Friday, April 15, 2011

The CAT Race - Cannonsville Adventure Triathlon

There'll be no pussyfooting around this race course!!!  (Sorry we just had to write one feline line.)  The Cannonsville Adventure Triathlon is coming to the Western Catskills and what a day it's going to be!  Sunday, June 5th is the date.  The NYC DEP is allowing use of the Cannonsville Reservoir for the paddle leg.  This kicks off their third year of a three year pilot program allowing recreational boating on the reservoir. This is a great sign and hopeful indication that the program will be opened up in the future to other reservoirs.

The race is a 6.5 mile run (just over a 10k), then a 4 mile paddle, finishing with a 12 mile bike (mostly downhill with a dismount finish).  There will be awards of $500 for the fastest man, woman and team. All racers will get medallions and a free t-shirt and meal/drink voucher.  Hancock is hosting and rolling out the carpet for racers and their friends and family.  Post-race party next to the Hancock House Hotel with live music sponsored by the Hancock Partners. 

Folks who live here know how beautiful the reservoir lands are and we're hoping lots more folks will get the same vibe coming here for this race. Bald eagles nest along the reservoir lands and can be see from the water easily when paddling.  Bear, deer, turkey, fox, grouse, rabbit, coyote, and other wildlife abound as well.

Racers will need to get their boats steam cleaned by an authorized site prior to the race, and stored at the transition area by Saturday evening.  While this (and the required NYC DEP Access Permit - easy to obtain online and free) are extra hurdles for out of area racers - the ability to be on the City's reservoir in the company of other racers, and to hang out and get to know the area will make for a great trip and worth the effort.

The race website has all the information you'll need to know and links to get your Access Permit and online registration for the race. There are Google maps for the course as well as area lodging and dining and attractions. 

Organizers are very appreciative of the City's allowing the use of the reservoir for the race, as well as the assistance of the town, local officials, NYS DOT, local law enforcement and volunteer EMS, local volunteer organizations, the County and Economic Development. Especially noteworthy is the Catskill Watershed Corporation's sponsor funding for this inaugural year event and the three year pilot program to allow recreational boating on the Cannonsville.

Help spread the word about this great event and if you are so inclined and capable of performing the feats necessary to complete the course - come on out and race with us!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

April's Just Fine For Me

We've got some sap snow on tap. Just learned that phrase. The snow that comes down while folks are out tapping the maple trees. It's cold at night - cold enough for snow and to get the sap running.  You see the buckets hanging on trees the old fashioned way, or the tubing running through the woods to the collector bin on the side of the road.  Once I had the pleasure of hanging out in the sugar shack, eating some homemade (not box) mac and cheese, stoking the fire along the length of the long trays, adding long logs, and watching the maple syrup simmer and clouds of evaporating liquid fill the air in the barn.  It's a wonderfully relaxing experience. Conversation is small.

The daffodils and tulips are 2 inches high and will handle last night's snow easily. The robins and red-winged blackbirds are everywhere pulling fat worms out of the loosening dirt.  In late afternoon you see dozens of deer in the fields filling their bellies and delighting in the ease at which they can get food these days. Same for turkeys - the farmers are spreading their winter piles of manure and there's something for all the birds to eat. Toms are strutting their stuff - tailfeathers all fanned out - getting ready for mating season.  Quails are sitting on nests on the sides of hayfields, blending their grey, tan and brown into the spring colors. 

Muddy roads are usually when I get myself in trouble. Get going a little to fast and you pop in and out of rutts and then slide over to the ditch on the side of the road.  That's my only warning for the warming month.  Otherwise, just get out and enjoy the longer days. Take a hike, go for a leisurely bike ride. Warm up those muscles that have only shoveled snow or brought in firewood all winter.  Spring's coming back to the mountains and there'll be lots to do!!! 

April is a month usually overlooked as a fun month. But for me it's one of the ones I like best. It's the month before it gets busy - when you can still relax and just think about what you've got to do. Clean up tasks are easy and cathartic.  The pace is comfortable. So get out and enjoy your weekend house, your hayfields, plan a weekend trip chock full of relaxation.  The vibe is mellow and welcoming.