Events: The 2019 Summer Tours
One item in particular confused me as a hockey card collector. Regularly I would get the card denoted ‘checklist’ and wonder if the card company thought I would utilize the miniscule check boxes or if, by not doing so, I was showing my hand as a card-collecting rookie. Later in life I would find checklists to be a source of satisfaction, but these cards would give me grief. Would they be worth it one day? If so, I should probably refrain from marking them.
Should I create a checklist for the rides that follow I would hope to have checked them off by autumn’s commencement. At that time a whole new list of seasonal rides will present themselves. I would hope to go into the fall season with momentum. The rides listed are no small experiences in their own right. Most are events never attempted before; one calls me in my dreams inviting me for another lap. Consider these summer events between the heavy spring and late summer racing calendar. Dialing down the seriousness might do wonders. We hope to see you out there.
Black Fly Challenge – June 24
Set in the heart of the Adirondacks the Black Fly Challenge is a 40-mile unlicensed bike race that connects Indian Lake to Inlet, NY. Each year the route is reversed. The 24thoffering of the event started as a mountain bike race. The course winds down fire roads of gravel, dirt, and sand. In recent years a cyclocross division has been added. There are racing categories but riders interested in getting a finish photo at one of the more successful ‘cross events is possible without a license.
The event is limited to 1,000 registrants but the magnitude of the race can be observed through the website photos. People want to race and ride the Black Fly Challenge. Considering the event is in its 24thyear, it is quite the popular discipline. One issue is that next year would make it the 25thevent. Having swag that says we completed the 25thBlack Fly Challenge is almost like bragging about being and the 100thrunning of the Indy 500. Those round numbers always sound nice.
Emmaus 2-5-10 Ride – July 17
Here is a ride that is free, is ten laps around town, and is a no-drop ride. Hopefully you question what the catch is. Well there are a few. What started as a joke for the second rest day of the Tour de France caught on to become the single largest horror show in eastern Pennsylvania. The 2-5-10 ride takes place in Emmaus, PA, once home to Rodale publications. Starting early in the morning riders hit streets 2, 5, and 10 for a total of ten times. This rounds the ride out at 100 miles. Within those 100 miles is 14,000 feet of climbing. The final climb is so stressful, it is reported three riders called it quits one year at mile 99 to avoid Tenth Street’s gradient.
Riders, both seasoned and establishing, ride a respectable trot. Riders from the area pop in and out of the group for motivation. After each lap the group takes a break to gear up for another go. All said, experienced 2-5-10 riders take about ten hours to complete the whole event. Though there are some turbo charged riders who show up, the event is strictly about finishing it. This is one of those rides people brag about if they complete it. After all, there have only been 80 riders who have the right to say they bested the 2-5-10.
ADK’s ididaride! Adirondack Bike Tour – July 27
The Adirondacks in upstate New York have always held a special place in my heart. People have asked how I can return to an area so often and not get bored by it. Here’s one reason: after dozens of return trips to the region, I have still not ridden the ididaride! Adirondack Bike Tour, a 75-mile exploration of the area. That is to say, I will always have unfinished business in the most beautiful place on earth.
I am not sure how the organizers located such scant climbing for a mountainous region but the ADK event staff makes the ididaride! route possible for a large window of riders. Here might be one event not approached at race pace. The scenery of the area is too beautiful to zip by. With two distances – 23-mile and 73-miles – to choose from, the wilderness regions of the Adirondacks can be shared by any type of rider. With the event at the unofficial center point of summer, the mild weather can be a vacation from the southern heat. Should you plan the ride right, you may even mark a few swimming holes along the way to cool off the effort. And why not get immersed into the beauty by swimming in one of the many streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes along the route? With the day being relaxed, it may as well be relaxed off the bike, too.
Tour of the Catskills – August 3
Here me out a minute. I know I have stated I have finished my business with the god-awful climb of Devil’s Kitchen. I know I stated returning to the Tour of the Catskills may be bad for my confidence, but give me a minute to explain myself.
First there’s the fact that it is one of the most beautiful and intoxicating routes ever ridden. Portions of the ride enter and exit our memory every day. The beautiful vistas are too remarkable to explain without the help of Emerson or Muir. Secondly the post ride party is enjoyable. Last Chance Antiques and Café is an incomparable finish location that it is hard to shirk when registration emails come in. And finally there’s the little fact that the 2019 summer season has a new steed. Another words, there is a bike that needs to be introduced to the Devil.
Last year’s course was heavenly in its presentation. The first twenty miles were a ripping descent. The furnace on the approach to Devil’s Kitchen was replaced with a shaded and winding route. Who knows if either of them played into the fact I finally summited but I won’t ask twice. Considering the event has 25 and fifty-mile versions available, why not slake the thirst of views in a place that is often overlooked? Do this ride. You’ll be glad you did.
Floyd’s Farm to Fork Fondo Lancaster – August 24
Floyd’s of Leadville, Bianchi, Victory Brewing. These are big names in cycling and libations. It should be remarkable considering that the Farm to Fork Fondo series has continued upward growth in obtaining and retaining sponsors for a unique experience. Of course, having Floyd Landis from the area makes sense for sponsorship.
Locally sourced food makes supermarket food unexciting. At the risk of sounding snobbish, that thought is anything but. Locally sourced food is more flavorful, better for the environment, and can be better for a family’s bottom line than shopping at a grocer. Take local food and throw in a Gran Fondo experience, and Floyd’s Farm to Fork Fondo is the result. Ride your bike through Lancaster County (or any of the other Wrenegade events) and treat yourself to culinary delights that will make you wish you could replicate at home. With a route that meanders through Pennsylvania farm country, you may actually gain weight on this ride.