Epic Rides from New York: Gimbel’s

The Ride

Three Distances: 35, 40, 55 miles
Terrain: Hilly
Pace: Race training (fast, speeds often hitting 30mph on flats)
Start Location: Cross Country Shopping mall, Yonkers, NY
Start Time: 9:20am sharp weekends and holidays

This is the premiere ride in the northeast, if not the country, attracting upwards of 100 riders and racers from all over the tri-state area. The ride starts at the south facing steps of Macy’s (formerly Gimbel’s) Department store in the Cross County Shopping Center in Yonkers NY and loops up through Westchester ending in New Rochelle.

The first 11 miles are ridden at a gradually increasing warm-up pace through southern Westchester, picking up riders along Central Park Avenue (Rt. 100). Once the ride reaches Kensico Lake, the pace picks up and the pack splits into short, regular, and long groups.

The short and regular rides have similar routes, while the long ride tackles some difficult climbing (at a difficult pace) in northern Westchester. From my experience, there are two kinds of “being prepared” for the long ride that are worth noting:

(1) You have the fitness to finish with the leaders which include grizzled veteran racers and the occasional pro
(2) You have full Garmin maps (or have studied the routes) you can follow after being shaken off the back like a cowboy off a rodeo bull.

Elevation Profiles

Once the regular ride reaches tempo pace attacks are made, flyers are taken, and sprints are led out. Gimbels is your essential race-pace training ride. After an intermediary sprint at Manhattanville College, the pack navigates through Rye before lining up a final sprint at the Mamaroneck town line.

As torquer writes on roadbikereview.com: “…we almost never stop for anyone’s flats/mechanicals, and only grudgingly for crashes.” As such, it is a good idea to bring your own repair kit, as well as a map of the course to find your way back. If you have a mechanical, or are dropped and take a wrong turn it may be some time before you see another rider.

Hostilities and legs finally cool down as the group rolls to Bagel Zone in New Rochelle. (243 Main Street, New Rochelle, NY)

The pace is always hot at Gimbel’s

From an objective standpoint, Gimbels cannot be considered a safe group ride. Despite riding at a time of day when traffic is low, the group has earned (both deservedly and not) a reputation for taking unwarranted risks on the road. Crashes are rare, but they do happen. The same can be said for any race-paced training ride in the country, but that doesn’t mean that the group couldn’t make better decisions on the road. The flip side? The ride offers great training, camaraderie, and a chance to mix with cyclists of all shapes and sizes. It’s a one-of-a-kind cycling experience.

 

Garmin Downloads

Right-click and choose “save link as”…

When your Garmin is plugged into your computer it will appear as a hard drive. Drag-and-drop the GPX file into the Garmin/GPX folder on your 705 or the Garmin/NewFiles folder on your Garmin 800 (NOT your SD card if you have one).

 

Getting to the start

Address: 99 Mall Walk, Yonkers, NY. You can park at the mall.
GPS coordinates: 40.928267, -73.854690
If your Garmin can’t find the address above, try: 744-766 Central Park Ave,Yonkers, NY


By Train:

  1. Ride to Grand Central, take Metro North (8:23am train recommended) to Hartsdale Station
  2. Take Hartsdale Ave. (right turn out of depot) to Central Ave.
  3. Turn left (south), and ride slow until you see the group coming the other way.

Resources

Gimbels forums: introduce yourself, read the history, rehash battles on the road.

Bicycling Magazine writeup

Image licensed from New York’s cylcing friend victor chan of One Image Photography.

Text excerpted from Trimble outdoors. Check out ride profile for map and points of interest along the ride.

Videos from carbonride100′s handlebar cam can be viewed on YouTube.

Train instructions provided by Kissena member on nyvelocity.

This entry was posted in Columns, Obstructed View, Rides and tagged , , , , on by .
Aaron Deutsch

About Aaron Deutsch

Aaron has always felt a passion for, if not a gravitational pull from, racing. Since being lured from the basketball court onto the track in 1993 he set 7 track & field records and medaled six times at the state level of competition.

He moved to the mountain bike in the late 1990s and won the Penn Cycle Buck Hill race series in 2000 in the sport class. He also placed 4th in the Subaru Cup XC race that year.

Moving to New York began another chapter: road racing. Aaron rode unattached for the first year and medaled in 2 races including a 1st place finish in the Kissena Race Series in 2007. In 2008 the Brooklyn Arches Cycling Club was formed and the results were immediate and consistent including winning the Cadence Cup Race Series in Brooklyn.

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