into Pennsylvania. You cruise through a few small Pennsylvania towns and then you face the most challenging portion of the ride. A few miles into Pennsylvania there is a route that mirrors the roads we took on the New York side of the river. The only difference is that this route has enormous lung busting climbs. The climbing starts with a 3.5 mile femur bending hill that crawls out of civilization back into the sticks. One you conquer that climb there is a short flat stretch and then more climbing. We went for miles without any down hills. I was starting to think that all of Pennsylvania was uphill. Then there was a series of short unrewarding downhills. The very fact that we were dropping elevation worried me. It could only mean more climbing. Again the road inclined. This time it was steeper than ever. The climb lasted for about 2 miles, a very highly angled 2 miles. To this day, I have never ridden a hill that compares.

Scott and I both were in our lowest gears, inching our way up the hill. The incline seemed to go on forever. In mid-hill there was a turn off that we could have taken and it would have offed relief from half of the climb and about 8 miles of the total trip. I was leading and Scott was following. I knew the route and the area. I took us right past the jump off point and didn't offer the option of bailing. There were three reasons why I didn't let us bail. One being that I am a strong believer in the theory that what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. Two, given the difficulty of the situation, anyone in their right mind would have bailed, if given the option. And the third reason is that the current course was going to take us right past a spectacular waterfall.

Waterfall

When we reached the top of the hill Scott choked out enough words to say, "I have reached a new level of fatigue. Never in my life have I felt like this. I was working so hard that I drooled on myself"

Through my own exhausted breathing I said "Congratulations, we made it!"

Luckily there were a few nice long downhills after that for us to recover on. Shortly past that we reached the waterfall. Scott's eyes opened like a kid running into F.A.O Schwartz for the first time. He had never seen a waterfall before. It was there that I mentioned that we could have bailed on the nasty hill. He wasn't upset because the waterfall was so amazing.

Waterfall

We both snapped some photos of the falls and then it was back to the road. The rain had started again and it was getting a bit cold. We needed to get home. It was about 7 more miles to home. We rode about a mile through some back roads where we flew up and down some sweet rolling hills. It was a blast. We rolled onto the main road and made it about another mile when I heard a strange "Poing" noise come from my bike. I didn't even pay attention to it and just kept rolling. I looked back to see where Scott was. He was further back than I thought and I noticed he was weaving and looked a bit shaky on the bike. It was at that time that I noticed that my bike felt funny. I pulled over to check on my bike and wait up for Scott. I was worried because I had seen that bonked look before. Scott pulled over and I asked, "Are you alright?"

He replied, "I feel a bit off."

I asked, "Have you had enough fluids?"

He responded, "I only have a bit left and I wanted to save it to make it last."

I said, "Drink it all right now. We are close to town."

Then I checked my bike. The rear brake was rubbing. I adjusted the break but it was still rubbing.I couldn't figure it out. Then I saw the dangling spoke. It must have broken when I heard that noise. Damn, the wheel was warped badly. Scott helped me release the brake. Now all I had was a front brake and a wobbly back wheel. Luckily we were only about a mile from town. We headed out. There were a few more steep downhills which are pretty scary with only a front brake.

Plus, it was raining big, huge, droplets of rain. We were coasting on the downhills at about 40MPH and the rain was pelting us.

Scott yelled, "Damn rain hurts at 40 MPH"

I yelled back, "What do you mean? I haven't felt a drop yet."

Then we coasted over a bridge back into New York and back into my sleepy hometown. It was pouring. We were soaked, cold, tired and hungry. There was a little diner straight ahead.


I said, "Time to eat!"

We stashed our bikes and sloshed in out of the rain. A few locals looked at us funny because of how we were dressed. Oh well. I ordered a coffee with sugar, milk and double on the HOT! Then I ordered a bacon swiss burger with potato salad. We still had 3 very tough miles to go.

Scott thought I was an idiot for ordering such a heavy meal. I didn't care, I need fuel. BY the time we had finished eating, the rain had stopped. We were in town about 3 miles from home and we both knew what was coming. That same hill from the beginning of the ride that was meant for setting speed records loomed ahead of us. Only instead of shooting down it at break neck speeds, we'd be climbing it. Nice way to end a hard ride, right?

We took it slow to warm up after lunch. But that hill approached. I didn't know if I could make it. My bike was broken and I was tired and cold.

I went into my zone. When I am losing faith in my own strength, I shut out the world and focus.

I got low on my bike. Set a low gear. Got my spin to about 100RPM's. The incline started.


I spun.

The incline increased sharply to match the pain in my knees.


