Friday, March 20, 2009

Back in Albany

The training camp has moved back home to the Capital District. Warmer temps and sunny skies lured campers back to the hills of southern Albany County. We connected this past Sunday and did a nice ride around the Alcove Resevoir. This is a favorite Spring ride of about 45 miles, depending on detours or deviations from the standard route, that heads south, then west on Rt 143 into the Town of Coeymans. The ride skirts the eastern edge of the Resevoir, passing by the dam. This area has an interesting history as told by our rolling on the bike historian Artie Gee. Back in the 1700's and 1800's the area was known for its brick making. At the intersection of County Route 111, we turned south heading out towards the dam. Just off the road to the left is the remains of a massive 110 foot tall smoke stack, left over from the Valley Mill that made wool then later on paper. It burned in 1892, but the stack remains.

The real destination of the ride is Featherbed Lane. A narrow, gravely, and sometimes muddy road in the Spring. Its 15 - 20 % steep for a very short distance as soon as you turn onto the road. So steep that your rear tire will skid if you don't turn a smooth pedal stroke. The steep part is only 30 -40 meters, NBD. Hidden along the way are two tiny county line or town line signs. Art and i always sprint for these. Don, who is along for the ride and does not know the area is at a distinct disadvantage here because he has no idea that these signs are coming up and he wonders why these two old guys are suddenly accelerating to such incredible speeds (like 15 to 16 mph) and pointing to tiny signs nailed to a tree in the middle of nowhere. He soon catches on to our tactics and starts marking every move, which is hilareous, because bozo the clown on a circus trike could cover any move i might make. The route passes briefly into Greene county (tiny sign, Art gets it) and then turns north back to Albany Co ( a huge green sign proudly proclaiming ENTERING ALBANY COUNTY ) and i have no clue who got that sign because i am so far off the back. Its a nice sceneic trip, with nice views of the Resevoir. Along the way back, Artie passes along more history.... a former mayor of Albany met his demise driving off road along the twisty hilly Onesquethaw Road that we sped downhill on. Yikes, thanks for that news.

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