Saturday, July 25, 2015

Schenectady Central Park

Mountain Biking Trails In Central Park

What a pleasant surprise - Would you believe it? ...a fun bunch of mountain trails in Schenectady's Central Park!

I got off to a very late start (a series of SNAFUs) but finally parked off Fehr Avenue and started riding at noon. Although the overall park is relatively flat, there were a lot of ups and downs and tightly-curved switchbacks to make the most out of every hill available! :-) 

Loop One

Much of the first section of the trail I rode traversed thru marshy area. Fortunately--being late July--the place was bone dry but there were a lot of boardwalks in various shapes and sizes to keep the ride interesting.
Not exactly knowing where I was going, I simply followed the most well-beaten trail and the Green arrows.
If you like roots--then this is the place to go! There were sections of the trail that were as rooty as I am used to in Connecticut but frequent sharp turns and switchbacks make the sight lines limited so the ride was always full of unexpected surprises. (Quite a few log up and overs as well in all sizes!)
There were many spots with tight berms as well as long stretches with great flow so you could bomb  much of the ride and have a blast. Obviously--if you come here often enough to really know the trails --the faster you bomb, the better it will be each and every time:-)

Loop Two

The first loop took me back to the car but I headed on to try more trails. The initial part of the next section was quite hilly. One section especially was pretty wild--the hillside was riddled with twists and turns. Nicely contoured switchbacks keep you climbing and focused on the curves but nothing was too steep or over strenuous - these are nice trails!!

There are many instances thru out the trail system where you
have to squeeze thru tree like this - Fun!
Finally after paralleling a stream for a while, I took the Orange trail and ended up on the Fireroad. A short jaunt northward took me right back to the car.
The Obligatory Wound PIC - just a minor skinned knee from a no-big-deal fall I took after hitting a root,.


  • Was it a fun ride? - Yes
  • Were you sufficiently challenged, yet not overwhelmed? Yes
  • Would you come back again? - Most definitely! There are parts of the park I still haven't ridden and I look forward to re-riding what I did (the more ya know it - the faster you can bomb!)

It's a great spot...

Friday, July 17, 2015

A Parking a-hole and a cringing Paul Bunyan (MRP)

At 5:30 PM I went to a tribute over at Sterling Farms for an acquaintance of mine who died tragically a while ago. It was the basically the old Bar Car crowd on the Commuter train but a fitting get-together to honor someone we all knew.

When that wound down, it was still light out so I went over to Mianus for a brief stroll.

What a nasty sight to stomach first thing in the parking lot - some arrogant bastard couldn't park correctly but I was soon cheered up by spotted the golden luminescence spotted on the trees across the river.
FC a-hole!
A spot of sunlight thru the trees
Happily the park was relatively bug free and I wandered to a few granite large outcroppings I don't normally go to on my mountain bike...
Dead end of short trail off Peak Trail
A look down from Ridge Run
Sadly it looks like a bunch of trees will be cut down near the Merriebrook Bridge - Paul Bunyan would cringe!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

909 - A quick hike...

On my way back from upstate NY, my obsession with getting the map right warranted a quick hike off Tyrrel Road. It looks like only a couple of small tweaks are needed!
Quick GPS hike - 7-12-15
 The bugs were nasty - I kept the hike brisk and short...

Saturday, July 11, 2015

909 - Old Foundations and the Green Acres Crash

After a last minute call from my mother pleading to visit them on the weekend, I headed up and rode a bit more of Taconic 909 on Sat. I didn't arrive until around 1 PM in the afternoon and parked off the Taconic. The parking lot and park were surprisingly empty.

Although no one likes to ride in the afternoon because it is hotter - it wasn't too bad. Despite the intense sun, the humidity had cleared considerably and all in all it was a beautiful day to ride!

Using MapMyRide--I GPSed my trek and noticed up east of Tent, the map is off a bit--eventually--after subsequent visits--I will try to correct that a bit.
After looping thru Anthill and Mary Murphy,
the blue arrows indicate the second part of my trek.

