Enjoy Life, Stay Healthy, Keep Riding

Gale Orcutt

Gale Orcutt

Where do you live? How old are you?

I moved to the Saratoga area (Wilton) 24 years ago, and have enjoyed everything about the area except winters, when it’s time to hang up my bike and go into the gym.
As for my age, it’s just a number, and I feel a lot younger than my number!

What kind of bike do you ride? What features do you like about it?

For the past nine years I had been riding a Specialized Ruby. I recently upgraded to a Trek Domane SLR6. Caleb (at Blue Sky) helped me decide which components and options to consider, spending a great deal of time with me to make sure the fit was perfect. What I’m most excited about is the electronic shifting and my Zipp 202 NSW wheels. And of course, I love the new Trek color, steel blue.

How long have you been riding, and how did you get into cycling?

After years of spinning at the gym, my friend Bob asked me why I didn’t get a bike and start riding. I bought an inexpensive aluminum bike and rode it for two years before upgrading to the Specialized Ruby (from Blue Sky). I rode the Ruby for nine years so, in total I’ve been riding for 11 years. I look forward to the next 11 years with my brand-new Trek Domane!
Early on I started with my friends, Norm, Bob and Christine, and soon joined the Monday morning women’s ride led by my friend Aurora. Because everyone had various time constraints with children, work, and other responsibilities I started organizing rides from my house for my friends that lived nearby. When I could join Jim Carlson’s group I did. Thank you, Jim, for bringing me along!
I have typically been riding 6 days per week (weather permitting) both from my home and from Spa State Park with my Saratoga friends and any others who ask to join, as well as Dick Clark’s group rides 3 days per week.

How do you typically put the miles on your bike? Do you keep track of your miles?

I ride every week in the fair-weather months, and even in some not-so-fair-weather months. On average, I ride 120 – 250 miles per week. I keep detailed records of my date, mileage, average speed, cadence, average heat rate, elevation, riding time, route and, of course, who joined me on each ride.

Do you have some favorite routes?

Our area is so abundantly beautiful that it lends itself to many great routes. Heading out in any direction from Saratoga Springs is a thrill. Some of my favorites are the Saratoga Battlefield, the Saratoga Monument, and routes along the Hudson River.

What are your long-term cycling goals?

My friend, Dick, likes to sign off on his cycling emails with the phrase “stay vertical,” and I like that sentiment. I would like to keep improving my speed and strength, doing ever longer rides with more and more elevation.

What are your proudest moments as a cyclist?

The moments that come to mind usually involve my friend, Julie, a person as crazy about riding as me. These include the Peak Season Century 100-mile bike ride around Lake George, and training with Julie on the cycling portion for her Lake Placid Ironman triathlon, including two trips to Lake Placid to ride the course. One included our friend Christine.
Another fun week was the Trek Cycling Tour of Napa Valley wine country that I did with my friend Robin.

What tips would you offer a less-experienced cyclist?

Find a good group to ride with, obey the rules of the road and, most of all, enjoy the ride.

What is your favorite cycling product or accessory?

Being a stats junkie, I depend on my Garmin to keep track of everything, especially while riding. Ask me in a few weeks how I feel about my new bike with electronic shifting. The Blue Sky demo bike with electronic shifting sold me on this feature.

How do you fuel and hydrate when you’re in the saddle?

My hydration consists of Hammer Endurolytes Fizz in my water bottles (grapefruit is my favorite, which tastes good without being overpowering). For energy, I use a GU Roctane energy gel and chew on Clif Energy Chews a half bar at a time (I love the cherry flavor). On longer rides, I carry a half PB&J sandwich, eating a quarter at a time, as well as a half banana, eating one or the other every 25+ miles so the energy goes to my legs rather than my stomach.

Any funny or unusual experiences during your riding career?

Upon getting home from a ride where we spotted a black bear in the distance, I said to my kids, “I saw a bear riding my bike.” They, of course, laughed hysterically and later gave me a Christmas ornament of a bear riding a bike.
A 100-mile ride I’ll never forget is a Tour de Cure where the skies opened with torrential rain, lightning, thunder, and winds so strong that everything that wasn’t tied down, like garbage cans blowing across the road, became obstacles. This ride was cancelled as we got to mile 76. We took cover under a log cabin porch with other cyclists…motorcyclists, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle gang.
My favorite expression when riding is, “This is living!” That pretty much sums up how I feel about riding.

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