My oldest son, Sam, took up residence yesterday at the New York Summer Music Festival at the State University College at Oneonta and, as Pam noted on Facebook, it was like dropping him off at college two years early. (And, for those of you who know Sam, he could easily handle the academics at any university already.)
Of course, as we live in Midtown Manhattan, we don’t own an automobile. So the opportunity of renting a vehicle to drive up and back to Oneonta to drop Sam off at the Festival, a couple hundred kilometers outside of New York City, immediately opened up some possibilities of combining the car trip with a bicycle ride. Pam suggested that I ride my bicycle up into the Catskill Mountains, where she could pick me up after dropping off Sam.
On Saturday morning, I took the 7:47 MetroNorth out of Grand Central, heading up along the Hudson River to Beacon.. about 80 kilometers north of Manhattan. The early Saturday morning trains out of town are officially “bike trains” so my Pinarello got its own padded seat for the 75 minute trip.
Here is the route and data for the first day, broken into two parts since my GPS decided to mysteriously re-boot after about 58 kilometers. This same thing had happened before and I had made the mistake of not saving my data into a separate file and had lost the entire ride. So, Saturday has two parts:
Saturday’s ride was relatively un-eventful after leaving Beacon and riding on roads that I had covered dozens of times. However, just as I was about to begin the climb up into Minnewaska State Park, while riding on a wide shoulder, I felt a car coming up right behind me and was suddenly whacked in the lower part of my left side, right where my jersey pockets are above my kidney. It didn’t knock me off my bike but scared me, particularly since the big yellow panel truck swept past me within inches. The truck pulled off to the side of the road about sixty meters past me and three guys got out of the truck, running towards me. I got off my bike and felt my left hip, but nothing seemed broken. Whatever had hit me had impacted right on my mobile phone, which I pulled out to find that it wasn’t broken but there was a nice dent in the battery cover. The three guys were asking me if I was all right and I said that I was and that nothing was broken. They were very apologetic and seemed nice although they had just come inches from killing me. I told them that, just in case, I would like to take down the license plate number and see the driver’s license, since I didn’t know if my injuries might not show up later after the shock wore off.
On examining the passenger side of their truck, I could easily see what had hit me in the back. The side mirror on the passenger side stuck out about half a meter and was one of those mirrors that easily bends back when hit from the front (thankfully for me.) I think that the truck was a rental and the guy driving it simply was unaware of just how wide his vehicle was.. and I got a glancing blow from a bendable mirror. Very, very lucky.
I took the opportunity to give the guys a lecture, having just narrowly missed being hilled by them. I told them that in life there are expensive lessons and there are lessons that don’t cost as much. I asked them to consider this a very lucky and very inexpensive lesson on how important it is to drive safely and to be aware of cyclists and pedestrians. They were sufficiently chagrined, chastened and seemed to appreciate just how lucky we had all been in this incident. They pulled off and I continued my ride up and over the Shawangunk Ridge.
The only thing to show from the accident is this dent in my Droid X.
It was a sweltering day and the high temperatures and big hills turned the day into a long slough, particularly since the end of the day included a long climb and the temperatures were above thirty degrees.
The picture above is the view looking north from Minnewaska State Park towards the Catskill Mountains.
I spent the night at the Catskill Seasons Inn in Shandaken http://www.catskillseasonsinn.com/index.htm
I really enjoyed my stay at the Catskill Seasons Inn and will certainly try and stay here again if I get up in the region. The owner, Chago, is a Chilean New Yorker, who recently moved from Astoria, Queens where he was a contractor for years. They served Keegan’s Mother’s Milk, my favorite stout, on tap (and I managed to rehydrate and replace some calories with a few pints) and the food was really good. I had a iceberg lettuce wedge salad with blue cheese dressing and fresh apple slices, followed by a penne with pesto topped by blackened chicken. They also have free wifi and a Verizon booster, providing the only Verizon phone coverage in the region.
I slept early and soundly after more than six hours on the bike… and rose at dawn to head towards Oneonta in order to meet up with Pam, Kai and Sam by noon.
Here is Sunday’s ride:
The morning started chilly and crisp. Here is a shot while crossing the Eastern Branch of the Delaware River:
The entire 100 km of the day was spent on State Highway 28, that runs from Kingston all the way to Oneonta and is either going up or going down but never, never flat. 1385 meters of climbing is one hell of a lot of up and down before lunch.
Pam, Sam and Kai arrived in Oneonta just about ten minutes after I pulled into Stewart’s for some ice cream. We dropped off Sam and spent the rest of the afternoon driving back into New York City, my bike safely tucked into the trunk and the air conditioner on full blast.
The Bon Ton Roulet begins in twelve days and, after this two-day trip through the Catskill Mountains, I think I’m ready.