In the ebb of flow of riding the past few months have been rough. Real life has intruded on bike life with a variety of factors combining to reduce my time on two wheels to a level lower than at any point in the prior eight years - going back to my early days of racing.
My fitness has waned as a result but thankfully I have still managed to fit in some incredible adventures with the TBD boys as we roamed from Baltimore to Gloucester in pursuit of some of the best cyclocross races in the country. Those weekends quickly became some of my favorite of the entire year but in the tradition of 'In Search of Fall Color' there is no replacing a relaxing day spent cruising empty roads and secret trails.
Herein lies the beauty of fall in New York City: there are an incredible number of foliage hunting destinations to select from, be it the Gunks, Westchester County or options in between. For this weekend - perhaps our only clear shot at enjoying a proper ride in search of fall color before an untimely storm rolls through - we decided to head up the banks of the Hudson for the always popular Cold Springs Mountain climb.
With my last proper interval workout coming sometime in late May (it's been a while to say the least) and Lisa riding my Garneau Steeple-XC cyclocross bike, our pace was anything but fast. But fast wasn't really the point.
We labored up several the paved climb taking in the views and enjoying the color along the Hudson River. We snuck in a few explorations on side trails and a few more uncomfortably steep (I never swapped out my 11-23 cassette from race season) paved climbs before diving onto some of our favorite gravel roads for what was undoubtedly the best part of the day.
Here, away from cars, other riders, and the stresses of real life, our lack of fitness was a distant concern. Instead we meanered through the woods, traversing dams and just generally taking it all in.
From there we ended the day the way all proper fall rides should end: with some freshly made cider doughnuts at a nearby apple orchard. Taken as a whole it's doubtful that the day's journey contributed to what will undoubtedly be a long, slow process of rebuilding fitness. But it was certainly a breath of fresh air after too little time on the bike in recent months, building a bit of peace of mind that will hopefully pay dividends during the cold winter months to come.