Joe, Al, Katie, Laurent and I met at Panera’s in Woodcliff Lake, NJ, for the inaugural run of Katie’s “Baby Bear” route. Katie had warned me that it was hilly, but since it was Katie talking, Katie who abhors hills, Katie who will travel from Jersey to Florida to avoid rides with hills, I thought, “Yeah, sure, how bad can it be?” And it isn’t even that that the hills were so dreadful, although climbing up Perkins Drive is a definite challenge, it’s just that they were constant, and Perkins Drive wasn’t the only challenge.
In any case, the five of us met at the Panera, had a brief breakfast and friendly chat, and headed out. The first section, if I remember right, mostly just rolls gently and takes very pretty roads. The first controle is in Piermont at a cafe over-run by cyclists. We made quick work of the stop and headed out again. The next section has one very good climb, but we made it to Stony Point with time enough to get water and a snack at the store.
Then the fun really began. There’s a very long but gentle climb into Bear Mountain State Park (3 0r 4 miles long) before you turn onto Perkins Drive and climb for another two miles. Surprisingly, the last two miles didn’t seem too bad and Laurent, Katie and I talked all the way up the hill which made the climb go by faster. Something else I learned–just before the turn onto Perkins, I asked my companions if we could stop just for two minutes to stretch. They both agreed so we pulled off the road into some shade. Really only for a couple of minutes. However, after stretching and giving all of those working muscles a brief rest, I really was able to move faster when we got back on the bikes. Usually I’m reluctant to stop, but that might not be such a good strategy.
At the top of Perkins, Katie promised that the rest of the ride was “all downhill.” Harumph! We came back down Perkins, turned right and started climbing, and kept climbing pretty much until just 6 or 7 miles before the next controle. As our RBA in training, Katie seems to have already assumed the attitude toward hills exhibited by other RBAs I know–the more the better, they seem to think, and then they pretend that they aren’t even there.
I was so tired and hot and disoriented by this new Katie, that when we got to Dunkin’ Donuts in Sloatsburg, I even ate a donut–something I never do. But what is a person to do under such circumstances.
The final leg of the ride was rolling but the biggest challenge on this segment is the traffic. Lunch at Panera’s was well-earned. It was a good day on the bike with friends, and a very scenic route, but if you do this ride, be prepared to climb.