Tour of the Catskills

This is a combination post.  Hiking and bicycling, two for the price of one.

Pursuing  week after the Escarpment Race, my family and I drove to the Catskills today to hike on the Pecoy Notch Trail.  I wanted them to see Dibble’s quarry, a kind of giant, elaborate outdoor room.

Police officers didn’t allow us to drive up the forbidding Platte Clove Road: they’d closed it for a bicycle race.  Just our luck:  only five miles from our trail head, we were compelled to detour twenty miles out of our way and a good fifty minutes of driving to get up to the Roaring Kill trail head.  Oh well… it was a nice drive.

As I expected, my daughter loved Dibble’s quarry.  How long it took to fashion the big thrones, I can only imagine.

The only bummer was the illegal campsite in the woods right next to the quarry.  Ordinarily, I look the other way if you simply must pitch your tent within 150 feet of the trail.  And there’s no rules against foolishness if you hang your food bag so a bear can reach it.

However, there’s no excuse for leaving a burning, well established fire unattended.  I doused it with a quart of water. The rain that was beginning to come down did the rest.  We collected some trash and headed back to the car.

Back at Platte Clove Road, we still had to wait.  By now I figured out this wasn’t a local hillclimb.  It turned out to be the Tour of the Catskills, a three-day stage race that attracts 800 racers.  At 3:30 in the afternoon, the pros were on the climb of doom, a/k/a Platte Clove Road.  We waited at an intersection as the leaders and the main peloton hammered past, then several gruppettos, then several single riders.  Finally the course volunteer said we could proceed down.

Platte Clove Road is so steep and narrow that it’s closed in winter.  Like Catskills hiking trails, they don’t bother with niceties like switchbacks to make the going easier.  You go straight up the darn mountain.  It’s two and a half wicked hard miles, and it comes about three-quarters of the way through a hard stage.

The pictures in the photoset are guys who were off the back.  No matter: you have to respect them for tackling this climb.  One rider who came over the top coasted down a little hill.  Further down, we saw one guy walking his bike.  Had he cramped?  Did he have a mechanical problem?  I don’t know.  Others were weaving back and forth across the road, struggling to maintain momentum.

As of this writing, late Saturday evening, organizers only posted results for Friday’s time trail.

Click on one of the thumbnails to view the photos.  When you’re done, click in the photo to return to the post.  And don’t forget to put out your campfire.