Ride for the River
by Elizabeth Folwell
Experiencing the Adirondack landscape through a car windshield is a far cry from the total immersion of cycling those same routes. From your saddle you get the big picture of mountains and valleys as well as a great physical workout. On Sunday, September 16, starting at 9:00 a.m. you can add helping a special place recover from the damage of Tropical Storm Irene to the long list of benefits earned by a great fall trip.
Ride for the River is sponsored by the Ausable River Association, with proceeds supporting recovery efforts in the watershed. Your donation of $55 ($40 for association members) will help pay for riverbank and habitat restoration, with human, avian and aquatic residents the beneficiaries of funds raised.
The course follows the bucolic East Branch of the Ausable from near its headwaters at St. Huberts to the spectacular Ausable Chasm, which has been attracting visitors since the 1870s. Along Route 73 you’ll glide through Keene Valley and Keene, then take Route 9N through Upper Jay, Jay and Au Sable Forks, with the sparkling river as your righthand companion. The ride is 37 miles, suitable for intermediate cyclists and kids who have the skills and stamina to pedal for several hours. At the chasm there’s a celebratory picnic, and cyclists who want more riding can head back to Keene on Routes 86 and 73, where the Ausable’s West Branch has an entirely different personality—it’s whitewater with numerous cascades and steep drops. This portion, passing through Wilmington Notch, is more challenging for cyclists, with hills, narrow road shoulders and a little more traffic, though for bragging rights you can tell the folks back home that you rode the hardest stretch of the Ironman loop.
Of course, a fundraising event is not about bragging, it’s about supporting a worthy cause. If you’re not up for biking the distance you can volunteer for aid stations, car ferries and other important parts of the day. Visit the website for details.