Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Day 14 of bike ride to Boston. Todays route was from Albany NY to Brattleboro VT. a total of 75 miles. Once again the weather was picture perfect. Clear skies, temperature in the low 70's and favorable wind. Couldn't ask for much more. The unique aspect of this ride is the amount of climbing involved. 5,000 plus feet. For a flatlander like me that is quite a bit. Climbing start virtually the minute I left the hotel. This was followed by hills that were quite doeable.... After mile 34 a 6.3 mile climb ensued. The good news is that the first 2 miles very steep. The bad news was the next 4 miles were STEEPER!!. And if anyone is wondering, I used every gear on my bike and wished I had more. An electric motor would have been nice or even some of Lance Amrstrong's drugs. But I digress. After a short stop at the top I was off again. The terrain was very hilly but nothing like the 6.3. At mile 57 another steep climb was waiting ending at the top of Hogback Mountain. From that point into Brattleboro it was very hilly but not like those we climbed earlies. As for the grade percent, it was as least 10% plus. Not sure exactly because I do not ride with a Garmin; much steeper than I'm used to. Now, about the downhills. In the past, I would have had no problem "deadheading" down the mountain. But being older and wiser, I actually used my brakes coming down. Even with the braking action, I hit 45 mph on one descent. Also, since I last rode this route, the road had deteriorated to the point of being very bumpy. Pot holes and semi's provided excitment on the descent.  But all's well that end's well.
When I entered the city, I saw a bike shop and stopped to make some purchases. The clerk asked how I entered the town and I told her route 9. Her eyes bugged out and she stated "no way". That is one of the toughest rides in this area. It services the ski trails in the mountains around Bennington. YIkes!!
The best way to describe the terrain and scenery is though pictures. Mountains in the background and a stream on the right side of the road made this aspect of the ride very enjoyable; almost to the point of ignoring the screaming in my quads but not quite. Tomorrow is the last long ride of the trip from Brattleboro to Burlington MA. 90 miles. Friday I will be in Boston! Horray

 Entering Vermont
 Cattle farm in the mountains
 Bennington Memorial in the background
 Babbling stream along side the road
 View from top of Hogback Mountain


Weary biker after a day of riding through the mountains of Vermont

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Day 13 bike trip to Boston. Today took me from Herkimer NY to Albany NY. a trip of about 80 miles. And wow, what a great day to ride a bicycle across America. Anticipating rain as per the weather channel, I was prepared to get wet for the second day in a row. But, by the time I started riding, not only was there no rain but the weather was perfect. Low 70's, no humidity with a favorable wind made this one of the best treks of the journey.
Following the confluance of the Mohawk River, in the Mohawk valley the scenery was extraordinary. To my right  the river flowed with verdant valleys, farms and houses displaying the natural beauty of the area. To my left were hills covered with greenary, family housing and various businesses. Mixed along the route were small iconic towns that reflect the history of the area. Examples are Schenectady settled in 1661 and Little Falls in 1723 to name a few. What I like most about these places is they were established before the American Revolution. Oops, there I go again with the history thing.
As much as I enjoyed riding my bicycle in these conditions I had forgotten what I had in store for me. About 5 miles from my destination in Albany I was greeted with steep and long hills that challenged my ability to climb them. Remember, I had already ridden 73 miles so it was even more difficult. But the good news, as a flatlander, I eventually conquered them without using the last of my "granny" gears, I'm saving it for tomorrows ride throught the mountains. And yes, I rode them during the 09 cross country ride I recall they were as difficult back then. The years have not eroded the grade of the slope.
Tomorrow I ride from Albany to Brattleborro VT. 


 Hills along the Mohawk River Valley
Riding Crew, Tom, Tony, Harry
 Harry and me
Mohawk River from road

Monday, June 19, 2017

Day 12 of the bike ride to Boston. Syracuse to Herkimer was a 70 mile jaunt. Per yesterday's prediction, today turned out to be a ride in the rain. As I have stated on previous occasions I do not mind riding in the rain. In fact, I prefer it to the 90 degree with high humidity we had yesterday. All in all it's good to have a diversity of weather. The better news is that the wind was favorable and the temperature was in the low 70's as the high of the day. Starting in a slight drizzle, the rain slowly subsided. It was not until with about 5 miles to go that the heavy rain started. Needless to say, by the time I arrive in Herkimer, I was drenched. At this time I will share a well known secret to keeping warm on a bike in the driving rain. Newspaper!! That's right. If rain is anticipated, simply put a section of the newspaper between your skin and your jersey. It keeps the core warm and the rest of the body responds. It works. Professional bicycle racers use this trick.
I really enjoyed today's ride as we are now entering the hills leading to the White, Green and Hampshire mountains. Green hills with the mountains in the background make it a much more scenic ride.
The highlight of the day was the stop we made at the "smallest church in America" located in the middle of an algae covered lagoon. I made the same stop in 09 and we almost missed it today. After pictures it was suggested we take the boat nearby to actually go out to the church. But in the interest of time and good sense, it was decided it was a bad idea. So, after a few snapshots we were down the road. It was a great day for riding across America and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's ride to Albany; a 78 mile distance
 Early 1900"s road grader
 Tony modeling the latest in biking apparel

