Known for riding off the front of group rides only to be caught in the first mile, CJ got back on a road bike and realized he must win the Donut Derby at least once in his life. Regularly pledging he's "not a climber," he can be found as a regular attendee of Trexlertown's Thursday Night Training Criterium or sitting on the couch watching Paris-Roubaix reruns. CJ has been a constant rider of the Hell of Hunterdon in New Jersey and races the Tour of the Battenkill before going into seasonal hiding on cross-country ski trails.

Events: Anthem Sports’ 11th Annual Tour of the Catskills

Events: Anthem Sports’ 11th Annual Tour of the Catskills

After a heavy schedule of early season racing, one glance at July's docket and many areas witness a substantial decline in events. At least that’s what happens in the Mid-Atlantic region – we take a break from having to decide which race to do and which ones to keep in mind for next year. Don’t get me wrong; there are still races. There aren’t as many per weekend as there were in the late spring/ early summer. If there is one event to jump into before the final haul of races for the year, it’s the eleventh annual Tour of the Catskills. It could be the perfect way to refocus for the final kick of the 2018 season.

 

I have circled the Tour of the Catskills route twice and can say it is the most beautiful event I have ever ridden in. It is a region I initially overlooked in both my hiking and cycling career. I regret the dozens of times I passed through Catskills State Park to points northward. If there is ever a place in the state of New York designed to test every cyclist’s ability it is here. There are long descents, steep hills, and remarkable amounts of flat roads for such a bumpy region. I keep coming back because I can’t drink in enough of the views along the course. Let’s not forget there is something on each side of the road for the rider to see.

 

The roadside attractions are another reason I keep coming back. There are numerous barns still in use. Abandoned churches and old hotels populate the route in various states of dilapidation. Last year I caught a quick glimpse of a small cemetery I insist on photographing this year. And should that retired gentleman be spotted lounging on the porch of his new log cabin, I plan on talking to him to get his story. Even during the harder portions of the route farm animals can be observed apathetically dining on grass wondering what the hell a person was doing on such a machine.

 

Through all its uniqueness, the Tour of the Catskills provides one further shot of flare by centering itself in a town called Tannersville, NY, or as they like to refer to themselves, “The Painted Town in the Sky.” The experience closes out at the perfectly situated Last Chance Antiques and Café where one could celebrate with a bottle of craft beer, a coffee, or a wheel of cheese to go with their full menu. This year Chatham Brewery will supply a complimentary draft for each participant. There are so many reasons to sign up for the 2018 Tour of the Catskills.

 

I have already started changing my ride preparation to meet the multitude of challenges on tap for the 2018 Tour of Catskills. Run by the former directors of the Tour of the Battenkill, it is a guarantee the event will deliver. Now if only I can deliver myself to the top of Devil's Kitchen without putting my foot down I'll ignore the other three attempts and be done with it.

 

 

Notorious in stature, Devil’s Kitchen still looms over the 75-mile route. Should that be too much for a day out, the Tour of the Catskills offers 52- and 27-mile alternatives. The ride is capped at 200 participants and takes place Saturday August 4th in Tannersville, NY.

Rides We Like: A Progressive Double Ascent

Rides We Like: A Progressive Double Ascent

Events: Bastille Day Randonee/ V5 Anniversary Celebration Ride

Events: Bastille Day Randonee/ V5 Anniversary Celebration Ride