With the recent change in Sunday ride start times, I was out the door by 6am in hopes of reaching the start of the ride around Skaneateles by 9am. There were at least a few emails the day before from others looking to ride to the start, so they met at the Lab of Ornithology parking lot at 7am. Since nearly all group rides involve me crossing the city and riding through Cornell, I decided to try a different route this time which left me riding alone until after Moravia.
It was a rough start to a ride though. After rolling the bike outside, I noticed the rim was pushing on the brakes, and I made some quick spoke adjustments and flew down the hill into Ithaca. By this point I realized that my chain had been long overdue for a good cleaning, and was making some pretty awful noises. I stopped when I found a shirt discarded on the side of the road, and wiped the chain down. A mile later, I found a nearly empty bottle of 10W40, and lubed the chain. The third stop of this series was for a rag to wipe the excess oil off. Motor oil may not be the best option, but it actually worked quite well for this.
My route started by climbing Rt 34, and then continued mostly north along the farm roads I haven’t ridden on before. It was generally uphill the whole way, and I was getting concerned that I wasn’t going fast enough to reach the start of the group ride in time. Once I was just north of Moravia, I turned east on what turned into a very poor chipseal road on a slight downhill. Fortunately I didn’t slide out in any of the loose pebble sections, and reached the top of the infamous Long Hill Rd west of Moravia. From here it’s a great descent at 40+mph, although this time there was road work on a culvert, which left a small section of bumps and gravel that was difficult to slow down for.
I climbed Mt. Pleasant (which like others of the same name is steep and not so pleasant to climb) and took a break at the top now that I knew I had enough time to reach the group start. I heard a loud noise from down the road, which turned out to be Charles presumably happy to see another rider, followed by a small group of other riders that had started in or near Ithaca. The 6 of us rode together to the official start, and as people kept showing up by car, we eventually had a group of 18.
The route starts with about 7 miles of descending, and we were rolling along very fast with little effort. Fortunately we were not ridding in a tight pack through most of that area, as Mary Ann hit something in the road. I think her hands bumped off the bars, and she swerved to each direction fairly hard while laying on the handlebars and miraculously recovered. We were going about 35mph at this point, and everyone behind her was nearly sure she was about to fall. We were amazed and very glad that she got control of the bike before that happened though!
As we got closer to Skaneateles, we saw an amazing number of people biking in the other direction and I assumed it was just a nice day for riding bringing out a lot of cyclists. Max looped around to talk to one, and found out that there was a group of ~150 from Ontario that came to the Finger Lakes region this week. Our group stopped at the Patisserie in Skaneateles for food, and continued the mostly uphill route towards the southern end of the lake.
The night before, I had looked over my maps and decided I would try to brake off from the group ride for an 8 mile detour on a parallel road. No one else was interested in joining, but it was an adventure! The detour starts with a 1.3 mile 700ft decent with a sharp curve, before it turns into small gravel. Then there were 3 options for roads going in mostly the same direction, and the one I choose turned into more chipseal, following upstream along Grout Brook which was nice in the shade. The remainder of the detour was flat & paved, and I tried to go fast to catch up with the group by going 23-28mph on the aerobars.
It turns out that the group also left Mary Ann’s route, and crossed south of the lake and back to the group start. I headed southwest and eventually had enough cell reception to find out where the group was. I headed for Lake Como, and met up with the remaining 3 riders. We took the common roads back, along Upper and Lower Creek Rd., and we split up near Ludgate Farms. I took a new route that worked well through Cayuga Heights, and climbed Rt 96 to get home.
My day ended with 114 miles of riding, after being out for 9.5 hours. I have posted the route I took here: http://ridewithgps.com/trips/337581.