Tandems OffRoad at Minnewaska-Mohonk

DateNovember 7-9, 2008
HostsMalcolm Boyd & Judy Allison
Where Minnewaska Lodge, Minnewaska State Park & Mohonk Mountain Preserve, New Paltz, NY
Who (else) Don Engleke & Connie Mertens, Mark Cook & Cheryl Prudhomme, Larry & Brenda Isherwood, Dave Snope & Susan Nicolich, Ed & Trish Troike, Cam & Karen Witt, Tom Fritz & Beryl Brodsky, Tracy & Barb Cate; NON-Dogs: Jim & Kelley Odorisio, Jack & Sharon McWatters, Dale & Donna Yarasavage


We arrived directly from home for a noon ride start in Mohonk Mountain Preserve's Spring Farm Parking Lot. The weather was overcast but the air was dry and the temps were in the low 60's. Ten of the eleven teams for the weekend were able to make it to ride. We also had day trippers Tracy & Barb Cate for the day! There were teams from NJ, MD, PA, VA & VT attending! We did miss Dave who did not do today's ride with Susan doing it on her single bike.

The route was about 13 miles of off-road carriage trails that were now mostly covered with leaves. There was an assortment of mountain tandems, with & without rear suspension and some converted road tandems with and without front suspension or rear seatpost suspensions, but with wider tires with knobbies. Along the route was a stop point where there was rock climbing. Those who brought along their hiking/climbing shoes attempted the feat and some even made it to the top! We finished the ride with only getting a little damp & dirty from the damp ground cover.

We all checked into the Minnewaska Lodge and cleaned up so that we were presentable for the cocktail hour in our hosts' suite with delicious hors d'oeuvres prepared by them and plenty of libations to be enjoyed. Afterwards dinner was a mere few minutes' drive away at a delectable Italian restaurant called Lombardi's, where we could watch from our table an employee cutting up fresh pasta! We returned to the Lodge and some enjoyed some hot tea or coffee in the common/breakfast room before settling in for a good night's sleep.


The morning lodge breakfast was all most could want, with plenty of healthy options to choose from, along with the smell of fresh baked loaves and even granola fresh out of the oven!

Today the ride start was at West Trapps Parking Lot in the Mohonk Mountain Preserve which was only a few miles away. It was looking like we would need to get our ride done sooner, rather than later, to beat the wetter weather coming just after noon. The morning scattered drizzle started as we arrived in the parking lot, but the 11 teams geared up and took off. Today's ride would end up being 17 miles and had similar trails as the day before, but of course with different scenery. The day was not conducive to grand views, but the close-up views were enough to satisfy.

At one point in the ride the group split into two, with some choosing to take a hilly route that added two miles to the next re-grouping intersection. When we all arrived we were discussing if the weather would permit doing an extra little loop. That's when Jack noticed that the skewer in his front wheel was gone! Most figured that it was a lost cause trying to find it and he & Sharon would have to walk the bike back 5 miles to the parking lot.

The rest of us went on our way and awhile later we came upon Jack & Sharon, still walking their bike, but they had found the skewer a mile into their walk back! They were still missing the nut to hold it on though. So the guys all picked their brains trying to figure out who had a "spare part" that could be used in place of the nut. While, low & behold, Jim took the seat bag off his bike and they used the threaded bracket that held the seat bag to the seat rails! This worked and got them back the last 3 or 4 miles to the parking lot where he had another skewer with a spare nut to use for tomorrow's ride.

We had a remote lunch stop that we had to hike to and just as we were finishing and preparing to ride back the real rains started. So we all hustled and peddled our way back at a hurried pace and arrived mostly dry inside, but quite wet and muddy on the outside, especially the tandems! Back at the lodge, we cleaned ourselves up and hung our bike wear with hopes of it being dry for tomorrow's ride start.

Our hosts decided to have a true cocktail HOUR before an early dinner right across the street at the Mountain Brauhaus Restaurant, a wonderful German place. After dinner we continued with a second cocktail HOUR which included a divine peanut butter & chocolate cake to celebrate the numerous birthdays in October, November & December. All the riding and eating seemed to make us sleepy quite early and most promptly retired for another well deserved nights sleep.


The final day would prove to have the best weather, with crisp and cooler temps that gave way to clear views for the day. After another great breakfast, teams were seen packing up their belongings and checking out of the lodge, since we would be out riding past the 11:00 check-out time. The ride today was about 6 miles away at Minnewaska State Park and we lined up just before they opened at 9:00 am to pile in the preferred upper parking lot where the ride would start.

Today's trails were quite a bit different than the past two days, with them being more "interesting" because the trails were sometimes scattered with some ruts, rocks & roots as the forests always have here & there. These variations in the trail tend to make it a bit more entertaining if you are of the persuasion to enjoy running around and even over some of these things. :-) It is of course most enjoyable and doable with the true mountain tandems, but the converted "cross" type off-road tandems remarked how they also enjoyed this type of trail, but that they DID try to avoid most of the more difficult obstacles.

The views for the day were breathtaking, and we stopped often to enjoy them and take pictures. We lunched on a ledge where the birds were flying below us! We returned to the parking lot after riding 18 miles and cleaned off today's mud as best we could, but this time we got in our cars for an easy drive home with the wondrous memories of a spectacular three day off road tandem event hosted by such admirable and gracious tandem friends, Malcolm & Judy. The did an outstanding job on this event and if we are lucky enough they will host it again and if need be, we would be more than willing to help to make sure this happens again for us and others to enjoy.

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Copyright © 2008, Brenda Isherwood (text, photos)