Biking the Adirondacks with our Chef de Cuisine
There is a certain irony that exists between Kirk Fiore's vocation and avocation.
"Biking keeps me sane," said the veteran rider. "It helps me deal with a busy kitchen. I get that free feeling when I'm on the bike."
Fiore taught at the New England Culinary Institute and owned a restaurant in Burlington, Vt. with wife Katie prior to landing in the Northern Adirondacks. The Fiores reside in nearby Keene Valley, where Katie has embarked on a business as a personal chef.
When we spoke recently, Kirk had ridden his steel-framed Kona nearly 20 miles from home to work.
Chef de Cuisine Kirk Fiore only bikes 20 miles to work once in a while
He mountain bikes, mostly, with some road biking added for variety. Last month he competed in the Wilmington Whiteface 70 mile mountain bike event which raced through numerous Adirondack communities before concluding with a hellacious climb at the Whiteface Mountain Ski Center.
With a single-speed bike, Fiore clocked 6 hours, 20 minutes. But being more realistic......
"I prefer to bike right out my door," he said. For the bike enthusiasts who stay at the Mirror Lake Inn, he recommends the same.
"From the hotel door, I would tell guests to ride from Lake Placid to Wilmington and then over to Jay."
The timing for this could not be better for our guests as Route 86 from Lake Placid to Wilmington is receiving a new surface.
From Jay to Keene, bikers would negotiate a long downhill stretch of Route 9N on a perfectly safe, wide roadway.
If you decide to journey in this way, then be ready for the leg-burning climb from Keene back to Lake Placid on Route 73.
That's an area that Fiore favors.
"I've been riding in Keene Valley and toward Elizabethtown, and trails are being built in Wilmington. The sport is becoming more prominent here."
The Ironman Triathlon, hosted by Lake Placid since 1999 and contractually extended until 2017, is credited for much of the increase in biking's local popularity. On race day several weeks ago, Fiore biked the Ironman course backwards, meaning he did that quad-killing ride up Route 73, as triathletes buzzed past him.
No problem for a man who sets up his bike at home on a trainer and "rides" an hour a day all winter.
You may not go to that extent, but the great thing about biking in these parts is the variety of experiences offered. Downhill mountain bikers can tackle Whiteface Mountain; for a mellower taste of the sport, check out the cross country ski trails at Mount Van Hoevenberg; and now with a perfectly smooth surface, there is the 20-mile trip from Lake Placid to Saranac Lake and back.
And if you need any other inside info, we're sure Kirk would ride out of the kitchen to impart some local knowledge.