A New York City Transfer Ride to the Hudson Valley
One of my first rides outside of NYC was a Storm King and Bear Mountain Fall Foliage Epic. Since that day, I have been itching to get back to the Bear Mountain climb. I’m not the best climber but I love it still, and having a nice 10-20 minute hill within riding distance of the city is something that I have been missing.
With the weather heating up, the allure of doing long weekend rides soaking up the kilometres and sun has returned. During the week, Erwin threw out a couple of options for a long weekend ride: we could take a direct route to Bear Mountain and ride back, or we could take a more scenic route and finish at Peekskill, which has a brewery next to the train station. Given the amount of 9W miles we clock, the scenic route with a train back was a pretty clear choice for me!
We had a nice 4 course meal of climbing planned for the day:
S Mountain Road (The Orchard climb): 2.75km @ 3%
Gate Hill Road: 3.01km @ 6%
Tiorati Brook Climb (from the Bear Mountain Classic): 4.77km @ 4%
Bear Mountain: 5.67km @ 5%
After meeting up with my fellow Brooklyn boys, we headed up to meet the rest of the team at the George Washington Bridge. During the ride up, I heard a horrible squeaking chain; once I worked out it wasn’t mine, I questioned the rest of the bunch as to whose it was. Clay owned up to it but told me not to worry as he had a bottle of chain lube ready to go in his back pocket. Why was he carrying chain lube? Who knows. But I like that he was prepared. [Editor’s note: The lube was actually a result of being underprepared and over-served the night before. See below for the state of my bike – Clay]
After admiring Tom’s new Moots Vamoots RSL, it was onto 9W for some standard weekend miles. I’m not sure who suggested it but once we hit Nyack we made a detour to Boxer Donuts (which I was stoked with). Now, I have one of the worst diets going around, and have a particular weak spot for donuts. I loaded up with a chocolate sprinkle donut and coffee whilst the rest of the team went with some more sensible options.
Shortly after Nyack, we said goodbye to Daghan and Tom who were taking a shorter Dads’ route through College Hills before heading back to NYC. Most of the ride between Nyack and the Orchards was pretty uneventful until a box truck decided to take a swing at Cullen as we were descending at about 70 km/h. The result was some very intense and uncontrollable speed wobbles as Cullen waited out the crazy turbulence from the truck. Thankfully, he stayed upright and we were able to carry on.
After two of the small(er) climbs for the day were done, we returned to the site of the Bear Mountain classic and hit the descent to the bottom of Tiorati. I must say it was a much nicer descent without 70 other racers around me. We took the climb noticeably easier than we did in the race and it was nice to appreciate just how beautiful the Tiorati climb is without the suffering. Fun fact: there is a baseball field near the top of the climb. I certainly didn’t notice it during the race, and I wonder how many other fellow racers have no idea of its existence!
We came into the Bear climb near Perkins Drive; Cullen and Clay decided to go straight to the top with Cullen nursing broken ribs and Clay feeling the effects of the 37mm heavy gravel tires he was rolling on that day. Corey, Erwin and I headed to the bottom to do the full climb. I wasn’t planning on going hard on the climb but once we got into a rhythm I found it difficult not to go hard! We headed back down the descent and towards Peekskill.
Almost 5 hours of riding time later, we made it to the Peekskill Brewery for a well deserved burger and beer with about an hour spare until the next Metro North back to New York.
Oh and Clay found a short 200m stretch of gravel to justify bringing a gravel bike on a long road ride.
We took the Metro North back to Grand Central reflecting on what a great day and confirming our suspicions that we need to do transfer rides more often.