Terrible Hills

What a ride! I was happily surprised to see so many people at the 8am start for the Terrible Hills ride. After looking at the maps, I counted 13 ascents, many of which begin with B: Baker Hill and Mt Pleasant, Yellow Barn, Irish Settlement, Buffalo Rd, Yaple and Blackman Hill, Legge and Honeypot, Besemer Hill, Burns and King, Bostwick, Blakesly Hill and Jersery Hill and Comfort, Beech Hill, Brown and Bruce, Buffalo St.

The ride starts out with some moderate hills, and seems to get worse as the day goes on. Either the hills get steeper and longer, or my energy was just getting drained with each hill. I think nearly all of these hills are part of one FLCC ride or another, so they were familiar roads, just not ones that I typically ride all of in one day. The first tough climb was on Legge, which seemed to have more grade and be longer than the others to that point.

About half of the group called it a day after Besemer, heading back on Rt 79. 11 of us continued on. We stopped at the top of King Rd, which had much more traffic than I expected, to decide on a lunch destination. The descent of Stone Quarry is one that deserves a big waring also, since where an old railbed crosses, the road drops off suddenly after. At the right speed, you might catch some air there, and it is easily possible to exceed 50mph on this one but you surely don’t want to. The intersection at the bottom also has traffic making a very sharp right turn to get up the hill, so planning your speed wisely here is extremely important.

After lunch at Wegmans, the long climb of Bostwick was next. I just picked a pace and kept on pedaling at a fairly constant rate up 1000ft. Stopping at Applegate Rd was a good place to let others catch up, before the descent begins. Everyone made it up, and then a few went back down or onward home. The group was then down to 9.

After descending, the route to cross the bigger roads gets a little tricky, and Sam lead us along the fastest way past this, which does involve riding on what feels like a highway and merging through lanes, but is probably the safest way around this mess. The reward for making it this far is the climb up Blakesly Hill, which is another real leg burner. I had to traverse on this road because to pedal fast enough to stay upright on 38×28 gearing just wasn’t working otherwise. We stopped at the top, and waited for others to catch up. One went back to see if Harold was still coming, but didn’t see him on that stretch, so we continued on.

I think a few more turned off when we reached 96/34, because I can only remember 6 of us continuing on Tupper Rd. We barely saw the turn for Beech since it looked like 4 wheeler trail, and Sam, Max and I attempted that climb while Dani and two others on road bikes went straight. Beech was a bad idea, because neither Max nor I were able to pedal up the rocky road and still get enough traction. I think Sam on his medium width wheels and a triple chainring was able to pedal the whole way. For a ride that’s doable by road bikes otherwise, I think this hill needs to go since it just wasn’t group ride material. Sam had his rear wheel plastic dish thingy start to fall apart at the top, and lost the ability to freewheel here. Max poked at it with various tools, and after a few pieces fell out, it seemed good enough to continue. We met up with Dani again at a house down the road (the others had continued on), where she had struck up a conversation with a nice old lady that was more than willing to let us refill our water.

The remaining 4 in the group continued up Brown, which was over quicker than I expected, and from there it’s downhill more than 1000ft to Ithaca. Dani turned off at the traffic circle to head home, and I headed west on Buffalo having already climbed to EHP in the morning and with a climb up Rt 96 still awaiting me. Sam and Max went up Buffalo, the last B of the day. If the other 2 did finish the route, than the final count of people riding 98%+ of the ride was 6.

At the end of the day, I was out for 11 hours, 9 of those moving, 108 miles, and 10,600ft elevation gain (potentially not accurate elevation data).

 

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