 Me with the newspaper I used to keep warm
Harry relaxing near the smallest church in America
 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

 Lake Seneca-Memorial for fallen U.S. soldiers
 Seneca Falls NY  Home of the first woman's rights convention-1848
Standing by the Erie Canal
Day 11 of my ride to Boston. Today's trek took me from Canadaigua NY. to Syracruse New York. While the distance was only 70 miles there were still plenty of challenging hills to overcome. Weatherwise, it was another perfect day. The temperature was a mere 90 degrees and the wind was not particularly favorable. But it is what it is. I had plenty of water and enough gears on the bike to handle the conditions. This section of the ride takes us around Seneca Lake to Seneca... Falls NY. I do not mean to insult your intelligence but I will remind the readers Seneca Falls was the site of the first womans rights convention in July of 1848. While there many others this was the first. There are many websites to describe the events as this historical site.
The second point of interest was riding past the Erie Canal Park .Boat rides are stilled offered on that part of the canal which their historical society managed to renovate. Because I had already taken the boat trip in 09 I stopped just long enough to gulp down two glasses of their delicious lemonade.
I took a lilttle more time enjoying the scenery today as it is changing from farm land to wooded, hilly terrain. Until I reach the mountains looming ahead this type of terrain will be the norm. Looking forward to it.
Tomorrow looks like it will be a rain event. The route takes me from Syracuse to Herkimer;  named after the famous American Revolutionary General Nicholas Herkimer,. Oops, there I go again with that history stuff.

Day 10 of the Boston ride. The trek today took me from Hamburg NY to Canadaigua NY. A total of 94 miles. Again the weather cooerated. While the temp may have been a little high, 89 degrees, and the wind was not favorable, it was great day to ride a bicycle across America.
Today began with hills. After that, there were more hills. And then then when you thought the hills had ended, more hills. I was grateful for these, and by hills I am talking some as steep as 10-12 percent grade. As the day wore on, the hills seemed to get longer and steeper. Great, I am preparing for the mountains. Not much more to describe here since I didn't see much of the country side since I had my head down grinding up the "hills" Tomorrows jaunt takes us to Syracuse NY. a mere total of 70 miles.
 Looking for my next new bike.  Maybe this one
 
Rest stop with the gury
 Hummm wonder what this does
 Memorial to Civil War vets in Avon NY
Neat abandon house along highway 20a

Friday, June 16, 2017

Day 9 of the bike ride to Boston. Yesterday was day 8 and we rested in Erie PA. I took advantage of the rest to go to Niagra Falls.......Slowly I turn.....step by step.... inch by inch. Well, you know the rest. First time at the falls so, of course, I was impressed with the site. However, there were a gazillion people and I'm not much for crowds. Nevertheless, the falls and the surrounding area were very impressive. And, since I was so close to our neighbor Canada, I t...ook the time to cross the border and have lunch. It was interesting to see menus that had both Canadian and American prices. I was glad when we drove back to the states...USA.... USA..Patriotic indeed.
Today's ride took me from Erie, PA to Hamburg NY. A distance of a mere 80 miles. Again, and I hope I not jinxing us, the weather was perfect. Blue skies, mild temperature and favorable winds. Loved it. While the terrain is still relatively flat the corn/bean fields turned into mile after mile of grapevines. Yes, easten PA. and western New York are the second largest wine producing areas in the country. In fact, there are 128 winerys in the area. Nothing of note to report, but we were joined by a former 09 rider Chris Legette. It was fun having his ride with us and share what he has been doing in the years since the ride. At one of the SAGs he indicated he really missed the biking experience. In the 09 ride, he was among the strongest bikers in the group. It was an honor to have him ride with us today.
Tomorrow, we trek 94 miles from Hamburg to Canadaigua NY. Hopfully we continue our luck with the wind and weather.

