Monday, July 02, 2007

Windy Hills

Yesterday, I set out for Canajoharie to do a 34-mile ride with 2400 feet of climbing. I was combining two tours in the Cranks from Cooperstown "50 Bike Tours in Upstate New York" book. Tour #15A is a 19-mile loop including Canajoharie, Sprout Brook, and Ames, with about 1100 feet of climbing. The plan was to do it CCW, starting in Canajoharie. I planned to add on pieces of tour #3B, climbing from Sprout Brook to the bottom of the Cherry Valley hill on US20 near Judds Falls, heading west and a BIG climb to East Springfield, then coming down Dugway Gorge back to Sprout Brook and rejoining the original loop. This second loop would be done clockwise, for an overall figure-eight ride.

In the first 6 miles up from Canajoharie, I climbed 850 feet as I fought a big NW side wind going up Clinton Road. Despite the forecast of 5-15 mph, it was easily gusting over 20 much of the time. When I got to Sprout Brook, I looked again at the ride profile, comparing what I had done so far to the second loop that lay ahead. That was enough to convince me that I didn't want to even try the big US20 climb in that wind, which would have been a headwind. In fact, I didn't want to do that loop in EITHER direction in that wind. I decided to bail, and head for Ames, a relatively level ride to the east, and then head back to Canajoharie, doing only the #15A loop.

Most of this ride was on narrow county roads, and the grades were much steeper and more plentiful than on state routes, so even "flat" was a very relative term. Compared to weekly SWC rides, they would definitely be called "very hilly", and I chalked up another 250 feet on the way to Ames and on to Canajoharie's Wintergreen Park. I stopped there for lunch at the top of the gorge, and decided to ride down the hill to the picnic area and rest rooms. How bad could it be on a paved road? Well, it became a single-lane loop, and my brakes were barely enough to hold me back on the steep descent. Nice little park down in the gorge. After rest room, climbed steeply about 100 feet back to the rim, and continued downhill to Canajoharie and the car. Total ride was 20.25 and 1250 feet of climbing, not a bad day all things considered.

Before I headed home, I drove the outer loop that I had skipped, still wanting to see it for real. It wasn't all that glamorous as I had possibly imagined it to be. I think I can now cross it off my "must do" list, and leave last year's attempted tour behind me once and for all.

Another commute today, and probably tomorrow as well. Felt a little sluggish pedaling down Kings Road this morning, almost a gear lower than usual. Made it to work in the usual time, but didn't quite feel in top form, maybe a little fatigued from yesterday's ride. The ride home went better, and I felt more normal. Caught a lot of green lights, and traffic was lighter than usual because of the holiday mid-week, so a good ride.

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