Endless training routes and epic scenery keep triathletes coming back to New Paltz, N.Y.
This article was originally published in the Sep./Oct. 2013 issue of Inside Triathlon magazine.
Located in the Hudson Valley just 90 miles north of New York City, New Paltz is nestled at the base of the Shawangunk Mountains amid the Mohonk Preserve and Minnewaska State Park Preserve, which combine for thousands of acres of mountain ridges, pristine forests and crystal-clear lakes. The town is an easy drive or train ride from Manhattan, making it a popular weekend training spot for East Coast triathletes.
Pro triathlete Rebeccah Wassner, who does much of her training in New Paltz, says that what sets the area apart is the network of carriage roads throughout the area that were originally built to take people by horse-drawn carriage to the Mohonk Mountain House, a historic resort hotel built in the late 1800s. “You can run off-road for miles and miles,” she says. Stop by the Mohonk Preserve Visitor Center to pick up passes and trail maps. Wassner’s all-time favorite run is a five-mile loop on the Undercliff and Overcliff carriage roads. Other run options: Join the Lenape Sunday Run group at 9 a.m. on the Lenape Lane trail, or run the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail starting from town.
New Paltz hosts the infamous S.O.S. (Survival of the Shawangunks) Triathlon, an eight-stage race that totals 30 miles of cycling, 2.1 miles of lake swimming and 18.7 miles of trail running (Sept. 8, 2013, Sostriathlon.com). The other major local race is the grueling American Zofingen Duathlon, which features three distances of road biking and trail running (Cm2promotions.com).
For your morning cup of joe, head to The Mudd Puddle—you can ride your bike right up and sit outside in the courtyard, says Wassner. Main Street Bistro is the place for breakfast or lunch (Mainstreetbistro.com). For a post-workout dinner and brew, visit the Mountain Brauhaus, which serves authentic German cuisine (Mountainbrauhaus.com). And with the Culinary Institute of America just 20 minutes away, it’s easy to find great food all around the area.
Swim training is simple. The State University of New York at New Paltz, has an indoor pool open during the winter months, and in the summer, two outdoor pools and a mountain lake are swim training options. For bike training, Wassner recommends riding from New Paltz to the Ashokan Reservoir in the Catskill Mountains, where “traffic or traffic lights are never an issue,” she says.
If you’re spending the night, Hungry Ghost Guest House (Hungryghostguesthouse.com) is well-priced, with rooms starting at $115 a night, offers swim lessons and guided runs, and serves gluten-free and vegan food. For longer stays, rent a vacation home in the hills through VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner, Vrbo.com).
While in the area, don’t miss out on the incredible rock climbing (go to Rockandsnow.com to find a guide), the local wineries or the fall apple picking at a local farm.
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