August 7, 2022 on

Month: August 2023 (Page 1 of 2)

GP Day 42 — Topping it off!

100.6 miles, 4725 ft of climbing, Wellsboro to State College

Tour totals: 2,052.2 Miles, 73,765 ft of climbing.

I woke up to the smell of bacon in the house. Jennifer made a hot breakfast of bacon and scrambled eggs, a great way to start off my last day on this tour. I was packed up and left by 8:30 for the 9 hour journey home: a century to finish off my Gaspé Peninsula journey.

Gray and overcast at the start, I took the most direct route which meant sharing RT 287 south with a plethora of dump trucks and tankers — the parade of the frackers. Lots of climbing vs. the rail trail, but I managed the biggest hill from bottom to top to bottom again in an hour — 50 minutes climbing up 6 1/2 miles from Morris/Hoytville and 10 minutes descending 4 1/2 miles to English Center. Of course, the sun came out on the climb, because it works that way! Fortunately, the morning was cool enough to make the climb, shall I say, somewhat enjoyable. The descent definitely was a thrill.

I was only on the Pine Creek Rail Trail from Waterville to the West Side Road about 6.5 miles and that was enough for me. I love rail trails, but give me a paved road and hills to climb and descents to enjoy vs. hours of the constant work that is carrying a load on crushed limestone. One of my favorite parts of this ride is River Road between Avis and Lock Haven and it didn’t disappoint. The best part was yet to come as Dana had ridden out from State College to meet me. A short and harried (impatient and risk-taking drivers) detour around a bridge closure on RT 150 and we met around mile 60 for me and 42 for her.

We rode back to State College through Mackeyville, Lamar, Hublersburg and Irish Hollow and the big question was where to have the celebratory beer. Boal City, Voodoo, Happy Valley? I was determined to turn my 96 mile route into a full century. A slight detour from RT 64/26 to Irish Hollow and Robinson Rd added most of the 4 miles, and the short detour to Voodoo got most of the rest. We ran into Ned, Jim, David and Brian there and had a mini-old-tour-group reunion, too. Dana took the short cut through Thompsons’ Woods to pick up stuff at her house, and I went back to Branch Rd. A quick zip up to the Giant in Hills Plaza assured that I had the century in the bag! Home was a welcome sight to see and Dana and I had dinner and I crashed hard into my own bed after being gone 6 weeks. 6 weeks that were fun and challenging, but it’s nice to be back. ZZZzzzz.

GP Day 41 — Closing in

50 8 miles, 2324 ft of climbing, West Elmira NY to Wellsboro PA

It rained all night (the best time for rain), things were very wet, and I took my time getting on the road. I had planned a 42 mile trip and Jim and maps said 100% paved. Normally, I would have gone through Corning and all the map tools routed me that way. It’s pretty flat, good shoulders, but 54 miles vs 42 with a couple of gentle climbs.

The first 7 miles were up at a grade so easy the recorder didn’t count much of it as a climb. The day was still very overcast, but it didn’t rain. The shortcut turn at mile 12 was dirt covered gravel. Wet dirt covered gravel! I stopped two nice ladies in a SUV and asked them if this road was paved further on or gravel all the way. “Oh, it’s gravel almost all the way to Lawrenceville, but the road you are on is paved all the way to Lindley.” So, I did some rerouting and headed off to Lindley. It wasn’t bad detour as it only added a couple miles to the trip and had one sweet descent.

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GP Day 40 — The Gorge

Groton to Elmira, 56.9 mi, 2184 ft of climbing.

In the morning, Shana and the children were off to Scout camp, and Steve made me a scrumptious omelet with roasted red peppers and real home fried potatoes. I let the tent dry out — just a little dew on the fly and water on the footprint — while Steve and I talked about good tours they could do in a couple of days. I pointed him to the Pine Creek Rail Trail as a good loop they could do in 5-7 days, and I’m going to send him some maps from tours I’ve done to the Finger Lakes.

I had an easy day today given that I was going down the hole to Ithaca. Steve gave me some pointers on the route out of Groton to Ithaca, and I made my own route between Ithaca and Elmira. Both Ride with GPS and Google Maps picked routes with very steep hills to avoid the highway. Having done a lot of cycling in my youth on RT 220 in Altoona being buzzed by tractor trailers, riding on a highway doesn’t bother me. Especially here in NY where 95% of the road has 6-8′ shoulders in very good condition.

