With the FLCC Sunday ride starting in Truxton (east of Cortland), I wasn’t quite sure I would want to make the ride into a full day of riding about 130 miles. The weekend was looking rainy also, but on Friday night I figured I might as well go for it. I packed up a pair of panniers and strapped my tent to the front rack and left Ithaca in the early afternoon. I had a route on the GPS that would send me through many state forests, and I planned to camp out in Taylor Valley or somewhere nearby in a state forest, where camping is free.
The first forest I got to was Shindagin Hollow, and the dirt roads were good for riding on there. Coming down a hill on the southern end of the forest, a brace that holds the front rack level snapped. When I originally put this rack on, I had to bend the brace in a few places to make it fit, and more recently when I put a different type of brake on, I had to put more bends in the brace. It held for the past few months without a problem, but I had also not put much weight on the rack until this ride. The rack bolts onto the brakes on each side, so it was still attached, and I used a few bungee cords to hold it to the frame to keep it level. I moved the tent onto the back and kept riding.
It was not long after that I was climbing another dirt road and was feeling like something was definitely wrong with the bottom bracket. I had mentioned this to a local shop months back, and they spun the cranks and said it seemed fine. At that time it was just a minor annoyance, but one thing I should have learned after riding this far in the past few years is that any small problems will eventually turn into big ones later. Even though the shop thought it was fine at the time, I should have ordered parts in preparation for this problem.
When I finished climbing the hill, I took a look at the GPS and decided to bail on this overnight trip. The forecast was for rain Sunday anyway, so the chance of people coming up to Truxton was low, and I didn’t really feel like cycling alone in the rain for the rest of the weekend on a bike that was falling apart. I went south to Candor, trying not to crank too hard on the pedals in hopes of parts not seizing or collapsing requiring a car ride home (again, after the derailleur issues earlier this season).
I tried a few new places to ride that I keep seeing but have yet to ride on. One is between White Church and Coddington, on a snowmobile trail that intersects the Finger Lakes Trail. It was still swampy in a few places, and has lots of rollers to keep things interesting. The other was a dirt hill just north of Brooktondale that connects to Rt 79. I also tried to cross through a piece of Cornell Plantations property, but the road on the map isn’t a road, and it becomes dense swampy forest and doesn’t connect back onto a real road very easily.
The GPS was only on to/from Collegetown, so the miles are a bit low on the maps, but this was just shy of 50 miles for the day, with still a good amount of dirt and new roads to me.