Early in the week my 11 year-old son, planning his slumber birthday party for Friday night, circulated a single sheet of paper with rules for each family member. My portion included:
RULES FOR KAI’S BIRTHDAY PARTY
Rules for Dad:
· If going on bike ride must leave by 3:30 or earlier
· If home must be confined to room or “The Chair”
· Do not bother any of the guests
· Do not join party guests for dinner
· BE NICE
My first anti-authoritarian inclination when confronted with “rules”, is to find a way to challenge them. I asked Kai if maybe I could teach the boys juggling, do some magic and maybe even make animal balloons for everyone. Kai was not amused and kept reminding me all week that the weather was looking good for a long bike ride out of town on Friday and Saturday. Pam also thought it might be a good opportunity for me to vacate the premises and take Kai’s advice to “leave by 3:30 or earlier.” Oh, the indignity of being kicked out of my own home… Oh, the joy of a fully sanctioned opportunity to get away and ride my bike! So, I presented Kai with his birthday presents (a new Sansa Clip MP3 player, headphones, his own Rhapsody subscription and a cool T-shirt from the last climate change negotiations in Bonn) and took off on MetroNorth at 2:52 pm up to Poughkeepsie to get in a full-day’s bike ride on Saturday.
After a long cold winter riding the Tacx Fortius indoor trainer, talking trash with Joe Barton over Skype on virtual group rides, this was a chance to put those hours of RealLife video training behind us and go for a real life bike ride. Joe’s wife, Wendy, kindly offered to put me up in the guest room at their home in Stone Ridge, about 35 km northwest of Poughkeepsie.
It is Full Forsythia weekend. These shaped hedges were gorgeous on my ride through Highland, from the Mid-Hudson bridge up along the Wallkill River, at the base of the Shawangunk ridge and then towards Rosendale.
Nice ride in the late afternoon: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/3895916
Wendy cooked muffins for breakfast and we headed out at 8:30. Two weeks ago there was snow. Now, it’s jerseys and sleeves with shorts. Spring is here. This is our ride.
Above photo in Woodstock at “Bread Alone” having espresso and snacks after those 40 km/h pulls on the flats blasting along Wittenberg Road.
20 degrees, riding south along the Hudson on River Road, south of Port Ewen.
At about seventy kilometers into the ride, we climbed up off of River Road, crossed 9W and headed back over to the west, hoping to parallel the highway along some peaceful, flat, country roads heading towards Highland and the Mid-Hudson bridge (where beer and lunch awaited.)
The Garmin 705 is a lovely but stupid piece of equipment, which knows nothing about contour lines. Is it asking too much to make a GPS bicycling computer that understand contour lines? Not too difficult, I would think. So, when the miniscule brain of the cycling GPS computes a route, it looks at the little elevation lines and when they are all bunched up next to each other bisecting a road, it says, “Oh, shit, that is one big ass hill. I don’t think I’m going to send my owner pedaling that way… maybe there is a way around the big ass hill.”
Oh, and yes, Joe, when you suddenly remember that you have heard about Popletown Road because you drove it once in your car and thought, “Oh, that is one big ass hill” you should say, “Kimo, maybe we could turn around here and NOT go up this big ass hill because it actually turns into one seriously steep unpaved mother up ahead.” Either my riding partner or the GPS should be smart enough. We climbed the big ass hill.
At 80 km on the map is Popletown Road. This is NOT what you want to ride after several hours on the bike. The sign, “Seasonal Limited Use Highway” is another clear signal that you do NOT want to go any further up the road.
So, we did 101 km in a little over four hours with 1495 meters of climbing. Moving average 24.1, which is not bad for a pair of grey beards through the hills. Beers and food at Cliffy’s River Station in Poughkeepsie and I took the 2:41 train back to New York.
So, this is what I missed… Kai and his friends having pizza. Much better decision to vacate the premises.