GrNY’s Spring Gravel Series Starting May 6

I’m happy to announce Gravel NY’s second annual Spring Gravel Series!  

We have planned five weekends of gravel rides, starting on May 6!  Each ride will have two or three “pace groups”, which will differ in speed, distance, and intensity of climbing. There will be a common hangout location after each ride, so all groups can socialize over food and drinks. With luck, all groups will end around the same time. We hope you can join us! 

Actual routes and start times will be posted soon.  See “Pace Groups”, below, for a sense of expected distances, elevation gain, and speed of travel. 

Questions? You can email Steve at track.smart@gmail.com

Disclaimer: This is totally informal. You ride at your own risk and are responsible for your own safety.  You are expected to be self-sufficient. We cannot guarantee the condition or safety of roads and trails. Nor can we control the behavior of other riders. This is not a supported event.

SCHEDULE OF RIDES*

May 6: Katonah, NY. Ride some of the best and most scenic rural roads in Westchester County. Please RSVP via Strava: https://www.strava.com/clubs/513005/group_events/1366051

 May 13: Dover Plains, NY. The picturesque dirt-roads of Dutchess County. It is worth the drive or train ride! Please RSVP via Strava: https://www.strava.com/clubs/513005/group_events/1378216

May 21: Pawling, NY. Start in Pawling, NY, but spend much of the ride in gorgeous Litchfield County, CT. [This ride has moved to SUNDAY 5/21]  https://www.strava.com/clubs/513005/group_events/1388181

May 27: Cold Spring, NY. Much of the ride is near Fahnestock State Park, with lots of fun and challenging climbs. https://www.strava.com/clubs/513005/group_events/1393514

June 3: Far Hills, NJ (Natirar Park). Spectacular ride that goes through the Teetertown Ravine and Lockwood Gorge – worth the trip! https://www.strava.com/clubs/513005/group_events/1398444

* Rides are scheduled for Saturday mornings, but the default rain date will be Sunday of the same weekend. We will generally start each ride around 9am, with adjustments for train schedules. Ride schedule is subject to change due to weather or other factors.

PACE GROUPS

Long (60-65+ miles, faster speed, and killer climbs): These rides will be led by Steve. If you’ve ridden with him, then you understand the intensity of those rides. Pace expectation: 19-20mph (NYCC standards), ~17 mph (“Strava Speed” on relatively flat routes*). 

Medium (45-55 miles, moderate speed, skip some of the deadliest climbs): Kathy will lead these rides, which will still be challenging, but travel at a slower speed. Pace expectation: 16-17 mph (NYCC standards), 13-14 mph (“Strava Speed” on relatively flat routes*). 

Short (33-45 miles, no-drop): Available most weeks. This group will stop more often to rest, take photos, and enjoy the scenery, riding at a friendly, no-drop pace. No designated ride leader yet – please reach out if you’re willing to lead one of the rides. Pace expectation: ~14mph (NYCC standards), 11-12 mph (“Strava speed” on relatively flat routes*)

* “Strava Speed” = actual recorded average speed for long, solo paved rides on relatively flat terrain (i.e., not group rides with drafting).

EXAMPLE RIDES FOR EACH PACE GROUP

It is difficult to describe pace for rides that include dirt, pavement, and substantial climbing.  For those who have done some gravel riding, we hope these examples will help you select the right pace group.  You can compare them to your own rides over similar distances and elevation gains.

Long: 65 miles, ~14 MPH, >5500 ft climbing.

– Example: https://www.strava.com/activities/7143087392

Medium: 50 miles, ~12 MPH, >4000 ft climbing.

-Example: https://www.strava.com/activities/7143118855

Short: 37 miles, ~10 MPH, >3000 ft climbing 

-Example: https://www.strava.com/activities/7142906685

[These examples are from last year’s SGS ride from Katonah.]

RIDE ORGANIZATION

We will have at least one place to buy food and drink on each ride, but we are only doing grab-and-go during the ride itself (e.g., gatorade + portable snacks). 

Each group will have a few “wait for everyone” stops.  That said, the Long and Medium groups will not wait for riders who are considerably behind the pace (i.e. several minutes back).  The Shorter-distance group will be no-drop.

TWO REQUESTS

1) Please choose a ride group based on your riding speed, not distance.  We want the groups to finish around the same time, so we can all hang out post-ride. We understand you can go the longer distance, but it will be more fun if people ride together (rather than get dropped) and then hangout for food and drink after the ride.

2) Ride safely!  Please read our ride guidelines: https://grny.org/guidelines.  Key points:

– Control your speed when traveling downhill.  Racing downhill is how many serious injuries happen.  If you’d like to ride hard, save it for the climbs!  Then wait at the top.

– Being predictable to other riders and cars will keep everyone safer. Never pass a rider on the right.  If you want to pass, call out, and then pass on their left (like a car).