I spun.

The remainder of the hill was shortening but its steepness ever increasing.


I spun.

My lungs burned, my knees ached. I focused and repeated a rhythmic mantra in my head.


I spun.

The end of the hill was coming. The mantra came out loud as I growled at every pedal stroke.


I made it.

Then I broke focus and looked around. Scott wasn't in sight so, I started back down the hill. Soon he came into view. I pedaled up to him and reminded him how close he was to finishing. We pedaled up together.

The hill was conquered. We were home!
Favorite Ride

Well, I've done a lot of good rides in my first couple of seasons as a cyclist. I have ridden on the Long Island Expressway, around Nassau County, out to Suffolk County, to the Montauk Lighthouse, through Manhattan, in Jersey and up some monstrous hills. I've done the Tour of the Hamptons, the Northeast AIDS Ride and the Alpine Ride. With all of the good rides that I have done its hard to decide which was the best one.

The one ride that pushes ahead of the others is a ride that I did upstate. The place is the Upper Delaware Region, near the Catskills in upstate New York. The ride started in my hometown and stretched through 60 miles of neighboring towns along the Delaware River.

For many reasons this ride stands out. One element is that there is a pristine beauty that is captured in the mountains, rivers and trees in that area. My hometown will always be breath taking to me. I lived there for 22 years and it still leaves me awestruck. This ride is immeasurably beautiful. There are mountains, river valleys, waterfalls and farmlands at every turn. There is no traffic, no car alarms, no sirens, and no horn blowing to get you out of the way. People smile as they pass you safely and conscientiously. Road rage is non-existent. Basically, its not the city.

Aside from the beauty and relaxing calmness the countryside is extremely mountainous, which makes it a uniquely challenging ride.


So, let's get to the ride.

I was training for the Northeast AIDS Ride, in June of 2002. I knew that NEAR was going to be tough so, I wanted to train to be tougher. I took a week of vacation and went upstate to see my family. Of course I brought my bike.....

I took the time for 2 rides that week. One was a solo ride and the other was with a friend from Long Island. My friend Scott was doing NEAR also and he needed some hill training as well. He drove upstate about mid-week and joined me on a monster hill ride.

The night before the ride it had been rainy and very nasty. The morning of the ride it was still grey and ominous. The weather could shift at any moment. We figured that if we faced inclement weather, it was all part of the training.


The Ride was on!!

At 7AM we wheeled out of the house. My house is on a half mile long dead end road that trails back into the woods.

house

Once you hit the main road there is a sudden 2 mile downhill that's steep enough to set speed records on. And indeed we did set records. Scott and I both set our own personal high speed records. Scott even rode the brakes a bit because the roads were still a touch wet. Little did he know, it was going to get worse.

After the steep racy downhill you can coast about 2 more miles into a sleepy, one traffic light town. The town is a small river stop along the Delaware River. Once you pass by it, you don't see civilization for quite some time. After the town, you wind along the Delaware River and up and down various notable hills. When we had gotten about 12 miles out it started to rain. Scott said, "Well, its all part of training."

I agreed and we rode on. The entire trip is scenic. The road we were on overlooks the river valley for the entire time you are on it. One section goes over a road called Hawk's Nest. To someone who is new to mountains it might be considered a scary route. Hawk's Nest is such a treacherously beautiful site that is used in a lot of car commercials. Its a 55MPH zone with a suggested speed of 25MPH. It twists around like a snake slithering along the side of the cliffs. On one side there is a sheer rock face that shoots up several hundred feet. The other side is a man-made stone "Guard Rail" over which is a several hundred foot drop off that sinks down into the river valley. The view is spectacular and the ride is exhilarating.

Hawk's Nest

After Hawk's Nest, you spin for a few miles down the mountain side and back in to civilization. The area that you come to might even be considered a small city. The rain had been drizzling on and off since mile 12 but for now it had stopped. We rolled through town up to a steel deck bridge. The bridge crosses the Delaware River and heads into Pennsylvania. You cruise through a few small Pennsylvania towns and then you face the most challenging portion of the ride. A few miles into Pennsylvania there is a route that mirrors the roads we took on the New York side of the river. The only difference is that this route has enormous lung busting climbs. The climbing starts with a 3.5 mile femur bending hill that crawls out of civilization back into the sticks. One you conquer that climb there is a short flat stretch and then more climbing. We went for miles without any down hills. I was starting to think that all of Pennsylvania was uphill. Then there was a series of short unrewarding downhills. The very fact that we were dropping elevation worried me. It could only mean more climbing. Again the road inclined. This time it was steeper than ever. The climb lasted for about 2 miles, a very highly angled 2 miles. To this day, I have never ridden a hill that compares.

