I realized it’s been about a month since I’ve written anything here. A lot has happened. I’m not going to write about all of it now but I’ll do a roundup of my long bike rides. When I last wrote about a ride, I had had a rough time mostly mentally.
The week after that I had a fairly successful 77 mile ride that was meant to be a 71 mile ride. I lost gps connection in some deep valley between Seneca and Canandaigua Lakes after my planned route took me down some terrible gravel dirt roads that were insanely steep downhills. I stopped following my route and started following paved roads. I had a good time but was tired by the end. Tired but not destroyed so a triumph of a sort.
The next week the weather was going to be bad. I wanted to stick to the training plan and do 75 miles. I was determined to do it so I even bought some gear that I believed would keep me warm enough in 35 degrees and soaking rain. If there is apparel that will work in those conditions for an extended period, I have not found it yet. My bike shoes were my downfall, the necessary insulation barely fit in my shoe, so my foot was insulated but since there wasn’t much blood making it to my toes, it didn’t really matter. Then when they got soaked with water they just kept getting colder and colder. I tried some toe warmers which really just cut off more circulation and didn’t really get warm anyway.
I made it all the way to the Alton Coffee cup and stood in their parking lot trying to operate my phone through a ziplock bag to text Brian that I was aborting the planned adventure and heading back. The ride back was mostly me wondering if you could get frostbite when it was above freezing. Only my feet were cold and numb so I didn’t think I’d get hypothermia.
When I got home and peeled off my socks my feet looked horrible red and when I ran lukewarm water over them they looked like they were turning black. I got freaked out and decided to let them warm up on their own and hope to avoid amputation. They were fine in about an hour and a half. I was disappointed that the weather had defeated me but I think heading home was the right plan. Next time I go out in that kind of weather I’ll take the hybrid and wear my boots. Not sure I can do 70+ on they hybrid but I’m pretty sure waterproof boots are important. There is suffering in cycling but it’s also supposed to be fun.
I did another long ride the following week. A large part of it was along the shore of Lake Ontario. Pretty but cold even on a sunny day in early spring. I had some chilly foot moments that made me worry that I was going to repeat the previous week. Once I headed south, away from the lake I warmed up quickly. Some of the parts along the Wayne, Monroe county border were kind of boring. Too populated. It wasn’t unpleasant, it’s just that if I’m going to ride past a bunch of houses I’d rather see something unusual than a repeating pattern of well manicured lawns in front of identical ranch houses. I wish people were more creative with their home building. I wonder if there’s some kind of Weird Architecture Stimulus Package that could be put in place to make suburbs less boring. If you built your house in the shape of a farm animal, you could get a serious tax deduction. Imagine the awesomeness of that neighborhood. Anyway, that ride went well, I finished with more energy than I had in a long time.
For my century I was watching the weather obsessively. I was trying to decide whether to do it on Sunday the 6th or do it on my birthday (the 8th). The weather looked good on the 6th so I went for it. I decided to leave from my house and ride south to Watkins Glen on the East side of Seneca lake and then back home on the West side. I started about 7:15 a.m. It was beautiful. Riding early on cool Sunday mornings has to be the best biking time hands down. It’s quiet, the birds are singing, the only people you see are wandering to their mailboxes to get the paper in their bathrobes.
Sampson Lake State Park was kind of neat to ride through because there was almost no traffic and a road/path that was bike and pedestrian only, right along the lake. Hills. Hills. Hills. Got chased by cows (they were behind a fence). Waterfall. Filled my camelback with nasty looking water at a park in Watkins Glen. It tasted fine though. Super steep hill to get out of Watkins Glen. Wineries. Wineries. Wineries. I had a moment before I got to Dresden where I felt the distance between me and the end of the ride was way too far, but I recovered from that quickly. I really felt pretty good until the last 14 miles from Geneva to home. It was still ok but I was tired. I made it home around 5:30ish. Then I ate a bunch of food that was terrible for me and fell asleep.
I haven’t been out on the bike much since. I did 30 miles this past weekend and bumped up my Eddington number. I’m definitely not sick of riding or anything, I’ve just had some other stuff on my plate.