There are a few things that cyclists take for granted. We expect to have a bike that works and a road to travel on. I recently lost the latter.
It’s been a week and the word “Irene” is still fresh on everyone’s lips, still weighing on our hearts and minds. Many lost their houses, their cars…everything. Me, I lost several cycling routes. I know that pales in comparison, but I’m still in awe every time I witness where water buckled blacktop, violently tearing bridges from cement and steel. One of my favorite training climbs (and descents) is now scarred and ripped apart, forcing me down a series of detours.
A week before Irene hit, I participated in a century in the Catskills. The route took us past sprawling lakes and waterfalls, down mountains and over creeks. Because of the scenery and terrain, 100 miles quickly ticked by. This was the first year I had really explored the mountains that are practically in my backyard. Weekend after weekend, I fell in love with the climbs and the small towns as we trained for the century.
Then Irene changed everything.
Places like Windham, host to a recent UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, were hit hard with the main street all but gone. You can add dozens of other Catskill communities to this list. People vow to rebuild and the roads will be repaved, but these places will never be the same.