Joe P’s First Annual

Birthday Spectacular


New Paltz, NY.


Saturday, 21st August 2010

33.6 miles, total climb 3,246ft, average speed 12.8mph

Although the official title for this ride is Joe Parson’s First Annual Birthday ride, I prefer to refer to it as ‘short but hard’ as it’s much more appropriate.

The first email arrived from Vero almost a month ago, back in July in fact, letting us know that our friend Mr P would be celebrating his birthday on Sunday 22nd August.  “As you all know, he really loves rides out in the country during the summer”, wrote Vero, and so began her planning to get a lot of Mr P.’s ride mates together and committed to ride on the same day.  Not an easy feat in New York in the summer.

The surprise on Joe’s face as friend after friend arrived for the journey to New Paltz was fantastic and really served to underline what a great community of pals has grown out of our common love for jumping on a bike and getting out of the city every now and then.

Vero’s attention to detail in the planning bordered on the ridiculous.  Breakfast bar at the coffee joint across from her apartment, check; small bags of toiletries collected together in bags the TSA would be proud of, check; making sure there were enough cars (and bike racks), check; showering facilities in New Paltz, check; wonderful micro-brew pub for post ride festivities, check.  Yep, if she ever decides to give up this lawyering lark a career as a tour manager is fully on the cards for our beloved Vero.

Upon arrival in New Paltz, the group split into two, an A and a B.  Why oh why I decided to go with the A’s after a two months of not riding at anything approaching that level is beyond me but away with the Psycho A’s I went, their intention for the pace of the day immediately evident which didn’t sit well with the breakfast burrito I’d polished off only minutes earlier.  Still, by and large I managed to hang with the group for the most part save for the last killer climb which was throughly unpleasant.

I honestly can’t remember ever being so beat down by a ride so short but this was always intended as a game of two halves, the post ride brews and burgers at the Gilded Otter as important to the overall day as the ride itself.

Much love and respect to our friend Veronica Julia Wiles for putting this day together for Joe.  And for all of us.  A wonderful day spent with wonderful people in a wonderful location.  Vero, you rock.