Well we pulled it off! 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI and I nailed 60 miles with a ride that had FOUR big climbs for a total climb of 3,500 feet (if you go by my map: ridewithgps.com/routes/7
) or over 7,000 feet (WOW!) (if you go by 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI's map: ridewithgps.com/trips/41
) Don't ask me how there could be such a differential, GPS n00b that I am...!
I knew that this would be a challenge for me, to nail a ride with such a degree of climbing. But then, the WAY COOL part is that what goes UP, must come DOWN! :-)
It was a very chilly, foggy start in Port Crane. On my way there in my car I saw a thermometer at Chenango Valley Schools reported 35 degrees. Perhaps it nudged up a few degrees by the time we started. Maybe. Neither of us opted to wear any outerwear, however. I just KNEW a little pedaling would afford me all the heat I needed!
Although our first climb was taxing up past Cole Park, the view on our descent into Windsor was just gorgeous! The sun was coming up and peeling back the fog, revealing a pristine valley filled with all the colors of autumn just beckoning us to swoop down into the valley and catch up with my fellow bike club members in Windsor. I tried to capture some of these scenes on my cell phone camera, however had no luck. But here's a pic of 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI and I after arriving in Windsor with climb / descent #1 under our belts!
Very quickly I think we both learned one thing we have in common: SLOW is our LEAST favorite option when on our bikes! No stopping to smell the roses for us...if we're going to savor them, those roses will have to thwack our helmets as we whiz on by!
We had an enjoyable meet-up with several bike club members in Windsor and 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI fit in nicely with our group, finding much in common and sharing pleasant conversation.
Soon we were OFF for climb #2: Tuscarora Mountain! With a descent into McClure...which I figured would be a spot in the road by the look of it on the map, but WOW! There just wasn't ANYTHING THERE! We had a little break and more fun conversation while waiting for the group to catch up before heading northward up State Highway 41 into Afton. There was another climb on this leg of our journey, but probably the kindest climb.
We lunched at a mighty fine restaurant in Afton, The Main Street Grill and Bakery: www.mainstreetgrillandba
. 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI and I both had the blackened tuna salad and a cup of the acorn squash soup...yum! Sam, the bike club ride leader had been singing the praises of this soup and it was no wonder! He said that the owner and chef of this restaurant was from NYC. How someone lands in an out-of-the-way place like Afton with a restaurant like this...? Go figure! As good as it was going down, however, my usually cast-iron digestive system was "talkin' to me" later during the last leg of our ride!
Another pleasure during lunch was that fellow SP member TEAMAGIS who ALSO happens to be a member of our bike club, belatedly joined us for lunch and for part of the ride. It was cool to have a little mini-meet-up between the three of us!
After lunch it was OFF from Afton with the bike club and in Ninevah, us "leaders of the pack" took some pics on the Ninevah bridge while awaiting the rest of the club:
From there 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI and I bid farewell to the bike club members who were returning to Windsor while we were completing the last leg of our journey up over Belden Hill toward Port Crane.
Although I've climbed Belden Hill a number of times, never easily, but always making it fairly comfortably with persistence, this time was WAY more tough! "Little Engine That Could" thoughts notwithstanding, I found myself panting I suspect *almost* as much as if I was a woman giving birth! Forget Lamaze, expectant ladies...for some practice just go climb a big, big hill! :-)
Was it the lunch? Was I just "all climbed out" from the rest of the ride? Along the way I passed a frog belly-up beside me on the shoulder of the road, thinking "hey buddy, I know the feeling!" I kept fighting off the urge to cave in, get off the bike and walk. Finally around 3/4 of the way up the hill flattened a bit and I DID cave, but not to walk, just to pause for a few minutes, gulp some water and then back to nailing the rest of this hill, doggone it! No croaking allowed!
And nail it I did! Finally swooping down and catching up with 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI in Port Crane and heading up to our cars, dousing myself with water, water and MORE water!
It was a very special day to share with a fellow member of SP, especially 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI as we BOTH have shed around half our body weight through our respective journeys thus far and this ride was yet one more WOO HOO! to our new, improved lives!
I was VERY fatigued later during the rest of the day. Nothing was particularly sore, just *ALL IN!* I don't think I've had ANY ride wear me out as much as this one did...but it was a *good* tired! I pushed the envelope in a great way today!
I later went out w/ DW to see the GREAT movie: "The Help"
...here I thought I'd snooze through a flick...IMPOSSIBLE! Riveting movie!
But then when sleep DID come...? I slept at least TEN hours...the longest sleep I've had in quite some time. I think my body took over and did what it needed to do...lol!
ps...long-winded...! Knew I needed some time to put this together...why I waited a bit.
pps...OH: this ride put me over 1800 miles so far for the season! There are a couple of GREAT rides scheduled for next weekend...am hoping Mother Nature will cooperate...!
ppps...Here's 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI's blog on the ride: