Brisk! 28 degrees driving the 5 miles to the start of this one..
This is a permanent route that I built from my little one light town in Scio, NY. It starts, not at the local mini market filling station, but at "The Store", a little local town general store that has been in this town since my family has been coming here in 1973, lets say as long as I remember. It's that kind of little store with everything you need for sustenance, the kind of store that in the 50's and still today, can see some old chap pulling up in his 5 window pickup with the window down and his dog sitting next to him on his ripped and torn front seat, get out and head in for the morning paper and a quart of milk and a loaf of bread. It has a little butcher shop in it, some movies for rent, and a round table and some chair just inside the door in case you want to sit and chat for a while, maybe catch up with someone you haven't seen in a while. I really love these kind of stores. The one in Germania on my Dark Skies ride is an awesome little store too. Just friendly people, good mojo, and what you need to keep you going.
This day, I decided to ride the Giant. My carbon fiber bike. It's lighter weight, with thinner tires, which makes for faster rolling, both of these are huge benefits and mean less work for the ride but come at an expense also. You're going to feel more of the imperfections of the road, especially for a ride that will have you on the road for over 10 hours, so your hands and butt are going to feel it. I had just upgraded my saddle to a Fizik Aliante VS after reading an article about how wonderful the saddle was for bigger guys. I had the "Arione" model on my Tri bike last year, and didn't like it much. It just wasn't comfortable, a little too narrow. Anyways, the light weight of the bike paid off with less work which I was glad of with the 13 mph headwind that I came up against in the second half of the ride. The saddle was great for the first 6 hours, but by hour 9 I was "feeling the pain", and wouldn't have been surprised by the time I got off the bike to find blisters, but you keep riding.
I left around 7 AM and headed East with my first control in Canaseraga, NY. The weather was actually quite comfortable, and I made decent time covering the first 30 miles in 2 hours. That 30 miles included one of the steepest climbs of the ride, I thought aptly named Bailey Hill, as I would find out later, this ride, though the total climbing doesn't "look" too bad, has some pretty serious climbs!
I grabbed some donuts, and grapefruit juice at the first control and headed down the road on my way. I still had some of the rice bars that Kris made for my last ride and had frozen, so I unwrapped one, and started to eat it.. Well, they didn't freeze well, and tasted like crap, and wasn't holding together well, and I got a couple of bites, ended up with it crumbling all over me as I was riding down the road, and even got some in my shoe.!
From mile 30 - 42 it's real flat and fast, pretty easy rolling, some wind while you're riding past open fields, but it's enjoyable. Then you cross the Genesee River in Portville, near the South Entrance to Letchworth State Park, and take a left turn and start climbing towards the next control which is at mile 62 in Centerville, NY. Along this stretch, there are some pretty good climbs, and I had a couple dogs chase me. I personally have been lucky enough to not have been bitten by a dog (yet), but this was the first time I had one run into me. It was a Weimaraner, pretty big, and I think he just miscalculated that I was riding towards him, and he was running towards me. His face ran into my ankle, which I promptly pulled my shoe out of the clip and kicked at him with. He was a bit surprised, and left me be after that. Of course the next house had a dog also, but it was an older farm dog, and it couldn't get to the road in time to tell me what it thought, thankfully, I was spent from the first sprint and encounter.
I rolled into the Centerville Control at around 4:50 into the trip. This was just shy of the halfway point. I topped off my water bottles, got some Dr. Pepper and Gatorade, and something to eat. Sat on the step where the local cats hang out, and relaxed for a few. The guy who runs the store, Tom, asked me where I was headed, and I told him my next stop was in Portville, and I was going through Rushford, and past Cuba Lake. He told me about the "big climb" coming up, and I told him I was aware, and knew that it would be less climbing after that.
I left the store, and started down the road. I looked up and thought, no way, that's not the road I am supposed to take. It looked like a climb from the Cobblestone Classics you watch this time of year on TV. One of those tree covered sliver of a road that climbs up through the distance. This is where I was wrong, and made a wrong turn that cost me an extra 3 miles of riding I could have done without. That extra 3 miles also included a nice little chase from an old farm dog and 2 pit bulls. One thing about Pitts, they never bark when they chase you, which I don't like much. They just kind of run along, and spend all their energy trying to figure out how to get you off that bike! Well, I didn't have to climb the monster, but still had to do the same amount of climbing over 3 miles instead of 1, and at this point I was now heading right into the wind.
It also spit a little rain, but not too much. By mile 70 I was ready to quit. I was totally in. Every mile dragged. Around mile 80, I was nearing Cuba Lake, and knew it would lift my spirits, just because it would bring about that thought of fun times at the lake. You have to trick your mind at times, and make it think that this is really just nice little stroll that you're out for. Looking at the tree's and lakes, and birds. Anyways, I was really down, just pushing along, and I look up, and 8 Boxers (the dog), come running off this porch at me, it must have been a breeder, anyway, I sit up a little and just laugh and say you have got to be F'ing be kidding me! I figured I was just going to lay down when they attacked me, and let them eat me. I didn't care. Well, they all stopped 5 feet from the road, and I could see them wearing invisible fence collars, and laughed as I rode past. It wasn't much farther and I got to Cuba Lake at 82.5 miles, and the next 5 miles were OK till you get to the next climb after Cuba. By the time I topped out that climb at mile 90, I was committed to sucking it up and finishing the ride. I was WAY behind what I was hoping for as far as a schedule went, but still well within my cutoff times. I got to the next control at mile 102 at 8:35 into the trip.
This control is in Portville, NY and is at a Wilson Farms with an awesome ice cream shop across the road. It's like a cold stone creamery where they mix your stuff right in the cone, and I thought about going over, but didn't want to take the time. I had about 25 miles left to go, and at this point just wanted to get home.
From here to Bolivar at 114 miles was a pretty smooth ride without any real hills. Outside of Bolivar is the last hill of the ride, which tops out at mile 118, with the last 10 miles being downhill. I was able to average over 20 mph over these last miles, and enjoyed riding past our road just 5 miles from the finish. The ride took me 10 hours and 42 minutes. It was 128.2 miles with 7500 feet of climbing. According to the Garmin site I burned over 4600 calories, which is interesting, because the last ride was 126 miles and 7800 feet of climbing and I burned over 8000 calories. One huge difference was the fact that I rode my CoMotion on that ride, which is 10 lbs heavier, and more work no doubt, and my average heartrate was 1bpm higher (133 vs 132) for that ride, but over an 11+ hour ride it makes a difference. That ride also took me longer, which accounts for some of the difference too.
Even though this ride gave me some trouble, I was ready the next day for my next ride. Still getting stronger, and talking to friends who do this alot, they say that feeling of "when the hell is this going to be over" comes and goes no matter how long you do this.
Till next time..