On Saturday, August 7 the GrNY group returned to Dover Plains after a three-month absence. As expected, it was worth the drive or train ride! We had three pace/distance groups (long, medium, short) who traversed the picturesque dirt roads of Dutchess County. We were fortunate to get absolutely perfect weather, too! After the ride, everyone celebrated with food, drinks and/or ice cream at Kelly’s Creamery and Kelly’s Husband’s Food Truck.
The medium-distance group did our less-intense variant of the classic Dover Plains Dirt loop (i.e. this route: ridewithgps.com/routes/36062828). This medium-distance variant (link further down) is possibly the best version. It skips the two steepest climbs in favor of other great dirt road riding. It also adds more civilization, including better food options in Amenia, NY and Sharon, CT. It uses a spur of the Harlem Valley bike trail to connect it all together and adds some new (flatter) dirt/gravel roads make up for any lost dirt, including the always lovely (and well-graded) climb up Deep Hollow Road.
The short-distance group did the same route, but stayed on the Harlem Valley Rail Trail at the midway point. This made for a shorter but also extremely pleasant ride back to the start. Finally, the long-distance group did a very different route that cut westward and traversed the area around the Wassaic Multiple Use Area (a lovely forested area).
Yesterday, members of the GrNY group did this ride for the first time. I’ve had a couple of requests for the RidewithGPS route, hence this ride report. For those who don’t know, Strava events (and their routes) disappear from the group page once they are over.
From my Strava feed: “It was an awesome day on the bike with some excellent company (most of whom woke up before 5am so we could get to the ride start before NYC traffic started!). There was much excellent dirt and plenty of climbing. Those of us who are more road/gravel oriented got several hundred extra feet of climbing by taking the paved way down Skiff Mountain. Those with better mountain bike skills chose the dare-devil, gravel descent (steep, winding, narrow, loose gravel, with potential uphill jeep/ATV traffic). Thanks to Mark L for the spectacular route that he created in 2015 — and his advice for further improving it prior to our ride today!”
NOTES: 1) There were a couple of places with road work/closures, but on bikes, we were able to pass through. 2) Make sure you are well-stocked with food and water (e.g. in Kent) before starting the upper loop. You won’t find any places to refuel up there. 3) The route above takes the paved way down Skiff mountain (safer), but choose your own adventure (at your own risk).
* This route has no affiliation with the official Macedonia Gravel Grinder event, which will be happening for the first time this summer. I have no idea which roads that event will take, aside for obviously traveling through the lovely Macedonia Brook State Park.
This past Saturday, we dragged ourselves out of bed early so we could ride before a predicted afternoon storm. We enjoyed some excellent dirt riding through forests and across ridges with stunning views. And we managed to complete the entire ride before some nasty weather rolled in.
Our original route would have been 77 miles (see notes for the Brewster to Wassaic ride earlier this year), but we shortened it to 47 miles in light of the weather. We also moved the start location to Wingdale, which is near the center of this “figure 8” shaped ride, so we could easily bail if the storm arrived early. Thankfully, we completed this beautiful ride before the skies opened up with pouring rain, heavy winds, and even hail in some places.
I’ve pasted our shortened route below, because sometimes folks are looking for rides that don’t require an entire day to complete.