Monday, June 11, 2012

A Trip to Saratoga Springs

I've never been to Saratoga Springs before. Helen had a conference scheduled, and wanted to take me along. I figured that with all that countryside, there must be tons of riding opportunities. We went up this past Friday. She had conferences all day Saturday, and we rode together on Sunday.
We stayed at The Geyser Lodge in Saratoga Springs. Our hosts Sandy and Norm were fantastic, as were the hearty daily homemade breakfasts. Saratoga town was much larger that expected, and had lots of terrific restaurants. We shared the weekend with Dave Matthews fans who were in for concerts, and a large group of motorcyclists, who were there for an exhibition/gathering. Suffice it to say that the town was hopping. Lots of thanks to Blue Sky Cycles, who provided local ride lists with easily accessable cue sheets.
As Saratoga is well known for horse racing, the area to the East of Saratoga Lake is countryside with a good road system, lots of horse farms, and rolling to moderate terrain which makes it excellent cycling territory. My 50 mile ride on Saturday included as much scenic countryside as I had time for, low vehicular traffic, and very friendly local people. Although there were intermittent spritzes, no steady/heavy rain was present to spoil my fun.
On Sunday Helen and I headed out of town past Lake Lonely to check out the excellent riding East of Lake Saratoga. We headed up Fitch road and came across lots of rolling hills, horse farms, and fabulous scenery. The hills in this area are moderate , and very doable for riders of all types and levels of expertise. I cannot highly recommend the 7 mile road on the East side of Saratoga Lake, and the shoulder is narrow, the pavement is in moderate to poor condition, and the vehicular traffic can become heavy at times.
Definitely our best riding experience was East of the lake in the extensive farm country, I have only barely begun to explore this area, and want to come back for future riding experiences. This area is also home to the high end Serotta bikes, and must be a handy proving ground for their high performance machines.
On the way back, we took Gideon Putnam Drive into Saratoga Spa State Park. A river runs through it, and there are multiple locations where geysers with naturally carbonated water are present and available for public drinking. There is a series of well maintained roads, and a circular Geyser loop that we rode.
This park also has public baths, hiking trails, and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center ( SPAC ).
With lots to do it is an excellent place to recreate. We met a professional photographer from Kent, Ohio, who agreed to take our photo. All in all, our trip to Saratoga was a great success. I would love to come back during ballet or opera seasons to take advantage of SPAC, and explore more of the excellent country roads in the area