 Niagra Falls

Crossing state line
Chris, 09 rider who joined us today


Eat your heart out Jim. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Day 7 of my ride to Boston. Of all the riding days of this trip, today was absolutely the best. The weather was perfect 80 degrees, no humidity, and light winds. Hopefully this weather pattern continues. Our travels today took us from Niles OH. to Erie PA. While there were a few steep hills, the terrain was relatively flat. It was a 90 mile ride it seemed like only around 87or 88. Ha, a little humor here. The landscape is becoming more wooded but there are still quite a few corn and bean fields. Not much diversity in the terrain. Riding the county and state roads it occurred to me, as it did in the 09 trip cross country ride, that the farms and towns far from the interstates reflect the real America. At some point take a trip from point A to point B using these roads. Don't be in a hurry. Stop in the small burgs and enjoy coffee and conservation with the locals. It is well worth the experience. Two highlights of todays ride illustrate this.
First was the small grocery/gas station at the corner of SR. 37 and rt 7 near Conventient OH. My riding group stopped for some beverages and rest. It had a small table and two chairs outside so we took our time and enjoyed the view. Across the street was a fresh fruit stand. I decided to go see what was available. Fresh strawberries, melons, asparagus and other assorted veggies was being offered. Overcoming my usual shyness, I started a dialog with the owner. Great lady. Sarah lived in the nearby trailer and we discussed many topics. Mainly she shared that the intersection by the stand had many accidents where people were killed. While the state did install yellow flashing lights, a four way stop sign was needed. I said there are areas around Washington with the same problem. So we shared a common experience. Cool.
And, I got to meet her dog Alice Chalmers. She loved to be petted so I obligded. The dog was 15 years old an not long for this world. Sarah indicated she knew, but savored there time together. Glad I stopped to get to know her.
After a bit it was time to move on. The second highlight of the trip was the Root Beer stand. That was my second visit to the place but in 09 I didn't stay long as it was rainy and cold. Today I lingered and enjoyed conversation locals at this place. In fact, one of the people informed me that he and four friends had ridden across had ridden across America in 1977. After leaving, the state line of Pennsylvania was a mere mile away. After a photo op, the rest of the way to Erie was uneventful. But a great day for riding a bicycle across America.
Rest day in Erie. Going to Niagra Falls.
Thishis is the first time I put a complete description on Facebook with photo album. The reason is that many followers do not have facebook and use my blog as their source Now a little help from my friends. Many facebook friends say theyof facebook they cannot share this. As a longtime user of the media, I still do not know how to do this. Any help would be grateful.

 


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Day 6 of the Boston adventure.  Today's ride took me from Wooster OH to Niles OH a total of 92 miles.  The weather was perfect with favorable winds.  Even though it reached 95 degrees at least it wasn't 100.  To relieve the heat a thunderstorm passed us and provided a well needed respite from the heat.  Two highlights from the ride stand out.  First, as one of the objectives of doing something of this nature is to interact with the locals to get a feel of the unique properties of the towns and areas we ride through.  The stop in Fulton Canal OH. at the local coffee shop exemplified this.  The folks in charge were personable and accommodating.  Providing delicious coffee and drinks to a very thirsty group of cyclists exemplified this objective.  After an extended stay our group once again hit the road.   The day ride included approximately 4,000 feet of climb.  Combining that with the heat and made it a challenging but enjoyable experience.  Near the second SAG,  I noticed storm clouds approaching.  The good news is we outran it to the SAG.  Better news was there was a nice diner where the other riders in my group dined as the thunderstorm passed us.  It was a godsend because it temporarily broke the heat that was sapping my strength. 
The second event that stands out is about 10 miles from the end of the ride the route took me down a bike path.  It is one of the best I have ever ridden.  Smooth, asphalt surface with green covering made it a very enjoyable experience.  Many animals could be seen from the bike path the most notable a snake trying to traverse the path.  A nice way to end a great day of riding. 
Tomorrow is a mere 79 mile trip to Erie PA. 
 Harry buying coffee at the cafĂ©.
Rain at the SAG
Tony and Harry an the Speakeasy
Bike train near Niles
Snake on the trail

Monday, June 12, 2017

Day 5 Marysville to Wooster OH.  97 miles but completed only 37.  One of the best bike mechanics ever, Larry, identified my tires as worn and possibly near failure.  Replace them as soon as possible.  That same conclusion was supported by the bike mechanic at the Wooster bike shop.   I did risk riding  the first leg of the trip but "bumped" into town to purchase two new tires.  Now, before you think I'm a total idiot for starting a 1,200 mile with worn tires, remember they were brand new when I purchased the bike about two months ago.  Who would have imagined they could have worn out in that short of time.  But, it's not the time element it's the distance.  With all the training I did and with the amount we have ridden so far, the tires have about 2,000 miles on them.  That is about the life of that particular tire.  I now have new ones in place and am eager to continue the ride to Boston. 
Not meaning to jinx the journey but the weather has been great.  No rain, blue sky's and favorable winds.  Hope to continue in this weather pattern.  Tomorrow we ride from Wooster to Niles OH. a total of 92 miles.
Downtown Wooster OH.
Biking down the country roads

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Day 4-Richmond IN to Marysville OH.  Another beautiful day to ride a bicycle in America.  Today's trek was a mere 104 miles but with all the construction it resulted in anywhere from 109-114.  My bike computer registered 112.  Now folks, that's a lot of miles for an old timer like me.  Especially since we averaged over 17 mph for the entire trip.  The weather was in the high 80's but we had a favorable wind.  Describing the scenery was be an exercise in redundancy since it was mile after mile of corn and bean fields.  We encountered two major road blockages.  The first one we were able to take our bikes across and help each other up the embankment.  That officially does not disqualify anyone from attaining EFI.  At the second one, there was no bridge and to go across would involve trying to navigate an interstate route.  Wasn't going to happen.  So, the support staff googled a detour which increased the mileage to the numbers above.  This particular post will be rather short since I am in recovery mode and we bike 97 miles tomorrow with some severe climbs.  Looking forward to it. 
Me with Tony, Tom and Harry

Construction detour-notice the equipment.  The only one to use for such projects.
Helping the bikers across the raven
Riding through Amish country.  They do not like to be photographed to I got this from the backside
My distance today