This past weekend was our bike club's annual Great Finger Lakes Bicycle Tour:
Things began with a BANG on Friday night during our short, 18-mile Fire Tower loop. There was a storm predicted for later that evening, however it rolled in MUCH more quickly than expected:
Got caught in the last few miles of the ride in one of the most intense thunderstorm EVER! Sent me skittering about the road like an insect, could barely see the road to find my way back. There was absolutely NOTHING around which offered any cover. Two others were riding with me. Could see the storm brewing and rolling in off Seneca Lake with the warning thunder fueling our pedal strokes. The power got wiped out back at the camp for the night.
It was made all the more frightening during the next day's ride as we surveyed all the downed trees and limbs...thank goodness nobody got hurt! I think I met my adrenaline rush quota for the next few years...lol!
Saturday's ride was the longest, around 60 miles and instead of cycling 'round Seneca or Cayuga lakes this ride took us up toward Penn Yan and northern Keuka lake:
This also takes one by the Windmill Center, which I only belated realized upon arrival, was a highly commercial tourist-trap that felt like it was a whisker away from McDonald's:
No lengthy stop there! Just enough for a pulled-pork sandwich and a huge dill pickle...lol
I was a bit disappointed in myself at the end of Saturday's ride over how totally WIPED OUT I felt! I didn't know how I would stay awake through dinner, let alone all the very cool activities that awaited during the night. I realized my busy summer which has kept me from logging the kind of miles I'd like to be logging has taken a toll.
But yanno? The night swept me away nonetheless. SO many cool things! A club member gave a hilarious powerpoint tribute and presentation in honor of one of our founding members, Augie, 82 years young and still riding strong!
Karen, who founded the Five Hundred Miles Across New York (FANY Ride www.fanyride.com
) gave such an enthusiastic, heart-felt pitch for her upcoming ride. I've yet to do this one and it isn't happening this year, but it WILL happen! :-)
I met a former bike club member who had moved away from the area to live in Vermont and had biked ALL THE WAY to our event, almost 400 miles! He has had extensive bike touring experiences and spoke of staying with people he met through Warm Showers ( www.warmshowers.org
), reminding me that I want to host traveling cyclists TOO! So I signed up and posted that I was available for hosting! I've heard such wonderful stories of local folks who've hosted cyclists from as far as Scotland. Can't wait! It was wonderful to pick his brains and learn from his experiences.
After the presentations the Drum Circle gathered and I joined in with my guitar, beating the back of my guitar like a drum.
And then? CAMPFIRE TIME! We all gathered around and I played my guitar and to my great surprise and joy some other bike club members joined in, one with a flute, the other with a recorder and percussion and we were able to find some songs which we all knew and could play together, including some of my favorite bossa nova tunes by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Van Morrison's Moondance and some others.
So how long can this road-weary cyclist carry on through the night, anyhow?!? :-) I think it was approaching 11 when I drifted off to sleep.
Sunday's ride 'round Keuka brought yet more delights! Apologies for the lack of pics, but I do have a few to share...a few pics of the gorgeous area around Keuka Lake:
One of the great challenges that the ride around Keuka offers is The Bluff. It is a hill climb so steep that it never fails to be a guaranteed "walk." Here is a link to the map:
You'll see in the lower part of the map the elevation chart and how there is a WALL that you slam into around the 23 mile mark. This is The Bluff. It is located at the base of the "V" which is in the upper part of Keuka Lake which is shaped like a crooked "Y".
I made up my mind earlier in the morning that I wasn't feeling very "bluffy" today. I'd heard that there was a rough gravel path which one could take to connect to the east side of the "V". I hadn't done this before, but ran into a couple of cyclists along the way who knew this route and were planning to take it. Perfect! Gonna cheat the Bluffs! Woo hoo! The gravel road was not at all a problem negotiating with my Specialized Tricross and wider tires. Skinny road bike tires might pose more of an annoyance, but could probably be negotiated.
Here is a pic of the very base of the Bluff, doesn't look like much. Enjoyed thumbing my nose at it as I rode by...lol.
So instead I go my merry way up the east side of the Bluffs and enjoy all the beautiful homes and views. I was reminded of the same feeling I get every year cycling 'round Keuka: a vicarious pleasure in taking in all these homes with nary a shred of envy. This could be a painful ride if one had a penchant for envy! Instead, I can appreciate all the lovely views, which were strangely largely devoid of people actually outside of these homes taking any pleasure in their acquisitions, but be so glad not to have the headaches of the bills, the upkeep, all the drama of property ownership...I'm free from all that "stuff!"
I was channeling Ray Charles & Cleo Laine's rendition of Porgy & Bess, in particular that wonderful tune: I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'!
I pedaled up through Keuka College into Penn Yan and another variation I took in this year, following another seasoned bike club member's advice, was instead of staying on highway 54 all the way to Hammondsport, I noodled along the way down into the various East Lake Road loops to take in more of the lakeshore homes and views. However they were again calling for another storm later today and after Friday night's scare I was more mindful of the gathering clouds and passed on a few of these loops so that I could return to Hammondsport and the safety of my car before any storm arrived. Which it DID! Another storm hammered the area quite seriously later in the day and unfortunately a few club members had been in this one, but came through safely.
I've heard we totaled around 220 this year at our event. A whole lotta joy shared by many! I encourage folks to consider joining us next year! We usually hold this event mid-June and the price of around $100 includes breakfast & dinner and a cabin bed is only an additional $10 or you can tent it if you prefer.