In Ithaca, I popped over to Moosewood, but it wasn’t open, and I really didn’t want to spend $30 on lunch. I found “The Yellow Deli” which was in the ped mall, had outdoor seating, and had a delicious Ruben and a warm cinnamon roll for $12. I then head out on Rt 13 and had a couple gentle climbs and some energy saving downhills that were quite fun.

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GP Day 39 — A Finger Laking day

Oh, that title is so bad! Maybe I’ll fix it, maybe I won’t. 40.3 mi, 1899 ft of climbing.

I made good use of my motel room this morning and fixed the slow leaking F-L-A-T I got Friday on the way from Richland. Glass. Errr. But fixed now and should be good for a while.

I rode from Weedsport to Auburn and then to Groton via NY Rt 38 which follows the shore of Owasco Lake. Beautiful ride, but I was still feeling fatigued and it was some slow going.

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GP Day 38 — If you ever navigated on…

… the Erie Canal! It’s flat. 25.7 mi, 673 ft of climbing (most of that on bridges).

I left Charile’s and Barb’s about 8 as I knew storms were coming in the afternoon. Even though it was a short day, I wanted to get to Weedsport and the Red Roof Inn before the deluge started.

Most of my route was along the Erie Canal trail, and the most interesting thing about canal trails, is the history of how it was built and used. I started my day going back through Little Italy in Syracuse and heading for the Biscotti Cafe. It was closed! What good Italian baker closes on Saturday!? Oh well. I snapped a few photos of Little Italy as it is and headed to the trail.

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GP Day 37 — Mirror, Mirror

48.7 miles, 1457 ft of climbing.

Finally! A tailwind! Made the day much easier. So much so that I added about 15 miles going to an alternate host in Syracuse that John recommended, and to a bike shop to get a rear view mirror replacement that I’ve been missing since before I left in July.

Nothing stellar view wise today, so a dearth of pics. I did go through Little Italy in Syracuse, but didn’t recognize it as such until I was at hosts Charlie’s & Barb’s and looked at a map. There was a Biscotti place (that I’m going to check out tomorrow on the way out of town), but other than that, the Italians weren’t a big presence.

I did stop a few times to correspond with my doc in State College about extending my Valtrex prescription. They sent a script to a local CVS and Charlie was kind enough to drive me there this evening so I could get back on it asap. I only missed a dose, but as the doc concurred, this close to the eye requires another week. Especially since I still have some redness and headache symptoms. Much abated, but still there.

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GP Day 36 — Showers

38.4 miles, 1148 ft of climbing.

I missed Julie in the morning as she had left for a ride, but Marc had just returned from his and made me strong, strong coffee and a delicious and filling oatmeal with peanut butter, walnuts, sunflower seeds and more.

The weather report was rain after noon along my route, and since it was only 40 miles to my destination, leaving at 8 should have gotten me there. The weather was clear, too, and the sun was out. I was on US 11, NY Bike Route 11 for most of the ride, and it was mostly flat or gently rolling. About half way I noticed dark clouds building up. I was cresting the top of a hill when the rain started slowly. I ducked for cover at the only building in view and parked under the eaves which were almost enough to keep me and the bike dry. I knocked on the door but the only answer was a rather annoyed terrier barking and barring its teeth at the door.

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GP Day 35 — Over Hill, Over Dale…

75.2 miles, 3,459 ft of climbing.

Hard day for my first one back. It was supposed to be 68 miles, and 2500 ft of climbing, but a couple detours added miles and hills. The hills actually weren’t bad. No major climbs, mostly small hills, but lots of them, with a good deal of flat and downhills in between. It wasn’t the hills that made the day hard, but the constant headwind coming off of Lake Ontario. My original projection was to be to my hosts in Watertown (actually Black River) by 4:30, and I finally got there around 5:45.

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GP Day 34 — Chillin’

Another “day off,” though I did ride into Potsdam in the morning to look around and get a better feel for the town. Most of the downtown storefronts are occupied with cool little shops — and it was refreshing to see that vs. the boarded up main streets of other small cities. I returned around noon, just before the rain hit. So nice to be somewhere dry and safe.

My eye/face is progressing and healing. I’m planning on riding tomorrow and trying my contacts for the first time in a week and a half.

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GP Day 33 — Monday, Monday

The day John and I are parting ways. We had a great month together and I am sad to see it end so abruptly, but we are where we would have been a week hence anyway. Didn’t make it easier.

Jean Luc offered me a ride to the border and rather than tackling a 60 mile ride, I took him up on that. He dropped me at the Walmart where I spent my last 12.15$ CD on salad mixes and a couple candy bars. I would add a chocolate bar and ask the checkout girl what the total was. I had 10 cents left as I headed for the border.

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