Sept 16, 2023: Putnam County Dirt!

On this wonderfully cool Saturday morning, we tackled a fun and challenging set of routes that included many of the big climbs in Putnam County. We modified our original routes to avoid some dirt road sections that were badly damaged in a storm in July (particularly Sunken Mine Rd), but we still traversed some beautiful terrain.

The long route, unlike our Spring Gravel Series version, saved the two largest climbs for the last 1/3 of the ride – and we might have broken a couple of riders with that setup – sorry! Those two big climbs are tough at any time, but especially difficult after you’ve already done 5000 ft of climbing. The route was mostly downhill for the last ~10 miles if that counts for anything.

Many riders stayed to hang out over cold drinks and food after the ride, which was fun. Our long-distance group missed a few people before they headed off (we got back a little behind schedule). For the record: Kathy (medium group) and I (long group) had almost the exact same moving time, 4:14 and 4:15, so our planning was actually pretty good. That said, we ended up taking some longer pauses in the long distance group for a variety of reasons, which slowed things down a bit.

-Long (v2):
-Medium (v2):
-Short (v2):
Note: We’ll update these routes, particularly the long distance route, when Sunken Mine Rd is repaired again. The long distance route included a lengthy stretch along Rt 301, which was “acceptable”, but not as nice and quiet as the rest of the route.

Steve’s Strava Activity:

Speeding along dirt roads through the woods.

Riders from the long distance group taking a pause before the biggest climbs of the day.

Part of the medium distance group, stopping to regroup.

Fahnestock Park and Garrison Gravel Ride

On Saturday, Sept 25 a small group of riders left Cold Spring, NY to traverse the dirt and gravel roads around Fahnestock State Park and Garrison. Our route included virtually all of the true gravel roads in the region, which also meant tackling many of the longest and steepest climbs. Our route did not include the rough trails in the center of Fahnestock, which are more suitable to a mountain bike.

Overall, it was a beautiful ride. The weather was perfect, we spent much of the day traveling through forests, past ponds and streams, and through occasional farm country. We had lunch and replenished snacks and fluids at Boyd’s Corner Store/Deli at mile 30. After surviving all the climbs, we had a cold beer at Barber and Brew in Cold Spring. They had a few outside stools and no haircut is required to enjoy a good microbrew.

Notes about road conditions:
1) Expect some very steep grades (>20%) on some of the climbs and descents.
2) There were some very rough sections on those steep downhills (e.g. bad washboard), so keep your speed in check. One rider went down, but is okay.
3) Sunken Mine and Indian Brook roads: the gullies across the road were deeper and more numerous than I remember them in the past. Keep your eyes on the road ahead.
4) If you are looking for a still-challenging, but less intense version of this route, see here: . The alternative route has less gravel/dirt (sorry!), but adds a potential stop in pleasant Carmel Hamlet and skips some of the more ridiculous hills.

ROUTE (~64 miles with ~7000’ of climbing) :

ALTERNATIVE ROUTE (a bit easier, but still plenty of climbing):