From Max Kraft:
On Sunday 14 colorful spandex-clad riders met up in Groton to ride a generous loop around Owasco Lake. Sam was the sole bearer of one of the FLCC jerseys, which seemed fitting since it depicts the finger lakes across the back and I think this was the first of what I have heard referred to as the “lake rides.” There were 3 women in the group, and it was great to see some new faces alongside familiar faces from the ride 2 weeks ago. Andy Goodell met up with me at my house at 8:00, with 10 miles already on his computer, and together we rode out to Groton, adding on another 10 miles on the way. I believe that at least 4 other riders rode out to the start in Groton, with Stewart saying he rode 37 miles all the way from Interlaken. With clear blue skies, brilliant morning sunshine and not-too-hot temps in the mid 70’s, it was a great day to be on a bike in good company.
At ~9:15 we rolled out from Groton, quickly leaving the town to enter the beautiful rolling countryside on buttery smooth roads. The beginning pace was nice and relaxed as we went past farm fields and over ridges, continually working towards the 4,400′ + of climbing that was advertised for the ride. Eventually, the pace began to incrementally increase as we found ourselves along extended ridge tops, but some overzealous riding at the front of the group combined with the overzealous riders also not carrying cue sheets with directions led to some missed turns and inversion of the pack order. When we got to the turn onto 38A, 5 riders went shooting through the stop and on their merry way. Andy and I decided to stop, reorganize, and take the left turn as given in the directions. Fortunately, due to the rectangular pattern of country roads, we managed to meet up perfectly at the opposite corner of the box, despite having waited for the rest of the group to re-group. If you’re eager to shoot off the front or like to push along the pace, or if you’re worried about falling off the back, for that matter, it might be wise to carry some sort of directional device, be it your head, paper and ink or a GPS. Beautiful views of the lake down in the valley though made me glad to take a break and look around.
Regardless of some directional confusion, we made it to Auburn where we took a welcomed rest, water and food stop at the very top of Lake Owasco. After discussing the misfortunes of the iPhone 4’s signal strength, we were back on the road under what felt to me like a much hotter sun. We had also been pushing against the wind throughout the morning, and were hoping to find it at our backs once we began cruising back towards home. However, almost all day the wind seemed to be fickle as it pleased, blowing at least in part from the front or the side, coming out of the West, the South and the North, but rarely behind us! Continuous beautiful scenery, smooth pavement and a freedom from cars, though, made it unquestionably a great day to be out. There was an attempt to stay together on the indeed incomparable (as written in the description for the ride) Indian Fields / Salmon Creek Rd., but on such a gift to cycling all restraints fell away and the group rode freely. After crossing 90, we took a quick break to fully regroup. There were definitely some tired legs and wearing bodies at this point. From there, a rushing descent into Salmon Creek was followed by a turn East and a long climb out of the valley and the group really did begin to split apart. Stewart headed off down the valley since he still had at least 35 miles to get home. Then, at the intersection of N. Lansing School Rd. and Cobb St., Andy, 1 other rider and I split off to head South towards Ithaca. As we rode by my house, I turned in while they continued on.
I logged just over 79 miles for a great day of cycling. I hope that everyone else made it safely back to Ithaca / Groton / home and enjoyed the ride as much as I did. I know that there were some tired legs at the end of the ride, but it was great getting to ride with a good group of people and I hope to be able to make a few of the other rides this season and see others out there too! Oh, and we made it back ~3:00 in the afternoon, at an average speed just over 15 mph. If anyone else has anything to add, photos, comments, etc. don’t hesitate to post a reply.
Cheers to a great ride and hopefully many more to come. As I commented to at least a few people on the ride, after riding across the country last summer, the Ithaca area is still one of the best places for biking I’ve seen and experienced, definitely one of the most beautiful and most pleasant! After rides like this, I hope others agree (and if not, let me know where I should go to bike next!)