Scott and I both were in our lowest gears, inching our way up the hill. The incline seemed to go on forever. In mid-hill there was a turn off that we could have taken and it would have offed relief from half of the climb and about 8 miles of the total trip. I was leading and Scott was following. I knew the route and the area. I took us right past the jump off point and didn't offer the option of bailing. There were three reasons why I didn't let us bail. One being that I am a strong believer in the theory that what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. Two, given the difficulty of the situation, anyone in their right mind would have bailed, if given the option. And the third reason is that the current course was going to take us right past a spectacular waterfall.

Waterfall

When we reached the top of the hill Scott choked out enough words to say, "I have reached a new level of fatigue. Never in my life have I felt like this. I was working so hard that I drooled on myself"

Through my own exhausted breathing I said "Congratulations, we made it!"

Luckily there were a few nice long downhills after that for us to recover on. Shortly past that we reached the waterfall. Scott's eyes opened like a kid running into F.A.O Schwartz for the first time. He had never seen a waterfall before. It was there that I mentioned that we could have bailed on the nasty hill. He wasn't upset because the waterfall was so amazing.

Waterfall

We both snapped some photos of the falls and then it was back to the road. The rain had started again and it was getting a bit cold. We needed to get home. It was about 7 more miles to home. We rode about a mile through some back roads where we flew up and down some sweet rolling hills. It was a blast. We rolled onto the main road and made it about another mile when I heard a strange "Poing" noise come from my bike. I didn't even pay attention to it and just kept rolling. I looked back to see where Scott was. He was further back than I thought and I noticed he was weaving and looked a bit shaky on the bike. It was at that time that I noticed that my bike felt funny. I pulled over to check on my bike and wait up for Scott. I was worried because I had seen that bonked look before. Scott pulled over and I asked, "Are you alright?"

He replied, "I feel a bit off."

I asked, "Have you had enough fluids?"

He responded, "I only have a bit left and I wanted to save it to make it last."

I said, "Drink it all right now. We are close to town."

Then I checked my bike. The rear brake was rubbing. I adjusted the break but it was still rubbing.I couldn't figure it out. Then I saw the dangling spoke. It must have broken when I heard that noise. Damn, the wheel was warped badly. Scott helped me release the brake. Now all I had was a front brake and a wobbly back wheel. Luckily we were only about a mile from town. We headed out. There were a few more steep downhills which are pretty scary with only a front brake.

Plus, it was raining big, huge, droplets of rain. We were coasting on the downhills at about 40MPH and the rain was pelting us.

Scott yelled, "Damn rain hurts at 40 MPH"

I yelled back, "What do you mean? I haven't felt a drop yet."

Then we coasted over a bridge back into New York and back into my sleepy hometown. It was pouring. We were soaked, cold, tired and hungry. There was a little diner straight ahead.


I said, "Time to eat!"

We stashed our bikes and sloshed in out of the rain. A few locals looked at us funny because of how we were dressed. Oh well. I ordered a coffee with sugar, milk and double on the HOT! Then I ordered a bacon swiss burger with potato salad. We still had 3 very tough miles to go.

Scott thought I was an idiot for ordering such a heavy meal. I didn't care, I need fuel. BY the time we had finished eating, the rain had stopped. We were in town about 3 miles from home and we both knew what was coming. That same hill from the beginning of the ride that was meant for setting speed records loomed ahead of us. Only instead of shooting down it at break neck speeds, we'd be climbing it. Nice way to end a hard ride, right?

We took it slow to warm up after lunch. But that hill approached. I didn't know if I could make it. My bike was broken and I was tired and cold.

I went into my zone. When I am losing faith in my own strength, I shut out the world and focus.

I got low on my bike. Set a low gear. Got my spin to about 100RPM's. The incline started.


I spun.

The incline increased sharply to match the pain in my knees.


I spun.

The remainder of the hill was shortening but its steepness ever increasing.


I spun.

My lungs burned, my knees ached. I focused and repeated a rhythmic mantra in my head.


I spun.

The end of the hill was coming. The mantra came out loud as I growled at every pedal stroke.


I made it.

Then I broke focus and looked around. Scott wasn't in sight so, I started back down the hill. Soon he came into view. I pedaled up to him and reminded him how close he was to finishing. We pedaled up together.

The hill was conquered. We were home!
Send This Story To a Friend
Your Name:
Friends Email Address:
Your Email Address:
Custom Message:
Banner Ad

Banner Ad