Just before the weekend, I got word that a few other type 1 diabetics were meeting up at Cayuga Lake State Park. Scully, coming from Ontario, and Jeff, coming up from Mass, we camping out and would be riding around Cayuga Lake and invited me to join in as well. They started from the campground, and I met them a few hours later at Taughannock Falls State Park which is close to home for me. We took the usually Rt89 to Ithaca, weaved up through Remington, and followed the rolling terrain of the east side of Cayuga Lake. We dipped into Long Point State Park as well, to get closer to the lake again.
It was great to ride with other diabetic cyclists, as we each had our own systems, methods, and issues to work through during the day. Pump tubes were hanging out, test strips were piling up at rest stops, and the usual stash of clif bar wrapped slowly filled my bag as the ride went on. Normally on group rides, I’m the only one dealing with all of this, while the others cruise along not worrying so much about food or sugar levels, but riding with other type 1s that know how to manage their BGs was a great experience.
We also schemed some future plans for the area, as I’ve been longing to host a bike tour in the Finger Lakes for the Connected In Motion crowd but ran into some insurance hurdles. More on that later, but I think we finally found a reasonable solution for 2013!
I bid farewell to Scully and Jeff after a great ride back to Cayuga Lake State Park, declining their offer to drive me back home. It was getting late in the day, but I was looking forward to completing another century ride (100+ miles) and spun my feet for a few more hours to get home. I ended the day with 107 miles and was still feeling good to go for the next ride…
On Sunday, I was out again on the steel Soma with cyclocross tires for some more dirt roads. Someone had suggested we try the Slaterville 100k route, which has more than enough hills in about 70 miles of riding on mostly dirt roads. I did the route with a small group last year too, with a moving average of only ~10mph because there were so many steep climbs on dirt. This year was no different, except that we opted to stop in Speedsville to refill bottles, and cut out the second part in Shindagin feeling that we have accomplished enough to train for D2R2* without overdoing it. The highlight of the route was making up Beam Hill for the first time without putting a foot down. It’s a crazy steep dirt road, and I averaged an amazingly slow 5.0mph KOM.
Then on Tuesday was the local race I had been looking forward to. With a few nearly 200 mile weekends recently, I’ve felt stronger than ever on the hills and wanted to test my racing ability further. The last hill race I did, I had ridden rather far on the days before it, and was able to win the Snyder finish with the B group. This time I would try my luck with the A’s.
After the first climb of Ringwood, 3 people were off the front – never to be seen again. The next few people were split up, and while the leader was itching to go faster, I knew that with only two of us we had no chance, and opted to wait for a few more to catch up. With 4 people, we had a chance to hold on, and indeed made the lap together without seeing others come up until Snyder Hill. Those others must have blasted along Rt79 though, because they didn’t stick around too long for the climb.
There was some jockeying for place early on the climb, and after the pace sufficiently slowed, it was my chance to rev it up. This time I tried to play it smart, just going 1-2mph faster rather than launching only to use up my energy like usual. Four still remained, as I lead much of the way up Snyder. Towards the end, I was breaking away unintentionally and had to pace myself and let them catch up if I had any chance of going hard on the final climb. Jeremy was fast approaching, and zoomed past, but I saw it coming and was able to hold on to his wheel. He went hard, but lost steam 2/3rds of the way up the climb, where I made my final attack, and finished 4th.
We were now in the ominous dark cloud, and it started raining even harder, so it was time to get going quick. Everything got soaked through, and my phone is still on the fritz from getting waterlogged. Fortunately the Dexcom in my jersey pocket remained dry enough to avoid any issues. I camped out in the office until the rain passed, watching as others chatted about the ride on Strava. For a rainy day, I thought the pace seemed slower at times to be safe on the turns, but somehow the average speed was way up there at 22.9mph, including a personal best time on the infamous Ringwood climb.
*D2R2 is the Deerfield Dirt Road Randonnee that I’ve been eager to go to for a few years now. It’s 115 miles of most dirt roads, with some insane amount of climbing, that is a favorite organized ride among the cyclocross crowd in the northeast. With several hundred miles of dirt and climbs behind me now in the last few months, I feel prepared but I know it will still be hard.