The forecast was for a rainy afternoon, but after checking the radar in the morning, I decided to go for it anyway. It was just before 6am when I started so I attached a few blinkies to stay visible while riding on Rt 96. Dany and Chris were planning to meet at Stuart’s place, and I figured that if I was making good time, I would head that way as well (otherwise just heading more directly to Montezuma to shave off a few miles). I paced myself to get to Interlaken just a few minutes before 7am, which was a good warmup. Before the group rolled out, Chris pointed out the amazing red sun rising above a cloud. I wish I had pictures or the ability to describe this better in words, but instead I’ll just recommend getting out for a sunrise ride and you can see for yourself.
We took the ridge route north to the top of Cayuga Lake, which is a slight downhill for 20 miles making 20mph seem easy. We got to the official club start at the Montezuma park with 20 minutes to spare, and saw Rene, Mary Ann, Lisa, Jim, Rob, and a few others I hadn’t met before. Rene had dropped off Dany by car in Interlaken, and joined us as this point for a shorter ride. The skies were nearly empty of clouds at this point. The group split into two smaller groups shortly into the ride, but we all met up again at a convenience store water stop in Walcott. We were off again and rode to the edge of Lake Ontario near the Chimney Bluffs. Apparently there is a good view of the bluffs if you walk around the corner, but the thought of sandy shoes prevented that. After a 15 minute break, 5 of us left to continue the ride.
I counted four times when we felt a few raindrops, but fortunately it never turned into more than that despite a scary forecast in the morning. It did feel muggier as the day went on, and stopping only made that feel worse. Whoever decided that fast state highways should be bike routes obviously doesn’t enjoy rural roads, and fortunately we were able to quickly peel off Bike Route 5 and take a back road to Clyde. We had one stop in Clyde before crossing a one-lane bridge under construction and then taking a break at a convenience store. After riding through Tyre, Stuart seemed to know where we were again, so we went off the route on roads familiar to him. Rene turned left on Rt 89 to get back to his car, and four of us went right on Rt 89 back to the Cayuga Lake State Park for another water stop. It was empty when we first came through at 8am, but was packed with people swimming in the shallow water this time.
We stayed on Rt 89 for a while, somehow still pulling 18mph. Chris and I were slowing down on the hills but catching up on the flats (this being 120 miles into my ride now). Somewhere along this road I felt like I lost the ability to climb. I would try to get ahead before a climb, but once any small incline came up, I quickly fell into the 39×28 gear and pedaled slowly to the top of each roller. We turned at Center Rd and then Hall Rd, which changes names several times but ends where several of us started in Interlaken. 135 miles down, and now just Dany and I are left to ride back to Ithaca. She turned off at Perry City Rd to head to the lake and back home. Feeling just about out of energy and only a few miles from home, I decided to burn through the last of my energy to get home quickly. Two miles of TT on a stretch of Dubois Rd before crawling up the final incline to reach Rt 96 and I was done. Fortunately it’s just a quick roll home from there.
Total distance for the day was 156 miles in about 9 hours of riding plus 2 hours stopped.