Mustang and Mercury

As you ride along Mustang you see a lot of these large-sized termite mounds...
Termite Mounds along Mustang
Stream Crossing at the foot of the hill where Mercury ends at Mustang
At the Start of Mercury
This is where the connector turns off to connect with Tunnel

Ascending up Tunnel and Anthill

The climb up Tunnel was doable and after a short breather at the Brockway intersection, I proceeded to head up Anthill. Truth be told, it was very steep and I did the walk of shame up to a spot where it got flatter where I rested at a rock.
Anthill was steep!
I stopped for a rest here and caught my breath sitting on the rock.
Steep Hill near where Anthill connects with Brockway

XC Goodness

Right after the steep hill trail I photographed above, there's an inconspicuous turn off of Anthill right before you get to the Main Jeep Trail. This gets you on to all the great XC trails in this area. Needless to say---this is great riding! The terrain is full of short ups and downs, etc. and I didn't stop to take any photos cuz the flow was too great!

Up to Tent and Back

I headed up on Brockway and it was actually kinda fun as as you speed downhill and the breeze cools you off. Tent was no big deal and hardly ridden but I photographed the campsites (actually two separate fire pits) before heading up the Double Track and short single track. After reviewing the GPS, that part of the map seems a little off and will need tweaking.
Campsite on Tent
On Brockway here is where the Double Track connects
Looking south, main fire road turns to the left
The other trail is an easy single track connector

Discovery - Old Ruins!

As I headed off Brockway to explore a side trail, I discovered a set of foundation ruins. The trail was apparently an old dirt road and not used very much - it was almost invisible now...
Foundation Ruins
More Foundation Ruins - note old cash register machines!
The trail here is an old road - hardly biked at all
(leaves on ground - hard to find the actual trail...)
More Foundation Ruins

Green Acres Crash

The last part of my trek was to check out the Green Acres trail as I headed back to the car. The first section of the trail has nice XC flow but--in retrospect--I was lulled by the flow and completely caught off guard by a huge steep roller covered by thick entangled roots. I had my seat in the high position and hit a diagonal root  >> then wham >> ENDO!

I hit the ground hard and was lucky I didn't break any bones. I got up bruised and battered and seriously embarrassed. I limped on thru the next section as there were a couple more super steep rollers on the trail--although none were entangled by roots like the one where I took my spill.

I finally got back on my bike and rode on, taking the high-intensity last stretch that reconnects with the main Jeep road without a fall. Redemption!
Surface wounds after the ENDO but I bashed up a rib as well...
This is Green Acres - watch out!
I had a beer in the cooler in my car... man after the crash, it really hit the spot.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Bennetts - Whahappened?

I rode Bennetts ages ago with my son and remembered it being a fun place. My return today--quite a few years later--was a disappointment. The park seemed disheveled and unkempt and the trails weren't as nice as I remembered them to be... Did the Friends of Bennetts Pond Park unfriend the place?
A quick loop
After a steep uphill at the entrance, you ride into the former site of Colonel Louis D. Conley’s enormous nursery (more info >). Now, a way overgrown field with a nice view, the trail winds thru this but it has hasn't been trimmed in ages and I was ripped apart by pricklers....
The Field 
My legs and arms were ripped apart by sharp pricklers
Once you get thru the overgrown fields (there are two of them) you enter the woods and it is pretty much a coast downhill for the next 10 minutes. There is one section nearer to the bottom where you are flying - it is wide and super steep.

At the pond, the old bridge to the trail on the north side was no longer there!
I remember a bridge being here...
I rode back westward along the relatively easy trail by the south side of the pond and was rewarded by a nice view (I put a crude panorama together to demonstrate). Sadly, sections of this trail were eroded and/or strewn with branches and fallen trees.
Pond side trail heads thru fence
 I wasn't headed this way today but the bridge is mighty skinny!
Narrow footbridge that heads into the Leibowitz/Hemlock Hills section
Looking back--I had just come along the trail on the left and was headed back out on the trail on the right...
Looking back at the bridge - panorama
Once I got on the narrow single track heading upward--it felt great. This was a good trail--roots for sure but a gradual climb and obviously well traversed and maintained.
Nice single track going back up the hill to the parking lot
 The nice trail ends up right by the main sign.
 I was hot, sweaty and scratched up from the pricklers so the cold beer waiting in my cooler hit the spot!