– You need some form of off-line navigation and should have a backup navigation plan.  Why? Many areas won’t have cell coverage.  And phone batteries can die during long rides. Examples of offline navigation:  Dedicated bike computer (Garmin, Wahoo, etc); Phone with paid subscription to Ride with GPS or Strava *and* remembering to download to route for offline usage before the ride; Paper map + cue sheets.

GrNY Spring Gravel Series: April 30 – May 21

I’m happy to announce GrNY’s first Spring Gravel Series! There will be two or three “ride groups” each week, which will differ in pace and distance. There will also be a common hangout location after each ride, so all groups can socialize over food, drinks, or ice cream. With luck, all groups will end at around the same time, but will have travelled different distances. We hope you can join us!

Ride Groups

  1. Long (60-65+ miles): These rides will be led by Steve. If you’ve ridden with him, then you understand the intensity of those rides. If you haven’t – they’re pretty intense!
  2. Short (33-45 miles): A shorter distance, more casual group that I (Jay) will be leading. On weeks without a medium distance, I will be co-leading with Kathy. Pace will be slower and stops will be more frequent.
  3. Medium: Only during certain weeks. Kathy will lead these rides. Pace will be only slightly faster than the Short group, but the route will be longer and more challenging (e.g. more climbing).

Ride Organization

  • Each group will have several “wait for everyone” stops, including a longer lunch stop.
  • At the first stop, we may further subdivide into a “main group” (ride leader + riders who can keep pace) and “sweep group” (riders who will stay together at a slower pace).
  • If anyone is far behind the expected pace, they should be prepared to continue solo. Hopefully they will catch up at major stops (e.g. lunch).
  • For some rides, there will be the option of dropping back to a different ride group (e.g. from long to medium).

Pace

  • Long Distance: 19-20mph (NYCC standards), 16-17 mph (“Strava speed” on relatively flat routes). Led by Steve
  • Medium Distance: 16-17 mph (NYCC standards), 13-14 mph (“Strava speed” on relatively flat routes). Led by Kathy
  • Short Distance: ~14mph (NYCC standards), 11-12 mph (“Strava speed” on relatively flat routes). Led by Jay

Pace Expectations via Example Rides

It is difficult to describe pace for rides that include dirt, pavement, and substantial climbing. For those who are unfamiliar with the NYCC standards, we hope these examples will help guide you.

  • Long: 65 miles, >13 MPH, >5500 ft climbing https://www.strava.com/activities/6089066688
  • Medium: 55 miles, 11 MPH, >4000 ft climbing https://www.strava.com/activities/5607348989
  • Short: 37 miles, 10.5 MPH, >3000 ft climbing https://www.strava.com/activities/5722424093I

The Rides Each Week

April 30 – NYC Gravel Classic (Washington Heights)

Starts in NYC, travels north to Nyack/Haverstraw, and then south on the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail. Riders from outside NYC will gain an appreciation of just how much nice riding is available just steps beyond Manhattan. All in all it’s pretty chill and easy.https://ridewithgps.com/collections/42063

Short

  • 49 miles (or as little as 30 w/ MetroNorth return)
  • 1,990 feet climbing

Long

  • 65 miles
  • 2,890 feet climbing (or 3,500 if you take River Road)

There’s not much climbing, and there are MetroNorth stops every few miles towards the end of the ride. So if you get in over your head it’s no big deal.

May 7 – Putnam County Gravel

This week is all about climbing and dirt roads. We will leave from Cold Spring, NY.https://ridewithgps.com/collections/42064

Short

  • 33 miles
  • 2,900 feet of climbing (1,000 in the first 6.5 miles!)

Medium (has far less gravel than short and long)

  • 55 miles (can be 49 with a small tweak)
  • 4,770 feet climbing (200 less with “small tweak”)

Long

  • 60 miles (w/ option for 56)
  • 6,630 feet climbing (w/ option for 6,380)

May 14 – Westchester Dirt

On this third week, we ride the dirt roads around Katonah, NY. It’s an incremental step up for the slow group and a slightly longer ride for the long group (but less climbing)… https://ridewithgps.com/collections/42065

Short

  • – 39 miles- 3,680 feet climbing

Medium

– 49 miles- 4400 feet climbing

Long

– 65 miles- 5,830 feet climbing

Given how the routes are designed, if you’re over your head in the long distance group you can pretty easily switch to the short distance route at several points to reduce the intensity of the ride.

May 21 –Dutchess & Litchfield Counties Gravel Ride

During this fourth week, we go up to Pawling in the Harlem Valley. Because trains up there are only every two hours there are “add-on” routes you can take that will get you to Brewster where trains run every hour. The add-on routes go on the new and very lovely Maybrook Trailway. https://ridewithgps.com/collections/42066

Short

  • 46 miles
  • 3,650 feet climbing

Long

  • 65 miles
  • 5,360 feet climbing

Add-on options for people taking MNR

  • +14 miles, 610 feet of climbing
  • +15 miles, 860 feet of climbing