The curious mind of this cyclist

Monday, October 19th, 2009 @ %I:%M %p | Cycling

curious1.jpgThis weekend featured two rides: circumnavigating Keuka Lake from Penn Yan on Saturday and a 28 mile ride from Black Creek Park in Chili on Sunday. Friday evening at the RBC Volunteer Dinner I queried a few of the fellow fast friends to gauge interest in the Saturday ride. Responses were lukewarm which was already more than could be said of Saturday’s weather forecast: cold and wet. I wasn’t too convinced of the weather either but looked forward to the exercise and was probably going to ride anyways.

Saturday morning it didn’t look too bad in Rochester and the detailed forecast gave a 50-50 chance of staying dry or getting wet. Good enough, I felt, and put the road bike on the back of the Mini. First stop the McDonald’s on East Ave for breakfast number 2 and a medium coffee. Then switched on TomTom to navigate to Penn Yan and cued Tinariwen on the iPod.

TomTom routed me via I-90 and Geneva which is longer but could be faster than via Canandaigua. Coming up to the Manchester exit on I-90 I changed my mind and decided to cut through from there to Penn Yan. This was perhaps a less than ideal spur of the moment. It took TomTom quite a while to give up on insisting I make a U-turn back to I-90 and instead calculate the alternative route. So I lost some time here and I was already short on time to make to the ride’s 10am start on time. Whether it was this, the weather or something else but I found myself in a bit of an odd mood. I became mischievously intrigued in the concept of getting to Penn Yan just a little late so I would miss the group start and ride by myself. Having some difficulty finding the start location in Penn Yan, this plan succeeded in rather a natural way and I pulled into the parking area at 5 minutes past 10.

Looking around it seemed I needn’t have worried one way or the other: I recognized none of the few parked cars so it seemed I was the only one to show up for the ride. While there was rain on the way here, it is now very calm weather. Entirely overcast but very little wind and no rain: the wind jacket instead of the rain jacket.

The route is pretty straightforward: along the lake to Hammondsport and back along the other side for a total of about 45 miles. Quiet roads, mostly flat, plenty time to look around. A lot of houses, cabins and cottages for sale along the lake’s coastline. Especially real estate agent Mark Malcolm II (the “the second”-part assumes me) is very active. A few have sold or are sale pending; good for them. There are some very nice ones but also a few that may rather benefit from being thorn down and rebuilt. Close to Hammondsport there is a mobile home park with some of those candidates for sale.

I turn through the village and continue the ride now on the other side of the lake. Here the hillside seems to block whatever little wind that was there and so even smoother pedaling. Last year the road here was closed and I was directed up the hill. For a moment I consider doing the same detour but I don’t feel like climbing. Earlier this season a club ride cam along here too. I smile when I see again the pink mobile home that we teased Paul about, how it matched so nicely with his pink Pedaler’s club outfit.

In Branchport a right turn and the last 10 miles or so back to Penn Yan. Here apparently the local bike club has rides along this road what with writing on the shoulder that a sprint is coming up. No line drawn though so I assume club riders know where the sprint finishes. Here the road calmly climbs up then resulting in a big gear run down into town. Back at the Red Jacket park where the Mini is waiting no sign of other cyclists so I guess I am the only one to do this ride. I am quite happy to be back. While it didn’t rain during my ride, the roads were wet. I didn’t bring my booties and so my feet are wet and very cold. But I did bring dry socks. Before driving back I jump into McDonald’s to pee, get a Quarter Pounder and a coffee. Observing the clientele and the working staff I can’t help but thinking that Penn Yan, or at least its representation here, is not the pinnacle of intelligence.

With the support of Mickey D’s calories and caffeine I drive back home. At the I-90/I-490 toll booth I smile at the impressively painted nails and pierced tongue of the attendant.

Sunday features the so-called Fall Foliage Tour from Black Creek Park in Chili swinging past Mumford and Scottsville. Noting the 28 miles distance and the mostly flat profile I predict a fast ride and so put the rear wheel with the 11-23 cassette on the bike. Dave volunteered on Friday to lead this ride. This seems to me an implicit good weather guarantee that he provides for rides he has signed up for. Always wonder what recourse he offers if it happens to rain on such a ride? But behold, the skies are clear and blue. So different from Saturday.

I drive into the park behind Jeff. It is full of parked cars. Hadn’t notice them before but there are two soccer fields and both are in use. The parking lot where we are meeting does still have a few empty spots. Dave rides into the park and I also see Bill, Bill, Sara, Donald, Ginny and Bob getting ready. This indeed promises to be a fast ride. There is a new member, joining in for his first club ride. He attended RBC’s open house in July. Guess he doesn’t much like summer weather with waiting till now for his first ride… Anyways, welcome, welcome!

I try to convince Dr Bill of the joys and pleasures of the Tuesday Night winter rides. He listens to me all the while shivering in his yellow wind jacket. I am not sure I am successful.

We pull out of the park. I trail at the back of the group first observing what pace we’re settling at. I was looking forward to a speedy ride but my legs are rubbery and I feel a little lethargic. Keeping an eye on my cycling computer I see the average speed climbing up to 18, 18.5 and 19.2 mph for a little while. So we are going at a respectable pace so perhaps the feeling in the legs isn’t entirely misplaced. However, I carefully and skillfully avoid coming to the head of the group until just before Scottsville. On the few hills that are on the course I am happy just to dangle at the back. Bill, Sara and Dr Bill all power forward on several of the short climbs. I have for a change no trouble resisting the temptation. On South Street or on Union Street I get dropped on the climb there and with the cross wind it takes quite an effort to get back to the group. Maybe that was a necessary effort because a mile or two later I’m pedaling much easier.

We return back to the park. Past the entrance we all drop to cruising for the 300 yards or so to the parking lot. Seems we are all tired and Dr Bill correctly concludes that we haven’t seen any foliage, only the rubber of the wheel in front of us.



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